”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.
Sibiu County Council and the platform Advisory Hub organise the Summit for the Simplification of Accessing Structural Funds
Sibiu County Council and the platform Advisory Hub, with support of the National Union of County Councils (UNCJR), the Association of Municipalities (AM), The Association of Towns (AOR) and the Association of Villages (ACoR) in Romania, in the framework of the Romanian presidency of the Council of Europe, organize the Summit for the Simplification of Accessing Structural Funds. The event will take place in the ASTRA Museum, the same location that hosted the EPP Summit on the 9th May this year. The purpose of the event is to round up the work of the AdvisoryHub experts started in 2015, aiming to simplify the procedures for accessing and implementing structural funds at both European and national level, with a debate on the legislative proposal for simplification measures necessary.
“European funds are Romania’s chance to make up for the delays in social-economic development and to become competitive at European level. However, although we should be cashing in on this opportunity by now, the poor absorption and inefficient use of the European money is preventing us from making the most of it. The legislative proposal for the simplification of accessing European funds is a solution we would like to launch on the 28th of June from Sibiu” stated Daniela Cîmpean, the President of Sibiu County Council.
The simplification of national rules and regulations related to European structural and investment funds needs to be a top priority for Romania in order to speed up the development of infrastructure, shorten the timeframe between project submission and approval, in order to ensure a timely disbursement of the funding to applicants. Starting with 2014-2020, the EU regulations have laid the basis of simplification, but unfortunately this did not translate into simplified procedures at national level in Romania. On the contrary: the complexity of management and control has increased, and this led to the decrease of the efficiency and impact of structural funds.
“First of all, simplification needs to be achieved for the beneficiaries in the public and private sectors so that they can focus on the quality of the project implementation and not to be spending excessive time and resources on administrative issues. Secondly, the need for simplification should be understood in the context of a drive for increasing performance, efficiency and impact of European funding. Last but not least, the investment objectives need to be simplified to be in line with the real development needs of the country, of the local communities and the SMEs and microbusiness, combining wherever possible grants with other financial instruments. I would like to thank both Mrs. Daniela Cîmpean, the president of Sibiu County Council for the support and the partnership in organizing this event, but also our partners in the public organizations, the local and private decision makers who have contributed to turning into a legislative proposal the need for simplification of accessing funds in Romania” said Bogdan Rogin, the initiator of the AdvisoryHub platform.
Besides the representatives of UNCJR, AMR, AOR și ACoR, the event includes as guest speakers the former Ministry for European Affairs in Ireland, Dick Roche (Ireland being the country with the best absorption rate of EU Funds who initiated the simplification procedures, the former president of the well-known global organization PMI (Project Management Institute) Antonio Nieto, the president of the National Council of SMEs Florin Jianu, Dumitru Fornea – member of the European Economic and Social Committee, representatives of the European Bank of Investments, Alexandru Potor – the president of the Association of Local Action Groups in Romania, Dan Vlădescu – the president of the Authority for Audit and Cătălin Lungu – the vice-president of the Engineers’Association in Romania, as well as other state institutions directly involved in the process.
The key topics debated will be the legislative proposal for simplification of several pieces of legislation, the necessary measures that need to be adopted by management authorities and ministries that administrate European funding, additional sources of funding at local and county level through financial instruments, as well as a new approach to funding industrial and mining areas in transition. All of these are aimed to initiate the Citizens’ Initiative in support of adopting legislation for simplification as well as to launch the Sibiu Declaration for Simplification.
Considering the complexity of the subject, as well as the diversity of the beneficiaries, Sibiu County Council launches a public call for all those with experience in accessing European funding to contribute with suggestions to the simplification of accessing funds, using an online form available on the website of Sibiu County Council.
Also, questions can be sent to the following link – click here– and they will be raised during the discussion with experts at the Summit on the 28th of June in Sibiu. Further information is available on www.cjsibiu.ro.
EPP MEP Adina Vălean discussed EU’s relations with China and the US with a group of 30 students
EPP MEP and ENVI Chair Adina Vălean met in the European Parliament and discussed with a group of several students from from the University of Applied Studies in Munich about EU’s input in a changing world.
In a post on her Instagram account, Vălean wrote: ”This morning I discussed with 30 students from the University of Applied Studies in Munich about EU and international digital market, trade, how do I see the future talks within this newly elected Parliament and the relations with China and the US”.
