Different sorts of messages and rhetorics underscored by populist and Eurosceptic forces in Europe find themselves in a common goal with Russia: to weaken and divide Europe, strongly points the European People’s Party, Joseph Daul, in an exclusive interview granted for CaleaEuropeana.ro. The view of the European leader comes before important electoral moments in Europe: this year Romania will hold its parliamentary elections, while in 2017 the presidential elections in France and the legislative ones in Germany will be the headline for the political future within the continent. Nonetheless, the European Elections from 2019 are not that far.
Simultaneously, the leader of the largest political family in Europa has explained how the European Union can rise out of its crises that have brought the European project in uncertainty and which are the necessary measures for a better cooperation in fighting against terrorism.
Robert Lupițu (R.L.): We had in the last years as followed: national debt crisis, Greece debt crisis and its inability of payment on the financial markets, challenging and revisionist security environment in the Eastern Neighborhood. Now, with the migration crisis, UK’s agreement and referendum and the danger of terrorism, is proven that Europe cannot cope with multiple crises. What is your diagnosis on this and your overview for the near future?
Joseph Daul (J.D.): On the contrary, the EU has proved that it can cope with any crisis if it stays united. We should always see a crisis as an opportunity to take bold steps ahead and make the necessary changes to become more resilient. The answer to each of these crisis is more European integration.
For example, during the financial crisis we were able to stay united and implement drastic reforms at the European level in a record time, like the Banking Union or the European stability mechanism to protect our citizens’ finances and prepare the EU economy for future challenges.
At the national level, the EPP governments in countries such as Cyprus, Latvia, Ireland, Spain, and Portugal showed courage and leadership and together with the sacrifices from their citizens succeeded in putting their economies back on track. Even if these government understood that unpopular measures will turn away many voters, they still put their interest of their citizens first. Every EU member that encountered difficulties has received help to overcome the crisis. EU solidarity exists and it functions.
As regards ongoing challenges, like Greece, migration, or Brexit, I believe we can find a solution but only if we stay united and respect the rules. For instance, the European Commission has put forward the necessary measures to help deal with the refugee crisis and alleviate the burden on the member states. But it was also up to each country individually to implement the Commission’s proposals.
Whatever the future has in store for us, we must always embrace every challenge and turn it into an opportunity. We live in an ever changing world and Europe also needs to constantly adapt to these new changes. Only by working towards finding solutions together, we will be able to overcome our problems. Europe is not the problem but the solution despite what the populists are saying. The populists are a threat to our values as they can only offer simple solutions to complex problems but none of their answers are sustainable at the end.
R.L.: On the terrorist threat: different locations (Charlie Hebdo, Saint Denis, Bataclan, Zaventem, Maelbeek) the same result – panic, deaths, insecurity and no prospective. Does Europe, as a whole, need to learn that this is our new modus vivendi? If not, what are the concrete actions in this direction? Passengers Data Flight directive, Schengen Information System update, EUROPOL enhanced capabilities etc.? If intelligence services cooperation is possible, what should be the driving force for that to happen? It seems that political consent is not enough?
J.D.: While I condemn all terrorist attacks against innocent people, I strongly believe that we should maintain our way of life and not yield to terror. Our societies are based on democracy, freedom, and tolerance, and we must stay united in front of these threats by defending our values and fight any type of extremism.
It is clear that we are facing new security challenges in Europe with foreign fighters returning from Syria and Europeans becoming radicalized by terrorist organisations. This new reality requires more efforts from the member states on all levels. One of the EPP’s priority has been to ensure the safety of our citizens. In order to achieve that, we believe that the EU should have a real and functional security and defence policy, including a European army, as we already stated at our congress last autumn in Madrid. We need a European army not to make war but to maintain peace.
EU countries’ intelligence services are already cooperating among each other and I am confident that such collaboration will continue to increase. Apart from internal cooperation, we should also work closely with our neighbouring countries to prevent and identify these threats.
