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European Citizens’ Initiative marks one year anniversary

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european citizeznsThe European Economic and Social Committee (EESC) today (April 9) convened key stakeholders to mark one year since the establishment of the European Citizens’ Initiative (ECI) – the world’s first direct, digital and transnational tool of participatory democracy. Organised in partnership with the Committee of the Regions, the European Citizen Action Service, Democracy International, the Initiative and Referendum Institute Europe and Euronews, the European Citizens’ Initiative Day 2013 provided the platform to assess the strengths and weaknesses of the initiative and debate future improvements. Most initiatives’ organisers were on the spot and had the possibility to share their experiences and expressed their needs and concerns.

Launched through a single website on 1 April 2012, the ECI has given rise to 27 initiative proposals and garnered over 1.6 million signatures, with fourteen initiatives currently in the running for submission to the European Commission. Allowing for an exchange between ECI organisers, decision-makers and experts, the ECI Annual Day addressed a number of technical, legal and economic barriers to raising signatures, while also highlighting the unique potential of the ECI to encourage direct participation and create a new space for European debate.

“Despite the economic and social challenges facing Europe, the European Citizens’ Initiative is helping EU’s democracy to evolve,” said Staffan Nilsson, president of the EESC. “Used effectively, it will leverage the collective wisdom of European citizens to ensure greater cohesion and engagement. The European Economic and Social Committee is therefore committed not only to raising awareness of this important initiative, but also to assisting in the development of an easy and transparent process for citizens’ initiatives.”

Examples of the most successful ECIs – including the “Right 2 Water” initiative, which is reflected in several Commission policies – offer lessons for both the participative process and for reform of the regulation in 2015. Participants of the conference raised questions regarding the practical aspects of campaigning, particularly related to cost, the system of online signature collection and the need for better communication and dissemination. Proposals were made to create a supportive infrastructure for organisers of ECIs, such as the creation of an independent civil society driven help desk, one stop shop or contact point.

“The ECI is the first step on our way to European transnational e-democracy and therefore we should deal with it with respect, full appreciation of its potential and in full understanding of what is coming up” said Maroš Šefčovič, Vice-President of the European Commission in charge of Inter-Institutional Relations and Administration.

“The ECI has offered a very clear monitor of what’s going on in the EU, as the initial initiatives have covered everything from technical-administrative matters to down-to-earth concerns such as voting rights,” elaborated Bruno Kaufmann, President of the Initiative and Referendum Institute Europe.

With millions of individuals as well as hundreds of organisations, authorities and institutions now involved, it was concluded that targeted reform of the regulation would help make the ECI a more effective tool in the future.

Source: EESC Press Unit

Foto: www.citizens-initiative.eu

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MEP Vasile Blaga: Romania has fulfilled for 11 years all the Schengen requirements and our acceptance is still delayed

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© Vasile Blaga/ Facebook

MEP Vasile Blaga, member of the Committee on Civil Liberties of the European Parliament, took the floor during today’s reunion of the LIBE Committee, June 15, and with this occasion touched, during his intervention, upon a “political aspect” throughout the debate on CMV.

“This political aspect refers to the integration of Romania in the Schengen area and the connection between CMV and the postponement of our entry into Schengen. I was the Minister of Internal Affairs who dealt with the removal of the safeguard clause and securing the frontiers regarding Romania’s adherence to the EU”, mention the MEP during the reunion.

Moreover, the liberal MEP pointed out that Romania administers almost 2000 kilometres of EU borders and has fulfilled for 11 years all the Schengen criteria: “nevertheless, Romania’s admission is delayed without openly specifying why. Of course, it was denied on multiple occasions that the integration in the Schengen area would be related to the criticism from the CVM reports. However, reality contradicts this. I believe that the postponement of a decision regarding Romania’s admission to Schengen is an unfair treatment which the European Union applies to my country”, he added.

“I would like to express my hope that the finalization of the CVM for Romania will remove any obstacle, declared or undeclared, to Romania’s integration into Schengen”, concluded Vasile Blaga.

The entire intervention of the MEP can be followed here.

The European Parliament adopted on July 8, with 505 votes for, 134 against and 54 abstentions, the annual report regarding the functioning of the Schengen area which claims, again, that Romania and Bulgaria have to be integrated with full rights into Schengen, while a specifying that Croatia meets all the technical requirements as well.

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MEP Vasile Blaga: The Romanian Government, determined to finalize all the necessary reforms for the suspension of the CVM

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© Vasile Blaga/Facebook

MEP Vasile Blaga (PNL, EPP) participated today, July 15, at the reunion of the Committee on Civil Liberties of the European Parliament and specified Romania’s direction following the last CVM report.

“The last CVM report for Romania clearly shows that in Bucharest exists political volition the effective implementation of the last steps towards reforms which will lead to the suspension of this mechanism for Romania. During the 14 years of evaluation, we found ourselves in the thankless position of repairing the inherited matters from the previous governments, the case being the same today. The last CVM report puts forward Romania’s positive progress from the last 2 years. I emphasize the fact that in Bucharest we have a governmental coalition determined to finalize all necessary reforms”, explained Vasile Blagato his colleagues.

Moreover, the liberal MEP notes that Romania still campaigns for averting the double evaluation regarding the Mechanism of the rule of law: “I want to point out the fact that there is a true expectancy for the finalization of the Mechanism for cooperation and its verification and evaluation based on the same criteria applied to all member states, meaning through the Mechanism regarding the rule of law. Romania still pleads for the prevention of this double evaluation.”

The entire intervention of the MEP can be seen here.

The European Commission adopted on June 8 its most recent report regarding the evolution of the situation in Romania concerning the reforms of the judicial system and fight against corruption, in the context of the responsibilities assumed within the Cooperation and Verification Mechanism (CVM), noting that Romania registered developments regarding all the recommendations of the CVM and that the fulfillment of all recommendations is essential for the closure of this mechanism.

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President Klaus Iohannis launches the national debate on the Future of Europe

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© Administrația Prezidențială

President Klaus Iohannis will host the official launch event of the national debate on the future of Europe on Tuesday, 13 July 2021, at the Cotroceni Palace, the Presidential Administration informs in a press release sent to CaleaEuropeană.ro.

The debate will also be attended by Adina Vălean, European Commissioner for Transport, Prof. Valentin Naumescu, Faculty of European Studies, Babeș Bolyai University Cluj-Napoca, Prof. Alina Bârgăoanu, Dean of the Faculty of Communication and Public Relations, National School of Political and Administrative Studies, and Prof. Cristian Pîrvulescu, Dean of the Faculty of Political Sciences, National School of Political and Administrative Studies. The debate will be moderated by journalist Dan Cărbunaru, director of CaleaEuropeană.ro.

The event will start at 17:00 and will be broadcast LIVE on CaleaEuropeană.ro.

The event aims to debate the objectives and expectations related to the Conference on the Future of Europe, as well as to launch some reflection directions for the orientation of the citizens’ debates that will take place at national level on this topic.

During his speech, the President will refer to the topics of interest for the national debate on the future of Europe, a process which is intended to be primarily a dialogue with European citizens.

The main objective of the debate on the future of Europe will be to strengthen the European project for the benefit of all citizens.

On 9 May 2021, the symbolic launch of the Conference on the Future of Europe took place in Strasbourg. 

The conference is a forum for discussion and reflection on the future of Europe, involving European institutions, Member State governments, national parliaments, citizens, civil society, academia, social partners and other stakeholders.

Discussions related to the Conference on the Future of Europe will take place during 2021 and the first half of 2022 with a view to formulating guidelines for the future of the European Union.

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