Romanian finance minister Viorel Stefan says fiscal conditions are met to secure financing for all measures stipulated in the governing programs/ A series of events in Romania and abroad are marking the National Culture Day, celebrated on January 15
STATE BUDGET FOR 2017 – The Romanian finance minister Viorel Stefan on Saturday told a private TV channel that, after a first assessment of the draft budget, he believes there are fiscal opportunities to secure financing for all measures included in the governing program drawn up by the ruling majority made up of the Social Democrats and the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats. Stefan underlined that the limit of 3% of the GDP, imposed by the EU, is not negotiable. In another move, he ruled out the possibility of introducing new taxes or increasing the existing ones. President Klaus Iohannis has recently warned that it will be difficult for the government to maintain the budget deficit at 3% of the GDP this year. The governing program of the Social Democratic Party provides for a 5.5 % estimated increase of the Romanian economy, on an average, in the following four years, a significantly faster pace than that estimated by economic analysts, considering the pay-rises granted to state sector employees, the increase in public investment and the reduction of taxes. The 2017 draft budget is to be submitted to Parliament for approval around January 25.
FINANCE – In the first 11 months of 2016, Romania’s current account deficit exceeded by over 2 billion Euros the figures registered in the same period of 2015. The country’s long term foreign debt amounted to some 70 billion Euros on November 30, 2016, dropping by approximately 1%, as compared to the end of 2015. In exchange, the foreign debt on short term increased by over 14 percentage points, exceeding 22.7 billion Euros. According to analysts, the figures are not surprising, considering that all throughout 2016 the trade balance deficit followed an upward course. The fast increase of the debt might raise concerns among investors and consequently might incur higher borrowing costs for Romania on international financial markets
INFLUENZA- The President of the Romanian Microbiology Society, Alexandru Rafila, has said Romania is not facing a flu epidemic at national level, with specialists saying however that we can speak of flu epidemic-like manifestations at local level, particularly in southern Romania. In another move, he mentioned a significant spike in the number of patients diagnosed with respiratory viroses, of up to 40% as compared to the same period of 2016. 230 cases of flu have been confirmed in Romania, most of them caused by the AH3N2 strain of the virus. Six deaths have already been reported. In another move, measles has made new victims, taking to 13 the death toll caused by this virus in the past year. Children in the 1-4 year age bracket are most affected. The incidence of measles has increased against the worrying decrease in the rate of vaccination, doctors say.
NATIONAL CULTURE DAY - A series of events marking the National Culture Day are held in Romania and abroad these days. January 15, the birthday of Romania’s national poet Mihai Eminescu, was designated Romania’s National Culture Day in 2010. In Bucharest, the “George Enescu” Orchestra and Choir, under the baton of Iosif Ion Prunner, celebrate this day at the National Athenaeum. The Romanian Academy, alongside the National Foundation of Science and Art, will hold a solemn session titled “Around Romanian Identity”. Also, branches of the Romanian Cultural Institute abroad will mark the day through many concerts, exhibitions, theatre performances, literary events, poetry readings, film screenings and conferences. Accademia di Romania in Rome will organize on January 17th a multi-cultural project about Mihai Eminescu’s work. To mark the National Culture Day and also 100 years since the birth of pianist and composer Dinu Lipatti, the Romanian Cultural Institute in Vienna will hold a conference with the title: “Dinu Lippati, the Purest Gold”. The “Mihai Eminescu” Romanian Cultural Institute in the capital of the Republic of Moldova Chisinau celebrates the day through a poetry and music recital titled “Mihai Eminescu. I never thought that I would ever learn to die”.
TENNIS – The team made up of Romanian Raluca Olaru and Ukrainian Olga Savciuk won the double tennis finals of the Hobart tournament in Australia, with prizes of over 225,000 dollars up for grabs. In the last match they outperformed the pair Gabriela Dabrowski (Canada)- Zhaoxuan Yang (China). In exchange Monica Niculescu (no. 40 WTA) lost in the finals to Belgian Elise Mertens. Niculescu is among the six players to represent Romanian in the Australian Open, the first Grand Slam tournament of the year, which starts in Melbourne on Monday. The other five players are fourth seeded Simona Halep, no. 4 WTA, 27th seeded Irina-Camelia Begu, no. 30 WTA, 78th seeded Sorana Cîrstea, Patricia Ţig no. 106 WTA and Ana Bogdan.(Translated by D Vijeu)