Tag Archives: Romania

Climate change on top of EU agenda

Climate change, the rule of law and search for a modernized model for growth should be on the top  of the European Union’ agenda, the bloc’s leaders concluded at informal Summit in Sibiu meant to demonstrate unity and optimism amid Brexit crisis.

However, their informal Summit in the Romanian town of Sibiu did not propose any action plan on how to achieve the ambitious goals.

The leaders of all members except the UK met on Europe Day in Sibibu, in historical center, which has been recently renovated with aid of the EU funds, creating an optimistic backdrop for the Informal Summit, and also underlining the positive impact of the EU on development of the Eastern Europe.

However the EU realities are less optimistic, because the Europeans are no so much impressed by the symbolism of stars, blue flags, photo sessions and handshakes. They are waiting for tangible results, including economic growth, rising of living standards, and security.

According to latest Ipsos polss Marine Le Pen party RN is leading in upcoming European elections with 22% of votes.



Italian chopped alive by Nigerian migrants

Italian teenager Pamela Mastropietro who was murdered by Nigerian migrants last year was likely dismembered alive media reports.

The gruesome details occurred in  the testimony from Vincenzo Marino, a key witness in the trial of Nigerian drug dealer Innocent Oseghale accused of murdering the girl.

Mastropietro had become estranged from her family addicted to drugs after a brief relationship with a man from Romania her mother claims.

Marino claims to have overheard Oseghale  admitting the murder during the detention.

The dismembered corpse of the 18-year-old Mastropietro was found in a number of suitcases last February and psychiatrist and criminologist Alessandro Meluzzi has alleged that the murder was associated with Nigerian organized crime gangs.

An extraordinary cruelty of killing of the girl led to allegations of ritualistic cannibalism that is known to be practiced by Nigerian crime gangs that are operating across Italy and Europe.

Today at the ministry I met Alessandra and Stefano, the parents of Pamela Mastropietro. The process in which the Nigerian Oseghele is accused is under way. I ask justice for this poor girl, those who committed such a hideous crime must rot in prison, without concessions.” wrote Interior minister Matteo Salvini in his Twitter micro blog.

Romania chairs EU for next six months

From January 1, 2019 Romania will takeover the Presidency of the European Union from Austria to chair the bloc for upcoming six-month. During this 6-month period, the Romanian presidency will chair meetings at every level in the Council, helping to ensure the continuity of the EU’s work in the Council.

Earlier European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker said he doubted whether the Romanian government fully understands what it means to take the chairmanship of the Council of the European Union for six months.

In an interview with German newspaper Welt am Sonntag, Juncker said that despite being technically well-prepared the “Bucharest government has not fully understood what it means to chair the EU countries.

Prudent action requires a willingness to listen to others and a strong desire to put one’s own concerns to one side, Juncker explained, adding that he had doubts that this is the case with Romania.

In November, a European Commission report said that Bucharest had significant deficiencies in implementing the rule of law and defeating corruption.

The developments over the last 12 months sadly have called into question and sometimes even reversed the progress made over the last 10 years,” Commission Vice President Frans Timmermans told reporters.

Juncker expressed concern that Romania’s political instability would not project an image of a united entity on the European stage.

A united front is needed at home in order to promote the unity of Europe during the presidency of the Council,” the commission president told Welt am Sonntag.

Last month, Romania’s centrist president, Klaus Iohannis, admitted that his country was not ready assume the EU presidency.

The Commission’s report and the European Parliament’s resolution address the same things,” he said. “They tell us Romania has gone back in time to before its 2007 EU accession.”

MEPs stand for Schengen enlargement

The enlargement of the Schengen area to Bulgaria and Romania is in focus of the Bulgarian presidency of the EU, and the Members of the European Parliament (MEPs).

Despite Bulgaria and Romania fulfilling the necessary criteria and repeated calls from the MEPs to let them join, the Schengen area has not been expanded to these two countries yet as EU national governments have to unanimously agree to allow new states to enter the border-free zone.

The process regarding Croatia’s entry is ongoing, while Cyprus has a temporary derogation from joining the Schengen area.

