Consumption, the main branch of any economy, will continue to increase in Romania in 2023 and will be the main economic growth driver, according to the recently updated forecast of the National Commission for Strategy and Prognosis (CNSP). In Romania, purchases of goods in supermarkets, services, own production of cucumbers, tomatoes, wine or brandy, i.e. everything that falls under the consumption category, account for 80% of the country’s entire economy. Inflation is currently at 11.3%, and the government estimates that the average for the entire year 2023 will be 10.7%, down from about 14% in 2022.
The European Commission published the 2023 Country Report for Romania on Wednesday, 24 May. It assesses Romania’s progress in addressing the 2019-2022 relevant country-specific recommendations. The assessment considers the policy action taken by Romania to date and the commitments in its Recovery and Resilience Plan. Based on this analysis, the country report identified gaps related to challenges that are not or are only partially addressed by the Recovery and Resilience Plan, as well as new and emerging challenges. The government expects the budget deficit to decrease to 4.4% of GDP in 2023 and to 2.9% of GDP in 2024, as recommended by the European Commission for exiting the excessive deficit procedure.
Intesa Sanpaolo Bank, the Romanian subsidiary of Intesa Sanpaolo Group, is diversifying its financing offer on the mortgage loans segment by launching two new products: the mixed interest rate loan and the green loan. The mixed interest rate loan responds to clients’ preference for predictable interest rates, offering a fixed interest rate of 6.70% for the first three years, and an interest rate formed of IRCC + 2.30% starting from the fourth year, for clients cashing their incomes into an ISPRO account. Intesa Sanpaolo Bank follows the ESG strategy at group level, pays particular attention to the environment and identifies solutions to support the bank’s clients to make smart choices with minimal environmental impact.
Ministry of Finance attracted RON 75 million from banks on Tuesday, 23 May, in addition to the auction on Monday, 22 May, when it had borrowed nearly RON 646 million at an interest rate of 6.76% per year, through an issue of benchmark government bonds with 48-months residual maturity, Agerpres reports. The nominal value of the additional issue was RON 75 million, and banks submitted RON 165 million offers. Ministry of Finance plans to borrow RON 5.1 billion from commercial banks in May 2023, which the amount of RON 690 million may add to, through additional sessions of non-competitive offers, related to bond auctions.
DP World plans to build a new multimodal terminal with an 119,000 square meter platform within its sea terminal in Constanta. The total value of the project is RON 263,044,529.12, of which the European Union co-financing amounts to RON 155,699,308.56 (83.3% of the total approved eligible sum), the co-financing from the state budget is RON 27,476,348.58 (14.7% of the total approved eligible amount) and the beneficiary’s eligible co-financing stands at RON 3,738,278.71 (2% of the approved eligible amount). This new facility will have access, via the existing terminal, to all means of transport and will become an excellent storage area.
IULIUS Group continues to invest in the development of the mixed-use urban regeneration project Palas and in the consolidation of the largest business hub outside Bucharest, formed in the center of Iasi - over 130,000 square meters, 70 multinational companies, and 14,000 employees. Next year, the company will start works on the eighth A-Class office building, part of the Palas Iasi complex, which will have 14 floors and an area of 18,000 square meters. The building will have green building efficiency and smart operating systems and involves an investment of about EUR 40 million.
More than 16,000 smart meters for domestic and small non-domestic consumers in the city of Bacău, as well as the necessary equipment for the operation of the smart distribution system will be installed within a project financed from European funds, launched last month. The investment, worth a total of over RON 46 million (including VAT), is co-financed with RON 37 million from the European Regional Development Fund - REACT EU, while the company’s contribution is almost RON 9 million, including about RON 7 million VAT.
Save Romania Union (USR) and Force of the Right parties have challenged the new Education Laws at the Constitutional Court of Romania, arguing that they contain several unconstitutional provisions that would limit children’s right to education and would violate the principle of equal rights. The provision referring to admission to high school is among the stipulations challenged at the Constitutional Court. USR and Force of the Right also invoked violations of the principle of norms’ legal security, predictability and clarity, as the laws allegedly contain legislative "inadequacies".
Ministry of Health has put up for public debate a draft emergency ordinance (OUG) banning flavors in heated tobacco products, whose labels will have to contain warnings, just like ordinary cigarette packages. The measures will apply starting from 23 October, according to the draft. The promotion of this normative act is mainly driven by the emergence on the market of heated tobacco products, a new category of tobacco products not regulated in Romania, according to the draft emergency ordinance’s substantiation note.
The Chamber of Deputies has adopted, as the decision-making body, the legislative initiative allowing the hunting of cormorants in Romania throughout the entire year. The initiators of this draft law indicated that cormorants fed almost exclusively on fish, with the average cormorant consuming around 500 grams of food every day. Even though fish farmers became increasingly concerned about the growing damage caused by cormorants on aquaculture farms, their signals were not heard by officials in charge of environmental protection. The law will now go to President Klaus Iohannis for promulgation.
The European Human Rights Court in Strasbourg found that Romania had a duty to provide adequate recognition and protection for same-sex relationships as it found Romania violated the right to family life of 21 same-sex couples. Twenty-one same-sex couples took Romania to the Strasbourg court, claiming they could not enter into any legally recognised union in Romania and that they had no means of legally safeguarding their relationships. The Court found in particular that Romania had a duty to provide adequate recognition and protection for same-sex relationships, although it had "discretion as to the form and the protections afforded".
Education union leaders announced on Wednesday evening, following negotiations with government representatives, that the general strike would continue on Thursday, when a very clear answer to the executive’s offer would be provided. The leader of the Federation of Free Education Unions (FSLI) Simion Hăncescu said that, based on the messages received so far, the offer would be rejected, but all colleagues must be consulted. Moreover, Marius Nistor, president of "Spiru Haret" Federation, confirmed that an answer would be given on Thursday.
Labor Minister Marius Budăi announced on Wednesday, 24 May, that, following talks with the education unions, salaries for common administrative positions, as stipulated in Annex VIII of Salary Law 153/2017, would be brought to the level indicated in the wage grid for 2022. The official added that he was open to dialogue and that measures would be taken where possible in the short term, and Education would be given priority status when the draft amendment to the Unified Salary Law was drawn up.
An analysis conducted by Save the Children Romania organization shows that premature babies’ chances to life in Romania differ greatly from one region to another. In Bucharest, where there are well-equipped hospitals, the infant mortality rate is 2.3 per one thousand live births, half the national average. By contrast, in counties such as Mures, Calarasi, Neamt and Sălaj, mortality rate among newborns is three times higher than in Bucharest, reaching more than 11 per one thousand in Tulcea. According to the statistics cited in the document, out of 193,191 babies born in 2021, 1,014 did not survive to one year.