”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.
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.
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!
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.
European Committee of the Regions, local authorities from Alba Iulia and Calea Europeană organise a local dialogue on digitalization and smart city (LIVE, February 20, 11:00)
European Committee of the Regions (CoR), Romanian National Delegation to CoR and CaleaEuropeană.ro organise, with the support of Alba County Council and Alba Iulia City Hall, and in partnership with the European Parliament Office in Romania, a local event designed as a platform of dialogue between local and regional authorities and citizens and focused on a key subject both for local and regional development and for the EU’s capacity to innovate and reduce development gaps through technology and digitalisation.
The event, entitled ”New technologies and digitalisation: Connectivity and smart city opportunities” takes place on Wednesday 20 of February, at the Principia Museum in Alba Iulia, starting at 11:00. The event will be broadcast live on CaleaEuropeană.ro.
In dialogue with citizens will engage Robert Negoiță, President of the Romanian National Delegation to the European Committee of the Regions (PES, RO); Ion Dumitrel, President of the Alba County Council, alternate member of the Romanian National Delegation to the European Committee of the Regions (EPP, RO); Mircea Hava, Mayor of Alba Iulia; and Nicolaie Moldovan, City Manager of Alba Iulia.
The debate is part of CoR’s ”Future of Europe” new initiative and aims to pave the way for the CoR’s 8th European Summit of Regions and Cities, scheduled for 14-15 of March 2019, in Bucharest, ahead of the European Council Summit in Sibiu on 9 of May 2019 and during Romania’s EU Council Presidency. This local dialogue subscribes also to the awareness campaign for the European elections from 23-26 of May 2019 (www.thistimeimvoting.eu), at the 40th anniversary since the first European Parliament elections.
This local dialogue will be held after the #SOTREG 2018, State of the Union: the view of Regions and Cities address, a speech held on October 9th by the President of the European Committee of the Regions Karl-Heinz Lambertz within the European Week of Regions and Cities frame, which has also marked the approval of CoR opinion on the Future of Europe, entitled „Reflecting on Europe: the voice of local and regional authorities to rebuild trust in the European Union”.
”Future of Europe” campaign in a nutshell
In 2016 the President of the European Council, Donald Tusk, asked the European Committee of the Regions (CoR) – as the voice of cities and regions – to submit its recommendations on the future of Europe. Subsequently, the CoR launched its “Reflecting on Europe” campaign whereby members held local events with citizens in their regions and cities to hear their views. Now, the opinion and speech mentioned above form the basis of the CoR’s efforts to contribute to the debate on the ”Future of Europe” ahead of the meeting of the EU leaders in Sibiu on 9 May and the European elections on 23-26 May 2019.
The ”Future of Europe” campaign is an initiative of the European Committee of the Regions (CoR) providing a platform for regions, cities and their citizens’ engagement in the debate on the future of Europe.
Over 40.000 citizens in more than 180 local debates organised across Europe already shared their views, concerns and ideas. The CoR is committed to ensuring that the voice of regional and local authorities and their citizens is heard within the EU, in an effort to make the European project more transparent and democratic and develop new forms of participative democracy.
The European Committee of the Regions invite Romanian citizens to share their view on the future of Europe (Fill the survey by clicking the image below)
In the context of the “Reflecting on Europe” initiative, the European Committee of the Regions launched a survey in 2016 on the main issues that people identify in the city or the region they live in. So far, More than 22.000 European citizens have responded to the survey, while more than 1.000 are from Romania.
At both European Union and Romanian level, unemployment, youth policies and mobility and public transport are considered the three main issues at local and regional level.
In Romania, the three mentioned problems have been classified by citizens as followed: 27% of them consider that mobility and public transportation is the main problem at local and regional level, while for 24% the main challenge is represented by youth policies and also, 23% see unemployment as the main issue.
Romanians rely on the European Union and on a local engagement to building the Future of Europe
Asked about the political level they most rely on, Romanian citizens grant a 82% trust rate to the European Union (60%) and to the local level (22%) to identify solutions and to provide them with security and prosperity. In this context, public perception itself favors dialogue based on local engagement and discussion on the European themes for defining the Future of Europe.
