A roundup of domestic and international news.
CORONAVIRUS – Another 1,271 new daily coronavirus cases were reported in Romania in the last 24 hours, with the total number now passing 98,304. Some 41,002 people have recovered since the start of the outbreak. 51 new deaths were also announced on Wednesday, taking the death toll to 4.018. 459 people are currently in intensive care. Health minister Nelu Tataru says a difficult month lies ahead because of the local elections on 27th September and the reopening of schools. He added that if the rules and prevention measures are respected, Romania may see a downward trend in coronavirus cases in mid October.
VISIT - Romania’s ambassador in Minsk paid a visit, alongside colleagues from the EU, to one of the representatives of the Belarusian opposition, writer Svetlana Aleksievich, the winner of the 2015 Nobel prize in literature, Romanian Foreign Minister Bogdan Aurescu has said. He also said the purpose of the visit was to make sure that human rights are observed. “I believe we should keep putting pressure on the government to have an open dialogue with the opposition and stop using repressive means,” Aurescu said. The re-election of Alexander Lukashenko as president of Belarus has been contested both at home and abroad. Thousands of Belarusian protesters have been arrested, some of them even tortured.
DEFICIT - Romania’s trade deficit went up by more than 480 million euros in the first seven month of the year, to almost 10 billion euros, the National Statistics Institute reports. Exports stood at 34.1 billion euros in the first seven months, down by 16.2% as against the same period of 2019. Imports accounted for 44.1 billion euros, down by 12.2% from the same period of the previous year.
MESSAGE - Romania’s president Klaus Iohannis said on Wednesday that the decision to open schools is not an easy one but is the right decision and a necessary one. He called on parents to send their children to school. The school year starts on September 14 in Romania. Classes will be held in keeping with three scenarios depending on the local epidemiological situation.
DIPLOMACY - Spain's foreign minister Arancha Gonzalez Laya attended on Wednesday the annual meeting of the Romanian diplomatic service held in Bucharest. She said that Spain did not have any “geopolitical ambition” in Belarus and the support granted to this country in the context of present tensions, was for the EU’s precious values. On Tuesday, in a message to participants, NATO deputy secretary general Mircea Geoana emphasized that Romania was a vital member of NATO and plays the role of "regional pillar" with respect to defense and deterrence of threats to NATO. He said that older security threats were made worse by the pandemic, including in the Black Sea area. Russia, Geoana also said, continues its pattern of aggressive behavior with disinformation campaigns, cyber attacks and military actions. He added that China's global rise changes the international balance existing so far and that the allies must pay attention to this process. A guest of honor at the meeting, the EU high representative for foreign affairs and security policy Josep Borrell said in his address that the European Union must come out stronger from the crisis generated by the pandemic. We must continue to work together in a more strategic and integrated way, to develop a common European response to wider geopolitical challenges and trends, Borrell also said. Because of the coronavirus pandemic, the annual meeting of Romanian diplomats has for the first time been held online, in video-conference format.
(Translated by E. Enache)