Connect with us

ENGLISH

Opinion| EPP MEP Ramona Mănescu: Can EU still catch a ticket for the train to Africa?

Published

on

It is in the interest of the European Union to have a much stronger presence in Africa, EPP MEP Ramona Mănescu stated, in analysis that follows Jean-Claude Juncker’s state of the Union speech where he announced a new alliance with Africa to deepen economic relations and boost investment and jobs.

„If the European Union really wants to be successful with its initiative, it will need much more flexibility and it will have to show much more understanding of the realities on the African continent”, Mănescu warns.

Full text by EPP MEP Ramona Mănescu: 

„In February 2015, more than three and a half years ago, I was publishing [1] an analysis of the EU-Africa relationship. At that time I was pointing out towards the growing instability in the Sub-Saharan area, which will inevitably spill into southern Europe and even further.

The direct effect of this growing security issue is the increased migratory pressure on Europe and the proliferation of human trafficking and organized crime networks that profit from the suffering of others, getting richer and stronger.

Another effect is an increased insecurity within the European Union – uncontrolled movements of people are used by terrorist organizations, and organized crime networks which often “share personnel” with terrorist groups.

Security and stability are indissolubly linked to economic prosperity. Where there is no security, there is no prospect of economic development. The lack of economic future among the younger generation, which in many African countries represents a large majority (for example, in Nigeria, young people under 24 represent 62% of the country’s 190 million inhabitants [2]), lead in turn, to the desire to find a better future in one of the European countries.

What I said in 2015 is equally valid today: it is in the interest of the European Union to have a much stronger presence in Africa. We need to be involved not only at the political level but also in the economy of the black continent and very active in the investments sector. Of course, it is not just the EU’s interest: the European presence brings stability, security, development, jobs – all of which create the conditions for solid democracies, the rule of law and respect for human rights.

Unfortunately, Europe, although it always had the capacity to be much more present on the African continent, chose to be more a spectator so far.

The same cannot be said about other major global actors, especially China. Between 2000 and 2014, China granted $ 6billion / year government credits to African countries. In 2015, after the Africa-China Cooperation Summit, President Xi Jinping tripled China’s involvement by offering up to $ 20billion / year. The effect? More than 3,000 infrastructure projects (most of them belonging to the critical infrastructure) were built with Chinese support.

In these circumstances, I can only welcome President Juncker’s announcemen[3] about the launch of a new Alliance for Sustainable Investment and Jobs between Europe and Africa which would help create up to 10 million jobs in Africa in the next five years. To this target, we can add the EUR 44billion in public and private investments.

Of course, I would have wanted for my message to be heard in 2015 by the European leadership and less by the Chinese one. There are African countries, such as Kenya, which has $50 billion of debt, 72% of which comes from China [4].

If the European Union really wants to be successful with its initiative, it will need much more flexibility and it will have to show much more understanding of the realities on the African continent. China’s “no questions asked” approach represents a hard to beat competition, and in countries with a democracy deficiency it is an obvious advantage. Of course, we know that the EU will never be able to completely ignore the political and democratic context of the countries where it invests. That is why the European presence in Africa will have to be intelligent, patient and tenacious.

As I always said, economic growth and infrastructure development inevitably bring hope, stability and security. On such foundations, building solid democracies has much more chances and the whole set of values we believe here, in the European Union, gets a fertile ground.

An African continent which offers true hopes to young people and security to its citizens is the neighbour that the EU needs and the leverage needed to increase the level of bilateral economic exchanges, well above the today’s € 300 billion [5].”


[1] Uniunea Europeană trebuie să-și utilizeze instrumentele de gestionare a crizelor în vederea susținerii stabilității în Africa http://www.ramona-manescu.ro/uniunea-europeana-trebuie-sa-si-utilizeze-instrumentele-de-gestionare-a-crizelor-in-vederea-sustinerii-stabilitatii-in-africa/

[2] Nigeria Demographics Profile 2018: https://www.indexmundi.com/nigeria/demographics_profile.html

[3] State of the Union 2018 https://ec.europa.eu/commission/sites/beta-political/files/soteu2018-speech_en_0.pdf

[4] How China is transforming Africa into the next ‘factory of the world’ https://bigthink.com/matt-davis/chinas-growing-influence-in-africa

[5] Competing in Africa: China, the European Union, and the United States https://www.brookings.edu/blog/africa-in-focus/2018/04/16/competing-in-africa-china-the-european-union-and-the-united-states/

 

 

.

ENGLISH

Foreign Affairs Minister Ramona Mănescu: The Strategic Partnership with the US is the central focus of the Romanian diplomacy, while the accession to Schengen remains a priority

Published

on

Foreign Affairs Minister Ramona Mănescu said on Thursday that Romania’s accession to Schengen remains a priority of the Romanian diplomacy.

“Evoking the period when I was MEP, I can certainly tell you that (…) all the time both [the European] Parliament and the Commission said Romania was prepared to join Schengen, from a technical and logistical point of view. (…) Practically, we function de facto as a Schengen member state, but de jure we are not regarded as such. Romania doesn’t ask anything but the observance of the Treaty, we are members with full rights, we met our commitments and we seriously continue to meet them, no one can challenge Romania’s contribution to the security space, because we are not talking only about the eastern flank of NATO, we are also talking about EU’s eastern flank,” Ramona Mănescu told Antena 3 private television broadcaster on Thursday, quoted by Agerpres.

She maintained that the Romanian citizens “have all the right to get this well-deserved position of Schengen member state.”

