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EPP MEP Ramona Mănescu: The BRUA project brings with it Gazprom’s loss of control over the energy for the entire Central and South Eastern Europe

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The BRUA project alongside the Black Sea reserves and especially the transformation of Constanta Port into a gateway for the Caspian gas directly to the center of the European Union brings with it Gazprom’s loss of control over the energy for the entire Central and South Eastern Europe, EPP MEP Ramona Mănescu wrote on her website. 

Mănescu, member of the EP Committee on Foreign Affairs (AFET), for the EU Energy Security, „EU-Russia relationship remains a key element”.

„Within the European institutions, the term <EU-Russia Dialogue> is used. In my opinion, there was no such real dialogue. At least not in recent years. The EU and Russia have opposite interests in their energy strategies. And this makes <dialogue> almost impossible, far from where it was in the early ’00”.

According to Mănescu, the situation can be better understood if looked at it from a geopolitical perspective.

„We start with the fact that Russia is a revisionist player, while the EU is a status-quo player. This situation is confirmed by the multiple actions taken by Russia: Crimea’s annexation; the active influence exerted in the former Soviet republics; the interference in the political and social life of the former communist countries; the constant sabotage of the Euro-Atlantic option of some countries; the political and economic undermining of EU. In relation to the EU, Russia is the one setting the agenda. Russia’s approach doesn’t come from dialogue but from a “pick and choose” approach, who decides, according to its own criteria, which are the countries to work with. Such an approach should not be a problem for the European Union, but it seems that Moscow’s influence is stronger than our common policies. Thus, disagreements and dissensions arise between the Member States, while at the same time serving the interests of Russia’s foreign policy. For these reasons, the EU should stay united if it wants to be strong”, EPP MEP wrote. 

Even though the European Union cannot ignore the need for dialogue with Russia, such a process can’t be done without considering also topics like the international law, Russia’s military presence on Ukraine’s territory, cyber threats, energy or the sanction regime.

„Romania is an active part of the European efforts to diversify and secure energy sources. The BRUA project alongside the Black Sea reserves and especially the transformation of Constanta Port into a gateway for the Caspian gas directly to the center of the European Union brings with it Gazprom’s loss of control over the energy for the entire Central and South Eastern Europe”. „And let’s not forget a fact: neither Romania nor the EU use energy as a political lever. We are just reacting to the unfair pressures exerted by Moscow through Gazprom”, Mănescu added.

How much are the Russian interests affected by Romania?

„It’s enough to look at our great neighbor’s exports structure: almost 50%[1] is hydrocarbons and energy in its various forms (except nuclear energy like nuclear ores and reactors). To this we add the arms exports – Russia covering 25% of this global market[2].

This is a business of tens of billions of euros a year. Every euro less in the oil price means, for Russia, a minus 2 billion euros in revenue[3].

In its relationship with the European Union (which is officially perceived as the most important market for energy and hydrocarbons coming from Russia), the fall in oil prices between April 2011 and February 2016 also meant a decrease in revenues from oil and gas, from € 160 billion/year in 2013 to € 78 billion/year in 2016[4].

With a 70% dependency on oil and gas revenues, it is obvious that the accumulation of some hundreds of billions, which went missing over the years, put enormous pressure on the system.

Against this background, considering Russia’s unorthodox practices and the proven force of its propaganda apparatus, we can expect only an intensification of Moscow’s involvement, the activation of new intervention instruments and an increased tension.

It is no accident that the perfect evolution of the BRUA project, which in turn opens the way for other developments in the energy market, has become the target of a “special” interest.

Why? Because if things continue to go in the same direction as before, in just a few years Russia will lose the influence exercised through Gazprom and the central and southeastern Europe will break loose from its dependence on Russian gas sources. It is a massive political and a financial loss!

