Dana Tudose-Tianu and David McLean Shoup talked to 8 Romanian politicians whose parties participate in the May 26th European Parliamentary elections and are representative of the Romanian political reality.

They looked to identify “the next generation” of political leaders that each party has to offer, young people between the ages of 30 and 40(ish), who either worked or studied abroad.

Alliance of Liberals and Democrats (ALDE)

TUDOR TIM IONESCU, 34 – General Council for the Bucharest City Hall. Tudor lived in Belgium for close to 11 years and also studied in Spain.

He has a Bachelor’s degree in Political Science from Universite Libre de Bruxelles and did an Internship at the European Parliament from 2010-2011.

TUDOR TIM IONESCU

What are your hobbies, talents, and personal causes?

My hobbies are traveling, both in and outside Romania, reading, going to the theatre. I also like to stay active by going to the park, as well as going to the gym, working out almost every day. If I don’t have the time to go to the gym, especially during spring and summer, I like to go jogging. Another hobby that I have, which started out as a hobby but ended up becoming a personal cause, is animal rights activism. I fight for animal rights protection and I had several legal initiatives in this area.

What drew you to your party?

My party is the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats (ALDE). It is a project we started out in 2014, when the National Liberal Party (PNL) decided to leave the European ALDE and join the European People’s Party. Together with Mr. Tariceanu, a former Romanian Prime-Minister, several of us decided we had to continue being part of the liberal family, at the European level. So, although I joined the National Liberal Party in 2008, when I first started in politics, I became a part of ALDE in 2014. I have always believed in liberal values: liberty, responsibility, justice, tolerance and diversity, which are the basic liberal values. These naturally drew me to a liberal party.

Which European society do you admire most and why?

I have to say that is the Romanian society which I admire the most, because it is my society. I respect each and every culture in the European Union. I had the chance to live in Belgium, for roughly 11 years. I also studied in Spain, in Barcelona, through an ERASMUS program. I actually felt very much at home there, being from a latin country myself. One of my goals is to visit all the European countries, which is something I haven’t been able to do yet.  

What is your favorite place to visit for a whole week-end in Romania?

There are so many places! The mountains are great, but I have to admit that I am more of a seaside person. The Danube Delta and the seaside would be my favorite places. Although many Romanians go to the Delta for fishing, this is not one of my hobbies. I neither fish nor hunt. But the delta is a place you really feel close to nature, especially taking a small boat through the canals. This type of connection with nature and calmness really inspires me and fills me up with positive energy.

If you would become Romania’s cultural ambassador, what would you do to better promote Brancusi’s cultural heritage worldwide?

In each Romanian Embassy and Consulate, I would put one of Brancusi’s replicas, so that it would be the first impression any visitor gets. I would use social media much more to promote his work – Facebook, Instagram, YouTube Channels. And I would also create special programs for schools around the world to come and see his works in person, making it accessible to students from elementary school to college.

What do you see as the biggest 3 challenges facing the EU?

One of the biggest challenges we face, as the European Union, but also at the international level, is climate change. This is also one of my areas of activity. The second and third challenges are very much interlinked, because the E.U. has a big democratic deficit which continues to grow. Low voter turnout in the European elections is connected with the rise of populism, which is also linked to extremism. For these E.U. elections, but also for the future, we must fight against populism. Personally, I believe that the most effective way to fight populism is through liberalism.

If you could bring any 3 foreign leaders (economic, political, cultural) in your party, who would they be?

For the economic part, I would have to say the 2018 Nobel Prize winner for Economy, William Nordhaus, because his work was based on integrating climate change with macroeconomic analysis. For the political part, I would say Michelle Obama, because we need strong women in politics, in Romania and worldwide. For the cultural side, even though some people wouldn’t say he is a cultural leader, I would like to see someone like Tony Robbins, because we need to have more internal motivation and inspiration.

PLUS (Liberty Unity and Solidarity Party) – merged with USR in February 2019 and became the 2020 USR PLUS Alliance.

VLAD VOICULESCU, 36 – In March 2019, Vlad announced he is running in the 2020 race for Bucharest Mayor’s Office.  He joined PLUS, a party founded by former Prime Minister, Dacian Ciolos, in December 2018. He has been running the party’s campaign in the elections for the European Parliament. Vlad held the office of Health Minister in the Ciolos Government. He has a 10-year professional experience working in financial consulting in Vienna, Austria.  He received his Bachelor’s and Master’s Degrees from the Vienna University of Economics and Business Administration. Vlad co-founded MagiCamp, a special camp and series of programs for Romania-based children suffering from various types of cancer.

VLAD VOICULESCU

What are your hobbies, talents, and personal causes?

First of all, the hobbies thing … I never understood the concept. For me, it sounds strange to live a life in which you have something you do as an obligation (the job) and then, in your “free time” you have a hobby, something you do for your personal satisfaction. What other people may think of as a hobby, I do full-time. Somehow by accident, while I was living in Vienna, I discovered what it meant to help people who are in delicate medical conditions. It started with simple things, like facilitating access to medicine that was not available in Romania but existed in other countries’ pharmacies.

