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”From Brain drain to Brain gain” – #EPPLocalDialogue in Brussels will be hosted by Emil Boc Mayor of Cluj-Napoca on Thursday, 5 December

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© EPP Group CoR/ Twitter

Emil Boc, Mayor of Cluj-Napoca and a member of the European Committee of the Regions, will host in Brussels the debate ”From Brain drain to Brain gain”.

Emil Boc, Mayor of Cluj-Napoca (EPP/RO) is also the CoR rapporteur on Brain drain in the EU: addressing the challenge at all levels

Esther de Lange, (EPP/NL), Member of the European Parliament, Vice-president of the EPP Group and Dubravka Šuica, (EPP/HR), Commissioner-designate responsible for Democracy and Demography will also atend the event.

Open debate with the audience will be moderated by Dan Carbunaru Calea Europeana.

This event will be broadcasted LIVE on CaleaEuropeană.ro and on Calea Europeană Facebook Page on December 5th  starting at 16h30.

© epp.cor.europa.eu

Brain drain – the loss of an educated and skilled workforce – is a challenge affecting local communities and regions, but also member states and the European Union as a whole. In 2017, approximately 4.2 million EU citizens aged between 15 and 64 with a tertiary education were residing in an EU country other than their country of citizenship. Every citizen is concerned: from the worker in constructions to researchers who are able to move within the EU. However, they should do this because they want it, and not because they are pushed by poverty, limited working opportunities or a lack of possibilities to express their talents.

This EPP Local Dialogue will look into what the EU can do for its citizens to transform ‘brain drain’ into a ‘brain gain’ – an opportunity for both the receiving communities and the places of origin.

Participants will have the chance to share their real-life stories on brain drain in an open dialogue with their regional and local elected politicians, as well as with representatives from the European Parliament and the European Commission. The aim is to share experiences on how local and regional authorities can tackle brain drain in their areas, while identifying needs and resources to cope with the phenomenon also at national and EU levels. The event will be web streamed and followed by a networking session.

Interpretation will be provided in English and French.

Diana Zaim este foto jurnalist, câștigătoare a Premiul Publicului la European Youth Event 2020, cel mai mare eveniment pentru tineri organizat de Parlamentul European. Absolventă a secției germană-portugheză în cadrul Universității din București, Diana urmează în prezent programul de master ”Relații Internaționale și Integrare Europeană” în cadrul SNSPA. Pasionată de promovarea valorilor europene, Diana este parte a comunității Model European Union, cea mai amplă simulare la nivel european a procesului decizional din cadrul Uniunii Europene.

COMITETUL EUROPEAN AL REGIUNILOR

EU local leaders ready to work with the European Parliament to better communicate Europe on the ground and scale up cooperation on the Conference on the future of Europe

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© European Union / Giedre Daugelaite

EU local leaders are ready to work with the European Parliament to better communicate Europe on the ground and scale up cooperation on the Conference on the future of Europe, according to a press release forwarded to caleaeuropeana.ro.

European Parliament’s Vice-President for Information policy, Press and Citizens Relations, Othmar Karas, and Vice-President for Relations with the European Committee of the Regions (CoR), Klára Dobrev, joined the members of the Bureau of the CoR to debate how to better communicate the EU action and achievements to people in regions, cities and villages across Europe. They also discussed how to contribute to the Conference on the future of EU and scale up the cooperation between the only two EU institutions gathering elected officials.

As regional presidents and local mayors we can offer our trust and expertise on the ground and our ability to reach out to our communities across Europe. We are ready to reinforce our cooperation with the European Parliament by jointly organising local dialogues to contribute to the Conference on the future of Europe. We are also looking at how to build concrete synergies between the EP pilot project Building Europe with Local Entities (BELE) and our Committee’s upcoming Network of Local and Regional EU Councilors. Based on the cooperation agreement between our two institutions, we want to work to identify common concrete actions able to explain the added-value of the European Union“, said Apostolos Tzitzikostas, President of the CoR.

