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EPP MEP Ramona Mănescu at Doha Forum: ”With better infrastructure, better employment opportunities and stronger economic foundations for success, the lure of extremism diminishes”

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sigla ppe buna”With better infrastructure, better employment opportunities and strong economy, we diminish the threat of terrorism,” said European People’s Party MEP, Ramona Manescu, a member of the Foreign Affairs Committee of the European Parliament on the occasion of participation in the 15th edition Forum in Doha, Qatar.

Further we present you the full version of the Romanian MEP.

“Your Excellencies,

Distinguished guests,

I am greatly honoured to have been invited to participate to DOHA FORUM, a prestigious forum of debate that celebrates its 15th edition this year. It is a great pleasure for me to be here and I would like to thank His Highness Sheikh Tamim Bin Hamad Al-Thani, Emir of the State of Qatar for its presence and for the warm welcoming in the opening ceremony and to H.E. Dr. Khalid Bin Mohammed Al Attiyah, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the State of Qatar for the welcoming and for organizing this event trough the Permanent Committee for Organizing Conferences.

Also, I would like to thank to H.E Sheikh Ali BIN JASSIM AL-THANI, Ambassador of the State of Qatar to the Kingdom of Belgium for working in close cooperation with DOHA and for extending the invitations to the EU-Qatar Friendship Group Members within the European Parliament.

Ramona_Doha

sigla ppe buna

In my quality of Chair-Woman of the EU-Qatar Friendship Group within the European Parliament, I Thank you very much for giving us the opportunity to be here!

This is not my first visit to Qatar as a member of the Foreign Affairs Committee and as a member of the Delegation for the relations with the Arab Peninsula within the European Parliament. Any visitor is struck by the dynamic, outward looking nature of the country and its economy, the combination of modernity and tradition. Qatar is a start-up nation that already became a global brand.

As a member of both Mashreq and Arab Peninsula Delegations within the European Parliament, being in constant contact with this area and having a concerned interest in the future evolution of the relations between these countries and the EU, I must say that there is a striking contrast between what we see today, here in Qatar, or in other Middle-East neighbouring countries like UAE, Kuwait or Saudi Arabia and what we see not very far, in Yemen, Syria or Libya.

As Europeans, we also know something about war and peace, about resentment and reconciliation. It’s worth remembering how recent it really was – exactly seven decades ago – when the whole Europe was in ruins after a devastating conflict and how far we have come in such a short period of time.

In 2012, the European Union received the Nobel Peace Prize. This was a recognition for the European nations, that finally succeeded in breaking the vicious circle of military offensives and retaliation, which was the driving force behind Europe’s history for ages.

Our recent history makes us sensible to the need of others and this is why our efforts so far have not been insignificant. We have mobilized over 3 billion EURO in development and humanitarian aid since the Syrian conflict began – the world’s largest donation.

But it is not enough. Many refugees, in Iraq, Syria, Lebanon or Jordan remain without adequate food, shelter and medical support and it is our duty to help them.

But that on its own will not solve the problem it simply cover the wounds.

We have a political and diplomatic obligation to stop this tragedy, to stem the flow of refugees and to contain the spreading conflicts.

Again EU has not been slow to act. We froze bilateral financial and technical assistance programs with countries like Syria, we have condemned human rights violations, lobbied for a political solution and worked with the UN, the League of Arab States and our regional and international partners to find an answer.

Here, I must express a special appreciation for the determined and broad involvement of the Arab League member countries in tackle the conflicts in the region. The military effort is not a small one and nothing like this has been seen before in scale, number of countries and covered area. This proves that there is a broad awareness of the threat posed by the extremists groups and the havoc they bring into the contaminated regions.

Also, I would like to express my deep appreciation for the countries that are offering hospitality to more than 3 million refugees and bearing the high social, political, security and material cost of an increasingly worsening humanitarian situation.

In this context it is our collective responsibility to help end the ongoing tragedies in so many countries from this region. To help reinstalling stability in Libya and Egypt. To end the civil wars in Syria and Yemen. To contain and bring to justice the terrorist and extremist groups that got a grasp in Iraq and other neighbouring regions. To ease the humanitarian effort for the refugees taking shelter in Jordan, Lebanon or Turkey. This can only be resolved through political and diplomatic solutions. We must work together; EU, the League of Arab States, United Nations and all the other strategic international partners.

While the political and diplomatic solutions are following their own path, I make a pledge to the Arab League and all its member countries to step up their humanitarian effort for all those in immediate need, all over the region. All the grounds reports are showing that we, as international community, are failing in providing the necessary aid, even at the level of basic needs like food, shelter and medical aid.

Ladies and Gentleman,

I would like to use the opportunity to bring into discussion the connection between the main topic of this event: Middle East’s Economic Future and this session’s focus: Security and Regional Stability.

I strongly believe that the two are not just only strongly connected but they cannot exist one without the other.

