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MEP Ramona Mănescu (EPP): ”Cohesion means uniting forces at European Union level in solidarity to support the less developed EU regions”

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MEP Ramona Mănescu (EPP) has been among the invited guests at the Laude-Reut international diplomatic and global affairs conference, hosted by Israel’s Ambassador to Romania David Saranga and Tova Ben Nun-Cherbis, President of the Laude-Reut Education Complex.

The conference was initiated and organized by the Reut Foundation (the former Ronald S. Lauder Romania Foundation) – the Laude-Reut Educational Complex and is held annually under the auspices of the Parliament of Romania – the Chamber of Deputies, this year being also under the Patronage of the Romanian Presidency of the Council of the European Union , with the motto “Cohesion, a common European value”.

”Cohesion means uniting forces at European Union level in solidarity to support the less developed EU regions. The idea is to make use of the available funds with maximum efficiency. But it also means making policies and making decisions together, to the benefit of everyone. I will start from these ideas the discussion about the future and the prospects of the European Union. In Europe, once the leaders’ generations have changed, such as Havel, Kohl, Thatcher, Mitterrand, or Walesa – they have been slowly and dramatically replaced by populist leaders and more and more blind to new realities and challenges. Those who have dedicated their work to European integration are now being replaced by populists. The EU has been built on values such as solidarity”, said Manescu at the event.

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Remove online terrorist content. MEP Ramona Mănescu (EPP): If we want to bring those who promote illegal content to justice, we need clear deadlines and coercive measures

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If we really want those who create, distribute and promote illegal content, inciting to commit terrorist acts in this case, be brought to justice, coercive measures, clear deadlines and the obligation to act are necessary, declared for CaleaEuropeană.ro MEP Ramona Mănescu (EPP).

The Romanian MEP also said that we can no longer rely on voluntary measures ”when we have content with an obvious terrorist character, but also in the case of misinformation campaigns or other forms of illegal or subversive character.”

”There will always be opposition, and many of the arguments of those who oppose any form of censorship are valid in a perfect world. Unfortunately, we do not live in such a world and we are obliged to take measures to defend the life, security, values and democracy we enjoy today. The signal given by the European Parliament is clear and it must be as quickly as possible in the legislation and practice of the Member States” said MEP Ramona Mănescu.

European Parliament backed on Wednesday a proposal to tackle the misuse of internet hosting services for terrorist purposes. Companies that systematically and persistently fail to abide by the law may be sanctioned with up to 4% of their global turnover.

Internet companies should remove terrorist content within one hour after receiving an order from the authorities, to combat radicalisation and contribute to public security.

Once an internet company hosting content uploaded by users (like Facebook or YouTube) that offers their services in the EU has received a removal order from the competent national authority, they will have one hour to remove it or disable access to it in all EU member states. However, they will not be generally obliged to monitor the information they transmit or store, nor have to actively seek facts indicating illegal activity.

To help smaller platforms, MEPs decided that, when a company has never received a removal order before, the competent authority should contact it, to provide information on procedures and deadlines, at least 12 hours before issuing the first order to remove content that they are hosting.

If a company has been subject to a substantial number of removal orders, the authorities may request that it implements additional specific measures (e.g. regularly reporting to the authorities, or increasing human resources). MEPs in the Civil Liberties Committee agreed not to impose an obligation to monitor uploaded content nor the use of automated tools.

The legislation targets any material -text, images, sound recordings or videos- that “incites or solicits the commission or contribution to the commission of terrorist offences, provides instructions for the commission of such offences or solicits the participation in activities of a terrorist group”, as well as content providing guidance on how to make and use explosives, firearms and other weapons for terrorist purposes.

Content disseminated for educational, journalistic or research purposes should be protected, according to MEPs. They also make clear that the expression of polemic or controversial views on sensitive political questions should not be considered terrorist content.

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The International Air Transport Association (IATA) urges the Romanian government to focus on aviation competitiveness as a means to strengthen the economy of Romania

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The International Air Transport Association (IATA) urged the Romanian government to focus on aviation competitiveness as a means to strengthen the economy of Romania. In addition, Romania’s Presidency of the European Union gives it a powerful opportunity to push policies for stronger aviation competitiveness across the whole of the EU.

