Situation of COVID-19 cases in Romania
- Romania’s daily coronavirus cases remain above 1,000, total exceeds 88,000: Romania recorded 1,053 coronavirus cases in the last 24 hours, pushing the total to 88,593 on Tuesday, September 1, according to the daily report released at 13:00. Of the total confirmed cases, 38,454 patients have recovered, while 11,175 asymptomatic patients were discharged ten days after the diagnosis. In the last 24 hours, 60 coronavirus patients died, the highest number of daily deaths since the start of the pandemic. This brings the total death toll to 3,681. At the same time, the number of coronavirus patients admitted to intensive care units also reached a new high, at 552. Overall, 7,164 coronavirus patients are admitted to hospitals in the country. Furthermore, 1,825,272 tests were carried out by September 1, 22,320 of them in the past 24 hours. Of these, 8,803 were carried out on request. Most new cases in the last 24 hours were reported in Iasi (95) and Bucharest (83).
Political and regulatory
- RO Social Democrats’s no-confidence motion against Liberal Govt. fails: Romania’s Liberal Government led by prime minister Ludovic Orban survived the no-confidence motion submitted by the opposition Social Democratic Party (PSD). Only 226 MPs attended the Parliament’s joint sitting for the vote on the motion, versus 233 needed for a quorum. Thus, the vote couldn’t take place, and the motion was dismissed as the extraordinary parliamentary session ended on August 31, G4media.ro explained. PSD, Pro Romania, and the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats (ALDE) were the only parties that supported the motion. However, five PSD MPs also failed to attend the meeting for various reasons. The PSD president Marcel Ciolacu said that the five MPs, out of which two were unable to attend the vote for medical reasons, would be expelled. He also said that he would summon the party’s leadership in a couple of days to discuss further steps against the Government. Asked if he controls the party he leads, Ciolacu replied: “Well, can’t you see?”. Marcel Ciolacu, claimed on Monday that the National Liberal Party (PNL) had a strategy so that quorum was not achieved in the sitting. The leader of the PSD deputies, Alfred Simonis, stated on Monday that he does not find it opportune for the motion of censure submitted in an extraordinary session to be debated in another session. “To talk about a new motion is much too early. We have this motion tabled in an extraordinary session that is ending today. The ordinary session is kicking off tomorrow, I don’t find opportune for this motion to be debated in another session. It is my opinion, I think at this point a talk about this motion is not opportune anymore“, Simonis argued. Simonis mentioned that PSD relied on the UDMR’s votes to adopt the censure motion, but the MPs of this party were absent from the vote. Meanwhile, the failure of the censorship motion has deepened dissensions within the party (the blame was put on MPs that were absent from the vote for health reasons and not on the negotiations coordinated by the leadership) and with Pro Romania (Victor Ponta accusing Marcel Ciolacu of a smear campaign against its party before the vote), an alliance for the parliamentary elections with Pro Romania being firmly excluded by Marcel Ciolacu. “They paid money in the media, where they managed to say that Pro Romania is not coming to the vote and that is why the motion did not pass. We all came today, all 24 of us. In the meantime, however, they did not held talks with anyone, neither with the minority group, nor with those in the UDMR, nor with the non-affiliates, many of whom depend on the presidents of the two Chambers, but they were busy giving money to say that Pro Romania was not coming,” Victor Ponta alleged, adding that the tabling of a new motion by the Social Democrats in the ordinary session “would already be embarrassing.” Most likely opposition parties would focus in the next period on building a stronger opposition in view of winning the local and parliamentary elections. Yesterday’s vote showed that PSD has a frail majority in parliament and gathering a new majority for a new motion of censure would be difficult.
- Poll: RO Social Democrats fall to weakest support since January: Romania’s main opposition party, the Social Democratic Party (PSD), recorded its lowest score in the last seven months – 20.8% – in the latest monthly poll conducted by IMAS for Europa FM, HotNews.ro commented. Nonetheless, despite the small advance over the past months, the ruling Liberal Party (PNL) also plunged nearly 14pp since January to 33.6%. The latest poll was conducted between August 6 and 26. The USR-Plus Alliance remains third in the local political hierarchy, with 18.3% of the intended vote, a slight increase from 17.2% in July. Pro Romania, the party led by former PSD prime minister Victor Ponta, went up to 10.6% in August, after dropping to 9.7% in July. Former president Traian Basescu’s Popular Movement Party (PMP) remains below the 5% threshold that would allow it to enter the Parliament (4.1%). ALDE went down even more in the polls, to only 2.4% of the voting intentions.
- PM Orban: I thank teams that have been with us, we will continue to work together: Prime Minister Ludovic Orban thanked on Monday Save Romania Union (USR), People’s Movement Party (PMP), Hungarian Democratic Union of Romania (UDMR), the national minorities’ group and the unaffiliated parliamentarians, who did not participate in Parliament’s sitting for the vote on the censure motion, adding that the necessary quorum could not have been provided even if all Social Democratic Party (PSD) representatives had attended.
- Romania’s Govt. invites households to keep buying public debt: Romanians can subscribe, starting Tuesday, September 1, Government securities with maturities of 1, 2, and 3 years, the Finance Ministry announced. The subscription period for this program, called Tezaur (Treasury), will end on September 30, 2020.
- RO Govt. earmarks EUR 450 mln for drafting EU-funded projects: Romania’s Government approved on Monday, August 31, the use of RON 2 billion (EUR 450 million) for elaborating projects to attract European funds in the period 2021 – 2027, announced the minister of European funds, Marcel Bolos. The expenditures will be financed from the EUR 79.9 bln earmarked by the European Union under the three separate budgets for the same period, Bolos said, Agerpres reported.
