Beginning of the school year in Romania
On September 11, a new school year began in Romania - a good opportunity for the press to review the challenges that await the nearly 3 million preschoolers and students, as well as their teachers. Like the previous school year, the current one has 36 weeks of courses grouped into 5 modules. The two themed weeks that have become a custom - "Green Week" and "School Differently", will not be missing either. 2023-2024 is, however, also the first in which the new Education Law will be applied. New optional courses appeared, and the rules for awarding scholarships change. Gradually, there will also be changes regarding the national exams. As for teachers, they are anxious to see if the executive will keep its word and their incomes will increase as promised. In May they went on general strike, the Government at that time agreeing to increase their wages by 25% and giving them annual bonuses. Last but not least, under high pressure, perhaps as never before in the past, this year the very serious problem of drug trafficking and consumption among young people was also discussed. Several cabinet ministers have signed a school safety plan. Also this week, organized crime prosecutors launched a vast operation in Bucharest targeting drug traffickers and drug users in the entourage of a 19-year-old man - Vlad Pascu. Coming from a family with far above average material means, he is being investigated for killing two young people in a road accident last month at the seaside, after consuming several types of prohibited substances and getting behind the wheel. The tragedy generated strong public sentiment, and its echoes are far from dying out.
Romania and the border war
After fragments of Russian drones fell on the territory of Romania, which attacked Ukrainian ports on the Danube, the Ministry of Defense in Bucharest imposed, this week, additional flight restrictions in the airspace bordering Ukraine, in the southeast of the country, between the cities of Sulina and Galati, at a depth of 20 to 30 km inside the national airspace, up to a height of 4,000 meters. The flight of manned or unmanned aircraft is not allowed, with the exception of state aircraft, including emergency and first aid, and aircraft in emergency situations. On the other hand, the army has finished building bomb shelters in the Danube Delta to ensure the protection of the inhabitants against shrapnel, fragments, and the shock wave generated by the possible crash of a drone. Meanwhile, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs informed that it is consulting with NATO allies regarding the developments on Romania's border with Ukraine. The representatives of the Alliance specified that they have no information indicating any intentional attack by Russia against Romanian territory, but that they continue to monitor the situation. Prime Minister Marcel Ciolacu wanted to reassure the population. On the other hand, he asked the Minister of Agriculture to create a mechanism to protect Romanian farmers against Ukrainian exports of cheap grain. The government adopted, on Thursday, a normative act by which it will subsidize 50% of the diesel fuel used in agricultural work last year. Over 360,000 farmers will benefit from this support. The total budget is approximately 60 million euros, coming from European funds and the national budget.
The Schengen problem once again in European chancelleries
The President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, requested, on Wednesday, in Strasbourg, in the speech on the state of the Union, that Romania and Bulgaria be included in the Schengen area as quickly as possible, without, however, offering a clear solution to overcome Austria's opposition , the only country in the European Union that continues to be against it. Mrs. von der Leyen's argument was that the management of the migration phenomenon is done successfully. A day before, the head of the European Parliament, Roberta Metsola, made an equally pressing appeal, this time her arguments being of an economic nature: delaying entry into the area of free movement of people and goods causes Romanians and Bulgarians a double harm - it limits their right to free movement and generates additional costs for their economies. Keeping Romania outside the Schengen area involves economic losses of up to 2% of GDP. Independent economists calculated the damage incurred by Romania at 200 million euros per month.
Romanian athletes in the world
Tennis player Simona Halep, former number 1 in the world, was suspended for 4 years from competitions. Last year, at the US Open, she tested positive for Roxadustat, used to treat anemia, but considered a performance enhancer. An independent tribunal accepted that Simona Halep had consumed a contaminated nutritional supplement, but ruled that this could not explain the amount of Roxadustat in the body. The same court also discovered irregularities in the athlete's biological passport, apparently due to doping. Simona Halep announced that she will appeal the decision. If news in tennis was not good at all this week, volleyball and rowing news compensated. Romania took 7th place, its best ranking in the last 42 years, at the European Men's Volleyball Championship. And, at the World Rowing Championships, the Romanian team won 5 medals - 2 gold, 1 silver and 2 bronze, also managing to qualify 11 crews for next year's Olympic Games in Paris.