The Black Sea region is used by Russia as “a platform from which to project its power in other areas”, the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Bogdan Aurescu said on Wednesday.
“Russia’s aggression against Ukraine is the biggest and most direct threat to peace and stability in the Euro-Atlantic area. Obviously, there are consequences related to regional security, especially in the Black Sea region, which is used by Russia as a platform from which to it projects its power in other areas. Therefore, we need comprehensive answers”, the head of Romanian diplomacy said at the opening ceremony of the BSUN-BUA International Congress – “Dialogue and Cooperation in the Black Sea and Balkan Regions”.
Russia’s aggression, he also pointed out, “underlined, once again, the need for ever closer cooperation between actors who have the same perspective, in these regions, be it political decision-makers, businesses, representatives of civil society or members of the academic environment”.
Aurescu spoke about the situation in the Black Sea region and the Balkans.
“The Black Sea and Balkan regions are also affected by a lack of economic development, limited connectivity, weak and vulnerable economic exchange flows and an urgent need for pragmatic joint investments and projects. These are the reasons that make regional cooperation on our side of the world more important than ever,” said Bogdan Aurescu.
President Iohannis: Education is the foundation of the development of democratic societies
Education is the foundation of the development of democratic societies, the essential premise for the modernization and evolution of nations towards an increasingly prosperous standard of living, President Klaus Iohannis said on Wednesday, in his message sent by the State Councilor Catalina Galer at the International Congress “Dialogue and Cooperation in the Black Sea and Balkan Regions,” organized by the Black Sea Universities Network (BSUN) and the Balkan Universities Association (BUA).
“Education is the foundation of the development of democratic societies, the essential premise for the modernization and evolution of nations towards an increasingly prosperous standard of living. Higher education is the one that lays the foundations for progress, through its mission to equip students with the necessary skills and knowledge to innovate and find the right solutions to the challenges of the present and those of the future. Besides educating highly qualified graduates, universities must also be important voices in the society, influencing public policies, stimulating civic involvement and encouraging ideas and behaviours that define the communities,” said President Iohannis.
According to him, globalization, climate change, technological progress and the accelerated pace at which the world is changing require an increasingly rapid degree of adaptation, all of which generate the need for specialists in emerging fields, and universities play a fundamental role in training professionals who will respond the requirements of the labour market, which are in continuous evolution.
“Currently, the countries of the Black Sea and the Balkan region are facing many similar, extremely complex challenges, considering the security context generated by Russia’s war in Ukraine, high gas and energy prices, and inflation. In order to find innovative solutions in addressing these challenges, it is necessary to increase the degree of inter-university cooperation,” the message of the President of Romania states.
In his opinion, the academic communities must make joint efforts, so that, by incorporating different perspectives and ideas in the researches they carry out, they will provide valuable and impactful results.
“During such periods dominated by crises, the values that define our societies, including our democracies, are questioned and tested. All the more important is the role of universities, which can help their students acquire the skills and competences necessary to combat disinformation, to have informed opinions and become active members of their communities,” said Klaus Iohannis.
According to him, the health crisis caused by the COVID-19 pandemic had a considerable impact on the educational process, and the multiple changes and evolutions of the pandemic waves put pressure on universities, which had to adjust and organize remote courses, so that the negative effects of this period are felt by the students as little as possible.
Klaus Iohannis recalled that universities, in the context of the crisis in Ukraine, offered assistance to refugees, offering accommodation in student campuses and organizing fund-raising campaigns.
“We are currently going through a deep security crisis, triggered by Russia’s military aggression against Ukraine. The academic environment has condemned the unprovoked war, and universities have offered assistance to refugees, through fundraising campaigns, providing accommodation on student campuses or support to Ukrainian students. This is what a significant social impact universities can have. They must continue to be a factor of change, promoting relations between different cultures, tolerance and strengthening social cohesion. I am sure that, by working more together, universities in the Balkan regions and the Black Sea region will be able to overcome the current challenges, offering at the same time innovative perspectives and motivating students to learn and contribute to the economic and cultural development of our countries,” the head of state said.
PM Ciuca: People’s aspirations in the Black Sea region are related to the Euro-Atlantic values
Prime Minister Nicolae Ciuca states that the Black Sea region presents risks, but also opportunities, being an area where people’s aspirations are closely linked to the Euro-Atlantic values of freedom and prosperity.
