News review of the day – March 11

Supreme Council of National Defense to hold extraordinary meeting concerning phone-tapping in criminal cases

The Supreme Council of National Defense (CSAT) is to hold an extraordinary meeting today discussing implications of a recent decision by Romania’s Constitutional Court ruling against phone-tapping by the Romanian Intelligence Service (SRI) in criminal cases. CSAT will try to identify solutions for the ongoing criminal investigations. The head of SRI, Eduard Hellvig, says the decision impacts national security, jeopardizing files on espionage, treason, high corruption or cyber-crimes issues. Last night, Justice Minister Raluca Prună announced a solution for those problems pointed out by prosecutors which is going to be promoted by an emergency ordinance.

Raluca Prună: The Cabinet’s solution is that prosecutors and judicial police use SRI’s surveillance infrastructure without any human intervention from the Service, as criminal investigators are the only ones entitled to enforce such surveillance measures, as ruled by the Constitutional Court.

According to the Justice Minister, the normative act is likely to be endorsed by the Supreme Council of National Defense, followed by a Cabinet meeting this evening meant to approve it, Radio Romania reported.

Institutional accounts data base launched for public consultation

Any citizen or company will be able to access information regarding ways public money is spent, according to an announcement made today by PM Dacian Cioloş during a conference occasioned by the launch of the biggest public institution accounts data base. The Prime Minister said this measure is part of the Cabinet’s efforts to reduce risk of fraud and corruption.â

Dacian Cioloş: Public expenditures and investement costs will become much more transparent. So, we are going to have this kind of instruments as well. And I am convinced all interested persons will identify ways to use this information, which is a first step. We would like to further increase this transparency by adding new categories of information regarding certain contracts.

Increasing citizens’ access to information on public expenditures is one of the priorities stated by the Cioloş Cabinet, Radio Romania reported.

British Romanian Chamber of Commerce inaugurates local office in Cluj-Napoca

The British Romanian Chamber of Commerce inaugurated a local office in Cluj-Napoca in the presence of the British Ambassador Paul Brummel who pleaded for the development of economic relations between the two countries. His Excellency showed that annual volume of bilateral trade reached 3.5 billion euros with the trade balance favoring Romania. The Ambassador also expressed his support for UK investments in Cluj area. On the occasion, Paul Brummel said Romania needed to continue tackling corruption in order to ensure a healthy business environment. He openly expressed his support for the National Anti-Corruption Directorate and the National Integrity Agency and added the fight against corruption is paramount worldwide.

Paul Brummel: It is important, of course, to tackle corruption as this is a crime, but tackling corruption has further implications: development, jobs, prosperity. Data shows corruption actually accounts for a 5% loss from the GDP every year. The World Bank also estimates corruption is rising global business cost by nearly 5%.

FBI special agent Martin Helmer was also invited to take the floor at the event organized by British investors and stressed out he is speaking on his behalf. He showed that the US Government is fighting corruption on a global level. British and American experts mentioned that individuals and companies committing acts of corruption abroad can be prosecuted in their countries should they prove to be connected in any way with the US or the UK. They have also encouraged Romanian authorities to continue tackling corruption, Radio Romania reported.

President Klaus Iohannis visited Ramallah

President Klaus Iohannis pleaded for a peaceful solution in the Middle East during his meeting yesterday, in Ramallah, with the President of the Palestinian National Authority. Mahmoud Abbas has also expressed his desire for peace with the State of Israel, but pointed out the need for decisive measures coming from the Israeli part, such as putting an end to colonizations, should they envisage the same goal. As for economic relations, the head of state declared he wished Romanian companies got involved in reconstruction of Palestinian institutions and economy whereas Mahmoud Abbas invited Romanian and Palestinian businessmen to identify ways to invest in several sectors, Radio Romania reported.

26-year old convicted to life imprisonment in Germany to serve sentence in Romania

A Romanian citizen sentenced to life imprisonment in Germany for manslaughter and robbery was escorted last night to Romania. The 26-year old man accompanied by another person committed robbery in a German citizen’s house and killed the owner. The convicted was taken into custody by representatives of the National Administration of Penitentiaries. He is going to serve the sentence in Romania following recognition and enforcement of the foreign judgement by a Romanian court, Radio Romania reported.

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