BUSINESS FORUM - The Romanian President Klaus Iohannis and his Croat counterpart Kolinda Grabar-Kitarović, who is on a state visit to Bucharest, on Tuesday opened the works of the Romanian - Croat Business Forum. On the occasion, the Romanian President pointed out that bilateral trade exchanges neared 300 million euros. In his opinion, although this is a low level given the potential of the two economies, recent developments are nevertheless encouraging. During Monday's talks the two presidents approached, among other things, ways to improve cooperation within the EU and NATO.
VISIT - Romania's Prime Minister Mihai Tudose, on a visit to neighbouring Bulgaria, on Tuesday stated that, within a year, the two countries would be joining the Schengen agreement. In a joint conference with his Bulgarian counterpart Boiko Borisov, Tudose also said that the two countries were "condemned to be together" with regard to Schengen accession. The two officials chaired in Varna the fourth joint working session of Bucharest and Sofia government representatives. The agenda of the meeting included topics such as economic cooperation, transport and energy infrastructure, regional development and cross-border cooperation. A joint declaration on the main directions of bilateral, regional, European, Euro-Atlantic and international cooperation was signed in the presence of the two officials. Also in Varna, the Romanian Prime Minister attended a 4-party summit involving the participation of Romania, Bulgaria, Serbia and Greece.
CARTEL ALFA - One of the most important trade union confederations in Romania, Cartel Alfa, will stage a protest meeting on Wednesday, in front of the Government building. Protesters are unhappy with authorities' decision to have employees pay social contributions, a responsibility that used to be that of the employer, and call for collective employment agreements to be concluded at all levels. Trade unionists are also unhappy with the public salary law and the social dialogue law. According to Cartel Alfa, the meeting will be attended by some 10,000 people.
CONSTITUTIONAL COURT - The Constitutional Court of Romania on Tuesday stated that the chief-prosecutor of the National Anticorruption Directorate Laura Codruta Kovesi has to appear before the parliamentary committee investigating the 2009 presidential election. Also, according to the Court, Kovesi must provide all the documents requested by the committee. The Constitutional Court discussed the requests for settling the legal conflict between Parliament and the Public Ministry, which is part of the judicial authority. The requests were filed by the Senate Speaker Calin Popescu Tariceanu and the Speaker of the Chamber of Deputies Liviu Dragnea, after the head of the Anticorruption Directorate refused to appear before the committee. The General Prosecutor's Office had also started an investigation into the 2009 presidential elections, but the case was classified. Both investigations were started following allegations by a controversial journalist, who claimed that the elections were influenced by high-ranking state officials, including heads of powerful public institutions. The election was won by the right wing representative Traian Basescu, to the detriment of the Social Democrat Mircea Geoana.
CORRUPTION - The Romanian Senate has rejected the request filed by the National Anticorruption Directorate to start the prosecution of the minister for the relation with Parliament Viorel Ilie. 77 senators voted 'against' and 37 'for'. The Anticorruption Directorate accuses Ilie of instigation to direct and indirect use of information that are not to be made public and of allowing the access of unauthorized people to such information, during his ministerial term. In late July, the Minister for the Relation with Parliament organized an employment contest, which, according to the National Anticorruption Directorate, was arranged to favour certain candidates.
SIMPLE MOTION - On Wednesday, the Romanian Parliament will debate and vote on the simple motion filed by the main opposition party, the National Liberal Party, against the Transport Minister Razvan Cuc. The signatories of the motion are accusing minister Cuc of faulty management, lack of professionalism and excessive politization within the ministry. Also, the liberals say the minister has blocked large infrastructure projects, whose deadlines have long been exceeded.
CATALONIA - An anti-police strike on Tuesday gripped the province of Catalonia, in north-eastern Spain. Catalan trade unions called the strike to show public anger at Spanish police violence during Sunday's referendum on the region's independence. Some 300,000 people took to the streets of Barcelona and other cities across Catalonia to denounce the violent intervention of the police during the referendum and to defend the results of the referendum, which was declared illegal by the central government. The leader of the Catalan regional government Carles Puigdemont called for the withdrawal of the riot police deployed in Madrid and said international mediation was needed. In Bucharest, Romanian Foreign Ministry representatives reiterated Romania's firm support for Spain's sovereignty and territorial integrity.
NOBEL PRIZE - Three American astrophysicists, Rainer Weiss, Barry Barish and Kip Thorne on Tuesday won the Nobel Prize in Physics for their studies on gravitational waves. The Nobel Prize in Physics is the second prize announced in the series of prizes made public each year. On Wednesday the Nobel Prize in Chemistry will be announced. According to tradition, the Nobel Prizes will be handed to their winners as part of an official ceremony to be held on December 10, the day when the death of the founder of the Nobel Prize, Alfred Nobel, is commemorated.
TENNIS TOURNAMENT - The Romanian tennis player Simona Halep, ranking 2nd in the WTA classification, on Tuesday qualified for the eighth finals of the Beijing tournament, with 6.4 million dollars in prize money. She defeated the Slovak player Magdalena Rybarikova, no. 28 WTA, who abandoned the game in the second set. In the next round Simona will play against the Russian Maria Sarapova, no. 104 WTA, whom she has not managed to defeat so far. Another Romanian player, Sorana Cirstea, has too qualified for the next round, after she defeated the American Christina McHale. The third Romanian player participating in the tournament, Monica Niculescu, will play on Wednesday against the Chinese Shuai Peng. (translated by M. Ignatescu)