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MEP Ramona Mănescu (PPE): Romania can redraw Europe’s energy map

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sigla ppe bunaMEP Ramona Mănescu (PPE) held a speech at the Romania ENERGY DAY 2015 – “Energy Union: Challenges and Opportunities for Sustainable Energy in Central and South East Europe” event at the European Parliament in Brussels.

Excerpt out of the speech:

I am honoured to have been invited to participate to the Romania ENERGY DAY Conference. I consider it a very good event, especially because it has a direct focus on Romania.

I would like to congratulate the Romanian Energy Centre for organising this event, which is already at its fourth edition this year and I hope that all our efforts and all the efforts that the European Union is doing will bring positive visible results for Romania and its people.

ramona manescu energy

It is a great pleasure for me to be here and to share with you my view regarding the challenges and Investment opportunities in the energy sector.

As a Member of the AFET Committee within the European Parliament, I would also like to underline the connection between the Energy Security and Foreign Policy, because they work together, they are strongly connected!

I would like to use the opportunity to bring into discussion the connection between the main topic of this event: Challenges and Opportunities for Sustainable Energy and the focus of the present session: Facilitating investments and security in indispensable Electricity Infrastructure.

I strongly believe that currently, the challenges are exactly the ones that are driving the opportunities for the future and these opportunities are represented by investments in all the aspects of energy infrastructure.

Romania is placed on the World Map at the intersection of several economic axes that are also geo-political ones, connecting Western Europe with Eastern Europe and further with Asia. Out of these axes, the one favouring the most Romania from an energy perspective is the maritime one, especially the Caspian Sea – Black Sea one.

In this enlarged area, geo-historically, Romania had a stabilizing and securing role, playing a defensive or gate of offensive role in some moments or a unifying role in others. With this roles assumed, and knowing the EU has already recognized for some years the strategic role of South Caucasus for its energy interests Romania is capable to maximize its position. Having a strong competition coming from Bulgaria and Turkey for the position of transit country in the European effort of diversifying energy sources, Romanian goals can only be achieved by a very active diplomacy on bilateral relations. This can bring that much needed advantage point that later translates into energy infrastructure projects.

Energy infrastructure development, according with the objectives set by the Energy Roadmap 2050 involves both a replacement/modernisation of the outdated segments and building new interconnections, needed for a Unique Energy Market.

All this new investments must be done using modern technologies, with low carbon emissions, this way assuring their long run in good conditions.
Also, we must not forget that such investments of updating the infrastructure with the new standards, are involving costs. These costs will imply upon industries, bringing new costs for the companies and lowering their competitiveness comparative with other entities from the rest of the world.
Energy sources diversification is another goal of Energy Roadmap 2050. This will assure us that hydrocarbons exporters will not use their capacities as a politico-strategic weapon.

The main challenges in promoting energy projects are:
• bringing together in a unitary and consistent opinion all the countries that are part of an energy project path
• securing the financing for such projects

It must be added that any energy project has a strategic meaning in addition to the commercial one.

And here is where it comes the opportunity of investments, infrastructure development and research in the area of producing, transporting and supplying of energy with a double target:

  • stabilizing a whole region by offering alternatives and opportunities
  • assuring long term energy security and sustainability by multiplying and diversifying energy sources and offering a predictable market for this supply

Romania is a country that I am proud to say that is present in the World statistics as the first country to have an industrial production of crude oil. The oil production is followed closely by the whole oil industry, research, infrastructure and then the horizontal industry, like the petro-chemical one. The international demand of energy resources is one of the reasons why today Constanta is the biggest port at the Black Sea and a major energetic hub for the whole European Union.

Romanian experience helps me to understand the complicated but strong connections between energy, resources, security, economic development, regional stability, political relations and conflicts.

Also, I can see a clear picture of a country that once was a major oil exporter but, under the pressure of the continuous reducing of natural reserves, evolved to a new stage where it invested in nuclear energy and has a long term nuclear program, developed a whole industry of renewable resources, from research to production and big Aeolian or photo-voltaic farms, and used its broad knowledge in hydrocarbons extraction, transport and storage to become an energy hub for a region where energy security is now the strongest diplomatic tool.

I believe that under the global discussion about energy security, combined with the pressure coming from the assumed goals of sustainability and reduced pressure over the climatic system, energy production in the shape of fossil fuels was, is and it will continue to be an engine that will assure the future development and stability.

The opportunities offered by the renewable energies in terms of research, production, implementation and operation are just starting to uncover.

This is where EU countries have a head start that can be turned into opportunities for cutting edge companies. I know a lot of Romanian companies capable to start from an idea and finish with a fully functional investment in areas like energy efficiency or renewable energy production. Also, I know some Romanian companies very active in research and innovation, that maybe are not as famous as Tesla, but that are capable to bring to life really amazing projects in areas that are harnessing wind or solar energy.

Interconnectivity of various energy transport and storage systems, that is more and more needed, offers another opportunity of investments, jobs creation and sustainability. Some good examples are the on-going and future projects of connecting the gas and oil resources, recently discovered in the Black Sea, through the hub offered by the Constanta Port, with the high demand coming from countries that are massively dependant on Russian exports.

These opportunities can take the European experience in renewable energies into new geographical areas and bring back here, on the EU territory, reliable sources and capacities of traditional fuels as fossil fuels.

I believe that the recent European Energy Security Strategy that the European Commission has released which outlines the framework for improved energy security, can be the fundament for future investments and opportunities on a large scale.

The EU Institutions are developing a European Energy Policy which aims first of all to ensure freedom, security and growth in Europe.Romania is the 7th country in size in Europe. It has a big potential that must be harnessed and in its efforts EU can significantly contribute in the benefit of all.

Foreign companies, interested in develop energy projects in South-East Europe, can take advantage of the opportunities offered by the Romanian economic environment.
The privatisation process, opening and deregulation of the internal market, together with the connections at regional level makes Romania a very profitable choice.

Following the approval process for the Energy Union Strategy and the profound regional shifts, Romania has the chance to promote its projects within EU financing schemes, in the benefit of both EU market and regional stability.

A good example could be EU – Turkmenistan Partnership and Cooperation Agreement that still waits a green light from the European Parliament. Being the rapporteur on this document I can see the potential for both sides from an energy point of view if such an agreement becomes a reality. On one hand, EU weans off from the dependence on Russian gas. On the other, Turkmenistan gains a reliable, predictable and stable partner which helps an economy that is more and more dependent on its incomes from hydrocarbons.

This cannot be done only by EU itself. Member States, based on bilateral relations, can set the cornerstone for future development. I mention this because such a need has the potential to become a major opportunity for Romania which is positioned in the right place, has a good infrastructure of gas pipelines and keeps on expanding its interconnections.

Common goals can also bring constructive answers to questions like the Russia role in this equation or the Iranian issue. They can also represent a long term basis for economic development, which, in return, is capable to support regional stability and security.

Energy infrastructure: pipes or cables that are crossing the borders or the water routs that are crossing straits and national waters today, have the power to unite or to disrupt, to bring well-being and development or cause conflicts and chaos.

I am very optimistic and I think that we have in front of us a huge potential. I can see it and I am certain that through meetings, like the one of today, we will manage to understand it better. I trust that our goals will have fruitful results: peace, prosperity and sustainability.

As a conclusion, we can all agree, that important own resources, perfect positioning and a serious infrastructure – Romania can redraw Europe’s energy map.

 

 

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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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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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