A roundup of domestic and international news.
European Prosecutor’s Office - Romania will delegate 15 prosecutors to work at the European Public Prosecutor’s Office headed by the country's former anti-graft chief, Laura Codruta Kovesi. Romania has an additional 5 seats than announced initially, Romanian Justice Minister Catalin Predoiu has said. At the recent informal meeting of EU justice ministers, Predoiu said the institution should be rendered operational as soon as possible. The activity of the European Public Prosecutor’s Office, tasked with fighting European funds fraud, may be subject to delays at a time when Brussels prepares to allocate tens of billions of euros to the countries affected by the coronavirus pandemic, France Press reports. Appointed European chief prosecutor in 2019, Laura Codruta Kovesi took the oath of office at the end of September, alongside her 22 colleagues from EU countries.
Coronavirus - Romanian President Klaus Iohannis said on Friday he did not want a second lockdown in Romania but that restrictive measures must be enforced where there is no other solution. The head of state also stressed the need for protective measures to be observed. “We should not panic but we must be aware that we are in a very serious public situation and if we want our lives to be close to normal we must respect the rules,” Iohannis also said. Some 3,186 new cases of SARS-CoV-2 infection were reported in Romania in the past 24 hours, following the testing of almost 30,000 people across the country. Also, 52 deaths were reported, the Strategic Communication Group announced. The total death toll is now 5,300. This is the second consecutive day when Romania reports more than 3 thousand new cases of COVID-19. Since the onset of the pandemic in late February Romania has reported more than 149 thousand cases. Over 115 thousand people have recovered. 613 people are currently in ICUs. In the capital Bucharest there are tens of corona hotbeds, the total number of infections exceeding 21,000, with 2.28 cases per 1,000 inhabitants.
Hospitality industry - In Bucharest, PM Ludovic Orban met on Friday with hospitality industry representatives, an industry strongly impacted by the pandemic, to discuss measures taken by the government to support it. On Thursday, the government discussed for the first time a draft emergency decree that exempts hospitality industry companies from specific tax payment until the end of the year. The same decree provides for deferral of the overdue payment deadline for taxpayers by one year, during which they can pay in monthly installments.
Nobel Prize - The Norwegian Nobel Committee on Friday in Oslo awarded the Nobel Peace Prize 2020 to World Food Programme (WFP) "for its efforts to combat hunger, for its contribution to bettering conditions for peace in conflict-affected areas and for acting as a driving force in efforts to prevent the use of hunger as a weapon of war and conflict." The WFP, a United Nations entity, was created in 1961 and today provides food to over 100 million people a year. The Nobel Peace Prize is one of the most prestigious in the world and recognizes people who have contributed the most towards ending conflict, promoting peace and building relationships between nations.
Pandemic – Europe surpassed 100,000 daily reported COVID-19 cases for the first time on Thursday, after countries such as Russia and United Kingdom saw no respite in the mounting number of infections every day in the past five days, Reuters reports. The epicenter of the outbreak in the European region has moved to the United Kingdom, Russia, Spain and France, which have reported at least over 10,000 cases each in the last three days. On Friday Russia reported its highest daily coronavirus cases ever since the last record in May, prompting Moscow authorities to close bars and nightclubs. The United Kingdom recorded more than 17,000 cases on Thursday. Spain’s government invoked a state of emergency on Friday to impose a partial lockdown on Madrid. With 850 COVID-19 infections per 100,000 people, the Madrid area has Europe’s highest infection rate. Europe currently has recorded over 16% of total global coronavirus cases and nearly 22% of deaths worldwide due to the virus. On Thursday, when daily reported cases breached the 100,000 mark, Eastern Europe was the worst affected region with over 33,600 daily reported cases, Reuters reports.
Holocaust – The Romanian President Klaus Iohannis on Friday conveyed a message on the occasion of the National Holocaust Remembrance Day, paying homage to the victims and honoring the survivors. The Romanian President has equally condemned the atrocities that have for ever mutilated Romania’s history. ‘On behalf of all Romanians, I am strongly stating that we will never forget the innocent victims and, at the same time, we are pledging to never allow such a tragedy to happen’ says the President’s message. The Foreign Ministry officials also paid homage to the victims of the Holocaust and asked for national and international action to be taken to fight the proliferation of instigation to hatred and anti-Semitism in the online environment. In the 1940s hundreds of thousands of Jews of Romanian origin were deported to Transdniester (east) by Ion Antonescu’s pro-German regime in Bucharest or sent to the Nazi extermination camps by the Hungarian fascists that, at the time, occupied a great part of Transylvania. (translated by Elena Enache)