VISIT – The President of Romania, Klaus Iohannis, Wednesday received in Bucharest the Dutch PM Mark Rutte. On this occasion Iohannis said Romania’s relation with the Netherlands has an important economic component, but a social component as well, considering that roughly 30,000 Romanians live in that country. The Romanian President discussed with the Dutch official about the future of the EU and said that, although the 2 countries do not share the same opinion on some topics, both Romania and the Netherlands are working to strengthen the community bloc. Romania’s Schengen accession, migration, Brexit and Romania’s presidency of the EU Council in the first half of 2019 were also on the agenda of the talks.
REFERENDUM – The Constitutional Court of Romania announced on Wednesday that on September 17th it would discuss a bill to revise the Constitution by introducing a provision that redefines “family” as being based on the marriage of a man and a woman. The Senate of Romania, which is the decision-making body in this respect, Tuesday approved a bill on this topic. The president of the Social Democratic Party in power, Liviu Dragnea, who is also the Speaker of the Chamber of Deputies, has recently announced that the so-called “family referendum” will take place on October 7th. Several NGOs, collectively known as the “Coalition for family”, have gathered some 3 million signatures for the organisation of this referendum, which is designed to ensure that same-sex marriage cannot be legalised.
AGRICULTURE – The European Commissioner for Agriculture and Rural Development Phil Hogan will be on a visit to Romania on Thursday and Friday, the European Commission Representation in Romania announced on Wednesday. The European official will have talks with PM Viorica Dăncilă and with the Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Petre Daea. Commissioner Hogan will also have meetings with farmer associations and will have a dialogue with the citizens of Cluj, entitled "A modern budget for a stronger Union."
DIPLOMACY – Morocco appreciates Romania’s regional and international role and supports its candidacy in the Security Council, the Moroccan Minister for Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation Nasser Bourita said in Bucharest on Wednesday. After a meeting with his Romanian counterpart Teodor Meleşcanu, the Moroccan official also pointed out that Bucharest would make a very useful contribution to maintaining peace and stability in regions close to Morocco, Africa and the Near East. In turn, Foreign Minister Teodor Meleşcanu reiterated Romania’s support for Morocco during its rotating presidency of the EU Council in the first half of next year. The talks also tackled bilateral relations, given that Morocco is a major economic partner for Romania in Africa and the Arab world.
EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT – The European Parliament, convened in Strasbourg, Wednesday criticised the erosion of democracy in Hungary and called on the European Commission to launch the disciplinary procedure known as Article 7. The MEPs endorsed a report comprising a list of concerns related to Hungary’s crackdowns on migrants, the media, academic institutions, as well as to corruption and the independence of the judiciary. During Tuesday’s debates in the EP plenary session, the Hungarian PM Viktor Orban said the report used double standards, was an abuse of power and its endorsement was in breach of the EU treaties. Should Article 7 be triggered, Hungary is facing sanctions going as far as suspending the country’s voting rights in the EU Council.
(translated by: Ana-Maria Popescu)