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Jose Manuel Barroso: We have no intention at all to propose the Commission to regulate the media

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BarrosoDuring the joint press conference held today with Romania’s Prime Minister, Victor Ponta, Jose Manuel Barroso underlined the importance of freedom of the media and underlined that despite the mention on Romania’s CVM report that there existed “campaigns orchestrated in the media against the independence of the magistrates”, the freedom of the media is a sacrosanct principle” and the Commission has no intention of regulating it.

Jose Manuel Barroso’s full statement:

 

“I would like to welcome Prime Minister Victor Ponta back to the European Commission and congratulate him on his re-election as Prime Minister of Romania and wish him every success for his second term. I wish you well, I wish Romania well.

We had a good exchange on this week’s European Council. It is important that we get agreement this week between Member States so that the process can then move to the European Parliament. We have to keep in mind that this is a difficult negotiation. We have also to keep in mind that in the end we need the consent of the European Parliament. The unanimity of our Member States is not enough.

I will be pushing for a reasonable agreement on a budget that is future orientated, a budget for investment, growth, jobs and solidarity. The debate cannot only be about cuts but about how the money can best be spent to provide employment and improved living standards of all our citizens across all of the European Union. And Romania is an important example of the importance of European Union funds to make it possible to invest in transport, energy and infrastructure, for example.

I also hope that we will be able to agree to a new instrument on youth unemployment which is an acute challenge in many countries, including Romania. I believe it will be a good signal if we could have a special instrument to fight youth unemployment at the European level.

We also talked about the economic situation in Romania. I have welcomed the efforts of the Romanian government to reduce the deficit, expected to be below 3% of GDP in 2012. This is a real achievement, especially against a background of economic and political difficulties.

I encouraged the Prime Minister to continue stepping up Romania’s efforts towards structural reforms, and towards a swift implementation of the current adjustment programme.

We had a good frank discussion indeed on the use of structural funds. We have talked a number of times about the need to improve the absorption capacity of these funds. I welcome the commitments of Prime Minister Ponta on this issue with particular focus needed on the preparation of the next programming period.

We have also discussed the cooperation and verification report that the Commission adopted last week. I appreciate the efforts that Prime Minister Ponta has made over the last six months to deliver on the commitments he made last July. The conditions now exist, with a more stable political situation, a new Government and Parliament, to make a real push on the reform process. We need to see further progress on the independence of the judiciary and the appointment to key posts. We will also look to politicians to set an example by stepping aside where integrity rulings or corruption charges exist.

As you can see we covered a lot of ground, not to mention issues like the Schengen accession. As you know, I support, and the Commission supports, Romania’s accession to Schengen.

Let me thank the Prime Minister for his visit. I very much welcome our open exchanges; I know the Prime Minister is committed to deliver reform and he can count on the European Commission in the years to come. I believe this is important for Europe and it is for sure important for Romania.”

“Regarding the media issue, first of all let me say one thing – for us the freedom of the media is sacred and the Commission will always defend free and pluralist media in Romania and elsewhere. In fact issues of media pluralism and standards are matters that the Commission has taken up in many different ways across many Member States and indeed when discussing the issue with other partners in the world. So, first point, freedom of media is sacrosanct and the Commission defends this freedom and we have no intention at all to propose the Commission to regulate the media and we will be the first to condemn any attacks on journalists.
 
When it comes to discuss and to analyse the situation of the judiciary in Romania, we cannot dismiss the fact that we have received complaints by the Constitutional court, by the Superior Counsel of the Magistracy about campaigns orchestrated in the media against the independence of the magistrates – either prosecutors or judges. And so, this is a problem, because this is a problem in terms of independence of the judiciary and we have not prescribed any specific solution for that precisely because we very much respect the freedom of the media, but we believe that we have the duty when preparing the CVM to recognise that this is a problem and that steps should be taken to address it so that we have what is the goal of the Romanian government and the Romanian authorities – independent judiciary and of course that the media continues its role as an independent power as well in Romania. It would be artificial if we speak about the judiciary independence and if we dismiss completely the fact that we are receiving these complaints not only by the way from the Constitutional court or the Superior Counsel of the Magistracy, but also by many individuals and organisations that are calling us about this problem.
 
I think my answer was completely clear – the freedom of the media is a sacrosanct principle for us. At the same time we have to express our concerns when we receive complaints of orchestrated campaigns in the media to the independence of the judiciary in Romania.”


VIDEO available here:  http://ec.europa.eu/avservices/video/player.cfm?ref=92497

Foto: ec.europa.eu

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Foreign Affairs Minister Ramona Mănescu: The Strategic Partnership with the US is the central focus of the Romanian diplomacy, while the accession to Schengen remains a priority

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Foreign Affairs Minister Ramona Mănescu said on Thursday that Romania’s accession to Schengen remains a priority of the Romanian diplomacy.

“Evoking the period when I was MEP, I can certainly tell you that (…) all the time both [the European] Parliament and the Commission said Romania was prepared to join Schengen, from a technical and logistical point of view. (…) Practically, we function de facto as a Schengen member state, but de jure we are not regarded as such. Romania doesn’t ask anything but the observance of the Treaty, we are members with full rights, we met our commitments and we seriously continue to meet them, no one can challenge Romania’s contribution to the security space, because we are not talking only about the eastern flank of NATO, we are also talking about EU’s eastern flank,” Ramona Mănescu told Antena 3 private television broadcaster on Thursday, quoted by Agerpres.

She maintained that the Romanian citizens “have all the right to get this well-deserved position of Schengen member state.”

