Gas. In Romania, the production of natural gas from the Black Sea, part of the Midia development project, has started, and the first quantities have arrived in the national transport system, the Blacksea Oil & Gas Company has announced. The project consists of five production wells, a shore monitored and operated rig and a 126-kilometer submarine pipeline, which connects to the new gas treatment plant in Corbu commune, Constanţa county (southeast). This year, production is estimated at half a billion cubic meters of gas. Midia is the first new project to exploit natural gas in the Romanian continental shelf of the Black Sea in the last 30 years and will cover 10% of the domestic demand.
Visit. Romania and France have increased their security cooperation recently amid the crisis generated by Russia's military aggression in Ukraine, said Romanian president Klaus Iohannis after talks with his French counterpart Emmanuel Macron at the Mihail Kogălniceanu air base in Constanţa county, in south-eastern Romania. During a joint press briefing, Iohannis again thanked France for the deployment of military and its coordination of NATO's new battle group in Romania. The two presidents talked about the need to consolidate the deterrence and defence posture on the NATO eastern flank, especially in the Black Sea, NATO's new strategic concept and the accession of Finland and Sweden. Emmanuel Macron said Romanian-French relations are based on a friendship that goes back two centuries. He added that the two countries wish to further boost bilateral cooperation and that an ambitious plan is being worked on, at the request of the Romanian authorities, to support the Romanian Navy. The agenda of talks also included Romania's accession to the Schengen free movement area and its active involvement in the protection of the EU's external borders. Emmanuel Macron's next stop was the Republic of Moldova, where he will be received by president Maia Sandu.
Ukraine. US Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin on Wednesday urged Western countries to step up their arms deliveries to Ukraine to allow it to defend itself against the Russian invading forces. "Ukraine is facing a key moment on the battlefield. Therefore, we need to step up our efforts so that it can defend itself, "Austin said during a meeting at the NATO headquarters of the so-called contact group set up by the US to help Ukraine. Earlier, the Ukrainian Defense Ministry said it had received only about 10 percent of the weapons it had requested from its Western partners. For his part, President Volodymyr Zelensky urged the West to send more weapons and military equipment quickly, because "the Russians have 10, 100 times more", he said. Russia also announced on Wednesday that it had destroyed a depot housing weapons delivered by NATO countries to western Ukraine with cruise missile fire.
Protest. Some 8,000 members of healthcare unions staged a protest outside the government headquarters on Wednesday. They mainly requested higher pay, bonuses, holiday vouchers and the elimination of the 30% cap on bonuses, compensations and other salary rights for healthcare workers. Protesters say the Romanian government in the last two years has systematically violated the salary law by blocking salary increases. The most impacted have been the employees with the lowest salaries in the system. Members of the Columna Federation, the largest trade union in the welfare sector, also took to the streets asking for bigger salaries and a proper funding of their activities.
Corruption. Romanian Interior Minister Lucian Bode announced on Wednesday that extradition proceedings from neighboring Bulgaria for the former Tourism Minister Elena Udrea, convicted of corruption, would be completed by June 20. The relevant Romanian bodies will proceed to take over and transfer her to a unit of the National Administration of Penitentiaries, Bode specified. On June 10, the Sofia Court of Appeal admitted the request of the Romanian authorities regarding the extradition of the former minister, who has to execute in Romania a sentence of 6 years of imprisonment in the so-called Gala Bute case. The process lasted seven years, and during this time the former minister fled the country, in 2018, to Costa Rica, where she would have obtained political asylum. By a final decision, the Bulgarian court ordered the execution of the European arrest warrant issued for Elena Udrea and her extradition to Romania. The media in Bucharest considers Elena Udrea (48 years old) the most influential character in the entourage of the former president of Romania between 2004 and 2014, Traian Băsescu (70 years old). Under his protection she had a remarkable political rise, marked by mandates of general councilor in Bucharest, presidential adviser, deputy, minister and, after passing through the National-Liberal and Democratic-Liberal parties, she became the president of the Popular Movement Party (PMP), founded by Basescu. In 2014, Udrea was the PMP candidate for the Romanian presidency and obtained 5.20% of the votes in the first round. Her conviction comes after, on March 23, the High Court of Cassation and Justice finally ruled that former President Basescu collaborated in his youth with the Securitate, the political police of the communist dictatorship.
Production. Ireland (minus 30.9%), Slovakia (minus 9.6%), Malta (minus 9.4%) and Romania (minus 6.9%) registered in April, compared to the same period in 2021 , the most significant decrease in industrial production in the European Union, according to the European Statistical Office (Eurostat). By contrast, the largest increases in industrial production were reported in Lithuania (20.6%), Denmark (17%) and Bulgaria (16.9%). Overall, industrial production fell by 2% in the euro zone and by 0.5% in the European Union.
Tennis. On Wednesday ,Romanian tennis player Sorana Cirstea qualified for the quarterfinals of the WTA 250 tournament in Birmingham, England, with 251,750 dollars in prize money, after winning 6-1, 6-1 the match against the Serbian Aleksandra Krunic. It took Cirstea an hour and 12 minutes to score the victory, and her next opponent will be Catherine McNally (USA) or Donna Vekic (Croatia). Also on Wednesday, the Romanian Simona Halep, former world leader, won the match with the British Harriet Dart. On Thursday, Gabriela Ruse will take on the Chinese Shuai Zhang.
Football. The three Romanian teams in the Europa Conference League in football will have accessible opponents in the second preliminary round, according to the draw made on Wednesday, in Switzerland, in Nyon. Thus, the vice-champion of Romania, FCSB, from Bucharest, will play against the winner of the match between FC Saburtalo (Georgia) and Partizani Tirana (Albania). Sepsi OSK Sfântu Gheorghe (center), winner of the Romanian Cup, will face either Olimpja Ljubljana (Slovenia) or Differdange 03 (Luxembourg). The University of Craiova (South) will play against the KF Vllaznia Shkoder team, which won the Albanian Cup. Round-trip matches are scheduled for July. On Tuesday, the draw decided that the holder of the title of champion in Romania, CFR Cluj (northwest), will play in the first preliminary round of the Champions League with Piunik Yerevan from Armenia and, if it qualifies for the second round, with the winner of the match between F91 Dudelange from Luxembourg and KF Tirana from Albania. If eliminated, CFR will play in the second preliminary round of the Europa Conference League with the winner of the qualifying tournament in which Levadia Tallinn (Estonia), Vikingur Reykjavik (Iceland), La Fiorita (San Marino) and Inter Club d'Escaldes (Andorra) will participate. (MI)