Government crisis in Bucharest
The censure motion tabled by the Save Romania Union-Plus Alliance (USR-PLUS), the former no. 2 in the government coalition and the ultranationalist, opposition party the Alliance for the Union of Romanians (AUR), against the government led by the Liberal Florin Cîţu, was read, on Thursday, in the plenum of the Romanian Parliament. The text of the document focuses on investments, healthcare, education and infrastructure. The two parties draw attention that Romania is ruled by a government that does not have the support of a parliamentary majority and by a prime minister who is more focused on his party’s internal competition. The debate and vote on the motion will take place after the Constitutional Court rules on the PM’s notification regarding the existence of a legal conflict between the Parliament and the Government. The speaker of the Chamber of Deputies, the Liberal leader Ludovic Orban, who is competing with Florin Citu for the Liberal Party - PNL leadership, considers that the decision to postpone the debate and vote on the motion calendar is deeply unconstitutional. In turn, the speaker of the Senate, Anca Dragu representing the Save Romania Union, says that the Liberals are using all possible tricks to prevent the debate and vote on the censure motion. In turn, the PM Florin Citu said he would ask for the resignation of the speakers of the Parliament’s two chambers if the decision of the Constitutional Court on his notification is favorable. We remind that USR PLUS filed a censure motion after the prime minister Florin Citu dismissed the justice minister, Stelian Ion, representing USR. Subsequently, the USR PLUS ministers have resigned, and the secretaries and undersecretaries of state, as well as the prefects and sub-prefects representing this party have been dismissed.
Romania’s President visits Switzerland
On Thursday, while on an official visit to Switzerland, the Romanian President Klaus Iohannis referred to the political situation in Bucharest, as not worrying at all. During the meetings with his Swiss counterpart Guy Parmelin, held in the context of the celebration of 110 years of bilateral diplomatic ties, Romania’s President recalled the very important and successful Swiss investments in Romania and expressed hope that this trend will continue. At the same time, President Iohannis thanked his Swiss counterpart for the support given to Romania by Switzerland in relation to OECD accession. In turn, the Swiss President said that the two countries shared many common points of view and reasons to hope. The two officials also tackled such issues as education, cyber security, research and innovation, domains in which the cooperation potential is very high.
Annual Meeting of the Romanian Diplomacy in Bucharest
The Annual Meeting of the Romanian Diplomacy took place in hybrid format, for 3 days, in Bucharest, with a series of plenary sessions being hosted and moderated by the Romanian Foreign Minister Bogdan Aurescu. The topics tackled included current security challenges, resilience during the pandemic and strengthening cooperation between partners. Discussions also focused on the role of Romania in the context of the Conference on the Future of Europe and of the elements of consular reform carried out by the Romanian Foreign Ministry over the past year, alongside the measures to be taken in this domain. The special guests of the meeting were the Greek Foreign Minister Nikos Dendias and the OSCE Secretary-General Helga Schmid. The head of the Romanian diplomacy talked about the emergence of new security challenges both in the region and the world, and the Greek foreign minister said that solidarity was essential in addressing transnational threats. In turn, the OSCE Secretary-General said that multilateral diplomacy was the only viable solution to efficiently manage the current security threats. Another special guest of the meeting was the Moldovan Foreign Minister, Nicu Popescu. The Republic of Moldova (an ex-Soviet state with a majority Romanian-speaking population) and the eastern neighborhood continue to face pressures of all kinds from abroad, said Bogdan Aurescu. The Moldovan foreign minister explained that Moldova has faced an increase in corruption and a weakening of the state and its institutions in recent years, which is why resilience has decreased, including in the face of the pandemics’ effects.
Romania in the 4th wave of the COVID-19 pandemic
This week, Romania has exceeded the threshold of 2,000 COVID-19 infections in 24 hours. The number of related deaths has also increased to a few dozen a day, and more and more infected patients need intensive care. Health experts say the country is in the 4th wave of the COVID-19 pandemic and recommend the population once again to comply with the health protection measures and to get vaccinated. Romanians are still reticent about vaccination, therefore, the national anti-COVID vaccination rate, among the eligible resident population over 12, is about 31%. So far, about 5.2 million people have been fully vaccinated. According to the National Public Health Institute, over 80% of COVID-19 cases registered last week were among unvaccinated people. At the same time, almost 93% of the registered deaths were in unvaccinated persons, and 5% in persons vaccinated with only one dose. The authorities have announced that efforts are being made to increase the number of beds in ICUs and that mobile vaccination centers will be organized, especially in villages where there are not enough doctors. The same will happen on university campuses, where students will have the opportunity to get vaccinated. As regards pre-university education, school starts on Monday, September 13 with students physically attending classes. The authorities say that schools will remain open if the infection rate in one locality does not exceed 6 per thousand. Meanwhile, the state of alert has again been extended by 30 days, but the government does not intend to come up with additional restrictive measures, said the Secretary of State Raed Arafat. On Thursday, the National Committee for Emergency Situations updated the list of high-risk countries for which quarantine is imposed to those persons who return from those countries to Romania. The list will take effect on September 12. In another development, Bulgaria entered the red zone and Germany switched from the green zone to the yellow one. The people vaccinated against COVID-19 will not be quarantined if they come from yellow or red areas. (LS)