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B9 Summit Declaration: Klaus Iohannis and the other leaders from NATO’s Eastern Flank underscore the importance of the forward presence of NATO from the Baltic Sea to the Black Sea

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The Presidents of Romania, Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland and Slovakia adopted on Thursday at the plenary session of the B9 Summit a declaration which underscores the importance of the forward presence of NATO from the Baltic Sea to the Black Sea and the concern for the situation in Ukraine.

The nine leaders from NATO’s Eastern Flank countries have gathered in Košice on Thursday in the Bucharest 9 platform for consultation and dialogue to commemorate the 70th anniversary of the North Atlantic Alliance, as well as the 20th and 15th anniversary of the accession of our respective countries to NATO.

Also, the leaders met to reaffirm their strong commitment to collective defence, as enshrined in the Article 5 of the Washington Treaty based on solidarity, shared responsibility and the indivisibility of Allied security. Concurrently, they exchanged views on current security threats and challenges and ways how to address them.

For the last 70 years, NATO has served as the bedrock of security in the Euro-Atlantic area. (…) As we meet today, we face the most difficult security challenges in a generation. In the spirit of 360 degrees approach, the Alliance should continue to be ready to respond to all threats and challenges from wherever they arise.  (…) Today, we are better prepared to confront the current security challenges. Our countries contribute to Alliance’s adaptation. In the spirit of allied unity, solidarity and fair burden sharing, we underline the importance of NATO´s forward presence from the Baltic to the Black Sea, as well as other initiatives aimed at strengthening our ability to defend our citizens and territories as part of the allied collective effort to strengthen NATO’s deterrence and defence“, the nine presidents underlined after the meeting which was attended also by the Secretary General of NATO.

The Declaration of the Heads of State Bucharest 9 Meeting (Košice)

1. We, the Presidents of Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania,  Poland, Romania and the Slovak Republic, have gathered in Košice in the Bucharest 9 platform for consultation and dialogue to:

– commemorate the 70th anniversary of the North Atlantic Alliance, as well as the 20th and 15th anniversary of the accession of our respective countries to NATO;

– reaffirm our strong commitment to collective defence, as enshrined in the Article 5 of the Washington Treaty based on solidarity, shared responsibility and the indivisibility of Allied security;

– exchange views on current security threats and challenges and ways how to address them.

We appreciate the presence of the NATO Secretary General today.

2. For the last 70 years, NATO has served as the bedrock of security in the Euro-Atlantic area. It remains the unique framework for our collective defence, transatlantic dialogue and plays irreplaceable role in protecting our values and safeguarding security of our citizens and our territories. Our membership in the Alliance created an opportunity to fulfil aspirations of our nations and provided the security and stability for economic development and well-being of our societies while advancing the vision of Europe whole, free and at peace. At the same time, our countries have been strengthening their capabilities to contribute to Allied collective defence.  

3. As we meet today, we face the most difficult security challenges in a generation. In the spirit of 360 degrees approach, the Alliance should continue to be ready to respond to all threats and challenges from wherever they arise. We have, therefore, every reason to make our Alliance stronger and to ensure that the transatlantic bond remains as solid and effective as ever. We are determined to work towards this objective, including through our commitment to spend 2% of the GDP on defence, modernising our defences and engaging in operations. We welcome and support strengthened military presence of the United States and Canada in Europe, particularly on NATO’s Eastern flank.

4. The threats and challenges we face are complex, often unpredictable and coming from all directions. No country can fully address them alone. They range from conventional and hybrid forms, including cyber, to terrorism, regional instability, irregular migration, proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and threats to our energy security. We are faced with an intense use of disinformation and propaganda. Traditional lines between military and non-military warfare are fading.

5. Today, we are better prepared to confront the current security challenges. Our countries contribute to Alliance’s adaptation. In the spirit of allied unity, solidarity and fair burden sharing, we underline the importance of NATO´s forward presence from the Baltic to the Black Sea, as well as other initiatives aimed at strengthening our ability to defend our citizens and territories as part of the allied collective effort to strengthen NATO’s deterrence and defence. We also support the implementation of the strategic, focused and coherent NATO approach to the South. We acknowledge the participation in relevant NATO activities, including the mission in Afghanistan as part of the efforts towards peace and reconciliation.

