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MEP Ramona Mănescu (EPP, PNL) – The stand on binding quota for the distribution of asylum seekers among all the Member States

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MEP’s Ramona Mănescu (EPP, PNL) stand on binding quota for the distribution of asylum seekers, as proposed by the European Commission:

”One of the main topics of debate in the European Parliament these days is the refugee crisis.

epp groupThere is an equal interest on this subject in Romania and I believe some elaboration on two matters is necessary, considering how European decision making can be rather difficult to follow sometimes. The first matter is related to the Stand on binding quota for the distribution of asylum seekers among all the Member States, and the second matter of the unquestionable human tragedy that spreads from Middle East to the middle of European continent.

I stand against the mandatory “quotas”, established in a bureaucratic way, without considering the real situation on the ground. In the same time, I strongly believe in all European values and I can’t let those that are about solidarity and protecting the vulnerable ones pass.

ramona manescu fbThe recent decisions taken by the European Parliament begun on Tuesday[1], 8th of September, debate upon the main legal document: European Parliament Report[2] on the proposal for a Council decision establishing provisional measures in the area of international protection for the benefit of Italy and Greece[3].

The Rapporteur from the Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs (LIBE) for this document was the German MEP Ska Keller from the Group of the Greens/European Free Alliance.

In short, the text proposed by the Council refers to the procedures and complementary measures regarding the handling of the refugees from Italy and Greece together with the relocation of 40.000 of them to other Member States.

According with the annexes[4], the text proposes the relocation of 1.023 refugees who are coming from Italy and 682 from Greece to Romania, summing up to 1.705 immigrants.

Additionally, the document stipulates that each Member State will have to deliver information periodically on the number of applicants who can be relocated to their territory. This procedure is of major importance for Romania, as it did not face such challenges and it needs the financial and logistic support of EU and those countries that are more experienced in building and managing refugee centres. It is in everyone’s interest that Romania to approach this joint humanitarian effort with maximum of seriousness and responsibility.

LIBE Committee, proposed two amendments to this Report that are profoundly changing its content and that I cannot agree with.These modifications are introducing the idea of “binding quota for the distribution of asylum seekers among all the Member States”.

The two amendments (number 3 and 4) are the following:

(4a) The temporary measures for emergency relocation are only one part of the holistic approach to migration as outlined in the Commission’s communication of 13 May 2015 entitled, ‘A European Agenda on Migration’ and the forthcoming own-initiative report by the European Parliament. The European Parliament stresses that all dimensions of the holistic approach are important and should be advanced in parallel. At its meeting of 25 and 26 June, the European Council agreed, in particular, in the light of the current emergency situation and of the commitment to reinforce solidarity and responsibility, on the temporary and exceptional relocation over two years from Italy and Greece to other Member States of 40 000 persons in clear need of international protection. Member States should agree on binding quota for the distribution of such persons.

(5) In its resolution of 28 April 2015, the European Parliament reiterated the need for the Union to base its response to the latest tragedies in the Mediterranean on solidarity and fair sharing of responsibility and to step up its efforts in this area towards Member States which receive the highest number of refugees and applicants for international protection in either absolute or proportional terms on the basis of the criteria for establishing the Member State responsible for examining an application for international protection in accordance with Regulation (EU) No 604/2013 of the European Parliament and of the Council1a. The European Parliament called for among all the Member States.

During the meeting of the EPP Romanian Delegation it was decided that Romanian MEPs to vote against these amendments and the EPP Leader was notified accordingly. Despite the numerous votes against[5] the two amendments, they received the green light from the European Parliament[6]. For the first one there were 471 favourable votes, 204 against and 17 abstentions. For the second one, there were 488 favourable votes, 167 against and 37 abstentions.

Because of the pressure coming from the politicians representing those countries in favour of a binding quota mechanism, Wednesday evening (9th of September), the MEPs were notified about the introducing of a new document on the debates and voting agenda on the following day.

