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#EPPLocalDialogue: ”From Brain drain to Brain gain” – hosted by Emil Boc, Mayor of Cluj-Napoca. What are the key issues and future solutions for the young generations



© EPP CoR- Twitter

Emil Boc, Mayor of Cluj-Napoca and member of the European Committee of the Regions, hosted in Brussels the debate ”From Brain drain to Brain gain”.

This EPP Local Dialogue looked into what the EU can do for its citizens to transform ‘brain drain’ into a ‘brain gain’ – an opportunity for both the receiving communities and the places of origin.

During the debate the audience has exhanged views with Dubravka Šuica, (EPP/HR), Commissioner-designate responsible for Democracy and Demography will also atend the event, Rafał Trzaskowski, Mayor of Warsaw, EPP CoR Member Esther de Lange, (EPP/NL), Member of the European Parliament, Vice-president of the EPP Group, Isabel Benjumea Benjumea, Member of the European Parliament, REGI Vice-Chair

First Part

Second Part

The debate was moderated by Dan Carbunaru Calea Europeana.

This event has been broadcasted LIVE on CaleaEuropeană.ro and on Calea Europeană Facebook Page on December 5th.


Emil Boc, Mayor of Cluj-Napoca – Brain drain is becoming more and more important for the European Union

© Calea Europeană

© EPP CoR- Twitter


Brain drain is becoming more and more important for the European Union and if we are not going to discuss to tackle and to find common solutions together, these brain drain can affect, even the future of the European project. There is no magical solutions. We have to work together and everyone has to do their own job first. Working in partnership with European Union, we have the best content in order to tackle the brain drain problem. 

In his presentation, Emil Boc referred to Cluj-Napoca, ”the most friendly city in Europe with foreign citizens” that tries to improve the quality of life day by day.


Dubravka Šuica,  Commissioner-designate responsible for Democracy and Demography – ”brain drain” is one of the key issues that I intend to focus on in the next five years

© Calea Europeană

© EPP CoR – Twitter


”As the commissioner in charge of demography, brain drain is one of the key issues that I intend to focus on in the next five years. Brain drain phenomenon, really can pause the European Union. We have to think about measures which we can put in place to retain attract or regain a highly educated workforce, because local authorities are the ones most affected with the consequences of the brain drain. In order to tackle the ”brain drain”, we need tailor-made solutions to attract, and retain the workforce and reduce disparities across the EU. Cohesion funds play a crucial role in supporting regions to cope with #braindrain and creating social & economic stability for the citizens.”



Esther de Lange, (EPP/NL), Member of the European Parliament, Vice-president of the EPP Group – We need to focus on providing a good quality of life as a reason to return

© Calea Europeana

© Esther de Lange – Twitter


”We are focusing very much now on the issue of brain drain and brain gain between countries within the EU, but of course there’s an underlying challenge that we have as an EU as a whole. I think it’s so incredibly important that not only we have a vice president thatis dealing with demography, and democracy in the link between the two. We need to focus on providing a good quality of life as a reason to return, concept of smart villages – based on the right infrastructure, telemedicine, 5G – can help keep people in our rural areas.”



Rafał Trzaskowski, Mayor of Warsaw – Brain drain, one of the biggest nightmares that we have to confront 

© Calea Europeana


”Brain drain sounds dramatic and  sounds like one of the biggest nightmares that we have to confront. When you look at the brain drain and the people who emigrate in the past two years to Britain they are highly qualified and of course, we’ve heard about doctors, nurses, and so on. We all do have these problems, but to be absolutely honest with you, the problem is also internal.”

© EPP CoR-Twitter


How to deal brain drain?

”Obviously focusing on the things which are most important for the people, which is, most of all, the infrastructure and the quality of life, because that’s what the people expect right now.”



Isabel Benjumea Benjumea, Member of the European Parliament, REGI Vice-Chair – Competition between countries and regions is natural. More focus on brain gain

© Calea Europeana

“Competition between countries and regions is natural; people moving around Europe can make our Union stronger and more united. I’m afraid I’m going to be the only one that I don’t see this as a dramatic situation. I know that cities have to compete, and I know that regions have to compete.  It has always happened in order to go to the cities where you have more opportunities where you can have a better quality of life.

