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French newspaper: Airbus ready to close and transfer Romanian factory in other country if Bucharest doesn’t make clear offer to purchase helicopters

French-German aircraft manufacturer Airbus is ready to close and transfer to another country its Ghimbav-based factory in Romania if Bucharest doesn’t make a clear offer to buy Airbus helicopters, according to the French financial newspaper La Tribune, which cites sources from Airbus Helicopters.

The new boss of Airbus Helicopters, Bruno Even, who is looking at the company’s international footprint, wants a strong positioning from the Romanians.

According to the French newspaper, the data in the file are clear for the manufacturer: either Bucharest buys helicopters to the French-German manufacturer to run the assembly line of the H215 transport helicopter in Ghrimbav, inaugurated in August 2016 in the presence of former French president François Hollande, or the latter is closed and transferred to another country.

With this assembly line, Romania would have entered the small circle of countries that master the manufacture of a helicopter (France, United States, Russia, China, Italy, India and UK).

“They are ready to sacrifice 50 years of cooperation. It is a huge disappointment,” said a source within the manufacturer, who has already trained about fifty Romanian workers in Marignane.

Airbus Helicopters will nevertheless keep its maintenance plant in Ghrimbav, which has recently modernized 23 RAF (Royal Air Force) Puma.

“Our patience is limited, we need a direct order of at least 16 H215M from the Romanian army to launch the assembly line but the Romanians do not seem interested any more”, explains the source within Airbus Helicopters.

The manufacturer has sold under license in the 1970s about sixty Puma helicopters in Romania. Even today, around 40 helicopters remain in operational service in the Romanian army, even though they are outdated.

Located in Ghrimbav (near Brasov) 180 km north of Bucharest, this assembly line has been dimensioned for a production capacity of 15 aircraft per year.

Airbus Helicopters is committed to making machines sold in Romania on the export markets in Romania. With orders won on international markets, the manufacturer would already have a two-year load plan for the Ghrimbav assembly line (5/6 for Romania, 9 for the export market), according to La Tribune.

“With or without them, we will have orders for export,” says one source at Airbus Helicopters.

The article in La Tribune comes just before the visit to France (Monday in Paris and Tuesday in Marignane, near Marseille) of the Romanian minister of Defense, Mihai Fifor, who meets his counterpart Florence Parly.

The visit could clarify the incomprehension between Bucharest and Airbus Helicopters.

Despite the promises made to Emmanuel Macron in August 2017 during his visit to Romania, nothing happened for the European manufacturer.

During the last year, Bucharest has established close ties with US helicopter producer Bell, which is eyeing an order for 45 attack helicopters (24 AH-1Z Viper) – previously not Romania’s priority – and tactical transport (21 UH-1Y Venom).

If the contract is signed, these devices would be assembled by IAR Ghimbav, the historical partner of Airbus Helicopters.

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European commissioner calls the end of diesel in several years in EU, urges Romania to increase recalls of old cars

European Union commissioner for Internal Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship and SMEs Elzbieta Bienkowska said that diesel cars will completely disappear “in several years” and EU should prepare for a technological revolution in road transport, according to Bloomberg. She urged Romania and other Eastern European countries to increase recalls of old diesel vehicles, suspected of failing to meet nitrogen oxides (NOx) standards.

Bienkowska considers that the EU has had a “breakthrough moment” since German carmaker Volkswagen admitted in 2015 that it fitted diesel engines with software to cheat tests on smog-causing discharges of nitrogen oxides

“Diesel cars are finished. I think in several years they will completely disappear. This is the technology of the past,” Bienkowska said in an interview.

According to EU commissioner, the auto-emissions scandal may help the EU gear up for a technological revolution in road transport.

Europe is seeking to retain leadership in the worldwide market for passenger cars in the face of competition from the US and China.

Electric-vehicle sales account for about 1.5 percent of all new registrations in EU, but experts estimate the share will rise to about 5 percent in 2021 and take off from 2025, according to Bloomberg.

EU policy to fight climate change may also play a role. A draft European Union regulation to tighten caps on car discharges of carbon dioxide offers incentives for automakers to shift to electric vehicles.

