PROTEST – A large-scale protest by members of the Romanian diaspora against the ruling coalition is scheduled to take place on Friday in front of the government headquarters in Bucharest. City Hall announced that the protest is not organised by anyone in particular, as the law provides, as no entity has applied for a protest protocol. One man who was broadcast urging people towards violence against the authorities has been indicted by organised crime prosecutors. The Communications director for the Romanian gendarmes Marius Militaru told potential protesters on Thursday 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.
EU PRESIDENCY - Some 1,500 experts have been trained for Romania’s taking over the rotating presidency of the EU Council on January 1, 2019, the minister delegate for European affairs, Victor Negrescu, told a TV channel on Thursday. According to him, the training programme started last year, with support from the European Institute in Romania, the European Commission and the General Secretariat of the EU Council. The Romanian official explained that these experts must be able to listen to the views of member states and come up with consensual solutions acceptable to all member countries.
GRAINS – The research firm Strategie Grains has cut its forecast for this year’s European wheat harvest to a 6-year low. Analysts say this is because circumstances in northern Europe led to disastrous crops, whereas favourable conditions in Romania, Bulgaria, Hungary, Italy and Spain offset the pressures on crops caused by the hot and dry weather in Germany, Poland, France and the Czech Republic, Reuters reports. The crop forecaster also emphasises that Romania and Bulgaria will have more wheat for fodder, thanks to the recent rainfalls. In a report released on Thursday, the French company estimates that the EU’s wheat crop will amount to 127.7 million tonnes, 10% less than last year. Meanwhile, the harvest in Romania, the Union’s 3rd largest wheat exporter, might decrease by at least 20% this year, the head of the Romanian League of Farmer Associations Laurenţiu Baciu warned last week.
DEFENCE – The Romanian Defence Minister Mihai Fifor Thursday received the new Ambassador of Slovakia to Romania, Karol Mistrik. The talks focused on bilateral cooperation within NATO and EU projects and initiatives. The 2 officials also discussed the importance of implementing the decisions made at the recent NATO Summit in Brussels, and expressed interest in strengthening the bilateral cooperation in the defence sector.
DIPLOMACY – The Romanian Foreign Ministry responded on Thursday to statements made by Italy’s deputy PM Matteo Salvini, who accused Romania and Bulgaria of sending "slaves" to Western Europe. According to Mediafax news agency, Bucharest says any connections made between the citizens of a country and a crime category is unacceptable. Romania takes responsibility for what its citizens do abroad, and has adopted the international standards for the prevention and combating of human trafficking, being a signatory of the main relevant international documents. Matteo Salvini, Interior Minister and deputy PM of Italy and leader of the radical Northern League party, has accused Romania and Bulgaria of sending "slaves" into western Europe, and asked for measures to restrict human trafficking and exploitation.
WEST NILE – A person died in Romania from the West Nile virus, the National Centre for Infectious Disease Monitoring and Control announced on Thursday. The man was 79 years old and suffered from chronic diseases. The Public Health Ministry announced there is no risk of an epidemic, and the cases reported so far are isolated. Experts warn that West Nile is not transmitted between humans, but that it is spread through mosquito bites. 23 West Nile patients have been confirmed in Romania since early May.
SWINE FEVER - In Brăila County, in south-eastern Romania, 2 new African swine fever hotbeds were confirmed on Thursday, bringing the county total to 18. According to the latest data, the total number of hotbeds in Romania is nearly 580, in over 100 villages in 8 counties. More than 78,000 pigs have been culled. The owners will receive compensations for their losses, and the forthcoming budget adjustment earmarks additional funding for eradicating this disease.
(translated by: Ana-Maria Popescu)