Melescanu: EU Council Romanian Presidency, desire to cooperate directly with DEVE and AFET
The message we wanted to convey to the European Parliament Committees on Development (DEVE) and Foreign Affairs (AFET) is our desire to cooperate directly with these committees which are within our scope of activity, on any topic that concerns the European Union, in the light of our priorities, Foreign Affairs Minister Teodor Melescanu said on Tuesday after the successive presentation of the program of the Romanian Presidency of the Council of the EU in front of the members of the two committees of the European Parliament.
“We had in the morning a first meeting in the Committee on Development of the European Parliament on the issues of humanitarian assistance and Romania’s contribution, on how we intend to carry out our activity in this area. At noon we had in the same committee a discussion on Romania’s contribution to the assistance for the development of other countries in our area, in the African area and other continents, and in the afternoon (I presented) the priorities for the European Union’s foreign policy in AFET, which is at our Senate level, about 147 members,” the head of Romanian diplomacy said.
According to the Romanian official, a question he was asked by a British MEP on Tuesday referred to Brexit.
“I said very clearly that we are one of the countries that regrets the decision the UK has adopted. Secondly, I said that we want a predictable and orderly withdrawal of the United Kingdom from the EU, and that our goal is to find ways to keep the UK as close to the EU as possible, especially on defense and security matters, on foreign policy issues and others. I also referred to the fact that we have since 2003 a strategic partnership with the UK and that, once things are clear with their legal situation, we intend to develop this strategic partnership between Romania and the United Kingdom,” the Romanian Minister mentioned, pointing out that the concrete problem to be solved is for the EU to know very clearly what the UK wants.
Petre Daea: Romania to exercise citizen-oriented presidency, to see EU policies are related to principle of cohesion
Romania will carry out a citizen-oriented presidency and will see that the European Union’s policies are constantly related to the principle of cohesion among the member states, Agriculture Minister Petre Daea said on Tuesday in Committee on the Environment, Public Health and Food Safety of the European Parliament.
“We want to exercise a citizen-oriented presidency and in this sense to better communicate to them the European agenda and the results of our common efforts at the service of the citizen. Through the activity carried out at the Presidency of the Council of the EU, Romania will seek to achieve concrete results and highlight the benefits that a strong and cohesive Union can bring to each and every one. The Romanian Presidency will also see that the Union’s policies constantly related to the principle of cohesion between the member states, regions and all the citizens,” Daea said.
He specified that the Romanian Presidency is at the center of its activity the idea of cohesion as a common European value and that “the country’s priorities rest on four pillars: “Europe of convergence”,”Europe of safety”,”Europe, global actor” and “Europe of common values.”
“Under the first pillar, our overall objective is the Europe of Convergence and Cohesion with a view to a sustainable and equitable development for all citizens and member states by increasing competitiveness and reducing development gaps, social progress, promoting connectivity and digitization, stimulating entrepreneurship and strengthening industrial policy. Under the second pillar, the general objective is represented by Europe’s security by strengthening a secure Europe, by adding more cohesion among the member states in the face of the new security challenges that threaten the safety of citizens and supporting cooperation initiatives in the field,” the Minister of Agriculture further said.
As regards the third pillar, Daea stressed that Europe’s global role needs to be strengthened by continuing the implementation process of the Global Strategy, ensuring the necessary resources at Union level, promoting the enlargement policy, the Union’s action in the neighborhood and implementing the EU’s global commitments.
With regard to the fourth pillar, the overall objective is to stimulate the Union’s solidarity and cohesion by promoting policies to combat discrimination, equal opportunities and equal treatment for women and men, and to increase the citizens’ involvement in European debates.
At the same time, the Romanian Minister of Agriculture underlined that the Romanian Presidency will contribute to defining the principles of the Multi-Annual Financial Framework 2021-2027.
“The future multi-annual budget will have to provide the Union with the necessary resources to achieve the objectives of the next seven years. The commitment of our Presidency of the Council of the European Union, both politically and technically, as well as the cooperation with the European Council, the European Parliament and the European Commission are essential for the end result of the financial framework negotiations. The stimulation of increased convergence across the Union remains a priority objective, as a basis for the advancement of all European policies,” Minister Petre Daea added.
Culture Minister: Romania has potential to mediate, close copyright file during its term at EU helm
Romania potentially has the necessary mediation skills for the copyright file to be closed during its term at the Presidency of the Council of the European Union, Minister of Culture Valer-Daniel Breaz said on Tuesday in Brussels, where he presented to the European Parliament’s Committee on Culture and Education (CULT) the priorities of the Romanian Presidency of the Council of the EU.
“The priorities are primarily those of the European Union. In this context of the Presidency of the Council of the EU, we do nothing else but act as mediator, and we will definitely do so at our best,” Breaz said after the meeting with the Committee.
