The European People’s Party (EPP) and the group in the European Parliament will stand in full support of whatever measures Prime Minister Ludovic Orban takes regarding Romania’s accession to Schengen and will continue to ask those who are also responsible of solving this matter, such as France and the Netherlands, to give Romanian citizens access to the right of free movement they deserve and for which they sacrificed themselves, is the message conveyed by the EPP Secretary General Antonio López-Istúriz White following the meeting with the head of the Romanian government, on the latter’s third and final day of visit to the European Union institutions.
This statement was made with regard to the support the EPP, the largest political family in Europe, is willing to give to the Romanian leadership in solving one of the most pressing issues on the national agenda thirteen years after the accession to the EU and it comes as part of an interview given to caleaeuropeana.ro.
Insights about the meeting between the EPP Secretary General and the overall positive impression the timely visit to Brussels of the liberal prime minister had made on the heads of the EU institutions and the members of the European Parliament were also given to the caleaeuropeana.ro correspondent in Brussels. Also, talk on the EPP’s expectations from the Romanian government was also made.
Calea Europeană: Thank you so much, Mr. Secretary General, for accepting this interview as you have just finished your meeting with prime minister Ludovic Orban, on his third day of his official visit in Brussels. How was the meeting?
Antonio López-Istúriz White: I think it is a good occasion for a politician like Ludovic Orban, who I have known for several years, to build a profile here in Brussels. He has been received not only as a friend, but also as a trusted representative of Romania by commissioners, the president of the Commission, and in this context I could cite the words of David Sassoli, the president of the European Parliament who said about the visit that ”Ludovic Orban and the new government bring new hope for the relations between Romania and the EU after, unfortunately, the bad episode of last year when the Romanian commissioner-designate did not pass the test which demonstrated that the government at that time was not in line with the EU reality”. Things are changing and I think it is good for Romania to have a government that really is in line with the European institutions. Here in the EPP are very happy about it, we know Ludovic Orban as well as president Klaus Iohannis and I think the couple is going to represent this European approach that Romania so much needs. We cannot escape the difficult moments lying ahead regarding the social and economic relations between Romania and the EU but we have to do our best. Specifically, in the EPP we always have in mind the Romanian diaspora in all the European countries. I am, as a Spaniard, very dedicated to the 1 million of your compatriots living in my country, which is a successful story of integration, and I believe it should continue like this. I hope that the current Spanish government will help with this like the previous governments have done it.
Calea Europeană: Mr. Orban publicly announced the objectives of his visit to the EU institutions at the meeting he had in the EPP Group in the Parliament and among them there were several national and political objectives that still have to be achieved 13 years after becoming members of the EU: accession to Schengen and lifting of the CVM. How can the EPP provide help for the government of the same political colour in Romania, and as well as to president Iohannis, who has just been reinvested for a second mandate? There are a lot of expectations from Romanians towards the EPP and, especially, towards PNL.
Antonio López-Istúriz White: These expectations are in good hands. The EPP has always been vocal and supportive regarding the integration of Romania in the Schengen Area. Everyone in our group, even those from member countries where the accession to Schengen is more problematic, were declared in favour of Romania joining. There are countries where the government is not EPP, such as France, the Netherlands, where we are doing our part of talking to Macron or Rutte on behalf of the Romanian citizens to have the freedom of movement which they deserve and for which they have sacrificed a lot. It is now time for everybody to take responsibility and in the EPP we have done so. This is what Ludovic Orban has been asking in Brussels and the EPP will stand behind in full support of this government as we have been supportive of other governments before, including the social-democrats, when it came to Schengen. We do not do differences about it. So I ask those who also have a responsibility on this, president Macron and prime minister Rutte, to do their part and be vocal because Romania can no longer stay outside Schengen. This is an unacceptable situation that the EPP will fight to change and we will support whatever measures prime minister Orban takes in this sense.
Calea Europeană: In Romania we talk about what Brussels can bring for us, which generally is welfare, but there are also expectations that we must meet. So what expectations has the EPP from prime minister Orban’s government?
Antonio López-Istúriz White: First, the Romanian delegation in the EPP Group is one of the largest and full of active people. The list that was made is outstanding and the professionalism of many of my colleagues form PNL is outstanding. This will be much needed not only for the Romanian government, but also for the citizens. Romania has a lot of influence in the group thanks to the size of this delegation and some of us are very happy about it. Second, it is the question of expectations from you as a country and it is something we ask of every country: never to fall into the trap of populism and negative thinking about the EU. Both Romania and Spain, where I come from, share the support and enthusiasm for the European project because we know it is part of the solution to some of the outstanding problems that we had in the pas for different reasons. We have to perform inside the EU and be an example. Spain started as a weak member of the EU in 1986 and today it is the fourth largest power inside the EU and I think that Romania can as well achieve this but it has to do it with the backing of a serious and responsible government which I believe is now the case.
Antonio López-Istúriz White is a Spanish politician and Member of the European Parliament from Spain. He is a member of the People’s Party, member party of the European People’s Party. He has served as the Secretary General of the European People’s Party since March 2002.
