PRIME MINISTER – The Prime Minister of Romania, Viorica Dăncilă, is on an official 3-day visit to Lithuania and Estonia. On Thursday in Vilnius the Romanian official and her Lithuanian counterpart, Saulius Skvernelis, discussed bilateral trade and means to identify new fields for cooperation, such as IT, energy and agriculture. The parties have also tackled European topics of mutual interest, such as supporting the Eastern Partnership and the future of the Union. Dancila’s visit to Estonia will be the first by a Romanian prime minister since diplomatic relations with this Baltic state were reinstated in 1991.
FORUM – In its capacity as presidency holder, Romania is hosting the ministerial conference of the Salzburg Forum, an informal platform of Central and East-European countries promoting security cooperation. Taking part in the conference are officials from the 9 member countries, of whom 6 interior ministers, including the Romanian Interior Minister Carmen Dan, and the Europol chief Catherine De Bolle. The Salzburg Forum was launched in 2000 and comprises Austria, Bulgaria, Croatia, the Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland, Romania, Slovakia and Slovenia. Since 2007, the Republic of Moldova and countries from the Group of Friends (Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, the Republic of Macedonia, Montenegro and Serbia) have also been invited to attend its sessions.
FINANCIAL – Private-sector credit risks are rising, reads a Report on financial stability made public on Thursday by the National Bank of Romania. The document also mentions other risks, such as the deteriorating investor confidence in emerging economies such as Romania, strains on macroeconomic balances and the rising real estate prices. On the other hand, the report also says that last year total household debt rose, and so did consumer loans granted by banks and non-banking financial institutions. The central bank officials presented the document at a time when the year on year inflation rate reached a 5-year high of 5.4% in May, the exchange rate for the national currency revolves around 4.66 lei for the euro, deficits deepen and the public debt is growing.
JUDICIARY – The High Court of Cassation and Justice Thursday dismissed the charges against the former Social Democrat deputy Sebastian Ghiţă, in a case in which he was tried jointly with former police and prosecutor office chiefs. The ruling is not final. The Court also cancelled a pre-trial arrest warrant, ordered the lifting of a freeze on Ghita’s assets and the return of the roughly 11.5 million euro bail. The other defendants in the same case were also aquitted, on grounds that the alleged acts were not criminal offences or had not taken place. Sebastian Ghiţă is in Serbia. He fled the country in December 2016 and is subject to several criminal proceedings in Romania.
UKRAINE – The Romanian Education Minister, Valentin Popa, and the Ukrainian Foreign Minister, Peter Szijjarto, Thursday had a telephone conversation on the Education Law of neighbouring Ukraine. The two agreed that the law, which bans tuition in ethnic minority languages after primary school, is “unacceptable” insofar as it takes away rights previously secured by ethnic minorities. The Education Ministry explained that the Ukrainian authorities had signed no agreement with the Romanian community in that country with respect to this law. The 2 officials have agreed to carry on consultations regarding the measures to be taken in this respect. Nearly half a million ethnic Romanians currently live in Ukraine.
FOOTBALL – The 21st edition of the World Football Championship kicked off in Russia on Thursday. It is the first edition of the championship hosted by a former communist bloc country. Proving their mettle in the final tournament are 32 national teams, while 11 cities across Russia make the venues for the scheduled fixtures. In the opening game, Russia defeated Saudi Arabia, 5-0. According to the correspondent of Radio Romania’s News and Current Affairs Channel in Moscow, Russia has invested tens of billions of dollars in the championship’s infrastructure, as well as a significant amount of political capital, hoping the event would bolster Russia’s image around the world. We recall Romania’s national team has failed to make it to the current edition of the World Cup. The World Championship held in France in 1998 was the last edition the national squad took part in.
(translated by: Ana-Maria Popescu)