In the meantime, Bienkowska is stepping up legal threats against several EU countries for lax enforcement of the previously agreed European rules meant to ensure carmakers heed NOx limits.

On May 17, the European Commission decided to refer Hungary, Italy and Romania to the EU Court of Justice over persistently high levels of particulate matter.

”In the agglomeration of București, the daily limit values have been persistently exceeded, ever since the EU law became applicable to Romania, and in 2016 on 38 days,” the EC said in a statement.

The Commission also referred France, Germany, and the United Kingdom to the Court of Justice of the EU for failure to respect limit values for nitrogen dioxide (NO2), and for failing to take appropriate measures to keep exceedance periods as short as possible.

Bienkowska is urging a number of EU member states in Eastern Europe to increase recalls of vehicles suspected of failing to meet NOx standards.

“We have member states like Romania, Slovakia and Poland where the recall rate is extremely low. (…) We don’t want those parts of Europe to be full of old diesel cars,” she said.

At present, eight member countries have mandatory recalls in place.

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Political crisis. Italian president asks ex-IMF official to form new government

Italian president Sergio Mattarella has asked Carlo Cottarelli, a former official of the International Monetary Fund (IMF), to form a new government.

The president’s move came hours after he blocked the formation of a government supported by two euroskeptic parties (5 Star Movement and the League).

“I’ll present myself to parliament with a program which – if it wins the backing of parliament – would include the approval of the 2019 budget. Then parliament would be dissolved with elections at the beginning of 2019,” said Cottarelli, according to Reuters.

The PM-designate added that if the government doesn’t get the backing of MPs, it would resign and handle only ordinary affairs until elections are held after August.

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BVB share deals fell 16 pct in one week over Pillar II pension controversies

The value of transactions closed on the Bucharest Stock Exchange (BVB) with shares in the main segment market dropped by 16 percent last week compared to the previous period to RON 119.79 million, due to the ongoing discussions regarding the future of pension Pillar II.

At the start of the week, the BVB recorded a decrease, closing the trading session on the same market on the same day, recording a 16 percent decrease in share transactions. On Friday, the BET index fell by 0.02 percent, BET-TR declined by 0.01 percent, and BET-FI declined by -0.16 percent due to the main listed shares which fell sharply, amid a scandal over pension II pensions. Between May 21-25, 10,442 transactions were made with 87,494 million shares and the capitalization of the companies was RON 166.75 billion.

The companies with the most traded shares on the main market were: Transilvania Bank with RON 41.6 million, BRD with RON 17.43 million and Romgaz with RON 14.66 million.

Last year, after 99 trading sessions, with 241,574 transactions on the regulated market, the daily average value was RON 49.43 million. The total value of share transactions exceeded RON 4.89 billion this year. 

A study by the APAPR – Pension Funds Association – shows that pension funds are the main institutional investor in Romania, arguing that 92 percent of the assets of about EUR 9 billion of Pillar II are invested in the Romanian economy.

Moreover, Pillar II currently holds about 7 percent of Romania’s public debt, and Pillar II funds have an exposure of about EUR 1.9 billion (20 percent of the freely traded shares) at the BVB, providing around 15 percent of liquidity.

The Government Legislative Program of 2018 includes, among other things, as a “legislative priority” a “bill on the regulation of privately managed mandatory pensions (Pillar II)”, with the stipulation that between 1 July and 31 December the related contributions will be suspended. CAS contributions (social security contributions related to the pension) are “fully charged to the budget” with “suspension of contributions during the period 1.07 – 31.12.2018”. Currently, Pillar I pillar I (state-managed pension system) automatically drives 3.7 percent to Pillar II. The government rejected any claims that it planned to change the structure of the pillar, whose funds are managed by private administrators.

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Eurostat: One sixth of Romania’s workforce left the country, Romanians are the largest migrant population in EU

Romanians represented by far the largest migrant population in the European Union, around one sixth of Romania’s workforce working in other EU member states, according to Eurostat data released on Monday.

EU official data show that Romanians residing in another EU member state accounted for about a fifth (19.7 percent) of their working age co-nationals residing in Romania – meaning that for five working age Romanians working in their country, one Romanian is working abroad.

