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Exclusive interview with the Romanian President Traian Basescu: What we need is a competent Government capable of generating sustainable growth and jobs. Public trust in European Union, a record low, because EU didn’t deliver what it promised. Petty political interests are placed by the current coalition above the national interest



traian-basescuRomanian President Traian Basescu gave an exclusive interview to European and Global Affairs website,  in which he talks about austerity, Romania’s advantages and disadvantages as part of the EU, entering the Eurozone, Schengen accession, European funds, the latest CVM report, Romanians from abroad and the portrait of the future president of Romania.

President’s most important statements:

–          There is no credible alternative to austerity. Anyone can understand that you can’t get out of debt by creating new debts. Austerity is very bad for the people, for the economy and for politicians- where such measures apply. But we must admit that no matter how bad austerity is, it has significant lighter consequences to the population and economy than unsustainable interest loans over 6-7% or payment incapacity have.

–          In Romania we are at a point were we have restored macroeconomic balance, what we need is a competent Government capable of generating sustainable growth and jobs

–          European money is at our disposal. We just need the competence and the rightness to use it.

Romania’s benefits as EU member

–          Free movement of persons, free movement of goods and services, free movement of capital, direct foreign investments that have created jobs and generated technology transfer, the right to work in other EU member states and here it must be said that starting January 1st 2014, Romanians will no longer be subject to any restrictions in EU countries, European non-refundable money for agriculture and development, which, unfortunately, we haven’t used efficiently –at least not yet.

–          Disadvantages: partial disposal of sovereignty in some areas.

Public trust in European Union, a record low, because EU didn’t deliver what it promised

–          European Union did not deliver what it promised- jobs, economic recovery. It takes honesty in communicating with citizens.

–          Some national governments have paid enormous amounts of money for incompetence, business immorality, for the bankers’ greed and now the holes are covered with public money.

Joining the euro area – it is wrong to not have set a target date

–          Regarding the euro adoption, I believe it should be firmly stated in our documents a target date, and an optimum time can’t be other than 2017.

–          Some important people in Romania have stated the term 2019, or suggested not fixing at all a national target date to adopt the euro, arguing that other countries also did not have such a target.

–          Not having such a schedule is wrong. I believe that those who think otherwise,  don’t know that well the EU inner workings, or they support sectorial interests that don’t overlap the general interest.


Schengen accession – Those responsible for postponing Romania’s accession to Schengen now seem to claim that they have pulled the country out of isolation

–          Romania has good chances of entering Schengen through a JAI Council decision in December. Everything now depends on us and our Bulgarian neighbors.

–          It should be noted that Romania meets the technical criteria to enter Schengen, and if it weren’t for the parliamentary coup last summer, most certainly, at the JAI Council in October 2012, we would have entered Schengen area. It wasn’t meant to be and nobody seems to feel responsible for this. On the contrary, those responsible for postponing Romania’s accession to Schengen now seem to claim that they have pulled the country out of isolation.


CVM report- We still have a minister under criminal investigation. Petty political interests are still more important to the current coalition than national interest

–          We still have a minister under criminal investigation, which makes Europeans look at us as to a country that has different standards than the European ones; we still try legislative tricks in the MPs Statute, in the immunity area or in the incompatibility one.

–          These are risks in our way to the accession to Schengen, and it also proves that petty political interests are placed by the current coalition above the national interest.

European funds

–          European funds have become a vulnerability for Romania.

–          It as an example of lack of patriotism and administrative capacity. How else can you explain the lack of interest for not using 19 billion euro to modernize infrastructure and to create new jobs?

–          It is the right thing to do, to say that former minister of Tourism is an exception; there the absorption was better and at least, until last year, according to the schedule. The figures show it.

–          Otherwise, both ministers and officials have proven their incompetence and lack of patriotism.

–          Statements such as <this year we will absorb 50% of the European funds>, coming from the government seem to be a rhetoric without coverage that places the government in an area of incompetence and instability of understanding the mechanism of absorbing European funds.


Romanians abroad – Either introduce electronic voting or voting by mail, or increasing the number of polling sections abroad to 10.000-11.000

–          The greatest humiliation these people suffer from their state is when they want to express their right to vote guaranteed by the Constitution.

The problem should be solved through the new electoral law by either introducing electronic voting or voting by mail, or increasing the number of polling sections abroad to 10.000-11.000 in Romanian communities. Otherwise, we will continue to have distorted election results.


The situation in Moldova seems to be detached from a manual that was used in Bucharest in the summer of 2012

–          -Unfortunately, recent political developments in Chisinau could discredit all politicians’ work in recent years and especially people’s sacrifices to approach EU.

–          – The scandal regarding the replacement of the Prosecutor-General, dismissing the President of Moldovan Parliament, the major attack on the Constitutional Court judges, the alliance within the Parliament between a center-right party and the communists, they all seem to be learned from a manual used in Bucharest in the summer of 2012.

