August 30 - September 3

august 30 - september 3 A roundup of the week's top stories

Gloves-off politics - crisis in the ruling coalition

After a number of harsh verbal exchanges and several setbacks in the functioning of the local administration, the center-right ruling coalition on Wednesday reached a deadlock after the unexpected demise by Liberal Prime Minister Florin Cîţu of the USR-PLUS Justice Minister, Stelian Ion. The head of government says his decision was based on Ion's refusal to greenlight the "Anghel Saligny" infrastructure project, where Ion claims to have identified "several constitutional and illegal issues". In response, the USR-PLUS alliance announced it withdraws its political support for Florin Cîţu and filed a no-confidence vote agaisnt him jointly with AUR. On Thursday, the leadership of the National Liberal Party adopted a resultion reasserting its support for its own Prime Minister. UDMR, the third-largest ruling coalition partner, supports the need to implement the said projecta and said the coalition must move foward. Political pundits and some politicians say the current crisis may have other, more problematic reasons, such as issues pertaining to the reform of the judiciary and the leadership of key judicial institutions. From the opposition, PSD and AUR say the Cîţu Cabinet must be removed. President Klaus Iohannis signed the decrees dismissing Stelian Ion and appointing Interior Minister Lucian Bode as interim Justice Minister.


The politics of autumn - a new Parliament session

The first day of autumn also marked the beginning of a new Parliament session. According to MPs, the number one priority of the ruling coalition, announced before the crisis, is the adoption of the so-called law on vulnerable consumers. Already adopted by the Senate, the bill stipulates state aid to low-income families, helping them pay one energy bill. At Senate level, coalition leaders are expected to come up with a new solution to disband the Special Section investigating Crime in Justice, another bone of contention in the ruling coalition. PSD wants to swiftly debate and adopt the bill titled "No criminals in public office", a topic which for years had been championed by the right-wing. President Klaus Iohannis said a number of reforms are still needed, and that Parliament still has "unsolved business to attend to", calling on MPs to show Romanians "some respect through their actions". The president also said people's confidence in Parliament is not at its highest right now, representing "an acute issue, which has heightened over the years against the backdrop of the huge gap between promises made by politicians during election campaigns and the results reported at the end of their term in office". For this very reason, returning to citizen-oriented policies should be the new line of action for Parliament's next session, the president added. Klaus Iohannis also said the new session starts at a very difficult time, both nationally and internationally, with the world still struggling to deal with the fallouts of COVID-19.



Politics and the pandemic - resurge in the number of COVID infections

The epidemiological context has again taken a turn for the worse, every day more and more cases of the new Delta strain of COVID-19 being reported across Romania. The country has seen an increase in the number of infections, patients being treated in hospitals as well as fatalities, at the end of a summer without restrictions. Romania is now under the fourth wave of the pandemic, and it seems to be paying the price of vaccination hesitancy. Romania and neighboring Bulgaria are the EU countries with the lowest vaccination rates right now. In a last effort to boost vaccination, the Government this week announced 100-lei meal vouchers will be given to people who complete the vaccination scheme, as well as the organization of a lottery. The health system is again reporting difficulties in certain areas of the country, and experts expect things to further worsen.



Politics and education - a new school year starts on September 13

A new school year is set to start on September 13, a situation that last year resulted in a resurge of the number of COVID infections across the country. This time, the politicians decided to ease restrictions - in towns and villages where the incidence rate is below 6 per thousand inhabitants, classes will be held with full physical attendance for nursery schools and elementary schools. That, of course, with the full observance of health safety measures. Where the incidence rate exceeds 6 per thousand, nursery schools will remain open to physical attendance in class until quarantine is introduced, where necessary, the Prime Minister announced.



No politics - the George Enescu International Music Festival

A new edition of the George Enescu International Music Festival kicked off this week in Romania, marking 140 years since the birth of the great Romanian composer. The festival's artistic director, Russian conductor Vladimir Jurowski, says the most prestigious artists have come to Bucharest this year. 3,500 Romanian and foreign musicians, 32 orchestras from 14 countries are taking part. "The 25th edition of the festival brings us one step closer to society as we k new it, a society of crowded concert halls, which makes us regain trust that together we can celebrate quality", Minister of Culture Bogdan Gheorghiu has said. (VP)



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Publicat: 2021-09-04 14:00:00
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