6. We remain particularly concerned with the ongoing conflict in eastern Ukraine and recent tensions in the Azov and Black Seas stemming from the illegal and illegitimate annexation of Crimea and military build-up. This is another manifestation of Russia’s disregard of international law, its confrontational pattern of behaviour and use of military and also non-military actions, such as the construction of the Kerch Strait bridge, to advance its geopolitical goals. All of this calls for even more coherent and strategic approach from the Alliance. We are also gravely concerned by Russia’s material breach of the INF Treaty and failure to return to full and verifiable compliance, which led to the suspension of the Treaty and the United States’ notification of withdrawal. We continue to take necessary steps in the Alliance to ensure the credibility and effectiveness of NATO deterrence and defence posture and remain firmly committed to the preservation of effective international arms control, disarmament and non-proliferation.

7. We reiterate our support to NATO’s approach on Russia based on strong deterrence and defence, and openness to dialogue as agreed since Wales Summit with a view to avoiding misunderstanding, miscalculation, and unintended escalation.   

8. The anniversaries of our countries’ accession to the Alliance reminds us how crucial NATO´s Open Door Policy has been for enhancing security of its members, for peaceful reunification of Europe and for stability of the whole Euro-Atlantic area. We will continue to support further NATO enlargement in line with the Article 10 of the Washington Treaty. We welcome the recent signing of the Accession Protocol and look forward to the Republic of North Macedonia becoming the thirtieth NATO Ally.

9. We remain committed to the security and stability in the Western Balkans, an area of strategic interest to the Alliance, and will continue the political dialogue and practical cooperation with partners in this region. We also reiterate our firm support for the territorial integrity and sovereignty of Ukraine, Georgia and the Republic of Moldova, within their internationally recognized borders. While pursuing their respective European and Euro-Atlantic aspirations, these countries will continue to benefit as well from our support in their efforts to strengthen their resilience against any external interference. At the same time, we reiterate that progress in reforms should be based on democratic values, respect for rule of law, human rights, and full compliance with their respective international commitments and obligations.

10. We believe that stronger NATO and stronger EU are mutually reinforcing. Together they can better provide security and peace in Europe, in our neighbourhood and beyond. We are supporting an enhanced EU role in security and defence through developing initiatives in this area in full complementarity and synergy with NATO. We are determined to strengthen NATO-EU strategic partnership and cooperation.

11. We look forward to December NATO Leaders´ Meeting in London that will enable us to take stock of implementation of decisions we took in Wales, Warsaw and Brussels and advance adaptation of the Alliance to address security threats and challenges we face. We remain committed to continue meeting in the Bucharest 9, platform for dialogue and cooperation, as a means to consult each other, promote joint approaches and contribute to Euro-Atlantic security.

Robert Lupițu este redactor-șef, specialist în relații internaționale, jurnalist în afaceri europene și doctorand în domeniul reasigurării strategice a NATO. Robert este laureat al concursului ”Reporter și Blogger European” la categoria Editorial și co-autor al volumelor ”România transatlantică” și ”100 de pași pentru o cetățenie europeană activă”. Face parte din Global Shapers Community în cadrul World Economic Forum și este Young Strategic Leader în cadrul inițiativelor The Aspen Institute.

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Message of the Digital Assembly Forum and SET Plan 2019 climate and digitalization conferences in Bucharest: Cities and regions are at the heart of Europe’s carbon-neutral and digital transformation

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© CaleaEuropeană.ro/ Diana Zaim

Cities and regions are at the heart of Europe’s carbon-neutral and digital transformation, is the message essentially conveyed by the two high level international climate and digitalization conferences organized this week in Bucharest, under the auspices of the Romanian Presidency of the Council of the European Union, according to a press release of the European Committee of the Regions.

Under the Romanian Presidency of the Council of the European Union, this week Bucharest hosted two high-level events with a strong presence of the European Committee of the Regions (CoR): the Digital Assembly 2019 and the 12th SET Plan Conference. EU cities and regions have put inclusiveness at the centre of Europe’s digitalisation strategy, warning that effective multi-level dialogues are the only way to deliver the EU’s energy and climate targets as well the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals.

The Digital Assembly 2019 – the EU’s top forum that takes stock of the achievements of the Digital Single Market (DSM) Strategy, has given support to the CoR claim that the future DSM must have inclusiveness in its centre. In Bucharest, the CoR presented the “Digital Europe for all” paper – a series of proposals by the CoR’s President, Karl-Heinz Lambertz and First Vice-President, Markku Markkula- that contributes to the renewal of the European Commission’s mandate in the field of the Digital Single Market for the next five years.

As a keynote speaker at the Digital Assembly’s closing session, First Vice-President Markku Markkula (FI/EPP), said:

”The digital revolution starts local. We need to ensure that Europe’s digitalisation is fully inclusive and doesn’t leave any community behind. It is of key importance that digital and sustainable solutions are affordable and available for all. We must also connect the internet of things to the fields of transport, energy efficiency and the circular economy in order to interlink Europe’s digitalisation to the completion of the EU’s energy and climate targets and the Sustainable Development Goals.”

