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A roundup of domestic and international news
Economy. The European Commission has improved its forecast regarding the growth of the Romanian economy this year, from 3.9%, as it anticipated in July, to 5.8%, according to the autumn economic forecasts, published on Friday. After a solid year in 2022, Romania's economy is expected to slow down, with a growth of approximately 2% in the coming years, due to higher inflation, tougher financial conditions and the negative effects of Russia's invasion of Ukraine. According to the EC, inflation would reach its peak at the end of this year, still remaining at a high level in 2023, before falling in 2024. The data published on Friday by the National Institute of Statistics in Romania show that the annual rate of inflation dropped to 15.32% in October this year, from 15.88% in September, while the prices of foodstuffs increased by more than 20%, those of non-food goods were higher by more by 14%, and services were more expensive by over 8%.
Energy. The Romanian Government on Friday passed an emergency ordinance establishing a mechanism for the centralized purchase of electricity at a fixed price of some 90 EUR/megawatt. The Government thus wants to protect end users and the economy as a whole. Prime Minister Nicolae Ciucă explained that electricity prices are capped at 0.68 Lei for household users with a total monthly consumption under 100 kilowatts, at 0.80 Lei for household users with a total consumption between 100 and 255 kilowatts per month, and at 1 Leu for SMEs. Parliament will also pass a number of amendments whereby electricity prices will be set at 1.3 Lei for large energy consumers. Household users with electricity consumption above 255 kilowatts are also targeted by this measure, although the price for the first 255 kilowatts will be 0.80 Lei. The provisions are temporary and apply starting next year until March 31, 2025.
Peace Forum. On Friday, the President of Romania, Klaus Iohannis, had a meeting with his counterpart from North Macedonia, Stevo Pendarovski, on the sidelines of the Paris Peace Forum. The head of the Romanian state appreciated the very good level of relations between the two countries, encouraging the continuation of the intensification of bilateral dialogue, with an emphasis on the economic and investment fields. President Iohannis reconfirmed Romania's firm support for the European course of North Macedonia, welcoming the recent opening of the EU accession negotiations. Stevo Pendarovski appreciated Romania's constant support for North Macedonia's European path. President Klaus Iohannis is participating in the 5th edition of the Paris Peace Forum, which this year focuses on major issues such as geopolitical conflicts with global consequences, the worsening of climate change, the effects of the COVID pandemic and the increase in social inequality.
Borders. The fourth checkpoint on the Romanian-Ukrainian border was opened on Thursday in a ceremony attended by the Prime Ministers of Romania and Ukraine, Nicolae Ciucă and Denys Shmyhal, respectively. The new checkpoint, Vicovu de sus - Krasnoilsk, will help facilitate the transit of people and goods between the two states , the Romanian Prime Minister said. This is the first checkpoint to open since the start of the Russian invasion of Ukraine on February 24. Since then, some 2.8 million Ukrainians have entered Romania, most of whom were in route to Western Europe. A few thousand filed for and received asylum in Romania, benefiting from every right under Romanian law. Some 70,000 Ukrainians now have stay permits.
School violence. School violence was discussed by representatives of the Education Ministry in Bucharest and of school inspectorates and social workers in the education system, in a debate expected to continue early next week with other stakeholders. Proposals to improve the legal framework in this field and increase the level of security of students and teaching staff are being analyzed. Another priority is to identify schooling units that are particularly exposed to acts of violence. The Ministry of the Interior will also carry out activities meant to prevent and combat acts of violence and support victims of school violence.
Veterans. Romania's president, Klaus Iohannis, on Friday conveyed a message marking the Day of Veterans in Theatres of Operations, whom he described as "genuine examples of devotion for one's homeland", fighting for national ideals and self-sacrifice role models for the future generations. President Iohannis said that Romanian servicemen command the respect and devotion of their peers in allied and partner states due to their sense of duty and professionalism on the battlefield. The Romanian president recalled that, on November 11, 1918, the Entente and Germany signed the ceasefire that ended the Great War. "On this day, we are also grateful to the veterans of the Second World War, as well as the servicemen currently engaged in international operations led by NATO, the EU, the UN and other coalitions Romania is part of", the head of state also said.
Moldova. The President of the European Parliament, Roberta Metsola, reaffirmed, on Friday in Chisinau, her firm support for the Republic of Moldova. The message was expressed both at the meeting she had with President Maia Sandu, and in the Parliament of the Republic of Moldova gathered in a special session. She emphasized that the European Union will continue to help the Republic of Moldova diversify its energy markets and prevent the destabilization of the internal situation. Metsola also spoke about the financial support that Brussels will continue to offer to Chisinau, as well as about the intensification of transport connections and commercial exchanges. "Europe is with you and we will continue to be with you", the Brussels official promised. In turn, President Maia Sandu stressed that the war started by Russia demonstrated to everyone, once again, that European integration is the only way for a peaceful development of the Republic of Moldova and the only chance for it to survive as a democracy. (MI)
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