Air transport is a key enabler of economic activity in Romania, supporting 107,000 jobs and contributing EUR 2.3 billion to the economy. Ten million passengers departed from Romania’s airports in 2017. This figure, however, could rise by 50% by 2037, supporting an additional 23,000 jobs, if Romania enhances the conditions on which its aviation sector can be competitive.

Air Transport Competitiveness in Romania

IATA published a competitiveness report on Romanian aviation which demonstrates a gap between the nation’s competitiveness level (ranked at 4.7) and the overall European average (ranked 5.9). Based on the report findings, IATA highlighted three priority areas:

1. Passenger facilitation

2. Expanded terminal capacity

3. Reduced infrastructure costs.

In addition, airspace modernization is identified as a crucial element to support future growth and efficiency.

Leading an agenda for stronger European aviation

The Romania Aviation Day brought together key stakeholders to hear from leading policy-makers such as Dragos Titea (Romanian Secretary of State for Transport), Henrik Hololei (Director General for Mobility and Transport, European Commission), Armand Petrescu, DG Civil Romanian CA, Catalin Radu (Deputy Director, ICAO Air Navigation Bureau), Maria Magdalena Grigore (Romanian State-Secretary, Ministry of Foreign Affairs), Mikolaj Wild (State Secretary in Poland Ministry of Infrastructure), and Romanian MEPs Claudia Tapardel and Marian Jean Marinescu.

Minister Cuc’s keynote speech highlighted his country’s priorities for its Presidency of the European Council. Under the motto “Cohesion, a common European Value” he explained how competitiveness, innovation and digitalization, connectivity, climate and sustainability were all lines of action for transport policy under Romania’s Presidency.

In his keynote address, Rafael Schvartzman highlighted the benefits of modernizing European airspace and the important economic and environmental benefits it would create.

His key recommendations included:

· For States, ANSPs and staff associations to look at how air traffic management staff are deployed this summer to avoid some of the significant delays air travelers suffered last year (Air Traffic Management (ATM) delay in Europe doubled in 2018 and is set to get even worse in 2019).

· Europe’s airspace infrastructure to be modernized and investments aligned between Airlines and Service Providers.

· For governments to treat air transport and air traffic management as a truly global business. Europe’s inconsistent ATM Service levels create delays, and haphazard and indirect flight routings, which all lead to wasted time and higher costs for passengers and airlines. The additional fuel burn also generates an unnecessary increase in CO2 emissions.

Airspace modernization

Efficient ATM is a bedrock of a high-performance aviation sector. To complement the long-term aim of a Single European Sky to improve the safety, capacity, efficiency, and environmental performance of European airspace, IATA is working with several air navigation service providers on National Airspace Strategies (NAS).

At the Aviation Day the Romanian government announced that it would support the development of a NAS to support more efficient capacity in Romania and to help deliver Single European Sky objectives.

Romanian Air Traffic Services Administration (ROMATSA) and IATA will strengthen their existing cooperation for this initiative, which is aimed at delivering benefits to the travelling public and the wider aviation community, while supporting the economic growth and competitiveness of the Romanian aviation sector. The main aspects of the strategy cover leadership and a collaborative stakeholder approach, airspace management, and technical modernization of the ATM system.

“This week marks two landmark events for Romanian airspace, that will define our evolution in the decades to come. The new ATM system that became operational on the 8th of April implements new functionalities that increase capacity and flexibility, optimize airspace structure and align us with the latest technological developments”, expained Mircea Bostina, Director General of ROMATSA.

”The collaboration with IATA on developing and implementing a national airspace strategy is a natural and much needed step forward in bringing together all aviation stakeholders in Romania and setting together our priorities in order to meet customer demand, deliver on the SES high level goals and increase the competitiveness of the Romanian aviation sector and of the overall economy. We pride ourselves on having written aviation history in the past, but we are just as committed to embracing the future and rising up to the challenge of serving an ever-growing number of passengers at the highest standards of safety and efficiency.”, said Mircea Bostina.

