Situation of COVID-19 cases in Romania

  • Significant decrease in the number of infections in Romania: The report made today by the Strategic Communication Group revealed a significant decrease of the COVID-19 infections, 146 new cases in the past 24 hours. Around 200 cases had been reported a day on Sunday and Monday. Overall, since the outbreak of the epidemic there are 18,429 new coronavirus cases confirmed in Romania. 11,874 recovered, while 181 patients are still admitted in intensive care. The casualties made by the new coronavirus in Romania have reached 1,210. To date, 385,728 tests have been processed at the national level. Health Minister Nelu Tataru said that if the downward trend of infections is persisting, authorities will consider easing down more restrictions, for instance, “to re-open terraces as of June 1 and beaches from June 15”. Doctor Alexandru Rafila, microbiologist and president of the Romanian Association of Microbiology, gave assurances that some of the current restrictions imposed in Romania will be lifted from June 1. His reaction comes after only 146 new cases of coronavirus were registered in Romania in the last 24 hours.

 

 

Political and regulatory

 

  • Romanian authorities ponder reopening beaches on June 15: If the number of coronavirus cases decreases or will remain low, beaches could reopen starting June 15, health minister Nelu Tătaru told local TV station B1 TV. Under the same circumstances, terraces would reopen on June 1, he said. The Romanian restaurant association HORA announced last week that terraces would reopen on June 1, and indoor restaurants would resume operations on June 15. Tătaru explained that restaurants would open in two phases, depending on how the opening of the terraces will be managed.
  • IntMin Vela says Covid-19 disinformation campaigns funded, can lead to economic destabilization: Interior Minister Marcel Vela said on Monday evening that disinformation published online denying the existence of the novel coronavirus is part of a financed campaign that can lead to economic destabilization. The interior minister believes that such campaigns may persuade ordinary people and even some politicians to claim that the novel coronavirus does not exist or that thermal scanning is used for purposes other than the publicly avowed ones. He added that the number of those who believe in such scenarios is small and that the vast majority of the public has proved that they understand the gravity of the situation, which is why he continued to appeal to the responsibility and patience of citizens, so that Romania may be able to move on to the next level of relaxation from June 1.
  • Romanian state recovers island “from Social Democrat elite”: Romania’s environment minister Costel Alexe went in an inspection at Belina island on the Danube on May 25 as the island is close to being returned into state property. The Government illegally transferred the Belina island to the Teleorman County Council seven years ago. The County Council then leased the island to local construction company Tel Drum, allegedly controlled by former Social Democrat leader Liviu Dragnea (at that time head of Teleorman county council). Minister Alexe claims that the company has built amenities on the island without any permits.
  • Court rejects former Romanian Social Democrat leader’s jail release request: Romania’s High Court of Cassation and Justice (HCCJ) rejected on Monday, May 25, the appeal filed by former Social Democrat leader Liviu Dragnea against the execution of his jail sentence, Hotnews.ro reported. The decision is final.
  • Romanian Govt. funds urban plan to help with Roşia Montană’s inclusion on UNESCO heritage list: The Public Works, Development and Administration Ministry (MLPDA) announced it would finance the drafting of the general urban plan (PUG) at Roşia Montană, to serve for the site’s inclusion on the UNESCO heritage list. The registration procedure already started and having updated PUG documents is an essential condition to having the request accepted,” Culture Minister Ion Ştefan said.
  • PSD’s Ciolacu: President Iohannis’ attack is a small non-European one; I don’t know Viktor Orban: Interim leader of the Social Democratic Party Marcel Ciolacu on Monday evening stated that the accusations made by President Iohannis according to which “PSD is struggling to give the Ardeal to the Hungarians” are “a non-European attack” and said he did not know Viktor Orban, the Hungarian PM. Marcel Ciolacu gave assurance that he did not have an understanding with Klaus Iohannis or PNL (National Liberal Party), and also that, while referring to some criticisms against his party colleagues regarding the manner in which they react to the accusations made by the President, a party is weakened by both external and internal attacks.T he interim Social Democratic leader also said that PSD’s score in the opinion polls is “a strong 29,” while PNL “has around 35 percent” and underscored that “PSD must focus exclusively on the Romanians’ agenda and on Romania.
