Parliament passes amended budget adjustment bill proposed by opposition Social Democrats and criticised by Liberal government.
Budget adjustment. Parliament on Tuesday passed
the budget adjustment bill in a version that differs substantially from that
submitted by the minority Liberal government. The opposition Social Democratic
Party, which controls Parliament, pushed for amendments that will have a
significant impact on the budget and which the government says cannot be sustained
by the country's economy. This includes a 40% increase in the pension point as
of 1st September instead of 12% as the government had proposed. The
Social Democrats also voted to increase teachers' salaries by 25% and to
allocate additional funds to the local authorities. They say the
money needed to fund these increases can be found by taking measures to create
new jobs and recovering state-owned debts. Prime minister Ludovic Orban says
the amendments to the budget bill are not in the interest of Romania and that they imply
additional spending of 6.3% of GDP. Orban added that he will use every available
constitutional and legal instruments, including a new budget adjustment bill, to prevent these amendments from coming into force.
Bank. The National Bank of Romania has issued a
warning about the risks of a 40% increase in pensions. According to the
Convergence Analysis Report, published on the bank's website, this measure would
increase the budget deficit next year to over 11% of GDP. A high systemic risk
is possible by worsening the state of the public budget, followed by a reaction
of the financial markets that could seriously affect the economy, making it
difficult to return in 2021, Central Bank specialists say. "Instead of an
orderly correction over several years, we would be forced to a disorderly
correction, which will be very costly economically and socially", the
report also reads.
The election campaign in the run-up to Sunday's local elections is under way in
Romania, amid restrictions to prevent new coronavirus infections. Wearing face
masks is compulsory at all election events, participants are subject to primary
screening and they are also obliged to disinfect their hands. Access and
protection measures are to be posted in visible locations. Participants are to
maintain a minimum physical distance of 1 metre, including at outdoor events or
during door-to-door campaigning. Indoor events can be attended by maximum 50
people and they cannot last for more than two hours. A maximum of 100
participants are allowed to attend outdoor events. Some 3,200 mayor positions
are up for election on Sunday, as well as 41 posts of county council president,
over 1,300 posts of county councillors and 40,000 posts of local councillors.
The local elections were initially scheduled for June but were postponed
because of the coronavirus outbreak.
RO. The coronavirus outbreak is still on the rise in
Romania. For the first time, more than 9,000 new cases were reported in one
week. The rate of positive results against the total number of tests conducted
also increased and the transmission rate is more than 1. Tuesday saw 1059 new daily
cases, while the death toll rose to 4,503. 496 people are in intensive care.
However, the authorities are saying that if people respect the measures taken
to contain the spread of the virus, the number might drop from mid next month.
On the other hand, one week after the start of the school year, cases of
students and teachers diagnosed with Covid-19 have already been reported.
Data published by the Ministry of Education show, though, that the number of
schools where teaching is done exclusively online has decreased and that of schools
with a mixed system has increased. We remind you that schools in Romania
operate on the basis of three scenarios: green, which involves the physical
presence in school, yellow, which combines conventional and online teaching,
and red, where teaching is done exclusively online.
Anniversary. The Romanian foreign minister Bogdan Aurescu called for a dynamic and green economic recovery, in keeping with the UN's sustainable development goals and the Paris Agreement on climate change. In an address given on Monday at a top level of the UN General Assembly to celebrate the organization's 75th anniversary, the Romanian minister said it was the duty of the international community to maintain and promote peace, security and human rights. He added that the UN's 75th anniversary coincided with Romania's 65th anniversary of its membership.
Skies. A joint mission of Romania, France and Germany
is conducting an observation flight in Russia until Friday, as part of an Open
Skies agreement with Moscow. The flight is performed on board a Romanian
specialised aircraft Antonov 30, unarmed and equipped with aerial photography
equipment. The plane and equipment were certified internationally, including
with the participation of Russian specialists, which excludes their use for
purposes other than those provided. During the flight, whose route is agreed
with the Russian side, Russian specialists will be on board the plane, who will
control the observance of the mission parameters and the use of the equipment.
The Open Skies agreement was signed in 1992, after the end of the Cold War, by
23 OSCE member states, as a measure to increase confidence in arms control and
compliance with disarmament agreements. In recent years, Russia and the United
States have accused each other of violating the agreement, so that in May this
year the United States announced its withdrawal from the agreement within six
months. The decision has been criticized by a majority of European NATO
members, while Russia has said it will remain part of the agreement.
Simona Halep consolidated her second position in the world ranking of
professional tennis players (WTA), announced on Monday, after winning the title
at the Premier 5 tournament in Rome. It is the third tournament won by Simona
Halep this year, after those in Dubai and Prague. Halep is now less than 1,500
points behind leader Ashleigh Barty, who will not be taking part in the Roland
Garros tournament, so the Romanian could return to the first position. Four
other Romanians are in the top 100, Patricia Ţig, who remains on 58th, Irina
Begu, who climbed five places and is 72nd, Sorana Cîrstea, who went down one
step to 83rd, and Ana Bogdan, on 93rd position. (CM)