Amongst the CoR’s “Digital Europe for all” proposals is the development of a local Digital Economy and Society Index to better encapsulate the variety of ‘digital situations’ of Europe’s cities and regions. The CoR’s proposals for the digitalisation of the single market will now be put forward to the incoming Finish Presidency of the EU Council and be part of the discussions on the Digital Europe Programme, firstly proposed in June 2018.

In Bucharest, the Chairman of the Tipperary County Council and CoR member Michel Murphy (IE/EPP) received one of the first Wifi4EU vouchers of EUR 15,000 to install free Wi-Fi in his community. Wifi4EU is a fresh EU scheme to provide Wi-Fi free access to local communities.

From 12 to 14 June, Bucharest also hosted the 24th meeting of the CoR’s Commission for Environment, Climate change and Energy (ENVE). In collaboration with the European Commission, the Association of Romanian Municipalities and the Romanian Presidency of the Council of the EU, the CoR contributed to the organisation of the SET Plan conference. Vice-President Markkula emphasised that Europe will not be able to reach 2050 carbon-neutrality, nor deliver the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals , without a close and structured partnership between the European Union, academia, businesses and the national, regional and local governmental levels.

“Better involving sub-national levels in developing National Energy and Climate Plans is crucial, and the timing of the incoming Finnish EU Presidency is critical in this regard. The work of our Romanian colleagues on the implementation of the Clean Energy Package needs to be continued, notably as regards the integration of the Energy Union into Member State’s national policies and more specifically into the National Energy and Climate Plans. We need to make sure that a sufficient level of energy and climate ambition is engrained into each and every one of these plans. Only through structured multi-level dialogues involving local and regional authorities but also businesses and civil society will Member States effectively reach a clean energy transition”, declared First Vice-President Markku Markkula at the SET Plan conference closing session.

“During the Finnish EU Presidency our cities and regions want to showcase how the local Energy and Climate plans are drafted and implemented. The CoR can and will use different instruments in encouraging the forerunners from all parts of EU to take the lead in implementing UN SDGs”, he concluded.

Under the title ‘Making the energy transition happen’, the SET Plan conference has looked at the strategies needed at local and regional level to accelerate the sustainable energy transition and analysed currently available investment options to harness the potential of businesses to create low-carbon innovative economies at the local and regional level. Delegates have assessed local challenges and solutions towards the integration of different energy systems and the concrete ways through which the SET Plan contributes decarbonising local economies.

The Digital Assembly 2019 is a forum for stakeholders to take stock of the achievements of the Digital Single Market Strategy, draw lessons and to exchange views on the contours of a future digital policy. The event is also a great opportunity to showcase how digital is transforming our societies and economies, and how it can help bring positive change to our lives. It is co-organised by the European Commission and the Romanian Presidency of the Council of the European Union.

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LIVE SET Plan & ENVE Conference 2019 in Bucharest: ”Making the energy transition happen locally”

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The 12th SET Plan Conference will be held on June 12th – 14th, 2019 in Bucharest, under the auspices of the Romanian Presidency of the Council of the EU and will be merged with the external ENVE (Environment, Climate change and Energy) Commission and Conference from the European Committee of the Regions, where more than 120 EU local and regional leaders are working on environment, climate change, energy and space policies. The event is organized by the European Committee of the Regions, the European Commission, the Romanian Municipalities Association and the Ministry of Energy.

Under the theme ”Making the energy transition happen locally”, the SET Plan & ENVE Conference will focus strongly on the interaction of various stakeholders with local and regional authorities on the road to a clean energy transition. The role of Hydrogen in the clean energy transition will be discussed throughout various sessions.

The SET Plan Conference will be broadcasted LIVE on CaleaEuropeană.ro and on Calea Europeană Facebook Page on June 12th-13th.

