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VISIT - Romania's president, Klaus Iohannis, was today decorated by his Lithuanian counterpart, Gitanas Nauseda, with the "Grand Cross of the Order for Merits to Lithuania" on the sidelines of his visit to this country. In turn, the Romanian president awarded the Lithuanian president the "Romanian Star" National Order 1st class (rank in collar). The distinction exchange was venued at the Presidential Palace in Vilnius. The president is also expected to meet Parliament Speaker, Viktorija Cmilyte-Nielsen and lay floral tributes at the Independence Memorial. On Friday, president Iohannis will attend "The Idea of Europe" symposium held at the Vytautas Magnus University in Kaunas, where he will deliver a keynote speech. Alongside counterparts from Lithuania, Latvia and Poland, Romania's president will attend a summit devoted to strengthening NATO's eastern flank, supporting Ukraine and the Republic of Moldova and promoting European collective memory, with a focus on combating disinformation and attempts at rewriting history. Yesterday, Klaus Iohannis paid an official visit to Latvia where he held talks with president Egils Levits.
NEGOTIATIONS - Bucharest today hosts a new meeting of government officials with representatives of trade unions and employers to address the increase of the national minimum wage. According to Finance Minister, Adrian Câciu, the minimum wage is expected to increase to some 600 EUR, of which 40 EUR will be tax exempted. The measure is expected to come into force starting January 1, 2023. At the same time, the authorities are planning to increase the minimum wage of construction workers to 800 EUR while keeping any existing tax exemptions to boost the development of this sector.
ENERGY - The draft law amending the Government Decree on capping electricity prices was voted by the Chamber of Deputies in Bucharest. The Liberals believe the new version of the law will benefit both household and industrial users. AUR and USR in the opposition believe the law will disrupt the energy market and accuses the ruling coalition of sabotaging the economy and the energy sector.
WAR IN UKRAINE - Millions of Ukrainians were left without electricity, running water or heat last night after Russia yesterday launched a new massive missile attack targeting Ukrainian infrastructure. According to Radio Romania's correspondent in Kyiv, Russia launched 70 missiles, 50 of which were intercepted and destroyed, the rest hitting their targets and resulting in damages and the loss of human lives. Moldova's Foreign Minister, Nicu Popescu, said the attacks in Ukraine caused blackouts in neighboring Moldova as well. Power temporarily went down in approximately 90% of the territory of the Republic of Moldova.
JOINT SESSION - Prime Minister Nicolae Ciucă yesterday met Romanians settled in Castellon de la Plana as part of his visit to Spain. The Romanian official told the Romanian community that the government plans to adopt new measures to improve relations between state institutions and the diaspora. Previously, the governments of Romania and Spain convened in their first joint session, agreeing to start negotiations for signing an agreement on maintaining the double citizenship of Romanians living in Spain and Spanish citizens in Romania. According to Spain's Prime Minister, Pedro Sánchez, Spain is home to over 1 million Romanians. Romania could become the third country in addition to France and Portugal to sign such an agreement with Spain.
SCHENGEN - Romania's Foreign Ministry claims EU's assessment delegation to Romania has once again confirmed our country continues to fulfill all technical criteria to implement the Schengen acquis, including with respect to visa and data protection policies. The delegation comprises experts from the European Commission and the Council of the EU, as well as from the Czech Republic, Germany, the Netherlands and Sweden. Upon meeting his Austrian counterpart, Gerhard Karner, yesterday in Vienna, Romania's Interior Minister, Lucian Bode, provided more information about how Bucharest can ensure the protection of Schengen's external borders.
POWER PLANT - Romania and Bulgaria will resume negotiations for building a hydroelectric power plant in Turnu Măgurele - Nikopol, Energy Minister Virgil Popescu has announced. The plant will have a power capacity of 840 MW, of which 420 MW in Romania. Minister Popescu says that, following talks with his Bulgarian counterpart, Rosen Hristov, the two parties agreed on the necessity of this project for ensuring energy independence and security. Virgil Popescu attended the 26th edition of the Institute of Energy for South-East Europe (IENE) hosted by Athens, Greece.
WORLD CUP - Two former world champions are today playing their first matches at the 2022 World Cup in Qatar: Brazil is taking on Serbia, while Uruguay will play South Korea. In the other fixtures today, Switzerland will take on Cameroon while Portugal will play Ghana. Yesterday, the 2010 world champion Spain trounced Costa Rica 7-0, while the 2014 champions Germany lost surprisingly to Japan 2-1. Belgium defeated Canada narrowly 1-0, while Croatia drew 0-0 against Morocco. (VP)
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