EPP MEP Ramona Mănescu at Doha Forum: ”With better infrastructure, better employment opportunities and stronger economic foundations for success, the lure of extremism diminishes”

sigla ppe buna”With better infrastructure, better employment opportunities and strong economy, we diminish the threat of terrorism,” said European People’s Party MEP, Ramona Manescu, a member of the Foreign Affairs Committee of the European Parliament on the occasion of participation in the 15th edition Forum in Doha, Qatar.

Further we present you the full version of the Romanian MEP.

“Your Excellencies,

Distinguished guests,

I am greatly honoured to have been invited to participate to DOHA FORUM, a prestigious forum of debate that celebrates its 15th edition this year. It is a great pleasure for me to be here and I would like to thank His Highness Sheikh Tamim Bin Hamad Al-Thani, Emir of the State of Qatar for its presence and for the warm welcoming in the opening ceremony and to H.E. Dr. Khalid Bin Mohammed Al Attiyah, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the State of Qatar for the welcoming and for organizing this event trough the Permanent Committee for Organizing Conferences.

Also, I would like to thank to H.E Sheikh Ali BIN JASSIM AL-THANI, Ambassador of the State of Qatar to the Kingdom of Belgium for working in close cooperation with DOHA and for extending the invitations to the EU-Qatar Friendship Group Members within the European Parliament.

Ramona_Doha

sigla ppe buna

In my quality of Chair-Woman of the EU-Qatar Friendship Group within the European Parliament, I Thank you very much for giving us the opportunity to be here!

This is not my first visit to Qatar as a member of the Foreign Affairs Committee and as a member of the Delegation for the relations with the Arab Peninsula within the European Parliament. Any visitor is struck by the dynamic, outward looking nature of the country and its economy, the combination of modernity and tradition. Qatar is a start-up nation that already became a global brand.

As a member of both Mashreq and Arab Peninsula Delegations within the European Parliament, being in constant contact with this area and having a concerned interest in the future evolution of the relations between these countries and the EU, I must say that there is a striking contrast between what we see today, here in Qatar, or in other Middle-East neighbouring countries like UAE, Kuwait or Saudi Arabia and what we see not very far, in Yemen, Syria or Libya.

As Europeans, we also know something about war and peace, about resentment and reconciliation. It’s worth remembering how recent it really was – exactly seven decades ago – when the whole Europe was in ruins after a devastating conflict and how far we have come in such a short period of time.

In 2012, the European Union received the Nobel Peace Prize. This was a recognition for the European nations, that finally succeeded in breaking the vicious circle of military offensives and retaliation, which was the driving force behind Europe’s history for ages.

Our recent history makes us sensible to the need of others and this is why our efforts so far have not been insignificant. We have mobilized over 3 billion EURO in development and humanitarian aid since the Syrian conflict began – the world’s largest donation.

But it is not enough. Many refugees, in Iraq, Syria, Lebanon or Jordan remain without adequate food, shelter and medical support and it is our duty to help them.

But that on its own will not solve the problem it simply cover the wounds.

We have a political and diplomatic obligation to stop this tragedy, to stem the flow of refugees and to contain the spreading conflicts.

Again EU has not been slow to act. We froze bilateral financial and technical assistance programs with countries like Syria, we have condemned human rights violations, lobbied for a political solution and worked with the UN, the League of Arab States and our regional and international partners to find an answer.

Here, I must express a special appreciation for the determined and broad involvement of the Arab League member countries in tackle the conflicts in the region. The military effort is not a small one and nothing like this has been seen before in scale, number of countries and covered area. This proves that there is a broad awareness of the threat posed by the extremists groups and the havoc they bring into the contaminated regions.

Also, I would like to express my deep appreciation for the countries that are offering hospitality to more than 3 million refugees and bearing the high social, political, security and material cost of an increasingly worsening humanitarian situation.

In this context it is our collective responsibility to help end the ongoing tragedies in so many countries from this region. To help reinstalling stability in Libya and Egypt. To end the civil wars in Syria and Yemen. To contain and bring to justice the terrorist and extremist groups that got a grasp in Iraq and other neighbouring regions. To ease the humanitarian effort for the refugees taking shelter in Jordan, Lebanon or Turkey. This can only be resolved through political and diplomatic solutions. We must work together; EU, the League of Arab States, United Nations and all the other strategic international partners.

While the political and diplomatic solutions are following their own path, I make a pledge to the Arab League and all its member countries to step up their humanitarian effort for all those in immediate need, all over the region. All the grounds reports are showing that we, as international community, are failing in providing the necessary aid, even at the level of basic needs like food, shelter and medical aid.

