Romanian protests reloaded
Thousands of protesters were back on Romania’s streets on Sunday as MPs were currently debating plans by the governing Social Democratic Party (PSD) that could see the judicial system put under political control. Outside the government headquarters in the capital Bucharest, protesters blew plastic vuvuzelas and yelled “Democracy is under siege”, “Justice, not corruption” or „Thieves by night, mobs by day”. Sunday’s demonstrations saw 12,000 people on the streets of Bucharest, according to police sources, and thousands elsewhere in the country.
Proposed amendments include among other issues the removal of the president’s power to appoint the anti-corruption chief prosecutor, who instead would be nominated by the justice minister and then appointed by the Superior Magistrates Council. The proposals would see reducing the responsibility of Romania’s National Anti-Corruption Directorate (DNA) and stop it from being able to investigate magistrates. At the same time, the Ministry of Justice would have more control of prosecutors.
The draft changes are to be central in a meeting in Brussels on Tuesday between Romania’s Justice Minister Tudorel Toader and Frans Timmermans, the first vice-president of the European Commission.
Romania, one of the most corrupt countries in the European Union, has made strides in tackling corruption in recent years while the anti-corruption watchdog, the DNA, has been praised for leading the crackdown and a survey found 60 percent of Romanians trusted the institution.
Special Cabinet meeting
Romania’s Cabinet is expected to meet in a special session on Monday when talks will focus on recent plans concerning tax changes. The changes made protesters from all over Romania to gather in the capital Bucharest, blow whistles and vuvuzelas, and march to the government’s main offices. The session was initially planned last Friday, and then posponed until Monday. Salaries, and workers’ contributions are also on the table along with such defence issues as the US Patriot rockets which Romania is expected to use to defend its homeland security and deter regional threats. Romanian Defence Minister Mihai Fifor told reporters last week that the plan was already approved by the Country’s Supreme Council of Defence (CSAŢ).
King Michael’s health condition worsening
King Michael’s health condition is worsening, according to a statement issued by Romania’s Royal House on Monday. The Romanian King is losing strength in his body, the statement says. The country’s Crown Princess Margareta and her husband, Prince Radu, left for Switzerland in an attempt to keep the king’s condition under control. Talks are expected with the king’s physicians in order to establsih the treatment to be pursued. Born on October 25, 1921, Michael I reigned as King of Romania from 20 July 1927 to 8 June 1930 and again from 6 September 1940 until his abdication on 30 December 1947. He is the last surviving monarch or other head of state from the Interwar period.
Târgovişte, the City of „Romance”
The Romanian southern town of Târgovişte is seen as the City of Romance where the UNESCO Cultural Center opened a national series of concerts „The Romance Uniting Us” („Romanţa ne uneşte”). The „romance” (or „romantza” in Romanian) is a traditional song of melancholy and sadness unsually recalling love misfortunes. Concerts are scheduled across the country and the Republic of Moldova involving professional orchestras and winners of the annual Golden Crysanthemum Festival in Târgovişte. The first concert in the series is organised in partnership with the Romanian Opera in Craiova.
Alexandru Danga – RADOR