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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

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traian-basescuRomanian President Traian Basescu gave an exclusive interview to caleaeuropeana.ro 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.

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INTERVIEW Ambassador Tacan Ildem, NATO Assistant Secretary General for Public Diplomacy: Fake news challenges our resilience. Through communication, NATO is more agile

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© Tacan Ildem/ Twitter

NATO’s centre of gravity and its essential strength is the commitment of its members to stand up for each other. Article 5 in this respect is the core of the North Atlantic Treaty, says Ambassador Tacan Ildem, Assistant of NATO’s Secretary General for Public Diplomacy.

In an interview for CaleaEuropeană.ro, on the sidelines of Bucharest Forum, Ambassador Ildem praised Romania’s efforts to contribute to NATO’s communication and branding campaign, underlining that our country holds a key role on explaining the Alliance’s policy towards the Black Sea and the Western Balkans, while enjoyind a “recognized excellence” in new technologies, both an opportunity and challenge to the nature of warfare.

Ambassador Ildem also referred to NATO’s efforts in countering fake news, drawing attention to the idea that “fake news challenge enduring public support for NATO policies.

“It challenges our resilience as societies. This is why NATO aim to counter this phenomenon calmly but firmly”, said NATO’s high-ranking official.

CaleaEuropeană.ro: Seventy years of NATO and especially thirty years since the fall of the Berlin Wall seem like far moments in history for an ordinary citizen. How do you explain to the general public the need of having the collective defense umbrella provided by NATO?

Ambassador Ildem: Thirty years ago, the Cold War ended, and with it the separation of Europe. In the last three decades, challenges have been different and yet the commitment of Allies to stand as one has endured. Better yet, new Allies have joined, including Romania, and this is illustrative of the benefits provided by membership in NATO. I believe the ordinary citizen understand well that our societies are confronted to many security challenges, both traditional ones, like Russia’s new assertive foreign policy, and less traditional ones, like cyber threats or terrorism. NATO does not replace national efforts towards defense, but it brings them together so that together, the Alliance is greater and stronger than the sum of its parts.

CaleaEuropeană.ro: After the end of Cold War NATO enlarged as a promise for newly born democracies in Central and Eastern Europe. Since 2014, the Alliance faces multiple threats including at its Eastern borders, but some are non-military and use disruptive technologies. What can NATO do more to help new allies, including Romania, to build more resilient societies in dealing with disinformation activities?

Ambassador Ildem: Disinformation is a concern for everyone, because unlike misinformation, which is unintended, disinformation is an attempt to sow error and wrong appreciations of reality intentionally. Resilience is a frame of mind, irrespective of when one joined NATO! It requires that every member of society do its part. At NATO, we consider that resilience includes pro-active communication, to inform the public and the media; reactive communication to correct what we consider partial, incomplete or tendentious reports in the information environment; and frequent face to face meetings with opinion leaders, because direct meetings develop trust, a key component of resilience. But citizens also have a role to play in countering disinformation activities, by diversifying their sources of information and by being mindful of possible political biases. NATO’s public diplomacy is contributing to this effort. 

CaleaEuropeană.ro: NATO’s ongoing process to adapt to a challenging security environment, especially on the hybrid and disinformation challenges, has found a name two years ago: “#WeAreNATO”. What is the story behind this branded communications campaign and why has it surfaced? 

Ambassador Ildem: NATO has always sought to adapt. Even before the 2014 illegal annexation of Crimea by Russia, public diplomacy was evolving rapidly taking into account the rise of social media and its impact on audiences but also on the tools communicators use. NATO considered these new developments and decided to adapt and adopt new modalities. The method evolves, but the ultimate objective remains unchanged: to reach out to diverse public in our nations. With campaigns, we are more agile, better able to measure the impact of our work, and therefore hopefully more successful as well.

CaleaEuropeană.ro: Romania is one of the pioneers of the #WeAreNATO campaign while the public support for our NATO membership raises more than 50% of the population, and these are positive facts. Even so, how can Romania, as an Eastern border of Western world, actively engage to better promote and explain NATO’s profile and measures for deterrence and defense? 

Ambassador Ildem: I am very happy that Romania has contributed so much to our campaign effort to explain NATO policies to home audiences. As your readers may not know, we have three priority publics, of which the first is the successor generation, the future leaders of Romania. We are also reaching out to women specifically. Finally, we seek to ensure that people without higher education have an understanding of Romania’s Alliance contributions. Looking forward, Romania has a role in explaining NATO’s approach to the Black Sea and Western Balkans, but also in explaining the determination of Allies to innovate in the face of disruptive new technologies – technologies that present opportunities, but that will also change the nature of warfare. I think here specifically of big data, artificial intelligence and other disruptive technologies, areas in which Romania enjoys recognized excellence.

CaleaEuropeană.ro: NATO has always been referred to as a collective defense organization guided by the principle engraved under Article 5. To what extent fake news phenomenon is a threat for NATO’s security and ability to defend its members? In this, what would be the role of public diplomacy within the Alliance in countering hybrid warfare?

Ambassador Ildem: Fake news is a complex phenomenon involving both would-be state competitors as well as non-state organizations. Its destructive intent is compounded by the new potential of social media platforms. NATO takes this reality very seriously. We chose to oppose fake news with facts, and do so through proactive press relations, social media engagements, as well as through a dynamic program of public diplomacy activities aimed at different audiences. While it does not directly affect NATO’s ability to defend itself militarily, fake news do contribute to muddying the waters and to confusing publics. Therefore fake news challenge enduring public support for NATO policies. It challenges our resilience as societies. This is why NATO aim to counter this phenomenon calmly but firmly.

CaleaEuropeană.ro: Although our transatlantic cooperation is weakened by geopolitical disruptions and the return of great power politics, NATO is almost unanimously self-considered the most successful military alliance. How are cohesion and “allied strong” approach playing up their role in keeping the West united at a time when we should celebrate three decades since the values on which NATO was founded began to find their ground in Central and Eastern Europe? 

Ambassador Ildem: NATO’s centre of gravity, its essential strength, is the commitment of its members to stand up for each other. Article 5 in this respect is the core of the North Atlantic Treaty. Cohesion among Allies is the Secretary General’s priority at all times, and that of his collaborators. This is why it is important to attend seminars such as the Bucharest Security Forum, which helps to develop a common view of challenges and threats.

CaleaEuropeană.ro: In a few weeks, NATO leaders will gather in London to mark 70 years of the North-Atlantic family. At the same time, many allies celebrate ten, fifteen or twenty years since joining the Euro-Atlantic community. What does the future hold for NATO?

Ambassador Ildem: Citizens and experts alike recognize NATO’s historical capacity to adapt. This is why it has celebrated this year its 70th anniversary. In looking to the future, NATO is again taking the steps to adapt to a changed security environment. It has taken steps to reinforce its defence and deterrence in the biggest effort in a generation, following Russia’s illegal annexation of Crimea in 2014. It is busy developing responses to hybrid and cyber challenges and to instability in the South. It seeks to enhance the resilience of its operations, and helps Allies do the same. It works with partners to strengthen their defense establishments. NATO is fully committed to remaining fit for purpose as challenges to security continue to evolve.


Ambassador Tacan Ildem was appointed Assistant Secretary General for Public Diplomacy in March 2016. He advises the Secretary General on public diplomacy issues and directs the Public Diplomacy Division (PDD), which plays a key role in conveying the Alliance’s strategic and political messages to opinion formers and to the public in general. PDD works to raise the Alliance’s profile with audiences world-wide and to build support for Alliance operations and policies.

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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.

VIDEO I

VIDEO II

 

”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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