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EPP MEP Ramona Mănescu: History, especially the one of Europe, tells us that the anti-Semitism it always begins with the Jews, but it never ends with them

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EPP MEP Ramona Mănescu, together with S&D MEP Andi Cristea, has organized on Wednesday, March 20, the debate “Human shields – complex realities of the modern battlefield”, an event which will be held on the initiative of the My Truth non-governmental organization and EIPA, a pro-Israel advocacy group with offices in Brussels, Paris, Berlin and Israel.

Please find below her intervention at the event:

”The “Human Shields” report, which generated the discussion we are having today, is an extremely valuable document. Many should carefully read it, no matter if they are EU decision makersmedia representatives, or they are just interested in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

It certainly opens the debate on a challenging and difficult topic!

We can actually look at today’s debate as a fact-finding mission in an area that witnessed more armed conflicts than most of the world. This is because we have a rare opportunity, to freely address questions to some of those that have personal experience in conflicts from places like Gaza, West Bank or the Golan Heights.

The “Human Shields” report is not the first one of its kind. I remember another valuable document, the 2015 High Level Military Group Assessment on the 2014 Gaza Conflict. It was followed by several other reports, examining various operations, exploring comparative national approaches in a variety of modern conflict scenarios that Western nations have fought in recently.

One thing, which we can understand going through the “Human Shields” report, is that the issues in discussion do not relate just to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. They are common to many of the conflict areas, where UN peacekeeping missions are present or NATO forces are involved in support missions. We are talking about Western Sahara, Sudan, Libya, Mali, Iraq or Afghanistan. In all these places, there are active terrorist groups with a complete disregard for the Law of Armed Conflict and no respect for human lives.

Romanian, Italian, French or Belgian soldiers, serving their countries, encounter similar situations with those described by the Israeli Defence Forces. This makes today’s topic to be important both for the EU and the Member States.

Here, in the European Parliament, but also in the Commission and in the Council, we take decisions that ultimately affect the citizens of the European Union. However, being a global power, our decisions also affect other people, all over the world. Sometimes, we vote based on very strong convictions, but without having a complete and correct understanding of the facts.

Discussing here today, we have the opportunity of a dialogue, so our decisions could come out more deliberated and better informed.

Thinking about past decisions, I remember the 2018 European Parliament Resolution about the Situation in Gaza Strip.

I know that, at that time, the Parliament had a very correct stand, calling for the remains of Hadar Goldin and Oron Shaul to be returned to their families. Almost one year passed since then and almost five years since their disappearance and the situation is unchanged.

We also acknowledged and condemned “the persistent tactic of Hamas of using civilians for the purpose of shielding terrorist activities”.

I also know that what Hamas and Hezbollah are doing, is clearly hybrid warfare with asymmetric tactics. Here I will quote, not the “Human Shields” report, but the one belonging to our military, that I’ve mentioned earlier:

Hamas’s strategic concept is the active encouragement of harm to its own civilians.

Hamas understands clearly that it benefits from harm to its own civilians not only in seeking to galvanise Palestinians for its war on Israel, but rather by pursuing an asymmetric strategy aimed at the court of international public opinion, where Hamas’s tactic of drawing Israel into fighting in civilian urban areas with the resultant casualties and television pictures is a targeted attempt to erode Israel’s legitimacy at the cost of Gaza’s civilian population.

This hybrid strategy is a targeted and alarmingly effective effort on the part of Hamas to exploit the protections of, and misguided notions in international forums about the Laws of Armed Conflicts”.

This situation, which exists for many years already, leads me to say that there is a connection between a growing anti-Semitic attitude within the EU and Hamas or Hezbollah hybrid tactics of warfare.

Terrorist organisations are successful in promoting their narrative at the highest levels of the EU decision! But also among the EU citizens.

Such a reality is extremely dangerous. History, especially the one of Europe, tells us that the anti-Semitism it always begins with the Jews, but it never ends with them.

In various places and at different moments in time, the well-being of the Jews was a sure indicator of the health of society as a whole:

“A country that turns against its Jews is preparing the path for greater hardships.”

It is our duty, as decision-makers, to make sure that evil, out-lawed organisation can’t put a spell on us and our citizens, altering our perception about reality.

It is also our duty to learn from the experience of others. The IDF is, for sure, among the most experienced forces in dealing with modern, urban, asymmetric warfare. Learning from them, we can help our own citizens, especially those serving their countries.

I am glad we have the chance of this discussion today, in the European Parliament, and I hope that all those who got a copy of the “Human Shields” report will see its added value for all of us.

I want to thank My Truth for the effort in bringing to us this report and the support of Europe Israel Public Affairs in organising the debate”.

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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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© Vasile Blaga/Facebook

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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