PARLIAMENT – The Chamber of Deputies and the Senate reconvened on Monday after the summer recess. The legislative priorities of the majority formed by the Social Democratic Party and the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats are the adoption of a new pension law and amending national security laws and the adoption law. The opposition wants a return to a two-round voting system to elect mayors, the elimination of special pensions and a healthcare reform. Parliament’s agenda also features finalising the justice laws, which have been challenged in the Constitutional Court, the criminal and criminal procedure codes and the offshore bill regulating the extraction of natural gas from the Black Sea.
MEETING – The Country’s Supreme Defence Council is to meet on Tuesday to discuss the government’s proposals to adjust this year’s budget of state institutions with responsibilities in the area of national security. The meeting has been requested by the government and the date has been established by president Klaus Iohannis, who has explained that the government could have made budget adjustments in any field with no need for further approval, with the exception of national security. He made this comment after warnings from the government that a possible refusal from the president to hold an emergency meeting of the Country’s Supreme Defence Council to approve the proposed adjustments can jeopardise not only the incomes of the most vulnerable categories, that is pensioners, mothers and children, but also people’s access to medical services.
HEARING – Bucharest Mayor Gabriela Firea will be deposed on Tuesday by the Prosecutor General’s Office in connection to the August 10 protest in Bucharest. Also on Tuesday Interior Minister Carmen Dan will attend the meeting of the Senate’s Defence Committee to provide clarifications with respect to the protest. The National Liberal Party will file a simple motion against Minister Dan and wants Prime Minister Viorica Dancila to appear before the Chamber of Deputies. We recall over 450 people, including 35 gendarmes, were injured in the violent anti-government protest in Bucharest.
SWINE FEVER VIRUS – Romanian pork exports may be temporarily suspended because of the African swine fever, former prime minister of Romania and European commissioner for agriculture Dacian Ciolos has warned. He says the epidemic may destroy the pig farming sector in Romania and lead to an increase in imports, which would result in higher inflation rates. Two new cases of African swine fever were confirmed at the weekend in Romania, where the number of hotbeds is nearing 800. The authorities continue to take measures to contain the spread of the virus, and in the areas where the virus has been confirmed, that is a quarter of all counties in Romania, the pigs are being culled. As a precautionary measure, the authorities have also imposed restrictions on the sale of pork, and road checks are in place on the borders with the counties where the virus has been identified. The government has given assurances that the owners of the culled animals will receive compensations.
DNA – The first three candidates applying for the position of chief prosecutor of the National Anticorruption Directorate (DNA) were interviewed on Monday by Justice Minister Tudorel Toader. The other three candidates will have their interviews on Tuesday. The results will be made public on Thursday. The Justice Minister will submit his nomination to the Superior Council of Magistracy before President Klaus Iohannis can approve it. The job was left vacant after Laura Codruta Kovesi was dismissed by President Iohannis in July in compliance with a Constitutional Court ruling.
TOURISM – The tourism ministry in Bucharest has established a number of measures to improve activity. These include a reduction in the 5% VAT rate in areas such as: accommodation in the hotel sector and sectors with a similar function, including rental of camping sites, and restaurant and catering services with the exception of alcoholic beverages, others than beer, and sports, recreational and entertainment activities. Tourism will thus have the lowest VAT rate of all economic sectors. Another measure aims at stimulating spa tourism by applying no charges for geothermal and natural mineral water for public use in designated public places. According to the government’s estimate, the development of spa tourism requires investments of at least 1 billion euros worth of projects over the next ten years. A third of Europe’s thermal and mineral springs are to be found in Romania.
FESTIVAL – More than 100 singers and musicians are participating this week in the World Experience Festival in Bucharest. The events, held under the theme The Music of the World, include many workshops, such as those dedicated to Irish dance, the tea ceremony and the art of wearing a kimono in the Japanese style. Presentations are held of instruments from 30 different countries in the Orient, Latin America, Europe, Africa and Asia. The festival also features a food section. The main stage is located in one of the Bucharest’s parks.
(Translated by C. Mateescu & V. Palcu)