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MEP Ramona Mănescu (EPP): The Romanian Presidency of the Council may be more involved in European security matters on the basis of its regional expertise

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Liberal MEP Ramona Mănescu (EPP) was invited to the ”My Europe” talk show broadcast on Tvr1 on 21 February in Brussels where she spoke about the involvement of the European Parliament in the debate on the bilateral suspension of the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty (INF) by the Russian Federation and the United States of America.

Ramona Mănescu wanted to explain the position of the European Parliament on this subject after the institution launched in February an appeal through a resolution to end the violation of the Treaty by the Russian Federation and to respect all the obligations agreed by the two parties, which have been and continue to be vital for the peace and security of the European continent.

“The Parliament voted last month on the INF resolution following the bilateral suspension of the treaty by the parties because the European Union has the security guarantee given by NATO and this treaty, as it does not develop its own nuclear programmes”, the MEP explained.

” The INF Treaty refers to those ballistic missiles with a range of 500 to 5500 km. Think that from Crimea, where there is a Russian military base, and up to Portugal, the EU’s farthest point to the West, there are 3500 km, so we fall into that range. This is where the involvement of Parliament comes into play”, said Ramona Mănescu.

She also said that, thanks to the EU’s partnership with NATO, the European Parliament had been receiving information on Russia’s violations of the treaty since 2014.

“NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg is regularly in the Foreign Affairs Committee, where I work, to exchange views and information. We are partners”, she added.

Ramona Mănescu also said that the repeated violations of the INF provisions by Russia led the US to declare their intention to withdraw  in order for Russia to use the Treaty as an “ace up its sleeve” in other high stake files, such as the economic sanctions or energy relations. President Putin realized that “in the current geopolitical context, in which Russia is increasingly assertive, this agreement does not benefit it”.

The Liberal MEP also believes that the Romanian Presidency of the Council may be more involved in European security matters on the basis of its regional expertise. 

MEP Ramona Mănescu (EPP) is a full member of the European Parliament’s Committee on Foreign Affairs (AFET) and a substitute member of the Committee on International Trade (INTA) and of the Committee on Transport and Tourism (TRAN).

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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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INTERVIEW Manfred Weber launched in Bucharest his bid as head of the next European Commission: ”We have to reconnect Europe, the Brussels level to the citizens”

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©️ Calea Europeană/ Diana Zaim

We have to reconnect Europe, the Brussels level to the citizens, came out from Manfred Weber’s call ahead of the EPP local and regional leaders Summit in Bucharest, were we spoke in an interview for Calea Europeană about the plans that a Weber Commission has for Europe and the program of the National Liberal Party from Romania in the upcoming EU elections.

Speaking before the speech where he presented is vision as EPP lead candidate for the president of the European Commission, Manfred Weber described to Calea Europeană the profile that the next European Commissioners should have in his mandate.

 

Robert Lupițu: Mr. Weber, the current President of the European Commission and the former Spitzenkandidat from EPP did not manage to visit Romania during the EP elections campaign back in 2014. But now you are here in Bucharest for the EPP regional and local leaders. Why is Romania important for you and for your project for Europe?

Manfred Weber: For me there is no Europe of East, West, North, South, small or big, poor or rich countries. There are only Europeans with their concerns, with their emotions and with their hopes for the future of our European way of life. That is why first of all I want to listen. The mayors told me about the problems in their regions, their villages and their cities. To listen is the very most important thing for a European politician and then to act. This is why I am in favour of a strong regional policy. I think we have still to invest a lot, especially in Romania. In infrastructure, in hospitals, to make the life better here in Romania. This is what I want to do, together with the agriculture funds. This is what we need for the future. And again, Europe starts with listening, that’s why politicians have to listen.

Robert Lupițu: PNL list of candidates for the EP elections looks like a solid one – 6 current MEPs, two important mayors and on top of the list there is one of the finest Romanian journalists. Why should the Romanian citizens vote for PNL candidates and not for others?

