COVID-19 - Over 6,000 new cases of COVID infection and 111
related fatalities were reported on Sunday in Romania. Over 1,200 people are
currently in intensive care. In Bucharest, the incidence rate has exceeded 4
per thousand inhabitants, which entails additional restrictions, including the
mandatory wearing of face masks in public areas. A weekend quarantine has been
declared in a number of towns and villages where the incidence rate exceeded 6
per thousand. The COVID vaccination certificate is now mandatory in a number of
cities in the country for certain types of activities, which has slightly
boosted the vaccination campaign.
VISIT - European
Commission president, Ursula von der Leyen, is later today expected to arrive in Bucharest in order to officially present Brussels' assessment on Romania's
National Recovery and Resilience Plan (PNRR). Romania is due to receive close
to 30 billion Euro worth of development funds. PNRR is to be signed today by
president von der Leyen, who is also expected to meet president Klaus Iohannis
and Prime Minister Florin
Cîţu. Also attending will be Cristian Ghinea, the former Minister for European
Funds and Projects, who coordinated the negotiations and the elaboration of
Romania's plan. PNRR also stipulates that all funds received must be spent by
2026 on reforms and investments in the fields of green and digital transitions,
smart economic growth, social cohesion, healthcare and education.
ACADEMIC YEAR - A number of university centers are today hosting
opening ceremonies for the new academic year, with the strict observance of
health safety restrictions. Most higher education institutions have opted to
hold classes in hybrid format, both online and with physical attendance. Things
will change depending on the epidemiological context, and universities have a
number of restrictions already in place. Vaccinated students will be given
priority for hostel accommodation, while the number of vacancies will be cut
down. Approximately 78% of teaching staff, some 24,000 people, have completed
the full vaccine scheme.
RESIGNATION - Chamber of Deputies Speaker Ludovic Orban today
announced that his decision to resign is irreversible. Orban said that the new
president of the National Liberal Party (PNL), Florin Cîţu, has 15 days to take note of his resignation,
after which date he will personally submit it to Parliamnet. In turn, Prime
Minister Florin Cîţu said that
his party will discuss in Tuesday's meeting all the options for the new
leadership of the Chamber of Deputies.
ENERGY - The significant increase in
natural gas and electricity prices, as well as the measures the Government is
considering to help the population, are today being discussed in Parliament.
Energy Minister, Virgil Popescu, will appear before the Chamber of Deputies to
clarify the situation. Talks were postponed last week, when the minister
couldn't attend because he presented the draft emergency bill on introducing a
compensation mechanism to help both natural persons and SMEs pay energy bills.
Some 13 million Romanians with average income and energy consumption will
benefit from this bill, which the Government is expected to adopt later this
week. Households with a monthly energy consumption between 30 and 200 Kw will
be eligible. The Government wants a simple and quick mechanism that should
involve consumers as least as possible.
ELECTION IN GERMANY - Official preliminary results of Sunday's
election show that the Social-Democrats (SPD) are in lead with 25.7% of the
vote, followed by the conservative camp, CDU/CSU, with a historic low of merely
24.1%. The Greens are in third place with 15%, followed by the
Liberal-Democrats with 11.5%. SPD leader, Olaf Scholz, has already claimed
victory based on preliminary results. We are doing everything in our power to
get the new coalition up and running by Christmas, if not earlier, says Scholz,
the deputy chancellor and finance minister of Angela Merkel's Cabinet. The
economic sector has also demanded the swift installation of the new Government.
ROMANIA-GERMANY RELATIONS - Relations between Romania and Germany
will remain excellent after the election as well, Germany's ambassador to
Romania, Peer Gebauer has told Radio Romania on Sunday evening, as the exit
poll results were made public. Irrespective of the color of the new Cabinet and
who the future chancellor will be, Romania and Germany are bound by a solid
friendship, the German ambassador said.
ENESCU FESTIVAL - The 25th
edition of the "George Enescu" International Music Festival has come to a
close. Yesterday, the Concertgebouw Royal Orchestra of Amsterdam, conducted by
Daniel Harding of Great Britain, gave the last concert in the Great World
Orchestras series. The 2021 edition of the festival brought together over 3,500
Romanian and foreign artists and 32 of the world's top orchestras from 14