News review of the day – October 16th

President Klaus Iohannis: Romania is acting de facto as a Schengen area member

President Klaus Iohannis has stated today, at the end of the European Council meeting in Brussels, that Romania is contributing de facto to securing external borders of the European Union despite being a non-Schengen state, RADIO ROMANIA reports.

Klaus Iohannis: Romania is not yet a Schengen area member but it is going to be. There is a general will to keep the Schengen area and Romania is acting de facto as its member. We are doing a very good job at our borders and this is surely contributing to the security of EU’s external borders.

The head of the Romanian state has also declared European leaders acknowledged the significant progress registered in relations with Turkey as a transit country which has aldready hosted 2 million refugees and which asked for and will receive European Union’s help to manage refugee camps.

The President also wanted to make a statement regarding the political situation in Moldova, street protests and unrest in this country which climaxed with the arrest of a political party leader. „The situation worries us”, the President said.

Klaus Iohannis: I want to encourage the Moldovan Cabinet, encourage the Moldovan Parliament to overcome these difficulties, to bring recovery to the country and to maintain the pro-European direction.

Romania will keep servicemen in Afghanistan in 2016

Romanian servicemen will continue to operate in Afghanistan in 2016 as well, according to Romania’s Defense Minister Mircea Duşa who announced the decision made by the Supreme Council of National Defence to keep 200 instructing officers in Khandahar area to ensure training of military bases. Romania is currently third regarding numbers of military personnel in Afghanistan after the United States and Germany. However, further talks regarding extension of this mission are going to be held, the minister suggested. Mircea Duşa made this statement in Campia Turzii where he attended a bilateral military exercise of Romanian and US troops.

Mircea Duşa: We are going to keep 200 servicemen in Afghanistan, better said instructors who ensure training and instruction of the Afghan forces and, of course, following President Obama’s call and following talks I am about to have with the US Defense Secretary, Mr Carter, we are going to assess the requests regarding force planning and deployment.

Yesterday, the US President Barack Obama called on countries in the international coalition to stay in Afghanistan to help the government cope with new attacks from the Taliban.

Results of country risk assessment by Coface

Romania will see slight improvement of economic activity, a 3.3% GDP growth and a 0.3% average annual inflation rate, according to a country risk assessment by Coface, worldwide leader in trade credit insurance.
Coface says domestic demand is to be stimulated by fiscal relaxation and revaluation of pensions and wages in the public sector. Consumption is also going to be driven by private sector incomes and low-income households undergoing assistance programs.
Experts estimate, however, that public sector investment projects will continue to remain on the low side due to bureaucractic hassle for accessing available European funds and due to a lack of proper local structure. Economic growth also depends on reducing tax evasion linked to the undergroud economy which is estimated at 30% of the GDP and on better management of state-owned companies which are loss generators most of the time.
Coface has also reviewed Romania’s strengths and weaknesses. Large domestic market, high agricultural potential, domestic oil and gas production, diversified production, stability of national currency against the Euro are some of the strengths whereas declining population, adminstration and justice shortcomings, large-scale grey economy, poor transport infrastructure and issues regarding integration of Roma and Magyar minorities account for our country’s weaknesses – the study concludes.

Romania’s Ombudsman notified ex officio regarding wheelchair access in public places

Romania’s Ombudsman was notified ex officio and investigates the absence of wheelchair ramps for people with disabilities in many public or private institutions. According to a press release, the notification concerns a possible failure to comply with Article 50 in the Constitution regarding protection of persons with disabilities. The Ombudsman’s reaction followed a TV report showing that hundreds of thousands are affected by this shortcoming and cannot enter many institutions or use public transport and that their access is hindered by high kerbstones as well.

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