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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 în cadrul World Economic Forum și este Young Strategic Leader în cadrul inițiativelor The Aspen Institute.

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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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The International Air Transport Association (IATA) urges the Romanian government to focus on aviation competitiveness as a means to strengthen the economy of Romania

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The International Air Transport Association (IATA) urged the Romanian government to focus on aviation competitiveness as a means to strengthen the economy of Romania. In addition, Romania’s Presidency of the European Union gives it a powerful opportunity to push policies for stronger aviation competitiveness across the whole of the EU.

Air transport is a key enabler of economic activity in Romania, supporting 107,000 jobs and contributing EUR 2.3 billion to the economy. Ten million passengers departed from Romania’s airports in 2017. This figure, however, could rise by 50% by 2037, supporting an additional 23,000 jobs, if Romania enhances the conditions on which its aviation sector can be competitive.

Air Transport Competitiveness in Romania

IATA published a competitiveness report on Romanian aviation which demonstrates a gap between the nation’s competitiveness level (ranked at 4.7) and the overall European average (ranked 5.9). Based on the report findings, IATA highlighted three priority areas:

1. Passenger facilitation

2. Expanded terminal capacity

3. Reduced infrastructure costs.

In addition, airspace modernization is identified as a crucial element to support future growth and efficiency.

Leading an agenda for stronger European aviation

The Romania Aviation Day brought together key stakeholders to hear from leading policy-makers such as Dragos Titea (Romanian Secretary of State for Transport), Henrik Hololei (Director General for Mobility and Transport, European Commission), Armand Petrescu, DG Civil Romanian CA, Catalin Radu (Deputy Director, ICAO Air Navigation Bureau), Maria Magdalena Grigore (Romanian State-Secretary, Ministry of Foreign Affairs), Mikolaj Wild (State Secretary in Poland Ministry of Infrastructure), and Romanian MEPs Claudia Tapardel and Marian Jean Marinescu.

Minister Cuc’s keynote speech highlighted his country’s priorities for its Presidency of the European Council. Under the motto “Cohesion, a common European Value” he explained how competitiveness, innovation and digitalization, connectivity, climate and sustainability were all lines of action for transport policy under Romania’s Presidency.

In his keynote address, Rafael Schvartzman highlighted the benefits of modernizing European airspace and the important economic and environmental benefits it would create.

His key recommendations included:

· For States, ANSPs and staff associations to look at how air traffic management staff are deployed this summer to avoid some of the significant delays air travelers suffered last year (Air Traffic Management (ATM) delay in Europe doubled in 2018 and is set to get even worse in 2019).

· Europe’s airspace infrastructure to be modernized and investments aligned between Airlines and Service Providers.

· For governments to treat air transport and air traffic management as a truly global business. Europe’s inconsistent ATM Service levels create delays, and haphazard and indirect flight routings, which all lead to wasted time and higher costs for passengers and airlines. The additional fuel burn also generates an unnecessary increase in CO2 emissions.

Airspace modernization

Efficient ATM is a bedrock of a high-performance aviation sector. To complement the long-term aim of a Single European Sky to improve the safety, capacity, efficiency, and environmental performance of European airspace, IATA is working with several air navigation service providers on National Airspace Strategies (NAS).

At the Aviation Day the Romanian government announced that it would support the development of a NAS to support more efficient capacity in Romania and to help deliver Single European Sky objectives.

Romanian Air Traffic Services Administration (ROMATSA) and IATA will strengthen their existing cooperation for this initiative, which is aimed at delivering benefits to the travelling public and the wider aviation community, while supporting the economic growth and competitiveness of the Romanian aviation sector. The main aspects of the strategy cover leadership and a collaborative stakeholder approach, airspace management, and technical modernization of the ATM system.

“This week marks two landmark events for Romanian airspace, that will define our evolution in the decades to come. The new ATM system that became operational on the 8th of April implements new functionalities that increase capacity and flexibility, optimize airspace structure and align us with the latest technological developments”, expained Mircea Bostina, Director General of ROMATSA.

”The collaboration with IATA on developing and implementing a national airspace strategy is a natural and much needed step forward in bringing together all aviation stakeholders in Romania and setting together our priorities in order to meet customer demand, deliver on the SES high level goals and increase the competitiveness of the Romanian aviation sector and of the overall economy. We pride ourselves on having written aviation history in the past, but we are just as committed to embracing the future and rising up to the challenge of serving an ever-growing number of passengers at the highest standards of safety and efficiency.”, said Mircea Bostina.

“Romania has a great opportunity to transform its aviation sector if the right policy levers are pulled. Our recommendations are, first, to promote innovative technology and processes to move passengers quickly. Second, to invest in more capacity at airports and in air traffic management. And third, to ensure infrastructure charges are set in transparent consultation with users. If Romania can take these steps, its economic and social development will gain significantly from enhanced air connectivity”, said Rafael Schvartzman, IATA’s Regional Vice President for Europe.

”The commitment to develop a national airspace strategy shows that the government is already taking the necessary steps to enhance the nation’s aviation competitiveness. Optimizing Romania’s airspace will not only benefit Romania but the wider European network. We congratulate ROMATSA for its vision, and look forward to working with them to make airspace modernization a success.”, added Schvartzman.

The Romanian National Airspace Strategy will include:

· Enhancement of coordination for more efficient flightpaths;

· Airspace optimization at regional level as well as between regions;

· Increased capacity while ensuring safety levels;

· Improved punctuality of flights;

· Better sharing of information across the European air transport network.

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MEP Ramona Mănescu (EPP): ”Cohesion means uniting forces at European Union level in solidarity to support the less developed EU regions”

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MEP Ramona Mănescu (EPP) has been among the invited guests at the Laude-Reut international diplomatic and global affairs conference, hosted by Israel’s Ambassador to Romania David Saranga and Tova Ben Nun-Cherbis, President of the Laude-Reut Education Complex.

The conference was initiated and organized by the Reut Foundation (the former Ronald S. Lauder Romania Foundation) – the Laude-Reut Educational Complex and is held annually under the auspices of the Parliament of Romania – the Chamber of Deputies, this year being also under the Patronage of the Romanian Presidency of the Council of the European Union , with the motto “Cohesion, a common European value”.

”Cohesion means uniting forces at European Union level in solidarity to support the less developed EU regions. The idea is to make use of the available funds with maximum efficiency. But it also means making policies and making decisions together, to the benefit of everyone. I will start from these ideas the discussion about the future and the prospects of the European Union. In Europe, once the leaders’ generations have changed, such as Havel, Kohl, Thatcher, Mitterrand, or Walesa – they have been slowly and dramatically replaced by populist leaders and more and more blind to new realities and challenges. Those who have dedicated their work to European integration are now being replaced by populists. The EU has been built on values such as solidarity”, said Manescu at the event.

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