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EPP MEP Ramona Mănescu: ”Eurosceptics’ regrouping is a serious concern. We must stand united against this phenomenon”

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The President of the Front National Party (FN, far right) Marine Le Pen announced on Monday the creation in the European Parliament of a eurosceptic, against illegal immigration faction: “Europe of the Nations and Freedoms”. The group would be eligible to receive up to 17.5 million EURO of EU money for the next four years.

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The new group will consist of elected MEPs from the Dutch Party for Freedom (PVV), the Austrian Freedom Party (FPOe), the Italian Northern League and the Flemish Vlaams Belang (Belgium), whom the FN is already working in “coordination” with, says Marine Le Pen.

In this context, Liberal / EPP MEP Ramona Manescu said: “Eurosceptics clotting is a serious concern for the European dream. I see that the European Parliament and the whole European Union construction are faced with a clear challenge by the Eurosceptic movement. If a year ago we were concerned just about the increased number of anti-European MEPs, we are now facing a coalition of them.

ramona manescu facebook nouThe majority held by the pro-European political groups and led by the European People’s Party should not just sit comfortable. Eurosceptic phenomenon, although minimal in its influence within European Parliament, has potential negative ramifications. Unity, consistency and pro-European common vision of traditional political families should prevail. Moreover, it is imperative to manage the situation with pragmatism, consistency and lucidity. We thought a year ago that eurosceptics will be able to use the European Parliament only as a space to launch xenophobic, racist and anti-European speeches. We now see more than that”, said EPP MEP.

Romanian MEP looks concerned at the possibility that the new extremist group will receive EU funding: “Eurosceptic coalition, as an official political group, becomes eligible to receive funding for the establishment, development and ideological vision. This is a paradox: to get funds from the European Union when your main focus is to systematically attack the European values and fundamental rights that are at the base of the European construction project.

I call upon all traditional political groups to treat this new challenge with seriousness and responsibility. Time has shown us that when we do not act preventively, difficulties tend to grow and persist. We already have many examples: management of the economic blockage in relation with Greece, migration problem, the growth of the terrorist threats and the security issue on the Eastern border. This time we cannot afford to treat lightly the coalition of a vocal and stronger extremist faction in the European Parliament, as it would be tantamount of abandoning the pro-European ideals”, concluded Ramona Manescu.

To form a group in the European Parliament it takes at least 25 MEPs from 7 different nationalities. With its classic allies, FN has the required number of elected MEPs (34), but not enough nationalities. Thanks to Janice Atkinson, a British eurosceptic formerly with UKIP, and two MEPs from Poland’s Congress of the New Right: Michal Marusik and Stanislaw Zoltek, FN managed to also pass the threshold of seven different states in creating a new political group.

The European Parliament will now have two groups of eurosceptics who are also against migration. Eurosceptic UKIP party leader, Nigel Farage, managed to reconstruct an EP group after a short dissolution in mid-October following the departure of a Latvian MEP.

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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.

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MEP Vasile Blaga: The crisis in Afghanistan, especially in its social dimension, must have a firm response from the EU

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MEP Vasile Blaga (PNL, EPP) argues that the current crisis in Afghanistan must be a priority on the agenda of the European institutions, which have resumed their work after the summer break.

In a statement for CaleaEuropeană, MEP Vasile Blaga said that the crisis in Afghanistan, especially in its social dimension, “must have a clear and firm response from the European Union.”

“The European Parliament has put the crisis in Afghanistan on its agenda this session. I expect that all the debates on the situation in Afghanistan will lead to solutions to the serious humanitarian situation that is about to unfold in Afghanistan. The EU, but also the Member States, owe a debt of gratitude to Afghan citizens who suddenly see their security and that of their families threatened”, added the EPP MEP.

The European Union this week began discussing the implications of recent events in Afghanistan for security and migration within the 27-nation Union.

The Foreign Affairs Committee, Development Committee and Parliament’s Delegation for relations with Afghanistan will hear from Gunnar Wiegand, Managing Director for Asia and the Pacific at the European External Action Service, who will present an assessment of the latest developments in Afghanistan. European Commission representatives are also expected to address MEPs.

Afghanistan has been rocked by deadly violence and a brutal terror attack against Kabul airport over the past few days, in the midst of U.S. and international troops evacuating from the country by 31 August.

