Prices in Romania continue rising, as everywhere else in the world. The annual rate of inflation in August went above 15%, according to data published on Monday by the National Institute of Statistics. Last month, the highest rise in prices was seen in foodstuffs, over 1.8%. Prices in the service industry went up 0.4% on an average. Significant price hikes were seen in air transportation from July, almost 24%, for sugar, about 10%, butter, 6.8%, and milk, over 5%. Small drops were seen in prices for road transportation and telephony. Compared to August last year, the highest price rises were seen in natural gas, over 70%, potatoes, 54%, cooking oil, about 50%, and 30% in air transportation, bakery products, and sugar.
The natural gas stock within working limits
Romania's stock of natural gas for the winter, by the end of this week, will exceed the 80% minimum limit set by the EC, as announced by Liberal Energy Minister Virgil Popescu. He said that this is a level higher than that from last November. He is a controversial figure, attacked for his management of the energy crisis not only by the opposition parties USR and AUR, as well as the press, but also by the Social Democrat partners in the governing coalition. Popescu said that Romania will manage to get through this winter well, even though this is a difficult period for the entire EU, in uncertainties regarding natural gas supplies from Russia. The minister added that the new ordinance setting ceilings on energy prices could be modified to support people whose lives depend on oxygen concentrators, which consume a lot of electricity, above the levels set by the legal document.
Forced landing by Blue Air
National airline TAROM continued to repatriate Romanians abandoned in European airports by private airline Blue Air. The government in Bucharest earmarked 5 million lei, about a million Euro, to the reserve funds meant to cover the repatriation. Minister of Transportation Sorin Grindeanu advised the aggrieved passengers to seek damages from Blue Air, and to seek alternatives to get back to the country, considering that TAROM is not in a position to cover all passenger cases. The former minister of transportation, opposition USR Catalin Drula accused Social Democrat Grindeanu that he knew about the Blue Air situation, and that he did not tell passengers to avoid buying tickets with that airline. According to him, Blue Air is bankrupt, and that it is in no position to provide damages. The airline announced it cannot guarantee the return of the money for the canceled tickets, and that possible damages being paid are conditional upon resuming flights, and the sale of the company to a private investor. The cancellation of all flights between September 6 and October 9 affects 230,000 passengers. Beyond the official cancellation date, the company's customers were notified of canceling scheduled flights beyond even the end of the month of October.
The government in Bucharest will force all central and local authorities to give up using Russian antivirus solutions, which may be under Moscow's control. A bill to this end was issued by the executive, to the extent that other European states, such as Germany or Italy, have passed such measures already. The antivirus maker Kaspersky, which makes one of the most popular antivirus products, will be directly affected by this measure, since all its applications will have to be uninstalled from all IT systems in the country. Any antivirus program may create backdoors into computer systems, and may be used for spying. In the legal argumentation for the measure it is shown that many public institutions and local authorities in Romania, including Bucharest City Hall, buy and use Russian antivirus system, due to the lower prices.
France and Romania, a country neighboring Ukraine, have signed an agreement to facilitate exports of grain from the latter. The document was signed in Paris by the French minister of transportation and Romanian undersecretary Ionel Scriosteanu. According to Radio Romania's correspondent to Paris, France hopes that Ukraine will manage to reach the level of exports from before the February 24 invasion by Russian troops sent there by President Vladimir Putin. Back then, Kiev was able to deliver every month six million tons of gran on international markets. According to the agreement, France will support Romania in increasing the flow of Ukrainian grain to the port of Constanta, on the Black Sea, the Danube port of Galati, and through the Sulina canal in the Delta. The Romanian authorities will work with the French for better management of land border crossings between Romania and Ukraine, and for increasing the number of train cars passing through. Ukraine's ambassador to France, Vadim Omelchenko, gave thanks for what he called the concrete, useful, and effective help to his country, which significantly increased after the common visit to Kiev by presidents Emmanuel Macron and Klaus Iohannis. Meanwhile, the number of Ukrainians fleeing to Romania from the Russian invasion has surpassed 2.3 million. (CC)