ISIS Romanian defence minister Gabriel Les has reiterated Romania’s support for the international community’s actions aimed at stabilizing the situation in Syria and Iraq for fighting terrorism worldwide. The Romanian minister has attended in Brussels the meeting of defence ministers from the countries contributing to the Global Coalition against Daesh. Minister Les announced Bucharest’s contribution in 2017 with 50 instructors who can help with the training of the Iraqi security forces. Defence ministers have assessed the future challenges of the security situation well as measures for stabilizing the region after the dismantling of ISIS, chiefly in terms of humanitarian aid and reconstruction.
LOAN The Romanian government has approved the second installment of 50 million euros of the reimbursable loan to the neighboring Republic of Moldova, an ex-soviet Romanian-speaking country. The agreement on the 150 million euro loan between Romania and the Republic of Moldova was signed in Chisinau in October 2015. Bucharest conditioned the loan on several reforms that Chisinau was supposed to implement. The first installment of 60 million euros was granted in August 2016 after the Republic of Moldova had reported progress in signing a financing programme with the IMF. The government in Chisinau and the IMF have signed a cooperation agreement through which the Republic of Moldova got a credit line of 176 million dollars.
FILM ‘Ana mon amour’ a film directed by Romanian Calin Peter Netzer is vying for the Golden Bear prize of the Berlin Film Festival. We recall that another production signed by Netzer, ‘Child’s Pose’ reaped the Golden Bear award in 2013. Romanian actor Tudor Istodor is also running in the ‘shooting stars’ section of the Berlinale this year with his role in ‘The Fixer’ while Romanian directors Ilinca Calugareanu, Ioana Mischie, actor Alexandru Potocean, producer Andra Popescu, operator Carmen Tofeni, film distributor Matei Truta and script-writer Monica Stan are vying for a prize in the ‘Berlinale Talents’ section. Bogdan George Apetri’s film project ‘The Deer’, produced by Oana Iancu has been selected to participate in the Coproduction Market.
STRATEGIC PARTNERSHIP Mac Thornberry, chairman of the House Armed Services Committee in US Congress, has described the US-Romanian Strategic Partnership as very important. During a meeting with Romania’s ambassador in Washington, George Cristian Maior, the US official has voiced his appreciation for Romania’s decision to earmark higher funds to its defence sector adding the move is relevant for a fair task distribution inside NATO. The meeting between the two officials took place almost concurrently with the Brussels meeting of the NATO defence ministers who decided to beef up allied presence in the Black Sea.
ANTI-GRAFT Romania’s Prime Minister Sorin Grindeanu is continuing talks in Brussels with EU high officials in order to assure Romania’s partners in the European institutions that the fight against corruption is a key objective of the Bucharest government. The visit comes against the situation created by the move to amend the country’s penal codes through an emergency ordinance. Grindeanu is having talks with the president of the European Council Donald Tusk, the president of the European Commission Jean Claude Juncker and vice-president Jirki Katainen, in charge of jobs, growth, investment and competitiveness. On Thursday at the end of the talks with the commission’s first vice-president, Frans Timmermans, Prime Minister Grindeanu said the government he was leading would continue to fight corruption and that amendments to penal legislation would be brought only by Parliament. Timmermans hailed the repealing of the controversial ordinance and recommended that the government in Bucharest be more transparent. Grindeanu said that the next week at the latest he would nominate a new Justice Minister, who could be a person with no political affiliation.
FOOTBALL Romania’s football champion team Astra Giurgiu on Thursday night on home turf drew level, 2-all, in the fixture against Belgian contenders Genk. The game counted towards the first leg of Europa League’s round of last 32. Genk had a 1-nil and 2-1 lead throughout the game, yet Astra came from behind and they stand real chances to go through to the next stage of the competition after the second leg scheduled in Belgium next week, according to punditry. As an absolute first, Astra has made headway in Europa League, as part of a group that also included AS Roma, Czech team Viktoria Plzen and Austria Vienna. We recall Astra is the last Romanian team that remained in the race for the European Cups’ ongoing edition.