A roundup of local and international news.
SUPPORT - Over two thirds of the measures included in the “Support for Romania” package worth 3.4 billion euros have been implemented and are yielding results, PM Nicolae Ciuca said on Sunday. Moreover, the Brussels officials have agreed to give Romania another 412-million euro grants for productive activities, Ciuca explained. These funds are to be used for investment with a major impact on the economy, in sectors like road transport, for compensating losses caused by higher fuel prices as well as for salaries in agriculture and aid for low-income persons. The Government is preparing other economic and social measures such as the “Family Start” loan programme for young people who want to start a family.
VACCINATION – Immunization with the fourth dose of the anti-Covid vaccine starts on Monday in Romania and is available upon request at vaccination centres and GP practices. According to the Health Ministry, eligible are all people aged over 18 already immunized with three doses. Vaccination with the fourth dose can be made four months after the third dose and the vaccine used will be Pfizer BioNtech.
CENSUS – The online census, the first stage of a population and household census in Romania, which should have ended on Sunday, has been extended by two weeks, until May 27. The decision was taken by the authorities following that fact that, in the last week, the average daily number of filled in questionnaires went up to 450 thousand. Some 8.4 million Romanians have so far filled in the form. Romanians who do not have access to the Internet will be interviewed at home between May 31 and July 17. The census started on March 14.
DIPLOMACY – Foreign Minister Bogdan Aurescu who attended a two-day informal meeting of the North Atlantic Council (NAC) at the level of Ministers of Foreign Affairs held in Berlin, said Romania supports the accession of Finland and Sweden to the Alliance and that Bucharest is ready to support the fast NATO accession of the two countries. He also stressed the importance, to Romania, of the two states’ contribution to the consolidation of NATO’s defence and deterrence posture on the Eastern Flank in a balanced manner, from the Baltic Sea to the Black Sea, for the long run. Aurescu also said the new Strategic Concept to be adopted by the Alliance members at the end of June must be based on the concept of collective defence and reflect the fact that Russia remains the main threat to NATO.
UKRAINE – Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenski said Saturday night that the situation remains very difficult in the Donbas region after its troops freed the city of Harkiv from the pressure of Russian artillery and launched a counteroffensive in the town of Izyum, a strategic point for Russia in its effort to control eastern Ukraine. On another hand, Russian missiles hit military infrastructure in the Lviv region, in the west. According to Kyiv Independent hundreds of civilian cars left Mariupol after days of waiting and reached Zaporojie safely, while the drama of the soldiers caught in the Azovstal plant continues. Local officials in Mariupol published images showing that Russia used phosphor bombs in the attacks on Azovstal. (EE)