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July 31, 2021

Protests at year’s end: Shepherds stormed Parliament

Approximately 4,000 shepherds protested outside Parliament on Tuesday, expressing their dissatisfaction with a law that limits the number of dogs they can have at their sheepfolds.

The protest started out peacefully but escalated shortly thereafter. Angry shepherds pushed through the line of policemen, broke out of the perimeter allotted for their protest, jumped over the fence and entered the Senate’s courtyard.

Several hundred shepherds entered the Senate Speaker’s office, giving voice to their grievances: the current law bans grazing during the winter months and does not allow them to own more than three dogs per sheepfold because the dogs could harm hunting activities.

Shepherds are outraged and state they cannot guard 600 sheep with just three dogs, as the MPs want. The MPs have decided that shepherds can have one dog in sheepfolds located in the plains, two dogs in sheepfolds located in hilly areas and three dogs at most in those located in mountainous areas.

One gendarme was injured in the scuffle.

As a result, the Premier has promised to modify the laws through emergency ordinance.

PSD MP Liviu Harbuz announced on Tuesday afternoon on Realitatea TV that a protocol was signed within the Lower Chamber’s Agriculture Commission, allowing the Government to issue an emergency ordinance that cancels the article that limits the number of dogs at sheepfolds and the article that bans grazing during the winter months.

ALDE Senator Cristiana Anghel, who arrived amidst the protesters, stated that this problem could be resolved if the Government adopts an emergency ordinance that would abrogate the two stipulations that dissatisfy shepherds. The two stipulations concern the maximum number of dogs allowed in a sheepfold and the one according to which grazing is banned from December 6 to April 24.
Senate Speaker Calin Popescu Tariceanu had a meeting with the shepherds’ representatives.

Agriculture Minister Achim Irimescu stated that the Government would take the necessary measures in this sense. “We hope to find the best way in order to mend fences between shepherds and hunters,” the minister stated by phone on Digi24.
“The law was adopted before the current Government came to power and I believe it was a slip-up. We can’t ignore the fact that we are talking about an important activity, that of shepherding, we have a tradition, an important market and we have to bear in mind the fact that Romania has the biggest number of wild animals in the EU. We have half the number of bears in the whole of Europe,” the minister said.

“We have to sit down and listen to both sides. I found extremely pertinent the points of view of the shepherds. To me it seems correct for a legislative solutions to be adopted, the fastest way is this (an emergency ordinance – editor’s note). I told the Premier at the end of last week that protests asking for the law to be modified are to be expected,” Achim Irimescu added.
“It stipulates that grazing is banned from December 6 to April 24. In this case, a clear difference has to be made, there are cases in which shepherds own plots of land which they should use for grazing. There are a series of aspects that have to be modified. We will solve this before the end of the year,” the Agriculture Minister added.

Medical interns angry with President Iohannis

Dozens of medical inters took part in a spontaneous protest outside the Presidential Palace on Monday evening. The young medical school graduates expressed their dissatisfaction with losing their positions despite the fact that they passed the medical internship exam.

Hospitals badly need doctors, we always complain that doctors are leaving the country, yet 150 residents have failed to get a position.

The situation is caused by the fact the number of medical intern positions available in Bucharest and Constanta was smaller than the number of medical school graduates in the two cities.

Therefore, the young graduates that have failed to secure a position have to wait another year before running again for one, despite the fact that they passed the exam.

The young graduates are asking for the hiking of available positions in Bucharest and Constanta or for them to be transferred to other cities, something that the law currently does not allow.

“The hiking of the number of positions in Bucharest is not in line with the legal provisions and would surpass the approved level. The only legal way consists of organizing an extraordinary examination session in the first semester of next year,” Health Minister’s aide Mihaela Tanase stated for Pro TV.

The same aide emphasized that the medical interns that took part in the protest had smaller grades in the exam than those that filled in the positions available in Bucharest.

The protesters handed a petition to President Klaus Iohannis.
The young graduates met Health Ministry and Education Ministry representatives as well as a presidential aide on Tuesday afternoon at the Parliament.

Transporters to protest outside Government building on Thursday

Approximately 200 transporters protested on Tuesday against the threefold increase in the price of the mandatory car insurance policy for commercial vehicles.

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