October 22, 2021 UPDATE

october 22, 2021 update Click here for a roundup of local and world news

COVID-19 The interim cabinet Friday introduced new restrictions in Romania, as the country is struggling with an unprecedented epidemiological crisis. The measures will take effect on Monday, 25th October, and will be valid for 30 days. Face covering will be compulsory in all indoor and outdoor public areas. Access to all central and local public institutions and to the offices of private businesses will be conditional on the digital COVID certificate. A ban on outdoor concerts and shows, as well as on private events, including weddings, conferences and workshops, will also be in place. Shops will only be open between 5 am and 9 pm, restaurants will be open until 9 pm but will only admit COVID certificate holders. A night curfew will also be introduced, between 10 pm and 5 am, for the unvaccinated. Also on Monday, public and private kindergartens, primary, secondary schools and high schools will take a 2-week break. On Friday the Strategic Communication Group reported 15,410 new SARS-CoV-2 cases and 357 COVID-related deaths. 1,848 patients are in intensive care. Over 128,000 people got vaccinated in the last 24 hours. 

AID Romania is receiving aid from several European countries, including Italy, Switzerland, Austria, Germany, Hungary and Poland, as well as from the World Health Organisation. The aid consists in medicines, equipment, tests, and the transfer of some COVID patients, the head of the Department for Emergency Situations Raed Arafat announced on Friday.Five Romanian COVID patients, in a critical condition, were taken on Friday to Austria and Poland, by 2 military aircraft. Other patients have been transferred to Hungary.

GOVERNMENT In Romania, the interim defence minister Nicolae Ciucă, designated by president Klaus Iohannis to form a new government, initiated negotiations over parliamentary support. A first meeting was held on Friday, with the head of the Democratic Union of Ethnic Hungarians in Romania, Kelemen Hunor. The latter said his party would stay in power together with the National Liberal Party, and mentioned that in the coming days the governing programme and distribution of cabinet seats would be discussed. Save Romania Union is waiting for an invitation to talks, and will try to persuade the Liberals to go for a coalition government with majority support in parliament. PSD says it will talk with Nicolae Ciuca about a parliamentary majority to support the minority government, and AUR has stated it will not support such a government. The Prime Minister Designate has called on all political actors to support the new cabinet, so that Romania can quickly overcome the medical and economic crisis it is going through.

AUTOMOTIVE Registrations of new hybrid vehicles in the EU accounted for nearly 21% of the Union's automotive market in the 3rd quarter of the year, outperforming Diesel vehicle registrations for the first time. According to the European Automobile Manufacturers' Association, in July-September sales of petrol-based cars dropped by 35%, while registrations of new diesel cars more than halved across the EU region. Alternatively-powered vehicles saw a 69% increase in sales in Central Europe in the same period. In Romania, sales rose by over 153% compared to 2020.

MOLDOVA The Parliament of the Republic of Moldova Friday declared a 30-day state of emergency in the country over a natural gas shortage. The government requested the measure in order to be able to procure natural gas from alternative sources, given that the Russian supplier Gazprom is no longer providing sufficient quantities to meet the demand, Radio Chişinău announced. According to the resolution, until 20th November, a special procedure will be in place, to speed up the procurement of natural gas. If necessary, energy consumption will be rationalised, and instruments to quickly collect payments from consumers will be introduced. According to Radio Chişinău, negotiations with the Russian energy giant carry on, but in the meantime the government is discussing with other states as well, including Ukraine, Romania, and Poland, to purchase natural gas from alternative sources. Natural gas prices has risen steeply in recent months in international markets, and some officials accuse Russia of energy blackmail.

EUROPEAN COUNCIL The European Council president Charles Michel and the head of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen, announced on Friday at the end of a meeting in Brussels, that the energy topic will be once again on the agenda of the December meeting of the European Council. In the meantime, the Commission will conduct an analysis of the EU electricity and natural gas market and on the carbon transaction market, after several member states blamed the recent energy price rises on problems in these areas. An emergency meeting of EU energy ministers was also scheduled for next week. Romania was represented by president Klaus Iohannis, who emphasised ahead of the meeting the need to quickly identify efficient short-term solutions, as the current energy crisis will have serious effects in all EU countries, with a profound socio-economic impact. 

(tr. A.M. Popescu)

Publicat: 2021-10-22 20:00:00
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