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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

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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, LRT.lt 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 diesdas.digital 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 www.europetalks.org.

Robert Lupițu este redactor-șef, specialist în relații internaționale, jurnalist în afaceri europene și doctorand în domeniul reasigurării strategice a 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.

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MEP Vasile Blaga: Commission’s centralised approach on procuring COVID-19 vaccines shows us the advantage of Romania’s membership of the European Union

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©Vasile Blaga/ Facebook

Commission’s centralised approach on procuring COVID-19 vaccines shows us the advantage of Romania’s membership of the European Union, said MEP Vasile Blaga (PNL, EPP) in a statement for CaleaEuropeană.ro.

He emphasized tha membership of the European Union ”helps us to return to a normal life as soon as possible, through vaccination, but also to overcome the COVID-19 crisis”.

”I cannot help noticing that regarding the COVID-19 crisis, European Union has address the needs of the Member States. I am talking about UE’s centralised approach on procuring COVID-19 vaccines, not only about EU’s budget and COVID-19 recovery package. European Commission approved a contract with pharmaceutical companies BioNTech and Pfizer, which provides for the purchase of 300 million doses on behalf of all EU Member States and, last week, Ursula von der Leyen announced that European Commission approved a sixth contract under the EU Vaccines Strategy, this time with the pharmaceutical company Moderna, which provides for the purchase of 160 million doses of COVID-19 vaccine. It is a clear signal that the European Union is determined to firmly manage the COVID-19 pandemic, unitary and determined”, explained the MEP Vasile Blaga.

The European Commission approved on November 25 a sixth contract under the EU Vaccines Strategy, this time with the pharmaceutical company Moderna, the Commission said in a statement.

The contract provides for the initial purchase of 80 million doses on behalf of all EU member states, plus an option to request up to a further 80 million doses, to be supplied once a vaccine has proven to be safe and effective against Covid-19.

The contract with Moderna will enlarge the already broad portfolio of vaccines to be produced in Europe, including the contracts signed with AstraZeneca, Sanofi-GSK, Janssen Pharmaceutica NV, BioNTech-Pfizer and the contract approved with CureVac.

This diversified vaccines portfolio will ensure Europe is well prepared for vaccination, once the vaccines have been proven to be safe and effective.

Romania’s finance minister Florin Citu said on November 25 that the ministry has made a 12 million euro ($14.27 million) advance payment to the European Commission for COVID-19 vaccines.

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S&D Group and MEP Victor Negrescu host an international conference on the future EU budget and the European Recovery Plan (LIVE, 19th November, 11:00)

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The Group of the Progressive Alliance of Socialists and Democrats in the European Parliament is organizing on Thursday, at the initiative of MEP Victor Negrescu (PSD, S&D), an international conference on the future European budget and on the economic recovery plan.

The conference, which will start at 11:00 (Bucharest time) and will be broadcast LIVE on CaleaEuropeană.ro, is an invitation to dialogue on how European funds should be used at European and national level.

At the conference organized with the support of the Group of the Progressive Alliance of Socialists and Democrats on the future EU Budget and the European recovery plan, the European Commissioner for Budgets, Johannes Hahn, will address a video message. Also, among the participants will be Margarida Marques, MEP and rapporteur of the S&D Group for the future multi-annual budget, Dan Nica, leader of the Romanian Delegation to the S&D Group, Radu Magdin, study coordinator, Roxana Mînzatu, member of the Romanian Parliament, European funds expert and former Minister of European Funds, and Adrian Câciu, economic analyst.

In order to set out these objectives, the S&D MEP Victor Negrescu initiated a complete and complex study on the impact of the European relaunch plan on Romania and the identification of development objectives that the progressive group in the European Parliament will support at the level of the European institution.

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Dacian Cioloș, Renew Europe’s leader: Maia Sandu’s remarkable victory, clear proof that the Republic of Moldova’s future lies in Europe

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© Photo Collage (Image source: European Parliament & Renew Europe)

The Renew Europe Group in the European Parliament welcomes the preliminary results of the presidential elections in the Republic of Moldova and congratulates Maia Sandu for becoming the first woman elected to the highest-ranking position of the state, the third largest EP political group says in a press release.

Maia Sandu’s pro-European agenda and her determination to tackle corruption and unite the country are the key elements of her emphatic victory over the pro-Russia President Igor Dodon.

The President of Renew Europe Group, Dacian Cioloș (USR PLUS, Romania), said:

“Maia Sandu’s remarkable victory in the presidential elections is clear proof that the Republic of Moldova’s future lies in Europe. Through their vote, the citizens of Moldova endorsed the consolidation of democratic institutions and practices, the strengthening of the rule of law and the fight against corruption as national priorities for the years to come. It won’t be an easy path, but I am confident that with the full support of the European Union, including Renew Europe group, Moldova will get gradually closer to European values, develop its economy and ensure prosperity for its citizens.”

Renew Europe MEP, Dragoş Tudorache (USR PLUS, Romania), the European Parliament’s rapporteur on Moldova, added:

“Just as Maia Sandu’s victory is a landmark for the democratic evolution of the Republic of Moldova, her mission is equally historic, challenging, but also transformative for the whole society. If this transformation succeeds, if this mission is successful, Maia Sandu may be the one bringing the Republic of Moldova closer to the European Union than it has ever been.

The reform agenda, which Maia Sandu embraced decisively already as a Prime Minister, requires political will, expertise and financial support. We, the European partners of the Republic of Moldova, shall stand by Maia Sandu in the ambitious mandate entrusted by the Moldovan people, whether it is the fight against corruption, institutional reforms, the reconstruction of public administrations, or to increase the economic exchanges with the EU.”  

Renew Europe MEP Ramona Strugariu, (USR PLUS, Romania), Vice-Chair of the Delegation to the EU-Moldova Parliamentary Association Committee, commented:

“Maia Sandu’s victory is in fact the victory of a courageous, visionary and European Republic of Moldova, determined to fight for the values in which it believes. I am convinced that the first woman President in the country’s history will be able to steer firmly the Republic of Moldova towards European integration. It will not be an easy path, but we will support the country every step of the way in order to bring it in the European Union.”

MEP Hilde Vautmans (Open Vld, Belgium), Renew Europe Group’s Coordinator in the Foreign Affairs Committee, concluded:

“I congratulate Maia Sandu for this well-deserved victory, which will strengthen ties between the EU and Moldova and it will increase Moldova’s role in the Eastern Partnership. We must keep fighting for what brings us together in the benefit of Moldovan citizens.”

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