Manfred Weber: First of all, it is about the concrete program of PNL for the future of Romania inside of Europe. I have to say, the last years under the Socialist government, Romania was more perceived as a country we spoke about the weak engagement in the fight against corruption and other developments that were negative. Romania was not anymore in the first row of the European development and this why I think PNL has a good chance to show that Europe must be the first row. Romania is a strong European country and we want to see a strong Romanian voice on the European level. And the second is about the list. I think it is a good mixture, with professionals that have a lot of experience at a European level, six of them are active current members of the European Parliament and also fresh air: mayors who are very professionals and know what to do from a local point of view and others such as journalists. I think is a good mixture and is good to see that PNL is going up in the polls. We are having a good momentum. Everybody must now: when you vote for PNL you will be part of the largest political family in Europe that makes a lot of impact to the decision-making process.

Robert Lupițu: One final question. You mentioned about your program for Europe. How will the Weber Commission look and what type of profile should the next Romanian Commissioner have for your Commission and for your program for Europe?

Manfred Weber: I don’t wan to propose anything. We need a good mixture in the next European Commission between men and women. I think we have to respect the gender balance in the European Commission and we have to think about the practical impact. Is someone capable to deliver what it has to do? So, the next European Commission must be, first of all, a democratically legitimated Commission and it must be a Commission who is really listening a lot. We are not Brussels bubble, we are not elites in Brussels. We should be close to people and that is why all the Commissioners, I myself as a Commission President, must be close to people. And all the project must be linked to the concerns of the people. That is what I deeply believe. We have to reconnect Europe, the Brussels level to the citizens. 

Manfred Weber has served as Leader of the European People’s Party in the European Parliamentsince 2014. He has been a Member of the European Parliament (MEP) from Germany since 2004.

On the 5th September 2018, Weber declared his intention to run for the position of President of the European Commission and was elected as the candidate of the EPP on November 8th.

 

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The National Liberal Party has nominated its candidates for the European elections. The list includes six MEPs, two important mayors and distinguished leaders with the journalist Rares Bogdan on top

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The National Liberal Party is the largest center-right party in Romania and a member of the European People’s Party, has nominated today the list with the candidates for the 23-26 May European elections. The National Liberal Party adopted the list of those who will compete for as many mandates as possible of the 33 mandates which are allocated to Romania. The list has been made under the motto “Romania in the first place” with two days before hosting in Bucharest the Summit of regional and local EPP leaders about the European elections in 2019.

On the list of the Liberals for the European Parliament elections, there are, according to the seats occupied by the internal vote: Rareş Bogdan (TV producer), Mircea Hava (Mayor of Alba Iulia), Siegfried Mureşan (MEP and EPP spokesman), Vasile Blaga (former co-president of the National Liberal Party) AdinaVălean (MEP), Daniel Buda (MEP), Dan Ştefan Motreanu (vice-president of the National Liberal Party), Gheorghe Falcă (Mayor of Arad), Cristian Buşoi (MEP), Marian-Jean Marinescu (MEP and deputy chair of the EPP Group in the European Parliament ), Vlad Nistor (vice-president of the National Liberal Party), Mihai Ţurcanu (MEP) or Violeta Alexandru (former minister).

“The National Liberal Party is the political force, in fact, the only political force that is respected and  appreciated at European level, which has the capacity to influence the decisions at European level in favor of Romania. It is up to every member of the National Liberal Party to be seriously involved in this campaign, to open and have an open ommunication with every citizen of Romania. We have to send  to our message very clearly, that  “Romania in the first place!”, said the leader The National Liberal Party, Ludovic Orban,  in the debates of the Liberals meeting.

After the list of candidates for the European Parliament has been set by BEx, it will be validated by the National Political Bureau of the party, which will be held also on Thursday in Parliament.

A total of 49 liberals entered the race for the European Parliament.

At present, MEPs in the European Parliament are: Daniel Buda, Cristian Buşoi, Marian-Jean Marinescu, Siegfried Mureşan, Traian Ungureanu and Adina Vălean.

Continue reading: EPP Regional and Local Leaders to debate future of Europe with Manfred Weber and Klaus Iohannis on 16 March in Bucharest

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