Looking around here, in Doha, it is obvious that where people have a choice, where they have real opportunities and access to education, where businesses are offered with infrastructure and a predictable future, there is no space for terrorist groups or extremism.

Terrorism is the territory of those who lack hope and opportunity. With better infrastructure, better employment opportunities and stronger economic foundations for success, the lure of extremism diminishes.

Defeating extremism means creating optimism. Nurturing a region where opportunity is available to the majority and where there are clear alternatives to violence and self-sacrifice.

These are bold aims. But there is no alternative.

And this is why we are here these days and this is why the two topics: economic development and regional security and stability are going so well together.

Just couple days ago, European Parliament’s Industry, Research and Energy Committee approved a proposal for a European Energy Security Strategy, outlining the framework for improved energy security. The final vote in plenary is scheduled for the June plenary session in Strasbourg.

When we talk about Middle East’s Economic Future is impossible not to start the discussion with the energy topic.

Today’s success of many Golf and Middle East countries was built on their fossil fuel reserves and the global demand of energy and raw materials for the petro-chemical industry.

I come from a country that is proud to be present in the World statistics as the first country to have an industrial production of crude oil. With its oil production came the whole oil industry, research, infrastructure and then horizontal industry, like the petro-chemical one. International demand of energy resources is one of the reasons why today Constanta is the biggest port at the Black Sea and a major energetic hub for the whole European Union.

This history helps me understand the complicated but strong connections between energy/resources security, economic development, regional stability, political relations and conflicts.

Also, I can see a clear picture of a country that once was a major oil exporter and, under the pressure of continuous reducing of natural reserves evolved to a new stage where it invested in nuclear energy and has a long term nuclear program, developed a whole industry of renewable resources, from research to production and big aeolian or photo-voltaic farms, and used its broad knowledge in hydrocarbons extraction, transport and storage to become an energy hub for a region where energy security become the strongest diplomatic tool.

I believe that under the global discussion about energy security, combined with the pressure coming from the assumed goals of sustainability and reduced pressure over the climatic system, energy production in the shape of fossil fuels was, is and it will continue to be the engine that will assure the development and stability of the whole Golf and Middle East region.
The opportunities offered by the renewable energies in terms of research, production, implementation and operation are just starting to uncover.

Interconnectivity of various energy transport and storage systems, that is more and more needed, offers another opportunity of investments, jobs creation and sustainability. A good example are the ongoing and future projects of connecting the gas and oil resources recently discovered in the Black Sea, through the hub offered by Constanta Port, with the high demand coming from countries that are massively dependant by Russian exports.
Also, the strategic goals set at European Union level, to continuous increase the interconnectivity of the electrical grid are bringing new investment opportunities.

I believe that an energy security strategy can be the fundament for better, stronger bilateral relations between EU and the Golf and Middle East countries.

Common goals can also bring constructive answers to questions like the Russia role in this equation or the Iranian issue. They can also represent a long term basis for economic development, which, in return, is capable to support regional stability and security.

Strong and stable countries in this region, economic and politically, is the warranty that the terrorism, extremism and induced unrest are bound to fail. They also represent a regional support for the countries that today are not that lucky, that are troubled by instability or crushed by civil wars. It shows to the common people that an alternative is possible and with joint effort of EU countries, Arab League Countries and international community, the trend will be reversed and, instead of international exports of terrorism and instability, we will all see exports of hope, normality and the chance of a decent life.

The potential is huge, I can see it, I am certain we all can see it, and I trust in the goals and interests that are uniting us, not in the ones that are bringing division.
I am confident that we can manage to have a better life for the people of our countries.
I am certain that together we can find solutions for peace and prosperity, to help build a better future of our nations!

Thank you!”

Ramona Mănescu is a member of the European Parliament from the European People’s Party (EPP), the biggest political group in the European Parliament, with 219 members from 27 EU Member States. Also, the EPP is the largest and most influential center-right political party at European level, which includes 78 member parties from 40 countries, the Presidents of the European Commission and European Council, 11 heads of state and government within the EU and 6 outside the Union and 14 members of the European Commission.

Robert Lupițu este redactor-șef, specialist în relații internaționale, jurnalist în afaceri europene și 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.

ENGLISH

MEP Vasile Blaga: The most effective weapon against Russia’s blackmail to turn off the gas tap is EU solidarity

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© Vasile Blaga/Facebook

The cut-off of gas supplies to Poland and Bulgaria should be the start of the EU finding solutions to disconnect Europe from the Russian Federation, said MEP Vasile Blaga (PNL, EPP).

The MEP stressed that the most effective weapon against Russia’s blackmail to turn off the “gas tap” is EU solidarity.

