VENICE COMMISSION - On Tuesday, Romania's President Klaus Iohannis met with a delegation of the Venice Commission, which is in Romania for talks on the modifications brought to the justice laws. At the end of the meeting, the head of state said he was looking forward to the specialists' opinion. Also on Tuesday, the delegation held talks with members of the Special Parliamentary Committee in charge with the laws. Previously, the experts had met with judges of the Constitutional Court and asked for clarifications about the letter sent by the Court to several European institutions concerning the pressures that the court is allegedly subject to. On Monday, the delegation talked to the Justice Minister Tudorel Toader and the Prosecutor General Augustin Lazar. We recall that president Iohannis and the Monitoring Committee of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe have requested the opinion of the Venice Commission regarding the changes brought to the justice laws. The request was made against accusations launched by the right-wing opposition, part of the press and civic organizations according to which the ruling coalition made up of the Social Democratic Party and the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats are trying to stop the fight against corruption and get control over the magistrates. In another move, the Venice Commission has also been notified by the Constitutional Court of Romania about what the court magistrates say are attacks against the institution, following the court's opinion, which says that there is a legal constitutional conflict between the justice minister and the president of the country. The latter has rejected as ungrounded the request made by the justice minister regarding the removal from office of the head of the National Anticorruption Directorate Laura Codruta Kovesi.
RULING - Judges with the High Court of Cassation and Justice have postponed for June 29th the verdict in the case involving the former head of the Directorate for Investigating Organized Crime and Terrorism Alina Bica, businessman Dorin Cocos and his son. Bica is accused of aggravated abuse of office while employed as a secretary of state and representing the Justice Ministry in the Central Commission for Compensation Settlement within the National Authority for Property Restitution. The former chief of the anti-mafia prosecutor's office is in Costa Rica, together with Dorin Cocos' ex-wife, Elena Udrea, herself a former minister and tried for corruption. For a very long time, Elena Udrea was dubbed the most influential member of the ex-President Traian Basescu's circle. The 2 have requested political asylum in Costa Rica.
INFLATION - The annual inflation rate in Romania went up to 5.4% in May, the highest level registered in the past five years. The increase occurred against the background of prices going up for foodstuffs, by almost 4%, for non-food products by almost 8% and for services by almost 3%. The National Bank of Romania has recently revised upwards, to 3.6%, the inflation rate forecast for the end of the year, and to 3% the inflation rate for the end of 2019.
CONFERENCE- At a conference held on Tuesday under the title "We are inventing the future! Our bet on science!", Romania's president Klaus Iohannis said that there is still a gap between Romania and Western Europe in economic and social terms and pointed out that Romania's modernisation in the future depends a great deal on its investment in innovation. Iohannis said that special attention needs to be paid to the development of major projects in strategic fields and that research is the key of any sustainable economic growth strategy. "Increased European funds absorption and private investment are a must for Romania to be able to develop its research infrastructure," the head of state also said.
SUMMIT- The US President Donald Trump has stated he is very proud of the outcome of his historic meeting with the North Korean leader Kim Jong Un. The latter has in turn promised that the world will see a major change. Donald Trump and Kim Jong Un have pledged to work towards the complete denuclearization of the Korean peninsula. The American leader has given assurances that this process will start very soon and that the relationship with North Korea will be very different. According to Reuters, although the summit in Singapore marks only the beginning of a diplomatic process, it could fundamentally change the security landscape of Northeast Asia, just as former U.S. President Richard Nixon's visit to Beijing in 1972 led to the transformation of China.
THEATRE - The 25th International Theatre Festival continues in Sibiu (central Romania). This is the largest performing arts event in Romania and one of the most important in Europe. Some 60 events were held on Tuesday, the 5th day of the festival, including 14 street performances, 5 dance shows and 8 theatre performances. Thousands of artists from over 70 countries are performing every day both in theatre halls and in unconventional venues.
HANDBALL- Romania's national women's handball team will play against Norway, Germany and the Czech Republic in group D of this year's European Championships, according to the drawing of lots held on Tuesday in Paris. The final tour will take place between 29 November - 16 December. At the previous edition of the championships, two years ago, the Romanian squad came in 5th. On Wednesday, Romania's men's squad will play in Cluj, north-western Romania, against the Macedonian team, a decisive match in the qualifiers for the 2019 World Championship, to be hosted by Denmark and Germany. In the first game hosted by Skopje on Sunday, the Romanian handball players were defeated 24 - 32.