Articles which uses an <innocent> confusion between gas transport and gas exploitation/selling, that target the pride in Romania’s relationship with Hungary, or the fake patriotism of <we do not sell our country> have begun to go around. This phenomenon occurs immediately after the BRUA project has proven it can overcome difficulties and can go forward, the parent company – Transgaz has started to play seriously at the regional level, and Southern Gas Corridor, the pipe on which BRUA also depends, has received a strong green light with the record EUR 1.5 billion of EIB financing [5].

We can overlook the views of self-dubbed analysts. Ultimately, these opinions only engage them or, at most, the media platforms that offers them exposure. They can afford to confuse oil and gas companies – such as OMV Petrom and Exxon Mobile or Black Sea Oil & Gas, with those that transport gas – Transgaz and those that distribute gas to the final consumer – here the list is much longer, over 130 companies licensed in Romania.

Claims like <4.4 bn cbm a year of Romanian gas from the Black Sea for Hungarian companies> sound more like Radio Moscow. In the first phase, BRUA pipelines will transport Azerbaijani gas, not Romanian, and this gas comes from the Caspian Sea through the Southern Gas Corridor, not from the Black Sea.

I consider to be more disturbing hearing the same mistakes from political leaders, some with real power and influence. Moreover, such declarations are used as an argument, not in electoral campaign statements but in establishing Inquiry Parliamentary Commissions[6].

The BRUA project, in its first two phases scheduled for 2019 and 2022, the only ones which are budgeted and funded at this time, involves a 479-km pipeline. This pipeline interconnects the gas transport networks in Bulgaria, Romania, Hungary and Austria, to which are added compressor stations and bidirectional transport capacities. BRUA is the direct link between Southern Gas Corridor and the Central European area. The first phase of the project will allow a transit of 1.75 billion cbm/year and the second phase will raise this capacity to 4.4 billion cbm/year. This gas comes from resource owners, who in the first phase have no connection with the Black Sea. Romania, through its Transgaz network operator, is to get taxes and tariffs from gas transit.

The project is strongly connected with the needs of the European energy market. This is why a third phase was planned, to connect BRUA with the gas reserves that would enter into operation in the Black Sea perimeters. This phase also aims at increasing BRUA capacity.

When you know that the tender for the transit capacity through the interconnection point Romania-Hungary come after years of public consultations, attended by all the interested suppliers and operators in the region, procedures initiated by ANRE and with the knowledge of the European Commission, followed by an auction which was not disputed by any of the participants, it is strange to state publicly that “another thievery is being prompted by Transgaz by giving away the Romanian gas from the Black Sea.”[7]

Even more strange is when you notice that those, who suddenly engage in expressing opinions on energy and geo-politics issues, have no history of this, and their passion has been discovered only since February 2018.

Even if it is difficult, perhaps impossible to prove a direct link, and this is the situation with most similar cases, one cannot deny a reality: all these elements fit together and rather serve Russian interests. It’s sad to see how those people seem not to realize they are used in others’ games.

Around us there are not so friendly forces, which act through very deceptive instruments. Sometimes even without these instruments realizing they are being used. Their seemingly positive energies are directed in a completely wrong direction.

I believe the discussions and energies, which have recently been activated in relation to Romania’s energy projects (and at the same time of the European Union – because, unlike other Member States, Romania’s efforts are all in line with European strategies and for the benefit of the entire region), are dangerously close to the paths and methods of hybrid warfare. This is a type of conflict that does not involve tanks, but its weapons are even more effective in generating political instability, gaining economic advantages, preserving certain power structures, or blocking projects.

I believe that Romania’s early success in becoming an energy hub and the performance of some Romanian companies, such as Transgaz, are at present the target of adverse forces, opposing to the interests of both Romania and the European Union. This situation is a strong argument for the acute need of the antibodies needed to fight such threats, both at national and EU or NATO level.”