- Schools in Romania to close if three COVID-19 cases detected in different classrooms: Health Minister Nelu Tataru told a news briefing on Tuesday that a school will close if there are three cases of COVID-19 infection in different classrooms. He added that sick children should be kept at home and parents contact the family physician and notify the school. Tataru added that school boards will send on September 10 the scenario they have elected to start the school year. Minister of Education and Research Monica Anisie told a Tuesday’s press conference that the methodological guides for the organization and holding of activities within the educational units were drawn up. According to the minister, such guides have been developed at each level – preschool, primary, secondary and high school. She announced the opening, starting with Tuesday, of an information portal, entitled educatiacontinua.edu.ro, where all those interested will find the necessary information regarding the school year.
- Senate keeps composition of Standing Bureau as in previous session: The Senate voted on Tuesday, for the second ordinary session of this year and the last of the 2016-2020 legislature, the same composition of the Standing Bureau as in the previous session.
- Danube Delta transboundary reserve to welcome Moldova in: The Danube Delta Biosphere Reserve Administration (ARBDD) has obtained the UNESCO agreement for the establishment of a Romania-Ukraine-Moldova cross-border reserve, Danube Delta Governor Ion Munteanu said Tuesday on the 30th anniversary of the reserve.
- EduMin wants ONAC president sacked following botched tender for student tablets: Education Minister Monica Anisie asks Prime Minister Ludovic Orban to sack the president of the National Centralized Procurement Office (ONAC), Cornelia Nagy, after learning about the “disappointing” result of the tender for the purchase of internet-connected tablets for students. PM Orban announced on Sunday evening that only 70 – 80,000 student tables of the promised 250,000 can be purchased until the beginning of the school year, as the authorities found that the tender conducted by ONAC is far from being completed.
- Romania’s President appoints advisor on climate and sustainability issues: President Klaus Iohannis has appointed Alexandra-Maria Bocșe as an advisor, working with the Presidential Administration’s Climate and Sustainability Department.
Impact on the economy
- OMV Petrom completes takeover of 42.9% in Bulgarian offshore project: OMV Petrom announces that it completed the acquisition of OMV Offshore Bulgaria GmbH, including its 42.9% stake in Han-Asparuh exploration block in Bulgaria from OMV Exploration & Production GmbH. The project’s operator is French group Total (57.14%).
- Rompetrol Downstream SRL intends to take over 9 fuel distribution stations from Comision Trade: The Competition Council analyzes the transaction through which Rompetrol Downstream SRL intends to take over the right to use nine fuel distribution stations belonging to Comision Trade group. The nine fuel distribution stations are located in Agigea, Brăila, Focșani, Mangalia, Brașov, Zărnești, Caracal, Caraș Severin and Târgu Jiu.
- Biggest RO marketplace extends credit program for its customers: The entrepreneurs that use the eMAG Marketplace platform can request zero-interest financing of up to RON 300,000 (EUR 62,000) through the eMAG Seller Credit program, launched by eMAG in partnership with Idea Bank a year ago and now extended with a new round totaling almost EUR 5 million.
- Leader of RO health insurance market reports 44% growth in H1: Signal Iduna Romania, the health insurance segment leader in the Romanian insurance market, announces that the volume of gross written premiums in the first half of the year (H1) rose by 44% year on year to RON 57.4 million (EUR 11.9 mln). The number of insured persons reported at the end of June amounted to over 180,000 people, 64% more than a year earlier.
- Local investor launches first production unit for disposable plastic gloves in RO: Barrier Vacuum Bags, a manufacturer of vacuum bags located in eastern Romania (Iasi), announces the launch of a new production line for disposable packaging for masks and gloves, and disposable polyethylene gloves. The company aims to produce 10 million disposable glove pairs by the end of the year.
- Major RO company spots possible frauds at subsidiary sold recently to foreign investor: Romanian construction materials producer TeraPlast has informed its investors that, during an internal review, the company spotted possible illegal actions within its subsidiary TeraSteel Romania. TeraPlast is in the process of selling TeraSteel to Irish group Kingspan along with another subsidiary (Wetterbest).
- Romanian state bank CEC reports profit and above-average growth in H1: Romanian state-owned lender CEC Bank reported a profit of RON 184.4 million (EUR 37.4 mln) in the first half of the year (H1), more than planned for the period. The bank provided no comparison to the same period of 2019. CEC Bank reported this profit despite using RON 100 mln to build up provisions for the deterioration of the loan portfolio quality amid the coronavirus pandemic.
- RO media mogul Adrian Sarbu launches social television project: Romanian media mogul Adrian Sarbu, the owner of Mediafax group and Ziarul Financiar and founder of PRO TV – the biggest media company in Romania, will launch a news television. The new channel, Aleph News, will start broadcasting on Tuesday, September 1. It is the first of the social media channels Sarbu plans to launch under the Aleph label. The channel will initially be available in the cable and satellite networks of Vodafone, Telekom, Orange, INES, and NextGen and online on the alephnews.ro website, on Facebook, Instagram, and Youtube. However, it won’t be available in the Digi network, the biggest cable network in Romania. Many of Sarbu’s former collaborators at PRO TV have joined his team for this new project.
- INS: Unemployment rate stands at 5.4% in July: The seasonally adjusted unemployment rate was 5.4% in July 2020, by 0.1 percentage points higher than the previous month, according to a release from the National Institute of Statistics (INS) issued on Tuesday for AGERPRES. The estimated number of unemployed (people aged 15 to 74) for July 2020 was 484,000 people, up from the previous month (474,000 people) and the same month last year (362,000 people).