Domestic Events of 2022 in Review

domestic events of 2022 in review Click here for a review of the main domestic events of 2022 in Romania

War in Ukraine, security crisis at Romania's borders, prompt allied response


After two years in which it monopolized the newscasts, the novel coronavirus is outclassed, in 2022, by the new Russian imperialism of Vladimir Putin, with the start of Russia’s illegal and unjustified war against its former vassal from the Soviet period, Ukraine. Together with its European Union partners and NATO allies, Romania firmly condemned the Russian aggression and coordinated its actions with them to face ‘the most serious threat to Euro-Atlantic security in recent decades, as the aggression is described in the declaration adopted at the end of the NATO meeting of the foreign affairs ministers held in Bucharest in November. Russia, the declaration shows, bears the full responsibility for this war, a blatant violation of international law and of the principles of the UN Charter, and its unacceptable actions, energy blackmail and reckless nuclear rhetoric undermine the rules-based international order. Any attack against the Allies will receive a united and determined response, the NATO states renewed their commitment. The actions that followed the Russian invasion were aimed at consolidating the eastern flank, the most exposed, of which Romania is also a part. The United States has boosted the number of troops sent to the territory of its strategic partner. Around 5,000 allied soldiers are currently in Romania, most of them from the USA, France, Belgium, the Netherlands, Italy and Canada. A NATO battle group was established a few months after the start of the conflict, by transforming the allied multinational elements within the NATO Response Force, and France took over the role of framework nation.


Energy crisis, inflation, measures to support the population


Romania participated, from the very first moment, in the international support effort for Ukraine and continues to advocate for maintaining this support, at all levels. The Romanian authorities were praised for the way in which they acted in relation to the Ukrainian refugees and for the role they played in facilitating the transit of cereals from Ukraine to world markets. On the other hand, the Romanian authorities had to manage internal crises that the conflict generated or amplified. In line and in coordination with the European partners, Bucharest has diversified its energy sources in order to decrease its dependence on Russian gas. The government also adopted measures to compensate and cap gas and electricity bills, as the bills risked becoming unbearable for a population whose incomes were devoured by inflation that rose to 17% and endangered the existence of many companies. The budget for next year maintains the measures for capping energy bills, stipulates aid for the most vulnerable categories and allocates money for increasing pensions and the minimum wage.


CVM monitoring lifted, Schengen accession postponed


The European Commission proposed, towards the end of the year, the lifting of the Cooperation and Verification Mechanism monitoring for Romania, established upon the country's EU accession in 2007, in order to monitor the reform of the judiciary. The adoption of the justice laws, repaired, to a good extent, after the damage caused to the legislation in the field by the social-democratic government between 2017-2018, had a big say in this decision. The same European Commission found that Romania meets, like Bulgaria, the technical conditions for joining the Schengen free travel area and recommended the EU states to speed up the accession of the two. The European Parliament, for its part, voted a resolution with a similar message. The support of the community institutions and the member states, including the Netherlands, which, in the past, was an intransigent opponent of Romania’s and Bulgaria’s Schengen accession, was, however, blocked by the unexpected and obstinate refusal of Austria. The fact that Romania is not on the route of the illegal migrants flow, which was confirmed by the official data provided by Frontex Agency, and the reports of the Commission, which attest to Romania's positive results in protecting the Union's external border and in controlling illegal migration, did not matter. Vienna's veto in the Justice and Home Affairs Council in December blocked Romania’s Schengen accession which had been waited for 11 years. The gesture led to the souring of diplomatic relations between Bucharest and Vienna. Against the background of frustration and indignation, many people, including some leading politicians, called for a boycott of Austrian companies. President Klaus Iohannis called for calm and disagreed with any such boycott. At the last EU summit in 2022, he made an appeal for unity and solidarity, reiterating that Romania deserves its place into the Schengen Area.


Sentences in the COLECTIVE file


After almost 7 years since the fire at the Bucharest club Colectiv, which killed dozens of young people who had come to enjoy a rock concert, the court established the guilt and the punishments. The former mayor of the sector where the club that burned down was located received a 4-year sentence for abuse of office, reduced by half compared to the one received in the court of first instance. In his case, the judges eliminated the aggravated element of the crime of abuse of office. The owners of the club received prison sentences between 6 and almost 12 years, and the firefighters from the Inspectorate for Emergency Situations who checked the Colectiv Club without taking the legal measures regarding compliance with fire regulations, were definitively sentenced to 8 years and 8 months in prison. The court decided that some of the convicts should pay compensation of tens of millions of Euros to the families of the victims and the survivors. The latter say that the main culprit for the lost lives is the Romanian state, with its public systems unable to develop antibodies against corruption, indolence and administrative incompetence.


Popovici, the new star of world swimming


2022 in sports was a good year, with successes in rowing, kayak-canoeing, table tennis, athletics and weightlifting. However, in 2022 Romanian sports gave much more, namely a name for history, David Popovici. The high school student from Bucharest was the winner of the Junior and Senior World and European Championships in the 100m and 200m long course swimming events, and in Rome he set a new world record in the 100 meter freestyle. The sports press talks about the Popovici "phenomenon", and the famous Swimming World magazine designated him the swimmer of the year. Instead, a former world number one, the Romanian tennis player Simona Halep, received, in 2022, the news of a provisional suspension after she was detected positive in an anti-doping control carried out at the US Open. The double grand slam winner, considered a model of integrity in sports, began, according to her own words, the most difficult match of her life, one for the truth, in which she struggles to prove that she is innocent. (LS)
Publicat: 2022-12-31 14:00:00
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