COVID-19 So far 27,296 coronavirus infection cases have been reported in Romania, with 326 new cases confirmed over the past 24 hours Over 20,749 of them have recovered, and 1,667 people died. The healthcare minister Nelu Tătaru announced 2 days ago that the increase in the number of new COVID-19 cases prompted the authorities to postpone the lifting of further restrictions as of July 1. Three relaxation stages have been introduced since mid-May, when Romania switched from a state of emergency to a state of alert. Among the Romanians living abroad, 4,795 have so far tested positive for the novel coronavirus, and 115 of them died.
ECONOMY In Bucharest, in the presence of president Klaus Iohannis and Cabinet members, PM Ludovic Orban is presenting tonight a national economic recovery plan following the coronavirus crisis. The PM has recently stated that the regulations required for the implementation of this plan will be adopted shortly. According to the prime minister, infrastructure investments are a fundamental pillar in upgrading and restarting the economy, because Romania’s priority is modernisation through investments in transport, energy, healthcare, communications, education and agriculture.
NATURAL GAS The Romanian natural gas market is fully liberalised as of July 1. Tariffs are no longer regulated by the government, but by demand and supply mechanisms. The liberalisation comes at a time when the energy market is highly concentrated, with 2 companies accounting for 90% of the household consumers. These companies have sent their clients offers with the same prices as before, and unless they receive an answer, the new contracts will take effect by default. A week ago, the Energy Minister, Virgil Popescu, told AGERPRES news agency that households should pay 10-15% less for natural gas after deregulation. He explained that unless major suppliers cut down prices, the Competition Law enables the government to intervene in the market for a 6-month period.
PARLIAMENT The Parliament of Romania convenes until mid-July for a special session. The Chamber of Deputies is set to discuss a number of bills, including the one setting the date of local elections and an initiative banning people with criminal records from running for public office. On Monday the Deputies will hear PM Ludovic Orban on the procurement contracts signed during the pandemic. In turn, Senate is also to vote on the local elections bill, after the Government decided the election should take place on September 27.
EU Germany will hold the rotating presidency of the Council of the European Union for the next 6 months, taking over from Croatia. The coronavirus crisis and its aftermath is the main challenge for Berlin during this term in office, according to a plan approved by the German government on June 24, and entitled “Together for Europe’s Recovery”. Germany’s priorities also include the completion of the Brexit negotiations and topics like environment protection, digitisation and Europe’s relations with China and the US. With the EU facing the deepest economic recession since World War 2, member states must agree in the following months on a multi-annual budget for 2021-2027 and on the operation of the 750-billion euro European Recovery Fund designed by the European Commission to support the economies of the countries that were hit the worst by the pandemic, particularly Italy and Spain.
PANDEMIC The total number of COVID-19 cases worldwide passes 10.5 million, with the death toll standing at 514,000, and 5.8 million patients recovered, according to Worldometers.info. In the US, the last 24 hours brought over 47,000 new cases, the highest daily rate since the start of the pandemic, Reuters reports. More than 126,000 Americans died and millions have lost their jobs. The economy collapsed in the first quarter, and is expected to further drop in the second one. Meanwhile, the EU has approved today a list of safe countries for non-essential travel. The list, which includes 14 countries (Algeria, Australia, Canada, Georgia, Japan, Montenegro, Morocco, New Zealand, Rwanda, Serbia, South Korea, Thailand, Tunisia, and Uruguay) will be updated every 2 weeks, depending on local COVID-19 developments.
(translated by: Ana-Maria Popescu)