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EUROPEAN ELECTIONS. What worries the European citizens and how Schulz, Juncker and Verhofstadt’s campaign promises are to deal with them

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The European elections to come bring not only 751 MEPs, but also, for the first time, the opportunity to choose the future President of the European Commission.

Caleaeuropeana.ro offers you an exclusive analysis of the solutions that the three main candidates, Schulz, Juncker and Verhofstadt, have for the European citizens’ worries.

Few days only separate Europe from some of the most important European elections days the EU has ever known. In some countries, the elections have already begun, while the others are still impatiently waiting for the grand day. Having a treaty that gives to the citizen more power than ever, when it comes to the decisions taken at the European level, the European Parliament becomes a real attraction point – both for the ones interested in the decisional political level, as well as for those whose interest is more related to the correlations made between the two levels, the decisional one and the citizens’ ones. The aimed point is huge – I have said it before, I am saying it again, having the same confidence. The European Parliament is today one of the institutions with the most numerous attributes in the EU, and most definitely the one whose rights have constantly increased, once with the years and with the signing of treaties. The citizen is today more than ever found in the middle of the EU’s interests, and the candidates to the European Commission leadership are the very first ones to show it. Because the vote comes from them, because the European citizens are the ones to elect, indirectly, the future President of the Commission – and because, in the end, the citizens’ main worries must be found in the solutions thought of and implement over the next five years.

A simple look over the last barometer released by the European Commission, concerning the Public Opinion over the European Union, shows that the European citizens are mainly worried about what tomorrow brings, without looking into perspective, on a long-term way.

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Given the enouncement of the main worries, the people of the 28 member-states have chosen, as their main problems, the rising prices and the inflation (40%), the unemployment (20%), the economic situation in the country they live (17%), the taxation (17%), the financial situation of their household (16%), the health and social security (15%), the pensions (13%), the education system (10%), the housing (6%), the environment, climate and energy issues (6%), the crime (5%), the immigration (3%) and the terrorism (1%). To be mentioned here is the fact that the respondents had the liberty to choose two options out of all those listed, in order for the enounced problems to be as widely spread as possible. Having a look, though, at the percents indicated by this barometer, I can easily notice that, in a simple way of classifying these problems, the first places are taken by problems of an economical and financial nature, only afterwards being present the ones related to health, educational system, climate or crime. These options show the fact that the first things to impact upon the stability of the European citizen are the ones coming from the economical and financial sphere of his existence. Therefore, these end up being classified as it follows: economical and financial issues (rising prices, inflation, unemployment, the economical situation of the state-member, taxation, the financial situation of the household), social issues (health and social security, pensions, housing), educational issues (educational system), environment issues (the environment, climate and energy issues) and crime issues (crime, immigration and terrorism).

Jean-Claude Juncker

jeanclaudejuncker_1             Giving his political program a first look, present on his website, juncker.epp.eu, his main priorities are related to the creation and the growing number of jobs, next to the legislation creation for the protection of data in the digital system, the rising of the energetic importance of the EU by having it independent towards the East gas, the strengthening of the old partnership with Europe’s forever ally, the USA, the reform of the Euro and so its reinforcement, by this taking into consideration the euro stability as well, including here the EU one too, generally speaking, and the answer given to the UK problem, according to its demands and requests. Immigration represents, following the update of his political program, the one indicated on his webpage, a distinguished approach along his priorities, by identifying five essential steps in his politics, as possible future President of the European Commission: the implementation of a European Asylum Support Office, the stepping up in giving support and assistance from the European Asylum Support Office, a better cooperation process with the third world countries, particularly the North Africa ones, the legal immigration and the European borders security. The foreign policy section has itself as a distinguished part in the program shown by Juncker on his website, displaying this way the high importance this sector has in his ways of seeing the EU politics, as a possible President of the European Commission. This way, his main priorities for the foreign policy domain are related to the role the High Representative should play, as a real Ministry of Foreign Affairs to the EU, the structured and permanent cooperation when it comes to the defense matters and the pause given, for the time being, to the EU enlargement. The creation of digital jobs comes as a separate section, being at the same time an important criterion of Juncker’s politics, thus forwarding the idea that this is the only way in which the Union can make a step forward, given the high speed the online medium knows nowadays.

