The 7th edition of the EUROSFAT Forum opened the electoral campaign for the European Parliament elections in Romania. The largest annual forum on European affairs in Romania took place on 11 and 12 of April in Bucharest and it gathered together over 600 participants, mostly young citizens, representatives of civil society, journalists, activists and ambassadors. They debated for two days with representatives of European political parties, Romanian and foreign candidates in the European Parliament elections, representatives of European, national and local institutions, mayors, representatives of the banking, private, business and academic sectors and social entrepreneurs.

EUROSFAT Forum is based on the European values of democracy, civic engagement and open dialogue, benefiting from the patronage of the President of the European Parliament, Antonio Tajani, the Representation of the European Commission in Romania and the Romanian Presidency of the Council of the European Union, as well as the support of 14 sponsors and 18 partners. This year, the event was created to encourage Romanian citizens to vote in the European Parliament elections on May 26th through a citizens’ debate, a plenary session, 8 thematic workshops and a cultural
event. The EUROSFAT Forum is organized by Europuls – the Centre of European Expertise, a nongovernmental organization, independent of any political body, formed by a group of young Romanian volunteers working on European affairs.

On April 11th, candidates and representatives of the main European political parties came to Romania to discuss with citizens about the importance of the vote on 26th of May, to find out how they perceive the EU and what the EU means for them, but also to answer people’s questions. The debate was dynamic and interactive and involved 100 young citizens in a dialogue with four senior representatives of European political parties: Dara Murphy, European People’s Party (EPP), Vice President and Campaign Director; Andi Cristea, Representative of the Socialist and Democrats group of the European Parliament (S&D); Michal Berg, Member of the Executive Committee of European Greens Party (EGP) and Daniel Berg, Member of the Board of the Momentum Party and candidate for the European Parliament elections.

On April 12th, the day started with the top candidates of the main political parties in Romania at the European elections. Dacian Cioloş (President of PLUS, USR-PLUS 2020 ALliance), Siegfried Mureşan (Member of the European Parliament, PNL), Victor Ponta (President of Pro Romania), Eugen Tomac (President of PMP) and Tudor-Tim Ionescu (candidate for the European Parliament elections from ALDE Romania) were present at the forum to address the questions of Romanian citizens. They delivered key messages they wanted the citizens to remember on the day of the vote. Citizens, together with civil society representatives, wanted to find out which party would each candidate vote for if they could not vote for
their own party, as well as which measures the parties propose în order to increase turnout among both young people and older generations. They were equally interested in concrete solutions to the problems of rural communities, of Roma minorities and the increase of youth representation in the future European Parliament.

Subsequently, there were 8 thematic debates on key themes that later emerged in the electoral campaign:

  • Civic engagement and its influence in shaping the outcome of the European elections, an agora panel în which the dialogue between the civic activists, politicians and journalists showed the expectations of the civil society from the Romanian and European candidates in the European
    Parliamentary elections;
  • Rule of law and anti-corruption in public administration, debating ways in which the public administration could be reformed so as to become an attractive environment for professionals, as well as how to change the culture of bureaucracy and the culture of corruption;
  • The digital revolution: building a safer and smarter healthcare system, where representatives of the European Commission, of the Romanian Parliament, a hospital manager and representatives of pharmaceutical companies discussed how prepared Romania is for the digital revolution in health;
  • The Multiannual Financial Framework (MFF) – 2021-2027 – An appropriate budget for the new European Union, a comprehensive debate with experts from the Romanian Senate, the Romanian Government, the European Commission, the European Parliament and academia;
  • Sustainable Development of Romanian Urban areas, an interactive debate between mayors, administrators and officials of Romanian cities, as well as experts on good practices in infrastructure, transport and urban energy efficiency;
  • The Role of the EU in shaping the Future of Free Trade was discussed at a high level by the Ambassador of New Zealand to Romania, representatives of the Embassy of Canada and Japan and a representative of the European Commission;
  • The role of social entrepreneurship in Europe was presented by the Dutch Ambassador to Romania and then discussed with social entrepreneurs from the Netherlands and Romania, representatives of the European Commission and civil society, as well as with a candidate for the European Parliament elections.
  • Eugen Rădulescu (BNR), Raluca Painter (European Commission), Florin Bâlcan (Provident Financial Romania), Dragoş Neacşu (Erste Asset Management), Gabriela Folcuţ (ARB) and Dr. Bogdan Glăvan (Romanian-American University) presented ways in which we can achieve safer,
    more efficient and inclusive financial markets.

The forum ended with a theatre forum play organized by 9 high school students who wanted to convince the audience of the importance of the vote and sparked a very animated discussion, the audience eventually taking the place of the actors in order to bring a happy ending to the play.

You can read the entire Eurosfat 2019 report here.