DAY 1: Monday, 25th of JULY – Opening Ceremony @Romanian Ministry of Foreign Affairs
This summer just started out… WITH A SCHOOL! They say that it doesn’t matter how much you hate School, because you will always miss it when you leave. Anyway, this is not the case for this year’s UN Youth Summer School on Diplomacy’s participants, who just arrived well in Romania.
The opening ceremony was held at the Romanian Ministry of Foreign Affairs. With a lot of questions about us and about Romania as a whole, the participants already started networking with each other. Taking in consideration that we are talking about diplomacy, it seems that all the participants are up to the job of becoming fine young diplomats for a full week. During the next days, sides will be taken, relationships will be created and partnerships will be arranged between them, in order to reach a conclusion for the question: “How is TTIP going to affect everyone in this world?”. Don’t miss the next parts of the story, stay tuned to find ouț more!
Alexandru Dumitrache Image Coordinator – Summer School on Diplomacy 2016
DAY 2: Tuesday, 26th of JULY @National University of Political Studies and Public Administration
12.30 PM – 2:30 PM Seminar Understanding TTIP – Aniela Băluț, Ministry of Economy, Trade and Business Environment
The first seminar from the sixth edition of the UN Youth Summer School on Diplomacy started with the presentation of the representative of the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Business Environment, Aniela Băluț. The discussions were scheduled between 12.30 PM and 2.30 PM and were focused on Understanding TTIP. A very important step was the self-presentation of each of the participants, with the focus on their aim to live the experience of this summer school and what they want to achieve after it. Many of the participants have a background in the Political Science, Law / International Relations and also a lot of them are for the first time in Romania. Their main goal is to understand the European approach of the TTIP as much as an official point of view regarding this topic. They all want to (re)form their own opinion on this controversial and interesting possible partnership. “We have a pre-media campaign against the partnership. This is why I asked if you support it”(Aniela Băluț).
It is well-known that the political goal of the actors is to finalize the negotiation this year, during the Obama administration. The official point of view of the Romanian Ministry of Economy, as stated of its representative for this seminar, is for the successful ending of the negotiation of TTIP, but only if it is consistent and it will not leave the controversial aspects unclarified.
The discussions were directed through several areas. One of them included the legislative sharing between the EU and its member states. Another interesting moment of the seminar was the distinction between myths versus reality about TTIP. Though, European specialists are not working against the governments goals, but there is really difficult to negotiate a more than 300 pages document. Moreover, European firms will be able to be eligible for the USA markets too.
“The lack of transparency, from my perspective, is not a problem because there is enough transparency. The problem is if the philosophy behind this agreement is valid”(Aniela Băluț). Moreover, there are new types of agreements that are dedicated to special sectors like political relations and economic ones: SMBs (TTIP).
The second part of the seminar was a very interactive one because the participants had a lot of interesting questions. Some were focused on the composition of the negotiation teams and the involvement of the private actors. Others emphasized some judicial controversial aspects (the problem of the legal systems from the hosting countries and also arbitration).
The seminar discussions were focused on the key elements of the TTIP like the mechanism of cooperation and the new rules. Regarding the last one, the Chapter on SMBs is a new aspect for which in my view, with this type of provision TTIP will set a certain level for future agreements. (Aniela Băluț).
So, what perspective do we have?
3:30 PM – 5:30 PM Lecture: Clash of Regulatory Cultures/Predictions in International Relations – Dr. Robert Uzună, Corporate Affairs Director, URSUS Breweries.
The discussions of the second lecture were focused on the history of the Atlantic commerce and its implications in the changes of in global commerce.The starting premise was that Europe is the center of the Atlantic economy via the colonial possessions.“If history repeats once more, what did we see after WWII? The creation of the new global arhitecture: finacial institutions, WTO/GATT etc.”(Robert Uzună). Moreover, the speaker emphasized the role of the historical elements in the enhanced relation between EU and USA and also why synergies between the two super-powers and other elements influenced the bilateral relations of these actors, determining a higher cooperation.
“What is happening to the EU regarding the attempt to reach its self-imposed goals for education and economy? How is it possible that a country that has accessed such a large level of EU funds and it’s capable of constructing satelites and send them into space still has such a big problem with the unemployment rate? And I am talking about Spain. What is wrong with the EU model?”(Robert Uzună). The answer is that the EU has to take measure both internally and externally, like reinventing its agricultural and educational models.
