Economic recovery plan for the next decade
Against the backdrop of new relaxation measures related to a significant uptick in new coronavirus cases, the authorities in Bucharest have announced new programs to relaunch the economy, involving long stretches of motorways and express roads, regional hospitals, dozens of regional and urban hospitals, over a thousand clinics in the rural environment, hundreds of kindergartens, schools, campuses, and university dormitories. These plans have been included by the Liberal executive in Bucharest into a program of economic relaunching for the next decade, worth over 100 billion Euro. 80% of the money would go to the transportation, health, education, and energy infrastructure. The plan also provides for support for areas affected by the coronavirus, from grants to SMEs, enhanced digital solutions, and supporting employees and jobs. The money is slated to come from the state budget and European funding. Attending the event, President Klaus Iohannis spoke about a 'major project for tomorrow's Romania'. The opposition is critical of the plan, saying it does not offer real solutions for the recovering economy, that many of the proposals are obsolete, and that they are populist measures with no basis for funding. At the same time, National Bank experts point out that, at this time, the aim that the authorities should have is maintaining currency reserves. The central bank aims to stabilize prices and finances, with a special view to the currency exchange. Officials with the bank believe that domestic savings in the domestic currency are important, which the National Bank does not want to discourage, because the real economy and the government base their financing on bank deposits made by individuals and companies.
Parliament passes a new defense strategy for Romania
The country's national defense strategy for 2020 to 2024, passed in May by the National Defense Council, was adopted by Parliament in Bucharest. The document reviews the international context, the threats that Romania faces, and the steps to be taken further on down the road. The strategy has a five chapter structure. The fundamental issues for foreign policy and security have to do with EU and NATO membership, as well as the strategic partnership with the United States. National Liberal MP Victor Paul Dobre underlines the fact that Romania's strategy is correct. The document was endorsed by the Social Democrats as well, who believe that a debate was called for in the foreign policy committees too in terms of threat assessment. The Save Romania Party abstained from the vote, believing that the document lacks references to fighting corruption as a priority.
Independence Day in Bucharest
Romania is firmly committed to a strong transatlantic relationship, President Klaus Iohannis said at the reception held in Bucharest on the occasion of Independence Day, the national day of the US. The head of state said that the US would always have a strategic ally in Romania, and a committed friend, and pointed out that major threats in the present global context have an impact on all transatlantic partners. Here is the president speaking:
“For Romania, the answer to all these challenges is one of solidarity; solidarity in the bilateral strategic partnership with the US, solidarity within the EU, and solidarity in the transatlantic relationship.”
PM Ludovic Orban also affirmed that Romania will continued to enhance its relationship with the US, and will continue to be a trusted ally. In turn, American ambassador to Bucharest Adrian Zuckerman emphasized the fact that the US continues to support Romania in consolidating the rule of law and creating opportunities for all Romanians to prosper.
Romania liberalizes the natural gas market
On July 1, the natural gas market in Romania was liberalized completely, with gas prices being set by the stock market as opposed to the state. This comes at a point when the energy market is extremely concentrated, with only two companies controlling 90% of home consumers. Experts say that prices should go down, and advise consumers to watch closely the contracts they sign. One week ago, Energy Minister Virgil Popescu told Agerpres that the population would have bills 10 to 15% lower once liberalization comes into effect. According to him, if suppliers don't bring down prices, the law of fair competition allows the government to intervene for a duration of six months. The electrical power market will become completely liberalized starting early next year.
Romanian prizes in cinematography
The grand prize of the Gopo Gala this year, rewarding the best achievements in Romanian film last year, went to La Gomera, by director Corneliu Porumboiu, which got nine more awards, including Best Feature Length Film, Best Director, and Best Script. The award for best leading male role went to Iulian Postelnicu for his performance in the movie Arrest, directed by Andrei Cohn, while the award for the best leading female role went to Judith State for her performance in the movie Monsters, by Catalin Mitulescu. The award for the best documentary went to the film The Distance Between You and Me, by Dana Bunescu and Mona Nicoara.