Press Review - July 5, 2018

07.05.2018 By Oana Gavrila

Central Bank Holds Key Rate at 2.5% a Year

Romania's central bank on Wednesday left its benchmark interest rate on hold at 2.5%, the bank said in a statement.

The central bank board also kept rates for its deposit and lending facilities unchanged at 1.5% and 3.5%, respectively.

It also left minimum reserve requirements on foreign currency liabilities and for leu deposits unchanged at 8%.


Leu Loses Ground to the Euro

The Romanian leu lost 0.14% to the euro Tuesday, standing at 4.6617 units to the European currency at midday, central bank data showed.

On Monday, the leu had firmed to 4.6554 units to the euro.


President Slams Criminal Code Bill, Announces Constitutional Court Challenge

Romanian President Klaus Iohannis heavily criticized the bill which amends the country’s Criminal Code, passed by the Parliament earlier in the day, and announced that he will challenge the bill law at the Constitutional Court.

The president accused Romania’s ruling coalition PSD-ALDE of establishing a “dictatorship of the majority” after it passed multiple judicial laws without considering opposition amendments.

“What is happening now is called the dictatorship of the majority. It is very damaging to democracy. PSD has passed the Criminal Code through the Parliament in record time following a sham of a debate in the Chamber of Deputies and this is deeply damaging. PSD managed in a short amount of time to destroy the dignity of the act of lawmaking,” said Iohannis in an impromptu press conference on Wednesday, which took place less than an hour after the Lower Chamber vote.

Klaus Iohannis also announced that he will challenge the law at the Constitutional Court, together with the rest of the judicial bills passed by the ruling majority.


Parliament Validates New Director Of Foreign Intelligence Service

Social democrat MP Gabriel Vlase was voted in as the new director of Romania’s Foreign Intelligence Service (SIE) by the assembled chambers of the Romanian Parliament on Wednesday.

Vlase’s appointment received 341 votes for and 31 against.


Over 2,000 People Protest Criminal Code Changes

Over 2,000 people gathered in Victory square Wednesday after the Parliament passed widely contested changes to the country's criminal code.

Protesters blocked traffic on main roads leading to the square outside the government headquarters.

The Lower Chamber passed on Wednesday, as a deciding body, a controversial bill which modifies the country’s Criminal Code. was narrowly passed with 167 votes for, 97 against and 19 abstentions. The coalition needed at least 165 votes to pass, with nine MPs representing national minorities and one opposition MP voting in favor of the initiative.

The bill changes the legal definition of the offense of abuse of office, which is now only applicable in cases where there are proven benefits for the culprit or for his relative up to second degree, and if the damage is greater than Romania’s monthly minimum wage.

It also decriminalizes negligence in office for public servants and restricts the definition of an organized criminal group.

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