EPC - Leaders from 42 countries are meeting today in Prague for the first meeting of the European Political Community (EPC), a new structure proposed by the French President Emmanuel Macron in response to Russia's war in Ukraine. The Russian invasion generated a total geopolitical rethinking, and the EPC wants to be a platform for cooperation on security issues between EU countries and the partners on the continent, candidates for accession or not. Romania is represented by the president Klaus Iohannis, who, together with the leaders from the countries of the EU bloc, will talk with the presidents of Turkey, Ukraine, Georgia and the Republic of Moldova (ex-Soviet state with a majority Romanian-speaking population) about the peace and security of the whole of Europe, the economic situation, energy, climate and migration. During the informal meeting of the European Council, which will take place on Friday, also in Prague, the EU leaders will address the situation in Ukraine from the perspective of the European response to Russia's moves to escalate the conflict and of the continuation of providing support to Ukraine on the financial, political, military and humanitarian levels. Also, the situation on the energy market will be addressed from the point of view of the impact of the high energy prices on the cost of living and the efforts to ensure the security of energy supply.
Refugees – The Border Police General Inspectorate (IGPF) informs that on Wednesday, 71,642 people, including 8,486 Ukrainian citizens, entered Romania through border points throughout the country, an increase of about 10% compared to the previous day. According to a communiqué sent on Thursday, starting on February 10, 2022, two weeks before the Russian army invaded Ukraine, 2,508,047 Ukrainian citizens have entered Romania. Most of them continued their journey to Western European countries, but, according to the Romanian Interior Ministry, more than 4,300 applied for and received asylum in Romania and benefit from all the rights provided by the national legislation. About 70 thousand others have residence permits, for the beneficiaries of temporary protection.
Moldova - The Parliament of the Republic of Moldova (ex-Soviet country with a majority Romanian-speaking population) votes, on Thursday, on the request of the pro-Western Government led by Prime Minister Natalia Gavrilița regarding the extension of the state of emergency for another 60 days, in the context of the war in neighboring Ukraine. As the prime minister's party, Action and Solidarity (PAS), has about two-thirds of the 101 deputies' mandates, the vote would be a simple formality. According to the government, the need to extend the state of emergency, starting on October 7, is caused by the persistent risks regarding the security of the supply of the Republic of Moldova with energy resources, the possible new flows of refugees from Ukraine and the need to ensure security at the border. The state of emergency was introduced on February 27, three days after the start of the Russian invasion of Ukraine, and was later extended. By introducing the state of emergency, the Parliament cedes part of its powers to the Commission for Exceptional Situations, led by the head of the Government.
Football – On Thursday evening Romania's football champions, CFR Cluj (north-west), will take on Slavia Prague, away from home, in a match counting for Group G of the Conference League. In the same group, Sivasspor, from Turkey will be up against Ballkani, from Kosovo. After two stages, Slavia takes first place in the group, with 4 points, followed by Sivasspor, 4 points, Ballkani, 1 point, and CFR, 1 point. Also on Thursday and also away from home, the vice-champions of Romania, FCSB, from Bucharest, meet the Danish team Silkeborg, in Group B, in which the match between the Belgians from Anderlecht Brussels and the English from West Ham United is also scheduled. West Ham is the leader, with 6 points, Anderlect has 4, FCSB 1 point, and the Danes have zero points.
IAEA – The head of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), Rafael Grossi, will try to talk with officials in Kyiv and Moscow about the future of the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant in the occupied southern Ukraine, the largest in Europe, which the Russians have taken hold of as part of the so-called annexation of the region. For weeks on end, the plant has been the target of intense bombing, for which Moscow and Kyiv have blamed each other, and which fueled fears of a nuclear catastrophe. Russian President Vladimir Putin has said the military situation will "stabilize" in the annexed Ukrainian territories, where his forces are suffering a series of setbacks against Kiev's army. Ukraine had announced that it had again gained ground in the Luhansk region (east), after the successes in Kherson (south) and Kharkov (northeast). In what analysts call a sign of confusion in Russia, the army's failures prompted a senior parliamentary official, deputy Andrei Kartapolov, a former military commander, to ask defense ministry chiefs to "stop lying" about the defeats. (LS)