The EPP has also been the driving force in the European Parliament to pass legislation that would help EU countries prevent more terrorist threats, like the European Fingerprint Database (EURODAC), the Schengen Information System II (SISII), or the European Criminal Record System (ECRIS) and the Directive on Terrorism. The EPP group in the European Parliament also advocated for months to adopt immediately the law on the Passenger Name Record (PNR) but the process got delayed as other political parties blocked it until recently.
The EPP will continue working towards making Europe a safe place.
R.L.: Europe’s relation with Russia has divergent views: The European Parliament has a consent for keeping the sanctions up, in the Council the Member Countries seem divided, at the Commission President Juncker had criticized declaration Passau last year about Russia. Now, with the Panama Papers, there are data that reveal suppositions: Russian financing through off-shores Euro-sceptic and populist factions like Marine Le Pen’s National Front. How should the European Union continue to act regarding Russia and how the foreseeable future looks for EaP countries, like Moldova, Georgia and Ukraine – is it a European one?
J.D.: One of the preconditions for the EU to let go of the restrictive measures against Russia is the fulfilment of the Minsk agreement by the Russian Federation. As long as these conditions are not met and the Russian aggression against Ukraine continues, the EPP will not support lifting the sanctions.
It is no secret that Russia has been financing National Front of Marine Le Pen in France as well as fully supporting the European extreme-left and extreme-right. If there is one goal Russia shares with the populist parties in Europe, is to weaken and divide Europe.
EU enlargement has been one of the most successful European policies and an effective tool in promoting democracy, reforms, and economic development. The EPP family has always been supportive of the Balkan and Eastern Partnership countries that are seeking to join the European Union and will continue to advocate for enlargement until these countries are ready to join our Union. In the meantime, these countries must implement the necessary reforms and put in place the rule of law, fight corruption and achieve an independent justice system. Only then they will be able to offer a stable economic environment to foreign investors, which will lead to more jobs and prosperity for their citizens, and ultimately a place in the EU family.
We also call for Russia to respect the territorial integrity of every country. The annexation of Crimea and the pressure it exerts on the Eastern Partnership countries with embargoes and geopolitical games is unacceptable.
Read other CaleaEuropeana.ro interviews on similar topics:
Special Interview. Paulo Rangel, EPP MEP&leader of the European Ideas Network: “Europe isn’t empowered enough to answer and to respond to crisis. We have to take steps towards a more federalist model in Europe”
Take part in the #EUCanBeatCancer campaign. EPP group urge the Member States to join forces and fight cancer together
EPP Group, the largest political family in the European Parliament, is launching a cancer awareness campaign, the disease that causes one of four deaths in Europe.
Through #EUCanBeatCancer campaign, the EPP group calls for better cooperation between research centers in Europe, more money for cancer research, but also fair and accessible care across Europe for citizens.
How can you get involved in the #EUCanBeatCancer campaign
You can join the 1537 citizens already registered in the campaign through 4 simple steps:
- You subscribe using the email address HERE
- Follow the #EUCanBeatCancer campaign on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter
- Use the Twibbon in the profile picture
- Draw the Twibbon symbol and post it in order to show support
Everyone has their own story about cancer, even European politicians or leaders:
According to the World Health Organization, one third of cancers are preventable and half of the deaths could be prevented.
Breast cancer is the second most common form of cancer in Romania and in many cases the disease is detected when it is already in an advanced stage.
According to the private health network, Regina Maria, in Romania, 80% of breast cancers are diagnosed in the advanced phase, a stage in which the treatment can not bring healing, but only prolong the survival.
Romania had the lowest rates (0.2% of women aged 50-69 – 2015) in breast cancer screening.
Our multimedia platform – Calea Europeana – has joined the #EUCanBeatCancer campaign. During the campaign informative articles will be published and we will keep you updated with the measures taken at European level to beat cancer.
