EU vice president urges Romania to respect democracy, rule of law
Timmermans made the remarks in Bucharest at the National University of Political Studies and Public Administration, which was awarding him a honourary doctorate.
“If the Rule of Law is put under threat, if the media are curtailed in their free reporting, if democracy is reinterpreted as the winner takes it all, then almost automatically corruption increases,’’ Timmermans said.
In recent months, the European Commission has criticised Romania, which currently holds the rotating EU presidency, for backsliding on commitments to uphold judicial independence and tackle corruption.
Timmermans was afterwards planning to discuss with Social Democratic Prime Minister Viorica Dancila the fight against corruption, in which he said there had been “no progress’’ in Romania.
On Tuesday, he is set to hold informal talks with the EU ministers for European affairs.
A decree, passed February by Dancila’s cabinet, changed the procedure of appointing magistrates.
It also limits the power of the chief state prosecutor who has opposed the justice reform that the government pushed through in spite of criticism from the EU.
Coronavirus cases in Romania surpass 20,000
The number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in Romania has risen by 196 to 20,103 as of Friday, including 1,308 deaths, the latest official figures showed.
Meanwhile, 14,145 recoveries have been reported so far, while 152 patients are admitted in intensive care units, announced in its daily report the Strategic Communication Group (GCS), the government agency authorized to publish information on COVID-19.
Romania has been under the state of alert since mid-May after the end of a two-month higher-level state of emergency.
After two phases of relaxation measures, Romanians are actually living “a quasi-normal life.” Indoor performances are not allowed, malls and enclosed restaurants are not yet open, and masks must be worn in indoor public places and buses.
The number of infections is declining in the eastern European country, but there are still fluctuations and it is maintained at around 200 cases per day. Prime Minister Ludovic Orban on Friday urged Romanians again to protect themselves and observe the “physical distance for health protection,” warning that “any significant increase in the number of cases can lead to new restrictive measures.”
Romanian doctor gets suspended jail sentence over Cameroonian player’s death
A Romanian court has handed a one-and-a-half-year suspended jail sentence to an emergency doctor for negligence before the death of Dinamo Bucharest’s Cameroonian midfielder Patrick Ekeng in May 2016.
Ekeng collapsed on the field after suffering a heart attack, shortly after coming on as a second half substitute during a domestic league match, and was pronounced dead two hours later.
Prosecutors said she made no attempt to resuscitate the player.
Duta was not immediately available for comment.
Romania further relaxes COVID-19 restrictions
People walk past reopened terraces of restaurants in Bucharest, Romania, on June 1, 2020. Romania adopted new relaxation measures from June 1, including reopening open-air terraces of restaurants and beaches, lifting the travel restrictions for residents, as well as allowing outdoor shows and sports events. (Photo by Cristian Cristel/Xinhua)
Romania to allow outdoor sports events from June 1
Romanian Prime Minister Ludovic Orban announced late Thursday a series of relaxation measures from June 1, including allowing outdoor sports events without spectators.
According to a governmental decision signed by the prime minister, the relaxation measures related to sports include allowing sports competitions to be held in the open air and professional water athletes to compete even in indoor pools.
However, the above relaxation measures are not applicable to sports games with physical contact. In addition, all the competitions are to run without audience and epidemic prevention requirements must be observed.
According to the decision, indoor training for professional athletes must ensure a space of seven square meters per person.
Romania entered in the state of alert on May 15, after the end of a two-month higher-level state of emergency. According to the first phase of relaxation measures implemented at the time, professional athletes can resume training in fully enclosed camps, with a medical certificate confirming a negative test for COVID-19.
Romania’s national and Olympic teams had to stop their centralized preparations in mid-March when the Ministry of Youth and Sports ordered to suspend all sports training and competitions amid the coronavirus pandemic.
Romania reported its first COVID-19 case on Feb. 26. The epidemic in the country is still at the plateau, with 197 new cases confirmed in the latest 24 hours.
Romania to take new relaxation measures from June 1: minister
Romanian Health Minister Nelu Tataru announced on Tuesday that new relaxation measures will be taken as of June 1.
