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INTERVIEW with Martin Keeney, Donegal Youth Council



Martin Keeney is a Youth Worker from Donegal in Ireland with over 10 years supporting and working with young people between the ages of 12-25. He has a diverse educational background, having previously completed a BA in English in Information Studies, an MA in Journalism and a BA in Community Development. He was the coordinator of the group of 12 young people from Donegal Youth Council who have participated in the “Democracy Builders “project founded by the European Commission through the Youth in Action Program, Key Action 1.3 – Youth Democracy Projects and developed by the Romanian Youth Movement for Democracy in collaboration with <Un Zambet Association>from Bacau, Romania.

Martin Keeney offered an interview for

poze teo

– You are the representative of the Donegal Youth Council, which is the partner in the “Democracy Builders” project. Can you give us some details about the mission and vision of the Donegal Youth Council, about its structure and how it works? Also, please tell us how it is perceived by the local authorities?

The Donegal Youth Council is a group of 36 young people aged 12-18 years, who identify issues and promote projects to improve the lives of young people in Donegal. Like the adult County Councillors they are selected from five electoral areas and represent the young people in their schools, education centres and local areas. The Donegal Youth Council project aims to represent the views and opinions of the youth of Donegal, by building and strengthening links with people and organisations that impact on young people’s lives. The Youth Council regularly meet with the adult politicians of the region in a bid to influence and advise them as to what they see as real concerns and issues for young people in the region. The Youth Council are given a budget to develop projects and initiatives of their own also.

– In Romania the “Youth worker” occupation has been included in Romania’s National Code of Professions only in 2013, so it’s a quite new occupation. What does actually a youth worker means in Ireland? What qualification, skills do you need to become a youth worker?

Over the last 30 years youth work has professionalized a great deal in Ireland and it was given formal statutory recognition in the Youth Work Act 2001, which defines youth work as:

A planned programme of education designed for the purpose of aiding and enhancing the personal and social development of young people through their voluntary involvement, and which is complementary to their formal, academic or vocational education and training and provided primarily by voluntary youth work organisations.

Youth work is above all an educational and developmental process, based on young people’s active and voluntary participation and commitment. It is often defined as ‘non-formal education’. Youth work is for all young people, with particular focus on those aged 10 to 25 from all aspects of Irish life, urban, rural, all nationalities and social classes. Youth work is provided primarily by voluntary organisations, with statutory support from the Department of Education and Science and the Vocational Education Committees.

– The Democracy Builders seminar had recently ended. How will you describe this experience for you, as a youth worker? What about for your group? Do you think the activities in this seminar had an impact on the participants?

The experience was really fascinating. As a youth worker I really enjoyed visiting projects and viewing the work and finding out more about the methodology and nature of the work they engage in and also the large number of those volunteering time to help support and develop young people in the region. From a participant point of view our young people were challenged to think “outside the box” and also were challenged in their own beliefs and attitudes. Through the workshops they got a great feel for the different ways activism can happen and one young person from the group has already expressed a strong interest in developing a youth work career, citing her experience as something which has really been a huge factor in encouraging her to do so.

– Can you tell us the history of the “Democracy Builders” project and why a project for the youth in the field of participatory democracy?

The Democracy Builders project happened through a partnership that was developed between the Co-ordinator of Donegal Youth Council and director of RYMD at a partner finding seminar in Dublin, Ireland in May 2013. Both organizations realized they shared a similar vision in their work and wanted to explore doing a project together, which would involve young people from both countries exploring ways of increasing the participation of young people in both voting and participatory democracy. This led to the groups exploring the possibility of doing a Youth Democracy Project together through the then Youth in Action programme and thankfully an application to the Romanian National Agency proved successful.

– How will you describe the relationship between the promoters of the “Democracy Builders” project?

The relationship has been really positive, with a real sense of shared experience and responsibility. I have been lucky to meet some wonderful people who could not do enough to make our trip to Romania one that would last in the memory for a very long time.

– What do you think that was the Irish youth opinion about Romania before this project? What about your opinion? Do you believe that a series of stereotypes were countered?

There is no doubt in Ireland there are negative stereotypes about Romania and Romanian people and this is something that we discussed at length before departing on the trip. I think a lot of these stereotypes were debunked greatly through the trip, as young people were able to talk about and develop a better understanding of Romanian culture and also get a feel for the large scale unemployment in the country, and how this has left so many with no choice but to migrate. They were also able to gain a better understanding of Roma culture, as people don’t always realize that the Roma make up such a small percentage of the overall Romanian population. We found the Romanian people to be welcoming and warm with us and wanted to show us and educate us about the positive aspects of their country.

Thank you!





INCSMPS organises the ”GLOBE Competence Framework -New Skills for Green Jobs” European Conference (LIVE, September 26th, 10:00)



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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.




”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



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



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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