Nevertheless, the speaker explained if the current context offers TTIP the opportunity to bring a systematic modification to the global matrix, given the fact that the services’ sector grew even more in the last decade – with 7% on an annual basis during 1980-2011 (WTO Report 2013). What will be the implications? In a sensitive political environment where there are a lot of economic sanctions (from the EU towards the Russian Federation, for example), TTIP may be the solution that will redistribute the supplies of the internal market. TTIP will eliminate the non-tariff barriers: this is why it is really important to businesses, consumers, producers and the whole economic activity. “TTIP comes to cement an already existing situation and to make it difficult for the others to sell; it does not mean that we do not want you – we want you, but it will cost you”(Robert Uzună).
Feedback from the participants: Cursaru Andrei – Romania
– What do you think about the first day of our Summer School?
“The first day at the UN Youth Summer School was really enlightening, I’ve learned so many things that opened my horizons in so many ways possible. The seminar was really interesting, we told who we are, which are our backgrounds politically and economically speaking, so I realized that I am in a multicultural and really diverse space; a global village if I can call it like that. Today we had to talk about TTIP even if we all have different opinions. The speaker gave us the philosophy of the TTIP, what it means and its goal. From me, in my research I see disadvantages regarding the fact that the US will benefit more than the EU since the EU has better standards and regulations. It was a brief introduction and now I am excited to be in the future seminars.”
– Are you pro or against TTIP?
“At first, I was against it. I can see now that TTIP offers more because it is not just a bilateral treat, but it is also a way of investing. I’ve seen that I opens markets for many companies in the EU and the US as well. To be honest now I see more disadvantages, but maybe at the end of the Summer School I will see more advantages.”
Miruna Țuțuianu – Volunteer – Summer School on Diplomacy 2016
DAY 3: Wednesday, 27th of JULY @National University of Political Studies and Public Administration
The third day of the UN Youth Summer School 2016 started with a great presentation given by Mr. Petru Saca. He started with the benefits and aims of Free Trade and had to tackle some tough questions regarding the security issues of an open market and the morality of free trade towards the poorer countries that provide cheap labor to big companies.
Then he shifted towards the EU economy and the reasons why Europe should assure the signing of TTIP, how the negotiations are going between the EU and USA and what are the issues that stand in front of the Transatlantic deal. Also, Mr. Saca managed to demonstrate all the benefits for the European countries and for the United States once the TTIP agreements will come into force.
The second lecturer of the day was Prof. Viorel Tomescu. He talked about the EU-US relation and how it affects the TTIP agreement. Mr. Tomescu started by talking about the difference at a decision making level between the both banks of the Atlantic: if in the USA there is only one voice, in the EU is the opposite: you need an approval from the European Council, the European Parliament and every national parliament of the member states.
Also, another problem is the lack of transparency during the Transatlantic agreement. The speaker talked about the issue of protecting the interests of multinational companies instead of those of common citizens. The environmental problem is another thing that could be affected by the fact that the TTIP negotiations are kept secret. Thus, the American authorities must make some compromises so the agreement can get on track much faster.
Another problem that Mr. Tomescu approached was the visa regime. He compared the TTIP to the EU-Canada agreement and showed that the Canadian authorities agreed to lift visas, even for Eastern Europeans.
Eduard-Nicolae Popa – PR Coordinator – Summer School on Diplomacy 2016
DAY 4: Thursday, 28th of JULY @National University of Political Studies and Public Administration
The 4th day of the UN Youth Summer School on Diplomacy started with a workshop from Mr. Liviu Iancu, PhD at the Faculty of History at the University of Bucharest and the editor-in-chief of the online portal europunkt.ro. He tackled through subjects like globalization, free markets and political and social influence as obstructions towards obtaining a global and free market. In Mr. Iancu’s opinion, when we talk about economy, we always have to take into account the socio-political issue of the problem.
The second seminar was held by Mr. Vladimir Vasiliev, from the Embassy of the Russian Federation in Romania, who started by describing the life of being a diplomat. Mr. Vasiliev’s presentation was followed by a great Q&A sessions with participants and he gracefully and diplomatically responded to all the students’ curiosities.
