COMMISSIONER - Romania risks being sanctioned by the EU because of its poor waste management at national level, EU commissioner for regional policies, Corina Cretu has said. She explained that 90% of the waste in Romania is not collected properly and unless this problem is solved in a short time, the fines will be significant. During a trip to Iasi, in eastern Romania, Corina Cretu told a citizens' debate that the north-eastern part of the country, despite being the poorest, had the highest absorption rate of European funds between 2007 and 2013. The European Commission also highlighted the importance of cohesion policies across the Union and the need to fight populism and euro-scepticism.
BREXIT - British Prime minister Theresa May has today told the BBC that the country will formally begin the Brexit process by the end of March 2017.The prime minister confirmed the deadline for triggering Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty, which sets in place a two-year process of withdrawal. Theresa May also said she hoped there would now be "preparatory work" with the remaining EU members for a smoother process of negotiation.
UN - The permanent members of the UN Security Council have discussed a UN draft resolution on imposing a ceasefire in Syria's battleground city of Aleppo, France Presse reports. The draft text calls for a cessation of hostilities in Aleppo, in keeping with the American-Russian agreement of September 9th. A ceasefire monitoring mechanism would be set up with experts from the 20-nation International Syrian Support Group (ISSG) taking part. Following the meeting with the permanent council members diplomats were to hold negotiations on the text over the weekend, with a draft resolution to be circulated to the full Security Council on Monday.
PNL - Alina Gorghiu, the representative of the older liberals, will be the only president of the National Liberal Party (PNL), the second largest parliamentary party in Romania. The decision has been taken at the proposal of the former Liberal Democrats, now PNL members, who decided not make a nomination to replace the party's former co-president, Vasile Blaga, who resigned over corruption charges. According to anti-corruption prosecutors, Blaga was being investigated in a corruption case. The former Liberal leader is suspected of having awarded preferential procurement contracts between 2009 and 2012, while an interior minister and Senate speaker.
REFERENDUM - Hungarians are heading to the polls today for a referendum on whether parliament should allow the EU to set a quota for refugee resettlement in the country. In the case of Hungary, the quota is 1,294 asylum seekers. During the migration crisis Hungary became a transit country for the refugees heading towards Germany and other EU states. In August, Hungary’s prime minister announced that the country was planning to build a second fence to prevent refugees from crossing the border. It will stand next to its current 500km razor wire fence that runs alongside its border with Croatia and Serbia. About 8 million people have the right to vote in today’s referendum, and the presence of half of them is needed for it to be validated.
RadiRo FESTIVAL - For nine days, the RadiRo Festival, the only festival of this scope dedicated exclusively to radio orchestras, brought before the Bucharest public 6 symphony orchestras from Europe and Asia and 19 of the world's top conductors and musicians: the Shenzen Symphony Orchestra, the radio orchestras from Norway, Leipzig and Vienna, the BBC Concert Orchestra and the Radio Romania National Orchestra. This year's concerts were broadcast live on the European Union Radio Broadcasting network and the Asia-Pacific platform of public and private broadcasters. All nine concerts were sold-out.
(Translated by Elena Enache)