CRIMEA On Saturday, the Romanian Foreign Ministry announced it did not recognize the legitimacy of the parliamentary elections held in Crimea for the Russian Federation's State Duma. The Romanian Foreign Ministry reaffirmed its support for Ukraine's independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity and recalled that Romania did not recognize the illegal annexation of Crimea and of the city of Sevastopol by the Russian Federation. Parliamentary elections are due in Russia on Sunday, and are to be also held in Crimea, which was annexed in 2014. According to the polls, quoted by the Radio Romania correspondent in Moscow, only 4 of the 14 parties participating in the elections will be able to go over the 5% threshold. The obvious leader, with 41% of the options, is Vladimir Putin's United Russia Party. There follow the Liberal Democratic Party, headed by the hard-liner Vladimir Jirinovski, with 12.4%, the communists, with 7.5%, and "A Just Russia" Party with 6.4%.
CONDOLENCE Romania's President Klaus Iohannis sent a message of condolence to his Italian counterpart Sergio Mattarella, for the death of the former Italian president Carlo Azeglio Ciampi. The Romanian President's message reads that president Ciampi was a convinced pro-European, a supporter of the single currency and of the EU enlargement, at a time when Romania was aspiring to become a member. Ciampi died on Friday, aged 95. He had a long political career, during which he was the president of Italy, Prime Minister and Governor of the Central Bank, and played a key role in his country's accepting the Euro.
CELEBRATION Romania's capital Bucharest is this weekend playing host to dozens of cultural events, marking 557 years since it was first mentioned in documents. Squares and parks will venue concerts, exhibitions, workshops, fairs, theatre and music shows, parades. Also on Bucharest's Days, performing will be bands from Spain, Italy and France. Bucharest was first documented on September 21st, 1459, in a document issued by Vlad the Impaler, who back then was ruler of the medieval principality of Wallachia. He would later become a source of inspiration for Bram Stoker's Dracula.
SUMMIT On Friday in Bratislava, EU leaders stated they wanted to turn the Union into a more attractive and safer space for its citizens, after one of its major members, Great Britain, decided to leave. They drew up a set of guidelines for strengthening security and economic development, which should result into a strategy to be adopted at the special summit due in Rome in March. The final declaration in Bratislava highlights immigration control measures, as well as measures aimed at fighting terrorism and radicalisation and at boosting economic growth by means of investment and single market consolidation. At the end of the summit, in which Great Britain did not participate, Romania's president Klaus Iohannis said that, despite the existing crises, the Union was not a chronic patient, but a success. The head of state also said that he'd held informal talks with some European leaders also about Romania's joining the Schenghen agreement, and developments in that direction were positive.
GDP GROWTH The Romanian National Forecast Commission has revised up to 4.8% its estimates regarding economic growth this year. In spring, the Commission had announced a GDP growth of 4.2%. For the next three years, the commission has maintained its forecasts regarding the growth of the GDP at 4.3%, 4.5% and 4.7% respectively. The GDP per capita is to grow constantly in the coming years, from 8,581 Euro in 2016 to 10,587 Euro in 2019.
TIMISOARA The Romanian Foreign Ministry has hailed the designation of Timisoara, in western Romania, as the European Capital of Culture in 2021 and has stated that promoting the city will be one of its priorities. Thus, Romanian diplomatic missions, consular offices and cultural institutes abroad will help prepare and promote the prestigious status acquired by Timisoara, which is a model of multi-culturalism, diversity, contemporary creativity, innovation and European spirit. Timisoara ran for European Capital of Culture alongside other three cities in Romania: the capital Bucharest, Cluj-Napoca and Baia Mare in the north-west. Timisoara will share the title with one city in Greece and one in Montenegro. In 2007, another Romanian city, Sibiu, was European Capital of Culture, together with Luxembourg.
CORRUPTION The former head of the Romanian Lottery, Gheorghe Benea, will be investigated for bribe taking and office peddling, with aggravated consequences. He was previously detained by anti-corruption prosecutors, who had called for his temporary arrest, but he will be prosecuted without being detained, and subject to legal restrictions, pending trial. The case is about a fake tender for the renewal of the Lottery's car fleet. The damage estimated by investigators stands at more than 500,000 Euro.
OKTOBERFEST The German police tightened security measures before Oktoberfest, the biggest beer festival in the world, which started in Munich, the capital of Bavaria, on Saturday. In early summer, the Germans were terrified by a string of violent attacks perpetrated in Bavaria, of which two committed by asylum seekers inspired by the Islamic State terrorist organization. The festival organizers have stated they have no information that Oktoberfest might become a target for terrorist attacks, but have nonetheless enhanced security by up-sizing security forces and by installing surveillance cameras. For the first time, the area hosting the festival will be fully surrounded by security fences.