According to the Minister, the Copyright Directive is one of the priorities.
“The Copyright Directive is extremely important, it is a file that should have been discussed three years ago, but debates in the Commission have unofficially started almost 10 years ago. During the Romanian Presidency, we will work towards completing and bringing into the legislative process a legal framework that can practically benefit the entire Europe. This legislative process is extremely important for what copyright means, but I trust that we will be able to act as a very good mediator so that we can finalize this file. (…) The copyright file is extremely important and I am sure that Romania has the potential to act as a very good mediator for this file to be closed during our Presidency,” said the Minister of Culture.
Among the priorities of Romania’s EU Presidency Valer-Daniel Breaz also mentioned the “Creative Europe” program, showing that young people should be “brought back to movie theatres”.
“If we talk about ‘Creative Europe’, which is yet another important aspect, we must consider what we will do with the future generations, we must think about what we do with young people, and at this point I am referring to some of the cinematography-related aspects that we also discussed in the Committee: we must bring young people back to movie theatres, we have to offer them a cultural alternative. (…) Young people are in a most important training period and the way we guide them in life is extremely important: ‘Creative Europe’ is one of the important items we will address during our Presidency,” Breaz added.
According to the Minister of Culture, another priority of Romania’s term at the EU helm is the restoration of heritage buildings and works of art.
“Europe offers, from all points of view, both vestiges and heritage buildings. But restoration does not just mean the restoration of buildings, it also means restoring a work of art, a very valuable book, things that need to be done, and we must create an extremely consistent and fair legislative framework that does not allow for lowering the standards in terms of restoration quality,” Breaz explained.
Minister Andronescu presents in Brussels priorities in education for current six-month Presidency
Minister of Education Ecaterina Andronescu presented on Tuesday to the European Parliament’s Committee on Culture and Education the priorities in the sector of education and training during Romania’s six-month term at the Presidency of the Council of the European Union.
As far as education priorities are concerned, the chosen motto “Connecting Education” highlights the three major dimensions pursued: mobility, inclusion and excellence, all identified in the Program of the EU Presidency Trio, a release states.
“On this basis, we seek to adopt during our term in office the Recommendations of the EU Council on high quality early childhood education and care systems, and the Council’s Recommendation on a comprehensive approach to the teaching and learning of languages. Both recommendations are, as a matter of fact, instrumental to the creation of the European Education Area by 2025,” said Ecaterina Andronescu.
According to the cited source, the new Erasmus+ program is a top important file during Romania’s tenure of the Presidency of the Council of the EU, as an instrument that converges with the goals of building the European Education Area (international mobility and intercultural exchange).
“Excellence in education and training is a key element of the European Education Area and the Romanian Presidency of the Council of the EU will support further efforts to develop European university networks as well as centers of excellence in vocational and technical education,” the release states.
Another important topic of the Romanian Presidency in the line of education is cooperation between Europe and Asia, coupled with the internationalization of education. To this end, the meeting of the ASEM Education Ministers will be organized in Bucharest this May, an event to be preceded by the meetings of the rectors and students from the two regions. The main subjects to be addressed at the two meetings will be mobility and the contribution of universities to sustainable development.
Importance of Erasmus Plus program presented before CULT members
The Erasmus Plus program, the program targeting early childhood education and the quality care for very young children and the one related to language learning represent the three files that Romania has to manage during its six months of the Romanian Presidency of the Council of the European Union, said on Tuesday Ecaterina Andronescu, the Minister of National Education, after the meeting of the European Parliament’s Committee on Culture (CULT).
According to the Romanian Education minister, the Erasmus Plus program is more extensive than the previous budget exercise, with several components being added to it – performance centers on technological education, a new program for the realization of European university networks, which in Ecaterina Andronescu’s opinion is a step forward in shaping collaboration between European universities.
“In a discussion held prior to the takeover of the Romanian Presidency of the EU Council with European Commissioner Tibor Navracsics, we were actually trying to see if we could develop, within this component, these European networks of universities, bachelor’s degree, master’s degree or doctoral programs to take place in the different countries of the network components,” the Romanian minister continued.
”Unfortunately, I cannot be very optimistic because, on the one hand, Parliament (…) expects the budget to join the trialogue, and we are unlikely to have the chance to draw up the budget in this period with many events, but I am extremely positive for the other two files, which are non-legislative and will be finalized with recommendations, and which we hope to bring to the Council in May. It is about the file targeting early childhood education and quality care for children at very young ages. All education experts say and I have also said here that these cognitive acquisitions at a very young age are very important for the future development of the child and we hope that we will close this file. The second file is aimed at learning foreign languages. Romania has experience from this point of view, there are not many countries that have two languages in compulsory education and we hope to convince everyone to close this file in May,” Andronescu said.