News review of the day – December 8th

The new structure of the Cabinet to be presented to the Parliament next Monday

The Democratic Union of Hungarians in Romania (UDMR) is going to leave the ruling coalition as reiterated tonight by the party leader Kelemen Hunor. However, UDMR will continue to support the new Cabinet in its major projects.

Kelemen Hunor: I for one, I am convinced that the current government should continue to rule. We don’t know yet with what ministers and what political parties, aside from UDMR, but we have virtually no reason not to endorse Cabinet Ponta 4 or whatever its name will be.

According to PM Victor Ponta, the new structure of the Cabinet is going to be presented to the Parliament next Monday when a vote of confidence will be asked for the new team. The PM intends to co-opt in the new Cabinet representatives of The National Union for the Progress of Romania (UNPR), Conservative Party (PC) and Liberals gathered around Călin Popescu-Tăriceanu in the new Liberal Reformist Party.

Victor Ponta: On Thursday and Friday we are going to discuss the Cabinet’s structure and ministries, but until then I wish we agreed on government and parliamentary priorities for 2015 and 2016, to be able to present them very clearly on Monday in front of the Parliament. We need to set a common agenda before negotiating positions as we gather to discuss our government goals which are basically comprised within the Government Program of the Social Liberal Union (USL).

Romania’s progress under the CVM assessed by European Commission experts

Experts of the European Commission are present in Bucharest for three days to assess progress made by Romania under the Cooperation and Verification Mechanism (CVM). The next country report is expected in late January or February. EC’s representatives are going to have talks with Romanian authorities on matters such as fight against corruption, current and upcoming legislative initiatives, withdrawal of immunity and the legal framework regarding public office incompatibilities.

Population in code-orange regions may be evacuated – minister of Internal Affairs

Rain and snowfall are going to become heavier all over Romania. Starting 11 PM tonight a code-yellow warning is to be enforced for southern Romania, the region of Moldova and the mountain areas until Wednesday morning. Weathermen have warned against heavy precipitation and frost, as well as strong winds in southeastern areas.
Southern Romania is also under a code-orange warning for floods until Thursday at 2 PM. According to minister of Internal Affairs Gabriel Oprea, the population in these regions (Mehedinţi, Dolj, Gorj, Vâlcea, Olt, Argeş, Teleorman, Dâmboviţa, Giurgiu şi Ilfov) may even be temporarily evacuated for safety reasons. The official has asked the prefects today to prepare locations for temporary accommodation of the evacuees.

Constitution Day celebrated in Romania

Constitution Day is celebrated in Romania each year on December 8th. The first Constitution after 1989’s revolution was adopted on November 21st 1991 and enforced following a national referendum held on December 8th when it was approved by 77,3 percent of the voters.

The present Constitution needs to be revised in view of its modernization and articulation, according to President-elect Klaus Iohannis who has underlined that amendments to the fundamental law are supposed to make it stronger and more efficient, to strenghten the state of law and civil liberties.

Prime Minister Victor Ponta also considers the amendment of the Constitution needs to become a priority in 2015 – year that lacks electoral pressure. In his opinion, the revision of the fundamental text, including the number of MPs, can represent an opportunity to reshape political, social and economic life.

Former BBC journalist Tatiana Niculescu Bran to become spokesperson and advisor to the President

Author and former BBC journalist Tatiana Niculescu Bran has announced on her Facebook account that she has been offered the position of spokesperson and communication advisor to the Presidency by President-elect Klaus Iohannis. In the same post it was suggested that she has accepted the proposal. According to her resume posted on Polirom Publishing House’s website, Tatiana Niculescu Bran is a BA graduate of the Faculty of Letters – University of Bucharest and of the European Institute of Journalism in Brussels.

Employer associations discuss amendments to fiscal legislation

Employer associations in Romania have agreed with introducing electronic-memory cash registers but they do not agree with a deadline regarding their purchase. During consultations with social partners over amendments to fiscal legislation, businessmen have also requested a postponement of access that is to be given to fiscal authorities to data about contributors’ bank accounts. Employers point out that the process involves an extremely high volume of information, most of it bearing confidential character, for whose safe management credible guarantees cannot be offered by the fiscal authority ANAF – for instance, in case of capital movement and account balances.

Military pilot surviving helicopter crash dies in hospital

The military pilot surviving the helicopter crash three weeks ago in Sibiu county died at a burn center hospital in Bucharest after several surgeries, according to a press release by the Defense Ministry. He has been in critical condition ever since the accident and doctors haven’t been optimistic about his evolution from the very beginning. Wing commander Gabriel Titiana was 46, he was married and had two children. He was a Class 1 flight instructor on IAR 330 aircraft with 1,300 flight hours to his credit. All Romanian military bases in the country and abroad will hold special ceremonies tomorrow morning at 0830 hrs.

Defense Ministry to amend normative acts regarding service animals

Romania’s Defense Ministry has announced it will call for amendment of normative acts regarding service animals. According to a press release, relevant minister Mircea Duşa has already ordered the establishment of a working group instructed to draft a set of norms and internal regulations on this subject by the end of the week. The decision follows the highly promoted media case of Max, a veteran dog of the Army serving in Afghanistan which was diagnosed with a severe illness and decommissioned. Unless adopted by a dog lover, Max would have been sent to a public shelter. Several fund-raising accounts have been opened to try and treat Max, infected with Dirofilaria – worms that lie coiled in tangled masses in the heart.

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