A roundup of local and international news.
SCHENGEN - In her state of the union address in the European Parliament in Strasbourg, the president of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen said Bulgaria and Romania proved that they are part of the Schengen area, showcasing best practices on asylum and returns. She urged that the two countries be admitted to the free movement area without further delay. Earlier, European Parliament president Roberta Metsola told the European Parliament that delaying the admission of Romania and Bulgaria to Schengen translates into restrictions to their right to freedom of movement and additional costs for their economies. The Romanian government plans to request compensations from the European Union arguing that keeping the country outside Schengen leads to economic losses of up to 2% of GDP. In July, European MPs passed a resolution urging for Romania's and Bulgaria's admission into Schengen by the end of the year. Spain, the current holder of the EU presidency, also put this objective on its list of priorities. The decision must be taken by the heads of state and government of the 27 EU member states and Austria is the only country still opposed.
DEFENCE - The Romanian Defence Ministry has begun building shelters for the residents of Plauru, the village in Tulcea county, in south-eastern Romania, near the border with Ukraine, where fragments were found of Russian drones used in strikes on Ukrainian river ports. A detachment of army engineers are building two concrete air-raid shelters, which will be then handed over to the local authorities. The Defense Ministry announced on Wednesday that new fragments of a drone similar to the one used by the Russian army were found in Tulcea county. The Ministry reiterated that the Russian federation’s attacks on Ukrainian port infrastructure on the Danube, near the border with Romania, are unjustified and against international law.
TENNIS - The Romanian tennis player Simona Halep said she would appeal her 4-year ban from professional tennis on doping charges. She was suspended for two separate violations of the anti-doping regulations. Aged 31, Halep has 24 tournament titles to her record, including two Grand Slam trophies, at Roland Garros in 2018 and at Wimbledon one year later. First suspended provisionally in October last year, she has repeatedly denied consciously ingesting the banned substance for which she was charged, and has criticized the delaying of the case.
EU - MEPs have approved, on Wednesday, the European Council’s decision to increase the number of seats in the European Parliament for the next legislative term from 705 to 720, as a result of the demographic changes in the EU since the 2019 elections. The 15 additional seats will be distributed among 12 countries. Romania, whose population has decreased, will remain with the same number of MEPs - 33.
LIBYA – The most recent death toll, days after two catastrophic dam collapses on Sunday has exceeded 5,300. Thousands of people are missing and over 30,000 have been left homeless. A number of countries have already sent humanitarian aid and rescue teams to Libya. The European Commission announced on Wednesday that aid offered by Germany, Romania and Finland, under the civil protection mechanism, has been sent to Derna and that a first trench of 500,000 euros has been unblocked, to cover the most urgent needs of the people affected by the disaster. (EE)