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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.

Robert Lupițu este redactor-șef, specialist în relații internaționale, jurnalist în afaceri europene și doctorand în domeniul reasigurării strategice a NATO. Robert este laureat al concursului ”Reporter și Blogger European” la categoria Editorial și co-autor al volumelor ”România transatlantică” și ”100 de pași pentru o cetățenie europeană activă”. Face parte din Global Shapers Community, o inițiativă World Economic Forum, și este Young Strategic Leader în cadrul inițiativelor The Aspen Institute. Din 2019, Robert este parte a programului #TT27 Leadership Academy organizat de European Political Strategy Center, think tank-ul Comisiei Europene.

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”From Brain drain to Brain gain” – #EPPLocalDialogue in Brussels will be hosted by Emil Boc Mayor of Cluj-Napoca on Thursday, 5 December

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© EPP Group CoR/ Twitter

Emil Boc, Mayor of Cluj-Napoca and a member of the European Committee of the Regions, will host in Brussels the debate ”From Brain drain to Brain gain”.

Emil Boc, Mayor of Cluj-Napoca (EPP/RO) is also the CoR rapporteur on Brain drain in the EU: addressing the challenge at all levels

Esther de Lange, (EPP/NL), Member of the European Parliament, Vice-president of the EPP Group and Dubravka Šuica, (EPP/HR), Commissioner-designate responsible for Democracy and Demography will also atend the event.

Open debate with the audience will be moderated by Dan Carbunaru Calea Europeana.

This event will be broadcasted LIVE on CaleaEuropeană.ro and on Calea Europeană Facebook Page on December 5th  starting at 16h30.

© epp.cor.europa.eu

Brain drain – the loss of an educated and skilled workforce – is a challenge affecting local communities and regions, but also member states and the European Union as a whole. In 2017, approximately 4.2 million EU citizens aged between 15 and 64 with a tertiary education were residing in an EU country other than their country of citizenship. Every citizen is concerned: from the worker in constructions to researchers who are able to move within the EU. However, they should do this because they want it, and not because they are pushed by poverty, limited working opportunities or a lack of possibilities to express their talents.

This EPP Local Dialogue will look into what the EU can do for its citizens to transform ‘brain drain’ into a ‘brain gain’ – an opportunity for both the receiving communities and the places of origin.

Participants will have the chance to share their real-life stories on brain drain in an open dialogue with their regional and local elected politicians, as well as with representatives from the European Parliament and the European Commission. The aim is to share experiences on how local and regional authorities can tackle brain drain in their areas, while identifying needs and resources to cope with the phenomenon also at national and EU levels. The event will be web streamed and followed by a networking session.

Interpretation will be provided in English and French.

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Ursula von der Leyen for Calea Europeană: Europe will never be a purely military alliance. The European Defence Union will always be complementary to NATO

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© European Commission

Conducted by Dan Cărbunaru, edited by Robert Lupițu

NATO is the strongest military Alliance in the world, while Europe will never be a purely military alliance, says Ursula von der Leyen the new President of the European Commission. After her College of Commissioners confirmation vote in the European Parliament, von der Leyen discussed with CaleaEuropeană.ro and other major EU media outlets on the challenges and priorities of the Commission for the next five years.

NATO will always be collective defence, the article 5. Always. Is it the strongest military Alliance in the world and Europe will never be a purely military alliance. That is clear”, said von der Leyen, former German minister of Defence, in a response to a question of CaleaEuropeană.ro‘s director, Dan Cărbunaru, on the Commission’s approach on defence and the relation with NATO considering Macron’s latest statements about the “brain death” of the Atlantic alliance.

On the other hand, von der Leyen suggested that while being complementary to NATO, the European Union has to gain autonomy because of its “unique sets of instruments”.

There are fields where I do not see NATO, but the European Union with its unique sets of instruments – from development cooperation to neighbourhood funds, strong diplomacy and stabilization forces – is needed or called upon. And for that, in crisis or prevention, the European Union has to have functioning structured and procedures. If I look at the defence sector over the last three years, Europa has stepped up impressively by building up the European Defence Union. In order that if the political will is there to act we are able to act. In parenthesis, five years ago in Mali, Europe wanted to do something and was not able. And we have to have the structures and procedures to do so and this is about the European Defence Union” she explained.

Finally, she argued strongly that “the European Defence Union will always be complementary to NATO“.

“Twenty-two member states are also in the alliance of NATO. Or it is smart to be complementary and not redundant, she concluded.