Sessions 5 and 6 & Closing session

Closing session

Chair:

  • Haitze Siemers, Head of Unit for new energy technology, innovation and clean coal, DG ENERGY, European Commission;

Speakers:

  • Markku Markkula, First Vice-President of the European Committee of the Regions;
  • Timo Ritonummi, Deputy Director General, Energy Department, Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment, Finland;
  • Victor Negrescu, Pro-rector National University of Political Studies and Public Administration (SNSPA);

Session 6: Investing in local and sustainable mobility systems

Chair:

  • Haitze Siemers, Head of Unit for new energy technology, innovation and clean coal, DG ENERGY, European Commission;

  Introductive pitch by the first national electric charger network in   Romania, by Raul Bura, Project manager, Renovation Group;

Panel debate:

  • Ilmar Reepalu, Member of the European Committee of the Regions, CEMR Spokesperson on Urban policies and Councillor of Malmö, Sweden;
  • Hechem Nadjar, Commercial Manager, Shell Hydrogen;
  • Julian Popov, Fellow at the European Climate Foundation;
  • Geert van Hecke, Head of Sales Public Transport, VanHool NV;
  • Anna Lisa Boni, Secretary General, EUROCITIES;

Session 5: Renewable energy at the scale of citizens and consumers: from generation to integration

Chair:

  • Hans Van Steen, Acting Director of Renewables, Research and Innovation, Energy Efficiency, DG ENERGY, European Commission;

  Introductive pitch by Cheap-GSHPs project – Alexandru Tanase from   Pietre Edil;

Panel debate:

  • Apostolos Tzitzikostas, Member of the European Committee of the Regions, Governor of the Region of Central Macedonia, Greece;
  • Mercè Almuni, Senior Energy Expert, the European Consumer Organisation (BEUC);
  • Mirela Atanasiu, Head of Unit Operations and Communications FCH JU;
  • Dominik Rutz, Chair of Biomass Technology Panel of European Technology and Innovation Platform on Renewable Heating and Cooling;
  • Victor Iancu, Founder of Cooperativa de Energie;

Day 2. Opening speeches & Session 3: Challenges and solutions at local level for resilient, safe and secure Integrated Energy Systems

Session 4: Accelerating innovation for existing and future energy efficient buildings

Opening speeches: unlocking the potential of Horizon Europe to support the clean energy transition

Chair:

  • Patrick Child, Deputy Director General, DG Research and Innovation, European Commission;

Speakers:

  • Anton Anton, Romanian Minister of Energy;
  • Nicolae Hurduc, Romanian Minister of Research and Innovation;
  • Florin Radu Ciocănelea, State Councilor of the Romanian Prime-minister;
  • Sorin Chiriță, Bucharest City-manager;

Session 3: Challenges and solutions at local level for resilient, safe and secure Integrated Energy Systems

Chair:

  • Tudor Constantinescu, Principal Advisor to DG Energy, European Commission;

  Presentation of Implementation Plan 4 “Energy Systems”, by Michael   Huebner, co-chair, Federal Ministry for Transport, Innovation and   Technology, Austria;

Panel debate:

  • Sirpa Hertell, Member of the European Committee of the Regions, City councillor of Espoo, Finland;
  • Bart Biebuyck, FCH JU Executive Director;
  • Richard Vidlicka, Chair of E.DSO Projects Committee and Manager of EU Projects and Innovations of CEZ Distribuce;
  • Ralf Goldmann, Head of Division of ELENA, EIB;
  • George Solomon, Director of Communications, E-ON Romania;

Session 4: Accelerating innovation for existing and future energy efficient buildings

Chair:

  • Stathis Peteves, Head of Knowledge for Energy Union at Joint Research Centre, European Commission;

  Presentation of Implementation Plan 5 “Energy Efficiency in   Buildings”,   by Jennifer Reichert, Project Management Jülich, Chair   IWG 5;

Panel debate:

  • Mihai Moia, Executive Director of ROENEF;
  • Roby Biwer, 1st Vice-Chair of ENVE Commission and President of the Luxembourg delegation, European Committee of the Regions, Bettembourg Municipal Council, Luxembourg;
  • Josef Baumeister, Managing Director of the EEBus Bosch Siemens;
  • Bertrand Deprez, VP EU Government Affairs Strategy, Schneider Electric;
  • Horia Petran, Senior Researcher, Romanian National Research Institute – Development in Construction, Urban Planning and Sustainable Territorial Development (URBAN – INCERC);

Session 2: Towards a EU Mission to invest in smart cities: leveraging on the Covenant of Mayors, Smart Cities and Communities to upscale smart city solutions

Chair:

  • Mark Van Stiphout, Deputy Head of Unit for new energy technology, innovation and clean coal, DG ENERGY, European Commission;

  Video by Stockholm city – Lighthouse Project

Panel debate:

  • Emil Boc, Mayor of Cluj-Napoca, Romania; Former prime-minister of Romania;
  • Lucienne Krosse, Thematic Leader on Smart Cities, InnoEnergy;
  • Joost Declerck, Promotor Energy Efficiency, Belfius Bank;
  • Ralf Goldmann, Head of Division of ELENA, EIB;

