Overview of Romania’s presidency of the Council of the EU in the European Parliament
Romania will continue to support the European project and will equally focus on completing its integration, said the Romanian PM Viorica Dancila on Tuesday in the plenum of the European Parliament, where she presented an overview of Romania’s presidency of the Council of the EU in the first half of 2019. The Romanian PM underlined that Bucharest managed to show that the European institutions are working in the interest of the citizens and to provide prospects for the future. Europe should not have more speeds, PM Dancila told the MEPs, and there should be no gaps among member states, given that progress is going to be thorough and benefits for the citizens measurable if countries work together, cohesion being one of the strongest binding forces of the European project. The PM also added that Romania was at the helm of the Council of the EU in a period of challenges, in the context of Brexit and the EP elections but it still managed to finalize 90 pieces of legislation related to copyright on the Single Digital Market, to amending the directives on natural gas, to the European Border and Coast Guard Agency and to improving reaction to cyber attacks. During its presidency of the Council of the EU Romania proved its capacity to bring added value to the EU, PM Dancila also said.
A Romanian in NATO’s leadership
NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg has decided to appoint Mircea Geoana from Romania as the next Deputy Secretary General. Mr. Geoana will take up his post in mid-October 2019. According to Mr. Stoltenberg Mircea Geoana, the first Romanian to hold this senior office, is a staunch advocate of the transatlantic bond and will bring long experience as a statesman and diplomat to this post. So far, the highest position held by a Romanian within NATO was that of Assistant Secretary General for Emerging Security Challenges. The post was held between 2013-2017 by Sorin Ducaru, who was the head of the Emerging Security Challenges Division. Mircea Geoana is the founder and president of the Aspen Institute Romania and he previously served as President of the Romanian Senate, Foreign Minister, and Romania’s Ambassador to the United States. After the announcement made by Jens Stoltenberg Mircea Geoana wrote on a social network that his appointment was a huge challenge and an opportunity to represent the interest of the Alliance, which ensures the security of more than 1 billion people. The Romanian diplomacy has hailed Mircea Geoana’s appointment to the post and considered the decision a special moment for Romania’s NATO membership, which acknowledges Romania’s important contribution within NATO 15 years after its accession to the Alliance.
The Constitutional Court and reviewing the Constitution
Proposals to amend the Constitution that would forbid pardoning or amnesty for acts of corruption run counter to the law, as ruled by the Constitutional Court on Thursday in Romania. The proposals were made after Romanians went to the polls on May 26, in a referendum called by the president. They voted to turn down proposals made by the ruling coalition for changes to the penal code that would have drastically reduced penalties for acts of corruption; the changes were planned under the form of government orders, but were challenged in the highest courts. President Klaus Iohannis called the referendum to stop what he referred to as the assault of the ruling coalition on the entire judicial system. The court's argument was that outlawing pardoning or amnesty would violate the principle of equality before the law, and would be paramount to a suppression of human dignity. At the same time, the other proposals for amending the Constitution submitted by the coalition in power and the opposition have been declared constitutional. One such proposal provides that citizens who have been sentenced to definitive terms in jail for premeditated violations would be barred from running in parliamentary, local, European Parliament, and presidential elections. Also, according to the same bills, there will be an end to abusing government orders, and they will be available for a constitutionality review which the president will be able to call. The reviews can also be called by the Constitutional Court, 50 deputies or 25 senators, as well as by the Ombudsman.
Romanian triumph at Wimbledon
Romanian tennis star Simona Halep won her first Wimbledon title in the singles, and the first for her country, facing off against super-champion Serena Williams. This is what she said in the aftermath:
Simona Halep: “I am happy with how I played, and the way in which I reacted to such an important event and such a great day. I reached a high level, and I feel much more confident. I never thought I would become number one and that I would win a Grand Slam, but this has been the dream, and that is why I worked so much every single day. As I keep saying, Romanians are very talented, but we lack confidence in ourselves. We should try to improve, believe in ourselves, and see things in a more positive light.”
Back in the country, she presented her trophy on the National Arena stadium for tens of thousands that came to share in her joy. It is Simona's second Grand Slam, which she won in Roland Garros last year.
(translated by: Lacramioara Simion, Calin Cotoiu)