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EPP MEP Ramona Mănescu: How binding are the binding quotas?

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Last week, the European Parliament voted with a large majority a comprehensive report on the current state of EU-US relations and some of its articles are of particular interest to Romania, EPP MEP Ramona Mănescu writes in an analysis.

Read below the full text by EPP MEP Ramona Mănescu:

„How binding are the binding quotas?

I think the answer that comes closest to reality is: „who is asking?”

Last week, the European Parliament voted with a large majority (490 votes in favor and 148 against) a comprehensive report on the current state of EU-US relations [1].

Normally, it contains appreciations and critics as well as interesting proposals on how this relationship can be strengthened and work more efficiently and beneficial for the both sides of the Atlantic.

There are many elements of interest in the Elmar Brok’s Report, and the text deserves to be read carefully. Some of its articles are of particular interest to Romania, and here I can recall Article 50, which emphasizes the need for the US and the EU to jointly seek solutions to frozen conflicts and gives as an example Transnistria, or Article 46, which calls on the Commission on the basis of Article 265 TFEU, to adopt the required delegated act which could cause the US to lift the visa requirement for Romanians (and other four EU Member States’ citizens).

Of all the provisions of this report, I would point out Article 28, which refers to NATO’s Member States’ financial contributions to the organization’s budget, namely the objective of spending 2% of GDP on defence. This is an objective already reached by Romania starting with 2017.

Here we observe that the text adopted by the European Parliament makes an amendment to a very clear and unequivocal provision, which requests to all NATO members to allocate at least 2% of GDP annually to defence. The report voted by the European Parliament adds the following:

insists in this regard that burden-sharing should not be solely focused on inputs (the target of spending 2 % of GDP on defence) but also on outputs (capabilities measured in deployable, ready and sustainable forces)

This flexibility in contributing to common security, which some European countries want, is now found in a strong text adopted by the European Parliament.

I cannot fail to notice the similarity with another European legislative package, the one on migration and the automatic relocation mechanism.

I remind that on the issue of migration, despite the interpretations given by non-friends, Romania has always expressed its solidarity with the countries that have the burden of receiving and hosting the migrants and never tried to escape from its duties.

Perhaps one should say it louder and more often: Romania is a European country that knows how to share both the efforts and the benefits, to be part of the EU for the better and for worse.

The option expressed by Romania, but which did not receive the necessary support to be found in European texts, was that of the possibility of other types of contributions: contributions to FRONTEX, to third-country sorting centres, to refugee camps assistance programs and the like. This, in opposition to the mandatory hosting of a number of migrants, automatically assigned by a mathematical algorithm.

Romania has also put forward arguments in support of its position, a practical one being the refusal of migrants to come to Romania. The effect of this is the secondary illegal migration, and hence the need for an additional and utterly unnecessary security effort.

Although, much later, European institutions found Romania’s arguments to be valid, the European legislation continues to apply the same rigid automatic relocation mechanism based on mathematical algorithms and not on the realities on the ground (Article 36 of the REGULATION OF THE EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT AND OF THE COUNCIL establishing the criteria and mechanisms for determining the Member State responsible for examining an application for international protection lodged in one of the Member States by a third-country national or a stateless person – recast[2]).

I believe that the text adopted by the European Parliament on the EU-US relationship is one that benefits Romania’s external positions, offering legal arguments in their support.

I also consider that giving flexibility to defence solidarity but denying it in similar mechanisms concerning migration is a direct declaration of the existence of double standards, which brings no honour either to Brussels or the Member States. Of course, asking whether there are double standards in European politics is a rhetorical question. In practice, we see them in almost all areas, from energy security to competition policy, and in most cases, the recipients of double standards are the same big and influential countries that impose their own interests in European politics.

I expect Romania to make the best use of these arguments, all the more so as they are to the advantage not only of our country but also of the efficiency of some European policies that have not yet produced the expected results – those related to the migration crisis.