“We pushed you. You did your homework but the problem is the unanimity in the Council” –  Portuguese MEP Carlos Coelho said. Romanian S&D MEP Emilian Pavel said: “Prolonging this situation, this uncertainty, brings a negative image of the EU, people see that we are treated as second class citizens.”

“The Commission has repeatedly said that both Romania and Bulgaria have fulfilled all technical criteria but because some countries object, we are not members. It is sad that we allow politics to stand in the way of rules” – Bulgarian EPP member Emil Radev added.

Fellow Bulgarian Asim Ademov, also a member of the EPP group, regrets “a lack of solidarity” and “double standards”.

Portuguese EPP member Carlos Coelho wrote Parliament’s report on the revision of the Schengen Information System. However there is also an ongoing debate on corruption and organised crime in both countries, casting the shadow of doubt on the possibility to join Schengen without delivering convincing evidence of the defeat of the organised crime.

NATO counters Russia in Black sea

NATO launched a new multinational force in Romania this week to counter Russia along its eastern flank and to check a growing Russian presence in the Black Sea related to the Crimea, being not recognised by the West as part of Russian Federation.

The force will initially be built around a Romanian brigade of up to 4,000 soldiers, supported by troops from nine other NATO countries, and complementing a separate deployment of 900 U.S. troops who are already in place. The plans are to include additional air and sea assets to give the force greater capabilities.

“We are sending a very clear message: NATO is here, NATO is strong and NATO is united,” Stoltenberg told assembled Polish, Romanian, Spanish and Portuguese soldiers.

Russia accuses NATO of trying to encircle it and threatening stability in Eastern Europe, which NATO denies. Around the Black Sea, Romania, Bulgaria and Turkey are NATO members while Georgia and Ukraine aspire to join.

Swiss restrict Bulgarian and Romanian labor

Switzerland will restrict Bulgarian and Romanian citizens’ access to its labor market within one year  amid increased migration from those countries after limits were lifted last June.

The Swiss cabinet, whose problems with immigration from the European Union have been at rise since  2014 referendum demanding quotas to be imposed for foreign labor, will limit the number of five-year residence permits for Romanians and Bulgarians to level of one thousand (996).

While free movement of workers between Switzerland and the European Union is ensured by bilateral agreements, a special “safeguard clause” allows the Swiss to impose unilateral limits.

Migrant workers from Romania and Bulgaria, who have enjoyed freedom of movement since June 2016, exceeded the threshold last year, with their numbers in Switzerland rising by a net 3,300, about double the increase from 2015.

“Since introduction of full freedom of movement, Romanians and Bulgarian workers have been increasingly coming for seasonal jobs in sectors with higher-than-average unemployment rates,” the Swiss cabinet said. “The government is employing one of the tools at its disposal to control migration.”

Around 14,330 Romanians and 8,112 Bulgarians live in Switzerland according to the official data. Switzerland’s population of 8.4 million is about a quarter foreign.

PHOTO: illustration

Europol crack on Albania and Romania organized crime

Four individuals have been arrested as a result of a joint investigation between the Belgian and Romanian Police, supported by Europol, against a mobile organised crime group specialised in house burglaries. Up to now, the criminal gang is suspected of being involved in 40 different house burglaries with a prejudice estimated at more than EUR 100 000.

Three of the arrests were performed in Belgium and one in Romania. The latter arrestee was extradited to Belgium in early February 2017.
Composed of Albanian and Romanian nationals, the criminal network was extremely violent, attacking victims in their own homes when caught in the act.

On 8 March 2017, as part of a joint action day, three house searches were conducted in Focsani (Romania) by the Romanian authorities, with assistance from a Belgian magistrate and two police officers. As a result, jewellery, watches, cosmetics, leather goods and RON 23 000 (equivalent of EUR 5 100) were seized. In addition, five suspects were brought in for questioning as there is strong indication that the criminal gang was also involved in money laundering.

Europol contributed to the investigation from the very beginning by providing analytical support and facilitating the information exchange. An operational meeting was hosted at Europol’s headquarters, bringing together experts from Albania, Belgium, Italy, Romania and Switzerland to discuss concrete operational actions.

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