SUMMIT – The Romanian capital city Bucharest is hosting on Monday and Tuesday the 3rd Summit of the Three Seas Initiative, an informal president-level platform that brings together the 12 EU member states located between the Baltic, Adriatic and Black Sea, namely Austria, Bulgaria, Croatia, the Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Lithuania, Latvia, Poland, Romania, Slovakia and Slovenia. According to the presidential administration, the main goal of the initiative is the economic development of these countries, by enhancing interconnectivity, particularly from north to south, in 3 major areas: transport, energy, and digital. On the sidelines of the Summit, the first Business Forum of this platform will be held. President Klaus Iohannis will open the Forum on Monday, and later on he will take part in a plenary meeting alongside his counterparts from Croatia, Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovic, Poland - Andrzej Duda, Austria - Alexander van der Bellen, and the European Commissioner for Regional Development Corina Creţu. The President of the European Commission, Jean-Claude Juncker, will attend the Three Seas Initiative Summit for the first time. The first two summits were held in Dubrovnik in 2016 and in Warsaw in 2017.
SWINE FEVER – A first African swine fever outbreak was confirmed on Sunday in Dambovita County, in the south of Romania. Thirteen counties are currently affected by the epidemic, most of them in the south-east and south. The number of outbreaks reaches 900, with the virus identified in over 200 localities. Hundreds of thousands of animals have been culled. Bucharest has requested financial support from the European Commission for the farmers affected by the African swine fever epidemic.
REFERENDUM – The Constitutional Court of Romania is discussing on Monday a bill designed to redefine family, in the Constitution, as based on the marriage of a man and a woman. The bill was passed in the Senate on Tuesday, and requires validation through a referendum. It is based on a citizen initiative signed by 3 million people. The initiators, which are Christian organisations and associations, want the Constitution to narrow down the definition of family to the marriage between a man and a woman, so as to prevent the possibility of legalising same-sex marriage. ACCEPT Association, which promotes the rights of sexual minorities, says that Tuesday’s vote in the Senate has turned homophobia into a principle safeguarded by the state, and that constitutional protection for many types of families in Romania will be sacrificed. Except for Save Romania Union, all parliamentary parties have supported the initiative.
JUDICIARY – Romanian magistrates Sunday protested in Bucharest against the latest changes to the criminal codes and the justice laws. The magistrates are also discontent with the extension of judicial inspection mandates through a government emergency order and with the authorities’ disregard of the Venice Commission recommendations. Promoted by the Government formed by the Social Democratic Party and the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats, the legislative changes are criticised by the right-of-centre Opposition, the mass media and civil society, which accuse Power of trying to hinder the fight against corruption and to overpower the judiciary. Just days ago, representatives of the Venice Commission, an advisory body of the Council of Europe, were in Bucharest to draft a report on the changes operated by Parliament on the Criminal Code and the Code of Criminal Procedure.
ATTACK – The US Embassy is updated on the situation of the 2 American basketball players, aged 24 and 25 respectively, and playing for a team in Braila, south-eastern Romania, and is closely monitoring the incident in which they were injured, the American diplomatic mission announced. The two were stabbed on Saturday night during a conflict that broke out in a bar in the city centre. One of them is in a serious condition, with a punctured lung, and has been transferred to Bucharest. The 2 had been transferred to the club in Braila just one month before. The Romanian handball player Marian Cozma, who was playing for Veszprem, was killed in a bar in the same city, on February 8, 2009, by attackers who stabbed him to death.
TENNIS – Romania’s men’s tennis team was defeated by Poland, 3-2, on Sunday in Cluj-Napoca, north-western Romania, in the Davis Cup’s 3rd round, Group II, Europe-Africa zone, after Kamil Majchrzak outplayed Adrian Ungur in the decisive match. Also on Sunday, Hubert Hurkacz beat Marius Copil, while the Romanians Florin Mergea and Horia Tecău won the doubles match against Lukasz Kubot/Marcin Matkowski. After Saturday’s matches, the score was 1-1. Thanks to this performance, Poland moves up into Group I, Europe/Africa zone of Davis Cup, of which Romania fell out at the end of last year.
(translated by: Ana-Maria Popescu)