What drew you to your party?

For me, joining a political start-up has been one of the most thrilling experiences in my life. It is an amazing feeling, building something from zero. This was a project meant to give people HOPE, a project that brings good people together, people who have strong common values, who are able to share their time and resources, who are dreaming together about a different kind of society.

Which European society do you admire most and why?

I have lived in Austria for 14 years and there are many things I admire about the Viennese society in particular; but, more importantly, I am a big fan of Europe. I love Europe’s diversity; I think what makes Europe so great is its diversity from one country to another, from one region to another. Europe is this amazing melting pot of the old continent – where everything began, actually.

What is your favorite place to visit for a whole week-end in Romania?

I would choose MagiCamp any time. Magic Camp is organized in Branesti (Dambovita county), in the southern part of Romania, near the Carpathian mountains. Branesti is both the place I grew up in and the home of MagiCamp – the first special camp in Romania for children with cancer and other serious conditions.

If you would become Romania’s cultural ambassador, what would you do to better promote Brancusi’s cultural heritage worldwide?

I think Brancusi’s work and his personal story speak for themselves, but maybe not enough people had the chance to learn about them. Brancusi’s story is a story about courage, a story about leaving home and about growing and developing while traveling. Most of Brancusi’s works are in Targu Jiu and Paris. His personal story is somehow the story of many Eastern Europeans whose talents have been recognized and whose careers have been accomplished in Western Europe. As a cultural ambassador, I would host important European Summits in these two places (Targu Jiu and Paris) letting everyone know Brancusi’s phenomenal story and work.

What do you see as the biggest 3 challenges facing the EU?

I think that the biggest 3 challenges are the following: the new rise of populism, the general disengagement of European citizens with politics and, all together, the third challenge is definitely the challenge of protecting Europe – this amazing political construction that, with all its weaknesses and flaws, has achieved so much within a relatively short time.

If you could bring any 3 foreign leaders (economic, political, cultural) in your party, who would they be?

Elon Musk – for his ability to reinvent what exists – and to push boundaries outside of the current reality.

Bob Dylan – for his sharpness and artistic act without compromise; for being able to communicate his messages to millions of hearts.

Angela Merkel – for her strength and focus.

PACT (Platform for New Civic Action) – merged with PNL, the National Liberal Party, in March 2019

SEBASTIAN BURDUJA, 34 – Sebastian is the Vice President of the National Liberal Party. He is the founding president of the League of Romanian Students Abroad (LSRS). He is currently a PhD Fellow at the Bucharest Academy of Economic Studies. He holds and MBA from the Harvard Business School, a Master’s in Public Policy from the Harvard Kennedy School of Government and a Bachelor’s degree in Comparative Politics from Stanford University. He lived in the United States for 12 years prior to returning to Romania, in 2016.  

SEBASTIAN BURDUJA

What are your hobbies, talents, and personal causes?

I like to play the guitar and sing like Elvis (believe it or not). I had some success doing it in karaoke competitions and it played a role in winning over my wife, Holly, when we were first dating. We performed a great duet together, one that I still remember well. Another hobby is playing tennis. I used to play it competitively until I was 14 and I gave it up to focus on school but I still enjoy playing it.

What drew you to your party?

I have been involved in civil society organizations for 7 years, initially through the League of Romanian Students Abroad. I found out that, no matter how hard we tried to create change, on the other side of the table were political decision-makers who have the power to basically cancel out all our efforts. In 2015, when we planted the seeds for PACT, we felt we had the duty to offer young people a civic and political platform where they could get involved and become re-engaged in the public life. We merged with PNL because we felt Romania faces such a serious crisis that fragmentation on the political spectrum is counterproductive. To fight the constant attempts of weakening the rule of law, we need a united center-right platform around the national liberal party, which is the largest opposition party in Romania. We believed that PNL matches our values the closest. The Party includes members that I call role-models, such as the Mayor or Oradea, Ilie Bolojan, an amazing leader who turned his city around.

Which European society do you admire most and why?

I am a huge fan of the idea of unity through diversity, richness through diversity. I am not trying to avoid the question, but the European society I admire the most is the society that’s formed of all the different cultures, which are pieces of this common heritage of solid Judeo-Christian values, history and principles. To those who say that all European should be the same, I say “That’s wrong”. Our strength actually lies in our diversity and in a union of nations that come together for common objectives without giving up their own identity.

What is your favorite place to visit for a whole week-end in Romania?

As you may know, I am from Piatra Neamt, from Neamt County. I absolutely love this region, all the way to Bucovina. It includes some of the most sacred places our country has, places like Putna and Voronet Monasteries, as well as historical places like Cetatea Neamtului (Neamt Fortress). This part of Romania also has amazing food, and my favorite is “cozonac”, the real “moldavian” cozonac, and amazing, hospitable people.