© EPP CoR- Twitter

Of course people always look for the best, and it’s good that cities and member states and regions to compete among themselves to see which is more attractive, and I think that’s something good. We need to be an open European Union to keep the best people living in different places. So, I truly believe we’re looking at from the wrong perspective.”



Brain drain – the loss of an educated and skilled workforce – is a challenge affecting local communities and regions, but also member states and the European Union as a whole.

In 2017, approximately 4.2 million EU citizens aged between 15 and 64 with a tertiary education were residing in an EU country other than their country of citizenship. Every citizen is concerned: from the worker in constructions to researchers who are able to move within the EU. 

EPP Local Dialogues are a series of events organised across Europe, bringing citizens and EPP leaders together to discuss European policies of local interest and gathering people’s expectations on the ground.

Also on CaleaEuropeană.ro: Opinion in SEDEC Commission on “Brain drain in the EU: addressing the challenge at all levels”, presented by Emil Boc, was unanimous adopted



Diana Zaim este foto jurnalist, premiată în cadrul #România@10EU, concurs de fotografie organizat cu ocazia a 10 ani de la aderarea la Uniunea Europeană. Studentă la secția germano-portugheză în cadrul Universității din București și pasionată de promovarea valorilor europene, Diana este parte a comunității Model European Union, cea mai amplă simulare la nivel european a procesului decizional din cadrul Uniunii Europene.


MEP Vasile Blaga: The last day with Great Britain in the EU, the first day of a new relationship that we want to be close



Great Britain, the historical partner of the EU, leaves our table but remains a friend of the European Union, said MEP Vasile Blaga in a statement sent to CaleaEuropeană.ro.

December 31 is the last day on which the UK still applies Community law, and from January 1 the Brexit agreement will be applied, having already been signed by European officials.

“There are a few more steps for this agreement, concluded in extremis, on Christmas Eve: the evaluation of the agreement by the European Parliament, the British Parliament and its ratification by the Parliaments of all Member States,” said Blaga.

“We are talking about an extremely important agreement given that official figures show that over 3 million EU citizens live in the UK and over one million Britons live in one of the 27 Member States. The agreement has been worked on, and often on the brink of collapse, by a team led by Michel Barnier who deserves congratulations for the tenacity with which he defended the rights of European citizens and European companies. It is an unprecedented agreement, no other such agreement has been concluded by the EU so far, from a commercial and economic point of view. Basically, the historical partner of the EU leaves our table but remains a friend of the EU. Because not even a democratic vote can cancel a family relationship and a history like the one between Europe and Great Britain “, declared Vasile Blaga.

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MEP Vasile Blaga: “A coordinated vaccination campaign at European level, an example of unity and solidarity”



MEP Vasile Blaga (PNL, PPE) welcomes the start of the vaccination campaign at the same time in the European Union.

„The debut of the European level vaccination campaign, which is more or less simultaneous in all European Union states, has not been able to mobilize the EU to be able to provoke the annulment of all countries.” It is clear that you are critical of the address of the module in the European Commission to manage the contracting seminar with vaccines, tattoos, but through care, the moment of this moment, the functioning of the European Union, according to the European Plan.

The European MP informed Romania about the 150,000 vaccine dose of Pfizer BioNtech: „The European Commission has allocated 10 million vaccine doses for Romania to COVID 19″, said Vasile Blaga.

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Op-ed: Biden can help unite Europe. A closer political union is the rational outcome for Europe, and a globalist U.S. President can assist even passively



A closer political union is the rational outcome for Europe, and a globalist U.S. President can assist even passively, writes former Romanian PM Mihai-Răzvan Ungureanu, in a joint op-ed with two US experts. The op-ed released to CaleaEuropeană.ro is published as an epistemic response to a piece authored by Daniel Cohn-Bendit and Klaus Leggewie in Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung calling for a German-French Federation as a “breath of fresh air” for Europe. 

By Robert Braun, Mihai-Razvan Ungureanu and Dan Perry

The incoming Biden Administration is expected to break with its predecessor’s obsessively transactional foreign policy, enabling progress on issues ranging from global warming to international trade to human rights. An important consequence, not obvious from headlines at the moment, involves Europe.

Outgoing President Trump’s evident disdain for global cooperation, supranational governance and the European Union in particular has had a devastating effect on those who yearn for greater European political union. It emboldened the UK’s Brexiteers, Euroskeptic leaders in the east and nationalists in almost every country, creating a paralytic continental bad karma. Trump’s departure holistically offers a moment for the European Union to regain its ambition, boldness and creativity.