“In 2017, Romanian nationals of working age (20-64) residing abroad within the EU accounted for about a fifth (19.7 percent) of their co-nationals residing in Romania. The next largest shares were recorded by Lithuania (15.0 percent), Croatia (14.0 percent), Portugal (13.9 percent), Latvia (12.9 percent) and Bulgaria (12.5 percent),” Eurostat said.

The EU member states with the smallest share of mobile nationals are Germany (1 percent), the United Kingdom (1.1 percent), Sweden and France (both 1.3 percent).

The share of Romania’s emigrated workforce rose by 12.3 percentage point during the last decade, from 7.4 percent of the home-country resident working age population in 2007.

Romanians working abroad are more active than those living in the country – the employment rate is 71.2 percent for the Romanians residents in another EU country, compared with 68.8 percent for the working age population (20-64 years) in Romania.

Around 3.4 million Romanians have gone abroad between 2007 and 2015 to escape poverty and corruption in their country, according to a UN International Migration Report.

Romanians are already the largest foreign nationality in Italy and Spain, with around one million residents in both countries.

Last year, Romanians became the second-largest non-British nationality living in United Kingdom. The number of Romanians in UK rose by 25 percent in 2017 to 411,000, according to official data.

 

Photo credit: dreamstime.com

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Thomas Waitz, European Parliament: What is happening in 2/3 of Domogled National Park Forests is not following the goal of nature protection

Romania has 13 National Parks from which 12 are administrated by Romsilva. Including Domogled National Park, the biggest, with 62.000 hectars, which is also the most destroyed of them all according to Agent Green NGO and EuroNatur.

Thomas Waitz, member of the Agricultural, Pesticides and Petition Committee in European Parliament and a representative of Green Party Austria, has paid a visit to Romania in order to assess the situation of the protection of Romanian virgin forests and national parks, as a member of the European Parliament. Also, his visit aimed at shedding light on the gray areas of illegal logging. Thomas Waitz visited Domogled National Park last week in order to find out if allegations that natural heritage is being destroyed are true.

“We visited a part of the National Park which was managed by Romsilva and which clearly demonstrated violations of the existing Romanian and European law. For example, we have seen 5 to 8 meter wide tractor roads hit into the forest, but by the rules they should not be wider than 4 meters. Furthermore, we could witness that not only logs were transported but whole  30 to 35 meter long trees with branches. This is against the rules and causes great harm to the wayside; we noticed a lot of damage to the bark of the surrounding trees. The branches where not left in the forest but dumped next to the forest road in the valley. The log was done by a private logging company, Romsilva has not controled the logging but has committed the wrong doing of the loggers,” said Waitz.

Romsilva managers, who met with the official admitted that situations like the one witnessed by Thomas Waitz and his team mean a loss of control and that timber companies must be more closely controlled by the National Park/ Romsilva but also by the Ministry. In case of violations, penalties must follow.

Furthermore, Thomas Waitz visited parts of the national park which lie in the so called buffer zones, next to the Unesco world heritage site,  and which are also exploited economically.

“What I saw was intensive forest management, professionally done. This would be a sustainable way of doing intensive  forestry if we forgot that we were seeing this in a national park! The so-called <<conservation cut approach>> of the National park management means that their goal is not to protect biodiversity or to protect the forest but to ensure that it is possible to make ongoing profit out of the forest – now and in the future.  Otherwise, they would not cut up to 400 year old beech trees in order to have <enough light for young trees>>, as one of the Romsilva people claimed,” explained Waitz.

The main points of criticsm:

  • According to The International Union for Conservation of Nature, on the national park rules topic, a minimum of 75% of a national park area must be under strict protection. In Domogled only 50% of the area is protected and half of this protected area is rocks or pasture above the tree line.
  • In the buffer zones, Romsilva’s goal is not protecting the forests of high conservation values but rather in making profit.
  • How can it be that Romsilva does “normal forest management” in the national park and that this is still allowed?
  • New big tractor forest roads are built to even explore bigger parts of still untouched forests instead of enlarging the protected areas.

