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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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INCSMPS organises the ”GLOBE Competence Framework -New Skills for Green Jobs” European Conference (LIVE, September 26th, 10:00)

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© Conferința Globe (www.competenteverzi.ro)

The National Scientific Research Institute for Labour and Social Protection (INCSMPS) is organising the European Conference ”GLOBE Competence Framework – New Skills for Green Jobs. Game Based Training To Develop Transversal Green Skills in Apprenticeship Programmes”.

The event will take place on Thursday, September 26th, at the Marshal Garden Hotel in Bucharest, and will be live streamed on CaleaEuropeană.ro and on Calea Europeană’s Facebook Page, starting at 10:00.

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”GLOBE Competence Framework – New Skills for Green Jobs. Game Based Training To Develop Transversal Green Skills in Apprenticeship Programmes” is financed through an Erasmus + project.

The objectives of GLOBE project are: answer to shortage of skills and competences in green economy; contributing to update the national competence and skills framework, including new competences for green economy and up-dating traditional professional profiles ac-cording to the new requirements; improve the training delivery mechanism, through the development and use of innovative learning and training resources (game based learning); dealing with the dual challenge of green economy, making economic growth compatible with climate stabilisation and sustainable environment footprint through the development of green skills and competences in apprentice; contributing to develop the social dimension of green economy, promoting training and adapting labour.

As for INCSMPS, since it was established, in 1990, the institute has performed scientific research activities in the field of labour market and social protection, thus supporting Romania’s efforts to create and develop a sustainable economy, based on modern, European principles. The scientific research in the institute is related to the labour market and social policy, for the creation of measurement instruments, indices and criteria.

INCSMPS has as main object of activity the research and development in the field of social and humanist sciences, carry out surveys and research with theoretical-applicative character in fields of national interest regarding the human resources management, social development and social protection in Romania.

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Foreign Affairs Minister Ramona Mănescu: The Strategic Partnership with the US is the central focus of the Romanian diplomacy, while the accession to Schengen remains a priority

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Foreign Affairs Minister Ramona Mănescu said on Thursday that Romania’s accession to Schengen remains a priority of the Romanian diplomacy.

“Evoking the period when I was MEP, I can certainly tell you that (…) all the time both [the European] Parliament and the Commission said Romania was prepared to join Schengen, from a technical and logistical point of view. (…) Practically, we function de facto as a Schengen member state, but de jure we are not regarded as such. Romania doesn’t ask anything but the observance of the Treaty, we are members with full rights, we met our commitments and we seriously continue to meet them, no one can challenge Romania’s contribution to the security space, because we are not talking only about the eastern flank of NATO, we are also talking about EU’s eastern flank,” Ramona Mănescu told Antena 3 private television broadcaster on Thursday, quoted by Agerpres.

She maintained that the Romanian citizens “have all the right to get this well-deserved position of Schengen member state.”

“This is not something we must beg for, or be made a favour. It is provided in the Treaty and it must be observed. (…) I assure you we keep this on the agenda as priority topic, and all bilateral and extended discussions will include the Schengen accession component, we won’t stop from telling our colleagues in the EU that the Romanian citizens have the same rights,” Mănescu underscored, mentioning that, at present, in the Council half of the states support Romania’s accession to the free movement area, and the others oppose.

The Foreign Minister also pointed out that the Strategic Partnership with the US must remain the central focus of the Romanian diplomacy.

She also showed that Romania has the same position towards Russia as NATO and the EU.

“Romania’s position towards Russia starts in the first place from the vicinity we are in, but it is also part of the EU’s position regarding Russia, as we are part of the EU, we must get in line with EU’s stand. I am referring to sanctions, to certain limitations that we have in the dialogue and cooperation with Russia and I am particularly referring to the firm position we have as EU member, which we have always had, of observing the international legislative framework. We don’t ask too much from Russia as an actor on the geopolitical stage if we ask them to respect the international legislative framework. (…) It is the principle which we start from and which we cannot fail to keep not even for Russia, which is here, close to us. We have no reason to make an exception, because nothing is negotiable in this story,” Ramona Mănescu said.

According to the Minister, the relation with Russia represents “a key point in the stability in the area, in securing NATO’s eastern flank, in the manner in which we can further manage the discussions in the Black Sea. “The threats and gestures which Russia has repeatedly done in the Black Sea space, from a military stand, have been sanctioned all the time. (…) Both NATO and the EU have the same discourse. Romania cannot have a different discourse, because it is both part of the EU and NATO, and we are at the Black Sea,” she added.

Mănescu also said that she expected “the energy diplomacy to have its word,” in regards to the resources in the Black Sea.

“Our desire is for a partner such as Exxon to stay here and continue to work together as much and as well as possible. This entails our making some steps in an expected direction. I believe things will settle in the end, enter the right track and I even want to clarify this position shortly and the US partners must be convinced that we’ll be keeping the same line. (…) Mrs PM wants this as well,” Mănescu said.

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Romania has a new Foreign Affairs Minister. Ramona Mănescu took the oath of office

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Ramona Mănescu, Nicolae Moga and Mihai Fifor took the oath of office on Wednesday in the presence of President Klaus Iohannis for the Interior and Foreign Affairs Ministries office, Deputy Prime Minister for implementing Romania’s strategic partnerships office respectively.

The head of state wished success to the new three members of the Dancila Cabinet.

The swearing-in ceremony was attended by Prime Minister Viorica Dancila, ministers, Deputy Speaker of the Deputies’ Chamber Florin Iordache, Government Secretary General Toni Grebla and presidential advisors.

President Klaus Iohannis signed on Wednesday the decrees appointing Nicolae Moga as Interior Minister and Ramona Mănescu as Foreign Affairs Minister, according to a Presidential Administration release.

Through another decree, Mihai Fifor was appointed Deputy Prime Minister for implementing Romania’s strategic partnerships.

Furthermore, Iohannis took note of Carmen Dan’s resignation from the Interior Ministry and signed the decree dismissing Teodor Meleșcanu from the Foreign Affairs Minister office.

Ramona Mănescu is a Romanian politician and lawyer. She was a Member of the European Parliament serving 2007 to 2013 and 2014 to 2019 from the National Liberal Party (till July 2017), active within the European People’s Party group in the European Parliament.

As part of this group she is a member of the European Parliament Committee on Foreign Affairs, vice-chair in the Delegation for relations with the Mashreq countries and a substitute member in the Committee on transport and tourism and in Delegation for relations with the Arab Peninsula.

Between 2007 and 2014 she was part of the ALDE group in the European Parliament, where she also held the position of Vice-President (11 November 2012 – June 2014) of the ALDE Party (Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe Party). As a member of this group she is a coordinator in the Regional Development Committee and a member in the Committee on Employment and Social Affairs.

At the European Parliamentary elections from June 2014, Mănescu renewed her mandate within European Parliament, where she became a member of the European People’s Party group in the Parliament European.

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