The National Anticorruption Directorate in Romania has a new head / Afghanistan is high on the NATO summit agenda in Brussels
ANTICORRUPTION DIRECTORATE - The fight against corruption will continue firmly and the legislation in the field will be enforced in keeping with the international efficiency standards, said on Thursday Romania's Prosecutor General Augustin Lazar, upon appointing the interim head of the National Anticorruption Directorate, Anca Jurma. Lazar described Ms Jurma as the right person, a professional with a very good expertise in the field. We recall that president Iohannis dismissed Laura Codruta Kovesi, the former chief prosecutor of the Anticorruption Directorate, to observe a ruling issued by the Constitutional Court. Initially the president had rejected the request for dismissal made by the Justice Minister Tudorel Toader, but the latter notified the Constitutional Court, which defended his opinion. Laura Codruta Kovesi has been given a post of prosecutor with the Guidance and Control Service of the Prosecutor's Office attached to the High Court of Cassation and Justice.
NATO SUMMIT - The conflict in Afghanistan is on the agenda of the NATO summit underway in Brussels, where Romania is represented by the head of state Klaus Iohannis. So far, the summit has been dominated by requests made by the US President Donald Trump, who has called on the NATO allies to earmark 4% of the GDP for military expenses. The NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg has voiced hope that the alliance will make decisions regarding the funding of Afghan security forces until 2024. The British Prime Minister Theresa May has already confirmed that Great Britain will deploy an additional 440 strong contingent for non-combat missions in Afghanistan. The US sent 3,000 soldiers in September 2017, raising to 15,000 the number of US soldiers deployed in that country. Romania has 700 soldiers in Afghanistan.
EUROSTAT - According to Eurostat, Romania ranks 17th in the European Union with regard to imports from Russia, accounting for 2.48 billion Euros. With 29 billion Euros, in 2017 Germany was the largest importer of products from Russia, followed by the Netherlands and Poland. From 2008 until 2017, the EU registered a trade deficit in the relation with Russia, standing at 59 billion Euros last year. Also last year, the EU exported to the Russian market equipment, vehicles, chemical products and other manufactured goods. On the other hand, more than three quarters of EU's imports from Russia were energy products (oil and natural gas). The Eurostat data were made public against the background of statements made by the US President Donald Trump, who has stated that Germany is fully controlled by Russia because of the agreement existing between the two country on the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline.
ECONOMY - The European Commission has maintained estimates regarding Romania's economic growth in 2018 and 2019, at 4.5% and 3.9% respectively. According to mid-term estimates published today by the Commission, the budget deficit would reach 3.4% of the GDP in 2018, to then grow to 3.8% in 2019. The rate of inflation would grow to 4.2% this year, and then go down to 3.4% in 2019. The unemployment rate is expected to stand at 4.5% in 2018 and 4.4% in 2019. The current account deficit will register a 3.6% of the GDP in 2018, and 3.9% in 2019.
BREXIT - The new British Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt has stated that the debate in parliament on the British Brexit policy will be a fierce one, but it will help the negotiations with the EU move forward. In turn, the new Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union Dominic Raab has voiced hope that the document that is to be published soon by the Government in London will provide further assurances for those in the EU who are concerned about Brexit. The EU Chief Negotiator for Brexit Michel Barnier has announced that negotiations are to be resumed on Monday, as planned, with the new British negotiator appointed by Theresa May. Boris Johnson resigned from the office of foreign secretary on Monday, after the resignation of the former Secretary for Brexit David Davis, and only a few days after the Prime Minister May had obtained her ministers' endorsement of the Brexit strategy.
MIGRATION - The EU interior ministers have gathered in Innsbruck, Austria, to analyze in detail the idea of creating new types of centers for migrants. The agreement concluded by the European leaders in June includes the proposal to set up centers in regions such as North Africa for the migrants saved in the Mediterranean, as well as reception centers on European soil. Before the meeting organized by the Austrian presidency of the Council of the EU, the Italian interior minister Matteo Salvini will talk to his German and Austrian counterparts, Horst Seehofer and Herbert Kickl respectively, about means to close the migration route across the Mediterranean. A few weeks ago, Italy decided to no longer authorize the entrance of humanitarian vessels carrying migrants into its ports, and Matteo Salvini wants to extend this blockade to also cover those who take part in EU rescue operations.
JAZZ - The 22nd Garana Jazz Festival kicks off today, and is expecting guests from all over Europe until Sunday. There will be 25 concerts given by musicians from 16 countries. The festival will be opened by 'La Classe operaia va in Paradiso', given by musicians Mircea Tiberian (piano), Claudio Puntin (clarinet), Daniel Erdmann (saxophone), Chris Dahlgren (double bass) and Tilo Weber (drums). Besides concerts, the audience can also participate in the presentation of an installation by the painter Gheorghe Fikl, a theater performance with 'The Farm' by the troupe Aualeu, the National Vinyl Fair, a jazz posters exhibition and the launch of the book 'Instant Stage', signed by Ioana Taut. In the past 20 years, more than 70,000 spectators and lots of international artists have enjoined the experience of listening to vanguard jazz music listened under the clear skies of the small village in western Romania.
FOOTBALL - FC Viitorul, ranking 4th in the Romanian national football champtionships, is today playing away from home against Racing Union Luxembourg, in the first preliminary round of the Europa League. Also competing will be the winner of the Cup, CSU Craiova and the vice-champion FCSB. The holder of the title, CFR Cluj, will play in the Champions' League preliminaries.