October 25th 2018

Romanian Army Day

Romania celebrates its Armed Forces Day on October 25, a day marking the liberation of the Romanian north-western region of Transylvania from foreign ruling. On this day in 1944, the Romanian Army liberated the city of Carei from Nazi occupation.
The Romanian Armed Forces were created in 1860, right after the principalities of Wallachia and Moldavia united to form a single state, that would be later named Romania. During WWII, Romanian dictator Ion Antonescu supported Nazi Germany, but in August 1944 King Michael I of Romania led the coup that deposed Antonescu and put Romania on Allies’ side. Romanian Armed Forces Day, also known as Romanian Army Day, is not a public holiday, but it is still widely celebrated throughout the country. The day is marked with official speeches, solemn ceremonies, military parades and other events and activities.
Today’s anniversary is also marked in Afghanistan where some 650 troops are currently deployed. Today’s events also include wreath-laying ceremonies at army memorials in Păuliş and Carei and at the Memorial of the Unknown Soldier in the Carol I Park in the capital Bucharest. Romanian Defence Minister Mihai Fifor is expected to attend the events.

Money-laundring law adopted in parliament

Romania’s parliament on Wednesday adopted a controversial law on money-laundering aimed at implementing a European Union directive in the field, a year and a half after the deadline had passed and months after Brussels referred the country to the European Court of Justice for failing to comply. An initial vote sparked tensions among MPs, after Social Democrat Party (PSD) leader Liviu Dragnea, also speaker of the lower house, demanded a second round of voting after the bill had been rejected by deputies while claiming an error in the electronic voting system. Issued by the country’s National Office for Prevention and Control of Money Laundering though heavily amended by the ruling Social Democrats, the law came under heavy criticism by the Opposition and most NGOs as it asked organisations to unvail beneficiaries of all their projects, including those at risk if their identity was revealed. Some 40 NGOs sent a letter on Tuesday to all political parties asking them to reject the bill.

Romania’s general prosecutor to be removed

Romania’s justice minister on Wednesday demanded the prosecutor general’s dismissal after accusing him of exceeding his authority. Analysts say the move could heighten concerns in Brussels about the rule of law and democratic values in the country. Justice Minister Tudorel Toader read a summary of a 20-point report, calling for Prosecutor General Augustin Lazăr’s dismissal while accusing him of “acts and facts intolerable to the rule of law.” After the removal of former anti-corruption chief prosecutor Laura Codruţa Kõvesi earlier this year, Lazăr was the last major figure in an anti-corruption drive that had won praise from Brussels for exposing high-level corruption, including theft of EU funds. Mr. Lazăr rejected the accusations and condemned Toader’s bid to oust him.

Romania’s highest court to resume debating complaints against Administration Code

Romania’s Contitutional Court is expected to resume debating on Thursday complaints put forward by President Klaus Iohannis and opposition parties concering the country’s new Administration Code. In their complaint, President Iohannis, the opposition National Liberal Party (PNL) and Save Romania Party (USR) claimed that a number of articles in the law were unclear while also in disregard with existing regulations. The PNL and USR deny among other things the elected local adminsistration officials’ right to special pensions. The European Commission already raised its concerns about the law earlier this year. In a statement it said its services „followed closely the process of the adoption of the Administrative Code in Romania, as this legislative initiative contains important provisions for the initiation of the reform for public administration, negotiated and agreed in the context of the ex-ante conditionalities. The Common Provision Regulation (CPR) requires for the implementation of the necessary public administration reforms as a pre-requisite for ESF intervention. Moreover, Romania adopted a self-suspension clause, based on which the Administrative Capacity OP shall support interventions in the field after the Commission services consider the conditionality fulfilled”. The European Commission also threatened the country’s government with the suspension of  € 500 ml. in EU funds from the Administrative Capacity OP if changes to the Administration Code by parliament would be approved.

Royal Concert at Romanian Atheneum

The Romanian Atheneum Hall in the capital Bucharest will host a Royal Concert organised by the country’s Princess Margareta of Romania Foundation on Thursday also celebrating the birthday of the late King Michael I of Romania. Under tha national programme of „Young Talents”, violinist Anna Tifu, pianist Mihai Diaconescu and conductor Constantin Adrian Grigore will perform accompanied by the Royal Chamber Orchestra (Camerata Regală). The Princess Margareta of Romania Foundation was established in 1990 by Her Majesty Margareta, Custodian of the Romanian Crown, together with her father, King Michael I. „Young Talents” is a project in support of Romanian artists in the country.

Alexandru Danga