It’s all starting to become rather amusing now.
On Thursday night PSD leader and de facto Romanian Prime Minister Liviu Dragnea gave an utterly bizarre interview in which he claimed to have no knowledge whatsoever of the two emergency ordinances (OUGs) that would, if issued, pardon hundreds of corrupt politicians and cause cases to be dropped against many others. ‘I was in the US and didn’t know what was going on until I got back’, he told Digi24. ‘Besides, I am not in the government and I am not quite sure what the government intended with these OUGs. I need to find out’. He is, of course, lying through his teeth. The OUGs were drafted in his office.
Meantime, the Justice Minister Florin Iordache has organised ‘public consultations’ about the OUGs for Monday. However, only 50 (no doubt carefully selected) members of the ‘public’ will be allowed to take part. That one of the 50 is convicted fraudster and Steaua Bucharest owner Gigi Becali, and another Antena 3 presenter Mugur Ciuvica tells you all you need to know about how objective the process will be.
Never mind, the real consultations will take place on Sunday night, when the streets of central Bucharest will again be packed with tens of thousands of demonstrators making clear their views on the subject.
As for the OUGs, it now looks as though they will be passed via a special kind of parliamentary vote which forces the government to resign if it is defeated. Given the size of the government’s majority, there is no chance of that happening. Indeed, we expect a fair number of PNL, PMP and UDMR parliamentarians to vote with the government, despite not being part of the coalition.
Romania’s 2017 budget was published on Friday and contains a number of amendments to the draft of last week. Most notably, defence spending (which had originally been reduced to 1.3 per cent of GDP) is now back above two per cent (Nato requires a rate of two per cent or more). However, given that the Ministry of Defence’s budget includes military pensions, the amount actually being spent on defence remains far below what it should be. Infrastructure spending has been vastly reduced: work on upgrading the Bucharest ring road and extending the Bucharest metro will be abandoned. Meantime, all state-owned companies have been told that they will have to hand over 90 per cent of profits to the state budget, leaving little or no capital for investment. Spending on education has been cut by a whopping eight per cent. Spending on scientific research has been cut even further. Still, pensions are going up.
In the capital, Bucharest City Council wants to build no fewer than 15 new underground car parks, with a total capacity for over 9000 cars.
A 55-year-old man died after being taken ill at Mihai Bravu metro station in Bucharest.
Holocaust Memorial Day remembers the millions of people who were killed in Auschwitz and other Nazi concentration camps, as well as in subsequent genocides in Cambodia, Rwanda, Bosnia and Darfur. It takes place annually on January 27th to commemorate the date of the liberation of Auschwitz-Birkenau in 1945.
Not that you’d know that if you go to school in Romania. Son of Bucharest Life confirms that not one mention of Holocaust Memorial Day was made at his school today.
What about the Holocaust in Romania? After all, according to the definitive International Commission Report on the Holocaust in Romania, published in 2004, Romania in total killed 280,000 to 380,000 Jews during World War II. At the same time, 120,000 of Transylvania’s 150,000 Jews died at the hands of Hungary’s fascist government (writer Elie Wiesel, the Nobel Peace Prize winner who was chairman of the commission, was deported with his family from Sighet in Maramures to Auschwitz by the Hungarian regime). As many as 11,000 Roma – a third of them children – were also killed on Romanian-held territory. And while as many as 350,000 Romanian Jews survived the war, the International Commission Report states that ‘of all the allies of Nazi Germany, Romania was responsible for the deaths of more Jews than any other’.
Nope, nothing about that.
Well, what about what happened in Romania before the war? What about the evil scumbag Legionary Movement which killed, tortured and raped thousands of people during the Bucharest pogrom of January 1941, and then the Iasi pogrom later in the year in which more than 13,000 were killed (one of the worst pogroms in Jewish history). Any mention of that today?
Nope. Not a word.