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INTERVIEW| Antonio López-Istúriz, EPP Secretary General: Romania, electorally speaking, is a key country that could balance majorities in the European Parliament

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Romania is a key country that could balance political majorities in the European Parliament, EPP Secretary General Antonio López-Istúriz said in an interview for Calea Europeană. Asked on the EPP plans for the upcoming European elections, Lopez underlined the importance of talking to citizens about major issues in a „simplified language”.

„We speak about things that are affecting them (n.r. the citizens) today, questions like immigration, security, jobs and economy, things that everybody is thinking about. So instead of speaking about complicated European treaties or laws, we want to simplify the language, make it more adaptable to the social reality nowadays, that we become defenders of the European Union in a language that is understood by everybody, that is the principle aim of EPP”, Lopez said.

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Asked on who is their main political competitor, Lopez said that he considers it to be „his duty” to explain to people that choose to vote for populists that they only ask questions, without offering answers to the citizens. The biggest threat is „ourselves, if we are not capable of translating to our voters what are the good things about the EU”.

„I am not a politician that considers that I have enemies around; even people that vote for the populist parties or have extreme options, I don’t consider them enemies or guilty. My duty is to convince them to vote again, for our options which are the most reasonable, which want to work for the European project. It is very easy to be on the populistic side for politicians, but not for people who are voting for them because they are searching for answers to beat questions. We have to be capable to regain them because they have gone through very difficult situations, especially people that have been left without jobs or that have suffered for many reasons. We have to be capable to regain them to the European Union”, Lopez said.

„I think in the end, Brexit will be a setback for the populists”

„Time will say if this was a big victory. I want to see the real effect, next year, of Brexit, on the UK. I think that is going to be tougher than they expect and now that they are realising it, many of them, many Brexiteers resigned from their positions after the referendum, scared because they knew perfectly well what are the bad consequences of leaving the European Union for the UK. I think, in the end, it will be a setback for the populists”, said the EPP official on Brexit.

„It’s always the same: populists create the problem and then it’s up to us to find the solutions”

The MEP criticised the politicians that pleaded for Brexit, saying that the populists later ran when facing the consequences of their actions, leaving the problems to the European institutions. 

„So it’s always the same: populists create the problem and then it’s us to find the solutions. Where are the solutions from the populists? Where are the solutions of Boris Johnson for the situation created? no, he quitted. He ran away – these are the populists’ solutions. When they are confronted with the reality, they leave. When they want to criticize, they are first. It is very easy in politics to criticize, I can do it tomorrow morning, and we have to be auto critical with the European Union institutions, of course we are in a continuing reform process and we have to do so. It is not a perfect system, but you have to do the fight from inside, not the outside. The least brave thing to do is to go outside, the brave thing is to stay inside and try to change things for the better security of our people”, Secretary General said.

„Brexit is going to happen”, but it is early, at this point, to say what kind of influence it will have on the European elections Lopez said.

„We’ll see afterwards what are the consequences, very bad ones for the United Kingdom. My worry is 400.000 Romanians living in the UK and working there, that is my worry now, and the 300.000 Spanish, also. This is what I have to worry about, the rest is for them. They are leaving? Ok, goodbye, it’s us 27 that we have to worry about and our citizens also living there”, EPP official added. 

„800 delegates from all around Europe will elect the EPP candidate for President of the European Commission”

„Both candidates are great, the deadline is still open so I can not tell you if this is a close list”, Lopez said, adding that the deadline „it is on the 17th of October, next week at noon”. „Meanwhile, these two officials have presented their candidatures – Manfred Weber and Alex Stubb. And they both have fantastic curriculums, very well known European national and also local politicians in their countries and in the regions which both of them have great postures in campaigning in Europe and it is the Congress. 800 delegates from all around Europe, from our member parties, in the case of Romania from PNL, that will decide at the end who will be our candidate for becoming the next president of the European Commission if the EPP has a good score during the European elections.

„That promise will be accomplished”, Lopez said, asked on a statement from the EPP regarding a future presence of the EPP’s lead candidate (Spitzenkandidat) in Romania, during our presidency of the Council of the European Union. Romania is a fundamental country and our PNL party for us, here in Brussels. So it is going to be, I am sure, a presence of the candidate in Romania during the campaign. (…) Romania, electorally speaking, is a key country that could balance majorities or not in the European Parliament and we are taking very seriously our roles, our friends”.

„Who best to speak about Europe than mayors, local counselors, regional ministers or politicians? Or members of the European Parliament. Because the are hundreds of political positions and on local and regional they have direct contact with the citizens everyday. It is better that they speak about Europe and explain Europe much better than I can do it. Because I am a European politician (…) And I believe that people who speak the same language and have the same culture have to translate the European ideals to the people. And I am very respectful of that, that is why I believe in the principle of subsidiarity which means that local politicians are the ones doing this job for the European Union.”, Lopez said regarding the EPP Local Dialogue Series. 

 

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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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