Situation of COVID-19 cases in Romania
- Over 1,400 new cases of COVID-19 in Romania: 1,415 new COVID-19 cases have been reported in the past 24 hours in Romania, a new record of infections. 22,607 tests have been conducted. 43 Romanians infected with the novel coronavirus have died in the past day, and 485 patients are in intensive care. Overall, 65,177 cases of infected people have been reported in Romania so far since the start of the pandemic until today, August 12. 31,048 patients were declared cured and 7.026 were asymptomatic. Most new cases in the last 24 hours were registered in Bucharest (174), Vaslui (123), Arges (77) and Hunedoara (71).
Political and regulatory
- PSD has decided to submit the motion of censure on Monday: PSD decided to submit, next week, on Monday, the motion of censure. PSD spokesman, Lucian Romașcanu, said that once the Government falls, the proposal for prime minister supported by PSD will be announced. “We take these things extremely seriously and we are convinced that ALDE and Pro Romania will vote for this motion. We believe that the USR will also vote for this motion, if they want to maintain their line of speech against the current Government”, said Lucian Romașcanu, on Antena 3. Political sources told Digi24.ro that the no-confidence motion to be filed on Monday will be read in the Parliament on Thursday, August 20. The vote for the dismissal of the government would thus be held between August 24-28.
- Barna: Congress for USR-PLUS merger on Saturday: The congress for the Save Romania Union – Liberty, Unity, Solidarity Party (USR-PLUS) merger will take place on Saturday, August 15, announced USR leader Dan Barna. He reminded that the party will be called USR-PLUS and that after the court’s decision, elections will be organized for the party’s leadership.
- USR not to vote motion of censure: Chairman of Save Romania Union (USR) Dan Barna said on Tuesday night that a motion of censure against the Government would be an irresponsible gesture and stressed that USR will not vote on such a document. Sources with ALDE party management said the party will vote for the censorship motion unconditionally, should PSD file it.
- Senate rejects USR proposal to modify Criminal Code, Criminal Procedure Code on extended confiscation: The Senate rejected on Tuesday the legislative proposal initiated by the USR (Save Romania Union) MPs regarding the modification of the Criminal Code and Criminal Procedure Code in the sense of extending confiscation powers when it comes to goods resulted from corruption or criminal activities.
- Romanian opposition continues to press Govt. to double child allowances: The Romanian Senate rejected on Tuesday, August 11, the Government’s emergency ordinance for a 20% increase in child allowances starting with August – instead of the 100% rise stipulated in the law already promulgated by president Klaus Iohannis in January, G4media.ro reported. The legal effects of rejecting the OUG, the Government’s second attempt to avoid the doubling of the allowances, could have a significant impact on the budget.
- FinMin Citu says economic crisis incurs half of Romania’s 2020 general gov’t deficit: Half of Romania’s 2020 general government deficit represents the cost of the economic crisis, and the cost has two components: an increase in unforeseen expenditures, such as healthcare spending, social assistance and a significant reduction in revenues against initial projections, Finance Minister Florin Citu said Tuesday.
- Romania’s energy strategy to be adopted by Parliament, by law: The Senate adopted, on Tuesday, a draft law stipulating that Romania’s Energy Strategy and the Integrated National Plan in the field of energy and climate change for the period 2021-2030 will be adopted by the Parliament, by law, after receiving the Government’s approval. The Senate is the first notified chamber notified and the Chamber of Deputies is the decision-making body in this case.
- Court report finds no serious healthcare errors, just defective public procurement: The Court of Auditors submitted to Parliament a special report on the management of public resources during the COVID-19 lockdown that finds that, in most cases, the use and management of public resources and funds to prevent and combat the COVID-19 pandemic was in accordance with the purpose, objectives and powers provided for in the existing legislation, but there were some “systemic deficiencies and slippages.” The court’s audit also targeted the state-run UNIFARM SA pharmaceutical supplies distributor finding “a series of errors, irregularities and management deficiencies that resulted in the partial accomplishment of its duties, as it did not adequately and urgently provide the healthcare system with specific products to fight against the pandemic.” State-owned medical supplies trader Unifarm made purchases without the Health Ministry’s approval worth RON 1.5 bln (EUR 300 million), the report of the Court of Auditors finds.
- President Iohannis meets Liberty Galati steel plant management: President Klaus Iohannis had a meeting with the management of the Liberty Galati steel plant on Tuesday, during which Sanjeev Gupta, executive chairman of the Gupta Family Group Alliance (GFG Alliance) and Liberty Steel Group, presented his investment plans for Romania.
- DefMin Ciuca, Estonian counterpart Luik discuss security on NATO’s eastern flank: The security situation on NATO’s eastern flank was a matter discussed at a videoconference meeting of Romania’s Defence Minister Nicolae Ciuca and his Estonian counterpart Juri Luik. The Romanian official welcomed the added value to cyber defence of the NATO Cooperative Cyber Defence Centre of Excellence (CCD CoE) in Tallinn, Estonia. At the end of the talks, the two officials highlighted the interest in developing bilateral defence co-operation, with Ciuca also voicing readiness to continue developing co-operation programmes in areas of common interest, such as military education and cyber defence.
- Bucharest mayor proposes EUR 1,000 vouchers for recovered COVID-19 patients who donate plasma: Bucharest residents who have recovered from COVID-19 could receive EUR 1,000 vouchers if they donate their plasma, according to a project proposed by the capital’s general mayor Gabriela Firea. Beneficiaries would be able to use these vouchers to buy medicines (vitamins, minerals), food recommended after donation, or other such products.