The last but not the least workshop of the day was kept by Mister Gabriel Micu, Minister Plenipotentiary at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. He discussed the aspects of international law starting with the characteristics of sovereignty, talking about national and international governments, about state and non-state actors and the need to keep a balance in the international affairs so the law can be respected.
He concluded that the most important law is that the states and authorities must respect each other.
Reactions: Clement Sonilhac – Participant – Summer School on Diplomacy 2016
I think that TTIP is a huge opportunity for the USA and the European Union. I have to admit that French representatives are a bit skeptic about the opacity of the discussions, like my prime-minister or my president. But we are very in favor of this deal. Like Angela Merkel, we want to have a deal very soon. The idea is good. We just need to have more details about negotiations of the deal.
About UN Youth Summer School 2016
It is a very interesting experience with a lot of students from various countries. Romania is beautiful. All the people are very nice. The level of discussions is very high and I would like to participate another time.”
Eduard-Nicolae Popa – PR Coordinator – Summer School on Diplomacy 2016
DAY 5: Friday, 29th of JULY @National University of Political Studies and Public Administration
10:00 AM – 12:00 PM: Seminar: Considering new partners for TTIP – Doru Frantescu – Co-founder&Director, VoteWatch Europe
The seminar began with the speaker’s introduction (Mr. Doru Frantescu) and his lecture on the following subject: Considering new partners for TTIP. There participants were active and interested in the topic, so this was the main reason for their numerous questions. Many of them emphasized the idea of advantages/disadvantages of the TTIP agreement.
“Some producers will be disadvantaged because they will lose market shift. One of the most important disadvantages is the fear of Americans offensively jeopardizing the market, producing the same products, but with lower costs. Generally, the consumers are happy about it, but the producers are worried about the consequences on the market and on their activity because of the competition.” (Mr. Doru Frantescu)
An interesting question was: “Wouldn’t it be better to sign a bilateral agreement with China, instead of closing the TTIP deal?” Mr. Doru answered that the EU has to balance its interests on both actors and must do its best with both of them. One should not rush to end the negotiations. It is not the speed that matters, but the quality of the deal.
The China subject was intensively discussed because it is a very important piece in the global economy puzzle. There are many building infrastructure projects towards Europe and Africa and also there is an increasing number of Chinese economic activities in the Latin-American space.
The second part of the seminar began with the discussion about how an actor can predict the governments’ positions on a trade deal, insisting on the political situation of the country. The public opinion is also a very important premise of closing an international agreement, minding the media’s impact on leading the population towards certain political directions.
12:15 PM – 2:15 PM: Lecture: Introduction to Geopolitics – Vasile Simileanu, “Ion Conea” Geopolitical Association
The following seminar, Introduction to Geopolitics, started with a brief, yet engaging introduction. It concerned the fact that geopolitical elements are part of the actor’s state system, including their crucial role in shaping its international behavior in the power-expression process.
During the seminar, Mr. Vasile Simileanu discussed the main geopolitical theories, emphasizing their implications in the actual international context (the world economic axes). The Black Sea geopolitical scenarios must be taken into consideration because this area is one of the hottest geopolitical areas in the terms of always providing frozen or active conflicts.
“One of the black holes of Central Asia is linked to the fact that all the states which finish in the STAN prefix were supposed to be part of the same economical area. The black holes are the areas that present a high potential of becoming conflictual. All these states are vulnerable since they are not stable.” (Mr. Vasile Simileanu)
“Where do we go? If UK will leave the EU, then Poland will take its place in the Weimar triangle along with France and Germany. Poland will have a higher influence in the international area.” (Mr. Vasile Simileanu)
Answering the participants’ questions, the speaker emphasized that we are in a different stage of development, fact that can be transposed at the state level, too. The state level will not disappear, but will be part of a supra-state structure that will not be constructed after the NGOs model.
Nevertheless, Mr. Vasile Simileanu raised some rhetoric question regarding the future of the Europe Union and how its problems could be solved. He predicts that we will receive the answers in a couple of years.