Thomas Waitz’s demands:

  1. The remaining area of the National Park –at least 75% – must be protected immediately.
  2. All activities in the National Park must be adapted to European legislation and comply with the Natura 2000 guidelines.
  3. Romsilva and the Ministry have to formulate and control clear guidelines for companies engaged in economic activities in the forest.
  4. Severe penalties have to be imposed on those who do not abide by applicable law and exploit the forest.

According to an investigation made by Agent Green NGO and EuroNatur, part of an international campaign called Save Paradise Forests, “almost all national parks in Romania fail to meet international conservation criteria, which are supposed to prioritise conservation objectives within management plans and forbid industrial exploitation of resources. Large areas of forests within Romanian national parks are simply commercial logging sites, which do not differ from industrially logged forest zones outside the protected areas. Logging is happening with approval of the national park administrations and with full sanction of the Romanian Government.”

The post Thomas Waitz, European Parliament: What is happening in 2/3 of Domogled National Park Forests is not following the goal of nature protection appeared first on Business Review.

Thomas Waitz, European Parliament: What is happening in 2/3 of Domogled National Park Forests is not following the goal of nature protection

Romania has 13 National Parks from which 12 are administrated by Romsilva. Including Domogled National Park, the biggest, with 62.000 hectars, which is also the most destroyed of them all according to Agent Green NGO and EuroNatur.

Thomas Waitz, member of the Agricultural, Pesticides and Petition Committee in European Parliament and a representative of Green Party Austria, has paid a visit to Romania in order to assess the situation of the protection of Romanian virgin forests and national parks, as a member of the European Parliament. Also, his visit aimed at shedding light on the gray areas of illegal logging. Thomas Waitz visited Domogled National Park last week in order to find out if allegations that natural heritage is being destroyed are true.

“We visited a part of the National Park which was managed by Romsilva and which clearly demonstrated violations of the existing Romanian and European law. For example, we have seen 5 to 8 meter wide tractor roads hit into the forest, but by the rules they should not be wider than 4 meters. Furthermore, we could witness that not only logs were transported but whole  30 to 35 meter long trees with branches. This is against the rules and causes great harm to the wayside; we noticed a lot of damage to the bark of the surrounding trees. The branches where not left in the forest but dumped next to the forest road in the valley. The log was done by a private logging company, Romsilva has not controled the logging but has committed the wrong doing of the loggers,” said Waitz.

Romsilva managers, who met with the official admitted that situations like the one witnessed by Thomas Waitz and his team mean a loss of control and that timber companies must be more closely controlled by the National Park/ Romsilva but also by the Ministry. In case of violations, penalties must follow.

Furthermore, Thomas Waitz visited parts of the national park which lie in the so called buffer zones, next to the Unesco world heritage site,  and which are also exploited economically.

“What I saw was intensive forest management, professionally done. This would be a sustainable way of doing intensive  forestry if we forgot that we were seeing this in a national park! The so-called <<conservation cut approach>> of the National park management means that their goal is not to protect biodiversity or to protect the forest but to ensure that it is possible to make ongoing profit out of the forest – now and in the future.  Otherwise, they would not cut up to 400 year old beech trees in order to have <enough light for young trees>>, as one of the Romsilva people claimed,” explained Waitz.

The main points of criticsm:

  • According to The International Union for Conservation of Nature, on the national park rules topic, a minimum of 75% of a national park area must be under strict protection. In Domogled only 50% of the area is protected and half of this protected area is rocks or pasture above the tree line.
  • In the buffer zones, Romsilva’s goal is not protecting the forests of high conservation values but rather in making profit.
  • How can it be that Romsilva does “normal forest management” in the national park and that this is still allowed?
  • New big tractor forest roads are built to even explore bigger parts of still untouched forests instead of enlarging the protected areas.

Thomas Waitz’s demands:

  1. The remaining area of the National Park –at least 75% – must be protected immediately.
  2. All activities in the National Park must be adapted to European legislation and comply with the Natura 2000 guidelines.
  3. Romsilva and the Ministry have to formulate and control clear guidelines for companies engaged in economic activities in the forest.
  4. Severe penalties have to be imposed on those who do not abide by applicable law and exploit the forest.

