PARLIAMENT – After a two-month vacation, Romanian senators and deputies met on September the 1st in the second common session this year. The agenda of the session includes important draft laws, with a significant social and political impact. One such draft is the new fiscal code bill, which has been sent back to parliament by president Klaus Iohannis, for revision. Last week, political leaders decided by consensus to adopt the draft in its initial form, already approved by parliament two months ago, but some of the measures will be implemented in stages. The first measure stipulated in the new Fiscal Code refers to a gradual reduction of the VAT, in two stages, down to 20% in January 2016, and further to 19% in 2017. The additional tax on fuels and the special constructions tax are kept one more year, except for special constructions in agriculture, because that tax will be eliminated next year. Alongside the fiscal code, the salary law and the “vote by mail” law are in the focus of public attention.
HEALTHCARE – The health card is mandatory in Romania, as of today. Thus, it becomes the only instrument that can be used to discount and validate medical services in the public healthcare system for insured people, older than 18. Emergency medical services are not conditioned by the presentation of the card. In exchange, people suffering from chronic illnesses should use it at all providers of medical services, from doctors to pharmacists. Some 15 million cards have already been issued so far, and approximately 600,000 others will be ready by the end of the year.
AIR TRAFFIC – The Romanian air traffic controllers’ all out strike for an indefinite period of time due to start on September the 1st has been cancelled, after the employees’ representatives reached an agreement with the employers. The two sides signed a new collective bargaining agreement. The air traffic controllers’ claims included pay rises, a reduction of the retirement age from 65 to 55 years, better working conditions and the resignation of the company’s management. On July the 15th, air traffic controllers went on a two –hour token strike, an unprecedented situation in the Romanian air transport system. According to ROMATSA, which currently has some 1,500 employees, Romania’s airspace in transited by 2,500-3,000 aircraft every day.
TOURISM – Some 5.3 million tourists were registered in Romania in the first seven months of the year, data made public by the Romanian hotel industry show. The figure is 17% higher than in the same period of 2014. Over 23% of these tourists, 1.23 million respectively, were foreign nationals, data released by the National Statistics Institute show. Most tourists came from Europe (75%), and 85% of these were EU citizens.
FESTIVAL – Performing in Bucharest on Tuesday, the third day of the "George Enescu" International Festival is the Israel Philarmonic Orchestra under the baton of world famous conductor Zubin Mehta, alongside the “George Enescu” Philharmonic Choir. The concert program includes pieces by Enescu and Mahler. The "George Enescu" International Music Festival, one of the most outstanding events of its kind in Europe, is unfolding in Bucharest until September the 20th. Over 3,000 prominent foreign and Romanian musicians will perform on the stage of the festival.
TENNIS – Second seeded Romanian tennis player Simona Halep is today facing Marina Erakovic, in the first round of the US Open, the last Grand Slam tournament of the year. Also today, Irina Begu (WTA ranking: 28) is today facing Olga Govortsova, Alexandra Dulgheru is meeting Angelique Kerber, and Monica Niculescu is facing Alexandra Panova. Another Romanian, Andreea Mitu, was defeated on Monday in the inaugural round by Teresa Smitkova.
WEATHER - Meteorologists have today issued a new Code Orange alert against heat and thermal discomfort, valid on Wednesday for 11 counties in eastern, central and south-western Romania. The thermal discomfort index will further be high, and maximum temperatures will reach 37-38 degrees C. In the rest of the territory, it continues to be hot in most regions of the country, where the highs of the day stand at 35-36 degrees C. A Code Orange alert is valid today for the counties situated in the west and east of the country, but the heat wave also affects the rest of the territory, where temperatures stand at 35 - 37 degrees C. The noon reading in Bucharest was 31 degrees.