CaleaEuropeana.ro became member of OpenEUDebate, a European network that will be launched in Madrid by academic institutions and experts in EU politics
CaleaEuropeana.ro became member of OpenEUDebate, a Jean Monnet network of academic institutions (Universidad Autonoma de Madrid, Spain; the National University of Political and Administrative Studies – SNSPA, Romania;, Institut d’études européennes de l’Université libre de Bruxelles, Belgium; The Vrije Universiteit Brussel, Belgium and Agenda Pública, Spain), practitioners and experts in EU politics and policies that marks its lauch in Madrid by organizing debates on the future of Europe, on 21-22 January, in the context of the next Elections to the European Parliament, that are expected to be held in 23-26 May 2019.
The upcoming May 2019 EU elections will determine to a great extent the direction of the European project. The struggle for the soul of Europe is not only between nationalists and pro-Europeans, but also between different European projects with different public policy proposals on issues such as climate change, inequality or migration.
Rather than an abstract debate on Europe per se, citizens need to hear and engage in a conversation on this set of public policy proposals in order to have a meaningful vote.
Tackling issues of EU citizens’ common concerns requires an open public debate, the first round of which, between Spanish MPs and MEPs, will take place on Monday, 21st January 2019, from 19:00 – 21.00 h.
The venue of the event is the office of the European Parliament in Madrid (Paseo de la Castellana 46), and the debate will be livestreamed in Spanish and English.
The event launches the public activities of the Jean Monnet network OpenEUdebate, which will put EU expertise at the service of journalists, civil society and political actors to improve public debates about Europe. OpenEUDebate is not yet another EU discussion outlet from the “Brussels bubble”.
It follows a bottom-up approach to match EU’s policies with politics at the national level. OpenEUDebate will launch an online platform that will connect the debate in the EU institutions and transnational civil society platforms with national publics.
The event on Monday, 21st January, from 19:00 – 21.00 h features a keynote speech by former EU Commissioner Laaszlo Andor on the challenges of the social union and a Eurozone unemployment benefit scheme, and a debate on the future of Europe with MP Melisa Rodríguez (Ciudadanos, ALDE), MEPs Jonás Fernández (Progressive Alliance of Socialists & Democrats, PSOE) and Ernest Urtasun (European Greens/European Free Alliance, Catalunya en Comú), and a representative of Partido Popular (European People’s Party). Journalist Claudi Pérez (El País) will moderate the debate. The livestreaming will be available in Spanish and English.
EPP MEP Ramona Mănescu: “By coordinating the Council successfully, Romania can leave a strong imprint on European policies and the lives of the 500 million European citizens”
“By coordinating the Council successfully, Romania can leave a strong imprint on European policies and the lives of the 500 million European citizens,” wrote MEP Ramona Mănescu in a post on the official Facebook page following her participation the debate on the ”Future of Romania”, a debate organized by the Grand National Lodge in Romania.
To facilitate the clarification of issues concerning major issues that concern Romania today, the Grand National Lodge in Romania organizes a series of conferences and debates, in a broad framework, with the involvement of civil society and stakeholders.
The first conference took place in Bucharest, a conference attended by MEP Ramona Mănescu on January 15, 2019.
While the debate was devoted to the importance of taking over the Presidency of the EU Council, the MEP stressed that “Romania has the most important maturity exam in the last 12 years! For six months now, Romania has a very complex task – technically and politically. Moreover, we must do this while the eyes of the whole of Europe are fixed on us. For the first time since joining the EU, we have to show what we can do for Europe. We have to demonstrate the capacity to handle large dossiers that far outweigh the country’s borders. “
“By coordinating the Council successfully, Romania can leave a strong mark on European policies and the lives of the 500 million European citizens. It’s a moment of great prestige! And it’s happening for the first time since joining the EU! “added Ramona Mănescu.
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