Her remarks, followed by her vision on the relations with US and China, come before the NATO gathering in London, next week, where Donald Trump, Emmanuel Macron, Angela Merkel and the other Euro-atlantic leaders will discuss the future of the Alliance.

As for the relations with US and China, Ursula von der Leyen had a tailored and values based approached.

“For our American friends, I will never forget that we are always sitting on the same side of the table when it comes to transatlantic bonds and shared values. Because our transatlantic friendship it is built of resilience, of personal friendship, cultural exchange, students exchange, business contacts, projects we have together. It is a solid foundation that carried us for many decades and I will cherish it. Of course, we do have tough issues. We are debating with the White House, but knowing how close our ties are, I think it is a good thing to be frank with each other, to negotiate hard, but to never forget we have a common cause”, she said.

“China is challenging us in many ways. I think there are topics where we should be very clear on. From human rights to human security, but there are also topics where we can build a positive agenda. One of them is fight against climate change. China now moving on the direction of working close with those who are fulfilling the Paris Agreement. (…) On 5G,  the Commission has gathered all the main points from the member states and we will come up with a recommendation on how to deal with that topic till the end of the year. I think we will be clear on standards. That should be a common approach in the whole European Union”, she concluded.

 

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Ursula von der Leyen for Calea Europeană: Cohesion and agriculture funds need to mainstreamed to the European Green Deal and digitalisation

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© European Commission

Conducted by Dan Cărbunaru, edited by Robert Lupițu

The future EU multi-annual budget should take into consideration that the next seven years will look completely different from today and the cohesion, says Ursula von der Leyen.

Therefore, cohesion agriculture policies would need to be mainstreamed under the umbrella of the two top priorities for the next European Commission, respectively the European Green Deal and digitalisation, she added in a response to CaleaEuropeană.ro during an interview with six major EU media outlets after her College of Commissioners received the confirmation from the European Parliament.

Asked by CaleaEuropeană.ro‘s director Dan Cărbunaru on whether she supports the approach of cutting money from agriculture and cohesion funds and directing it to climate change and digital or if she supports the idea of increasing national allocations for the EU budget, von der Leyen said:

The financial framework for the next seven years will have to take in account that the seven years will completely be different than the last seven years we had. When the old plan was issued we did not have the Russian annexation of Crimea, the word ISIS or Daesh or whatever is it known in our language was not known, we didn’t know anything about the destabilisation of Africa, just to name some. The environment topic was not the highest on the agenda. We started to understand what digitalisation will mean in a transition. Therefore, as the next seven years will look completely different we will have to adjust the budget. But for the European Green Deal to be successful, of course cohesion funds will have to be mainstreamed to. By that I mean we should not subsidize contradictory projects. For example, on having air pollution or having carbon emission. Same goals for the agriculture budget. It is already streamlined on the green topic. So these two pillars will pay into the green agenda to. It does not go one against the other, but we have to mainstream the agriculture, the cohesion and the modernisation part on the goal of climate neutral in 2050”.

The new President of the European Commission underlined that she can guarantee that the budget will be mainstreamed as for the topics of cohesion, agriculture, green deal and digitalisation

”It has promote and bring forward the European Green Deal and digitalization and not hinder it”, she stressed.

As part of the broader interview, Ursula von der Leyen pointed out that the European Green Deal and digitalisation have to mean that Europe will be the ”frontrunner so that it is our export of knowledge and of technologies that will not only serve the world, but it will also stabilise our industrial basis”.

Speaking again of the future European budget proposed by the Juncker Commission, the new President went to call for the member states to pay more.

”We know that every member states benefits highly from the common market and especially the net payers know that they are exporting power and the revenues from the internal market outnumber the money they invest in the European Union. (…) Ăeople expect the European level to address the big topics. As I said, climate change, digitalization, but also innovation, research, science, Erasmus. We need a basic funding. (…) It has to be a sound foundation of financing and we might think about also to own new resources. If we take for example the emissions trading system. If we partly allow the European level to have new resources and are bound to be reinvested in the European Green Deal, social aspects of people or developing technologies it might be a way out”, she explained.

The EU, which is gearing up for a battle over its 2021-27 budget plan, provides aid known as cohesion funds to member states in the south and east to help them invest in development and catch up with richer peers to the north and west.

But various proposals by Germany, the executive European Commission and current EU president Finland would reduce the size of the cohesion funds and attach conditions which would predetermine areas where investments should go.

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