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MEP Vasile Blaga: EU response to future health crises and progress of national recovery and resilience plans, important issues on EP agenda

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MEP Vasile Blaga  (EPP) argues that the September plenary session of the European Parliament should debate as a priority the EU’s instruments in the face of health and humanitarian crises, as well as the progress of National Recovery and Resilience Plans.

According to the MEP, the European Parliament is putting on the agenda extremely important issues for the future of the Union.

„I believe that an EU response to the effects of the COVID 19 pandemic is vital. The future of the Union must find us prepared for potential health threats similar to the coronavirus pandemic. We can all see that a health emergency of the scale of the present one can only be managed by joint measures taken by all Member States. This unfortunate experience of the last two years has shown us the fragility of the EU in the face of external health threats. We need to learn from this so that the negative social and economic effects will not be repeated in the future”, said Vasile Blaga in a statement to CaleaEuropeană.

A second priority, says the EPP MEP, is linked to an accelerated recovery of the EU economies: “National recovery and resilience plans must be urgently adjusted and approved so that investment policies become engines of development in each Member State and, as a whole, kick-start the EU economy as a whole. The European Parliament must closely follow, also during this session, the progress of the national recovery plans and the way each Member State spends the money allocated by the NRRP to achieve the objectives listed in the Recovery and Resilience Facility”, added Vasile Blaga.

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After working on infrastructure projects for NASA and the British Air Force F-35 aircraft, Lagan Aviation & Infrastructure will modernize Campia Turzii Air Base, together with the consortium represented by Leviatan Design

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©️ Forțele Aeriene Române

The British company Lagan Aviation & Infrastructure, with extensive experience in the field of infrastructure and logistics projects of the British Royal Air Force and with collaborations at NASA level, will participate as a subcontractor in the infrastructure project in the operational area of the air base at Câmpia Turzii, according to the announcement on the public procurement platform SICAP.

The British company Lagan Aviation & Infrastructure, with extensive experience in the field of infrastructure and logistics projects of the British Royal Air Force and with collaborations at NASA level, will participate as a subcontractor in the infrastructure project in the operational area of the air base at Câmpia Turzii, according to the announcement on the public procurement platform SICAP.

The tender for the first phase of the project, worth 514 million lei, on “Realization of infrastructure – operational area in barracks 1833 Câmpia Turzii” was won by the joint venture Telekom Romania Communications SA – Ubitech Construcții SRL – Petrodesign SA and Leviatan Design SRL, as leader of this partnership.

“Our consortium has the necessary experience, both from a national perspective, through similar specific projects it has carried out, and from an international perspective, through the partners we collaborate with”, said Cătălin Podaru, director of Leviatan Design, the company that participated in the pre-feasibility study for the multi-roller infrastructure at Câmpia Turzii.

Among the key international partners involved in the Câmpia Turzii project is Lagan Aviation & Infrastructure, part of the Lagan Construction Group Ltd, established in 1962. The Brits build infrastructure to the highest safety standards for Romania’s most important strategic-military partners: Among the most recent major British-managed projects are aviation projects at Dublin Airport and RAF Marham, an important strategic base for the British Royal Air Force, for the operation of F35 multi-role aircraft. The contract to upgrade infrastructure and facilities at RAF Marham is worth £135 million.

Recently, the company has successfully delivered projects at Heathrow, London City Airport, RAF Akrotiri and RAF Gibraltar. In recent years, the company has also executed a £23 million runway resurfacing contract at RAF Northolt.

The group also has a specialist US airport team based in Virginia, Washington DC, currently working at Ronald Reagan National Airport and the Wallops Flight Facility for NASA.

This company’s expertise in infrastructure projects for F-16 aircraft is important for defence projects at Câmpia Turzii, as the Romanian base hosts F-16 aircraft of the Romanian and allied air forces, as well as American MQ-9 Reaper drones.

The Campia Turzii Air Base is one of the key strategic points in Romania’s defence and security infrastructure, being treated as such even by allies. In May this year, the US Air Force announced that the United States will invest $152 million in 15 infrastructure upgrades at Romania’s Câmpia Turzii Air Base.

The first works have already started in May-August 2021. The US Air Force plans to spend $130 million this year on “mission optimisation” at the Romanian air base. This amount is reflected in the Department of Defense budget for this year and represents the largest US military investment in Europe for 2021.

Other new modernisation projects are due to start at the end of 2021.

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