A roundup of domestic and international news.
CORONAVIRUS – In Romania, 2086 new coronavirus infections and 37 deaths have been reported in the last 24 hours alone. The total number of people infected since the start of the pandemic gets close to 130 thousand while the death toll is 4,862. Some 577 patients are in the ICU. Health Minister Nelu Tataru said Thursday that 176 of them need mechanical ventilation. PM Ludovic Orban said he is concerned about the big number of new infections and said he wants protective measures to be applied in a more serious manner. He also said coronavirus hotbeds have been signaled at events involving many people and on public transport and insisted on rules like disinfection, mask wearing and physical distance to be strictly respected in schools and universities.
ELECTIONS – The Electoral Bureau of Bucharest’s District 1 rejected the idea that some of its members helped hide several bags of ballot papers from last Sunday’s local elections and explained in a release that the footage presented in the media was meant to manipulate viewers. The Electoral Bureau also says that everything in the footage is legal and part of the normal vote counting procedure. Contenders in the elections for mayor of District 1 and the political parties supporting them exchanged accusations all throughout Thursday. PM Ludovic Orban said he finds it hard to understand why mayors who lost the elections resort to lies. The Police and the Prosecutor’s Office have started an investigation. Interior Minister, Marcel Vela, announced in his turn that 23 people who signed seven voting minutes regarding the elections in District 1 will be heard, to check if they filled out the papers correctly. We remind you that at the September 27 elections the Social Democratic Party (PSD) lost its total control over the capital Bucharest and only won the mayor seat in one of Bucharest’s districts. Nicusor Dan, an independent candidate supported by the Liberals and the centre-right alliance USR-PLUS is the new mayor of Bucharest.
ECONOMY - The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development has revised downwards its estimation for Romania’s economy in the next two years, due to the coronavirus crisis, the institution said in a release on Thursday. Thus, Romania will see a 5% economic decrease this year, as against a 4% drop forecast in May. Also, EBRD expects a 3% increase in Romania’s GDP, down 1% from its May forecast.
MEETING - Romania's President Klaus Iohannis is attending the European Council meeting in Brussels on Thursday and Wednesday. High on the agenda are topical issues like the EU single market, industrial and digital policy. The European leaders are going to also tackle international issues such as the EU's relations with China and Turkey. Iohannis is expected to stand for a strong and consolidated single market to be able to support the development of the EU member states. According to the Romanian president, the development of the transport, energy, environment and digital infrastructure is essential for countries like Romania, located at the EU's geographic limits. President Iohannis is expected to hail the importance attached to the EU's digital transformation and will refer to the sums of money granted to the development of advanced technologies in the field. Iohannis will also refer to the social challenges the single market entails besides the incontestable opportunities and stand for the protection of the vulnerable categories, including the temporary workers, whose situation must improve through the concerted action of the European institutions and member states. (Translated by Elena Enache)