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Europe Talks 2020: Zeit Online and other 17 European media organisations, including Calea Europeană, kick off a new edition of debates between Europeans



© Europe Talks

Starting today, ZEIT ONLINE and media partners from 15 countries have once again opened registration for Europe Talks. The dialogue program brings together people from across Europe for one-on-one, cross-border debates on political topics. Each participant will be matched with a conversation partner from another European country with the most different possible political opinion. The conversation will take place in English over video call. Last year, over 17,000 Europeans from 33 countries participated in Europe Talks.

On December 13, 2020, thousands of Europeans, who are complete strangers to each other, will meet online for a conversation. They will discuss questions such as whether protecting people from the coronavirus should be the first priority, even if the economy suffers, whether masks should be mandatory in all public spaces, and whether schools should remain open throughout lockdowns. Seven Yes/No questions that all participants answer during registration will be used to match conversation partners with different views.

These conversations are made possible by a collaboration between ZEIT ONLINE and a large network of European media organisations: bTV Media Group in Bulgaria, Calea Europeana in Romania, Delfi in Latvia, De Volkskrant in the Netherlands, Der Standard in Austria, Efimerida Ton Syntakton in Greece, Expresso in Portugal, France24 in France, Gazeta Wyborcza in Poland, HotNews in Romania, Kapital in Slovakia, La Repubblica in Italy, in Lithuania, Mirror in Great Britain, Phoenix in Germany, Politiken in Denmark, Republik in Switzerland.

Europe Talks is supported by the Federal Foreign Office on occasion of Germany’s Presidency of the Council of the European Union 2020 as well as by the European Cultural Foundation, the Allianz Cultural Foundation and the Evens Foundation. Europe Talks is organised in partnership with the Goethe-Institut.

The idea for Europe Talks is based on a ZEIT ONLINE project that started three years ago with Germany Talks, a dialogue project that created conversations between participants with politically opposed opinions. In cooperation with international media partners, the project was developed into the platform My Country Talks, which has since been used in more and more countries around the world: From Denmark to Austria, the Netherlands, Italy, and Great Britain. More than 100,000 people worldwide have taken part in a political discussion through My Country Talks events.

The My Country Talks software was developed by the Berlin agency on behalf of ZEIT ONLINE. The construction of the platform was funded by the Federal Foreign Ministry of Germany and Google. Germany Talks and My Country Talks was awarded with a Grimm Online Award , the Jean Monnet Prize for European Integration, and the President’s award for Public Relations (IPRA).

Registration for Europe Talks 2020 is now open. For more information, visit

Robert Lupițu este redactor-șef, specialist în relații internaționale, jurnalist în afaceri europene și NATO. Robert este laureat al concursului ”Reporter și Blogger European” la categoria Editorial și co-autor al volumelor ”România transatlantică” și ”100 de pași pentru o cetățenie europeană activă”. Face parte din Global Shapers Community, o inițiativă World Economic Forum, și este Young Strategic Leader în cadrul inițiativelor The Aspen Institute. Din 2019, Robert este membru al programului #TT27 Leadership Academy organizat de European Political Strategy Center, think tank-ul Comisiei Europene.


MEP Vasile Blaga: Jobs are a top priority for the EPP Group



MEP Vasile Blaga (PNL, EPP) argues that jobs are the zero priority for the largest political group in the European Parliament, the European People’s Group.

“The discussion about jobs is even more important as a result of the effects of the health crisis of the last year which, according to studies, has directly affected one in five jobs in Europe. No less than 15 million EU citizens are unemployed and this is directly reflected in their standard of living and the EU’s economic performance. It is also dramatic that 18 percent of young Europeans under the age of 25 do not have a job. The EU must find solutions for them, to make the employment of these young people a priority, we cannot afford to lose a generation “, mentioned the MEP Vasile Blaga.

The European People’s Party wants jobs to become the top priority of the European Union and all European institutions and the governments of the Member States.

A debate organized by the EPP Group in the European Parliament entitled “Jobs, jobs, jobs” will take place on Wednesday, with the participation of the President of the European Commission and representatives of national governments.

Vasile Blaga also mentions that the EPP expects concrete proposals from the European Commission and not general ideas on how to create more jobs at European level.

“There is a great need for an economic and social transformation and the crisis we are going through has made this reality all the more urgent. We are in a year in which the economic effects of 2020 will be even more obvious and the impact on jobs even stronger. How many companies in the fields directly affected by the health crisis will still have the resources to recover, to reopen, to keep their employees? The EU Member States must give up selfish impulses and we must all accept that together we are stronger. Any decision taken at the European level must answer positively to the question of whether it leads to the creation of new jobs “, underlines MEP Vasile Blaga.

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MEP Vasile Blaga: “Like the common vaccination strategy, the EU needs a unique strategy in implementing vaccination certificates”



© Vasile Blaga/Facebook

Like the common vaccination strategy, the EU needs a unique strategy in implementing the vaccination certificate, according to MEP Vasile Blaga (PNL, EPP).

Vasile Blaga proposes the development of a common EU policy on vaccination certificates leading to the elimination of uneven traffic restrictions in the EU.

”The economic revitalization of the European Union cannot be achieved without a solid strategy on the free movement of EU citizens, and this can be done much faster by implementing vaccination certificates. For example, the relaunch of tourism could be directly helped by the success of the European vaccination campaign in conjunction with the implementation of vaccination certificates at the Union level. In practice, a common EU policy on specific vaccination certificates is a much more viable alternative to the current restrictions on free movement – restrictions that are currently heterogeneous at Member State level “, says MEP Vasile Blaga.

Leaders from the European Union’s (EU) 27-member states came to together for a virtual summit on Thursday with the aim of solving pressing coronavirus-related health and logistical problems confronting the bloc.

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Cristian Bușoi

ITRE Chair Cristian Bușoi calls on EC Vice President Frans Timmermans to make sure the Guidelines of the Single Used Plastic Directive will not go beyond the Directive’s scope



© European Union 2019 - Source : EP

The ITRE Committee Chair, Cristian Busoi, (EPP) has addressed two written parliamentary questions to Frans Timmermans, Executive Vice President of the European Commission regarding critical concerns about the Guidelines of the Single Used Plastic Directive.

“The latest version of the Guidelines shared with the Member States shows a tendency on Commission’s side to widen the Guidelines’ scope compared to the Directive text. Our goal is to help the Member States to implement the Directive at national level effectively. Given the concerns raised by member states, the industry, and civil society, all preoccupied with the European citizens’ interest, I expect the European Commission to offer more clarity on this process and make sure the Guidelines do not go beyond the scope of the Directive. ” stated ITRE Chair, Cristian Busoi, according to a press release.

The two questions are:

1) According to the latest version of the Guidelines, the Commission intends to go beyond the Directive’s scope and objectives. Can you confirm that this will not be the case? When the Commission plans to issue the Guidelines having in mind that they are essential for implementing the SUPD.

2) What are the economic costs of replacing the single-use paper packaging in quick-service restaurants with other materials, which use 0% plastic?

Subsequently, together with 32 colleagues from the European Parliament belonging to four European Political Groups, EPP MEP Cristian Busoi signed a joint letter addressed to Ursula von der Leyen, President of the European Commission, Frans Timmermans, Executive Vice President European Commission in charge of the European Green Deal, Virginijus Sinkevičius, Commissioner for Environment, Oceans and Fisheries, and Thierry Breton, Commissioner for Internal Market, expressing their concerns about the long-waited Guidelines meant to support the Member States for effective implementation of the Single Used Plastic Directive (EU) 2019/904

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