Weekly overview in pictures: Fuel subsidy scheme comes into force | Senate head resigns | First green registration plate in Romania
This weekly overview brings you the main topics from Romania, in pictures. While the prices of car fuels dropped slightly last week under a government scheme, train tickets got more expensive. At the same time, Romania started issuing green registration plates, and a local company said it would produce a GT4 sports car. In politics, the NATO Summit in Madrid happened last week, while locally, the Senate president resigned. See the photo collection for the June 27-July 3 week below. (Opening photo: sign announcing the RON 50 discount at a gas station; photo by Inquam Photos/Octav Ganea)
The government approved last Thursday the emergency ordinance aimed at mitigating the high fuel prices in Romania. Under this scheme, the end-user price should have dropped by RON 0.5 per litre at gas stations, but the measure is optional. According to the government, half of the subsidy (RON 0.25) is covered by the state budget, while the other half is a commercial discount applied voluntarily by gas station chains. The scheme applies for three months, and according to official statements, most gas stations cut their prices. Below is a picture of a receipt that includes the RON 0.5/litre discount.
Also last week, investigators started gathering evidence in a case targeting the embezzlement of RON 23.5 mln from the accounts of the private pension fund BRD Pensii Private. The main suspect is reportedly the company's former general manager. It is the biggest scandal recorded so far in the Romanian private pensions sector, which has a history of almost 15 years.
In politics, a highlight of last week was the NATO Summit in Madrid, where leaders of the Alliance met to discuss the hottest issues. Among them was Romania's president Klaus Iohannis, who said the country had fulfilled all the objectives set for this summit. On the sidelines of the summit, Iohannis also met with Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan to discuss possible increased cooperation in the field of energy and the war in Ukraine.
Meanwhile, a top story in Romania was the resignation of Senate speaker Florin Citu. He stepped down on June 29 after losing the political support of his party - the National Liberal Party (PNL). Citu, a former prime minister of Romania and former leader of PNL, said the party president and general secretary demanded his resignation.
Also last week, the Chamber of Deputies voted in favor of lifting the parliamentary immunity of former agriculture minister Adrian Chesnoiu, which means the prosecutors can start their investigation against him. The anticorruption directorate DNA accused Chesnoiu of abuse of office in a case related to the rigging of a hiring process. He rejected the allegations but resigned from the agriculture minister position anyway, saying he didn't want to hide behind any official position.
Train tickets were hiked in Romania last week, according to an order of the transport minister. Rail fares increased by some 20%, but CFR Calatori also said that the travel facilities granted so far, such as discounts for season tickets for commuters and students, remain valid. The tariff for rail travel, applicable to all rail passenger transport operators, was previously adjusted in 2013.
Meanwhile, Romania started issuing green registration plates for zero-emission cars. On June 27, the Ministry of Internal Affairs announced it issued the first such plate for the owner of a green car in Bucharest. The idea was introduced to increase the visibility of eco-friendly vehicles and encourage more and more road users to opt for such cars.
On June 28, local company LP:One Motor unveiled the design of a sports car prototype fully designed in Romania, Asera GT4. The company aims to mobilize up to EUR 2 million for the launch of this car, which would put Romania on the international map for performance car manufacturing.
On Friday, July 1, top Romanian officials joined Chargé d'Affaires David Muniz and other high-ranking guests at the Independence Day reception held by the US Embassy in Bucharest. Among them were prime minister Nicolae Ciuca, interim Senate president Alina Gorghiu, and Chamber of Deputies president Marcel Ciolacu. During his speech at the reception, David Muniz said Romania is leaving "a very positive mark on the world," and "the United States is proud to call Romania a friend and Ally."
The first Pride March in Timisoara happened this past weekend, on July 2, and hundreds of people attended the event. Participants carried signs asking for rights for the LGBTQIA+ community and flags and umbrellas in the colours of the rainbow. A similar march will also take place in Bucharest at the end of this week.
VATRA, a solar house prototype that proposes a new model of sustainable housing, brought three prizes to Romania's EFdeN at the Solar Decathlon Europe 21/22. The Romanian team won 1st place for Comfort, 3rd place for House Functioning, and 1st place in the Public's Choice Award category.