On January 22, Teodor Meleșcanu, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Romania, presented the priorities of the Romanian Presidency of the Council of the European Union on humanitarian affairs in the Development Committee (DEVE) of the European Parliament.
In his speech, the Minister outlined the main issues that Romania will address in the following six months, focusing on prevention, as an essential aspect in the humanitarian field.
Minister Melescanu emphasized the important role of Disaster Risk Reduction (through disaster management, prevention, mitigation and preparedness) and mentioned that Romania will focus on highlighting the evolutions and challenges accompanying the implementation process, based on the provisions of the Sendai Framework.
Moreover, he underlined that the Romanian Presidency will act as a strong link between humanitarian aid and civil protection actors, aiming to promote the capacity building of medical emergency response. Furthermore, the Minister detailed that education in emergencies is a key aspect which, during the next 6 months, will be an important topic in the European debates, and will be centered on the role of children and young people and how they can be thoroughly trained to be able to respond properly in a crisis situation.
Teodor Meleșcanu also spoke about the role of new technologies and their increased use in the humanitarian sector, whilst drawing attention on the possibility that those innovations could become harmful to the population, such as affecting their personal data, propagating fake news or possible disastrous consequences in warfare or rescue missions.
The Minister announced that Romania will closely monitor the ongoing, emerging, forgotten and protracted crises, with the purpose of generating a tailored and united EU response, putting peace at the center of the debates the Presidency will facilitate.
The head of the Romanian diplomacy ended by stating that the Romanian Presidency of the Council of the European Union will act as an honest broker between all the European institutions and Member States in order to streamline the European policies in the humanitarian field.
The session was followed by a working lunch with the Committee chair and the coordinators, during which an exchange of views on the Romanian Presidency priorities in the field of Development cooperation policy was held.
Minister Meleșcanu emphasized that the Romanian Presidency will place youth at the center of its demarches, with the view to feed into the reflection on how to mainstream the approach on children and youth in international cooperation for development. Another topic of interest will be to coordinate efforts with regard to the EU contribution at the High-Level Political Forum (HLPF) in New York, in July 2019. The minister also stated that the Romanian Presidency of the Council of the EU will continue the work of the previous Presidencies, with regard to the ongoing negotiation process of the future ACP-EU Agreement, as the current Cotonou Agreement expires in 2020. The negotiations of the legislative proposal for establishing a Neighborhood, Development and Cooperation Instrument (NDICI) in the future EU financial framework will be another important priority of the Romanian Presidency. Romania will also support actions for the implementation of the new European Consensus on Development.