News review of day – March 20th

The President and the Prime Minister expected to have talks this evening

President Klaus Iohannis is meeting Prime Minister Victor Ponta this evening for talks regarding a new Finance Minister to replace Darius Vâlcov who resigned after being prosecuted for corruption matters. PM Victor Ponta has stated earlier today that he is considering taking over the interim position until the Cabinet adopts the new Tax Codes. A final decision, however, is to be announced after the meeting at Cotroceni Palace.

President Klaus Iohannis attended the European Spring Council

European leaders gathered in Brussels for the Spring Council meeting have agreed today to create an Energy Union. Romania’s President Klaus Iohannis has pointed out after the meeting that he pleaded for the completion of the energy market liberalization process in the EU and explained which would be Romania’s benefits:

Klaus Iohannis: On a medium and long term, Romania would see benefits in energy infrastructure development, more affordable costs for the consumers, industrial competitiveness, economic growth and new jobs. A key aspect that I insisted on is the freedom of each member state to choose its national energy mix.

The White House still analyzing options for US Ambassador position in Romania

The White House is still analyzing options for an extremely qualified candidate to take over the permanent position of US Ambassador to Bucharest, according to the US Embassy, following reports in the media indicating that a new chief of mission is about to be nominated soon. Former ambassador Mark Gitenstein ended his mandate in December 2012 and the diplomatic representation has, ever since, been led by Chargé d’affaires ad interim Duane Butcher and presently, Mr. Dean Thompson.

Rovana Plumb is the new leader of PSD”s National Council

Vice-President of the Social Democratic Party in Romania Rovana Plumb has been elected as the new leader of the National Council with 804 votes in favor and 37 against by the delegates gathered today in the National Council meeting. She is thus taking over a three-year due vacancy of the position previously held by former PM Adrian Năstase.

Lufthansa pilot strike continues – flights cancelled on Henri Coanda International Airport

German pilots of Lufthansa airline are on a strike for the third consecutive day. More than 700 medium-haul flights scheduled for today have been cancelled. Nine flights have been suspended today on Henri Coanda International Airport in Bucharest. According to the company, approximately 84,000 passangers are being affected worldwide.
The strike will also continue on Saturday and it will affect long-haul flights. Lufthansa is about to publish a new flight schedule and passangers are advised to get informed prior to their departure.
According to a press release by the Romanian Foreign Ministry today, passangers detaining a Lufthansa/SWISS/Austrian Airlines or Brussels Airlines ticket from March 21st to March 23rd 2015 from/to or via Frankfurt am Main/Munchen/Dusseldorf are allowed to change their reservation date – one time only – free of charge.

The Romanian Leu depreciated on Friday against the main currencies

The Central Bank has announced an exchange rate of 4.4306 Ron for 1 Euro on Friday, a 0.35 percent depreciation compared to the previous quotation when the Euro was rated at 4.4151 Ron. A similar depreciation was registered against the US dollar which has gained 0.38 percent and is now rated at 4,1282 Ron. The Swiss Franc has also gained ground against the Romanian currency, now selling for 4,1599 ron.

More than 1,500 foreigners asked for asylum in Romania last year – half of them are Syrians

More than 1,500 foreigners asked for asylum in Romania last year, half of them being Syrian citizens – according to data released today by the Statistical Office of the European Union. In fact, the number of Syrian asylum seekers in all European countries has significantly risen last year reaching 125,000 persons compared to only 50,000 in 2013. A total number of 625,000 asylum applications have been registered in the EU in 2014.

House sold for 55,000 Mcoins in the Romanian city of Arad

A world premiere was registered in the Romanian city of Arad where a house has been sold using the new Mcoin virtual currency. The seller says the transaction took place two days ago and the value was 55,000 Mcoins the equivalent of 22,000 euros. The former owner is hopeful that the Mcoin will get more value and he might gain more profit translated into a few hundred euros in the future.

Bianca Ioniţă