1. Situation of COVID-19 cases in Romania
  • Record high of COVID infections as Romania exceeds 2,000 daily cases: 2,158 new cases of COVID-19 infections have been reported in the past 24 hours in Romania which marks a new record high since the start of the pandemic. 33 infected patients have died in the last day, while 550 are in serious condition in intensive care. To date, 2,419,691 tests have been processed at the national level. Of these, 26,021 were performed in the last 24 hours. Most new cases in the last 24 hours were reported in Bucharest (405), Iasi (83) and Ilfov (77). Prime Minister Ludovic Orban said on Wednesday he was worried about the number of new cases of infections with the new coronavirus, stating that a “very serious” analysis will be made at the videoconference at the Ministry of Internal Affairs. He stressed that more seriousness is needed in implementing the restrictive measures.
  • PSD’s Ciolacu, Stanescu to take COVID-19 test; they will be self-isolating until results are out: PSD (Social Democratic Party) leader Marcel Ciolacu and the secretary-general of the same political party, Paul Stanescu, on Wednesday decided to take the COVID-19 test and self-isolate until results are out. According to the mass media, three leaders of PSD’s branch in Salaj have been confirmed to be infected the novel coronavirus and they have been admitted to hospital. They met Marcel Ciolacu last Friday, before the local elections.

 

 

  1. Political and regulatory

 

