Diaspora Romanians protest against government in Bucharest; New pension bill presented by Labor Minister
~~PROTEST – 'The Diaspora at Home' is the slogan for the protests by Romanians established abroad, joined by Romanians living in the country, against the ruling coalition, in front of the government's headquarters. City Hall announced the protest has no organizer, as the law provides, since none of the protesters was willing to sign a protocol with the municipality. A man who incited the protesters to violence on television has been indicted by organized crime prosecutors. Communications director for the Romanian gendarmes Marius Militaru told potential protesters today to refrain from giving way to provocations towards violence. Bucharest gendarme spokesperson Georgian Enache called on protesters to aid public order enforcers to do their job in case violence ensues. The authorities anticipate a large number of people to attend the protests, which have already started in several cities in the west of the country.
PENSIONS - Romanian Labor Minister Lia Olguta Vasilescu presented publicly the new pension bill in the public sector. The document was published last night on the ministry website, announcing higher pensions and the elimination of inequities in the system. It also provides for pensions to be paid out function of individual contributions. It also states that people who have worked the same amount of time but retired at different times receive the same amount in retirement benefits. The pension reference point is supposed to be raised incrementally by 70% until 2021 up from 1,100 lei as it is at present. The bill is supposed to be submitted to Parliament for debate next month, enabling it to come into effect, if voted on 1 January 2019.
STRIKE - Six flights have been canceled at the main Bucharest international airport as a result of the 24 hour strike by pilots with Ryanair airlines, four return Bucharest-Berlin flights and two Bucharest-Brussels flights. 400 flights are canceled across Europe today, affecting over 55,000 passengers. Ryanair pilots from Germany, the Netherlands, Ireland, Sweden, and Belgium have gone on strike, demanding better working conditions and higher wages, but management has ruled out any raises. Ryanair, the largest low cost airline in Europe by number of passengers, runs 21 regular flights in Romania out of the cities of Bucharest, Timisoara and Craiova.
TENNIS – Top seeded female player in the world, Romanian Simona Halep, is scheduled to play tomorrow against French player Caroline Garcia, 6th seeded, in order to qualify to the WTA semifinals in Montreal, Canada, a tournament with prize money worth at least 2.8 million dollars. Halep has already defeated Garcia four times, being defeated by the latter only once, in the quarter finals of the tournament in Rome, which the Romanian won in two sets. Halep, the favorite in Montreal, where she won in 2016, defeated in the eighth finals 6-2, 6-2, American player Venus Williams, who has seven Grand Slam titles under her belt.
FOOTBALL – Three Romanian teams have played on Thursday in away games in the first leg of the third preliminary round of the Europa League. Romanian vice-champions FCSB, formerly Steaua, held Croatian powerhouse Hajduk Split to a blank tie. National champions CFR Cluj, eliminated by Swedish side Malmo FF in the second preliminary round of the Champions League, easily disposed of the Armenian team Alashkert 2-0. Romanian Cup winner CSU Craiova was defeated 3-1 by RB Leipzig. The return leg is scheduled for next week.
BUCHAREST – The annual rate of inflation in Romania went down in July from 4.5% to 5.4% in June, according to National Institute of Statistics data. The highest rate of inflation this year so far was in May, when the index went above 5.4%, the highest since February 2013. The National Bank recently adjusted downwards its expected rate of inflation for this year at 3.5%, estimating for the end of next year a rate of 2.7%.