According to the official, the authorities will assess the first period of 14 days of relaxation after the end of the state of emergency and then announce the new relaxation measures.
“For now we can say with a quite high degree of certainty that we will reopen terraces(of restaurants)… We’ll keep the same social distance,” Tataru told local broadcaster B1TV, quoted by the official Agerpres news agency.
“There may be other measures too, but we’ll proceed to the assessment at the end of this week,” he added.
According to the minister, beaches could reopen from June 15 and from July or August, the Romanians could lead “a quasi-normal life.”
As the first batch of relaxation measures after the end of the state of emergency, residents are allowed to travel locally, but mask-wearing is mandatory in enclosed public spaces and on public transport. Meanwhile, parks reopened, while shops with access directly to the street, barbers, beauty salons, dentists and museums resumed business.
Romania reported its first COVID-19 case on Feb. 26, which involved a 20-year-old Romanian national infected by an Italian visitor. The country announced 146 new confirmed cases on Tuesday, bringing the total number of confirmed cases to 18,429, with 1,216 fatalities.
UEFA gives Romania another week to submit restart plan
UEFA last month gave European leagues an initial May 25 deadline to submit plans but the FRF requested an extension after the Romanian government said it was assessing the COVID-19 situation every two weeks.
The federation added that the extension would allow them to analyse how current medical protocols would impact team training, etc.
The FRF hoped to resume the domestic top flight on June 13 but the decision needed government approval.
The FRF suspended all football competitions in the country in mid-March.
Edited By: Chioma Ugboma/Salif Atojoko (NAN)
Romanian police seize 50 kg of heroin in tractor-trailer
Romanian police intercepted 50 kilograms of heroin in the cabin of a tractor-trailer driven by a Bulgarian citizen, at a border crossing point in the south, according to a statement released on Monday by the Directorate for Investigating Organized Crime and Terrorism (DIICOT).
The border police discovered the drug on Sunday, at the Calafat Border Crossing Point, Dolj County, on the north bank of the Danube River. When conducting a routine inspection, the police found in a travel bag hidden among luggage and food bags, several packages containing approximately 50 kg of heroin.
The market value of this batch of heroin is estimated at 1.5 million euros (1.6 million U.S. dollars), according to DIICOT.
The Bulgarian citizen, 38, was detained and then submitted on Monday to the Bucharest Tribunal, with a proposal for preventive arrest for a period of 30 days.
The driver claimed that the travel bag belonged to a friend of his, who had asked him to take it to Switzerland.
Due to its geographical location, Romania forms part of the Balkan route for drug smuggling.
Romania to provide 1 bln euros to companies affected by COVID-19
According to the Ministry of Economy, Energy and the Business Environment, the funds would enter its budget from the Ministry of European Funds and will be distributed among companies in the hardest-hit areas.
Some 350 million euros could go to HoReCa (hotels, restaurants and cafes) and transport companies, about 100 million euros could be given as an aid in the form of vouchers for companies without employees (where the employer is the only employee), while the remaining 550 million euros could go to companies that want to speed up production, the ministry announced on its Facebook page.
“We think that in this program we will offer up to 800,000 euros non-reimbursable per beneficiary, money that can go to medium and small companies in industry and trade,” Liviu Rogojinaru, state secretary of the ministry, was quoted as saying, referring to the remaining 550 million euros.
This is another measure taken by the authorities to support enterprises during the pandemic. Late March, the government announced to suspend the payment of rates as a first major measure to mitigate the economic impact of the pandemic on households and companies. (1 euro = 1.09 U.S. dollars)
People enjoy sunshine day in Bucharest, Romania
People roller-skate on a road in Bucharest, Romania, May 23, 2020. Romania is now in state of alert regarding COVID-19 pandemic, a level lower than the state of emergency. Under the state of alert, residents are allowed to travel locally, but mask-wearing is mandatory in enclosed public spaces and on public transport. (Photo by Cristian Cristel/Xinhua)
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