Divorce in the ruling coalition
The leftist government in Bucharest is increasingly fragile. The junior partner in the ruling coalition, the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats, decided to desert its ally, the Social Democratic Party, and to switch to the opposition together with Pro Romania, the Social Democratic splinter headed by the former PM Victor Ponta. Three Liberal Democrats, the environment minister Gratiela Gavrilescu, energy minister Anton Anton and the minister liaising with Parliament Viorel Ilie, tendered their resignations, while the ALDE leader Calin Popescu Tariceanu announced he would also step down as Senate Speaker. Recently sworn in, the foreign minister Ramona Manescu chose to stay in the government and to resign instead from her party. The Social Democratic PM Viorica Dancila said that in spite of losing the parliamentary majority, the Social Democrats would stay in power in order to carry on the governing programme that won the 2016 elections. She also added that Social Democratic ministers would temporarily fill the Cabinet vacancies. A steady opponent of the left wing, president Klaus Iohannis urged the government to seek new validation in Parliament. He requested that procedures be initiated to this end, and announced that he rejected all the replacement nominations sent by the PM. What the mass media dubbed a new “war between palaces” is intensified by the forthcoming presidential election, in which president Iohannis, backed by the Liberals in opposition, and PM Dancila, supported by the Social Democrats in power, are 2 of the main runners.
Public budget deficit
Romania’s consolidated budget, which comprises the state budget and the public pension and unemployment budgets, saw a nearly 4 billion euro deficit after the first 7 months of the year. The deficit accounts for 1.76% of the gross domestic product and is 52% deeper than in the corresponding period of 2018. Public personnel expenditure alone rose by 21.5% during this time. According to data made public by the Finance Ministry, investment expenses were 4.9 billion lei higher than in the first 7 months of 2018.
Key guidelines for Romanian diplomacy
The accession to the euro zone and to the Schengen visa-free area, when all conditions have been met, remains a priority for Romania, president Klaus Iohannis told the Romanian ambassadors and consuls attending the Annual Meeting of Romanian Diplomacy in Bucharest. The head of state emphasised that the confidence gained by Romania during its presidency of the Council of the EU must be put to good use. The strategic partnership with the US, he added, has grown stronger and gained in substance and stability, after the president’s 2 visits to the White House in as many years. The relation with the neighbouring Republic of Moldova also remains a top priority for Romania, the president also said. The relation with France has reached new heights over the past year, and the one with Germany is defined by dynamism supported by strong economic, social and human ties, the head of state added. Iohannis also emphasised that updating and deepening the strategic partnership with the UK will be of great importance after Brexit.
Record in Bucharest
The dancing fountains in Unirii Square, downtown Bucharest, have been recognised as “The longest choreographed fountain system” in the world by the World Record Academy. The World Record Academy acknowledgment comes one year after the launch of the “Water Symphony” music, light and water show performed every weekend in the centre of the Romanian capital city. So far 70 shows were held, attended by nearly 220,000 locals and tourists.
Romanian athletes in continental competitions
Romania’s team has qualified into the eighth-finals of the European women’s volleyball championships. Winning 2 of the 5 matches in Group C, against Estonia and Hungary, and defeated by the Netherlands, Croatia and Azerbaijan, the Romanians managed to seize the last ticket for the eighth-finals scheduled on Sunday, September 1. Romania’s best performance in a European championship is a bronze medal in 1963. In football, Romanian champions CFR Cluj lost 0-1 both legs against the Czech side Slavia Prague, in the Champions League playoffs. CFR will play in the group stage of Europa League, a competition from which Romanian vice-champions FCSB was kicked out by the Portuguese team Vitoria Guimaraes.
(translated by: Ana-Maria Popescu)