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Ban Ki-moon on migration: “Saving lives should be the top priority”

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Europe should focus on saving lives when dealing with migration, said UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon in a speech at the European Parliament on 27 May. During the plenary session he called attention to the 1,800 people who drowned while crossing the Mediterranean this year: “Europe has an important role to play and a collective responsibility to act. Saving lives should be the priority.” He also discussed sustainable development and preventing violent extremism.

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Ban said more effective law enforcement measures against traffickers and smugglers would not be enough and that a more comprehensive approach was needed. He also pointed out Europe needed migrants due to its low population growth and aging population.

The UN General Secretary also discussed the issue of dealing with violent extremism: “Upholding human rights and the rule of law are essential. We must always be mindful of our special responsibility to avoid responses to terrorism and violent extremism that make the problems worse.”

In addition Ban said landmark advances were needed in this year for sustainable development and that the EU had a special role to play: “Through its national commitments and climate and energy policy, the EU is blazing the trail to a safer, more prosperous low-carbon future for its people and our world.”

Introducing Ban, EP President Martin Schulz pledged the Parliament’s support for the UN’s work: “The European Union and this European Parliament share your organisation’s key goals: the combat against climate change and the fight against poverty, as well as your commitment to education and sustainable growth. In this fight we stand by your side.”

Source: www.europarl.europa.eu

 

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MEP Vasile Blaga: Romania is an example in terms of minorities, and an over-regulation at EU level would be “harmful”

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© Vasile Blaga/Facebook

MEP Vasile Blaga (PNL, EPP) considers that Romania is an example in terms of minorities, and over-regulation at EU level would be ”harmful”.

“As for the Minority SafePack initiative, I fully support the democratic participation of citizens in EU decisions. But citizens’ initiatives, such as this one, cannot achieve the spirit and principles set out in the fundamental treaties of the European Union. In this sense, the initiative does not tell us that in order to make it happen, it is necessary to amend the EU treaties but also the constitutional order in the Member States. Likewise, the initiative speaks of collective rights on ethnic grounds given that at EU level there is not even a clear definition of a national minority. Moreover, the effects of the implementation of this initiative could generate an even greater polarization of societies, contrary to the EU objective – integration and cohesion “, underlined the MEP Vasile Blaga, according to the official press release, sent by CaleaEuropeana.ro

Minority Safe Pack is a package of law proposals for the safety of the national minorities, a set of EU legal acts that enable the promotion of minority rights, language rights, and the protection of their cultures. In short, it sums up our main objectives: safety for minorities and legislative package for minorities: ”We want the European Union to take responsibility and become a genuine promoter of cultural and linguistic diversity across Europe. We want the Copenhagen Criteria on protecting the rights of minorities to be observed also by the Member States of the EU.”

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MEP Vasile Blaga: By supporting the CAP reform, the EP is firmly committed to the development of small rural communities and jobs in the agri-food sector

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By supporting the reform of the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP), the European Parliament is firmly committed to the development of small rural communities and jobs in the agri-food sector, is the statement made by MEP Vasile Blaga (PNL, EPP) for caleaeuropeana.ro.

“The reform of the Common Agricultural Policy, voted by the European Parliament at the last plenary in Brussels last week, offers an extremely strong signal of support for all farmers in the European Union. Parliament thus makes a strong commitment, especially to small farmers, but also to young farmers who, through their work, ensure the Union’s food security. In other words, the EU is committed to preserving and developing small rural communities and protecting and increasing the number of jobs in the agri-food sector. In short, the measures voted aim at the sustainability, flexibility and increased resistance to the crisis of the entire agri-food sector “, said the EPP MEP.

The strategic plans regulation was approved by 425 votes in favour to 212 against, with 51 abstentions. The regulation on common market organisation was approved by 463 votes in favour to 133 against, with 92 abstentions. The regulation on financing, management and monitoring of the CAP was approved by 434 votes in favour to 185 against, with 69 abstentions.

MEPs endorsed a policy shift that should better tailor the EU’s farm policy to the needs of individual member states but they insist on maintaining a level playing field across the Union. National governments should draft strategic plans, which the Commission will endorse, specifying how they intend to implement EU objectives on the ground. The Commission would be checking their performance, not only their compliance with EU rules.