Paralleling the two types of priorities, the ones of the European people, on one hand, and the one of the EPP candidate to the European Commission’s Presidency, on the other hand, we can only notice that these end up having a common point, on the priorities listing, only when it comes to the jobs necessity.  If, for the European citizens, the ardent issues are the ones related to the rising prices and the inflation, the economical situation of their countries and their financial safety, the essential points on the Juncker list are, following the jobs necessity one, be those in the digital medium or not, the ones of the EU energetic independence, number 10 in the citizens’ list, with 6%, and the ones of preventing and combating the organized crime, immigration and terrorism, numbers 11, 12 and 13 on the citizens’ list, with 5%, 3% and 1%. The problems shown by Juncker, when it comes to the US and the Great Britain, are not present on the citizens’ list, and neither does his politics concerning the foreign affairs policy.

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Martin Schulz

martinsSchulz_1Martin Schulz’s program, the S&D candidate for the Presidency of the European Commission, is one of the simplest ones, in terms of aspect and form, out of all those present on the candidates’ websites. Presented under a 10-priority list for the EU future, these start with his worry for the economical strengthening of Europe, next to the social justice, the creation of new jobs meant to assure the gender equality, the drastic reduction of the unemployed young people, the enforcement of the Euro and so the standard EU competitiveness on the global scene, the taxes and fiscal evasion, the constant worry for the climate and the environment by promoting the renewable resources, the strengthening of the consumer’s right and the data protection, the democracy and the EU public participation strengthening, the diversity and the state’s right to decide on their own, the Union coming to interfere only there where the states cannot command on their own, and the reiteration of the European values, pace and security in its relations with the others.

Comparing these 10 priorities of the S&D candidate to the ones of the European people, this time the similar points identified as main points are in number of two, concerning the rising prices and the inflation (number 1 – 40%) and the creation of new jobs, as well as the unemployment (20%). Next, on the people’s list, is the taxation problem (17%), mentioned on Schulz’s list, as well as on the one of the Europeans, and the one of the environment, the crime, the immigration and the terrorism: 6%, 5%, 3% and 1%. Again, nothing new on the Europeans’ list related to the priorities Schulz has shown, concerning the gender equality, the enforcement of the Euro, the rising of the EU competitiveness on the global scene or the matter of diversity and the states’ right to decide on their own.

 

Guy Verhofstadt

guyverhofstadt_1                The program suggested by Guy Verhofstadt for the European Commission’s Presidency for the next five years is one mainly focused on the fight against the economic crisis and against the profound effects it had upon Europe, following these five years of deep recession. This way, his main priorities are strictly related to the economical stability and the creation of new jobs, by enlarging and completing the banking union, the unification of the capital markets and the bounds enlargement, by making possible the credit lines extension on different projects, the creation of a European Energetic Community, the unification of the digital markets, the support of the mobile labor in other EU countries and the implementation of a new economic governance model. On the civil data and civil rights protection, the priorities enlisted are the data 21st century protection, the creation of a European anti-discrimination legislation and the one of a common politics concerning the immigration, the creation of a European prosecutor against the organized crime and the development of the European Community Defense concept. At last, the third section of the Guy Verhofstadt political program is dedicated to the real governing of the European Commission, given the role it has in the EU structure, by making good use of its legislative right, the using of a single seat, instead of three, for the EU institutions, in order for the costs to be diminished and the remodeling of the Commission according to its domains, departments and priorities.

Again, the same type of priorities are identical for the two lists, the Verhofstadt one and the Europeans one, according to their options. The jobs crisis is signaled as the main priority for the EU future, having its front place on the two lists. When it comes to the other options, these two get repeated, with the single note that the discrepancies are the same between the two lists: while the climate, environment, crime, immigration and terrorism care have their high places in Verhofstadt’s written priorities, the very same ones have obtained small numbers in the European citizen’s options, of 6%, 5%, 3% and 1%.

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Our closing conclusions

There is no need for too many comparisons drawn between the three political programs in order to realize the fact that, besides the unemployment issue, present on the list of the three main candidates to the European Commission Presidency, there is no other European worry to be written on their political program. There is, indeed, the environment issue, the organized crime one, the immigration and the terrorism, but these are differently felt by the two types of subjects: while, for candidates, these are primordial, essential matters, on whose solving the Union must immediately focus, the Europeans are only in a small number worried about these phenomena – without a doubt, the answers towards this direction coming from those who face these challenges, be those at the Union borders, or in the heart of the Central Europe, in the prosperous countries, now some sort of European heaven during these recession times.

At a first sight, we would be tempted to say that the two plans are completely disconnected; that what worries the Europeans, generally speaking, is totally different from what the candidates offer; that the issues come in the European citizens’ life have not found their solution in the responses the three candidates have come up with.