VIDEO – Opening session and Session 1

OPENING SESSION

Engaging citizens, cities and regions to implement the SET plan and deliver the EU’s 2050 decarbonisation goals

Chair:

  • Dominique Ristori, Director-General for Energy, European Commission;

Speakers:

  • Karl-Heinz Lambertz, President of the European Committee of the Regions;
  • Niculae Havrileț, Personal Adviser, Romanian Minister of Energy;
  • Robert Negoiță, President of the Romanian Municipalities Association; Member of European Committee of the Regions; Mayor of Sector 3, Bucharest, Romania;
  • Mihnea Cosmin Costoiu, Rector of the Politehnica University of Bucharest;

Session 1: Successful ecosystems in cities, regions and islands to deliver a climate-neutral Europe

Chair:

  • Andreea Strachinescu, Head of unit for maritime innovation, knowledge and investments, DG MARE, European Commission;

  Presentation of Implementation Plan 3.2 “Towards Positive Energy   Districts for sustainable urbanisation”, by Hans Guenther Schwarz,   Chair, Federal Ministry for Transport, Innovation and Technology,   Austria;

Panel debate:

  • Cor Lamers, ENVE Commission Chair, European Committee of the Regions, Mayor of Schiedam, Netherlands;
  • Rumen Radev, Economical Director of Holding Zadora OOD and Vice chair of the Bulgarian Industrial Capital Association;
  • František Kubeš, Director of the Regional Policy Department of the Czech Ministry of Regional Development;

Arrival press point

Arrivals

LIVE Tweets

 

PHOTO Gallery

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The SET Plan & ENVE conference will be a key moment for Europe to reflect on the EU 2050 Long-Term Strategy (LTS) in practice: a powerful opportunity to take stock of innovation in the field of clean energy transition and to discuss further steps on making the pathway to climate neutrality more concrete.

The 2050 Long-term strategy (LTS) communication is creating the foundation for Europe to have a robust roadmap towards climate neutrality by 2050. The outcomes of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) special report on the impacts of global warming of 1.5 °C above pre-industrial levels have clearly shown how relevant is for Europe and for the entire world that this strategy is successfully implemented.

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Remove online terrorist content. MEP Ramona Mănescu (EPP): If we want to bring those who promote illegal content to justice, we need clear deadlines and coercive measures

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If we really want those who create, distribute and promote illegal content, inciting to commit terrorist acts in this case, be brought to justice, coercive measures, clear deadlines and the obligation to act are necessary, declared for CaleaEuropeană.ro MEP Ramona Mănescu (EPP).

The Romanian MEP also said that we can no longer rely on voluntary measures ”when we have content with an obvious terrorist character, but also in the case of misinformation campaigns or other forms of illegal or subversive character.”

”There will always be opposition, and many of the arguments of those who oppose any form of censorship are valid in a perfect world. Unfortunately, we do not live in such a world and we are obliged to take measures to defend the life, security, values and democracy we enjoy today. The signal given by the European Parliament is clear and it must be as quickly as possible in the legislation and practice of the Member States” said MEP Ramona Mănescu.

European Parliament backed on Wednesday a proposal to tackle the misuse of internet hosting services for terrorist purposes. Companies that systematically and persistently fail to abide by the law may be sanctioned with up to 4% of their global turnover.

Internet companies should remove terrorist content within one hour after receiving an order from the authorities, to combat radicalisation and contribute to public security.

Once an internet company hosting content uploaded by users (like Facebook or YouTube) that offers their services in the EU has received a removal order from the competent national authority, they will have one hour to remove it or disable access to it in all EU member states. However, they will not be generally obliged to monitor the information they transmit or store, nor have to actively seek facts indicating illegal activity.

To help smaller platforms, MEPs decided that, when a company has never received a removal order before, the competent authority should contact it, to provide information on procedures and deadlines, at least 12 hours before issuing the first order to remove content that they are hosting.

If a company has been subject to a substantial number of removal orders, the authorities may request that it implements additional specific measures (e.g. regularly reporting to the authorities, or increasing human resources). MEPs in the Civil Liberties Committee agreed not to impose an obligation to monitor uploaded content nor the use of automated tools.

The legislation targets any material -text, images, sound recordings or videos- that “incites or solicits the commission or contribution to the commission of terrorist offences, provides instructions for the commission of such offences or solicits the participation in activities of a terrorist group”, as well as content providing guidance on how to make and use explosives, firearms and other weapons for terrorist purposes.

Content disseminated for educational, journalistic or research purposes should be protected, according to MEPs. They also make clear that the expression of polemic or controversial views on sensitive political questions should not be considered terrorist content.

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