According to an investigation made by Agent Green NGO and EuroNatur, part of an international campaign called Save Paradise Forests, “almost all national parks in Romania fail to meet international conservation criteria, which are supposed to prioritise conservation objectives within management plans and forbid industrial exploitation of resources. Large areas of forests within Romanian national parks are simply commercial logging sites, which do not differ from industrially logged forest zones outside the protected areas. Logging is happening with approval of the national park administrations and with full sanction of the Romanian Government.”

The post Thomas Waitz, European Parliament: What is happening in 2/3 of Domogled National Park Forests is not following the goal of nature protection appeared first on Business Review.

More than 400,000 Romanians live in UK, becoming the second non-British nationality

The number of Romanians living in United Kingdom rose by 25 percent in 2017 to 411,000, the second-largest non-British nationality of the country, according to BBC.

Romanians are already the largest foreign nationality in Italy and Spain, with around one million residents in both countries. Around 3.4 million Romanians have gone abroad between 2007 and 2015 to escape poverty and corruption in their country, according to a UN International Migration Report.

UK’s office for statistics says Poland remains the most common non-UK nationality, with an estimated one million Polish people living in the UK.

After Romania, third place goes to the Republic of Ireland, with 350,000 nationals in the UK, while India falls to fourth with 346,000 nationals in the UK – a place formerly held by Romania.

For the growing number of Romanians coming to Britain, the attraction is mainly the ability to work and earn more than they would do in their home country, BBC points out.

Of the 65.2 million residents in the UK, 6.2 million were non-UK nationals in 2017.

The post More than 400,000 Romanians live in UK, becoming the second non-British nationality appeared first on Business Review.

More than 400,000 Romanians live in UK, becoming the second non-British nationality

The number of Romanians living in United Kingdom rose by 25 percent in 2017 to 411,000, the second-largest non-British nationality of the country, according to BBC.

Romanians are already the largest foreign nationality in Italy and Spain, with around one million residents in both countries. Around 3.4 million Romanians have gone abroad between 2007 and 2015 to escape poverty and corruption in their country, according to a UN International Migration Report.

UK’s office for statistics says Poland remains the most common non-UK nationality, with an estimated one million Polish people living in the UK.

After Romania, third place goes to the Republic of Ireland, with 350,000 nationals in the UK, while India falls to fourth with 346,000 nationals in the UK – a place formerly held by Romania.

For the growing number of Romanians coming to Britain, the attraction is mainly the ability to work and earn more than they would do in their home country, BBC points out.

Of the 65.2 million residents in the UK, 6.2 million were non-UK nationals in 2017.

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Subsidized farmers in EU can be controlled using satellite images

The European Union member states can check the farmers receiving subsidies using the images provided by the Copernicus Sentinel satellites, without the need for field trips.

The European Commission has adopted new rules that allow for the first time the use of images provided by satellites to carry out checks on farmers. Starting May 22, the data from the Copernicus Sentinel satellites and other Earth observation can be used as evidence when verifying farmers’ compliance with the requirements of the Common Agricultural Policy. Moreover, the authorities will be able to use geographical photos, drones and relevant documentation from farmers, such as seed labels. Field visits will only be necessary when digital evidence is not sufficient to verify compliance.

“This new satellite technology will significantly reduce the number of inspections on the ground, eliminating the climate of fear, which causes significant stress for farmers, and will benefit public administrations by reducing the costs of controls. It is therefore a gain for farmers and managers,” said Phil Hogan, European Commissioner for Agriculture and Rural Development.

The proposed new type of monitoring uses earth observation data provided by the Copernicus Sentinel satellites, which it combines with other observation technologies and complements them with geographically marked photographs. Subsequently, the information is automatically processed using computational algorithms that can determine, for example, whether the land is used or what is planted. As a last resort, the data are compared and combined with the existing information in the LPIS, a system for identifying all agricultural parcels in the EU Member States that is part of the IACS-system to ensure the administration and control of applications payment of farmers.

The two Copernicus satellites pass across Europe at least once every two days, which means that the latest information is immediately available. For example, Sentinel-2 carries high-resolution cameras and the images it provides can be used to distinguish between different crops to assess crop health and to monitor land use change.

According to the European Commission, countries will have the freedom to choose whether to apply the new monitoring approach or not.

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