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European Union: not thinking about tomorrow because I am afraid of today

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This is not an academic paper. This is just an opinion. When I am writing about my own country I believe that I have a privileged position: I do not have to use quotes from official documents  or newspapers, instead I must transfer my own experience into words and ideas.

The wounds of the past

Romania 1989 revolution

At the end of 1989 Romania faced a violent crisis. In national and international media this crisis is described as being a revolution. It was a messy, bloody and violent moment. During those days, regular people sacrificed their lives for ideas like democracy and freedom. 20 years apart, Romanians are asking themselves: What happened in the meantime? How and when we managed to sabotage our society and the entire system?

If you truly want to understand the current concerns of the Romanian society there is a rapid way to do it: use public transport. The majority of conversations about the current situation of our society are concentrated around words and expressions like: corruption; I do not trust them; I hope that he is the lesser evil. Many Romanians are feeling powerless. They feel that the odds are always against them, they believe that the government forsaken them. And they are entitled to feel this way: the minimum wage is around 190 euros and this is not enough, especially if you are living in a big city like Bucharest.

We had a dream…

After 1989 Romania had two major objectives: to be accepted in NATO and to become a member of the European Union. After many years, negotiations and reforms we managed to achieve both of them (NATO accepted us in 2004 and the European Union in 2007). Now it feels that we do not have another compass for the future, a blueprint for the next 20-30 years and a society which does not have a strategic mindset will eventually collapse.

Romania is a small country with small military capabilities and a skinny soft power architecture. We like it or not, it is quite difficult for us to impose our vision abroad. NATO and EU membership boosted this position but until this moment Romania used these leveraged positions not too many times. I would like to offer you an example here. One of the many advantages offered by the EU membership position are the European funds. You can use them for everything: from education to infrastructure and cultural activities. There are good projects and ideas which were crafted using European money. Projects like Roma professionals in the medical field (during this project young ethnic students with excellent academic results received a scholarship) are offering a temporary boost for the society, but this is not good enough. We are wasting European money. There are examples of organizations which are writing European projects like a fire sale. One of the biggest problems in this area is the lack of accountability and transparency. When there is no real accountability corruption spreads like wild fire.

The European Union offered many positive things for Romania. Think about the Erasmus Programme, or about the fact that you can travel without a passport: small or big things, they all improved our lives. The biggest issue is that we cannot truly understand what European citizenship means because we still need to learn what democracy is. For the majority of the population the hardships of the present are too heavy to think about something else, to try to understand things like active citizenship, democracy or social responsibility.

Democracy does not come with the right to take what you want when you want it. In 1989 people died not for a new law of the jungle, they fought and died for something different. In 2007 the EU accepted us – the promised land was here finally. We used our freedoms and invaded Western Europe: this is a natural thing, people are moving across the borders in order to shape a new living standard for them and their families.

and in our quest for it we lost ourselves

The are is a quote about Romanians. It sounds like: far too many Romanians are living for pleasure rather for rights. The pleasure to vote a certain politician because his staff offered you as a bribe a bucket and a bread, rather than the right to vote for somebody who has a political platform and a real vision. The pleasure to mock a police officer after you hit somebody and you are released because you do not represent a public menace.

Romania has two sides and is difficult to say that the European membership offered us only positive or only negative things. Like any other thing from our world the perspective always matters. At the end of the day we should focus more on us, as a society in order to improve our social skills as a community. You can be a community without being a nation but you cannot be a nation without being a community.

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Environment

All Steam Ahead as Europe Goes Green

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Red, amber, green: and Europe is off on its big green venture. Yep, it’s true, Europe is finally on the right track in regards to future-proofing against climate change. To see just how it is doing this and what it is doing in regards to this, make sure to read on.

The abolition of fossil fuels by 2050

Some of Europe’s biggest countries are seeking to go fossil fuel free by 2050, and it’s brilliant. Denmark, a country widely regarded as being a leader in the struggle for a green future, is one such country seeking to do this. Yes, it might be ambitious. And yes, Danish officials openly admit that it is an ambitious venture. But, this old Nordic country is going full steam ahead with its ‘Energy Strategy 2050’ enterprise anyway in the hopes that within 32 years the whole country will be completely dependant on things that do not hurt our world. In fact, Denmark is even seeking to go one step further and go completely cashless. Well done, Denmark!

Cities are building green infrastructures

It appears that many European cities have seen the light in regards to what they need to do to save our planet and are now building green infrastructures to hold themselves up in the future. Yep, many cities around this famous old continent are changing the habit of a lifetime and going against a grain that has been in place for thousands upon thousands of years by swapping out their old, harmful infrastructures and ushering in new, safer ones to replace them. Bratislava, Slovakia is one such example: it has had a complete overhaul of its transport system and only runs low-emission buses, tree planting has become a serious occupation, roofs around the city have been made green and rainwater retention facilities have popped up everywhere. Yep, the Slovakian capital really has built a green infrastructure, despite a tight budget, and many other European cities are following suit.

Many big cities are clambering for green funding

Speaking of tight budgets, there seemingly is one across the whole of Europe when it comes to going green because many cities within the continent are having to clamber for funding in regards to it. But, thankfully, having to do all of this isn’t stopping these cities from doing so and going as green as they can. Yep, cities across the European continent are using a combination of EEA grants, municipal funding, crowdfunding and green bonds in order to go green: Copenhagen has done so and used its funding to upgrade is floodwater management and lighting systems to make them more eco-friendly, Paris has done so and used its funding to plant in excess of 20,000 trees and Essen, Germany has done so and used its funding to be named European Green Capital for 2017.