  • Rafila: Romania enters the pandemic 2nd wave. No more seats available in the COVID hospitals in Bucharest: Romania is in the second wave of the coronavirus pandemic, as there is an intense community transmission of the COVID-19 infection, says Romania’s representative to the World Health Organization, microbiologist Alexandru Rafila. He explained that this is happening in several other EU countries and that we could have up to 2,000 daily infections as of this week. At the same time, the COVID-19 hospitals in Bucharest have run out of available seats for infected patients. Overall, around 55% of the hospital beds capacity in intensive care units is occupied across the country for COVID patients. Rafila’s estimates were made earlier on Wednesday, prior to the daily report being published. “I am concerned about the report of the tests on Sunday, when we had 20% positive tests, which makes me think that we are in an intense community transmission and it is possible to have 2,000 cases per day“, Rafila argued.
  • Official results: Clotilde Armand wins the District 1 mayor seat: Clotilde Armand, the USR-PLUS candidate for the District 1 city hall in Bucharest has won the mayor seat against the incumbent SocDem mayor Dan Tudorache after a scandal in which the representatives of PNL and USR-PLUS have disclosed the PSD’s attempts of election fraud. “We won mathematically”, Clotilde Armand said, adding that there is no legal ground for recounting. Leader of the PNL (National Liberal Party) Prime Minister Ludovic Orban on Tuesday evening stated that there is no need to count again votes in district 1 of the Capital City. Meanwhile, the PSD candidate for Bucharest’s District 1 Hall, Dan Tudorache, the incumbent mayor, has announced on Tuesday that he requested the Central Electoral Bureau order a recount of the ballots of Sunday’s election. Outgoing General Mayor Gabriela Firea also claimed the elections were rigged and is considering contesting the vote.
  • Bucharest Mayor elect Nicusor Dan: Heating system, in a difficult situation: The Bucharest General Mayor elect Nicusor Dan, said on Tuesday that he had met with the special administrator of ELCEN, Claudiu Cretu, and that the heating system in Bucharest is in a “very difficult” situation. “The full resolution of the problem of the heating system exceeds the duration of a four-year mandate, but in a mandate important things can be done to have a modern, efficient heating system,” reads Nicusor Dan’s election programme.
  • President Iohannis decorates French ambassador to Romania: President Klaus Iohannis awarded Michèle Ramis, France’s ambassador to Romania, with the National Order of the Star of Romania, in the rank of Commander, for her “exceptional contribution to the development of political and diplomatic relations.” The decoration decree was signed on Tuesday, September 29.
  • Romanian counties with high count of COVID-19 cases start closing restaurants: The local authorities from Hunedoara, Bacau, and Iasi counties announced new restrictions in the HoReCa sector, after significant increases in the number of new COVID-19 cases. Restaurants, cafes, and gambling halls could also be closed in Iasi starting October 5, if the rate of infections with the new coronavirus does not fall below 1.5 per thousand inhabitants.
  • President Iohannis to attend European Council meeting in Brussels, Thursday and Friday: President Klaus Iohannis will attend a meeting of the European Council in Brussels on Thursday and Friday, which includes topics such as the European Union’s Single Market, industrial policy and the Union’s digital policy, according to a Presidential Administration release.
  • ForMin Aurescu: Phenomenon of fake news, misinformation, confusion, more present than ever in our societies: The phenomenon of fake news, misinformation and confusion “are more present than ever in our societies, in the context of the current crisis”, the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Bogdan Aurescu, said on Tuesday, in the opening of the video-conference organized by the Community of Democracies (CoD) where he also spoke of the need for a “digital democracy”.
  • Giorgiana Hosu to work at General Prosecutor’s Office, after resigning as head of DIICOT: CSM’s (Superior Council of Magistracy) section for prosecutors decided to transfer Giorgiana Hosu to the General Prosecutor’s Office after she resigned from the office of prosecutor-in-chief of DIICOT (Directorate for Investigating Organized Crime and Terrorism).
  • Orban, on Constitutional Court decision: I find it very strange: Prime Minister Ludovic Orban said on Tuesday regarding Romania’s Constitutional Court decision that established that Parliament decides the date of the parliamentary elections that he finds it “very strange” and added that if the Legislature does not want to set the respective date “you can do nothing to parliamentarians.” The Prime Minister added that he is curious about what will happen on this topic, reaffirming that Parliament has already set the date of the elections for December 6.
  • PM Orban: Romanians to be able to vote by correspondence in countries where not possible to organize polling stations: Prime Minister Ludovic Orban said the Government would launch an information campaign dedicated to Romanians in the diaspora, so that they would know that they would be able to vote in the parliamentary elections in countries where it would not be possible to organize polling stations due to health restrictions imposed by the authorities in those states.
  • Nicusor Dan participates in meeting of PNL leadership: The elected mayor of Bucharest, Nicusor Dan, participates on Wednesday in the meeting of the National Permanent Bureau of the National Liberal Party (PNL). “I was invited to the PNL leadership meeting and I came with pleasure, because it is the party that strongly supported me in these local elections. I came to reaffirm my partnership with them,” said Nicusor Dan. Asked if he excludes becoming a member of the PNL at some point, he replied: “We will see what happens in the future. For the moment I want to focus on the problems that Bucharest has and at this moment I have come to stay talk to my PNL partners.” The leader of the PNL (National Liberal Party), Prime Minister Ludovic Orban, on Tuesday stated that, for the time being, there is no discussion about the possibility that Nicusor Dan, the elected general mayor of the Capital City, joined PNL.
  • PM Orban: We forbid PNL organizations to ally with PSD; only with PMP, USR PLUS, UDMR: PNL (National Liberal Party) leader Prime Minister Ludovic Orban on Wednesday announced, after the meeting of the PNL National Political Bureau, that liberal branches are forbidden to get into alliances or agreements with PSD, the recommendation being that they exclusively collaborate with PMP (People’s Movement Party), USR PLUS (Save Romania Union – Freedom, Unity, Solidarity Party) and UDMR (Hungarian Democratic Union of Romania). He stated that only one exception will be possible and this concerns an alliance with PER (Romanian Green Party) in Dolj, but stressed that this depends on the orientation of this branch. Ludovic Orban also announced that he will be the one to lead the electoral campaign of this party for the parliamentary elections, following a decision of the National Standing Bureau of PNL on Wednesday.Meanwhile, People’s Movement Party (PMP) chairman, MEP Eugen Tomac, said he would meet on Wednesday with the National Liberal Party (PNL) leader, Prime Minister Ludovic Orban, to discuss the possibility of creating majorities in county.
    • Comment: While the official version is that there will be no collaboration with PSD whatsoever, PNL still does not have majorities by itself in county or local councils in several parts of the country and does not have the best track record of collaborating with either USR or PMP, especially as the parliamentary elections are nearing and alliances might break, yet it remains to be seen whether the one goal, set by President Klaus Iohannis himself (a big supporter of PNL’s fight against the PSD), to isolate or rid the county of the PSD is realistic and not backfire in decision making deadlocks and that it is not just an attempt to capitalize on the local elections in order to win as much as possible at the parliamentary elections. The reality is that PNL gained some new mayors and county council presidents, but PSD still leads in this respect. PSD however loses in terms of electoral score and majorities in county and local councils, where right-wing parties can form alliances.

