Situation of COVID-19 cases in Romania
- Romania exceeded the threshold of 3,000 infections in 24 hours: In the last 24 hours there have been 3,130 new cases of COVID-19, a new worrying record for coronavirus infections since the start of the pandemic. 44 Romanians infected with the novel coronavirus have died in the past 24 hours, while 607 patients have been reported in intensive care. To date, 2,598,262 tests have been processed at national level, of which 30,191 were performed in the last 24 hours. Most new cases were registered in Bucharest (549), Iasi (193), Bacau (150), Timis (142), Dambovita (128), Cluj (117) and Prahova (101).
Political and regulatory
- RO president says “elections must be held” despite complicated sanitary situation: The parliamentary elections scheduled for December 6 must take place because Romania needs “a Parliament with full powers,” president Klaus Iohannis said on October 7. “Democracy does not work without elections,” president Iohannis stressed. He argued that there were no epidemiological incidents at the local elections. However, it is clear that if the number of cases increases, the electoral campaign will take place under more special conditions than that for the local elections, Iohannis admitted. The opposition Social Democratic Party (PSD) recently suggested it could support a draft bill to postpone the general elections for March 2021 if the epidemic worsened. Taking question from reporters, the President also referred to the politization of the National Audiovisual Council (CNA), mainly hinting at PSD members, pleading for a new, independent, statute for this institution, which “could do a better job”. CNA member Radu Herjeu, who felt targeted by the claims, rejected the allegations saying he equally defended PNL’s image rights. The President called on the population to be more responsible in light of the increase in cases and thanked the medical staff, pointing out that the coming months would not be easy. Klaus Iohannis added that there is no need “to close down the entire country” if the number of COVID infection are not declining, but there will be only local actions. Earlier on Wednesday, Health Minister Nelu Tataru too urged the public to follow the COVID-19 health rules, emphasizing that the COVID-19 pandemic is not sorted out in hospitals. According to Tataru, the restrictions re-imposed by the authorities in some counties and Bucharest City will show their effects in 10-14 days, provided that the public follow the rules. Tataru said cross-evaluations will soon be conducted in hospitals and public health directorates to find out if the healthcare providers are capable of operating, noting that healthcare systems are still resilient but should not be pushed to their limits. The Interior Ministry has also made a new call to Romanians, urging them to observe the protection rules against the coronavirus and to wear face masks.
- Social Democrats promise higher wages and pensions ahead of general elections: Romania’s Social Democratic Party (PSD) promises to achieve an average real GDP growth of 4.4% per annum over 2021-2024. Romania’s GDP per capita in 2024 would thus reach 80% of the European Union’s average measured at purchasing power parity, according to PSD’s governing program for the general elections, quoted by Economica.net. The Social Democrats also promise a 32% increase in pensions over the next four years, on top of the 40% increase that should have come into force this year, but which has been reduced by the Liberal Government to 14%. PSD’s program also includes a 57% increase in the minimum gross wage in the economy, doubling child allowances, and lower tax on employees’ salary income depending on the number of children. PSD promises an average gross salary of RON 7,010 (EUR 1,445 at the current exchange rate) in 2024.
- Romania’s defense and economy ministries visit Washington: Romania’s ministers of defense and economy, Nicolae-Ionel Ciuca and Virgil Popescu, are visiting the United States during October 7-11. Security in the Black Sea area and enlarging the strategic partnership between the two states to the energy sector are the key topics on the agenda.
- Companies could file complaints to the National Authority for Consumer Protection for purchased goods and services just like individuals: Legal entities could address complaints directly to the National Authority for Consumer Protection (ANPC) on goods and services purchased by them, provided that the respective acquisitions do not exceed the amount of RON 5,000 and are not reused for commercial purposes, according to a draft law initiated in the Parliament. Meanwhile, a report released by the Court of Accounts on ANPC’s activity from 2015 to 2019 signals that the institution has had a low fine collection rate of 20% due to a deficient collaboration with the National Fiscal Administration Agency (ANAF).
Impact on the economy
- Minister of Finance announces the start of the government program to support large companies, worth 8 billion lei:TheMinister of Finance, Florin Cîţu, announced on Thursday the start of the government program to support large companies, intended for companies with a turnover of over 20 million lei. Companies have the opportunity to enroll in the program until the end of November.
- Representatives of the hospitality industry to meet with the Prime Minister on Friday; hope that the measure to close down the restaurants would be reconsidered: HoReCa representatives say they will sue the state. They believe that closing restaurants will not stop the epidemic. HoReCa representatives claim that the industry will suffer losses worth three billion euros, as a result of the restrictions decided by the Government in the context of the Covid-19 pandemic. “Tomorrow we will meet with the prime minister, where we will present these situations. Our main problem is that there is no evidence that this increase in the number of cases is related to the restaurant industry. Even though outdoor restaurants remain open, customers will not come, because that is the message sent by the authorities. The authorities relay a message of mistrust.”
- OMV Petrom begins production-sharing negotiations with Georgia: Romanian oil and gas group OMV Petrom, which won the tender for an offshore perimeter in Georgia this summer, has started negotiations with the country’s authorities for a production sharing agreement. The deal’s completion depends on the successful negotiation of a production sharing agreement, said Peter Zeilinger, senior vice president of the Austrian group OMV, and former director of the upstream segment at OMV Petrom.
- OMV Petrom reduced both production and sales in the third quarter, with two exceptions: fuels and electricity: OMV Petrom decreased both its production and sales of hydrocarbons in the third quarter, both compared to the second quarter of this year, in which the Coronavirus crisis started, as well as compared to the similar quarter of last year. In total, hydrocarbon production decreased by about 6%, reaching 141.3 thousand barrels of oil equivalent per day (boe/day), and sales by 6.25%, falling to 133.3 boe / day, compared to the same period last year. Compared to the second quarter, OMV’s hydrocarbon production fell by 4%, while sales fell by over 6%.
- Havrileț: We have drafted an offshore law amendment, which will be sent to Parliament immediately after the elections: the Ministry of Economy and Energy has drafted an amendment to the offshore law to unblock investments in the Black Sea, which will be put on Parliament’s table immediately after the elections, Secretary of State Niculae Havrileț announced at an energy forum.
- Authorities plan modernizing CEC Bank, turning it into major competitor on financial-banking market: The Public Finance Ministry plans to modernize CEC Bank, harnessing its potential to become a major competitor on the financial-banking market, Minister Florin Citu told the “Banking Forum Online” on Thursday, according to Agerpres.
- Greenpeace: Romanian authorities have to work after EP vote on Climate Law: Romania will have to fundamentally change its strategies regarding the energy sector, transportation and other domains that influence its carbon footprint, after the European Parliament voted, on October 7, the Climate Law, which can transform Europe into the first continent that is neutral from an emissions standpoint, Greenpeace representatives say, in a release sent, on Thursday.