So, as you can see, the historic old continent of Europe is more than willing to embrace the future and, more specifically, the future needs of our planet. Let’s just hope that the rest of the world and its leaders *cough* Trump *cough* follow suit before it’s all too late.

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Europe

Unforgettable trip in Malaga, Spain

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Malaga Spain

flickr/benidormone

If you are wondering what is the best option to spend your next holidays the answer you are looking for is Marbella. The Spanish Costa del Sol, with its 320 sunny days and an average temperature of 19 degrees throughout the whole year, has everything you could ever need to have the most spectacular holidays.

Marbella is a destiny that has much to offer, it’s where sun, beach, party and luxury meet to give you the best experiences. If you want your Marbella holidays to be unforgettable you can’t miss these activities.

Sun, Sea and Beach Parties in Malaga

Yacht charter in Malaga:  If you are in Costa del Sol you can’t miss the experience of renting a boat to enjoy the bay, from motorboats to luxury yachts. The sea is the perfect way to spend the day. There are many options to choose from and packs to meet your needs.

Party is a synonym of Marbella but there is nothing like a Costa del Sol boat party to enjoy with your friends and have the time of your life.

Beach day: No matter what time of the year you visit Marbella you can always count on a beach day. One of the most attractive features of Costa del Sol is its amazing beaches, awarded with the blue flag, which represent the gold standard for hygiene and public facilities, you can have a great day in one of its many beaches weather is having a drink at one of the typical chiringuitos or practicing different water sports like paddle surf, windsurf or diving in the Mediterranean the beaches in Costa del Sol are always a great option.

Party in Puerto Banus: from the famous Nikki Beach club to the many nightclubs in Marbella, there is no excuse not to party. And if you want to have a different experience you can always spice things up with a special guest, in Marbella, cheeky butler parties are always a fun way to spend the night or to celebrate a bachelorette party. It’s a different experience and you don’t have to worry about anything except enjoying yourself.

Cultural Options in Malaga

Enjoy the historic centre: If you are looking for a more relaxing way to spend your time, Marbella’s old town is an excellent option for you. Get lost in the city and discover all the magical places this typical Andalusian town has to offer.

From Dalí’s art display to its many restaurants there are many ways you can make the most of your time in Costa del Sol. Visit Marbella’s many beautiful squares, and its Alameda park or even take a quick field trip to Torremolinos. Whatever you choose Costa del Sol will never let you down.

Sports in Malaga

Practice your swing: Costa del Sol, also known as Costa del Golf has more than 70 golf courses almost all of them located next to the ocean which adds a beautiful scenery while you practice that swing.

These and many more are the activities are waiting for you to discover, so don’t wait any longer and visit Costa del Sol

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Europe

UK Attempts To Bypass European Commission On Brexit Blocked By Brussels

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Brexit European Union

Via geographos

As the UK and EU draw deeper and deeper into uncharted waters, Brexit negotiations are becoming increasingly erratic. As negotiators from both states met this week to discuss items such as the Northern Ireland Border, the rights of EU citizens currently residing in the UK and the notorious ‘divorce bill’, there have been numerous reports of frustration within the British camp.

Frustration

Recently it was revealed that Prime Minister Theresa May, believing talks to be at an impasse, intended to go over the heads of the EU’s Brexit negotiators and appeal directly to world leaders such as Angela Merkel and Emmanuel Macron. When questioned about this, however, Brussels officials close to the negotiations intimated that Mrs May would not be able to circumvent the negotiations process.

The officials pointed out that both French and German leaders had agreed prior to the talks that negotiations would come “as a single package” where “individual items cannot be settled separately” and that no member state would abstain from negotiations in favour of individual agreements.

One year on…

It has been over a year now since the UK referendum in which the country voted (at a rate of 52% to 48%) to leave the European Union in an unprecedented political and economic chain of events, the repercussions of which will take years to fully realise but which the world glibly knows as Brexit. It’s a small name for such a political leviathan. Many of the world’s leading bankers and economists still aren’t sure what to make of. Recently CEO Lloyds Bank Antonio Horta-Osorio (who has been lauded for restoring the bank’s profits to pre-financial crisis levels) expressed doubt and uncertainty over the long term economic effects of Brexit. It’s somewhat telling that former Prime Minister David Cameron resigned shortly after the vote, claiming that his involvement in the ‘Remain’ campaign put him at odds with the will of the people but it’s possible that he had the prescience to realise that he had no hope of taming this wily and unpredictable beast. One year on, the beast only seems to have become further enraged by the negotiating process.

Difficult negotiations

Theresa May has gone into Brexit negotiations with some questionably aggressive negotiating tactics. The first round of talks were mired by her strangely audacious assertion that “no deal is better than a bad deal”. The frustration has clearly been felt on both sides with chief negotiator Michel Barnier urging Mrs May to begin negotiating “seriously”. The French government also demonstrated an unwillingness to circumvent negotiations earlier this week, stating that it “fully supports, on the substance as well as on the method, Michel Barnier’s negotiating mandate” and asserting that claims that Mrs May can somehow bypass the procedure “are founded on absolutely nothing and do not reflect reality”. Brexit Minister David Davis, however, retains an optimistic tone, stating;

“Our goal remains the same: we want to agree a deal that works in the best interests for both the European Union and the United Kingdom and people and businesses right across Europe. We’re ready to roll up our sleeves and get back to work once more…”.

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