“Romania has a great opportunity to transform its aviation sector if the right policy levers are pulled. Our recommendations are, first, to promote innovative technology and processes to move passengers quickly. Second, to invest in more capacity at airports and in air traffic management. And third, to ensure infrastructure charges are set in transparent consultation with users. If Romania can take these steps, its economic and social development will gain significantly from enhanced air connectivity”, said Rafael Schvartzman, IATA’s Regional Vice President for Europe.

”The commitment to develop a national airspace strategy shows that the government is already taking the necessary steps to enhance the nation’s aviation competitiveness. Optimizing Romania’s airspace will not only benefit Romania but the wider European network. We congratulate ROMATSA for its vision, and look forward to working with them to make airspace modernization a success.”, added Schvartzman.

The Romanian National Airspace Strategy will include:

· Enhancement of coordination for more efficient flightpaths;

· Airspace optimization at regional level as well as between regions;

· Increased capacity while ensuring safety levels;

· Improved punctuality of flights;

· Better sharing of information across the European air transport network.

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INTERVIEW Jorge Domecq, Chief Executive of the European Defence Agency, ahead of a major conference in Bucharest: Our objective is to make the European Union a security provider in a more complex security environment

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© The Parliament Magazine

Romania has a big responsibility this year in taking forward all the different EU defence initiatives, says Jorge Domecq, the chief executive of EU body for defence – the European Defence Agency – before a paramount conference in Bucharest dedicated to research and innovation in the defence sector.

In an exclusive interview for CaleaEuropeană.ro ahead of the Conference that will take place at the Palace of Parliament on Tuesday, Mr. Domecq pointed out that the event aims to take ”stock of where we stand in defence research in Europe” and highlighted to role Romania plays in this framework.

Moreover, the chief of EDA pointed out that in a world where threats are complex and the model of war is changing, Europe needs to do more together on disruptive technologies and, especially, in artificial intelligence.

Teodora Ion: Together with the Romanian EU Council Presidency, EDA is organizing a conference in Bucharest focused on “Capability-Driven Defence Research and Innovation”. What is your main aim and objective with this event?

Jorge Domecq:  The main aim of the conference is to take stock of where we stand in defence research in Europe. In particular, we are looking at three main aspects. One, to look into the state of cooperative defence research in Europe and specifically the efforts the Agency is doing to prioritise research in Europe with through the Overarching Strategic Research Agenda (OSRA). The second aim is to highlight the role of EDA as the main forum for cooperative defence research at the European level, with an important portfolio of research programmes. And the third, is to look into funding instruments that the European Commission is bringing to the table to promote the competitiveness of the European defence technological industrial base in the research domain.

Teodora Ion: Since 2016 the EU has started to float several flagship initiatives under the EU defence dream: PESCO, CARD, the European Defence Fund (EDF) or the European Defence Industrial Development Program (EDIDP). How are these initiatives linked together and how can we understand better how they work to bring forward the progress and achievements the EU defence has reached so far?

Jorge Domecq: The starting point for improved European defence came with the endorsement of the EU Global Strategy by heads of state and governments in 2016. The different initiatives you mentioned all lead to the same objective: to make the European Union a security provider in a more complex security environment. The different elements  are important. The Capability Development Plan and OSRA, which I mentioned before, set common priorities, they tell us ‘what needs to be done’. The Coordinated Annual Review on Defence looks at the European capability landscape as it stands today and indicates next steps; finally, PESCO, or the Permanent Structured Cooperation, which allows Member States to together plan and implement those cooperative opportunities that were identified by CARD. Finally, the European Defence Fund as a very important financial incentive for European cooperation, including by promoting cooperation across borders of defence industries. That is the objective of these initiatives which now have to be embedded in national defence planning processes.

Teodora Ion: Coming back to the main theme of the Conference in Bucharest – on research and innovation in defence. One of the main purposes of the event will be to address the positive impact of a fusion on research priorities between the national and the European level. How will you tackle this issue?

