News review of the day – January 22nd

Dismissal of renowned „Flota” file targeting Romania’s former President

Anti-corruption prosecutors have decided to dismiss the case regarding the renowned „Flota” file targeting the former President of Romania Traian Băsescu. According to a press release by the National Anti-Corruption Directorate (DNA), facts do not exist for the offences regarding abuse in office, forgery and embezzlement. The investigators also stated that the former head of state didn’t cause any prejudice to the CNM Petromin patrimony and that the selling of  the ships considered in this case was made in accordance with legal endorsement by the stakeholder of the above mentioned company. On the other hand, the General Prosecutor’s Office has announced that the former President is now involved in eight criminal investigations after a series of 58 complaints introduced against him in such cases.

IMF mission to visit Bucharest for third assessment

An International Monetary Fund mission led by Andrea Schaechter will be visiting Romania between January 27th and February 10th for a third assessment of the ongoing agreement, according to Guillermo Tolosa resident representative of the IMF for Romania and Bulgaria. The official also mentioned that talks regarding the agreement are going to be held alongside teams representing the European Commission and the World Bank.

Cyber-security law ruled unconstitutional

The cyber-security law was ruled unconstitutional yesterday by Romania’s Constitutional Court. Judges have thus admitted a claim introduced by a group of Liberal MPs who had pointed out the normative act is breaching the right to private life in cyberspace. This is the third law ruled out as unconstitutional from the so-called Big Brother package. The cyber-security law, initiated by the Cabinet last April and adopted by the Parliament last December, has received constant critique all year long. Human-right activists and politicians alike have stated that the normative act is giving the intelligence and the prosecutors the right to access data of any cyber system suspected to feed illegal activities without a warrant from a judge, based only on a requisition. On the other hand, defenders of the law have argued that the act would not affect common citizens owning a PC or a home network and that the law is necessary given the rise of cyber threats – Radio Romania reports.

Voluntary repatriation program for 60,000 migrants in Romania

More than 60,000 migrants from outside Europe are present in Romania, most of them without legal residence rights. The authorities are trying to convince and support them return to their countries. Romania is carrying out a voluntary repatriation program supported by the International Organization for Migration (IOM). IOM is thus offering counselling and information about their options to remain or not in Romania and also logistics to facilitate the repatriation process.
112 persons chose voluntary repatriation last year, most of them from the Philippines, Nigeria and Tunisia. The latest data presented these days at a media seminar on this matter show that the number of asylum seekers in Romania has decreased.

Bianca Ioniţă