Mayor of Bucharest Sorin Oprescu (nominally independent, but backed by the PSD) was arrested for taking bribes, allegedly having been caught on film in delicto flagrante. One of Oprescu’s advisors, Simona Cretu of the PNL, blamed ‘negative energy’ for the arrest of her boss. We couldn’t help thinking of this.
Another disgraced former mayor, Constanta’s Radu Mazare, was found to have more than €750,000 tucked away in an undeclared Israeli bank account. And in a week in which the DNA announced that it had returned from the summer break in fine form, Romeo-Florin Nicolae, a vice-president of ANAF (the Romanian tax authorities) was on Wednesday placed under investigation on charges of taking bribes in exchange for helping a company avoid paying tax. Nicolae promptly resigned.
Romania was allocated the modest number of 4,600 refugees as part of the EU’s proposed quota system for the relocation of refugees. A significant sector of public opinion, alas, appeared to be hostile to the idea, making a mockery of Romania’s reputation as a hospitable nation. The increasingly nasty former president Traian Basescu said that Romania should not accept any refugees, and that it could not be forced to do so. Current president Klaus Iohannis said that Romania would be able to take just 1,785 refugees – the same number the country had agreed to accept voluntarily at an EU summit in July – stating that Romania only has space in its refugee shelters for such a figure. Iohannis called the EU quota system a ‘bureaucratic’ and ‘accountant-like’ way of doing things.
Prime Minister Victor Ponta paid a mysterious, unannounced visit to Turkey on Thursday, fuelling new rumours that he is poised to resign and perhaps even flee the country. Ponta – facing charges of tax evasion and money laundering – spent a month in Turkey earlier this summer, ostensibly to undergo a knee operation. Coincidence or not, Ponta had been at the DNA earlier this week and was be told that investigations into his alleged wrongdoings were ‘nearly complete’.
The Ministry of Education announced plans to begin charging pupils in years 11 and 12 for their schoolbooks. The DNA (yep, them again) meantime announced that it was charging two former education ministers, Alexandru Athanasiu and Ecaterina Andronescu, with various acts of corruption (mainly related to procurement contracts) while in office.
Romania’s men’s football team were held at home 0-0 by Greece on Monday, the side’s third 0-0 draw in a row. Northern Ireland’s late equaliser in Belfast against Hungary the same evening, however, means that Romania needs just one point from two remaining games (against Finland and the Faroe Islands) to qualify for the bloated, 24-team European Championships in France next year.