  • EduMin Monica Anisie: We need a restructured education system: Young Romanians need a restructured education system starting with primary school and ending with postgraduate studies, Minister of Education and Research Monica Anisie said on Tuesday, adding that it is “extremely important “for education to be seen as integrated from primary to higher education and research.” Anisie participated in the event “RO-HYDROHUB, hydrogen as an alternative energy vector” organized by the Department for Sustainable Development. Monica Anisie said that higher education is the main provider of human resources for research, and Romania needs well-trained young people, trained for the “top” fields at European level. According to the Minister, a new research-innovation and smart specialization strategy is currently being defined, which sets new priorities that will be correlated with those at the regional level. She also said she hoped that, following the signing of the Memorandum on establishing measures to achieve the national objectives in the field of advanced technologies, the Romanian research will develop in a sustainable and predictable way. “This memorandum, in fact, supports the development of national projects, including the Romanian Hydrogen Hub,” the Education Minister added.
  • Cătălin Predoiu complains about the lack of money – the Minister of Justice asks its employees to exercise ‘caution’ in managing the budget: the Minister of Justice, Cătălin Predoiu, asked the subordinated staff to “prudently” manage the available budget, which was affected by the expenses for the protection of employees, carried out in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic. As of April 16, five Justice Ministry employees have been positively confirmed with the new coronavirus. In this context, the institution temporarily entered the work from home regime, with the exception of the minister, state secretaries, the minister’s office, the classified information service, the information & technology department, which worked at the ministry’s headquarters.
  • ForMin Aurescu says Romania deeply interested in moving away from defiance, confrontation in its relation with Hungary: Romania’s Foreign Minister Bogdan Aurescu said on Tuesday that in the Romanian-Hungarian relationship “a climate of trust and mutual respect” needs to be restored, calling for “restraint and discernment.” “Romania is deeply interested in moving away from a logic of defiance and confrontation and we propose to create the premises for shaping a constructive, modern, civilised, pragmatic, European Romanian-Hungarian relationship. We need to restore a climate of trust and mutual respect in the bilateral relationship. We have a very good relationship that we built a long time ago. (…) That is why we have called for restrain and discernment and pleaded – especially in the current context marked by the harmful effects of the COVID-19 crisis affecting all citizens of our countries – for full and genuine involvement in building a good unneighborly relationship of a genuine strategic partnership,’ Aurescu told a joint news conference with Hungarian Minister of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade Peter Szijjarto. In turn, Hungarian Minister of Foreign Affairs, Peter Szijjarto, taxed in the joint press conference with his Romanian counterpart the statements made recently by President Klaus Iohannis regarding Transylvania ‘given to the Hungarians by the PSD’. “We do not want to partake in domestic political disputes, we want these discussions not to be repeated,” he said, without nominating the Romanian head of state.
  • Senates debates simple motion submitted by PSD against Interior Minister Marcel Vela: The Senate debates, on Tuesday, from 3 PM, the motion submitted by the PSD against Interior Minister Vela. The Social Democrats accuse the Interior Minister of stuttering, contradictions and retractions.
  • DefMin Ciuca: Strategic Partnership with USA, essential pillar of Romania’s security: The Strategic Partnership with the USA is an “essential pillar of Romania’s defence”, and the challenges to national security have increased constantly, said, on Monday, the Minister of National Defence, Nicolae Ciuca, present at an event organized by the Embassy of the United States of America in Bucharest to mark Memorial Day.