–          Chisinau politicians must understand now, at the eleventh hour, the responsibility they have for the country and for future generations.

“People’s Movement” will have to create a center-right party. If successful, the foundation will have to create a power vehicle for implementing solutions, and that vehicle can’t be other than a center-right party based on local branches spread throughout the country.

About the future president – Romania does not need a President that would turn everything silent. All thefts, al illegalities are made quietly, in silence.

–          – What I can say for sure is that Romania does not need a president that would turn everything silent in politics and in the state institutions.

–          – Romania has parties and institutions still far from perfect, which make the President’s  public statements mandatory as an element of pressure for correcting things.

–          Those who, in a country like Romania, want complete silence must know that all thefts all illegalities are done quietly, in silence.

The crisis will pass and EU will remain to ensure a decent living

No matter how hard it is for us in this time of crisis, we must know that in a few years, the crisis will pass, and the European Union will remain to ensure a decent living for its citizens.

Full version (RO) AVAILABLE HERE.


MEP Vasile Blaga: EU must create solid programs in order to rebuild the labor market



©Vasile Blaga/ Facebook

MEP Vasile Blaga, a member of the EPP Group in the European Parliament, stresses that the European Union must create solid programs for consolidating and rebuilding the labor market after the COVID-19 period.

“Economic data for the second quarter of 2020 show a worrying decline in the labor market across the European Union. In Romania, the number of closed employment contracts has increased alarmingly – we are approaching one million closed employment contracts, and the number of closed contracts on 15 July is double compared to 1st June 2020. The most affected sectors are manufacturing and it is possible that in the next period we will see a massive increase in contracts in the hospital industry, still affected by the restrictions generated by the pandemic “, said the MEP for Calea Europeană media platform.

According to the Liberal MEP, protecting jobs must be the number one priority for the European Union.

“It is clear that the European Union must be massively concerned with protecting existing jobs and financially stimulating the creation of new ones ”, he added.

Private sector employment must also be a priority for the European Commission: “Direct funding through various forms of private sector employment must be a priority for the Commission in the next period, complemented by the stimulation of sectors severely affected by pandemic – the hospitality industry and the arts and entertainment sector are a priority in this regard “, said the EPP MEP Vasile Blaga.

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MEP Vasile Blaga: The European Parliament was divided between East and West in the vote for the Mobility Package



© Vasile Blaga/Facebook

MEP Vasile Blaga (PNL, EPP) points out that the European Parliament was divided between East and West in the vote for the Mobility Package during the week’s plenary session and criticizes protectionism in a market declared “free”.

“The East lost the vote even if, this time, the ideological separations were erased and it voted in corpore for the defense of the rights of the eastern carriers. All amendments tabled to address some of the discriminatory provisions contained in the legislative proposal have been rejected. Anyone with common sense understands that thousands of trucks that drive even empty every eight weeks to the country where they are registered are a major source of pollution, a substantial addition to traffic, and an aberrant waste of resources. Some provisions appear to be dedicated to Eastern carriers, which do nothing but operate fairly and honestly in a freely competitive market. In essence, protectionism is practiced in a market declared free “, the MEP said in a press release.

The Liberal MEP hopes that the analysis of the European Executive will turn the whole process upside down: “There is still hope that the European Executive will show the truth in the impact analysis it has to carry out by the end of the year “, added Vasile Blaga.

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EC Communication chief warns: Disinformation is a real threat to public health during COVID-19 crisis



Disinformation has presented itself as a real threat to public health during the outbreak of the novel coronavirus, Pia Ahrenkilde Hansen, the head of the DG Communication of the European Commission, said on Wednesday.

During the conference “Communicating Europe: corona, recovery and beyond”  the director of CaleaEuropeană.ro platform, Dan Cărbunaru, asked the Director-General of DG Communication of the European Executive, regarding the European Union instruments used in the hybrid warfare, but also how the European Commission intends to act through its expertise against misinformation and to protect the citizens against fears.

Pia Ahrenkilde Hansen, as Director-General DG Communication, explained to CaleaEuropeană.ro the steps that the European executive has taken, in order to take effective measures against disinformation and mitigate the real threat to public health.


Dan Cărbunaru: ”As you finished your presentation, initially, talking about misinformation, I would like to ask you something about it, because each crisis that hit Europe was treated as an opportunity usually to develop new tools for providing an increased European approach in solving European citizens problems. And in the last years, we saw the pressure, we felt the pressure heavily put by the propaganda and the tools of hybrid war. And my question for you is, as we know that we have some tools; EU is stuck on the task force, for instance, do you intend does the Commission intend to protect the public’s fears, using this expertise, this kind of expertise already, let’s say tested in combat, and which is on the European Union, the major risk identified so far in terms of hybrid war in Europe.”

Pia Ahrenkilde Hansen: Thank you very much for this very important question.