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How could the EU energetic independency or the strengthening of the Euro zone help the medical or educational system of a state-member, for example? The answers given to the United Kingdom do not make sure in any way the creation of new jobs, in the same way that a restructured Commission, meant to work as a real Govern of the European Union, whose prerogatives it already has, could not directly make sure of the data protection in the online world. In a simplest way, lacking implications and details, things could appear to be this way. It’s just that the answers given on these mentioned problems know two dimensions.

  1.  And the first one of them refers to the fact that the European Union, as itself, does not have competences in many of the domains identified by its citizens as main problematic domains, prioritized for their existence. The unemployment rate of a member-state is not directly linked to the EU, in the same way that the economical situation of a state cannot be directly coordinated from Bruxelles. The politics on the education and health system are entirely given to the government of the national states, and so are the pensions and the housing. At last, only the last four elements mentioned by the Europeans, concerning the environment and the climate, the crime, the immigration and the terrorism, are found, explicitly mentioned, on the priorities list of the three candidates – and this is because these are problems, domains found in the EU competences, there where the Union can and has to develop politics, for the well-being of the Europeans.
  1. And so we reach the second dimension of the answer identified to the discrepancies between the citizens’ daily worries and the alternatives given by the Commission candidates. The EU priorities cover a wide interest area: starting with the economic domain, through the enforcement of the Euro and the one of the European economical system, thing that will directly attract the prosperity and the well-being of the other states as well, the non-euro ones, till the social aspect, related to the jobs creation, digitally or not, the foreign affairs one and even the one concerning the internal way of Commission, all these are domains whose prosperity bring the solving of the internal problems as well, the detail problems, the daily issues of the European citizens. The frontiers security and the extinction of the immigration phenomenon are essential for a well functioning of the entire EU system. And Ukraine is, at the moment, the best example possibly offered to Europe to show the fact that we need cohesion, both economically and socially, association and a good, well established collaboration between the member-states in order to assure the general prosperity of the 28 member-states. There are differences, they always were and always will be; 50 years of European Union cannot simply erase more than 1 000 years of conflicts and intern wars for supremacy and power, on territories that now claim themselves to be friends, as well as partners. Quite contrary to the American way of thinking, where each of the 50 states has its own role in the US prosperity, the European continent has not come to life this way – but there were two world wars needed, with unimaginable consequences at the beginning of those, faced with extremist left or right ideologies, in order to be realized that a divided Europe cannot exist in peaceful terms, on a long period of time, in peace, harmony and prosperity. Today, the European Union is the answer to these two world wars, and the candidature of the three grand potential leaders to the European Commission Presidency shows exactly what Europe has always wanted, ever since: more integration, more cooperation. We need first to solve the grand, large issues of the European Union, because this is the only way in which Europe can reach the correct answers as well and, probably the most important aspect, on a long term too, for the problems that the Europeans nowadays face.

 

 

Andra AVRAM

 

 

 

 

 

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Green Village Resort, the Danube Delta impressive location, opened for tourists under maximum safety measures

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© Anca Duse
Green Village Resort opened its gates on May 15th, in maximum safety for its guests, according to an official announcement on the resort’s Facebook page.
The Danube Delta, which most of it lies within Romania, is one of the continent’s most valuable habitats for wetland wildlife and biodiversity. It is a unique ecosystem in Europe and consists of a labyrinthine network of river channels, shallow bays and hundreds of lakes.
Green Village is a stranded location, divided into 3 accommodation areas, located at a great distance from each other, and the access to the rooms is made from outside, without having to go through common halls. Thus, social distancing is ensured by the hotel’s pavilion-type concept and the surface of over 30.000 m² .
Hygiene procedures are strict and strictly observed, both for guests and hotel staff. Dispensers with disinfectant solutions have been installed at all public entrances, and the cleaning of public spaces and their contact surfaces (handles, support bars, etc.) will be performed with a much higher frequency, using professional disinfectants.
As for the Express Check-In procedure, it has been modified so that the interaction with staff or other guests on the spot is reduced as much as possible.
Also, transport by boat will be carried out in accordance with the rules in force, and the serving of meals and drinks will be carried out according to the provisions of the authorities, in the room, on the terraces of the houses, or on the balconies of the rooms.
Last but not least, Green Village Resort assures future guests that the service staff is and will continue to be thoroughly trained in cleaning and disinfection procedures.

