Tuesday, March 13th

New high of Romania’s inflation rate

Romania’s annual inflation hit 4.7 percent last month after its 4.3 percent in January, according to data published by the country’s National Institute of Statistics (INS) on Tuesday. As a result, inflation moved firmly above the Central Bank’s target range of 1.5%–3.5%. Meanwhile, annual average inflation rose from 1.3% in December to 1.7% in January, the highest level in over three years. Behind the increase were higher prices for non-food (6.27 percent) and food goods (3.74 percent), as well as for services (2.92 percent high). Among food prices, the strongest increases were recorded for fruit and vegetables; in the non-food category, prices for fuels and electricity rose the most.

NATO’s B9 initiative meeting in Romanian capital

Defence ministers of Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Lithuania, Latvia, Poland, Slovakia and Romania met in the capital Bucharest on Tuesday for talks concerning their B9 initiative launched as NATO members. Participants in the three day-meeting (March 12 – 14) are expected to focus on issues concerning the agenda of a NATO summit scheduled in July. Launched following a joint initiative of Romania and Poland, the B9 group is designed to enforce the countries’ co-operation in preventing such threats as terror attacks and growing Russian military presence in Europe. Within the principle of common funding, all 29 members contribute according to an agreed cost-share formula, based on Gross National Income, which represents a small percentage of each member’s defence budget. The Romanian government — already uneasy over Russian activities in the Black Sea — announced it will spend tens of millions of dollars on advanced weaponry to join just five other NATO countries that have reached an elusive spending goal that US President Trump has used as a cudgel to criticize the alliance. Polish Defence Minister Mariusz Blaszchak told the audience in Bucharest that his government has approved „a legislative amendment which gives us nearly 200 billion zlotys over the next 15 years,” adding that this was „in line with plans to raise defence spending gradually to reach 2.5 percent of the country’s GDP”.

Hearing of a former SRI chief before Romanian parliamentary committee

A former SRI chief is expected to appear before a committee in parliament on Tuesday. Florin Coldea, former first-deputy director of Romania’s Intelligence Service (SRI), will appear before a parliamentary commitee supervising the SRI activity. The move comes as the committee is trying to consider growing allegations of alleged SRI involvement in Romania’s political and justice systems. Other Romanian leading figures attending such hearings included Senate speaker Călin Popescu Tăriceanu and former SRI chief George Maior, currently Romania’s ambassador to US. Horia Georgescu, a former head of the country’s National Integrity Agency (ANI), will attend a separate hearing before a special committee for former SIPA (Internal Service for Protection and Anti-Corruption) archive, currently the General Directorate for Protection and Anti-Corruption (DGPA)./adanga

Alexandru Danga – RADOR