[1] Report on the state of EU-US relations http://www.europarl.europa.eu/sides/getDoc.do?pubRef=-//EP//TEXT+REPORT+A8-2018-0251+0+DOC+XML+V0//EN

[2] REGULATION OF THE EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT AND OF THE COUNCIL establishing the criteria and mechanisms for determining the Member State responsible for examining an application for international protection lodged in one of the Member States by a third-country national or a stateless person (recast) https://eur-lex.europa.eu/legal-content/EN/TXT/?uri=CELEX:52016PC0270(01)

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MEP Vasile Blaga: We cannot achieve the green economy goal without gas and nuclear energy as transitional fuels

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MEP Vasile Blaga (PNL, EPP) argues that the goal of a green economy cannot be achieved without gas and nuclear energy as transition fuels. He also said it isimportant for Romania to support the European Commission’s proposal to include gas and nuclear energy on the list of transitional fuels.

According to the MEP, Romania, both through the voice of President Iohannis and Prime Minister Nicolae Ciucă, has taken a position in favour of the European Commission’s proposal to include gas and nuclear energy on the list of transitional fuels.

“The context of the war in Ukraine, however, has given rise to voices in the European Parliament but also in other quarters who argue that the inclusion of gas in the delegated act would directly support Russia and its gas exports,” he added.

“It is an interpretation that creates a causal chain between two elements that are only circumstantially connected. The fact that gas is still considered a transition fuel to green energy does not mean that there is no gas other than that imported from Russia. Basically, the conflict in Ukraine is being used as an opportunity to reject a balanced and moderate vision of the transition to green energy”, said the Romanian MEP for www.caleaeuropeana.ro.

“Some colleagues who already had a position contrary to that of the Commission saw the conflict in Ukraine as an opportunity to argue. It is categorically false. We cannot achieve the goal of a green economy without gas and nuclear energy as transitional fuels. In any case, it is in Romania’s direct interest to support the European Commission’s proposal”, concluded MEP Vasile Blaga.

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MEP Vasile Blaga: Ukraine and Moldova will be part of the European family

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MEP Vasile Blaga (PNL, EPP) welcomes the fact that the Republic of Moldova and Ukraine have obtained the status of candidate states: “It represents the certainty that both will be members of the European Union, a huge step for the two candidate states, but also for the European Union.”

According to the MEP, the vote in the European Parliament and the decision in the Council say one thing: “the decisions are not symbolic gestures of consolation but certify that Ukraine and the Republic of Moldova will be part of the European family.”

He draws attention to the pro-Russian rhetoric that downplays the impact of these decisions: “To those who promote these ideas we say simply: the road of Ukraine and the Republic of Moldova is a one-way street. At the end of the road lies integration into the European Union. It is, of course, a road that will require sustained efforts on the part of both candidate countries, but also on the part of the EU institutions.”

“Romania has used all institutional means to ensure that the Republic of Moldova is not decoupled from Ukraine in this decision. It was vital that the two states were granted the status of candidates for EU membership as a package. This is an extraordinary outcome that is well worth mentioning”, he added.

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MEP Vasile Blaga supports a fair green transition for Romania: Gas and nuclear energy must be considered transitory

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© Vasile Blaga / Facebook

MEP Vasile Blaga (PNL, EPP) reaffirms his support for a fair green transition for Romania, in which gas and nuclear energy are accepted in order to achieve the objectives set by the European Ecological Pact.

The European Parliament hosted yesterday, 30 May, a public hearing whose guests were several experts who debated, together with members of the two committees ECON and ENVI, the inclusion of gas and nuclear energy in the taxonomy of the European Union. Many of the opinions expressed push the debate towards a rejection of the European Commission’s proposal of March whereby nuclear energy and gas are considered, under certain conditions, green.

I reaffirm my support for the version proposed by the European Commission. There are many reasons why gas and nuclear energy should be considered transitional in order to achieve the objectives set by the European Green Pact. One of the reasons, and perhaps the most important one, relates to the realities on the ground in each Member State. France has a significant share of nuclear power, just as Germany is heavily dependent on gas. The decisions that the European Union needs to implement in order to achieve the objectives – already set and agreed by all Member States – need to be balanced first and foremost”, EPP MEP Vasile Blaga told European Way.

“Countries like Romania or Poland need a realistic transition towards the targets set by the Green Pact. Cohesion and solidarity in the European Union means that each Member State must take into account the other and, as a whole, decisions must not ignore any reality, be it further West or further East”, added the EPP MEP.

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