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Dara Murphy, EPP Vice-President and Campaign Director for the 2019 European elections: Trust is the most important element within democracy and within any political system

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Dara Murphy, EPP Vice-President and Campaign Director for the 2019 European elections, considers that trust and the role of local media will play important roles for the upcoming EU elections.

Before his address to the EPP Group in the European Committee of the Regions on 29 November he underlines the valued role of local and regional politicians in the EU, shares his views on the Spitzenkandidaten process and sends a message to local media that it is their role to hold local politicians to account.

Read below Murphy’s opinions on the role of local and regional elected politicians, the Spitzenkandidat process and the role of trust and local media:

As Campaign Director for the European People’s Party for the 2019 European Elections, which role do you foresee for the local and regionally elected politicians?

I had the great pleasure of serving as lord mayor of Ireland’s second city Cork before I entered national politics and I have always believed that the greatest honour a politician can have is to represent their own people. The importance of our local and regional politicians cannot be overstated. Currently, right across the EPP leadership we are hearing very welcome commentary about the importance of keeping decision-making as close as possible to our people throughout the European continent: Nobody is better placed to inform the debate about the needs, hopes and wishes of our European citizens in all of their diversity than the politicians they elect at local and regional level. This benefit will of course apply to large pan-European issues, such as in the areas of broader economic growth, security measures to deal with some of the difficulties from recent migration, but also crucially to show the benefit of the work of European people party politicians in delivering for our cities and for our regions and therefore the people on the ground.

Joseph Daul, President of the EPP, has underlined the party’s commitment to the Spitzenkandidat process. How will this look for the 2019 elections?

Given the complexity of the electoral systems across our 28 Member States and the different views on the pace of progress towards integration across many issues, it is a political reality that we will not see a directly elected president of Europe in the short term. The lead candidate, or Spitzenkandidat, however, gives European voters an opportunity to see the person who will, if the party they represent achieves the largest number of seats in the democratically elected parliament, become head of the European Commission. This is a significant increase in the democratic accountability and indeed the legitimacy that the president of the European Commission has. It is my view that it would be a regressive stepto move away from having the political parties identify their candidate and the policies and visions that they have for the future of our continent. Of course, there will continue to be a very strong national and national party focus towards every election, given the nature of European politics, and that will continue through the European elections.

How much do you think trust will play a role in the upcoming elections and how does the EPP plan to engage with citizens in this matter?

FOTO: EPP

Trust is the most important element within democracy and within any political system. It is the responsibility of our politicians to work through the media and indeed directly with citizens to ensure that they are worthy of the trust of the people whom they represent. 

Our local and regional politicians, given the proximity that they have to the people on the ground, play an absolutely vital role when it comes to trust. Greater coordination between European, national and local and regional politicians with the support of umbrella parties like the EPP should work to really ensure that we address the issue of lost trust in some parts of our societies. It is vital that we build on this and continue to ensure that levels of trust increase rather than decrease.

On 4-5 December, the EPP Group in the CoR will host a group of local journalists for the 11th edition of its Winter University for local and regional media (#EPPWU). Do you think that local media still matters in today’s globalised age?

Local media continues and should always, I believe, play a very, very important part in our democracy. It is a vital component in ensuring that local politicians are held to account and that local issues continue to be promoted and supported by the people who are elected to represent their locality. We, in the EPP, and myself as campaign director, are very keen to ensure that the use of fake news throughout elections is carefully monitored to ensure an honest and open debate. I think we must acknowledge that for many, many generations, local news providers have been a source of honest news and news of local interest across Europe.

Given the current proliferation of fake news which is so easily spread through social media and modern media platforms, the importance of local media has never been more obvious. 

 

 

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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, o inițiativă World Economic Forum, și este Young Strategic Leader în cadrul inițiativelor The Aspen Institute. Din 2019, Robert este membru al programului #TT27 Leadership Academy organizat de European Political Strategy Center, think tank-ul Comisiei Europene.

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Green Village Resort, the Danube Delta impressive location, opened for tourists under maximum safety measures

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© Anca Duse
Green Village Resort opened its gates on May 15th, in maximum safety for its guests, according to an official announcement on the resort’s Facebook page.
The Danube Delta, which most of it lies within Romania, is one of the continent’s most valuable habitats for wetland wildlife and biodiversity. It is a unique ecosystem in Europe and consists of a labyrinthine network of river channels, shallow bays and hundreds of lakes.
Green Village is a stranded location, divided into 3 accommodation areas, located at a great distance from each other, and the access to the rooms is made from outside, without having to go through common halls. Thus, social distancing is ensured by the hotel’s pavilion-type concept and the surface of over 30.000 m² .
Hygiene procedures are strict and strictly observed, both for guests and hotel staff. Dispensers with disinfectant solutions have been installed at all public entrances, and the cleaning of public spaces and their contact surfaces (handles, support bars, etc.) will be performed with a much higher frequency, using professional disinfectants.
As for the Express Check-In procedure, it has been modified so that the interaction with staff or other guests on the spot is reduced as much as possible.
Also, transport by boat will be carried out in accordance with the rules in force, and the serving of meals and drinks will be carried out according to the provisions of the authorities, in the room, on the terraces of the houses, or on the balconies of the rooms.
Last but not least, Green Village Resort assures future guests that the service staff is and will continue to be thoroughly trained in cleaning and disinfection procedures.