”Of course indeed as you also stressed there are several actors in this at the institutional level in the European Union. You are right,  that it’s absolutely something that has grown very rapidly since the beginning of the crisis, and it has continued to spread, as we saw the crisis the coronavirus crisis, playout and indeed, it has been playing very much on people’s fears, in relation to this particular crisis and, and the increased use of social media. And it has, in the context of the coronavirus crisis, it has really even presented a real threat to public health, as well as, indeed, and that’s not new. Those who have propagated this information have taken advantage of the situation to sometimes push political agendas. As far as the action that we have been taken. We have definitely reverted also in this crisis many myths, a lot of misinformation because there’s misinformation and then there’s disinformation this deliberate malign attempt to manipulate opinion and information, but I mentioned, everything that has been circulating about the health aspects of the disease, of course, or the, the disease itself or the treatments or the vaccines I referred to it already, as well as also. And there are, indeed, some foreign actors have come in as well. When it comes to the perceived lack of EU response or perceived lack of solidarity.

Our president was very conscious of this from an early moment and asked us to have as part of this website that she asked us to create, to communicate what Europe is doing to fight the coronavirus crisis. She also asked us to have a disinformation section there.

So that we actually in all languages, and in a format that makes it very easy also to share these stories setting the record straight if you like on social media.

This is one part of the, of the strategy, it is of course to provide the stories, and the facts in a very accessible way also when it comes to the crisis but in a broader frame when it comes to dealing with this information it’s also about informing and educating the public about this disinformation itself, how it works as a phenomenon, and indeed the danger that it poses in this case both to public health, and to democracy, and this is something that this commission is also very concerned about, you will have heard our vice president Jurova also in addition to the president herself and other members of the college have been very strongly voicing their concern in this area. So, communicating actually very actively and regularly, about how you actually identify disinformation, and how a typical online user can protect himself from disinformation is also part of the response. So, without having the time to go into all the details, a very multifaceted approach is needed. Also involving working with platforms as we do and we have done for some time now, such as Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and since this month, also Tick Tock on developing standards to maintain the online information environment clean from harmful misinformation and disinformation.

And then we have our code of practice which is actually the first of its kind of a self-regulatory effort in this area which is definitely called upon to grow even more important and ambitious as we as we go along, and we will see to which extent, it needs to be complemented with with with regulation.

We also need to fund, and that’s what we’re doing, we’re funding researchers and civil society organizations that are dedicated to studying also the phenomenon of disinformation and to finding solutions and, and fact-checking is also very independent fact-checking of course it’s not something we do, but we support it, as well as developing new technologies we will also be able to be helped by artificial intelligence in this respect, definitely. And therefore, and then also protecting elections and public information to do this.

You refer to the EEAS and it’s true that the EEAS has played a truly a crucial role in fighting disinformation as a foreign policy threat, you refer to that and that has expanded to now, including more teams that are focusing on different regions outside the EU, where this information might originate, and you will find in relation to the corona crisis, which quite comprehensive information on where we are stepping up the action, and this includes also doing more on social media in the debate and the Member States.

On the 10th of June when we published a document on how we intend to step up the action and learn the lessons, from the coronavirus crisis when it comes to disinformation. But by the end of the day, it’s also about building trust in institutions having a strong communications environment, and this support to independent media that I mentioned, in addition to because it happens, it starts with ourselves and how do we actually explain things that we know to our friends and families and how do we think about sharing social media posts that we see, this is something that all of us have to pay very much attention to. So, checking your sources and thinking before sharing I think is also the part of the reflex that everyone needs to embrace so promoting that is very important as well.”

OpenEUDebate is a Jean Monnet network of academic institutions (Universidad Autonoma de Madrid, Spain; the National University of Political and Administrative Studies – SNSPA, Romania; Institut d’études européennes de l’Université libre de Bruxelles, Belgium; The Vrije Universiteit Brussel, Belgium and Agenda Pública, Spain.
”We intend to create a self-sustainable network of experts of varying degrees of seniority working as mediators with national communities of beneficiaries and users that will influence the public debate. The OpenEUdebate community will address two types of fragmentation: between the local-national and the European public sphere, and between specialized knowledge and public debate.”
OpenEUDebate ”will be an accessible and inclusive community where issues are debated critically with a wide range of views. It will “translate” expert knowledge (about contents and procedures) into relevant information for public debate; it will explain the terms of its politicization (above partisan lines); and will enhance the level of public deliberation about it.”
Pia Ahrenkilde Hansen sits at the meeting point of EU communications and policy. She has been Director-General of DG Communication (COMM) since March 2019 and has been overseeing the communication around the European Commission’s response to the coronavirus crisis. Previous roles have included Deputy Secretary-General of the European Commission and Chief Spokesperson of the European Commission. She holds a Master of Science in International Business Administration and Modern Languages, Copenhagen Business School, with a dissertation on European Identity.

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