Clashes at the rally of Romanian expats in Bucharest
Over 450 people, including 35 gendarmes, received medical treatment further to the clashes on Friday night at the rally in Victoriei Square, a gendarme spokesperson told a press conference on Saturday. Some 100,000 people gathered on Friday in front of the Government headquarters in Bucharest, at a rally of Romanian expats, joined by many locals. Also on Friday, in several cities in the country, tens of thousands of people took to the streets to voice their solidarity with the protest of diaspora members, chanting anti-government slogans. The protesters, disgruntled with the current government formed by the Social Democratic Party and the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats, demanded the resignation of the cabinet and early elections. There were clashes between the protesters and the gendarmes, and the riot police used tear gas and water cannons to disperse the crowd. Police reported the presence of groups of provocateurs in front of the Government headquarters. The gendarmes moved in after some of their colleagues were attacked. The President of the country Klaus Iohannis firmly condemned the brutal police intervention against the protesters in Victoriei Square and said the Interior Minister, Carmen Dan, must immediately present explanations for how the ministry handled the events. Opposition leaders also criticised the response of riot police, and asked for the resignation of the Interior Minister. Previously, politicians in Power had said the Opposition should take responsibility for the rally.
Inflation likely to drop in 3rd quarter, National Bank says
The National Bank of Romania lowered its year-end inflation forecast from 3.6% to 3.5%. Estimates for 2019 were also cut, from 3% to 2.7%, Governor Mugur Isarescu announced. He explained that the inflation rate might get back into the range targeted by the central bank, unless new shocks appear, whose effects cannot be influenced by the monetary policy. On the other hand, Romania’s economic growth rate forecast by the National Bank for this year is nearly 4%, as against 7% in 2017. Mugur Isarescu believes it is better for the economy to grow steadily on long-term, in keeping with its potential. With higher economic growth rates come more investments, higher productivity and better workforce, the central bank chief explained.
Foreign Ministry and Defence Ministry present reports
After the recent presentation by PM Viorica Dancila of the performance of her Cabinet six months into its term in office, each ministry presented a report on its activity so far and on its projects for the near future. On Tuesday, the Foreign Minister Teodor Melescanu and Defence Minister Mihai Fifor held press conferences to this end. In the field of diplomacy, one widely debated topic is the prospective relocation of Romania’s embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. According to Teodor Melescanu, an analysis of the situation has been completed and will soon be sent to the Presidency, the Prime Minister and Parliament. As regards Romania’s relations with Russia, he said bilateral dialogue must be based on the interests of both parties and comply with the principles and standards of international law. The Foreign Ministry also said that preparations for Romania’s taking over the rotating presidency of the Council of the EU in the first half of 2019 were going as planned. As a NATO member, one of Bucharest’s priorities is to strengthen its position within this organization. The latest NATO Summit approved Romania’s proposal to host a 3-star command centre. A special meeting was also organized, devoted to security in the Black Sea area, and Romania secured a considerable increase of NATO member naval forces in the region. Also in the defence sector, Mihai Fifor added that efforts continued to upgrade the equipment of the Romanian Army, for which 2% of the GDP has been earmarked. Some of the achievements of the first 6 months include the procurement of American missile systems and the start of procurement procedures for 4 multirole corvettes. The main challenge facing the Defence Ministry, Mihai Fifor also said, is the development of the Cantacuzino Military Healthcare Institute, whose situation has deteriorated in recent years. Authorities hope that its transfer under the authority of the Defence Ministry last December will be a new start for the institution.
Proactive environmental policies
The Romanian Minister of the Environment Gratiela Gavrilescu has announced several regional meetings with the general public to discuss waste management topics. The Minister has also added that 9,000 households without electricity will receive photovoltaic systems under a project called “The Centennial of Light.” Authorities want electricity to be supplied to every single household in Romania, and the installation of the first PV systems might begin as early as this year. Another project run by the Ministry is the launch of a scrapping programme for home appliances. Gratiela Gavrilescu says the ministry has sufficient funding to initiate this programme. The exact worth of the vouchers to be awarded under this programme is to be decided on and made public by mid-August. On the other hand, in its meeting scheduled for August 20, the Government will discuss the proposed issue of 30,000 additional vouchers for the 2018 edition of the car scrapping programme. So far 21,000 vehicles have been purchased under this programme.
Romanian teams playing in Europa League
3 Romanian football sides played on Thursday the first leg of the 3rd preliminary round of Europa League. Vice-champions FCSB (formerly known as Steaua Bucharest) drew, 0-0, against the Croatian team Hajduk Split. Kicked out of the Champions League by the Swedish side Malmo FF, Romanian champions CFR Cluj won easily against the Armenian team Alashkert, 2-0. In turn, the winners of Romania’s Cup, CSU Craiova, were defeated 3-1 by RB Leipzig of Germany. The return leg is scheduled for next week.
(translated by: Ana-Maria Popescu)