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A look at the main headline-making events this past week
The state of alert has been extended in Romania, due to the Covid-19 pandemic
Faced with a big number of new coronavirus infections, which stands at around 10 thousand every day, Romania will remain in a state of alert for at least one month. The decision was adopted by the Executive on Thursday, with the PM previously stating in parliament he did not wish to impose more restrictive measures, other than those already in place. As of this week, wearing a mask is mandatory in all public spaces, both indoors and outdoors, traveling at night is only allowed for justified reasons and based on supporting documents, all schools will function online and stores can stay open only until 9 p.m. Protective measures must be observed, because this is the only way in which the number of new cases can drop, president Klaus Iohannis has stressed. The head of state has also said that the measures put in place a few weeks ago are already starting to show good signs, but that has not been enough, because new challenges arise every day. On the other hand, the president believes that the anti-Covid-19 vaccine will reach Romania in the first quarter next year, and the first to take the jab will be the medical staff.
There's been a risk of getting into a 'geometric progression' in the past two weeks, but the tendency now is towards a ceiling, according to PM Ludovic Orban. The tests results in the past few days show that the growth tendency has been tempered and a flat line is expected, although we cannot clearly say we are there yet, the Prime Minister has also stated.
On the other hand, several localities, including cities, have been placed under quarantine this week. Healthcare workers, who have repeatedly demanded financial benefits, protective equipment and more staff, have organized protests and have discussed their claims with Government representatives.
The National Institute of Statistics confirms Romania's economic recovery in Q3
According to the Finance Minister Florin Citu, macro information this week confirms the scenario of the recovery of the Romanian economy in the third quarter of this year. Citu said in a government meeting on Thursday that the average net income for September increased by 7.8% compared to the same period last year, and inflation, which continued to fall down to 2.1%, was the lowest since 2017. Florin Cîţu, who presented the latest economic developments, also said that Romania had registered the fifth month of growth of industrial production, that all the positive data were visible in revenues, and the foundation for next week's budget adjustment would start from there. The data presented on Friday by the NIS confirm the minister's statements - Romania registered an economic decrease of 6% in the third quarter of 2020, compared to the similar period of 2019, but compared to the previous quarter of this year it registered an increase of 5.6%. "It's a good sign. Of course, we must not be overly optimistic, but it is clear that we are on a recovery trend and this must be supported by investments, by absorbing European funds, by supporting companies and by attracting private investments", Prime Minister Ludovic Orban also said.
Romania's President Klaus Iohannis congratulates the US President-Elect, the Democrat Joe Biden
President Klaus Iohannis has sent a congratulatory message to the President-elect of the United States, the Democrat Joe Biden, stating that Romania, as a reliable strategic partner of the United States, remains firmly committed to promoting common strategic security, defense and economic goals. "Bucharest stands firmly by Washington's side to deal with the current challenges, from health to the economy and climate change, and from security to human rights, our goal being to ensure a better future for our peoples. As a strategic partner of the United States and an ally in NATO, Romania remains committed to contributing to defense spending and to the security, prosperity and resilience of the global community of democracies" the Romanian head of state's message also reads. "I look forward to celebrating, in 2021, the 10th anniversary of the Joint Declaration on the Strategic Partnership for the 21st Century between Romania and the United States, adopted during your term as Vice President," said President Klaus Iohannis.
The Romanian Foreign Ministry grants 250 thousand Euro for projects to support Moldovan civil society and independent press
The Romanian Foreign Ministry has decided to provide 250 thousand Euro for projects aimed at supporting civil society and the independent press in the neighboring Republic of Moldova, the former Soviet country with a predominantly Romanian-speaking population. The contribution is covered from this year's budget for international cooperation for development and humanitarian aid, and will be granted via the European Endowment for Democracy (EED) organization, established in 2013 by the EU as an independent, complementary mechanism for providing fast and flexible technical and financial support to democratisation and human rights promotion in the European Neighbourhood. The decision is part of Romania's policy to support the the European path of Moldova, the country where the second round of the presidential elections will be held on Sunday. Following the results of the first round, held two weeks ago, voters will have to choose between the pro-Europe candidate Maia Sandu and the current pro-Russia president Igor Dodon. The last stage of the election campaign in the Republic of Modova was held against the background of an unexpected government reshuffle in Chisinau. Five Democrats in Chicu's Government were dismissed and replaced by people close to the Socialist Party. The decision put an end to the governing coalition. So, now, the Government is de facto a minority one, as it is supported by only 37 Socialist deputies, while a majority would need at least 51 votes. (M.Ignatescu)
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