The Week in Review

the week in review A look at the main stories in Romania this week.

Flu epidemic is officially declared in Romania 

On Wednesday, Romanian authorities declared a flu epidemic, after 3 weeks of increase in the number of cases, during which hundreds of people got sick and several dozen died. The Health Minister Sorina Pintea has urged people not to panic, but has warned that the spread of the virus is not expected to slow down in February. She has reiterated several recommendations made to the population and doctors:

"Visitors will have restricted access to all healthcare units, especially in high-risk wards. Stocks of antiviral medicine necessary for the treatment of acute respiratory diseases must be replenished immediately. All patients showing symptoms associated with influenza must immediately undergo antiviral therapy upon admission. Prophylactic antiviral treatment will be applied to people who had contact with the admitted patients, while all unvaccinated medical staff will proceed to immediate vaccination. Protection equipment will be restocked and used appropriately. Additionally, antiseptics and disinfectants will be immediately restocked in order to ensure strict hygiene".

Vaccination remains the key prevention solution. The Health Ministry has announced it has ordered an additional 30,000 shots for the population at risk. Of the 1.3 million anti-influenza vaccine shots ordered initially, some 12,000 are still available.

President Klaus Iohannis meets foreign ambassadors to Bucharest

Increasing Romania's role within the EU and NATO, strengthening the Strategic Partnership with the US and joining the Schengen area are some of the priorities of Romania's foreign policy, said president Klaus Iohannis at the annual meeting with the foreign ambassadors accredited to Bucharest. The president has recalled that the year 2019 is marked by Romania's holding the rotating presidency of the Council of the EU, against a very dynamic background, with many challenges, such as Brexit, migration, negotiations over the multiannual financial framework and European Parliament elections. Klaus Iohannis has stated that he will do everything in his power to make sure that values pertaining to the rule of law, liberal democracy and an independent and effective justice system are not jeopardised. The head of state has given assurances that, even if the Romanian political scene has been very dynamic, all decision-makers will act in a coherent manner, in order to make sure that the Romanian presidency of the EU Council is unfolding under the best conditions.

EU defence ministers meet in the Romanian capital

The EU defence ministers have gathered in Bucharest to analyse the prospects for the implementation of the EU's foreign policy and security strategy, an event organised by the Romanian Presidency of the EU Council. The participants have analysed initiatives such as the Permanent Structured Cooperation in the area of security and defence policy (PESCO) and the European Defence Fund (EDF). Efforts to strengthen the strategic partnership between the EU and the North-Atlantic Alliance were high on the agenda of talks. The High Representative of the EU for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, Federica Mogherini, has urged the EU defence ministers to finalise an agreement in the coming weeks, in order to allow the continuation of Operation Sophia, the EU's military operation in the Mediterranean aimed at combating trafficking in human beings. The NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg was a special guest at the meeting. He held talks with president Klaus Iohannis, who said that defence on the eastern flank of NATO and in the Black Sea region was a priority, also stressing that NATO and the EU must cooperate closely. He also announced that Romania would keep fulfilling all its commitments to NATO. Jens Stoltenberg hailed the increase in defence spending, stressing that such contributions render the Alliance stronger and Romania safer.

EU foreign ministers hold informal meeting in Bucharest

An informal meeting of the EU foreign ministers, in the Gymnich format, has been held in Bucharest this week. The meeting was hosted by the Romanian Foreign Minister Teodor Melescanu and chaired by the High Representative of the EU for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, Federica Mogherini. The topics approached during the meeting included the Eastern Partnership, Venezuela and China. Also, the EU foreign ministers held a joint working session with their counterparts from the EU candidate countries (Albania, Macedonia, Montenegro, Serbia and Turkey). Unlike the meetings of the Foreign Affairs Council, Gymnich meetings are informal, and no conclusions or documents are adopted.

Government publishes 2019 budget bill

The long awaited draft budget for 2019 was made public on Friday night on the Romanian Finance Minister's website. The budget is based on a 212 billion Euro GDP, a 5.5% economic growth rate, a deficit standing at 2.55% of the GDP and an annual inflation rate of 2.8%. The budget provides for more money for investment, healthcare and education. Also, the defence sector will get 2% of the GDP, in keeping with the commitments made to NATO. Money has also been earmarked for a new rise in pensions as of this fall. On the other hand, the ministries of business, communications and energy will get less money. Mayors across the country are unhappy with the new budget. Although more money has been allocated for local administrations, town halls are also expected to take over from the central budget a large part of the social welfare spending.
Publicat: 2019-02-02 14:58:00
Vizualizari: 2133