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MEP Vasile Blaga: I hope that Romania’s handling of the war crisis will be the last argument in favour of Schengen accession



© Vasile Blaga

MEP Vasile Blaga (PNL, EPP) said, after the visit of the Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs (LIBE) to Romania, that he hopes that the way our country has managed the crisis generated by the war in Ukraine will be the “last argument” in favour of Romania’s political decision to join the Schengen area. 

The MEP drew three conclusions from last week’s LIBE Committee mission to Romania.

According to Vasile Blaga, Romania has proved to be a model for the countries neighbouring the conflict between Russia and Ukraine – “a model of administrative capacity to manage the refugee crisis”, but also “a model of solidarity of Romanian citizens in the face of the tragedy of people from the neighbouring country who were forced to cross our border”.

He also mentioned the area of NGOs, whose contribution has been “at least significant, if not vital” in this crisis.

”The second conclusion relates to the continued need for EU funding for the countries affected by the crisis in Ukraine, including Romania. From the European Parliament, together with my colleagues, we will continue to press for more financial aid – both for the humanitarian area and for the economic sectors severely affected by the war on our borders”, added the MEP. 

The last conclusion mentioned by the MEP was related to Romania’s accession to the Schengen area.

“The management of this crisis at Romania’s border highlights once again the technical capabilities that our country possesses and demonstrates for the thousandth time to the whole European area that putting Romania’s integration into the Schengen area in brackets all these years is a serious mistake and a great injustice done to both our country and Bulgaria and I hope that the way Romania has managed the crisis generated by the war in Ukraine will be the last argument in favour of the political decision to join Schengen”, Vasile Blaga said for    

Diana Zaim este foto jurnalist, câștigătoare a Premiul Publicului la European Youth Event 2020, cel mai mare eveniment pentru tineri organizat de Parlamentul European. Absolventă a secției germană-portugheză în cadrul Universității din București, Diana urmează în prezent programul de master ”Relații Internaționale și Integrare Europeană” în cadrul SNSPA. Pasionată de promovarea valorilor europene, Diana este parte a comunității Model European Union, cea mai amplă simulare la nivel european a procesului decizional din cadrul Uniunii Europene.


Nicoleta Pauliuc: Romania must be an active part of the strategy for the EU defense industry. We can create opportunities for Romanian companies



© Nicoleta Pauliuc / Facebook

By Nicoleta Pauliuc, chair of the Defense Committee in the Romanian Senate

The Russian Federation’s unprovoked war of aggression against Ukraine has radically changed the security landscape in Europe, representing the worst conflagration on European soil since World War II. In this context, the European Union is obliged to improve its military posture, including its defense industry. We need to move from a one-off, crisis response to a long-term, strategic approach, aimed at consolidating and establishing a military production, integration, testing and maintenance capability on national territory.

Historically speaking, such a paradigm shift is not easy. Defense and national security is an area where Member States are reluctant to transfer decision-making power to Brussels. National interests and the natural impulse to protect national industry have made it difficult for European states to work together on defense procurement. For example, between 2021 and 2022, only 18% of defense equipment was procured in a collaborative way at the European level, even though European defense spending reached €270 billion in 2023.

This is the background against which, on 5 March 2024, the European Commission launched an ambitious program to prepare the EU defense industry: the European Defense Industrial Strategy (EDIS), together with a new regulation for the European Defense Industrial Program (EDIP).

The strategy proposes a number of specific statistical indicators, including: ‣ By 2030, the value of intra-EU arms trade should represent at least 35% of the value of the European market; ‣ By 2030, at least 50% of Member States’ defense procurement budget should be allocated to European industry procurement, and 60% by 2035; ‣ By 2030, Member States should procure at least 40% of their defense equipment in a collaborative manner.

The overall objective of the strategy is to identify defense projects of common interest and to create the conditions for equipment to be produced by European industry. To this end, a first line of action is to establish an inventory of existing European capabilities, a kind of catalogue of equipment that can be produced in Europe. Simply mapping capabilities can prove challenging, as it requires access to sensitive information from Member States and arms manufacturers.

A second key line of action is financial support to Member States for the procurement of European industry products, with a focus on joint procurement programs between several Member States. The financial dimension is very important because the strategy can only work if it is adequately funded.

In view of the major interest in this area, the Romanian Senate has adopted several proposals on the European Parliament and Council Regulation establishing the European Defence Industrial Program (EDIP), including:

  1. Continuation of Third States Participation in the Program: Romania supports the participation of third states in the European Defence Industry Program, as part of related European projects or, at least, the acceptance of the participation in projects of companies with non-EU shareholders (joint-ventures). Our interest comes from the fact that Romania has ongoing procurement programs with companies from third states, which include significant offset, technology transfer and greenfield investments components, which can be considered as national contribution to the European Defence Industry Program. Obviously, we cannot ignore the combat experience of the defense capabilities of non-EU allied or partner states.
  2. EU Assistance to the Eastern Partnership Countries: We strongly support the inclusion of the Republic of Moldova in the European Defense Industrial Program (EDIP), with a status similar to Ukraine. The Republic of Moldova is the state most affected in the region, after Ukraine, by Russia’s war of aggression. Ensuring continuity of EU assistance to partner states in the Eastern Neighborhood is essential for regional stability and security.
  3. Criteria Favoring Member States in Proximity of Conventional Confrontations: We propose criteria favoring Member States in proximity to conventional confrontations in the awarding of projects/funding. This can lead to the strengthening of the European technological and industrial base in the field of defense in a geographically balanced manner across the Union. States such as Romania and Poland, which are on the Eastern flank of the EU, would thus benefit from additional support to face security challenges.
  4. Flexibility in the Minimum Number of Member States Required to Participate in the Proposed Instruments: It is important to maintain flexibility in the minimum number of Member States required to participate in the various proposed instruments. This would allow adaptation to the challenges of the regional security context. For example, if Romania and Poland, as the largest states on the Eastern flank, have a joint project, this could be linked to the European program on the defense industry.