Green Village is naturally isolated with access to immense beaches stretched for kilometres, canals where tourists can make a different trip every day, they can fish, walk in nature, watch birds, without meeting any crowds. 

„Even in a normal period, tourists felt safe and enjoyed a quiet vacation. Romania is a growing destination for foreign tourists. Although slower than we want, Romania attracts foreigners, who come here with moderate expectations, but return home beyond enchanted by the landscapes, people, and security that our country offers”, said Dragoș Anastasiu, owner of Green Village Resort.

Last year, more than 40% of our tourists were foreigners. They enjoyed mostly excursions on the canals, fishing, birdwatching, going to the beach and short trips to nearby cities such as Sulina and Tulcea.

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Romania Remains Attractive As Software Outsourcing Destination in COVID-19 times

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Romania is 1ST IN EUROPE and 6TH IN THE WORLD, in terms of number of certified IT specialists. With an estimated 150,000 in 2020, Romania is moving up the diversity spectrum in terms of outsourcing capabilities. The local talent pool has been a main decision factor for evolving from a cost driven approach to a value driven one, Romanian specialists proving to be very resourceful in operating many complex project assignments.

Romania doesn’t offer lowest prices in the outsourcing business, but it is highly competitive when you take into account the level of technical proficiency and soft skills in the country, “superior to what is typically found in other outsourcing locations,” according to IDC.

Romania also benefits from two political factors—its membership in the European Union, and strong institutional support from the government. This includes several tax incentives and breaks, alongside wages that remain highly competitive within the EU (the average minimum wage is the second lowest in the political union). More importantly, membership in the EU comes with more than just financial and security advantages, one example is access to the Horizon 2020 program for Research and Innovation.

As a member state, Romania’s regulations and compliance laws must fall in line with the broader union, meaning that companies have significantly less startup barriers when setting up BPO or ITO offices. Apart from easier setup, this gives companies a much safer framework and infrastructure for financial transactions, as well as access to many of the same financial services and banks available across the West.

We asked one of the local companies what are their thoughts on the Romanian IT sector future and how is the COVID-19 disrupting their business model:

“This highly competitive industry sometimes forces us to ignore the long-term strategy and focus on the quick opportunities. The biggest risk is that we won’t see a lot of Romanian products competitive at global scale any time soon, but definitely in almost every successful project launched today around the World there is at least one Romanian engineer in the team. We give a lot of attention to our Research and Innovation department and we try to keep the right balance between outsourcing and internal products development (chasing our dreams). Regarding the COVID-19 disrupting our business, we just practiced what we preach, we used our entire digital offering on ourselves and we were able to completely switch into remote work during lunch break” says Anamaria POPA, General Manager of Soft Galaxy.

It is not enough for the professionals out there (in institutes, universities, private companies, innovators and entrepreneurs) to press ahead with their work, they need to stand together and promote the Romanian excellence in research and education.

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Vasile Blaga, MEP: I am convinced that the firm measures adopted by the EP against Covid-19 will not stop here. The EPP Group is already working on a strategy for the rapid recovery of the post-crisis economy

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© Vasile Blaga/Facebook

Vasile Blaga, MEP (PNL, PPE) told caleaeuropeana.ro that the EPP group in the European Parliament is already working on a “very clear strategy” for managing the current crisis generated by the new coronavirus, but also for the rapid recovery of the post-crisis European economy,

The unanimous vote of the European Parliament last week on proposals from the European Commission for the management of the European health crisis shows that the hesitant response at the outbreak of the COVID 19 pandemic was an accident, explains MEP Vasile Blaga, adding that “the answer came to correct the rather timid initial reaction of the European executive in the beginning of this challenging crisis for Europe and all the other states around the world ”.

The 37 billion euros  (part of the Corona Initiative) allocated to the Member States through the vote in the European Parliament will be directed towards health systems, local communities, small and medium-sized enterprises and economy sectors seriously affected by this crisis.

“The European Union means, first and foremost, solidarity – for better and for worse, and those who support the opposite are either not aware of what is being done at EU level, or have an interest in destabilising the Union,” says Blaga.

The vote in the European Parliament was also aimed at reallocating 800 million euros from the Cohesion Fund in 2020 to cover emergencies in the medical systems of the EU member state

“I am convinced that the measures will not stop here. The EPP group is already working on a very clear strategy for managing the current crisis, but also for the rapid recovery of the economy once the public health crisis is over. There are countless proposals and projects in progress that will help us all overcome this unprecedented crisis in recent history,” adds Vasile Blaga.

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