Visit - Jill Biden, the wife of U.S. President Joe Biden, continues her visit to Romania today. In Bucharest, she met with Carmen Iohannis, the wife of Romania's President Klaus Iohannis, and she will pay a visit to a school that hosts Ukrainian refugee students. Also today, Jill Biden is to meet with Government members, with the staff of the American Embassy, as well as with humanitarian aid workers. On Friday, the first day of her visit, Jill Biden met with the U.S. and NATO soldiers at Mihail Kogalniceanu base (southeast). The American president's wife is on a tour which will also include Slovakia, to show the US’s commitment to Ukrainian refugees. She is accompanied by the Deputy Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs, Karen Donfried. The delegation also includes former U.S. Ambassador to Bucharest between 2009 and 2012 Mark Gitenstein, currently U.S. Ambassador to the EU and his wife Elizabeth Gitenstein.
Refugees – Ukrainian children refugees in Romania will be able to be registered in a computer application, regardless of whether they are with their family or not. The platform will be developed and adapted by the Ministry of Family, Youth and Equal Opportunities in collaboration with UNICEF Romania and the non-governmental organization "Save the children". Since the beginning of the armed conflict on the territory of Ukraine, almost 40,000 children from the neighboring country have arrived in Romania, who have crossed the border with their parents or unaccompanied. The application, which has been successfully used in the case of other states amid the influx of refugees caused by the war, provides that the authorities should know about the location of the Ukrainian children left in Romania, even if they are with their parents or relatives. At least 80,700 people, including more than 8,000 Ukrainian citizens (up by 4.3% compared to the previous day), entered Romania through the border crossings on Friday. Since the invasion of Ukraine by Russian troops, over 860 thousand Ukrainians have crossed the Romanian border, most of them transiting to other countries.
Grants - The Romanian Government has decided to grant non-reimbursable loans worth 300 million Euros to companies operating in agriculture and the food industry. The authorities pre-notified the European Commission about the state aid scheme, and the relevant minister Marcel Boloş is convinced that the community forum will approve the request without any problems. Companies will receive non-reimbursable loans for working capital, in order to buy raw materials or fuels. The measure will support seasonal works in agriculture and will combat the rise in fuel and chemical fertilizer prices.
Ukraine – The UN Security Council on Friday unanimously approved a declaration giving ‘strong support’ to the UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres ‘in working out a peaceful solution’ to the war between Russia and Ukraine. In Washington, U.S. President Joe Biden announced a new security assistance package for Ukraine that will provide additional ammunition consisting in artillery, radars and other equipment, but he warned that the funds earmarked for weapons destined for Kyiv are now ‘virtually depleted.’ On Sunday, the G7 leaders will have a virtual meeting to discuss the war in Ukraine, which will also be attended by the Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, Germany, the country holding the organization's presidency this year, announced. On the ground, Kyiv is still making diplomatic efforts to rescue the remaining fighters in the Azovstal steelworks, the last Ukrainian forces’ stronghold in the port city of Mariupol, after fifty civilians were evacuated on Friday by a new humanitarian convoy. Also on Friday, the Russian troops continued to launch rocket attacks on regions in southern Ukraine. On the other hand, about two and a half months after being recognized by Russia, the self-proclaimed people's republics of the East, Donetsk and Luhansk, have appointed ambassadors to Moscow. After the failure to conquer Kyiv, Russia's war effort is currently focused on supporting and expanding Russian separatist areas in eastern Ukraine.
Campaign - The Representation of the European Commission in Romania has launched the communication campaign "Faces of European solidarity", in the context of the anniversary of Europe Day on May 9th, when the signing of the Schuman Declaration of 1950 is marked. It is a photo exhibition by photojournalists documenting the solidarity of Romanians with people who left Ukraine following the Russian invasion. The campaign will run for a month, and the photos will be exhibited in Bucharest in different spaces, at the metro stations, the Henri Coanda Airport, and also in the online environment.
Paris - Emmanuel Macron was sworn-in on Saturday at the Elysee Palace as President of France for a new five-year term, AFP reports. In a short speech, he called for continued action to make France a more independent and powerful nation. We remind you that Macron won the second round of the presidential elections, on April 24, in front of the far-right candidate Marine Le Pen, with 58.55% of the votes. On Sunday, he will take part in the festivities marking the anniversary of the Allied victory over Nazi Germany on May 8, 1945. On Monday, Europe Day, he is expected in Strasbourg to address the European Parliament. Emmanuel Macron will then travel to Berlin on the same day to meet with German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, this being his first trip abroad after being re-elected.
SPP – On the Day of the Protection and Guard Service (SPP), the Romanian Prime Minister Nicolae-Ionel Ciucă conveyed a message showing his appreciation and respect for the professionalism of the specialists of this essential structure in the national security system. 32 years after its establishment, SPP successfully manages all the missions entrusted to it, benefiting from the trust of the Romanian institutions, as well as of the institutions within NATO and the EU member states. The modernization process and the permanent adaptation to the challenges they have to manage, together with the devotion of the SPP professionals, prepares the ground for strengthening this elite structure of the Romanian state, the prime minister said. SPP ensures the protection of Romanian and foreign dignitaries during their stay in Romania, and also the security of their work offices and residences. (LS)