This new document, is a “joint motion for a Resolution on migration and refugees in Europe”[7], which is mostly redundant to theReport text voted the day before.

The main difference between a Report and a Resolution is that while the Report is a strong legal text, with immediate effects, the Resolution has just the strength of a political declaration coming from the European Parliament, which recommends a course of action to the Executive bodies.

Considering the content of this second text, which mostly makes a reference to the concern that we all have regarding the unquestionable human tragedy and the refugee crisis that are spreading now from the Middle East up to the very heart of Europe, and starts with:

  1. Expresses its deep regret and sorrow at the tragic loss of lives of people seeking asylum in the EU; urges the EU and the Member States to do everything possible to prevent further loss of life at sea or on land;

  2. Expresses its solidarity with the high number of refugees and migrants who are victims of conflicts, grave violations of human rights, tangible governance failures and harsh repression;

I voted in favour of this Resolution, expressing this way my solidarity with the joint humanitarian effort of the European countries but mostly with the need of support that is requested by all the victims of the conflicts in Syria and Iraq, no matter if they are still trapped in Homs – Syria, if they are waiting for the conflict to end in jordan’s Al Zaatri refugee camp, if they are in a rubber boat in the middle of Mediterranean Sea or if they are walking alongside a highway in Hungary.

I believe that Europe is facing a crisis that deepens on a daily basis and to which we must answer with the most urgency.

An increase of accommodation facilities within EU borders, without a determined and consistent involvement of Europe, will just add new refugee waves and will escalate the humanitarian crisis.

We all agree that we must tackle the deeper causes that force some to seek for a better world while others are embracing the extremists and terrorists groups. Economic disparities, lack of opportunities, collapsed education and health systems, poor infrastructure – these are the profound causes. And we can see this so clearly in the contrast between countries like Qatar, Oman or Kuwait, the immediate vicinity to those others that became the land of war and terrorist groups.

Such an approach is not just a right answer to the problems that we face today, but is also in the interest of the EU. Peaceful vicinity, stable and with convincing perspectives of economic development is in the interest and advantage of the European Union.

Within this context, Romania finds itself in a good position, being capable to contribute in promoting a sustainable solution and bringing in significant diplomatic resources.”

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[1] http://www.europarl.europa.eu/sides/getDoc.do?pubRef=-//EP//TEXT+AGENDA+20150908+SIT+DOC+XML+V0//EN

[2] http://www.europarl.europa.eu/sides/getDoc.do?pubRef=-//EP//TEXT+REPORT+A8-2015-0245+0+DOC+XML+V0//EN

[3] http://data.consilium.europa.eu/doc/document/ST-11132-2015-INIT/en/pdf

[4] http://eur-lex.europa.eu/resource.html?uri=cellar:7a15efe3-053d-11e5-8817-01aa75ed71a1.0001.03/DOC_2&format=HTML&lang=EN&parentUrn=CELEX:52015PC0286

[5] Pages 33-36: http://www.europarl.europa.eu/sides/getDoc.do?pubRef=-%2f%2fEP%2f%2fNONSGML%2bPV%2b20150909%2bRES-RCV%2bDOC%2bPDF%2bV0%2f%2fEN&language=EN

[6] http://www.europarl.europa.eu/sides/getDoc.do?pubRef=-%2f%2fEP%2f%2fNONSGML%2bPV%2b20150909%2bRES-VOT%2bDOC%2bPDF%2bV0%2f%2fEN&language=EN

[7] http://www.europarl.europa.eu/sides/getDoc.do?pubRef=-//EP//TEXT+MOTION+P8-RC-2015-0832+0+DOC+XML+V0//EN

 

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CaleaEuropeana.ro became member of OpenEUDebate, a European network that will be launched in Madrid by academic institutions and experts in EU politics

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CaleaEuropeana.ro became member of OpenEUDebate, a Jean Monnet network of academic institutions (Universidad Autonoma de Madrid, Spain; the National University of Political and Administrative Studies – SNSPA, Romania;, Institut d’études européennes de l’Université libre de Bruxelles, Belgium; The Vrije Universiteit Brussel, Belgium and Agenda Pública, Spain), practitioners and experts in EU politics and policies that marks its lauch in Madrid by organizing debates on the future of Europe, on 21-22 January, in the context of the next Elections to the European Parliament, that are expected to be held in 23-26 May 2019.

