The political castling is postponed, the strike continues
The government rotation protocol stipulated that the liberal Prime Minister Nicolae Ciucă give up his position as head of the Government on May 26, and he stated the other day that he would resign even if the negotiations with PSD and UDMR regarding the leadership of the ministries were not concluded. The government castling, after which the position of prime minister will go to the PSD leader, Marcel Ciolacu, was, however, postponed at the last moment due to the situation created by the strike in Education, which started on May 22. "We have agreed that, until these problems are resolved, I will not resign my position, and continue to carry the responsibility of the position of prime minister. In this way, I hope conditions will be created so that, in the shortest period of time, we can implement the castling plan at the coalition level", Nicolae Ciucă announced on Friday morning. At the same time, he called on teachers to be reasonable, stating that the Government cannot take responsibility for a one-way measure that throws off kilter the entire state budget. During the week, several rounds of discussions took place between the representatives of the Government and those of the education unions, who also resumed the street protests. There was a rally and protest march attended by approximately 10 thousand people passing through the center of the Capital, and union actions of employees dissatisfied with the offers received from the authorities in response to salary demands were organized in several cities in the country. The trade unionists from the healthcare sector also picketed the Ministry of Health on Tuesday. They announced a warning strike for June 8, with a two-hour work stoppage, followed by a general strike on June 15. According to the trade unionists, the relevant law is not fully applied, since there are still categories of employees who did not receive their due salary rights.
Germany reiterates its support for Romania's accession to Schengen
Germany has, for a long time, been of the opinion that Romania's place is in the Schengen Area - Federal President Frank-Walter Steinmeier said in Bucharest, on a state visit at the invitation of his counterpart, Klaus Iohannis. "I hope that through our efforts to support the common European effort to strengthen internal security and the protection of the EU's external borders, we will succeed in finalizing Romania's accession to Schengen, because our place, without any doubt, is in Schengen", the leader from Bucharest also stated. The two presidents had talks focused on the development of political, security and economic cooperation, and sent messages of solidarity and support for Ukraine, as well as support for the Republic of Moldova, respectively. Thursday and Friday were reserved for visits to Sibiu (center) and Timișoara (west), where meetings with representatives of the German minority also took place.
The Minister of Defense at the Foreign Affairs Council meeting
Romania was represented at the meeting of the Foreign Affairs Council, attended by Ministers of Defense from the member states of the European Union, in Brussels, by the line minister, Angel Tîlvăr. In an interview granted to Radio Romania, the minister said that, following the discussions, an enhancement in EU-NATO cohesion was found. In the field of defense, one does not spend, but invests, and Romania understands this - said Angel Tîlvăr. "The current security context showed that it was necessary to increase the budget for the armed forces to 2% in the last six years. The 2.5 percent allocated this year for defense allows us, in addition to the high-tech equipment and capabilities we have now, to be able to afford to purchase or manufacture other materiel that meets the citizens' expectation of the military's duty to to ensure a climate of peace, predictability and stability" - said Angel Tîlvăr.
The economic situation in Romania, under the magnifying glass of Brussels
The European Commission once again draws attention to the economic situation in Romania, currently the only EU country with an excessive deficit procedure based on developments before the pandemic. According to officials in Brussels, by next year Romania should bring the deficit below the 3% level. The Community Executive's recommendation is that the Government reduce energy subsidy measures, and use the related savings to reduce the public deficit. Another recommendation refers to ensuring effective governance and strengthening administrative capacity, in order to enable continuous, rapid, and consistent implementation of the Recovery and Resilience Plan. Romania has six months at its disposal to resolve the issues pointed out by Brussels regarding certain benchmarks or targets in the NRRP that it has not properly met. Referring to the implementation stage of the program, the state secretary in the Ministry of Investments and European Projects, Carmen Moraru, said that, currently, financing contracts worth about 26 billion euros are concluded.
Ruling at the ECHR against Romania
Romania must adopt the necessary legislation to recognize same-sex couples. On Tuesday, the European Court of Human Rights ruled against Romania for refusing to legally recognize such unions, at the end of a class action lawsuit, started 4 years ago by 21 same-sex couples. Romania, which decriminalized homosexuality in 2011, several decades later than other EU countries, does not recognize same-sex marriage or civil partnerships. Several legislative proposals to amend civil partnerships to include same-sex couples have failed to pass in recent years.