 

  1. Impact on the economy

 

  • Florin Cîțu holds press conference, mentions new budget rectification by the end of the year, no extension for tax deferral after October 25: The Minister of Finance Florin Cîțu held a press conference today.
    • Main statements: “The revenues declared by companies to ANAF are 2.8% higher than last year. In August 2020 we received 8% more than in August 2019. I will have conferences at each budget execution. We showed that we can deal with a negative shock, in conditions of a large deficit. We are ready for a big shock (in the second part of the year). I do not see a scenario in which to return to the situation in March. We will not extend the facilities for paying taxes after October 25. I expect the S&P rating to be maintained in December. I expect it to move to a stable outlook. We will present the budget for next year at the appropriate time. It will be presented by the government that will come after the December 7 elections. There will be another rectification by the end of the year. I will meet today with the elected mayor of Bucharest. As a senator from Bucharest, I will also get involved for solutions to the financing problems of the mayor’s office.”
  • Ryanair resumes routes from Oradea after municipality extends aid to lowcoster: Ryanair, the biggest airline in Europe, will resume operating routes from Oradea, in western Romania, after the municipality extended a EUR 0.8 mln aid following an open tender.
  • RO developer of ultrafast e-vehicle charging network in talks for EUR 5 mln financing: Romanian start-up Watto, which is building a regional network of ultra-fast charging stations for electric vehicles, has started talks with investors for the second round of financing, worth EUR 5 million. The company will use the money to start building the network’s first two locations, which could be ready in the first half of 2022, explained Daniel Pintilie, CEO of Watto.
  • RO tech start-up gets financing to convince online buyers who abandon virtual carts: Romanian conversational marketing platform Cartloop received a capital injection of EUR 300,000 from the venture capital fund GapMinder VC, only half a year after its launch.
  • Swedish debt collection specialist enters Romanian market: Swedish bank Hoist Finance AB has decided to enter the Romanian banking market by opening a branch this September, Ziarul Financiar reported. The bank is an expert in restructuring bad loans, something that might surface in significant amounts during the post-crisis period, including in Romania.
  • BCR chief economist says monetary policy rate could remain unchanged by 2022: Romania’s National Bank (BNR) has other levers than the monetary policy interest rate to control the local currency depreciation and keep inflation in target, according to BCR chief economist Ciprian Dascalu. He argues that the central bank might maintain the monetary policy interest rate at 1.5% by 2022.
  • Romanian cybersecurity company to be listed on BVB’s AeRO market: Safetech Innovations SA, a Romanian cybersecurity company, has announced intention to list on the AeRO market of the Bucharest Stock Exchange.
  • CERT-RO participates in Blue OLEx 2020 exercise; 2021 event to be hosted by Romania: The National Cyber Security Incident Response Center (CERT-RO) participated, on Tuesday, in the second edition of Blue OLEx 2020, a table-top exercise dedicated to cyber security crises at European level, which will be organized next year by Romania, according to a press release of the institution, sent to AGERPRES.
  • Volume of wood used last year – 17.523mln cubic meters, down 0.2% from 2018: The volume of wood used last year by certified economic operators decreased by 0.2% compared to 2018, to 17.523 million cubic meters, according to data published on Tuesday by the National Institute of Statistics (INS).
  • Almost 14mln people connected to public water supply system, in 2019: Almost 71% of Romania’s resident population was connected to the public water supply system, in 2019, on the increase compared to the previous year, according to data the National Institute of Statistics (INS) published on Wednesday.
  • Romania, only EU state with unemployment benefit smaller than 50 pct of minimum wage: The increase in the unemployment allowance is justified and necessary because it would contribute to a real integration of the unemployed in the labour market, Romania being the only state in the European Union with an average unemployment allowance of less than 50 pct of the minimum wage, say the representatives of the National Trade Union Bloc (BNS).