In May, the new Social Liberal Union government got down to business. There weren’t many fireworks at first; the right noises were made to keep the IMF and the international community happy and acrimony between PM and President took a while get into full swing.
There’s a long tradition of scaring the bejesus out of the population with public health and safety campaigns and there have been some truly frightening examples over the years. The Romanian police made a fine contribution to the public safety heritage with a wonderfully gothic and theatrical drink driving campaign in May. Groups of women dressed in traditional black mourning costumes were positioned outside drink driving hot spots, like nightclubs, where they would weep, wail and sing drink driving themed laments to party-goers on their way home.
Public art is invariably tricky and it’s rare that a new piece meets with universal approval. Controversy continued in Bucharest in May over a statue of the Roman Emperor Trajan, who conquered Ancient Dacia, depicted naked and cradling a wolf in his arms. Some described the statue as hideous or ridiculous but others had a different opinion. “It is a modern work, from one of our best sculptors, of an impeccable professionalism. […] I think these people would refuse even Brancusi these days,” said Mihai Oroveanu, director of the National Museum of Contemporary Art and president of the Public Monuments Commission. The statue is one of a series of three identical depictions of Trajan by the late Vasile Gorduz. The other two statues are in Rome and and Seville, Spain, where the venerable Trajan was born.
After gaining power via the vote of no confidence, the Social Liberal Union (USL) got down to business. New PM Victor Ponta named his new cabinet, which was duly approved by a comfortable parliamentary vote.
There was good news for Romanian oil and gas company Petrom, which is majority owned by Austrian OMV. The company announced record first quarter profits in May 2012. Q1 profit reached EUR 385 million, 65 percent up on the same period in 2011. Higher crude oil prices and increased gas demands during the hard winter helped Petrom to the record profits.
Bucharest hosted this year’s The UEFA Europa league final and despite ongoing re-turfing issues at the National Arena, the event went off well. It provided a big boost to the local hospitality industry; the greatest ever number of tourists visited the capital. The thousands of fans for the all Spanish final between Atlético de Madrid and Athletic Bilbao generated around EUR 10 million for the local economy according to the Romanian Association of Tourism Employers. Although the event was a success, there were problems for some of the visiting fans on their return home. Delays at Otopeni Airport meant many were stranded, and to make matters worse, it was mainly the fans of the losing team Athletic Bilbao that were affected.
In May, environmental action group Greenpeace warned that Romania’s forests were being cut down at an alarming rate. Greenpeace reckoned that 280,000 hectares of forest had been lost or degraded between 2000 and 2011, or some three hectares per hour, and urged the Romanian authorities to punish illegal logging.
Romania has something of a reputation in computer science, Romanian is reportedly widely spoken at Microsoft headquarters, but there is a dark side. Romanian hackers are feared or respected, depending on point of view and in May police busted the Romanian Anonymous hacker group. Arrests were made across the country.
photo source: includes content from uefa.com