Foto: OpenEUdebate/ Facebook

The upcoming May 2019 EU elections will determine to a great extent the direction of the European project. The struggle for the soul of Europe is not only between nationalists and pro-Europeans, but also between different European projects with different public policy proposals on issues such as climate change, inequality or migration.

Rather than an abstract debate on Europe per se, citizens need to hear and engage in a conversation on this set of public policy proposals in order to have a meaningful vote.

Tackling issues of EU citizens’ common concerns requires an open public debate, the first round of which, between Spanish MPs and MEPs, will take place on Monday, 21st January 2019, from 19:00 – 21.00 h.

The venue of the event is the office of the European Parliament in Madrid (Paseo de la Castellana 46), and the debate will be livestreamed in Spanish and English.

The event launches the public activities of the Jean Monnet network OpenEUdebate, which will put EU expertise at the service of journalists, civil society and political actors to improve public debates about Europe. OpenEUDebate is not yet another EU discussion outlet from the “Brussels bubble”.

It follows a bottom-up approach to match EU’s policies with politics at the national level. OpenEUDebate will launch an online platform that will connect the debate in the EU institutions and transnational civil society platforms with national publics.

The event on Monday, 21st January, from 19:00 – 21.00 h features a keynote speech by former EU Commissioner Laaszlo Andor on the challenges of the social union and a Eurozone unemployment benefit scheme, and a debate on the future of Europe with MP Melisa Rodríguez (Ciudadanos, ALDE), MEPs Jonás Fernández (Progressive Alliance of Socialists & Democrats, PSOE) and Ernest Urtasun (European Greens/European Free Alliance, Catalunya en Comú), and a representative of Partido Popular (European People’s Party). Journalist Claudi Pérez (El País) will moderate the debate. The livestreaming will be available in Spanish and English.

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EPP MEP Adina Vălean: ”COP24 – a modest outcome, but the Paris Agreement remains on track”

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Katowice climate conference fell short of ambition but delivered on the essentials to implement the Paris Agreement, MEPs said on Sunday, according to a news release from the European Parliament.

“This is a modest result for a COP located in Europe, as ambition has suffered from a difficult political context and the will of some delegations to bring the IPCC report under the carpet” said EP delegation Chair Adina-Ioana Valean (EPP, RO).

“The question of the functioning of carbon markets has also been postponed because of the stubbornness of a few in wanting a free ride. However, the Katowice agreement delivers on what we believe is the essential at this stage: a clear rulebook for the implementation of the Paris agreement” she said.

“Ambitious objectives are nothing if the implementing rules contain loopholes. Europeans had to defend the “spirit of Paris” tooth and nail, and I salute the European Commission and the Austrian Presidency of the Council for their work. In a climate negotiation, leadership is not a question of posture, but of the ability to help others to overcome their disagreements”.

“As key elements had to be postponed to the next COP in Chile, Europe will have to move forward in revising its objectives, but also be intractable in defending the integrity of the multilateral system. The Katowice agreement is modest, but those who work to undermine multilateralism have so far failed: the Paris agreement remains on track” she added.

A parliamentary delegation took part in UN climate talks in Poland last week.

In a resolution adopted in October, MEPs agreed on recommendations to EU institutions and countries ahead of the COP24 meeting. MEPs say that while the agreement reached between the Parliament and the Council to raise targets for renewables and energy efficiency will result in a reduction of greenhouse-gas (GHG) emissions of more than 45% by 2030, the EU should aim for a reduction of 55%.

