GAS - Romania will have
enough natural gas stored to cover domestic demand in the next cold season, Romania's
Prime Minister Nicolae Ciucă says. On Tuesday, the
Romanian Prime Minister said a new record has been attained: Romania's gas storage capacity from domestic production
reached 70%. Romania is ahead of the European schedule in terms of storing gas,
having already exceeded the target set for August 1. According to the Romanian official,
if the current pace is maintained, Romania will meet the objective set at
European level, namely to store natural gas at least at 80% capacity ahead of
the set deadline, November 1.
INFLATION - The year-on-year
inflation rate reached 15.1% in June, as against 14.5% in May, the National
Statistics Institute announced on Tuesday. According to the institution,
non-foodstuff prices went up nearly 18%, food prices rose by roughly 15% and
the price of services also increased by some 8%. The National Bank of Romania
adjusted its inflation forecast to 12.5% for the end of this year and to 6.7%
for the end of 2023.
REFUGEES - Over the past 24
hours around 226,800 people have crossed the border in and out of Romania, the
Romanian Border Police Inspectorate announced. Of these, over 22,000 are
Ukrainian nationals who came into Romania via various checkpoints. Since the
start of Russia's invasion in Ukraine, more than 1.5 million Ukrainian citizens
have crossed the border into Romania.
COVID-19 - Starting Tuesday,
COVID-19 updates will be released on a daily basis in Romania rather than
weekly, after a steep rise in the number of cases, accounting for a doubling of
new infection numbers every 7 days. On Tuesday the authorities announced over
4,000 people tested positive in 24 hours, out of over 21,000 tests conducted.
Nine COVID-related deaths were also reported, all of them in patients suffering
from prior conditions. The number of hospitalized COVID patients is 1,361, with
90 patients in intensive care. According to experts, the new Omicron
sub-variant that causes the current infection wave around the world, and which
has also been identified in Romania, affects the protection provided both by
the vaccine and by natural immunization, but it generally seems to cause milder
forms of the disease. The health minister Alexandru Rafila announced that
prevention measures remain in place, especially wearing face masks and physical
distancing. COVID-19 vaccines are still recommended by the authorities,
particularly to vulnerable categories.
MOLDOVA - Moldova's
president, Maia Sandu, on Tuesday called on the chief of the European Public
Prosecutor's office (EPPO), Laura Codruța Kovesi, to help Moldovan prosecutors
investigate the frauds committed by wanted oligarchs. The two officials
discussed issues such as the fight against corruption, eliminating abusive
practices in the management of public funds and properties, as well as
providing efficient tools to judicial institutions to help them combat graft.
The Republic of Moldova is committed to joinining the EU, and a functioning
judiciary and combating corruption remain key prerequisites in this process,
president Sandu pointed out. The head of the EPPO is paying an official visit
to Moldova until July 14.
PARTNERSHIP - "Romania has no
better friend" than the US, the US secretary of state Antony Blinken said on
the celebration of 25 years since the launch of the Strategic Partnership
between Washington and Bucharest. In turn, former US ambassadors to Bucharest
state in a letter that the strategic partnership with Romania has proved to be
one of the best investments in Europe for the US. They also say that Romania
plays a decisive part in the defense and strengthening of NATO's eastern flank
and in consolidating stability and security at the Black Sea.
HUNGARY - Romania wants to
build a real strategic partnership with Hungary, Romania's Foreign minister,
Bogdan Aurescu, said on Tuesday at the end of his meeting with his Hungarian
counterpart, Péter Szijjártó. Hungary and Romania are also examining an
increase in the transport capacity for the cross-border gas interconnector, up
to 3 billion cubic meters per year. Minister Aurescu also insisted on the need
to come up with alternative energy resources, with a focus on renewable energy
and nuclear energy. In turn, Minister Szijjártó recalled the high level of
two-way trade, which stood at 11 billion EUR last year, as well as the good neighborly
relations between the two countries. (AMP & VP)