“A generalised and overnight disconnection of Europe from Russian resources is not realistic, but in the medium and long term it is the only solution. The dependence of large EU economies – such as Germany’s – is a major obstacle to this necessary disconnection, but a united reaction, comparable to that during the pandemic, can provide the solutions to get out of this situation, which is immoral to say the least”, said the liberal MEP for the CaleaEuropeana.ro.

According to the MEP, it is necessary, as a first step, even if only in principle, for all EU Member States to speak “with one voice” on eliminating energy dependence on Russia.

“It is obvious that the European democratic architecture is incompatible with the immoral paradox of financing Russia’s war machine in the context of military aggression against the sovereign state of Ukraine. Then, without delay, we need to take concrete steps that will bring us within a reasonable timeframe closer to this priority objective”, added the EPP MEP.

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MEP Vasile Blaga will vote against transnational lists: This kind of electoral system would reduce democracy in the EU

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© Vasile Blaga / Facebook

The proposal for transnational lists for the upcoming European Parliament elections will be on the agenda of next week’s plenary session in Strasbourg, said MEP Vasile Blaga (PNL, EPP).

“In short, it is about two votes that voters should exercise. One, as at present, for MEPs who will represent national constituencies. The second vote is for 28 MEPs from a European Union constituency, proposed by coalitions of European political parties, national voters’ associations and European political parties,” the MEP explained to CaleaEuropeană.ro.

According to the MEP, this is a hybrid system that dilutes electoral representation and creates a greater distance between representatives and represented.

“My vote will be against this initiative, as will the vote of my political group, the EPP. Those who support transnational lists say they do it to increase democracy in the EU. I would say that this argument is completely wrong, such an electoral system would reduce democracy in the EU as voters will vote for people they do not know”, said Vasile Blaga.

He said that the issue is highly disputed within the EPP group, but the vast majority is “inclined to reject this system which, moreover, would clearly benefit large countries and disadvantage medium and small countries”.

“Moreover, such a system goes beyond the EU’s remit and in many countries even requires changes to their constitutions”.

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EP S&D Group President: There is no excuse not to allow Romania to join the Schengen area. It has met all the requirements the EU has asked of it

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© Marcel Ciolacu - Twitter

The President of the S&D Group in the European Parliament, Iratxe Garcia Perez, told a press conference with PSD leader Marcel Ciolacu on Monday that there is “no excuse” not to allow Romania to be accepted into the Schengen area and remain in this “situation of inequality with other countries”.

Iratxe Garcia Perez is visiting Romania. She will visit the port of Isaccea, where thousands of Ukrainian refugees have arrived in recent weeks. Afterwards, the delegation will go to Galați for a meeting with local authorities and a visit to the refugee centre, and the next day the visit continues to the Republic of Moldova.

“I would like to thank the President of the Social Democrats in the European Parliament for his presence in Romania and his support for the PSD and our country at key moments, particularly at this very difficult time given what is happening in Ukraine,” said PSD leader Marcel Ciolacu.

The two discussed the European response to the current situation in the economic, social and humanitarian fields.

“I presented to Mrs Perez the steps taken by the social democratic ministers to manage the refugee situation in Ukraine and, at the same time, our country’s ambition for Romania to become a strategic regional hub for the reconstruction of Ukraine and the development of the Black Sea area. Romanians have shown that they can be a positive example at European level”, continued Marcel Ciolacu.

The PSD president also reiterated that Romania should join the Schengen area as soon as possible in order to increase Romania’s role in the region. 

“We need a common response from the EU regarding the energy crisis, the future approach in the field of agriculture, as well as to support the states bordering Ukraine”, said Marcel Ciolacu, after the meeting with the leader of the Social Democrat group in the European Parliament.

For her part, Iratxe Garcia Perez stressed that Romania meets all the technical criteria required by the European Union in order to join the Schengen area.

“There is no excuse for this not to be a reality as soon as possible. There is no excuse not to allow Romania to be accepted into the Schengen area and remain in this situation of inequality with other countries. Romania has done its job, Romania has fulfilled all the requirements that the EU asked of it to join the Schengen area”, said the chair of the S&D Group in the European Parliament.  

At the end of his speech, Iratxe Garcia Perez offered Romania his personal and political commitment to “work together to make this a reality as soon as possible”.

“Romania is showing what the EU needs, namely solidarity and commitment. And we must respond to all this generosity that the Romanian people are showing towards the EU”, she added.

Iratxe Garcia Perez also discussed how Romanian citizens and authorities reacted to the war in Ukraine.

“I want to thank you for your hard work and for the solidarity shown by the Romanian people in these difficult times. Today I could see with my own eyes that the Romanian Government and the Romanian people are working with great commitment, respecting the principles and values of the European Union, and it has been proven once again that you are doing this in an exemplary way for the whole EU. We have seen for ourselves by visiting the school centre where a group of minors from an orphanage in Ukraine are being cared for and received in a way that deserves appreciation. It is an example of how we should act in the EU,” she told the conference at PSD headquarters.

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