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Click here for the headline-making events of the past week in Romania
Ukraine at the forefront of diplomatic actions
While in Ukraine attacks of the invading Russian army continue, Romania receives visits of high-level officials who want to thank and encourage Romania for its support to Kyiv. Early this week the President of Germany, Frank-Walter Steinmeier came to Bucharest where he met with President Klaus Iohannis, who took the opportunity to highlight that it was crucial that the European Union and the Member States should continue to support both Ukraine and the Ukrainian refugees, while also stressing the need to adopt new sanctions against Russia. Klaus Iohannis also pointed out that all war crimes committed by the Russian troops should be thoroughly investigated and punished by the international justice, reiterating that Romania would support this process. The Romanian head of state also said that Bucharest supported the European Commission's proposal related to the ban on oil imports from Russia, pointing out that Romania had prepared for this situation. Stating that the German people were impressed by the solidarity and humaneness of Romanians towards the Ukrainian refugees, Frank-Walter Steinmeier said, in turn, that Germany would be by Ukraine’s side during the difficult period. The visit of the first lady of the United States, Jill Biden, to Romania was also announced for this weekend. The program includes meetings with U.S. military and diplomatic personnel, displaced Ukrainian parents and children and humanitarian aid workers.
A transaction of strategic importance
The Romanian state-owned company Romgaz bought on Tuesday, with one billion Euros, the 50% stake of the American company ExxonMobil in the ʹNeptun Deepʹ exploitation project in the Black Sea, which contains about 100 billion cubic meters of natural gas. Romgaz will collaborate with OMV Petrom, which is also part of this strategic project for Romania, which wants to become independent from an energy point of view, and also to produce energy for its neighbors and partners in the European Union. The first amounts of gas from the ʹNeptun Deepʹ perimeter could enter the consumption network in almost five years. However, before the start of gas extraction from the Black Sea, investors are waiting for the amendment of the offshore law, which is already in Parliament for debate and approval. The current version seems to be more balanced for both the State and the interested companies than the law passed four years ago.
The Constitutional Court is renewed
Bogdan Licu, first deputy prosecutor general, proposed by the Social Democratic Party, has this week obtained most of the MP’s votes for taking over the position of judge at the Constitutional Court in Romania - CCR. On behalf of the Senate, Iuliana Scântei, proposed by the National Liberal Party - PNL was also voted as a judge at the Constitutional Court. The nominations from the two ruling parties were criticized by the opposition Save Romanian Union - USR, which accused them of failing to observe the professional criteria and of promoting to the CCR persons who are subservient to the current power. The two newly appointed judges will take over their positions in June, when the mandates of the current president of the Court, Valer Dorneanu, and of judge Mona Pivniceru expire. The term of office of judge Daniel Morar, appointed by the Presidency in 2013, also expires next month. The Constitutional Court is made up of nine judges with a nine-year term of office. Three are appointed by the Chamber of Deputies, three by the Senate and three by the President of Romania. The Court is renewed by one-third of the number of judges every three years. Meanwhile, the Court continues to work. On Thursday, the Court declared unconstitutional the procedure by which the law to eliminate the special pensions of parliamentarians was adopted last year. More than 70 former MPs went to court for losing these rights and won the case at 11 courts across the country and at a Court of Appeal.
The verdict in the Colectiv case, postponed again
The Bucharest Court of Appeal has postponed for the fifth time giving the final verdict in the case opened after the fire at the Bucharest club Colectiv, in which 64 people died, over 200 were injured and one subsequently committed suicide. The new deadline is May 12. On the evening of October 30, 2015, shortly after the start of a rock concert on the stage of the Colectiv club sheltered by a disused former factory, the fireworks used in the show lit the sponge used for cushioning the overcrowded hall, which had only one single escape door. Some spectators died on the spot, others were severely affected by flames and smoke and stampeded towards the exit. The victims’ relatives have long been waiting for justice to be done. In the first instance, the mayor of sector 4 at that time, Cristian Popescu Piedone, city hall officials, the club's owners, two firefighters, two pyrotechnics workers and representatives of a fireworks company received convictions of 4 up to 13 years.
The National Theatre in Bucharest has this week hosted the 16th edition of the Gopo Awards Gala, which celebrates excellence in Romanian cinema, which has been quite appreciated internationally in recent years. 'Babardeală cu bucluc sau porno balamuc' – ‘Bad luck banging or looney porn’ written and directed by Radu Jude, was the big winner of the Gopo trophy for Best Film in 2021. The film protagonist, Katia Pascariu, won the Best Actress in a Leading Role Award. Most of the trophies were, however, awarded to 'Malmkrog', by filmmaker Cristi Puiu, who received the Best Director Award. The film also won the Best Picture Award, Best Makeup and Best Hairstyle, Best Costumes and Best Production Design Awards. The Best Actor in a Leading Role award went to Bogdan Farcaș, the protagonist of the film 'Unidentified', rewarded with a Gopo trophy for Best Screenplay. Two of the most valuable actors in Romania, Victor Rebengiuc and Mariana Mihuţ, received Lifetime Achievement Awards. (LS)
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