Jorge Domecq: The first objective now that defence budgets in Europe are growing should be investment. We need to devote an important amount to research and technologies, because we need to provide our armed forces with the capabilities they will need in the future. We have to reverse the decreasing trend in research and technology investment. The second important point of the conference is prioritisation. We need first to set our priorities in the defence research domain and then in a second step, decide which of them can be tackled on the European level and which can be tackled among groups of Member States or at the national level. The Overarching Strategic Research Agenda (OSRA) will help us to identify the technologies that will need to be addressed – if possible on the European level, with a European added- value.

Teodora Ion: On the same page, the first research project financed by the European Defence Fund was Pythia, a project that put together seven stakeholders from six EU members, including Romania. The project is underway and aims to deliver a methodology for improving civil and defence technology foresight. What are the main achievements such a cooperation has brought to the EU efforts on research in defence?

Jorge Domecq: The Preparatory Action (PADR) has already demonstrated that it is a catalyst for cooperation among industries and research centers across Europe. It is of clear benefit to European defence. The National Defence University of Romania  has brought its renowned defence expertise to Pythia, which is a big advantage for the project. However, it is still too early to speak about the impact of the project. The final deliverables will be on the table this summer but as far as I’m informed, the project is advancing well and will give us a tool in which we will be able to scout for new technologies that might have an impact for defence research in the future.

Teodora Ion: When referring to the EU Defence many speak about an EU Army, people fighting under the EU flag and so on. But from an innovative stance, we live in a world where artificial intelligence grows indispensably and where non-EU companies drive forward the breakthroughs. Therefore, what does the EU aim with research in Future Disruptive Defence Technologies and what should we do to be a global player?

Jorge Domecq: There is a triple need to address technologies which are called disruptive, but more specifically Artificial Intelligence. In the first case, we need to dramatically increase the level of investment. Just to give you an example: in 2017, the entire research and technologies effort at the European level was of 8.8 billion euros. In Artificial Intelligence only, the United States is investing during the same year, 7.4 billion dollars. So, it is a question of size first and of speed second. We need to really start looking at Artificial Intelligence as well as other domains. What applications will these technologies have in defence? How will they affect defence, what opportunities and what vulnerabilities will they bring to other defence systems. This will affect how we will organise our own forces, and how we organise our work at the European Defence Agency. And the third aspect, which I think is very important: cooperation in defence is indispensable. We cannot think in national categories only, especially if we look at new threats.

Teodora Ion: Romania is one of the founding members of PESCO, participant country to several PESCO projects and also the holding EU Council Presidency. Although we know the EU defence is a CFSP/CSPD matter under the coordination of High Representative Federica Mogherini, how do you appreciate Romania’s impetus on the further development of EU defence?

Jorge Domecq: Romania has a big responsibility this year in taking forward all the different EU defence initiatives. For example, in CARD we have just had a workshop in Bucharest this week to discuss the future methodology we are going to apply for the Coordinated Annual Review on Defence which will start its first full cycle this fall. For PESCO, during this first semester we will have the first report ever of the High Representative on the 20 PESCO commitments on the basis of national implementation plans of the different Member States. The Agency also recently just launched the third call of the Preparatory Action on Defence Research; the finalisation of the European Defence Fund regulations and the launching of the first EDIDP calls are imminent. All that is happening as we talk and the Romanian leadership is going to be paramount. Romania is a very active member of the Agency in several domains. It is involved in EDA research projects and programmes together with other Member States of a value of more than 60 millions euros, and  it has been a pleasure to be able to count on the Presidency to take forward this challenging agenda.

The conference Capability-Driven Defence Research and Innovation Conference will take place on 26 March 2019 at the Palace of the Parliament venue in Bucharest, under the auspices of the Romanian Presidency of the Council of the European Union.

The conference is organised by the Armaments Department of the Romanian Ministry of National Defence, in cooperation with the European Defence Agency (EDA), and will welcome representatives from Ministries of Defence, defence research centres, industry and other European institutions.

The European Defence Agency (EDA) is an intergovernmental agency of the Council of the European Union. The Agency falls under the authority of the Council of the EU, to which it reports and from which it receives guidelines. The High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy of the European Union is the Head of the EDA, while the body is also run by a Chief Executive appointed by the member states.

 

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