[1] https://atlas.media.mit.edu/en/profile/country/rus/

[2] https://www.verdict.co.uk/need-know-russias-arms-exports/

[3] http://www.bbc.com/news/business-29643612

[4] http://trade.ec.europa.eu/doclib/docs/2006/september/tradoc_113440.pdf (page 5)

[5] http://www.eib.org/infocentre/press/news/topical_briefs/2018-february-01/southern-gas-corridor-trans-adriatic-pipeline-tap.htm

[6] https://www.agerpres.ro/politic/2018/03/04/tomac-usr-si-pnl-au-refuzat-constituirea-unei-comisii-parlamentare-de-ancheta-privind-relatia-transgaz-cu-operatorul-maghiar–66407

[7] http://www.mesageruldesibiu.ro/pmp-pune-tunurile-pe-transgaz/

 

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Vasile Blaga, MEP: I am convinced that the firm measures adopted by the EP against Covid-19 will not stop here. The EPP Group is already working on a strategy for the rapid recovery of the post-crisis economy

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© Vasile Blaga/Facebook

Vasile Blaga, MEP (PNL, PPE) told caleaeuropeana.ro that the EPP group in the European Parliament is already working on a “very clear strategy” for managing the current crisis generated by the new coronavirus, but also for the rapid recovery of the post-crisis European economy,

The unanimous vote of the European Parliament last week on proposals from the European Commission for the management of the European health crisis shows that the hesitant response at the outbreak of the COVID 19 pandemic was an accident, explains MEP Vasile Blaga, adding that “the answer came to correct the rather timid initial reaction of the European executive in the beginning of this challenging crisis for Europe and all the other states around the world ”.

The 37 billion euros  (part of the Corona Initiative) allocated to the Member States through the vote in the European Parliament will be directed towards health systems, local communities, small and medium-sized enterprises and economy sectors seriously affected by this crisis.

“The European Union means, first and foremost, solidarity – for better and for worse, and those who support the opposite are either not aware of what is being done at EU level, or have an interest in destabilising the Union,” says Blaga.

The vote in the European Parliament was also aimed at reallocating 800 million euros from the Cohesion Fund in 2020 to cover emergencies in the medical systems of the EU member state

“I am convinced that the measures will not stop here. The EPP group is already working on a very clear strategy for managing the current crisis, but also for the rapid recovery of the economy once the public health crisis is over. There are countless proposals and projects in progress that will help us all overcome this unprecedented crisis in recent history,” adds Vasile Blaga.

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Diana Zaim, photojournalist of CaleaEuropeană.ro, won the #EYE2020 Public Prize Photo Contest

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© Diana Zaim/Calea Europeană

Diana Zaim, the photojournalist of CaleaEuropeană.ro, is the winner of the Public Prize in the photo competition European Youth Event 2020, the largest event for young people in Europe, organized by the European Parliament.

Diana Zaim’s picture, with the theme “The future is now for the young generation”,  has a greater number of views (over 120,000), as well as appreciations (over 4,000).

For Diana “The future is now for the YOUNG GENERATION because we represent a point of reference in the future of our Union. We want to grow up and live through European values, that unite us and never gonna divide us again”. .

The picture was taken during the manifesto “Everyone for Europe”, an event organized on May 19, 2019 in Bucharest, which aimed to motivate the citizens to go to vote in the European elections on May 26.

 

