The Week in Review (27.06 – 03.07.2022)

the week in review (27.06 – 03.07.2022) Click here for the headline-grabbing events of the past week in Romania

Russia is no longer a partner, but a threat

The NATO Summit in Madrid is one of the most significant Allied meetings in recent years in terms of results for Romania - said Romania's President Klaus Iohannis. He pointed out that the central theme of the discussions held, and of the decisions made at the summit, was the military invasion of Romania's neighbor, Ukraine, by the Russian army, and that NATO's new strategic concept, adopted at the summit, adequately reflects the current security situation. Thus, Russia is no longer considered a partner, but is labeled as the most significant and direct threat to the security and stability of the Allies. For the first time, Communist China is accused of using a wide range of political, economic and military activities to project its power around the world. China's avowed ambitions and its coercive policies pose challenges to our interests, security and values - said the NATO member states' representatives, who also point a finger at the strategic partnership between Beijing and Moscow against the international order. NATO has also confirmed the strengthening of its military presence on the Eastern flank, including in Romania. Its reaction force increases from 40 thousand to over 300 thousand highly trained soldiers. "This is the most important reorganization of our collective defense since the Cold War" NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg unerlined, while US President Joe Biden said that "we are here" and "we are proving that NATO is more necessary than ever". He announced, in turn, a strengthening of the U.S. military presence throughout Europe. NATO has also promised to support Ukraine, for as long as necessary, to resist the Russian armed invasion. Secretary-General Stoltenberg said that support for Kyiv was a "moral and political obligation".

Romania and the gas crisis

One of the EU Member States least dependent on Russian hydrocarbon imports, Romania can become energy independent, a supplier of energy security in the region, and a transport corridor for gas and green energy from the Caspian Sea - says the Romanian Energy Minister Virgil Popescu. He participated on Tuesday, together with the Prime Minister Nicolae Ciuca, in the ceremony organized in Vadu, in Constanta County (south-east), on the occasion of the launch of the natural gas exploitation as part of the Midia project. Minister Popescu said that the natural gas reserves in the Romanian Black Sea area amount to 200 billion cubic meters. The extraction of natural gas from the Midia area is the first project of its kind in the Romanian Black Sea area in the last 30 years, and in June the first amounts of gas have already entered the domestic market. In turn, Prime Minister Ciuca said that 41% of Romania's gas storage facilities is currently filled, and, by November 1, this amount will reach 80 %.

Social policies for crisis situations

Legal entities that want to postpone paying their loan installments must prove that, in the last three months, they have suffered losses of at least 25%, and individuals must show that their monthly expenses increased by 25% - shows a government decision made by the governing coalition made up of PSD-PNL-UDMR, which thus hopes to mitigate the effects of the recent price hikes. The deferral of loan installments is valid for a maximum of nine months, and only on loans without arrears in the last six months. Postponing the payment of loan installments for those affected by the price increase is a temporary advantage - warned expert Adrian Mitroi, a professor at the Academy of Economic Sciences in Bucharest. He explained, on Radio Romania, that the postponement brings, in fact, an additional cost. When the debtor resumes payment, the amounts due monthly will be higher, as they will also include certain additional bank fees. The government also adopted a draft law that will help students and young people to receive bank loans, 80% of which will be guaranteed by the state. In the case of students, the guarantee is about 10,000 Euros, and in the case of young couples, about 15,000 Euros, the equivalent in lei, the national currency, at the exchange rate of the day.

The law of silence in Romania

The head of the European Public Prosecutor's Office, former chief anti-corruption prosecutor in Bucharest, Laura Codruţa Kovesi, announced that she is looking into appealing to the European Commission for activating the mechanism of conditioning European funding in order to defend rule of law in Romania. According to an EPPO press release, the reason is the content of a law recently passed by Parliament, reflecting a European directive on protecting whistleblowers. The main concern is that the bill could discourage them in Romania, more specifically with regard to uncovering fraud involving European provided funding, according to an EPPO press release. Many Romanian civic organizations announced they would file complaints with the People's Ombudsman against the bill on protecting whistleblowers, pointing out that Romania risks sanctions, considering that the prospective law samples selectively the European directive relevant to the issue.

Florin Citu resigns again

On Wednesday, meeting in plenary session, Romanian senators have dismissed the speaker of the chamber, after filing Florin Citu's resignation. Previously, Citu had stated that his resignation had been requested by Liberal Party chairman, PM Nicolae Ciuca, and by party secretary general Lucian Bode, who had informed him that he no longer has party support for the position of speaker. He claimed that he was blamed for the statements he made for years against the Social Democratic Party social and salary policies, a party that is in coalition partnership with the Liberals. According to some Romanian journalists, Florin Citu is a very competent economist, for others a ridiculous character, and he ascended the political ladder as fast as he fell off of it. For as long as he was favored by President Klaus Iohannis, he was PM and National Liberal Party chairman, then he supposedly fell out of grace and lost both positions, in favor of Reserve General Ciuca. The interim speaker position will be held by Liberal Alina Gorghiu, a former MP with controversial bill proposals, also seen as a protege of the head of state. Two years prior, she proposed that people with prison sentences of less than seven years serve their detention at home, an initiative that sparked waves of criticism.
Publicat: 2022-07-02 18:03:00
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