HEALTHCARE – A two-hour strike will be staged in hospitals across Romania on Monday, with only emergency medical service being provided. Healthcare protesters are unhappy with the 30% cap on bonuses and say the introduction of the new salary grid has slashed some of the salaries by as much as 215 euros. In addition, the salaries of medical doctors and nurses have gone up, while the salaries of orderlies, stretchers, biologists, pharmacists, radiologists and midwives have remained unchanged. The SANITAS trade federation has gathered over 50,000 signatures which allows them to call an all-out strike on May 11. In recent days, healthcare unionists have had talks with the ministries of Labor, Healthcare and Finance, without reaching consensus. They are scheduled to have a new round of talks with Prime Minister Viorica Dancila.
EU-NATO RELATIONS – Cooperation between the EU and NATO in the military field will intensify over the coming period. This is the conclusion of an informal meeting of EU defense ministers held in Sofia. The EU High Representative for Foreign Policy and Security, Federica Mogherini, said by mid-June the EU will submit proposals for the new instrument of peace and stability aimed at contributing to preventing crises. The instrument will also finance the activity of collective defense. Over the last year a total of 17 projects have been created to this end. The EU also plans to increase its investment in military infrastructure. The Union will cooperate with the UN and NATO to prevent conflicts in Africa, the Mediterranean Sea and the Western Balkans. State Secretary for Defense, Planning and International Relations Mircea Dusa represented Romania at the meeting. According to a Defense Ministry release, Romania continues to support the operationalization of the Permanent Structured Cooperation in a pragmatic and result-oriented manner.
NAVALNY – The European Union and Amnesty International have condemned the use of violence to disperse the crowd of protesters in Moscow, where the Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny was arrested at a rally protesting against Vladimir Putin, who is due to be sworn in for his fourth consecutive term in office. Over 1,500 people were arrested in protests held in Moscow and other large cities across the Russian Federation. According to Radio Romania’s correspondent on the ground, the City Hall did not sanction the protest action in central Moscow, authorizing a different place and urging the population not to join an unauthorized protest. Alexei Navalny’s supporters rallied in the city center and the police charged the crowd with the truncheons and smoke grenades. At the same time, pro-Kremlin nationalist actions were staged in Moscow, some of their activists allegedly trying to attack some of Navalny’s supporters.
EUROPE DAY – Celebrated on May 9, Europe Day is being marked this weekend in Romania and other countries in Europe. Bucharest is hosting the fifth edition of the European Member States Market, consisting of workshops, concerts and culinary events specific to each member of the EU. Attending the event, Romanian Minister Delegate for European Affairs, Victor Negrescu, spoke about Romania preparing to take over the presidency of the European Council in early 2019. Minister Negrescu believes the EU has overcome the Brexit shock and is looking towards the future. Referring to the European Union Members Market, Victor Negrescu said the project is aimed at showcasing what Romania has to offer: traditions, values and particular strengths, which in turn contribute to what Europe today means. British Ambassador to Bucharest Paul Brummel recalled the EU and the UK have reached an agreement to protect the rights of British and EU citizens after Brexit.
VOLLEYBALL – CSM Volei Alba Blaj is the first Romanian women’s volley club to ever qualify to the Champions League final. On Saturday, CSM Alba Blaj defeated Galatasaray Istanbul of Turkey 3-1 in Bucharest. CSM will today play the final against the defending champions VakiBank Istanbul, which on Saturday defeated Imoco Volley Conegliano of Italy 3-2.
TENNIS – Romanian tennis player Irina Begu, 36 WTA, on Saturday ousted Latvia’s Jelena Ostapenko 6-3, 6-3 in the first round of the WTA tournament in Madrid, totaling some 6.7 million euros in prize money. In the second round Begu will go up against Maria Sharapova of Russia, who knocked out Romanian Mihaela Buzarnescu in the first round. Another two Romanians are have qualified to the second round: Simona Halep, WTA no. 1, who ousted Ekaterina Makarova of Russia, 6-1, 6-nil while Sorana Cirstea defeated Katerina Siniakova of the Czech Republic, 6-4, 2-6, 6-4. In the doubles competition, Simona Halep and Irina Begu will play Nicole Melichar of the United States and Kveta Peschke of the Czech Republic. Mihaela Buzarnescu and Alize Cornet of France will take on Andreja Klepac of Slovenia and Maria Jose Martinez Sanchez of Spain. Finaly, Sorana Cirstea and Sara Sorribes Tormo of Spain will play Julia Georges of Germany and Karolina Pliskova of the Czech Republic.
(Translated by V. Palcu)