Head of Romanian EPP MEPs responds to S&D Group leader: Treat Romania differently. You cannot compare PSD’s attacks against the rule of law with EPP Government measures
The actions undertaken against the rule of law by the former Social-Democrat governments in Romania cannot be compared with recent measures announced by the centre-right government, member of EPP family, says MEP Rareș Bogdan, head of the Romanian delegation within the EPP Group in the European Parliament.
In an exclusive statement for CaleaEuropeană.ro, Bogdan responded to critics drawn by Iratxe Garcia, leader of the Socialists and Democrats in the European Parliament. In a Twitter post earlier on Monday, Garcia said EPP Romanian government should take note of Venice Commission, which prohibits changing the electoral law one year ahead of the elections.
The Spaniard MEP advised the Romanian Government against going the ”same path as Poland and Hungary” in ”undermining the rule of law”.
In his reaction, Rareș Bogdan mentioned that we would ask for a discussion with ”Mrs. Garcia to clarify that her statement was made without knowing the reality in Romania and the steps taken by the Orban government”.
“I think there is no bad will, but a simply less unfortunate information about the situation in Romania”, he replied.
”There is no term of comparison” between PSD and PNL, said Bogdan, ”although both parties are from Romania”.
”You cannot compare the continuous attack of PSD against Romania’s strategic partnerships with the EU and the US, against the rule of law (…) with the natural, logical and normal proposal of PNL, using constitutional tools, to introduce a two rounds vote for the local elections in June 2020. The purpose of our proposal is to enhance the representativeness and legitimacy of the elected local politician. By introducing a two rounds election we do not reduce, in any case, electoral rights”, explained the head of the Romanian delegation in the EPP Group.
Moreover, Rareș Bogdan asked that the situation in Romania to be treated ”differently”, considering Garcia’s comparison with the situations in Poland and Hungary.
“My request is that our colleagues in the European Parliament treat Romania as a different situation. Also, pay close attention to the statements of the leaders in Bucharest, led by President Klaus Iohannis and the right-wing Prime Minister Ludovic Orban, who have no connection with the statements made by Romanian officials at the head of the Government or Parliament in the period 2017-2019”, said Bogdan.
Take part in the #EUCanBeatCancer campaign. EPP group urge the Member States to join forces and fight cancer together
EPP Group, the largest political family in the European Parliament, is launching a cancer awareness campaign, the disease that causes one of four deaths in Europe.
Through #EUCanBeatCancer campaign, the EPP group calls for better cooperation between research centers in Europe, more money for cancer research, but also fair and accessible care across Europe for citizens.
How can you get involved in the #EUCanBeatCancer campaign
You can join the 1537 citizens already registered in the campaign through 4 simple steps:
- You subscribe using the email address HERE
- Follow the #EUCanBeatCancer campaign on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter
- Use the Twibbon in the profile picture
- Draw the Twibbon symbol and post it in order to show support
Everyone has their own story about cancer, even European politicians or leaders:
According to the World Health Organization, one third of cancers are preventable and half of the deaths could be prevented.
Breast cancer is the second most common form of cancer in Romania and in many cases the disease is detected when it is already in an advanced stage.
According to the private health network, Regina Maria, in Romania, 80% of breast cancers are diagnosed in the advanced phase, a stage in which the treatment can not bring healing, but only prolong the survival.
Romania had the lowest rates (0.2% of women aged 50-69 – 2015) in breast cancer screening.
Our multimedia platform – Calea Europeana – has joined the #EUCanBeatCancer campaign. During the campaign informative articles will be published and we will keep you updated with the measures taken at European level to beat cancer.
Citizens’ and Youth Agoras to be the cornerstone of the Conference on the Future of Europe, MEPs say
Citizen and Youth meetings should set the tone for EU reform, according to the resolution adopted on Wednesday by the European Parliament, were MEPs propose establishing several Citizens’ and Youth Agoras under the Future of Europe Conference that should be launched on Europe Day 2020.
Following a debate with Dubravka Šuica, Commission Vice-President for Democracy and Demography and Nikolina Brnjac, representing the Croatian Presidency of the Council, Parliament adopted a resolution setting out its vision for the upcoming Conference on the Future of Europe with 494 votes for, 147 against and 49 abstentions.
MEPs want citizens to be at the core of broad discussions on how to tackle internal and external challenges that were not foreseen at the time of the Lisbon Treaty. People of all backgrounds, civil society representatives and stakeholders at European, national, regional and local level must be involved in setting the EU’s priorities in line with citizens’ concerns in a bottom-up, transparent, inclusive, participatory and well-balanced approach.
Parliament proposes establishing several Citizens’ Agoras (thematic fora of citizen representatives chosen randomly in line with proportionality and representativeness criteria), and at least two Youth Agoras, each comprising 200-300 citizens with a minimum of three per member state. Citizen representatives will discuss Agora conclusions at the Conference Plenary with MEPs and national parliament representatives, Council ministers, Commission Vice-Presidents and representatives of other EU institutions, bodies and social partners.
In addition to high-level support from the presidents of the three main EU institutions, Parliament urges Council and Commission to commit to the possibility of treaty change. The adopted text also underlines that a permanent mechanism to engage citizens should be considered.
Parliament is the first among the three main EU institutions to adopt a position on the set-up and scope of the upcoming Conference. Negotiations with the Commission and the European Council should be concluded in time for the Conference to be launched on Europe Day 2020 (May 9) and run until summer 2022.
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