“It is not the first time that a Romanian dignitary talks about the importance of the Balkans and the Black Sea region. I definitely support the work and the effort to make the whole world pay attention to these regions again. All the arguments for placing these regions at the core of world’s attention must be formulated repeatedly in public worldwide. There are still many things to be said and done for these two regions,” said Ciuca, on Wednesday, at the international congress “Dialogue and Cooperation in the Black Sea and Balkan Regions,” organized by the Network of Black Sea Universities (BSUN) and by the Association of Balkan Universities (BUA), at the University of Bucharest.
The Prime Minister showed that the Black Sea area is the most “diverse and challenging” of all the regions close to the European Union, but also the most “promising.” According to him, cooperation and coordination, along with forward-looking strategies and visionary projects, can bring more stability and prosperity to the extended Black Sea region.
“In recent years, Romania has permanently put the risks and opportunities in the Black Sea region on the agenda: the risk represented by the frozen conflicts, alternative energy solutions for Europe, the need to implement some environmental programmes for this region or the need to integrate its precious cultural heritage. It is an area where people’s aspirations are closely related to our Euro-Atlantic values of freedom, prosperity for a safe and peaceful future,” added Nicolae Ciuca.
EduMin Deca: Construction of European universities requires higher education institutions to assume position as vectors of progress
The construction of European universities requires higher education institutions to fully assume their position as vectors of progress and transformation of society for the future, Minister of Education Ligia Deca stated on Wednesday.
Minister Ligia Deca stated that Romania supported the initiative of the European Universities from the beginning, as well as the principles which they are based on.
“I strongly believe that any new pillar in the promotion of regional and transnational cooperation is crucial,” Education Minister Deca stated, at the BSUN – BUA International Congress on “Dialogue and Cooperation in the Black Sea and Balkan Regions,” organized by the Black Sea Universities Network (BSUN) and the Balkan University Association (BUA).
The Minister believes that European universities represent “a shift of paradigm” in terms of transnational cooperation in higher education.
“They allow the experimentation of new initiatives, such as institutional cooperation tools such as legal status, microcredits, more flexible mobility formats, synergies between education, research, innovation and the involvement of university communities. European universities also have a constant influence over the legislative reforms at the European and national level,” the Romanian official said.
According to the Education Minister, European universities also have a constant influence on legislative reforms at the European and national level. She said that the new draft law on higher education includes provisions on microcredits and supports the development of joint degrees.
Furthermore, transnational cooperation between European higher education institutions increases their attractiveness for international studies and increases the quality of educational offers and the potential for research and innovation.
“I strongly believe that together we can transform education at all levels and that dialogue and cooperation are essential in this endeavor. For more than 20 years, the European Higher Education Area (EHEA) has been an engine for reform in higher education,” Minister Deca said.
She brought to mind the fact that Romanian universities provided both shelter, to those fleeing the military invasion of Ukraine, and opportunities for young Ukrainians to continue their studies.
“This thing proved that solidarity remains a basic value and that universities promote human rights and fundamental democratic values.
Mircea Geoana: NATO sees Black Sea and Balkan regions as being of strategic relevance
Deputy Secretary General of NATO, Mircea Geoana, on Wednesday said that the North Atlantic Treaty Organization regards the Black Sea and Balkan regions as being of “strategic relevance.”
He sent a video message for the opening ceremony of the BSUN-BUA International Congress – “Dialogue and Cooperation in the Black Sea and Balkan Regions.”
“We are at a moment of reflection in history – Russia’s war against Ukraine. The implications of this war on the European and international order systems have not yet been fully assessed. But in Europe, things will not be the same as in the last decades. That’s why here, at NATO, we look at the Black Sea and Balkan regions as areas of strategic relevance, in terms of security and for the future European architecture,” Mircea Geoana pointed out.
He said that the participants in the congress are “the intellectual elite of some regions that have often been punished by geography and that have often been victims of history.”
“Now maybe the time has come for our region to play its true role, as a co-contributor and co-author of a new European and international system that is under construction,” said the Deputy Secretary General of NATO.
He underscored that political consensus is also needed in this approach and appreciated that “this is an opportunity that should not be missed.”
Speaking about the war in Ukraine, Mircea Geoana said that “Ukraine is fighting bravely for us as well.”
Compiled from Agerpres