Wednesday

19th Dec 2018

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An opportunity to help shape a better future for Europe

  • MEP Laurentiu Rebega believes the ECR Group best serves the Romanian people and the future of Europe (Photo: REBEGA LAURENTIU)

Political events of the last 18 months have prompted much soul searching and debate over the future of Europe. It has also caused me to evaluate my role as a politician in shaping the future of the European Union.

The EU is at a crossroads, and the decisions we all take now will affect the future of our citizens for generations to come.

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I was elected to the European Parliament in 2014 and during my time as an MEP I have built relationships across the political groups and the parliament which I greatly value. Due to political events in Romania, my journey in the European Parliament has taken me from the federalists in the S&D Group to the ENF Group, where I found their vision of the EU lacks reason or a workable path to reform.

I want to show the voters of Romania that there is a credible and real alternative to the challenges we face around Europe and the stagnation felt here in Brussels.

In the ENF Group it became clear they have no clear agenda or any ability to change the way the EU works for the better - they would rather it fell apart rather than see it rebuilt to better serve their citizens. I quickly realised that joining this group was a mistake and one that I am glad to have now rectified.

In Romania, a new trend in politics is evolving. New political movements express alternatives to the old political parties.

Among them, the Pro Romania Party, was launched by Daniel Constantin and includes former prime minister Victor Ponta as well as many young politicians who have grown frustrated with the status quo in the country.

We all want to see a Romania that is fully engaged with the EU, but not relegated to a fringe player in a two-speed Europe. We do not want Romania's future to be within an EU where its values are selectively applied depending upon which country and which party you come from.

Neither do we believe that the EU is best served by the dominating vision of two leaders of two member states. If this continues, then the EU will significantly diminish its best qualities - diversity and equality of membership.

My political movement wishes to become part of the biggest group with the largest influence with the best ideas for EU reform. I want to be a part of a political group that does not seek to destroy the EU, nor protect it at any cost.

Challenging the status quo

I have watched, observed and worked with members of the ECR Group, and have realised that it is only by challenging the status quo and working constructively on a daily basis to help deliver a reformed EU, rather than shouting from the sidelines, that the future of the EU can be rescued.

When Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker presented his white paper on the Future of Europe, he painted a picture of five different scenarios for how the European Union could evolve.

I reflected upon what kind of Europe I wanted to see, and for me it was clear that there was only one serious answer. I wanted a Europe which did less, and did better, not bring it down and leave nothing in its place.

I listened to what kind of Europe other political group leaders were offering and supported.

There was little to pick between them, the rhetoric and reasoning almost identical and interchangeable. For most political groups in the parliament, the future of the EU was already set in stone. It was going to be a determined path towards more centralisation, more spending, and more power away from the member states.

This is not the kind of EU that I believe offers the best future for my country, and the people of Romania.

How could a better, fairer, more efficient EU be achieved by calling for more of what had already proven to have failed?

Yet one voice stands out in a sea of near consensus, the European Conservatives and Reformists Group.

Like the ECR Group, I believe that we need to create an EU that understands that the people of Europe are best served by looser integration. I believe we need an EU which compliments the work of its capitals, rather than replaces them.

I want an EU which realises its voters expect politicians to place the needs of its people above the ambitions of the European project.

It is therefore, clear to me that in order to best serve the Romanian people, the ECR Group should be where I continue my political journey.

Having applied to join, my hope is that membership of the ECR Group will be the beginning of a new political chapter for me, with what I believe are like-minded colleagues and parties.

Laurentiu Rebega is a Romanian MEP and member of the recently launched 'Pro Romania' Party.

Disclaimer: This article is sponsored by a third party. All opinions in this article reflect the views of the author and not of EUobserver.

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