The European People’s Party (EPP) Summit of the local and regional leaders took place in Bucharest on Saturday, attended by 3,200 participants. President Klaus Iohannis has also attended the summit upon the National Liberal Party’s invitation, as well as PNL chairman Ludovic Orban, EPP candidate for the EC President Manfred Weber, EPP secretary general Antonio Lopez and the director of the EPP campaign for the 2019 elections, Dara Murphy.
President Klaus Iohannis told the attendees that the ruling Social Democrat Party (PSD) has put on the cloth of false patriotism for appearances and the maximum hypocrisy is to attack the European institutions which are criticising the side-slips but to ask for the people’s vote to send MEPs in these European institutions.
The Romanian President lobbied for the importance of the EP elections on May 26, arguing the vote is the best response action to sanction the populist, demagogic speech that has become more and more virulent in Europe, but also in Romania. Iohannis also took the opportunity of criticising the PSD ruling one more time.
“I notice that PSD has put on the outfit of false patriotism, of nationalism just for appearances and is trying to win in elections by inducing fear. It is a cynical, irresponsible way to go in for politics. The proof of maximum hypocrisy is to deny even the principles that underlay the European Union, to attack the institutions that are signalling side-slips and at the same time to ask for the Romanian’s vote to send MEPs in those institutions. To be a good patriot doesn’t mean to oppose Brussels,” Iohannis pointed out, also adding that the European Romnaia means a country where the rule of law and the independence of justice are observed.
The EPP candidate for the EC President position, Manfred Weber, has stated that in the past years, due to the domestic problems related to the rule of law and the fight against corruption, Romania was not seen as a part of the decision-making process within EU.
“I can tell you that the past year Romania was seen as a country that we referred to when talking about the rule of law, the anti-corruption fight, domestic issues. Romania was not seen anymore as part of the decision within EU. It is a tragedy to notice that Romania is not a pioneer at European level anymore. The reason is the current Government in Romania that is thinking more to the party’s interest than to the citizen’s interest“, Weeber added.
Manfred Weber also said that, as the President of the European Commission, he will be in favor of regional development policies and infrastructure development.
“3.5 millions Romanians have left Romania in the last years. One third of the young generation has left this country and this is unacceptable. So we need to have the same living standard (…) To give young people a better future, especially in the rural areas. We must be open for trade, as Europeans. For 1.1 million Romanians work in sectors where products are produced for export to third countries and not to the EU. This is too much. We can only have a good economic future if we believe in our trade policies. This is the problem. The Socialists, the Greens, the left are skeptical about the future trade agreements … The Socialists are opposing them, they want to do the same thing as Donald Trump. They want to block trade, stop it, build walls. On the economic side, I want to create bridges, because this is the only way to achieve good economic development and a sustainable trade policy,” said Weber.
The EPP candidate pointed out that “there is no contradiction between local and national pride and the pride of being European, because the three identities go hand in hand.”
EPP secretary general Antonio Lopez has harshly criticised the ruling Romanian Social Democrat Party (PSD) in his speech, arguing the Romanian Government is a failure, adding that, while in Spain people complain there are too many highways, Romanians protest for they have too less highways, which “is ridiculous”.
“This Government is a failure. This is not Romania’s image. Romania’s image is modesty, the hard-working people. The Romanian Diaspora is an example for Spain and has helped Romania very much,” said Lopez. “In our country people are discontent too many highways, here people protest there are too few. It is ridiculous.”
In his turn, Michael Schneider, the leader of the EPP group in the European Committee of Regions, said Romania’s growth had been hindered by the current Socialist Government’s incompetence, by the suffocating bureaucracy and by the lack of funds for regional and local authorities.
PNL chairman, Ludovic Orban said that his party had outranked PSD in the opinion polls and it is on an upward trend, while PSD is goind down for “it has mocked Romania”.
“We have no other solution in the upcoming two years than to go meet people, to walk on every street, block of flats and tell them about the dirtry tricks played by the PSD comrades, who promised higher pensions, salaries, but have done nothing but to go into a useless conflict with the European leaders. They have done nothing but increase the energy, gas bills, the prices of medicines and food. PSD have given with one hand and he has taken with two“, Orban concluded.