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NEW YEAR PM Nicolae Ciucă said in his New Year address on Saturday that in 2022 Romanians proved their solidarity, handled challenges "hard to imagine" and managed to do more than just endure. He mentioned the crisis facing Romania, with a war at its borders, high energy prices and skyrocketing inflation. The PM emphasised that the government would continue to protect citizens' interests, to support the economy and take care of the vulnerable. In turn, the Royal House of Romania wished "A happy new year, with health, hope and peace in their hearts" to all Romanians in the country, in the neighbouring Republic of Moldova and abroad.
MEASURES In Romania, the pension point value will be raised by 12.5% as of January 1, to reach nearly EUR 360, and minimum wages will be increased to EUR 600. On the other hand, the 10-eurocent governmental discount on fuel prices will be discontinued. The government says it is ready to reintroduce it, should fuel prices rise beyond citizens' spending power. As of January 1, fuel excises will be cut down, while electricity and natural gas price caps and discounts will remain in place.
JUDICIARY The year 2023 must see a crackdown on organised crime and criminal groups, Justice Ministry officials posted on Saturday on the institution's Facebook page. According to them, Romania has the legislation, institutions and modern strategies to achieve this goal. What it needs is more investment in logistics and leaders able to encourage all prosecutors to undertake and accomplish their critical social mission of safeguarding the law and protecting citizens and the state from all forms of crime, the Justice Ministry emphasised. The message also says that the Ministry's top accomplishment in 2022 was its contribution to Romania being issued a last positive report under the Cooperation and Verification Mechanism in the judiciary and the lifting of this mechanism.
POPE European leaders paid tribute to Pope emeritus Benedict XVI, who died on Saturday, aged 95. The president of France Emmanuel Macron praised him for his work towards a "more brotherly world". Former Pope Benedict XVI was a "giant of faith and reason" and "a great figure in history, that history will never forget", Italy's PM Giorgia Meloni said in turn. The British PM Rishi Sunak voiced his sadness with the former Pope's death, and praised him as a "great theologian." Germany's chancellor Olaf Scholz also said that with the death of Benedict XVI, the world lost "a formative figure" of the Catholic Church. "He had set a strong signal through his resignation. He saw himself first as a servant for God and his Church," the president of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen posted. The former Pope spent his last 9 years of life in the monastery within the small papal state. Elected on April 19, 2005, following the death of Pope John Paul II, he was the first German leader of the Catholic Church in 482 years. On February 11, 2013 Benedict XVI announced his resignation from the papacy, on account of his age and ill health. Joseph Ratzinger was the first Pope since the Middle Ages to step down voluntarily.
ECONOMY Romania has the most stable economy in the region and ends the year 2022 with an over 5% economic growth rate, the finance minister Adrian Câciu posted on social media. He warned however that 2023 will be a difficult year, still marked by inflation and requiring the best use of public policy instruments for investments, reforms and supporting vulnerable categories. Adrian Câciu also emphasised the political stability and the sound partnership between the government and social and economic stakeholders. (AMP)
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