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This morning I discussed with 30 students from the University of Applied Studies in Munich about EU and international digital market, trade, how do I see the future talks within this newly elected Parliament and the relations with China and the US. With thanks to my colleague Angelika Niebler for the invitation and opportunity. #youth #future #priority #europeanparliament
Innovative Enterprise Week Conference in Romania: Researchers and innovators encouraged to work closer for a prosperous Europe
Finding ways to connect “the right people to the right people” and removing the financial barriers that prevent brilliant, but risky, ideas from coming to market are the most important challenges of future-focused EU research in the years to come.
This conclusion was issued during the event ‘Innovative Enterprise Week Bucharest 2019’, co-organized by the EC’s DG Connect and DG for Research and Innovation (RTD) and the Romanian Ministry of Research and Innovation, under the aegis of the Romanian Presidency of the Council of the European Union. From 19-21 June the event gathered scientific experts, innovators, investors and policymakers from Europe and across the world to debate the future of innovation and its impact on the creation of new jobs.
Innovative Enterprise Week conference has put together scientists and policymakers to scan the monetary horizon of Future and Emerging Technologies (FET) research and its evolution in the European Innovation Council (EIC) Pathfinder programme.
“The technology that we are now hearing every day such as quantum, artificial intelligence, robotics or the Internet of Things has been pioneered within the Future Emerging Technologies (FET) programme , because it has always combined high-risk academic research with the strong participation from industry, including high tech small and medium enterprises (SMEs),” said Mariya Gabriel, EU Commissioner for Digital Economy and Society, in a video message send to the participants at the conference. “The continuation of this mission, which is at the heart of the pilot program Pathfinder, will form an excellent completion to the European Innovation Council’s component Accelerator for driving market creation and business leadership.”
Two components of the newly created European Innovation Council, the pilot scheme Pathfinder and the Accelerator, together with other possible financial instruments such as InvestEU, ranked highly on the agenda of the discussions. These tools, but especially Pathfinder and Accelerator, are meant to fill the gap between researchers who have innovative ideas and investors who may consider them too risky to be taken further.
“Pathfinder will depend largely on the future and emerging technologies; it is about bridging the world of research and a world of innovation. Through Accelerator, we will finance those SMEs and start-ups that have an ambition about the future, that want to scale up and see their innovative ideas going to the market, but which are too risky to be supported by normal financing possibilities,” explained Thomas Skordas, Director of ‘Digital Excellence and Science Infrastructure’ at the EC’s DG Connect.
He also emphasised the challenges Europe is facing today: an innovation gap, due to the fact that many of the excellent ideas which have emerged from the EU programmes are not valued in Europe but abroad. He also highlighted the high-risk finance deficit that prevents business to scale-up, and the fragmented research ecosystem at local or national levels. Many panelists agreed that these ecosystems need to be addressed by creating a framework where scientists and innovative SMEs can meet. They also said that the new financial schemes should be flexible, agile and open to any sort of innovation.
Elaborating on the changes, Nicolas Sabatier, advisor to the Director at DG RTD, shaped a more accessible financial scheme for the applicants: “We will not have these heavy, bureaucratic administrative procedures anymore. There is a shift in attitude, in the way we operate, we have to assure that we go for the risk which have innovative potential.”
Other panels focused on: how to manage the equity investment and how to attract potential scale ups; trends that will drive the development and market deployment of breakthrough and market-creating innovations; responsible research and innovation and impact investments; and European, regional and national venture capital schemes.
Exhibits displayed during the event showcased ongoing or completed research projects in the fields of sport, agriculture, medicine and physics. FETFX, a project funded by the HORIZON 2020 FET-Open Programme, had an exhibition stand and informed participants about its projects and their innovative, breakthrough results.
Several FET-related initiatives – as the FET Coordination and Support Action (CSA) projects – were presented at the event by Marta Calderaro, FETFX Project Coordinator at Italian Agency for the Promotion of European Research, APRE, to support the upcoming Calls for Proposals available at the European Innovation Council Work Programme. Alongside Viorel Peca, Head of the Innovation Unit at the EC, DG Connect, Calderaro emphasised that key elements of FET, as part of the EIC Pathfinder Pilot, are people, ideas and markets capable of fostering talents, new technological paradigms and innovative communities for an innovative society.
The EIC Pathfinder Pilot comprises FET-Open and FET-Proactive and offers grants of up to €4M to promote collaborative, interdisciplinary research and innovation on science-inspired and radically new future technologies. It will bridge science, technology and innovation in the new European research and innovation program, Horizon Europe, which will run from 2021 to 2027.
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