No-confidence motion against the Cabinet
The Cabinet headed by Viorica Dancila is facing a new motion of no-confidence, the first since the ruling coalition of the Social Democratic Party and the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats fell apart in August. The text of the motion against the Social Democrats’ minority government was read in Parliament on Thursday. The document, entitled “In order to rebuild Romania, the Dancila Cabinet must be dismissed immediately!” will be discussed next Thursday, on October 10. The motion signatories argue that although the country has seen a favourable economic period, with significant economic growth, the Government has failed to start even one major infrastructure project. Confidence in the Romanian economy is dwindling, first of all because the business legislation changes almost on a weekly basis, the Opposition also says. The Social Democratic PM Viorica Dancila says on the other hand that the Government will not fall. The motion was signed by 237 MPs, from across the political spectrum, 4 more than the number of votes required for the document to pass.
Romania’s new nominations for European Commissioner
The Romanian Government had to come up this week with new nominations for European Commissioner for Transport, after the European Parliament’s legal affairs committee rejected Rovana Plumb on grounds of a conflict of interests. Convening in Bucharest on Tuesday night, the National Executive Committee of the Social Democratic Party decided that MEP Dan Nica, a former telecoms minister, was the Government’s new nomination for the post. They also chose Gabriela Ciot, a state secretary with the Foreign Ministry, as a back-up candidate, in case the European Commission wanted a woman for this position. Disgruntled with both Rovana Plumb’s candidacy, and with the 2 subsequent alternatives, the Opposition called on PM Viorica Dancila to no longer make any nominations without consultations with the President and without a vote in Parliament’s specialised committees. The president of the National Liberal Party, Ludovic Orban, warned that otherwise more candidates will be rejected, damaging Romania’s international reputation.
EIB triples funding for Romanian SMEs
The European Investment Bank triples the funds granted to Romanian small and medium sized enterprises. The announcement was made on Thursday by the EIB vice-president Andrew McDowell. The funding, increased from 500 million to 1.38 billion euros, can support 5,000 small and medium companies. McDowell added that the EIB Group provides not only financial resources, but also consulting services for preparing and implementing complex projects. He signed new contracts and changes in the existing agreements with the Romanian banking institutions interested in facilitating the access of Romanian companies to funding. According to the Romanian Finance Minister Eugen Teodorovici, over 2,000 Romanian SMEs have benefited from such funding so far.
Anti-mafia chief prosecutor resigns
The President of Romania Klaus Iohannis Wednesday signed a decree dismissing Felix Banila as chief prosecutor of the Directorate Investigating Organised Crime and Terrorism. The latter had previously announced he would step down, although he claimed that he had not failed to do his duty. On Monday the President called for Banila’s resignation, criticising him for the way in which the institution handled the investigations in the Caracal killings, a case with a heavy emotional impact on the public. Prosecutors are trying to determine whether 2 under-aged girls were killed by a presumed people trafficker, Gheorghe Dinca. The President argued that in both cases he saw delayed and outrageous responses from certain authorities, proving their disregard for both the victims and their families.
Romania, guest of honour in Europalia International Art Festival
The 50th edition of the Europalia International Art Festival, with Romania as a guest of honour, continues in Brussels, after it opened to the public on Wednesday. The official opening was on Tuesday, when King Philippe of Belgium, Queen Mathilde and the President of Romania Klaus Iohannis visited a Brancusi exhibition organised by the Romanian Cultural Institute at the Bozar Centre. This is the most important exhibition devoted to the Romanian sculptor in decades, and the highlight of the Festival. For the coming 4 months, events will be organised as part of Europalia in Belgium, the Netherlands, Germany, Luxembourg, and Britain, including over 250 visual art, music, theatre, literature and performing arts projects.
Media 2020 Conference in Bucharest
Radio Romania organised the 5th edition of the Media 2020 Conference, jointly with Asia-Pacific Broadcasting Union. The event in Bucharest brought together more than 40 representatives of the most important public media organisations in Europe and Asia-Pacific. Attending the event, the ABU president Javad Mottaghi emphasised that public media services need independent, unbiased and reliable news produced by professionals. The debates focused on the future of public media in the digital era, on strategies to protect copyright and on fighting fake news. Radio Romania and BBC Radio signed a bilateral partnership agreement. Similar agreements have been signed by Radio Romania with Radio France and RAI, as part of the Romanian public broadcaster’s strategy to collaborate with Europe’s most prestigious media institutions.
(translated by: Ana-Maria Popescu)