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Belarus opposition leader expresses “gratitude” to Romania and Klaus Iohannis for their solidarity: “We feel the support from Romania, Lithuania and Poland”

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© Photo Collage (Images sources: European Union)

Sviatlana Tikhanovskaya, the leader of the democratic opposition in Belarus, expressed her gratitude to Romania and President Klaus Iohannis for the support that Bucharest, together with Warsaw and Vilnius, has given to the democratic movement and the peaceful demonstrators that took the streets of Minsk and other Belarusian cities against the oppressive regime of Aleksandr Lukashenko.

Sviatlana Tikhanovskaya, who took refuge in Lithuania, made this comments in an online intervention during a debate organized in Bucharest by the Embassy of the Republic of Lithuania and the Centre for Conflict Prevention and Early Warning (CPC-EW) at the Romanian Diplomatic Institute.

Given the opportunity, I would like to take the time to express my gratitude to our Romanian friends, who’s President (e.n. – Klaus Iohannis) on September 21st together with his Polish and Lithuanian colleagues signed a letter to the international community to help ensure that Belarusians receive the support we drastically need in our economical, political, and social transition. (…) The old saying, and friend in need is a friend indeed, has never seemed more resonant for Belarusians as our country is ruled by an autocrat giving order to use violence on peaceful demonstrators. We welcome, every bit of solidarity, as support, and we feel the support from Romania, Lithuania and Poland“, Tikhanovskaya said.

Not so long ago, in 1989, Romania, Poland and Lithuania walked in the same shoes. Today, the time for Belarusians has come to unshackle ourselves, to acknowledge and let go the ghosts of our past and to look into the future“, she added.

 

Romania played has an active role in the European Union’s position on the situation in Belarus, the debate also taking place in the context of the Joint Declaration signed by the Presidents of Lithuania, Poland and Romania in support of a democratic Belarus, in which the three heads of state called on the European Union to identify economic support measures for a democratic Belarus.

The call of the three presidents has been included in the conclusions of the special European Council of 1-2 October, when the leaders of the 27 member states of the European Union invited the European Commission to come up with proposals to support this country.

Previously, Romania provided 100,000 euros in support to Belarusian civil society and independent journalism. The Romanian ambassador to Minsk also joined his EU colleagues and visited Svetlana Aleksievich, a Nobel Prize winner and a member of the Democratic Opposition Coordinating Council, an entity that will receive the Sakharov Prize for freedom of thought from the European Parliament.

At the same time, in another gesture of solidarity with Poland and Lithuania, Romania decided to recall its ambassador from Minsk for consultations. Lithuania and Poland have decided to resort to this measure after Belarus recalled its ambassadors to Vilnius and Warsaw for consultations following EU sanctions on Belarusian officials accused of electoral fraud and human rights violations.

Also, both the Senate and the Chamber of Deputies have adopted two declarations on the violation of fundamental human rights in Belarus, documents by which the Romanian Parliament expresses its solidarity with the Belarusian people, calls for an end to violence against peaceful protests in Belarus and considers necessary more articulated reaction ”from the international community in the event that the situation does not improve urgently.

Last but not least, Romania is among the countries requesting the inclusion of Alexandr Lukashenko on the list of sanctions of the European Union.

The situation in Belarus deteriorated following the presidential election on August 9, when the democratic opposition led by candidate Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya and civil society accused the regime of President Aleksandr Lukashenko of defrauding the election results.

Violent repression by the authoritarian regime in Minsk of the protests and demonstrations that followed, as well as suspicion of fraud in these elections, led the European Union to take a position in support of the democratic opposition and to take restrictive measures against Lukashenko regime officials.

There are major concerns at EU level and about Belarus’ interest in the size of nuclear energy and nuclear safety, given that the unsafe operation of the Astravets plant poses a major threat to the region and implicitly to the European Union.

The European Union has also warned that an additional list of sanctions could include Alexander Lukashenko, whose new presidential term is considered illegitimate by the Western community, which was adopted on October 12.

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