Green Village is naturally isolated with access to immense beaches stretched for kilometres, canals where tourists can make a different trip every day, they can fish, walk in nature, watch birds, without meeting any crowds. 

„Even in a normal period, tourists felt safe and enjoyed a quiet vacation. Romania is a growing destination for foreign tourists. Although slower than we want, Romania attracts foreigners, who come here with moderate expectations, but return home beyond enchanted by the landscapes, people, and security that our country offers”, said Dragoș Anastasiu, owner of Green Village Resort.

Last year, more than 40% of our tourists were foreigners. They enjoyed mostly excursions on the canals, fishing, birdwatching, going to the beach and short trips to nearby cities such as Sulina and Tulcea.

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Romania Remains Attractive As Software Outsourcing Destination in COVID-19 times

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Romania is 1ST IN EUROPE and 6TH IN THE WORLD, in terms of number of certified IT specialists. With an estimated 150,000 in 2020, Romania is moving up the diversity spectrum in terms of outsourcing capabilities. The local talent pool has been a main decision factor for evolving from a cost driven approach to a value driven one, Romanian specialists proving to be very resourceful in operating many complex project assignments.

Romania doesn’t offer lowest prices in the outsourcing business, but it is highly competitive when you take into account the level of technical proficiency and soft skills in the country, “superior to what is typically found in other outsourcing locations,” according to IDC.

Romania also benefits from two political factors—its membership in the European Union, and strong institutional support from the government. This includes several tax incentives and breaks, alongside wages that remain highly competitive within the EU (the average minimum wage is the second lowest in the political union). More importantly, membership in the EU comes with more than just financial and security advantages, one example is access to the Horizon 2020 program for Research and Innovation.

As a member state, Romania’s regulations and compliance laws must fall in line with the broader union, meaning that companies have significantly less startup barriers when setting up BPO or ITO offices. Apart from easier setup, this gives companies a much safer framework and infrastructure for financial transactions, as well as access to many of the same financial services and banks available across the West.

We asked one of the local companies what are their thoughts on the Romanian IT sector future and how is the COVID-19 disrupting their business model:

“This highly competitive industry sometimes forces us to ignore the long-term strategy and focus on the quick opportunities. The biggest risk is that we won’t see a lot of Romanian products competitive at global scale any time soon, but definitely in almost every successful project launched today around the World there is at least one Romanian engineer in the team. We give a lot of attention to our Research and Innovation department and we try to keep the right balance between outsourcing and internal products development (chasing our dreams). Regarding the COVID-19 disrupting our business, we just practiced what we preach, we used our entire digital offering on ourselves and we were able to completely switch into remote work during lunch break” says Anamaria POPA, General Manager of Soft Galaxy.

It is not enough for the professionals out there (in institutes, universities, private companies, innovators and entrepreneurs) to press ahead with their work, they need to stand together and promote the Romanian excellence in research and education.

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Vasile Blaga, MEP: I am convinced that the firm measures adopted by the EP against Covid-19 will not stop here. The EPP Group is already working on a strategy for the rapid recovery of the post-crisis economy

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© Vasile Blaga/Facebook

Vasile Blaga, MEP (PNL, PPE) told caleaeuropeana.ro that the EPP group in the European Parliament is already working on a “very clear strategy” for managing the current crisis generated by the new coronavirus, but also for the rapid recovery of the post-crisis European economy,

The unanimous vote of the European Parliament last week on proposals from the European Commission for the management of the European health crisis shows that the hesitant response at the outbreak of the COVID 19 pandemic was an accident, explains MEP Vasile Blaga, adding that “the answer came to correct the rather timid initial reaction of the European executive in the beginning of this challenging crisis for Europe and all the other states around the world ”.

The 37 billion euros  (part of the Corona Initiative) allocated to the Member States through the vote in the European Parliament will be directed towards health systems, local communities, small and medium-sized enterprises and economy sectors seriously affected by this crisis.

“The European Union means, first and foremost, solidarity – for better and for worse, and those who support the opposite are either not aware of what is being done at EU level, or have an interest in destabilising the Union,” says Blaga.

The vote in the European Parliament was also aimed at reallocating 800 million euros from the Cohesion Fund in 2020 to cover emergencies in the medical systems of the EU member state

“I am convinced that the measures will not stop here. The EPP group is already working on a very clear strategy for managing the current crisis, but also for the rapid recovery of the economy once the public health crisis is over. There are countless proposals and projects in progress that will help us all overcome this unprecedented crisis in recent history,” adds Vasile Blaga.

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