 

Impact on the economy

  • Renault might have to stop investments in Romania: The French Government wants carmaker Renault to stop developing its production capacities abroad, in exchange for a EUR 5 billion rescue package, French environment minister Elisabeth Borne said on Sunday, May 24, according to Reuters, quoted by Hotnews.ro. In Romania, Renault has already started a EUR 100 million project aimed at increasing by 15% the production capacity of its local subsidiary Dacia.
  • RO energy-intensive companies to get EUR 291 mln state aid: Some 170 Romanian electricity-intensive companies will get state aid worth around EUR 291 million, related to their electricity consumption in 2019-2020, Economica.net reported after consulting official documents. The grants will offset the costs of CO2 emissions, included in the price of electricity paid by large industrial consumers, under the same model applied in other EU countries. The amounts provided as state aid will be financed from the sale of the surplus of CO2 emission certificates by the Romanian state, amounting to about EUR 1 billion.
  • Romanian SMEs ask Govt. for clear economic reconstruction calendar: The National Council of Private SMEs in Romania (CNIPMMR) has asked the Government to quickly come out with the promised package of measures for economic recovery and set clear deadlines and budgets for each objective. Such an outline would ensure the stability and predictability of the business environment. It would also clarify the drivers of the economic recovery and development over the next period, given that the COVID-19 pandemic has affected the competitiveness of some economic sectors, the council said in a press release.
  • RO Govt. prepares to give EUR 1 bln to firms in sectors hit by crisis: Romania’s Ministry of Economy will directly finance small and medium-sized enterprises with EUR 1 billion, state secretary Liviu Rogojinaru announced in a videoconference. The money comes from European funds not yet spent by Romania under the financial year 2014-2020, so the funds must be distributed and used by the end of 2020, Ziarul Financiar reported.
  • Romanian Govt.-backed SME financing might not kick up as fast as expected: Bank lending to small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) under the Government-backed program IMM Invest might not surge as fast as expected, shows a survey carried out by Economica.net among the banks that have received massive loan requests. Firstly, there are bureaucratic obstacles that don’t allow quick endorsement of the loan requests, according to the survey.
  • ING Bank Romania’s profit drops on higher risk costs: ING Bank Romania recorded a net profit of RON 143 million (EUR 29.5 mln) in the first quarter of 2020, down 27% compared to the same period last year. The lender’s revenues increased by 9%, but the risk costs also went up due to deteriorating economic prospects amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • Transgaz becomes associate member of Romanian Investor Relations Association in Romania: Transgaz, a strategic company and the technical operator of the national gas transmission system has become an associate member of the Romanian Investor Relations Association (ARIR), the non-governmental organisation made the announcement on Tuesday, in a press release to AGERPRES. According to the same source, Transgaz joins thus an elite group of companies member of the ARIR, such as the Bucharest Stock Exchange (BVB), Alro, Antibiotice, Banca Transilvania, BRK Financial Group Electrica, Electromagnetica, Franklin Templeton – Bucharest, Hidroelectrica, Idea Bank, Nuclearelectrica, OMV Petrom, Purcari, Teraplast, Innova Project Consulting and Envisia Transelectrica.
  • TAROM introduces Tuesday flights from Bucharest to Rome and Milan and back: Romanian air transport company TAROM introduces on Tuesday flights from Bucharest to Rome and Milan and back, according to an announcement on its Facebook page.
  • The Romanian video game development industry announces jobs and continues to grow despite the current international context: The local video game development industry is among the best performing in the current international context and continues to grow, according to the Romanian Video Game Developers Association (RGDA). Numerous companies in the field, both the local branches of famous multinationals and independent Romanian studios, are involved in recruitment processes at the moment.
  • Eight countries, including Romania, say gas deserves help as EU readies ‘green recovery’ fund: Eight European countries have urged the European Union to include natural gas in future funding, as the bloc’s executive prepares to unveil its plan for a green economic recovery from the coronavirus pandemic. The European Commission will present on Wednesday its trillion-euro proposal for the bloc’s next budget, alongside a coronavirus Recovery Fund to mobilise investments in line with its climate goals. Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Greece, Hungary, Lithuania, Poland, Romania and Slovakia have asked Brussels not to exclude natural gas projects from future funding.
  • UEFA gives Romania another week to submit restart plan: European soccer’s governing body UEFA has given the Romanian football federation (FRF) until June 1 to submit plans on how it intends to complete the domestic season, the FRF has said. UEFA last month had given 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.