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June 28- July 2 2021
The government in Bucharest survives its first censure motion
The Liberal government led by Florin Citu survived its first censure motion, introduced by its main opponent, the Social Democratic Party, which was angry at the executive's handling of key issues and the way in which it put together the National Plan for Recovery and Resiliency. During debates, the Social Democrats claimed that the governing coalition does not grant rights to education and health, ignores constitutional provisions, and promotes economic policies that lead to a low standard of living. On the other side, PM Florin Citu said that the Romanian economy sidestepped the biggest crisis in the last 100 years, while the coalition is strong and prepared to continue to govern, in spite of the alleged boycott by the Social Democrats aimed at reforms by the executive. According to the premier, interest rates stay low, and the income of Romanians grows faster than the rate of inflation, which results in a higher purchasing power. Only 201 MPs voted in favor of the motion, from the SDP and the ultra-nationalist AUR. Ruling coalition MPs fell in line with the decision to not exercise the right to vote.
On July 1, Romania introduces green certificates and further relaxation in anti-COVID measures
Starting on July 1, the EU introduced the COVID digital certificate, which assures that the holder is vaccinated, cured of COVID-19, or has tested negative recently for SARS-CoV2. The new document, universal for the entire EU, is meant to facilitate access to member states. The QR code document can be printed on downloaded on a smartphone, and can be read by border security with a special scanner. Validity varies, from 24 hours from an antigen test, to a year in the case of people who are fully vaccinated. In Romania, in order to issue the digital COVID certificate, the Special Telecommunications Service has created a secure website: certificat-covid.gov.ro. At the same time, the positive evolution of the epidemic in Romania of late had the authorities lift some measures on July 1. Opening right now are open air fairs and markets; B&Bs and hotels can open at maximum capacity, along with gyms. Restaurants and cafes can stay open up to 2 AM at maximum capacity, but clubs and bars are only accessible to people who have been vaccinated. Private events can run with 100 guests indoors and 150 outdoors, which can go up to 300 if all attendants can provide proof of vaccination or a recent negative test.
The Romanian Parliament commemorates the victims of the June 1941 pogrom in Iasi
This week, the Romanian Parliament in joint session commemorated for the first time the victims of the pogrom of June 1941 in Iasi, conducted by the anti-Semitic authorities of the time. The pogrom left over 13,000 Romanian Jews dead. The event was attended by the President of Romania, the members of the cabinet, former heads of state, members of the diplomatic corps, the head of the Romanian royal house, the patriarch of the Orthodox Church and leaders of other denominations, representatives of the Federation of Jewish Communities in Romania, as well as survivors or descendants of survivors of the pogrom. Sociologist Michael Cernea, survivor of the pogrom, now 90 years of age, recalled the event that marked his entire existence. He was only 10 years of age at the time:
“I remember well the moment when we were brutally taken out of our home, my family and I. We were lined up and taken to the courthouse, frightened for our lives, and I have to tell you that the fear of death is a heavy burden, which lasted after the Pogrom. Fear paralyzes and humiliates.”
In open Parliament, Israeli Ambassador to Romania David Saranga said that, unfortunately, many states in Europe still have death trains under the form of hatred and intolerance. Romanian officials sent a message of acknowledgment of the suffering of the victims of the tragic event over 80 years ago.
Gas and electricity providers, along with healthcare providers, operate changes
In Romania, providers of gas and electricity, starting on July 1, eliminated discounts for home consumers who did not sign the competitive market contracts. According to the National Energy Regulatory Agency, of the almost 9 million home electricity consumers, more than half have not signed the new contracts, which means that they hold a generic universal provision contract, the most expensive on the market, and that they would pay 1 to 7% more as a result. In terms of natural gas, two thirds of the four million consumers have not signed a new contract on the competitive market. For them, bills could be as high as 25% more expensive. Also on July 1, Romania issued a framework contract regulating the healthcare market. Among the novelties are a prevention package for people over 40, which includes three consultations for risks, as well as interventions to reduce them. Also, chronic ailment patients will have one home consultation by their family physician, compared to four per year as it was before, while family physicians could offer new services.
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