Ladies and Gentleman,

I would like to use the opportunity to bring into discussion the connection between the main topic of this event: Middle East’s Economic Future and this session’s focus: Security and Regional Stability.

I strongly believe that the two are not just only strongly connected but they cannot exist one without the other.

Looking around here, in Doha, it is obvious that where people have a choice, where they have real opportunities and access to education, where businesses are offered with infrastructure and a predictable future, there is no space for terrorist groups or extremism.

Terrorism is the territory of those who lack hope and opportunity. With better infrastructure, better employment opportunities and stronger economic foundations for success, the lure of extremism diminishes.

Defeating extremism means creating optimism. Nurturing a region where opportunity is available to the majority and where there are clear alternatives to violence and self-sacrifice.

These are bold aims. But there is no alternative.

And this is why we are here these days and this is why the two topics: economic development and regional security and stability are going so well together.

Just couple days ago, European Parliament’s Industry, Research and Energy Committee approved a proposal for a European Energy Security Strategy, outlining the framework for improved energy security. The final vote in plenary is scheduled for the June plenary session in Strasbourg.

When we talk about Middle East’s Economic Future is impossible not to start the discussion with the energy topic.

Today’s success of many Golf and Middle East countries was built on their fossil fuel reserves and the global demand of energy and raw materials for the petro-chemical industry.

I come from a country that is proud to be present in the World statistics as the first country to have an industrial production of crude oil. With its oil production came the whole oil industry, research, infrastructure and then horizontal industry, like the petro-chemical one. International demand of energy resources is one of the reasons why today Constanta is the biggest port at the Black Sea and a major energetic hub for the whole European Union.

This history helps me understand the complicated but strong connections between energy/resources security, economic development, regional stability, political relations and conflicts.

Also, I can see a clear picture of a country that once was a major oil exporter and, under the pressure of continuous reducing of natural reserves evolved to a new stage where it invested in nuclear energy and has a long term nuclear program, developed a whole industry of renewable resources, from research to production and big aeolian or photo-voltaic farms, and used its broad knowledge in hydrocarbons extraction, transport and storage to become an energy hub for a region where energy security become the strongest diplomatic tool.

I believe that under the global discussion about energy security, combined with the pressure coming from the assumed goals of sustainability and reduced pressure over the climatic system, energy production in the shape of fossil fuels was, is and it will continue to be the engine that will assure the development and stability of the whole Golf and Middle East region.
The opportunities offered by the renewable energies in terms of research, production, implementation and operation are just starting to uncover.

Interconnectivity of various energy transport and storage systems, that is more and more needed, offers another opportunity of investments, jobs creation and sustainability. A good example are the ongoing and future projects of connecting the gas and oil resources recently discovered in the Black Sea, through the hub offered by Constanta Port, with the high demand coming from countries that are massively dependant by Russian exports.
Also, the strategic goals set at European Union level, to continuous increase the interconnectivity of the electrical grid are bringing new investment opportunities.

I believe that an energy security strategy can be the fundament for better, stronger bilateral relations between EU and the Golf and Middle East countries.

Common goals can also bring constructive answers to questions like the Russia role in this equation or the Iranian issue. They can also represent a long term basis for economic development, which, in return, is capable to support regional stability and security.

Strong and stable countries in this region, economic and politically, is the warranty that the terrorism, extremism and induced unrest are bound to fail. They also represent a regional support for the countries that today are not that lucky, that are troubled by instability or crushed by civil wars. It shows to the common people that an alternative is possible and with joint effort of EU countries, Arab League Countries and international community, the trend will be reversed and, instead of international exports of terrorism and instability, we will all see exports of hope, normality and the chance of a decent life.

The potential is huge, I can see it, I am certain we all can see it, and I trust in the goals and interests that are uniting us, not in the ones that are bringing division.
I am confident that we can manage to have a better life for the people of our countries.
I am certain that together we can find solutions for peace and prosperity, to help build a better future of our nations!

Thank you!”

Ramona Mănescu is a member of the European Parliament from the European People’s Party (EPP), the biggest political group in the European Parliament, with 219 members from 27 EU Member States. Also, the EPP is the largest and most influential center-right political party at European level, which includes 78 member parties from 40 countries, the Presidents of the European Commission and European Council, 11 heads of state and government within the EU and 6 outside the Union and 14 members of the European Commission.

2 Responses to EPP MEP Ramona Mănescu at Doha Forum: ”With better infrastructure, better employment opportunities and stronger economic foundations for success, the lure of extremism diminishes”

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