These proposals reflect Romania’s strategic interest in the context of the new European defense strategy. Our country has a crucial role in the security architecture of the EU and NATO’s Eastern flank. The Romanian defense industry can contribute significantly to the common European objectives, both through its production capabilities and through existing strategic partnerships with companies from third countries.

My belief is that, if we still allocate 2.5% of GDP to Defense, then it is mandatory that this money is also found in the restarting of Romanian companies. There is also good news. First of all, we still have good and valued specialists on the technical side. There are people who have been trained, including within NATO, people who have worked with and at major companies that produce military technology for member states of the North Atlantic Organization. Secondly, Romania has an important tradition in the defense industry. As you well know, we used to be exporters of combat technology.

Three things seem essential to me as we move into the future: a) We must have a higher engineering school specifically tailored for the production of military technology. We have extraordinarily capable young people who, guided in this direction, could play an essential role. b) The partnerships we develop with EU and NATO member states should also be geared towards importing know-how: we should also learn to do new things, especially as this industrial sector is changing at a very rapid pace. c) At some point, we can even build programs to capitalize some companies in the defense industry that are currently working at break-even levels and would need financial support to reach the desired level.

In conclusion, the European Defence Industrial Strategy (EDIS) and the European Defence Industrial Program (EDIP) are important steps towards strengthening the European Union’s defence capabilities. We must use these instruments and opportunities to help Romanian companies. Romania is ready to play an active role in this process, contributing to Europe’s security and stability.

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The National Grand Lodge of Romania Awards Gala will award its winners on June 21



© Calea Europeana/ Zaim Diana (Arhivă)

The National Grand Lodge of Romania, in partnership with the Romanian Academy, the Ministry of Culture and Babeș Bolyai University of Cluj Napoca, University of Bucharest, ASE, Carol Davila University of Medicine Bucharest, Alexandru Ioan Cuza University Iasi, West University of Timisoara, SNSPA, Constantin Brâncuși National University of Arts Bucharest, George Enescu University of Arts Iasi, Transylvania University of Brasov, Lucian Blaga University of Sibiu, University of Craiova, organizes on the premises of the Romanian Athenaeum, on June 21, 2024, starting at 6 pm. 00, the 11th edition of the National Grand Lodge of Romania Awards Gala, according to a press release forwarded to

During the Gala, 7 awards of 10,000 euros each will be given for the following fields of reference:

– Grigore Moisil Award for Exact Sciences;

– Henri Coandă Award for Applied Sciences;

– Carol Davila Award for Medicine;

– Eugeniu Carada Award for Economics;

– Nicolae Titulescu Award for Diplomacy and Political Science;

– Spiru Haret Award for Education, Environment, IT.

– Constantin Brâncuși Award for Art and Culture;

Read also Cine sunt câștigătorii celei de-a X-a ediții a Galei Premiilor Marii Loji Naționale din România, eveniment de referință care premiază excelența din România

The M.L.N.R. Awards Gala aims at stimulating and developing knowledge in any field of research, including the socio-human sciences, both through fundamental research and advanced research for the development of complex problems, through the acquisition of new knowledge on phenomena and processes, the formulation and validation of original hypotheses, conceptual models and theories.

The prizes are awarded to all Romanian citizens resident or non-resident on the territory of Romania, regardless of sex, religion or age, whether they are Masons or laymen, who, during the year preceding the awarding of the prizes, had produced a work, discovery, invention or innovation, had issued a theory, theorem, equation, had developed a technique, method, process with macro-social impact in one of the 7 award-winning fields or, by exercising their profession or public dignity, had brought important services or benefits to the country.

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Prime Minister Marcel Ciolacu: Romania will continue to provide aid to Ukrainian refugees



© screenshot/Government of Romania

Prime Minister Marcel Ciolacu gave assurances on Friday that Romania will maintain aid for Ukrainian refugees, highlighting our country’s continued support in the context of the war unleashed on 24 February 2022.

At a press conference in Iasi, Ciolacu stressed that there are currently 84,000 Ukrainian citizens settled in Romania.

„We will maintain our aid to Ukrainian refugees. You know very well, that of the 84,000 who have remained on Romanian territory, many of them are mothers with children, with grandchildren, we have placed them in the school system, even in their native language, regardless of the level of education. So far we have had an effort from the state budget paid for by European funds. Romania will continue to support Ukraine, especially in the humanitarian area, which is only natural. We hope that we will no longer have to deal with an exodus, as it was at the beginning of the war”, said the Prime Minister.

The head of government is in Iasi on Friday to visit the construction site of the Regional Emergency Hospital, an important project for the region.

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