“This is not something we must beg for, or be made a favour. It is provided in the Treaty and it must be observed. (…) I assure you we keep this on the agenda as priority topic, and all bilateral and extended discussions will include the Schengen accession component, we won’t stop from telling our colleagues in the EU that the Romanian citizens have the same rights,” Mănescu underscored, mentioning that, at present, in the Council half of the states support Romania’s accession to the free movement area, and the others oppose.

The Foreign Minister also pointed out that the Strategic Partnership with the US must remain the central focus of the Romanian diplomacy.

She also showed that Romania has the same position towards Russia as NATO and the EU.

“Romania’s position towards Russia starts in the first place from the vicinity we are in, but it is also part of the EU’s position regarding Russia, as we are part of the EU, we must get in line with EU’s stand. I am referring to sanctions, to certain limitations that we have in the dialogue and cooperation with Russia and I am particularly referring to the firm position we have as EU member, which we have always had, of observing the international legislative framework. We don’t ask too much from Russia as an actor on the geopolitical stage if we ask them to respect the international legislative framework. (…) It is the principle which we start from and which we cannot fail to keep not even for Russia, which is here, close to us. We have no reason to make an exception, because nothing is negotiable in this story,” Ramona Mănescu said.

According to the Minister, the relation with Russia represents “a key point in the stability in the area, in securing NATO’s eastern flank, in the manner in which we can further manage the discussions in the Black Sea. “The threats and gestures which Russia has repeatedly done in the Black Sea space, from a military stand, have been sanctioned all the time. (…) Both NATO and the EU have the same discourse. Romania cannot have a different discourse, because it is both part of the EU and NATO, and we are at the Black Sea,” she added.

Mănescu also said that she expected “the energy diplomacy to have its word,” in regards to the resources in the Black Sea.

“Our desire is for a partner such as Exxon to stay here and continue to work together as much and as well as possible. This entails our making some steps in an expected direction. I believe things will settle in the end, enter the right track and I even want to clarify this position shortly and the US partners must be convinced that we’ll be keeping the same line. (…) Mrs PM wants this as well,” Mănescu said.

Continue Reading

ENGLISH

Romania has a new Foreign Affairs Minister. Ramona Mănescu took the oath of office

Published

on

Ramona Mănescu, Nicolae Moga and Mihai Fifor took the oath of office on Wednesday in the presence of President Klaus Iohannis for the Interior and Foreign Affairs Ministries office, Deputy Prime Minister for implementing Romania’s strategic partnerships office respectively.

The head of state wished success to the new three members of the Dancila Cabinet.

The swearing-in ceremony was attended by Prime Minister Viorica Dancila, ministers, Deputy Speaker of the Deputies’ Chamber Florin Iordache, Government Secretary General Toni Grebla and presidential advisors.

President Klaus Iohannis signed on Wednesday the decrees appointing Nicolae Moga as Interior Minister and Ramona Mănescu as Foreign Affairs Minister, according to a Presidential Administration release.

Through another decree, Mihai Fifor was appointed Deputy Prime Minister for implementing Romania’s strategic partnerships.

Furthermore, Iohannis took note of Carmen Dan’s resignation from the Interior Ministry and signed the decree dismissing Teodor Meleșcanu from the Foreign Affairs Minister office.

Ramona Mănescu is a Romanian politician and lawyer. She was a Member of the European Parliament serving 2007 to 2013 and 2014 to 2019 from the National Liberal Party (till July 2017), active within the European People’s Party group in the European Parliament.

As part of this group she is a member of the European Parliament Committee on Foreign Affairs, vice-chair in the Delegation for relations with the Mashreq countries and a substitute member in the Committee on transport and tourism and in Delegation for relations with the Arab Peninsula.

Between 2007 and 2014 she was part of the ALDE group in the European Parliament, where she also held the position of Vice-President (11 November 2012 – June 2014) of the ALDE Party (Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe Party). As a member of this group she is a coordinator in the Regional Development Committee and a member in the Committee on Employment and Social Affairs.

At the European Parliamentary elections from June 2014, Mănescu renewed her mandate within European Parliament, where she became a member of the European People’s Party group in the Parliament European.

Continue Reading

ENGLISH

Romania: President Klaus Iohannis appoints former MEP Ramona Mănescu as the new Foreign Affairs Minister

Published

on

President Klaus Iohannis signed on Wednesday the decrees appointing Nicolae Moga as Interior Minister and Ramona Mănescu as Foreign Affairs Minister, according to a Presidential Administration release.

Furthermore, Iohannis took note of Carmen Dan’s resignation from the Interior Ministry and signed the decree dismissing Teodor Melescanu from the Foreign Affairs Minister office.

Through another decree, Mihai Fifor was appointed Deputy Prime Minister for implementing Romania’s strategic partnerships.

The swearing-in ceremony takes place on Wednesday at 11:00hrs, at the Cotroceni Presidential Palace. 

Ramona Mănescu is a Romanian politician and lawyer. She was a Member of the European Parliament serving 2007 to 2013 and 2014 to 2019 from the National Liberal Party (till July 2017), active within the European People’s Party group in the European Parliament.

As part of this group she is a member of the European Parliament Committee on Foreign Affairs, vice-chair in the Delegation for relations with the Mashreq countries and a substitute member in the Committee on transport and tourism and in Delegation for relations with the Arab Peninsula.

Between 2007 and 2014 she was part of the ALDE group in the European Parliament, where she also held the position of Vice-President (11 November 2012 – June 2014) of the ALDE Party (Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe Party). As a member of this group she is a coordinator in the Regional Development Committee and a member in the Committee on Employment and Social Affairs.

At the European Parliamentary elections from June 2014, Mănescu renewed her mandate within European Parliament, where she became a member of the European People’s Party group in the Parliament European.

Continue Reading

Cum pot vota românii din diaspora la alegerile prezidențiale

Facebook

Advertisement
Advertisement

Trending