The EU embodied a successful economic vision, but failed to transform that business case into a shared political values to an extent that could drive action. The treaties of Maastricht and Rome ultimately amounted the rhetorical flourishes and bureaucratic advances that could not sweep aside nationalist resistance. This is now best exemplified by the  Polish-Hungarian effort to derail the European budget and halt political oversight over individual countries’ authoritarian practices.

If Europe is to make its mark in the world, it needs a bold vision for political union: tighter control over exploitive and corrupt practices of local and multi-national companies, an inclusive social net with universal basic income, a welfare system socially and economically strengthening unions and representation bodies, and safeguards for the independence of the free press, of universities and of civic-cultural institutions.

A unified Europe can be a beacon of progressive values and modernity to the world. This should be the response to those in the world who derided Europe as an ossified vessel of yesterday while benefitting from its values. 

This will strengthen Europe, and make it a better partner to a rejuvenated, post-Trump United States – and to other democracies. It is a vision that the new U.S. Administration will be able to get behind.

Of course, this is not currently the direction of things, nor will it be without an electrifying course correction. In theory, there would be a variety of ways to shock the system. We’d like to throw our support in favor of constitutional unification of Germany and France, an idea floated recently by French MEP and 1960s student leader Daniel Cohn-Bendit and German political scientist Claus Leggewie.

France and Germany have fought bitter wars, and can view each other through a narrow lens of stereotype and historical grievance. They have different labor market politics and instincts about fiscal and monetary policy. They speak different languages, and each possesses a profound patriotic instinct that may seem at odds with a ceding of national sovereignty. France is also more interested than Germany in a European security mechanism independent of the United States.

And they both have fostered business interest, sometimes at the expense of others in the European Union, that were grounded in “nation first” ideals.

And yet, France and (West) Germany are the two largest founding members of the European Economic Community that grew into the EU of today. The differences between their political and economic structures are minor when one considers their common fealty to Western and European values of the post-Renaissance and Enlightenment.  They are also the two strongest forces for political union among major EU members; there is a scenario where they agree to blaze the path.

A constitutionally unified, politically strong core would create economies of scale – combined population of 151 million and GDP of 6.73 trillion that make up 40% and 44% respectively of the bloc with the UK factored out – that would be irresistible, and prove that language need not be a barrier in a world in which English (ironically in light of Brexit) and innovation are unifying forces. 

Different languages may pose a challenge. But Canada, even with succession initiatives in Quebec, proves community and understanding are more about shared values than similar languages. Respect for different cultures and strong compassionate leadership are at the core of New Zealand’s political success. There is real reason to assess that a successful Franco-German unification would soon draw in an essentially liberal and internationalist countries like the Netherlands, Belgium, and Denmark, linguistic satellites like Austria and Luxembourg, and then large countries of the southern cone like Italy, Spain and Portugal. 

What of former east bloc countries where populist nationalists currently hold sway?  The euphoria of expansion was driven by both idealism and business interests, and while it yielded economic growth for the East it also left many in that region with resentments about a perceived neocolonialism, yielding a nationalist backlash.  Deft political diplomacy and considerable sensitivity will be required to avoid a repeat. A strong European political union may create the political momentum to rejuvenate a progressive urban electorate in Eastern Europe as well. Western European politicians should also find ways to acknowledge that peoples east of Vienna are valuable beyond picking asparagus, caring for the elderly and doing menial jobs for less. 

It seems far-fetched today. Nations tend to wait for crises to break established paradigms. We propose getting ahead of the curve. Germany and France can jump-start the process of European unification.

National identity – indeed tribalism – has been one of the building blocks of civilization. The question has always been granularity.  Right now, what is needed for stability, prosperity and global impact is a European identity.  It won’t be easy, because local identities are strong. But nothing ventured, nothing gained. Quite probably, very much lost.

* * *

Historian Mihai Razvan Ungureanu was prime minister and foreign minister of Romania. Social Theorist Robert Braun was a top aide to Hungary’s prime minister and is a senior researcher at Vienna’s Institute for Advanced Studies. Dan Perry was Europe-Africa Editor and Mideast Editor of the Associated Press news agency and is managing partner of the Thunder11 communications firm.

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