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#EYE2020: “The future is now for ________!” 📷 @dianazaaim has been shortlisted for the “public prize winner” award. During the contest, we will regram some of the best shots. Then we will award the public prize winner from the photos which receive the most likes ❤ on our pages before 02 March 2020, at noon CET! Thanks for participating in our contest and good luck! . For Diana “The future is now for the YOUNG GENERATION because we represent a point of reference in the future of our Union. We want to grow up and live through European values, that unite us and never gonna divide us again”. . Show us what matters to YOU and what Europe should tackle NOW. You could WIN a trip to the European Parliament to take part in the European Youth Event and influence Europe’s decision makers! . 🏆 We will award 4️ jury prize winners and 1️ public prize winner. All five winners will be invited to EYE2020 in Strasbourg! . 📸 Take part by using the hashtag #eye2020 on a photo about one of these topics “The future is now for 📚 Education 🌱 Environment 😷 Health 🚀 Innovation 🙋‍♂️ 🙋‍♀️ Participation ‍‍or 👩‍👨‍👩 Young People”. Or you can go out of the 📦 box by creating your own! . 📣 All you need to do is complete the following sentence in the caption or comments of your post: “The future is now for ________!” ⏩ We are looking forward to receiving your ideas! . 📌 RULES: ✔ Use the hashtag #EYE2020. ✔ Tag @europeanparliament & @ep_eye. ✔ Live in an EU country. ✔ Be at least 18 years old. ✔ Have full copyrights of the photo you shared. ✔ Post your photo(s) before 2 March at noon CET . ✔ Be ready to travel to Strasbourg on 29-30 May, 2020 . ✔ Your account needs to be public in order for your entry to be visible. . 🔍 The @europeanparliament and @ep_eye photo #contest is in no way sponsored, endorsed or administered by, or associated with, @instagram .

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Every two years, the European Youth Event (EYE) brings together at the European Parliament in Strasbourg thousands of young people from all over the European Union and beyond to shape and share their ideas on the future of Europe. It is a unique opportunity for 16 to 30 years olds to meet and inspire each other and exchange their views with experts, activists, influencers and decision-makers right in the heart of European democracy.

The fourth edition will take place at the European Parliament’s seat in Strasbourg on 29-30 May 2020.

The entire list of the winners:

 

 

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📷 Our #EYE2020 contest is over and it’s time to announce the winners and to congratulate all of you for the beautiful photos we have received! . Thanks for showing what matters to YOU and what Europe should tackle NOW! . 🏆 The public prize winner is: @dianazaaim 🔎 “The future is now for the young generation!” . And our four jury prize winners are: 🥇 @olv_r (@dreamingmoria) 🔎 “The future is now for humanity!” . 🥇 @martinellisphoto 🔎 “The future is now to prevent nuclear war!” . 🥇 @mqmaj 🔎 “The future is now for education!” . 🥇 @sophiasophiasophia3 🔎 “The future is now for opportunities!” . A special thanks to @rares_gheorghiu who was part of the jury for the contest!

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Following the event, the ideas, concerns, and hopes from young people are presented in a report distributed to all Members of the European Parliament (MEPs). Some participants will also be able to further develop the most impactful ideas and present these directly to the MEPs in the parliamentary committees during “Youth Hearings”.

The EYE strives to promote equality, inclusiveness and sustainability with a strong commitment to accessibility for everyone. Our aim is to accommodate the needs of all participants, including persons with disabilities, and to implement actions that make the event more sustainable and environmentally friendly.

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EPP MEP Vasile Blaga about Green Deal: ”At the European Parliament level the ecological radicalism is quite strong”

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The Green Deal is the main topic discussed in the EU, especially in the Member States where a transitional period is needed, in order to have a green economy.

MEP Vasile Blaga stated to CaleaEuropeana.ro that “Romania’s high-stake is that nuclear energy and gas to be accepted in the transition to a green economy”.

We all know that the Green Deal requires some changes. For example, the First Vice-President of the European Commission, Frans Timmermans, believes that nuclear energy will no longer be economically feasible. But this is not the case for all Member States.

Vasile Blaga mentioned that “for rational political groups, such as the PPE, gas and nuclear energy are mandatory in the energy mix of the future. We need to be realistic and we have to understand that the Member States will have to produce several times more energy than they do today to cover the future needs of the economy”.

According to the MEP, there must be a “rational” approach to implement the Green Deal

“A rational approach is mandatory, but at the European Parliament level the ecological radicalism is quite strong.”

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Guvernul României: Măsuri de prevenție coronavirus (COVID-19)

Măsuri de prevenție - COVID19

Măsuri de prevenție - COVID-19#Coronavirus #COVID19

Publicată de Guvernul României pe Miercuri, 11 martie 2020

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