Parliament also called for a dedicated and automatic EU public finance mechanism providing additional and adequate support towards the EU’s fair share in the delivery of the 100 billion dollar international climate finance goal.

 

 

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European Committee of the Regions, Sibiu County Council and Calea Europeană organise “Local engagement for the Future of Europe” citizens’ dialogue (LIVE, 20th of December, 10:00)

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CaleaEuropeană.ro, together with the European Committee of the Regions (CoR) and the Romanian National Delegation to CoR organise, with the support of Sibiu County Council and in partnership with the European Parliament Office in Romania, a local dialogue conceived as a part of the reflecting process on the Future of Europe, a main theme of Romania’s upcoming EU Council Presidency and the key subject of the EU heads of state and government summit in Sibiu, on May 9th 2019, on Europe Day.

The event, entitled ”Local engagement for the Future of Europe takes place on Thursday 20 of December, at the County Council in Arad, starting at 10:00. The event will be broadcast live on CaleaEuropeană.ro

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In dialogue with citizens will engage Daniela Cîmpean, President of the Sibiu County Council, alternate member of the Romanian National Delegation to the European Committee of the Regions (EPP, RO), Robert Negoiță, President of the Romanian National Delegation to the European Committee of the Regions (PES, RO) and Christophe Rouillon, Mayor of Coulaines, member of the French National Delegation to the European Committee of the Regions (PES, FR).

The debate is part of CoR’s ”Future of Europe” new initiative and aims to pave the way for the CoR’s 8th European Summit of Regions and Cities, scheduled for 14-15 of March 2019, in Bucharest, ahead of the European Council Summit in Sibiu on 9 of May 2019 and during Romania’s EU Council Presidency. This local dialogue subscribes also to the awareness campaign for the European elections from 23-26 of May 2019 (www.thistimeimvoting.eu), at the 40th anniversary since the first European Parliament elections.

This local dialogue will be the second event of its kind after the #SOTREG 2018, State of the Union: the view of Regions and Cities address, a speech held on October 9th by the President of the European Committee of the Regions Karl-Heinz Lambertz within the European Week of Regions and Cities frame, which has also marked the approval of CoR opinion on the Future of Europe, entitled „Reflecting on Europe: the voice of local and regional authorities to rebuild trust in the European Union”.

”Future of Europe” campaign in a nutshell

In 2016 the President of the European Council, Donald Tusk, asked the European Committee of the Regions (CoR) – as the voice of cities and regions – to submit its recommendations on the future of Europe. Subsequently, the CoR launched its “Reflecting on Europe” campaign whereby members held local events with citizens in their regions and cities to hear their views. Now, the opinion and speech mentioned above form the basis of the CoR’s efforts to contribute to the debate on the ”Future of Europe” ahead of the meeting of the EU leaders in Sibiu on 9 May and the European elections on 23-26 May 2019.

The ”Future of Europe” campaign is an initiative of the European Committee of the Regions (CoR) providing a platform for regions, cities and their citizens’ engagement in the debate on the future of Europe.

Over 40.000 citizens in more than 180 local debates organised across Europe already shared their views, concerns and ideas. The CoR is committed to ensuring that the voice of regional and local authorities and their citizens is heard within the EU, in an effort to make the European project more transparent and democratic and develop new forms of participative democracy.

The European Committee of the Regions invite Romanian citizens to share their view on the future of Europe (Fill the survey by clicking the image below)

Moreover, in the context of the “Reflecting on Europe” initiative, the European Committee of the Regions launched a survey in 2016 on the main issues that people identify in the city or the region they live in.

At both European Union and Romanian level, unemployment, youth policies and mobility and public transport are considered the three main issues at local and regional level.

In Romania, the three mentioned problems have been classified by citizens as followed: 28% of them consider that mobility and public transportation is the main problem at local and regional level, while for 25% the main challenge is represented by youth policies and 24% see unemployment as the main issue.

 

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