MAE - The Romanian Foreign Ministry warned the Romanian citizens in France in relation to the situation in Paris where the ‘yellow vests’ staged further protests for the 4th consecutive Saturday. Consequently the local authorities decided to close museums and theaters and the Eiffel Tower as a preventive measure. The Romanian citizens were recommended to avoid the central areas of Paris, to carefully plan their trips in the countryside and to get informed about the evolution of the protests.
Paris – Hundreds of protesters were detained or placed in custody in Paris which is now in a state of maximum alert against the backdrop of further yellow vests protests. Near Champs Elysee, the riot police fired tear gas against the yellow vests, who came in great numbers to call for Emmanuel Macron’s resignation. Following instigation launched on the social networks that called people to storm the Elysee Palace, the riot police set up cordons in all sensitive areas in downtown Paris as well as in train stations and on the outskirts of the city. Nearly 90 thousand police have been deployed countrywide so as to prevent potential violence and destructions similar to those that happened last Saturday in Paris. The PM Edouard Philippe thanked all those who made an appeal for calm, for the French citizens to be able to express their requests without mingling with the violent people who want to attack the police. Due to the yellow vests’ protests, the government cancelled the fuel tax rises. Now the yellow vests are protesting for increased salaries and higher purchasing power.
New York - The Permanent Mission of Romania to the UN organized on Friday in New York a conference on building resilience to natural disasters. The main guest of the conference was Romanian secretary of state with the Interior Ministry Raed Arafat. In 2017, 335 major natural disasters were reported globally, that killed almost 10 thousand people, affected more than 95 million people and caused damage worth more than 334 billion dollars. In this context, secretary of state Raed Arafat presented the emergency alert system Romania has put into place in order to support the population in case of natural disasters and underlined the importance of public awareness campaigns and of a partnership with the media, to inform the population in due time. The conference in New York is part of the strategy for promoting Romania’s candidacy to a non permanent seat on the UN Security Council between 2020-2021.
Brussels - The European Parliament is to vote, next week, on the report of the Committee on Civil Liberties, which calls for the fast accession of Romania and Bulgaria to the Schengen area. According to Radio Romania’s correspondent to Brussels the members of the committee claim that postponing the Schengen accession of these two countries has negative effects not only for them but also for the EU, because maintaining or reintroducing border control will undermine the citizens’ trust in the European institutions and will have a negative economic impact. The MEPs also show that expanding the Schengen area should not be affected by EU policies such as those on asylum and migration.
Lisbon – The Party of European Socialists (PES) on Saturday designated the Dutch Frans Timmermans, currently first vice-president of the European Commission, as their top candidate for the European Parliamentary elections of May 2019. Timmermans hopes to succeed the current president of the EC Jean-Claude Juncker. His main opponent is the German Conservative Manfred Weber representing the center-right European People’s Party. The elections to the European Parliament will take place in the context in which the Social Democrats and other leftist parties from Europe lost many of their supporters and now faced with a crisis against the backdrop of the ascension of populist and far-right parties. At the Party of European Socialists’ congress hosted by Lisbon, the former president of the Socialist Party of Bulgaria, Sergei Stanishev, was re-elected for a 3rd term in office at the helm of the party. (translation by L. Simion)