Weekly overview in pictures: Palm Sunday celebration | World Bank’s president visits Romania | Buzău Land gets UNESCO geopark title
This weekly overview brings you the main topics from Romania, in pictures. The Orthodox Palm Sunday feast was celebrated this past weekend, and many Romanians attended the celebrations, especially as the pandemic restrictions have been lifted in the country. The April 11-17 week collection also includes photos from the meetings of World Bank Group president David Malpass with the Romanian president and PM, other important meetings and visits of state officials, and a photo from Buzău Land - Romania's newest UNESCO Global Geopark.
The majority of Romanians celebrated the Orthodox Palm Sunday (Duminica Floriilor in Romanian) on Sunday, April 17, and many gathered in cities across the country to attend the religious ceremonies. In Bucharest, for example, after two years of pandemic restrictions, thousands of believers joined hierarchs, priests, monks, and nuns for the Palm Sunday procession on Saturday. The procession started at Radu Voda Monastery and ended at the Patriarchal Cathedral, where Patriarch Daniel of the Romanian Orthodox Church offered a prayer of blessing and addressed a word of teaching to the pilgrims. The believers were also offered blessed willow branches, which they took home and placed above holy icons. It is believed that the willow branches protect the household from evil spirits.
World Bank Group president David Malpass met with Romanian president Klaus Iohannis on Wednesday, April 13. The topics discussed by the two officials focused on the global crises affecting Romania and the world, including the Russian invasion of Ukraine, COVID-19, and rising food and energy prices. Romania's implementation of EU funding under the Recovery and Resilience Facility (RRF) was also on the agenda.
During his two-day visit to Romania, World Bank Group president Malpass also met with prime minister Nicolae Ciuca and members of his Cabinet. The war in Ukraine and Romania's support to Ukrainian refugees were again among the topics discussed, in addition to Romania's assistance to Ukraine and Moldova in the energy sector, logistics, and trade, fiscal reforms, and Romania's diversified energy mix and future investment pertaining to energy security and transition.
Prime minister Ciuca also met with the European Commissioner for Transport Adina Valean at the beginning of last week. The development of transport infrastructure in Romania and the impact of the crisis in Ukraine were the main topics on the agenda.
European Commissioner Adian Valean also had a meeting with Bucharest mayor Nicusor Dan during her visit to Romania. The two officials discussed the transport infrastructure projects of the capital city and the metropolitan area and the European funding that the City Hall can obtain. The list of projects includes a metropolitan train and the rehabilitation of the city's tram lines.
Belgian prime minister Alexander De Croo travelled to Romania last week, and the program included a visit to the Mihail Kogălniceanu Air Base alongside president Klaus Iohannis and PM Nicolae Ciuca. The main topics discussed were Russia's invasion of Ukraine and the NATO military presence in Romania, including the Belgian troops' contribution in Romania. After the visit, president Iohannis said that "Russia's brutal aggression against Ukraine has fundamentally changed regional, European, and Euro-Atlantic security," with a negative impact at the global level.
On Friday, April 15, prime minister Nicolae Ciuca visited the construction site of one of Romania's largest and most complex infrastructure projects - the Braila bridge over the Danube. At the end of the visit, he said that the bridge would open this December.
On April 11, the leaders of the ruling coalition, namely Liberal PM Nicolae Ciuca, Social Democrat Marcel Ciolacu, and the president of the Alliance of Hungarians in Romania, Kelemen Hunor, held a press conference to present a package of social and economic measures dubbed "Support for Romania." The package, which includes meal vouchers for low-income households or a slight increase in the minimum wage, is aimed at helping individuals and the firms hit by the rising prices and the war in Ukraine.
Former prime minister Viorica Dancila was elected president of the Nation People Together Party (NOI) on Tuesday evening, April 12, during the new political player's first congress. In her speech, Dancila said she decided to return to politics to create consensus and replace personal and party interests with national interests.
Another topic that made the headlines last week was that Romania's Buzău Land (Ținutul Buzăului) received the title of UNESCO Global Geopark. It is the second area in the country to hold the title after Țara Hațegului and one of the eight that received the label on April 13. The Muddy Volcanoes, the domes of salt (pictured below), the Eternal Flames, the Trovants of Ulmet or the Colți red amber are some of the landmarks of the area.
(Opening photo: Palm Sunday procession in Bucharest; photo source: Inquam Photos/Ilona Andrei)