Romania paid the International Monetary Fund, European Union and World Bank more than EUR 1.8 billion this year on account of the stand-by loan contracted in 2009, according to the Ministry of Finance. Most of the money were paid to the European Union on January 1: EUR 1.5 billion in principal payments and EUR 46.2 million in interest and fees.
The National Forecast Commission (CNP) has revised upwards the economic growth rate forecast for 2015 and 2016. The 2015-2018 Medium-term Forecast issued by the CNP expects the economy to grow 3.3% in 2015, 3.4% in 2016, 3.7% in 2017 and 4% in 2018.
The VAT rate was reduced on Monday from 24% to 9% for a series of basic food products, whose prices are expected to fall around 12%. The rate cut applies mainly to milk and dairy products, eggs, livestock meant for consumption or food production, meat and seafood, natural honey, vegetables, fruit, coffee, tea, spices, cereals and non-alcoholic beverages.
The owners of Volksbank AG, a bank that had been partly nationalized by the Austrian government, approved yesterday the restructuring plan. The bank failed last year's stress tests and the group's entities, including the regional banks, are unlikely to meet the European Central Bank's capital targets.
Alpha Bank posted for its Romanian business a loss before tax of EUR 6.5 million for the first quarter of this year, according to the quarterly report issued by the bank. The NPLs rate reached 16.5% in Q1, up from 15.3% at the end of 2014. Alpha Bank accounted in the first quarter for 5.8% of the Romanian loans market.
Romania is the target of a new infringement procedure launched by the European Commission for failing to implement a European Directive regarding the banking system. Yesterday, the European Commission asked Romania and ten other member states to implement the directive within the next two months or face the European Court of Justice.
"We must increase the interconnectivity level and link Black Sea gas with Western Europe. We've done our homework and will apply for EU funds. These projects are not huge, but they're big enough for the region," said the head of Transgaz, Petru Vaduva. Romania's national gas transport system is preparing to receive EUR 1.5 billion in investment capital.
Leoni Wiring Systems Arad, the local subsidiary of German group Leoni, has earmarked for this year a total of EUR 8 million for investments in the development of the Arad plant. Last year, the company focused on the Bistrita and Pitesti plants, for which it tapped EUR 10 million in state aid.
Senator Marian Vasiliev (UNPR) submitted two bills that would make October 16 the National Food Waste Day and would force supermarkets to sign deals with charities or animal protection organizations in order to donate products close to their sell by dates. According to the bills, retailers operating stores bigger than 400 sqm will have to sign deals with NGOs in order to donate products while they can still be used.
The Ministry of Labor is working on a bill that would modify the child rearing aid system. The state budget will spend RON 900 million this year on child rearing aid. "Beginning with June, 3.7 million children will be paid RON 84 per month. The checks will be issued to the parents in June, but the actual payments will only take place in July," said the Minister of Labor, Rovana Plumb.
Hundreds of children visited the Cotroceni Palace on June 1 in order to celebrate Children's Day with President Klaus Iohannis. The President received them with sweets and colored balloons. The children told stories and took picture with the President.
The reduction of drugs prices, the implementation of new treatments for people suffering from Hepatitis C and free in vitro fertilization services are some of the measures scheduled to come into force this month, according to the Ministry of Health. This month will be a very important one for the health system.