The EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, Federica Mogherini, will meet with the new Romanian foreign minister, Teodor Melescanu/ Romanians on Sunday celebrate the National Culture Day
DIPLOMACY- The EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, Federica Mogherini, will receive in Brussels on Monday the new Romanian foreign minister, Teodor Meleşcanu. According to the web page of the European Commission, the meeting between the two officials will be held on the sidelines of the General Affairs and External Relations Council, which is attended by the EU foreign ministers. This is the first meeting that Melescanu participates in, since taking over the foreign affairs portfolio. He was twice Romania’s foreign minister, between 1992-1996, and for two weeks, in November 2014, respectively. In 2014, he tendered his resignation because thousands of Romanian citizens living abroad could not exert their right to vote because of the poor organisation of the presidential elections.
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 Democratic Party 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
REP. OF MOLDOVA- Moody’s international rating agency has changed the credit rating for Moldova from B3 with negative outlook to “stable”. Moody's says the change is a consequence of Moldova’s signing an agreement with the International Monetary Fund and adopting a new regulatory framework for the banking system. In a post on the official Facebook page, the pro-western prime minister Pavel Filip has deemed the change as an encouraging signal. He says the new rating is the result of Moldova’s completing in 2016 a roadmap with the European Union, starting major reforms and signing agreements with the IMF and the World Bank. Moody's is specialised in issuing unsolicited country ratings regarding investment safety and risk avoidance.
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 – On Sunday, Romanians celebrate 167 years since the birth of their national poet, Mihai Eminescu (1850-1889), considered to be the last representative of European Romanticism. In 2010, January 15 was designated Romania’s National Culture Day, by Romania’s Parliament at the initiative of the Romanian Academy. Just like every year, the Romanian diplomatic and consular missions as well as the Romanian cultural institutes aboard host a series of special events, dedicated to this day. Eminescu’s birthday anniversary is also officially celebrated in the Republic of Moldova, a former Soviet country with a predominantly Romanian speaking population, as well as by the Romanian communities abroad.
TENNIS – Six Romanian women tennis players are taking part in the Australian Open, the first Grand Slam tournament of the year, which starts in Melbourne on Monday. The best seeded Romanian player, Simona Halep, no.4 WTA and fourth seeded, will meet in the first round the American Shelby Rogers, no. 57 WTA. 27th seeded Irina-Camelia Begu, no. 30 WTA will have a difficult match in the inaugural round, against Iaroslava Shvedova of Kazakhstan. Monica Niculescu (no. 40 WTA) will face in the first round a player coming from the play-offs. Sorana Cîrstea, no. 78 WTA will play against Russian Irina Kromaceva, and Patricia Ţig, no.106 WTA, will play the début match against the Olympic champion, Puerto Rican Monica Puig. Ana Bogdan will face Russian Elena Vesnina. (Translated by Diana Vijeu)