- Meeting on budget revision to be held at Cotroceni Presidential Palace: President Klaus Iohannis will have today, starting at 16:00 hrs, a budget revision meeting at the Cotroceni Presidential Palace with Prime Minister Ludovic Orban and Minister of Public Finance Florin Citu, informs the Presidential Administration.
- The Prime Minister goes to Parliament to present the measures for the organization of local elections and the opening of schools: The Chamber of Deputies and the Senate is meeting on Wednesday in a joint session, for the Prime Minister Ludovic Orban to present the report on the measures taken and planned by the Government for limiting the spread of the new coronavirus, organizing local elections and opening schools. Orban said that schools will reopen from September 14 on a per situation basis decided by local authorities (normally, with alternative attendance or just online), while respecting protection measures such as wearing masks by both students and teachers, social distancing including by means of plexiglass separating panels. In his opinion, elections can be organized without raising the infection risk. In the healthcare sector, Orban emphasized the need to further increase testing capacity. Since the adoption of the new quarantine law, we have reached the situation of having over 10,000 people hospitalized and quarantine ordered for almost 40,000 Romanians who have been in contact with infected people, Orban said.
- Traian Băsescu raised the signatures necessary to run in just one day: PMP leader, Eugen Tomac, shows that 11,480 signatures were raised in one day for Traian Băsescu’s candidacy for the Bucharest City Hall. “Thank you all, we have the signatures for the candidacy of Mr. Traian Băsescu for the Bucharest City Hall,” Eugen Tomac said.
- PNL’s Roman asks judiciary committees to convene to dismiss Ombudsman Weber: At a plenary sitting of Parliament on Wednesday, National Liberal Party (PNL) floor leader in the Chamber of Deputies Florin Roman called on Parliament’s judiciary committees to convene in order to discuss PNL’s request to dismiss Renate Weber as the Ombudsman. Speaker of the Chamber of Deputies Marcel Ciolacu responded that, according to the regulations, the request must first be considered by the standing bureaus.
Impact on the economy
- Annual inflation rate up to 2.8 pct in July: The annual inflation rate rose to 2.8% in July this year from 2.6% in June, given that food prices rose by 5.57%, service prices advanced 3% and non-food prices picked up 0.88%, according to data published on Wednesday by the National Institute of Statistics (INS).
- Almost 405,000 Bucharest employees draw furlough benefits under lockdown: A number of 404,904 employees in Bucharest received furlough benefits paid by the National Employment Agency (ANOFM) under the coronavirus lockdown in Romania, according to a report on the management of public resources under the lockdown commissioned by Parliament, drawn up by the Court of Auditors and released on Tuesday.
- Colliers: Romania’s retail segment recovers unexpectedly quickly: The first half of the year was the most difficult for Romania’s retail sector, given the deadlock during the state of emergency (March 16 to April 15). Still, the recovery in recent months was stronger than expected by most players in the market, according to the report issued by the real estate consultancy firm Colliers International for the first half of 2020.
- OTP Bank Romania doubles loans granted in state-backed SME financing scheme: OTP Bank Romania, the local subsidiary of Hungarian group OTP, announced that it would double the budget allotted to the IMM Invest program.
- Raiffeisen Bank Romania reports 27% lower net profit in H1: Raiffeisen Bank Romania, the local subsidiary of the Austrian group Raiffeisen Bank International, reported its after-tax profit shrunk by 27% year-on-year to RON 280 million (EUR 57.8 mln) in the first half of the year. The bank’s revenues increased in the first half of 2020, reaching about RON 1.3 billion (EUR 269 mln), 2% more than in the first half of 2019.
- Romania’s electricity consumption down 7.1 pct in H1, exports double: Romania’s electricity consumption in H1 2020 amounted to 25.7 TWh, by 7.1 percent less from the same period of the year before, while imports were twice as high, the National Institute of Statistics (INS) informed today.
- Romania’s Jan – June industrial turnover falls 14 pct YoY: Romania’s industrial turnover overall (domestic and foreign market) was 14 percent down in nominal terms in H1 2020 compared to the same period of 2019, due to the 15.2-percent decrease in the mining industry and the 14-percent decline in the manufacturing industry, shows data released on Wednesday by the National Institute of Statistics (INS). The industrial turnover was 20.1 percent up this June from the previous month.
- INS: Industrial production falls by more than 16 pct in first six months of 2020: Industrial production in Romania registered decreases, in the first six months of the year, of over 16% compared to the same period in 2019, both as gross series and as adjusted series, mainly due to the negative results in the manufacturing industry, the mining industry and the production and supply of electricity and heat, gas, hot water and air conditioning, show the data published on Wednesday by the National Institute of Statistics (INS).
- INS: H1 new manufacturing orders down 14.1 pct YoY: New orders for Romania’s manufacturing industry were 14.1 percent down in H1 2020 from the same period of 2019, but saw however a 21 percent month-over-month increase (June vs. May), shows data released on Wednesday by the National Institute of Statistics (INS).
- Rising profits for all CEZ business units in Romania, which were put up for sale: In the first half of this year, CEZ Group reported increasing profits for all business units in Romania, for which it previously announced that it had launched negotiations in view of a sale. In the first 6 months of this year and despite the Coronavirus crisis, CEZ Romania recorded a profit before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization of approximately 100 million euros, increasing by approximately 50% compared to the same period last year and over the entire profit made throughout 2019, of approximately 390 million lei (just over 80 million euros).
- Bucharest’s main airport starts EUR 22.7 mln upgrade works at runway 2: Bucharest National Airports Company (CNAB) announced on Wednesday, August 12, that it has started the modernization works at runway 2 of the Henri Coanda International Airport – Bucharest’s main one. The contract of almost RON 110 million (some EUR 22.7 million) was attributed to Porr Construct SRL by public tender, News.ro reported. The project should be completed in five months.