“This is not something we must beg for, or be made a favour. It is provided in the Treaty and it must be observed. (…) I assure you we keep this on the agenda as priority topic, and all bilateral and extended discussions will include the Schengen accession component, we won’t stop from telling our colleagues in the EU that the Romanian citizens have the same rights,” Mănescu underscored, mentioning that, at present, in the Council half of the states support Romania’s accession to the free movement area, and the others oppose.

The Foreign Minister also pointed out that the Strategic Partnership with the US must remain the central focus of the Romanian diplomacy.

She also showed that Romania has the same position towards Russia as NATO and the EU.

“Romania’s position towards Russia starts in the first place from the vicinity we are in, but it is also part of the EU’s position regarding Russia, as we are part of the EU, we must get in line with EU’s stand. I am referring to sanctions, to certain limitations that we have in the dialogue and cooperation with Russia and I am particularly referring to the firm position we have as EU member, which we have always had, of observing the international legislative framework. We don’t ask too much from Russia as an actor on the geopolitical stage if we ask them to respect the international legislative framework. (…) It is the principle which we start from and which we cannot fail to keep not even for Russia, which is here, close to us. We have no reason to make an exception, because nothing is negotiable in this story,” Ramona Mănescu said.

According to the Minister, the relation with Russia represents “a key point in the stability in the area, in securing NATO’s eastern flank, in the manner in which we can further manage the discussions in the Black Sea. “The threats and gestures which Russia has repeatedly done in the Black Sea space, from a military stand, have been sanctioned all the time. (…) Both NATO and the EU have the same discourse. Romania cannot have a different discourse, because it is both part of the EU and NATO, and we are at the Black Sea,” she added.

Mănescu also said that she expected “the energy diplomacy to have its word,” in regards to the resources in the Black Sea.

“Our desire is for a partner such as Exxon to stay here and continue to work together as much and as well as possible. This entails our making some steps in an expected direction. I believe things will settle in the end, enter the right track and I even want to clarify this position shortly and the US partners must be convinced that we’ll be keeping the same line. (…) Mrs PM wants this as well,” Mănescu said.

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Romania has a new Foreign Affairs Minister. Ramona Mănescu took the oath of office

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Ramona Mănescu, Nicolae Moga and Mihai Fifor took the oath of office on Wednesday in the presence of President Klaus Iohannis for the Interior and Foreign Affairs Ministries office, Deputy Prime Minister for implementing Romania’s strategic partnerships office respectively.

The head of state wished success to the new three members of the Dancila Cabinet.

The swearing-in ceremony was attended by Prime Minister Viorica Dancila, ministers, Deputy Speaker of the Deputies’ Chamber Florin Iordache, Government Secretary General Toni Grebla and presidential advisors.

President Klaus Iohannis signed on Wednesday the decrees appointing Nicolae Moga as Interior Minister and Ramona Mănescu as Foreign Affairs Minister, according to a Presidential Administration release.

Through another decree, Mihai Fifor was appointed Deputy Prime Minister for implementing Romania’s strategic partnerships.

Furthermore, Iohannis took note of Carmen Dan’s resignation from the Interior Ministry and signed the decree dismissing Teodor Meleșcanu from the Foreign Affairs Minister office.

Ramona Mănescu is a Romanian politician and lawyer. She was a Member of the European Parliament serving 2007 to 2013 and 2014 to 2019 from the National Liberal Party (till July 2017), active within the European People’s Party group in the European Parliament.

As part of this group she is a member of the European Parliament Committee on Foreign Affairs, vice-chair in the Delegation for relations with the Mashreq countries and a substitute member in the Committee on transport and tourism and in Delegation for relations with the Arab Peninsula.

Between 2007 and 2014 she was part of the ALDE group in the European Parliament, where she also held the position of Vice-President (11 November 2012 – June 2014) of the ALDE Party (Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe Party). As a member of this group she is a coordinator in the Regional Development Committee and a member in the Committee on Employment and Social Affairs.

At the European Parliamentary elections from June 2014, Mănescu renewed her mandate within European Parliament, where she became a member of the European People’s Party group in the Parliament European.

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ENGLISH

Romania: President Klaus Iohannis appoints former MEP Ramona Mănescu as the new Foreign Affairs Minister

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President Klaus Iohannis signed on Wednesday the decrees appointing Nicolae Moga as Interior Minister and Ramona Mănescu as Foreign Affairs Minister, according to a Presidential Administration release.

Furthermore, Iohannis took note of Carmen Dan’s resignation from the Interior Ministry and signed the decree dismissing Teodor Melescanu from the Foreign Affairs Minister office.

Through another decree, Mihai Fifor was appointed Deputy Prime Minister for implementing Romania’s strategic partnerships.

The swearing-in ceremony takes place on Wednesday at 11:00hrs, at the Cotroceni Presidential Palace. 

Ramona Mănescu is a Romanian politician and lawyer. She was a Member of the European Parliament serving 2007 to 2013 and 2014 to 2019 from the National Liberal Party (till July 2017), active within the European People’s Party group in the European Parliament.

As part of this group she is a member of the European Parliament Committee on Foreign Affairs, vice-chair in the Delegation for relations with the Mashreq countries and a substitute member in the Committee on transport and tourism and in Delegation for relations with the Arab Peninsula.

Between 2007 and 2014 she was part of the ALDE group in the European Parliament, where she also held the position of Vice-President (11 November 2012 – June 2014) of the ALDE Party (Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe Party). As a member of this group she is a coordinator in the Regional Development Committee and a member in the Committee on Employment and Social Affairs.

At the European Parliamentary elections from June 2014, Mănescu renewed her mandate within European Parliament, where she became a member of the European People’s Party group in the Parliament European.

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