The Palace of Parliament yesterday hosted the first day of the European People’s Party (EPP) Congress bringing together 27 official delegations – heads of state and government and representatives from EU member states and third states.
The Congress kicked off with the key-addresses by the party President, Wilfried Martens, and EPP group leader Joseph Daul, followed by the welcome messages addressed by PDL leaders Vasile Blaga and Theodor Stolojan and by UDMR President Kelemen Hunor. On the occasion, the leader of the EPP group in the European Parliament, Joseph Daul, said the party he represented had always been the engine of European integration as well as a supporter of reform, growth and responsibility, the European Continent needing the value added by common policies, be them in the field of agriculture, regional policies, energy or research. ‘More European policies are needed. We need more Europe, not only in traditional areas. For example, we need to develop European solutions to unemployment. We have a single market, a common currency. (…) We are fighting the economic crisis with strength and determination. We are using all our energies to identify European solutions and come out of the crisis stronger. But we must never forget where we come from,’ Daul is quoted by Mediafax as having said. The representative of the Romanian delegation on the EPP group in the European Parliament (EP), Theodor Stolojan, on his part said Romanians had learned during the summer that European values were not to be taken for granted and that they had to fight for them every day in order to keep and observe them. ‘I would like to thank again President (of EPP – our note) Wilfried Martens, President (of the EPP Group in EP – o.n.) Joseph Daul and the President of the European Commission, Jose Manuel Barroso, Commissioner Viviane Reding for their major support given to Romania for the reconsolidation of European values,’ said Stolojan. He added Romania could accomplish, through its own efforts and with EU support, the transition from an average-income country to a high-income state by the end of the current decade. A similar view was also voiced by PDL leader Vasile Blaga: ‘We went through a major trial last summer. Together with our partners and allies, we proved that European values and democratic norms can count on the political strength of the Right in Romania (…). I thank you for your energy and determination in defending European freedom and democracy at a difficult moment.’ He pointed out that the support given ‘during the long antidemocratic summer in Romania’, against ‘the attack launched by the Socialists on European values and on Romania’s place in the EU’ had proved the lesson that the EU was not ‘just a sum of speeches’. ‘The attack launched by the Socialists on European values and on Romania’s place in the European Union should be a lesson (…). Together we have proved (…) that the European Union is not a sum of speeches, that Europe is not a project on paper. We have proved that freedom, democracy and a united Europe based on solidarity are one and the same thing,’ Blaga said. According to the PDL president, the EPP Congress in Bucharest has all the chances to be recorded by history as the Congress of the 2nd European Unification. The unification should lead to a stronger, more competitive Europe, better for its citizens. In the Europe that is being designed by the People’s Party project no more budget or economic derailments and no more neglect of democratic norms will be possible and admissible’, the Democrat-Liberal leader pointed out. UDMR President Kelemen Hunor, in turn, said that, in the context of the economic crisis, a moral crisis was also developing in Romania. He also noted that this year’s election would be the most difficult in the previous 23 years: ‘The economic crisis is not over and, according to all credible forecasts, there is still a lot of work to be done before we can say we are on a sustainable economic growth trend. Against this background of economic crisis another crisis is developing in this country – the moral crisis, the crisis of fundamental values. Or we could also say the other way around – the economic crisis deteriorates in the context of the crisis of fundamental values. Our society is showing signs of fatigue, political trends that concern us emerge. Populism and extremism of all kinds seemingly develop better now than they do during calmer periods.’ Statements have also been made by USL leaders who welcomed EPP leaders to Bucharest: ‘I wish a warm welcome to the EPP leaders. They will see there are no tanks in the streets,’ PM Victor Ponta said. Yesterday morning, he said the main theme of his talks with the EC chief was going to be the absorption of European funds. PNL President Crin Antonescu, in his turn, hailed the EPP Congress, saying that Bucharest would be the political capital of Europe for a few days.
Mihai Razvan Ungureanu and Laszlo Tokes want their parties to become EPP members
Former premier Mihai Razvan Ungureanu is hopeful the Civic Force Party will become a member of the European People’s Party (EPP), a hope also nurtured by MEP Laszlo Tokes for the Hungarian People’s Party of Transylvania (PPMT). “In the upcoming days, the statutory proceeding will get started of verifying the capacity of the Civic Force Party to become an EPP member. I hope from the bottom of my heart that within the EPP expansion regulation deadline, Romania will have yet another political grouping member of the largest political club in the European Union, “Mihai Razvan Ungureanu told journalists in a press statement. Half an hour after Mihai Razvan Ungureanu’s statement, MEP Laszlo Tokes spoke of the PPMT having submitted an EEP membership application. “The Hungarian People’s Party of Transylvania has submitted an application for joining the European People’s Party, which resulted in party representatives being invited at this Congress,” Laszlo Tokes told journalists on Parliament’s hallways, adding that he would suggest that the sum awarded to the EU along with the Nobel Peace Prize to be spent on goals for minorities.
Verhofstadt: EPP chooses the wrong track of supporting Basescu, similar to that in the case of Orban or Berlusconi
Guy Verhofstadt, leader of the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe (ALDE) Group in the European Parliament on Tuesday evening said that the EPP leaders are on the wrong track of supporting Traian Basescu, repeating the mistake they made in the case of Silvio Berlusconi or Viktor Orban. The ALDE leader said that there is a political competition going on in Bucharest, recounting that he was at Parliament Palace to meet Senate Speaker Crin Antonescu, only to see the hall prepared for a different political grouping.