Citizens’ and Youth Agoras to be the cornerstone of the Conference on the Future of Europe, MEPs say
Citizen and Youth meetings should set the tone for EU reform, according to the resolution adopted on Wednesday by the European Parliament, were MEPs propose establishing several Citizens’ and Youth Agoras under the Future of Europe Conference that should be launched on Europe Day 2020.
Following a debate with Dubravka Šuica, Commission Vice-President for Democracy and Demography and Nikolina Brnjac, representing the Croatian Presidency of the Council, Parliament adopted a resolution setting out its vision for the upcoming Conference on the Future of Europe with 494 votes for, 147 against and 49 abstentions.
MEPs want citizens to be at the core of broad discussions on how to tackle internal and external challenges that were not foreseen at the time of the Lisbon Treaty. People of all backgrounds, civil society representatives and stakeholders at European, national, regional and local level must be involved in setting the EU’s priorities in line with citizens’ concerns in a bottom-up, transparent, inclusive, participatory and well-balanced approach.
Parliament proposes establishing several Citizens’ Agoras (thematic fora of citizen representatives chosen randomly in line with proportionality and representativeness criteria), and at least two Youth Agoras, each comprising 200-300 citizens with a minimum of three per member state. Citizen representatives will discuss Agora conclusions at the Conference Plenary with MEPs and national parliament representatives, Council ministers, Commission Vice-Presidents and representatives of other EU institutions, bodies and social partners.
In addition to high-level support from the presidents of the three main EU institutions, Parliament urges Council and Commission to commit to the possibility of treaty change. The adopted text also underlines that a permanent mechanism to engage citizens should be considered.
Parliament is the first among the three main EU institutions to adopt a position on the set-up and scope of the upcoming Conference. Negotiations with the Commission and the European Council should be concluded in time for the Conference to be launched on Europe Day 2020 (May 9) and run until summer 2022.
EPP Secretary General Antonio López-Istúriz: The Orban-Iohannis couple will represent the European approach Romania needs so much
The Orban-Iohannis couple will represent the European approach Romania is so much in need of, is the statement made by the Secretary General of the European People’s Party, Antonio López-Istúriz White, for the caleaeuropeana.ro correspondent in Brussels.
This statement was made in the context of the interview given to caleaeuropeana.ro, following the meeting of the EPP Secretary General with the Prime Minister of Romania, Ludovic Orban, on the third and last day of his visit to the institutions of the European Union.
See also EPP Secretary General Antonio López-Istúriz: Romania can no longer stay outside Schengen. This is an unacceptable situation that the EPP will fight to change and we will support whatever measures prime minister Orban takes in this sense
”Things are changing and I think it is good for Romania to have a government that really is in line with the European institutions. Here in the EPP are very happy about it, we know Ludovic Orban as well as president Klaus Iohannis and I think the couple is going to represent this European approach that Romania so much needs”, said Antonio López-Istúriz, referring to the period of social-democratic governance during which Romania’s image at European level was compromised.
Moreover, the EPP Secretary General appreciated that the Prime Minister’s visit to the EU institutions was ”a good occasion for a politician like Ludovic Orban, who I have known for several years, to build a profile here in Brussels”. He added that the Prime Minister has been received ”not only as a friend, but also as a trusted representative of Romania by commissioners, the president of the Commission…”.
In this context, López-Istúriz cited the words of David Sassoli, the president of the European Parliament, who said about the visit that ”Ludovic Orban and the new government bring new hope for the relations between Romania and the EU after, unfortunately, the bad episode of last year when the Romanian commissioner-designate did not pass the test which demonstrated that the government at that time was not in line with the EU reality”.
Prime Minister Ludovic Orban is on a work visit to the NATO and European Union institutions in Brussels from Tuesday to Thursday for meetings with the Presidents of the European Council, the European Commission and the European Parliament, as well as with NATO Secretary General.
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