Weekly overview in pictures: Jill Biden visits Romania | New center to support child abuse investigations | Bucharest Half Marathon
This weekly overview brings you the main topics from Romania, in pictures. Jill Biden, the first lady of the United States, travelled to Romania this past weekend, visiting US troops in the country and Ukrainian refugee students. The May 2-8 week collection also includes photos from the Romanian president's meetings with his German and Lithuanian counterparts, the signing of Romgaz's major deal with ExxonMobil, Romania's first centre supporting investigations into abuses against children, and one of the year's biggest sports events - the Bucharest Half Marathon. (Opening photo: Jill Biden's visit to a Bucharest school; photo source: Inquam Photos/Octav Ganea)
Jill Biden, the first lady of the United States (US), visited Romania this past week. She arrived in the country on Friday afternoon, May 6, and made the first stop at the Mihail Kogalniceau Airbase. She met with US military service members there and shared a meal with them. After the visit to the Romanian airbase, Jill Biden wrote on Facebook: "Our troops at MK Air Base continue to answer the call of duty with courage, honor, and strength. Joe and I are praying for the safety of each and every member of our military working for peace alongside our NATO allies."
After the visit to the Mihail Kogalniceau Airbase, Jill Biden headed to Bucharest, where she met with several officials, US embassy staff, and teachers working with displaced Ukrainian children. Romanian president Klaus Iohannis and first lady Carmen Iohannis welcomed Jill Biden in Bucharest on May 7.
Also on Saturday, May 7, Carmen Iohannis and Jill Biden visited a school in Bucharest where Ukrainian refugee students take classes. The two talked to the children and their parents, learning about their stories and their traumas as they were forced to flee the war in their country. The two first ladies, both teachers, also sent messages of support to the Ukrainian refugees.
German president Frank-Walter Steinmeier also travelled to Romania last week, on May 4. He met with Romania's president Klaus Iohannis in Bucharest, and the main topic of discussion was the ongoing armed conflict in Ukraine. But the two officials also talked about the two countries' economic relations, the difficulties faced by Moldova amid the Russian-Ukrainian war, and the security in the region.
Another important visit last week was that of Lithuanian president Gitanas Nausėda. Romania's president Iohannis welcomed him in Bucharest on Friday, May 6. The two officials' discussions focused mainly on the Russian invasion of Ukraine, "which generated the worst security crisis in decades, with multiple implications," and ways to support the refugees fleeing the war. In the joint press conference after the meeting, Klaus Iohannis said that negotiations between Ukraine and Russia should result in the restoration of Ukraine's territorial integrity, and that Romania supports the sanctions adopted against Russia.
On the business side, the main topic that made the headlines last week was that representatives of Romania's gas producer Romgaz and ExxonMobil signed the contract by which state-controlled Romgaz buys 50% of the rights over the Neptun Deep perimeter in the Black Sea. The deal is worth about USD 1 billion.
State company Romarm, its subsidiary Electromecanica Ploiesti and Raytheon Missiles & Defense also signed an important memorandum of understanding last week, under which Electromecanica Ploiesti and Raytheon will manufacture in Romania the SkyCeptor missiles interceptor. This is a long-range interceptor that has low costs and is developed to defend against ballistic and cruise missiles. According to economy minister Florin Spataru, the memorandum signed on May 4 is the first step in developing the long-term strategic partnership between Electromecanica Ploiesti, Romarm and Raytheon.
Romania's first multidisciplinary centre meant to support investigations into abuses against children opened in Saftica, north of Bucharest, on May 2. The venue, which includes a hearing room, an aid room, a doctor's office, and an area for social assistance and therapy, will allow a team of professionals to train at current international standards to investigate various abuses against child victims.
This past weekend, about 10,000 runners joined the OMV Petrom Bucharest Half Marathon in the Romanian capital. Mkungo Panuel from Kenya (time 01.02.28) won the race, followed by Million Hailu Kakisa from Ethiopia and Kenyan Paul Tiongik, according to News.ro. In the women's category, the fastest runner was Nahimana Cavaline from Burundi (time 1.11.33). Two Romanians won the 10 km race: Andrei Rusu (time 0.29.44) and Roxana Elisabeta Rotaru (0.34.41). The complete results are available here.
Gopo Awards, the event rewarding the Romanian film industry, also announced the 2022 winners last week. Radu Jude's Babardeală cu bucluc sau porno balamuc/Bad Luck Banging or Loony Porn, the winner of the Golden Bear at last year's Berlin International Film Festival, won the Best Feature Film trophy, while Cristi Puiu won the Best Director trophy for Malmkrog. You can read more about it here.
Cetate Synagogue (Sinagoga din Cetate) in Timisoara reopened on Friday, May 6, with a ceremony attended by high-ranking officials such as ambassadors, representatives of 16 religious denominations, ministers, secretaries of state, the president of the Chamber of Deputies of the Romanian Parliament, the Vice President of the German Parliament, and senior officials of the German Government. "It has been closed as a place of worship since 1985. Its gates reopened to the local community today and will remain open. The synagogue has undergone consolidation and restoration work that will allow the resumption of the religious service and the organization of cultural events for everyone. Work will continue. So is the support of Timisoara City Hall," Timisoara mayor Dominic Fritz said on Facebook.