Priorities: rule of law, illegal logging, safety of lorry drivers

Last year, citizens attracted the support of MEPs on two important topics for Romania. One of them was safety of lorry drivers in EU car parks. The other was illegal logging, including the protection of whistleblowers, journalists and environmental activists who are victims of constant attacks. Vlad Gheorghe, USR MEP and member of the Renew Europe group, has argued both issues in the Petitions Committee and in the European Parliament.

“I consider it’s normal that our work includes proposals of citizens, the needs of Romanians inside and outside the country. We represent them in Brussels”, explains Gheorghe, who took office in November 2020 and is presenting his report for the first year of activity.

“We have proposed and supported more than 40 motions for resolutions, sent more than 20 official letters and held more than 50 speeches in the EP plenary and committees. They are based exclusively on issues concerning the safety of Romanians, employees’ rights, freedom of expression, our future and that of the next generations in Romania and in the EU”, says the young USR MEP, member of the Committee on Budgets and the Committee on Petitions, as well as substitute member of the Committee on Transport and Tourism and the Special Committee on the fight against cancer.

“Beyond numbers and votes, working in the EP means being the voice of those you represent when decisions are made. The case of the Arthur bear, the tragedy of the Romanian truck driver killed in France, the attacks of wood thieves on the environmental activist Daniel Bodnar – these are issues that concern us all, both in Romania and in the EU, because they point to systemic problems that we can only solve together”, insists the USR MEP.

Vlad Gheorghe tackling issues affecting Romanian citizens

As rapporteur/shadow rapporteur, Vlad Gheorghe tabled amendments, wrote more than 10 dossiers and opinions. They all reflect his concerns for issues affecting Romanian citizens. These vary  from road safety and roadworthiness package to the Commission’s 2020 report on the rule of law.

“Crime and corruption are the main threats to a better future for Romanians in the European Union. More than €80 billion – a record amount – is allocated to us by the EU until 2027. But for the effects to be visible to citizens, we must ensure that the funds are not fraudulently misappropriated,” said the USR MEP, who called for and supported an increase in the budget allocated to the European Public Prosecutor’s Office headed by Laura Codruța Kövesi, as well as the unblocking of recruitment at this institution.

” I have also proposed the creation of the European Green Prosecutor. This would use the existing EPPO structure to tackle environmental crimes across borders. The idea was supported by the entire USR Delegation. It got the support of the Renew Europe MEP group. Together we called for the establishment of a European Green Prosecutor to the President of the European Commission and the relevant Commissioners in July this year,” recalls Vlad Gheorghe.

Interpellations to Romanian authorities

In the first 12 months of his mandate, MEP Gheorghe has also addressed more than 80 interpellations to the Romanian authorities on numerous issues related to environmental protection (in particular forest felling and illegal waste disposal), the state of some works or the exercise of his duties. The USR MEP has even filed criminal complaints against institutions or mayors who have blatantly violated the legislation in force.

Un an în Parlamentul European - Raport de activitate

“It is important not to lose touch with what is happening at local, national and regional level. Through ”Romania, European Country” we talked people in villages and towns about the advantages of Romania in the EU. In addition, we dismantled fake news at a time when anti-European discourse is taking root. Defending the rule of law and Romania’s EU membership is our main mission. Populist, isolationist messages and conspiracies find a fertile ground to spread their misinformation. If we let them be the only ones that citizens hear, they will delay European Romania by decades”, says the Romanian MEP from the Renew Europe group.

Read the full First Year Report