“I really appreciate the debate with the members of the Bureau of the Committee of Regions as it is exceptionally constructive. There must be an open minded approach on the Conference on the Future of Europe. We must not be afraid about possible outcomes, before we are even discussing. If a change of the European Treaties is necessary to empower Europe to act faster and to strengthen the trust of the citizens, we should work for it. It is our task as politicians to gain majorities for policies that are right and necessary. We have to engage deeply in the dialogue with the European citizens. Firstly, they can participate on our digital platform and we will encourage them to do so. But secondly it is of crucial importance to debate with the citizens face to face. Nobody is in a better position to do so and closer to the people than the Members of the CoR, the mayors representatives of local and regional authorities and we Members of the European Parliament”, said Othmar KarasVice-President of the European Parliament.

Vice-President Klára Dobrev added: The forthcoming Conference on the Future of Europe has a much higher stake than most of our deliberations. The outcome of the Conference will be decisive as to Europe remains a global power, or it will shrink into an ongoing playfield of selfish heads of national governments. No less than the future of our children and our grandchildren is at stake. It is inevitably crucial that the discourses about the future of Europe will be as much inclusive and embracing as never before. The Committee of Regions is the genuine representative of all regions throughout the European Union. For this reason, I found it gratifying at its recent Bureau-meeting that the Committee of Regions is also seeking a prominent role in the European discussions about the future of Europe. Our responsibility is enormous. If we want to deliver to our European citizens, we must offer them rewarding ideas about our shared future. The partnership of the Committee of Regions in this exercise will increase our prospects exceedingly!”.

The discussion took place ahead of the CoR Plenary session which is hosting high level debates also on the Conference on the Future of Europe. On 5 May, regional and local authorities debate with António Costa, Prime Minister of Portugal, and European Parliament President, David Sassoli, while on 7 May Herman Van Rompuy, former President of the European Council, will discuss with CoR members the Committee’s contribution to the Conference on the Future of Europe, in his capacity as chairman of the High-Level Group on European Democracy recently created by the CoR.

On 9 May, the CoR will hold a local debate in Strasbourg to mark the territorial dimension of the Conference. The event, co-organised with the main French regional and local associations, will allow regional and local leaders to discuss with citizens how to bring the Conference to regions, cities and villages across Europe. The local event will be attended, among others, by Dubravka Šuica, European Commissioner for Democracy and Demography, Guy Verhofstadt, Co-Chair of the Executive Committee of the Conference on the Future of Europe, and Ana Paula Zacarias, Portuguese Secretary of State for European Affairs.

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Op-ed | Apostolos Tzitzikostas: European foundations lie in local communities. Conference on the Future of Europe must make their voices heard

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© EPP CoR/ Twitter

Opinion by Apostolos Tzitzikostas,

President of the European Committee of the Regions

For more than one year now the COVID-19 pandemic has swept across Europe. It has forced us to restrict the lives of our people and introduce other urgent unprecedented measures. This dreadful virus has tragically taken more than 680.000 lives in the European Union.

Throughout these difficult times, the CoR, and the one million regional and local elected politicians in more than 300 regions and 90 000 municipalities it represents, has never stopped working to serve the people living in regions, cities and villages across Europe.

As the pandemic crisis has clearly shown, our Union’s foundations lie in our local communities. As local leaders, our responsibilities are great – from running health services and schools to providing social services in these troubled times.

Despite the unprecedented difficulties, we have found new ways to encourage research, support businesses, adapt the local economy, and work with civil society. We have been fighting side by side with doctors and nurses.

The months ahead will continue to be difficult for all of us, but there is light at the end of the tunnel if we work in solidarity and continue striving for a smooth and comprehensive vaccination campaign. We must make sure that our key values of cohesion and solidarity remain the principles for the vaccination strategy in the EU and its regions. We must avoid competition for vaccines between Member States and within Member States and avoid a ”vaccine divide’’ that would increase inequalities between our regions, cities and villages.

Europe must emerge from this crisis more resilient and formally recognise the central importance of local and regional administrations. We are a cornerstone for the health, prosperity, resilience and vibrancy of our local communities.

