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

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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/

 

 

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Take part in the #EUCanBeatCancer campaign. EPP group urge the Member States to join forces and fight cancer together

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© EPP/ Facebook

EPP Group, the largest political family in the European Parliament, is launching a cancer awareness campaign, the disease that causes one of four deaths in Europe.

Through #EUCanBeatCancer campaign, the EPP group calls for better cooperation between research centers in Europe, more money for cancer research, but also fair and accessible care across Europe for citizens.

© EPP/ Facebook

How can you get involved in the #EUCanBeatCancer campaign

You can join the 1537 citizens already registered in the campaign through 4 simple steps:

  1. You subscribe using the email address HERE
  2. Follow the #EUCanBeatCancer campaign on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter
  3. Use the Twibbon  in the profile picture
  4. Draw the Twibbon symbol and post it in order to show support

Everyone has their own story about cancer, even European politicians or leaders:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

According to the World Health Organization, one third of cancers are preventable and half of the deaths could be prevented.

Breast cancer is the second most common form of cancer in Romania and in many cases the disease is detected when it is already in an advanced stage.

According to the private health network, Regina Maria, in Romania, 80% of breast cancers are diagnosed in the advanced phase, a stage in which the treatment can not bring healing, but only prolong the survival.

Romania had the lowest rates  (0.2% of women aged 50-69 – 2015) in breast cancer screening.

 

Our multimedia platform – Calea Europeana – has joined the #EUCanBeatCancer campaign. During the campaign informative articles will be published and we will keep you updated with the measures taken at European level to beat cancer.

© CaleaEuropeana

 

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Citizens’ and Youth Agoras to be the cornerstone of the Conference on the Future of Europe, MEPs say

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© European Parliament

Citizen and Youth meetings should set the tone for EU reform, according to the resolution adopted on Wednesday by the European Parliament, were MEPs propose establishing several Citizens’ and Youth Agoras under the Future of Europe Conference that should be launched on Europe Day 2020.

Following a debate with Dubravka Šuica, Commission Vice-President for Democracy and Demography and Nikolina Brnjac, representing the Croatian Presidency of the Council, Parliament adopted a resolution setting out its vision for the upcoming Conference on the Future of Europe with 494 votes for, 147 against and 49 abstentions.

MEPs want citizens to be at the core of broad discussions on how to tackle internal and external challenges that were not foreseen at the time of the Lisbon Treaty. People of all backgrounds, civil society representatives and stakeholders at European, national, regional and local level must be involved in setting the EU’s priorities in line with citizens’ concerns in a bottom-up, transparent, inclusive, participatory and well-balanced approach.

Parliament proposes establishing several Citizens’ Agoras (thematic fora of citizen representatives chosen randomly in line with proportionality and representativeness criteria), and at least two Youth Agoras, each comprising 200-300 citizens with a minimum of three per member state. Citizen representatives will discuss Agora conclusions at the Conference Plenary with MEPs and national parliament representatives, Council ministers, Commission Vice-Presidents and representatives of other EU institutions, bodies and social partners.

You can also read about Agora – Future of Europe concept launched in 2017 by CaleaEuropeană.ro and the EC Representation in Romania

In addition to high-level support from the presidents of the three main EU institutions, Parliament urges Council and Commission to commit to the possibility of treaty change. The adopted text also underlines that a permanent mechanism to engage citizens should be considered.

Parliament is the first among the three main EU institutions to adopt a position on the set-up and scope of the upcoming Conference. Negotiations with the Commission and the European Council should be concluded in time for the Conference to be launched on Europe Day 2020 (May 9) and run until summer 2022.

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EPP Secretary General Antonio López-Istúriz: The Orban-Iohannis couple will represent the European approach Romania needs so much

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© Sabin Malisevischi/EPP Group in the CoR- Flickr

The Orban-Iohannis couple will represent the European approach Romania is so much in need of, is the statement made by the Secretary General of the European People’s Party, Antonio López-Istúriz White, for the caleaeuropeana.ro correspondent in Brussels.

This statement was made in the context of the interview given to caleaeuropeana.ro, following the meeting of the EPP Secretary General with the Prime Minister of Romania, Ludovic Orban, on the third and last day of his visit to the institutions of the European Union.

See also EPP Secretary General Antonio López-Istúriz: Romania can no longer stay outside Schengen. This is an unacceptable situation that the EPP will fight to change and we will support whatever measures prime minister Orban takes in this sense

”Things are changing and I think it is good for Romania to have a government that really is in line with the European institutions. Here in the EPP are very happy about it, we know Ludovic Orban as well as president Klaus Iohannis and I think the couple is going to represent this European approach that Romania so much needs”, said Antonio López-Istúriz, referring to the period of social-democratic governance during which Romania’s image at European level was compromised.

Moreover, the EPP Secretary General appreciated that the Prime Minister’s visit to the EU institutions was ”a good occasion for a politician like Ludovic Orban, who I have known for several years, to build a profile here in Brussels”. He added that the Prime Minister has been received ”not only as a friend, but also as a trusted representative of Romania by commissioners, the president of the Commission…”.

In this context, López-Istúriz cited the words of David Sassoli, the president of the European Parliament, who said about the visit that ”Ludovic Orban and the new government bring new hope for the relations between Romania and the EU after, unfortunately, the bad episode of last year when the Romanian commissioner-designate did not pass the test which demonstrated that the government at that time was not in line with the EU reality”.

Prime Minister Ludovic Orban is on a work visit to the NATO and European Union institutions in Brussels from Tuesday to Thursday for meetings with the Presidents of the European Council, the European Commission and the European Parliament, as well as with NATO Secretary General.

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