3:00 PM – 4:30 PM: Debate: What if China joined the table? – Bogdan Mureșan, Expert, European Institute of Romania
The seminar consisted in a debate in which the two teams had to be as convincing as possible in order to gain the support of the audience. The subject was: China should be a part of TTIP versus China is just a third party and should not have a role in the EU-USA negotiations.
The Pro Team emphasized the economic advantages of the active participation of China in the TTIP. Why are we trying to exclude a big power from a series of agreements when all the actors need each other in order to evolve? The Against Team focused on the already enhanced role of China in the international arena, stating that a possible active partnership in the TTIP could provide it too much power. Also, TTIP is a very complex agreement and it would be really difficult to integrate another actor that has such an active economic structure. “Why integrate an actor that is so different from the transatlantic culture?”, was their question.
The aim of the second round of the debate was asking the opposite team troublesome questions. Moreover, the audience had the opportunity to raise the teams several questions, the entire discussion being very complex and interactive.
– How did you find the debate?
The debate was really energetic, the questions raised by the people were really good. I think that the opponents could have had a better discourse given the fact that they were contradicting themselves a little, but I think that, all in all, the debate was really engaging. It has been challenging to mind opposite points of view, the perspectives from different cultures. It was really interesting.
5:00 PM – 7:00 PM: Lecture: Understanding International Relations: the Russia – China – USA equation – Liliana Popescu, Vice-Rector, National School of Political and Administrative Studies&Roxana Voicu-Dorobanțu, Associate Professor., Academy of Economic Studies
The lecture began with a brief introduction of the reasons that make this subject a very important one. If you analyze the map and mind the Asian areas where the Russian Federation and the Republic of China have free markets, you will understand that TTIP looks kind of balanced. (Roxana Dorobanțu) The speaker emphasized the dependency in terms of external suppliers for the Russian Federation, China and the USA. The discussions were strengthened by actual percentages in the several economic domains that show how the relations between these actors can be characterized.
It is very important to highlight what the states import/export, the domains in which they invest and the businesses wanted by investors in their economic space. These doings are really eloquent in terms of economic relations and can also represent a reason for a deepened or less enhanced relation.
DAY 6: Saturday, 30h of JULY @National University of Political Studies and Public Administration
Oh, the weekend! Now, taking into consideration the fact that it is also summertime, you may think that a regular weekend would begin somewhere around noon with a cup of coffee, reading the news or just enjoying the warm weather… but this is not the case for this year’s UN Youth Summer School on Diplomacy participants, who have already started their day with a gripping presentation on USA’s Security Policy, held by Mr. Andrei Miroiu, one of the most skilled Romanian researchers in International History and Strategic Studies. The topics tackled by him were really interesting, precisely matters as the USA’s political fight between the democrats and the republicans will affect the world, why the American military forces are to be found in the whole wide world and how the poor remain poor and the rich just get richer and richer.
The day continued with Mr. Mihai Sebe, who held a presentation on the “The European Union in the Age of Uncertainty” topic: how Brexit, the refugee crisis and other issues are shaping the Union we all live in. Even if this theme is a quite sad, considering that Brexit will generate some really damaging consequences, Mr. Mihai Sebe managed to make it a little bit less discouraging by playing us a song about “50 ways to leave your lover”. After all, it seems that there are not as many ways to leave the European Union.
The day ended with a smashing debate on the “Is there a real need for secrecy regarding TTIP?” theme, moderated by Mr. Radu Magdin, analyst, consultant and CEO at Smartlink Communications, who has also been the honorary adviser of the Prime Minister of Romania. The debate was a real success and it seemed like everyone had a strong point of view and something meaningful to say. The main topics were how the media affects our opinion regarding TTIP and, also, a comparison between the Donald Trump’s success and TTIP’s failure to be seen as a good thing by common people. Therefore, if you search the internet about the TTIP you will mostly find articles on how bad this treaty is for the population. This is justified by the fact that TTIP wasn’t firstly presented baring in mind its benefits, so everybody first seized the disadvantages highlighted by the media. However, Donald Trump introduced himself as a successful businessman; this way, the impact of the following negative information about him was reduced.
The day ended with Mr. Radu Magdin’s rather philosophical quote: “It seems that it doesn’t really matter what you say, but what people hear.”.
Alexandru Dumitrache – Image Coordinator, UN Youth Summer School on Diplomacy 2016