We must ensure that EU funds are used effectively to help the recovery of our local communities. We must be fully involved in designing and implementing EU and national recovery plans. Our contribution is key to forging policies that manage the fundamental societal transformations we are facing. COVID-19 is one of those transforming forces. So too are the climate crisis, the digitalisation of our economies and the demographic evolution.

Trust will pull us through this crisis, and we, locally and regionally elected leaders, are the most trusted level of government. We know best the citizens’ needs and concerns and we know how to address them via concrete actions on the ground.

If we are to boost the European project we must enhance its democratic functioning. We must build together our common House of European Democracy with its roof – the European Union –, its walls – the Member States – and its foundations – the regions, cities and villages.

The Conference on the Future of Europe is a great opportunity to strengthen the democratic functioning of the EU. The Conference is not an objective per se: its goal must be to honestly engage with people, also via the European Committee of the Regions that represents the vote of the citizens living all across Europe.

We can make sure that citizens participate in this process and have their say because local and regional authorities are the closest and most trusted level of government.

By listening to our people, the Conference must allow an honest reflection through a profound democratisation process. We want less institutional complexity and more democratic representation of people’s trust via their vote in the European, national, regional and local elections.

Our recently established High-Level Group on Democracy led by former European Council President Herman van Rompuy will strive to promote our Committee’s contribution to the Conference. We will team up with the business sector and civil society, youth associations and territorial European and national associations and, of course, with the three EU institutions which are steering the Conference – the Parliament, Commission and Council. Our local dialogue on 9 May marks the territorial dimension of the Conference and, in addition to many local dialogues across the UE, we will organise the Summit of Regions and Cities during the French Presidency in early 2022 in Marseille.

As governors, presidents of regions, mayors, regional and local councillors, we have been at the forefront, fighting the pandemic, and now we are ready to start the recovery. Today Europe and its people need trust and leadership. The Conference on the Future of Europe can contribute to this process if it genuinely and concretely involves our local communities and if it gives voice to people in our regions, cities and villages. This is key to avoid a top-down exercise that would only feed the demagogic and anti-European false narrative of populists and Euro-sceptics.

Our purpose, as European Committee of the Regions, is to establish a strong regional and local dimension of the entire Conference in all EU Members States by engaging with citizens at regional and local level. We are fully convinced that by working together, based on mutual respect, we can increase the trust of our citizens in our common European project, strengthen the EU democratic architecture and bring Europe closer to its people.

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MEP Vasile Blaga: European COVID-19 certificate will improve EU health security

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MEP Vasile Blaga (PNL, EPP) welcomes the European Parliament’s positive vote in plenary for the EU COVID-19 certificate which will make it easier for European citizens to travel this summer.

“Although there is a large group of citizens who are skeptical about this certificate, I would like to clarify a few points. Firstly, I would like to emphasize that the European COVID 19 Certificate will certify that the person holding it has been vaccinated, has a negative test, or has antibodies obtained from the disease. What is important here is the authenticity and certainty of this in a context where the EU is increasingly faced with cases of falsification of PCR tests or vaccination certificates. We are therefore eliminating forgeries that endanger the health security of the Union”, said the MEP for the news platform Calea Europeana.

The MEP also rejects the idea of discrimination put forward by those who oppose the introduction of the certificate: “The introduction of the other variants, negative test, and positive antibody test, definitively eliminates the idea that the unvaccinated will be restricted in their freedom of movement within the European Union. In fact, the current conditions will not change radically. The European COVID-19 certificate will, in fact, be a uniform EU certification that will simplify procedures and ultimately enhance EU health security,” added Vasile Blaga.

No less important is the provision approved by the European Parliament on free testing at Member State level, another provision that eliminates discrimination among European citizens: “There are many reasons why some citizens will not be tested: economic or otherwise. This is why the European Parliament has emphasized that the EU Member States must provide universal, accessible, timely and free testing to their citizens”, said Vasile Blaga.

“Looking at the measure as a whole, it is the duty of the Member States to move quickly to adapt their national legislation to the framework established at the European level so that this year’s summer holidays can run almost normally”, concluded the EPP MEP.

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