If you would become Romania’s cultural ambassador, what would you do to better promote Brancusi’s cultural heritage worldwide?

I think the best way to promote Brancusi’s art worldwide is the way that Brancusi himself would have wanted it, and that’s to enable as many people as possible to come see it, touch it, sit on it, just simply live and breathe with it. There’s no better place to do that than in Targu Jiu, gazing at the sky right by the Infinite Column. I would start a program to bring in as many people from all over the world to experience Brancusi here.

What do you see as the biggest 3 challenges facing the EU?

It’s already a cliché that the E.U. is at a crucible in its evolution. The main challenges are populism, Euro-skepticism, the lack of trust and confidence in the European institutions. Pushing for a lot more integration would be a mistake, in my opinion, in this climate. A federal Europe – Federalism – would also be a mistake, because it would only fuel anti-EU populism. The solution to that is a climate of moderation. Last but not least, I think demographic trends are to be considered. The fact that Europe has a population that’s older and older and the labor market is contracted is a huge economic issue. On this dimension, I would start with supporting families and mothers, families with multiple children etc..

If you could bring any 3 foreign leaders (economic, political, cultural) in your party, who would they be?

I will start with a Romanian-American: Sergiu Pasca. He is one of the world’s prominent scientists. He has his own lab at Stanford University and, I think, will one day be a Nobel Prize Winner. A second one would be a great business leader like Warren Buffet to help figure out the best business environment that we can create in Romania. The third would be a thinker I’ve been following quite a bit. His name is Jordan Peterson. One of the main points of his philosophy is that life is not about being happy, but it’s about being responsible.

PMP (People’s Movement Party)

EUGEN TOMAC, 37 – Eugen Tomac was born in Babele, a city in the south of Basarabia, and came to Romania at the age of 17, through a scholarship program offered by the Romanian Government to Romanians living abroad. During his university years, Tomac was editor at the “Magazin Istoric,” a history journal, where he published several studies about Basarabia and Romanians abroad. He is a Romanian politician, historian and journalist, currently serving his second term as a Deputy in the Romanian Parliament. He has been the President of the People’s Movement Party since June 2018.

EUGEN TOMAC

What are your hobbies, talents, and personal causes?

As the President of a political party, there is little to no time left outside work. But there’s always some room for reading a good book. And if that book is a history book, time passes quickly. I am fortunate to have a hobby like this, because it is so easy to practice, to include in my daily life. You can do it almost anywhere, even with very little time to spare.

What drew you to your party?

As a young university student, I studied politicians’ lives and their influence on the history of different nations. As I was drawn to democratic principles, I joined the Democrat-Liberal Party and met president Traian Basescu, a person who, for me, is the best Romanian politician alive. Today, I am the president of the People’s Movement Party to which Mr. Basescu is the Founder and Honorary President.  

Which European society do you admire most and why?

No country is perfect, therefore my model is not only one country. A “perfect” Romania of the future would have a Swedish democracy, British legislation, German industry, French health system and cuisine, American defense and, obviously, Romanian people from both sides of the Prut river.

What is your favorite place to visit for a whole week-end in Romania?

The Republic of Moldova. ☺

How would you promote Romanian culture at the E.U. level?

Romanians are hospitable, kind and friendly, therefore we should have no difficulty promoting our cultural values throughout the E.U. The intention is to use, as much as possible, European resources to expose as many E.U. representatives to these values as possible. At the same time, we’ll organize tours in Romania, both formal and informal, for people to experience our culture and traditions at home.

What do you see as the biggest 3 challenges facing the EU?

Brexit is the tormenting issue on the EU agenda and, in this context, the biggest of all challenges is to maintain European unity. Also at the top, is the migration phenomenon on the EU territory, with its dark side – terrorism. Without security, we will never be able to build a strong, united Europe.

If you could bring any 3 foreign leaders (economic, political, cultural) in your party, who would they be?

Economically, I would choose Angela Merkel as the leader of the no. 1 economy in Europe. Then, as the person and politician most suited to manage cultural issues, my vote goes to Donald Tusk, the most talented one in winning people’s hearts. Finally, Donald Trump, whom I consider being the leader with the best political negotiation abilities.

PNL (The National Liberal Party)

RAUL PATRASCU, 30 – Raul joined PNL Timis in April 2019. He was previously a member of the USR-PLUS alliance. He worked for McKinsey in New York City and was a health advisor to the Prime Minister, during the Ciolos Government (2016-2017). He graduated from the West University of Timisoara with a Master’s Degree in Physics, and received his Doctorate in Medicine from the Victor Babes University of Medicine and Pharmacy. He also received a B.S. in Chemistry from Yale University.

RAUL PATRASCU

What are your hobbies, talents, and personal causes?

I really like reading, especially topics regarding philosophy, politics and economics. I also like to dabble in building my own computers and I enjoy playing computer games. Ever since I returned to Romania and, basically, ever since I finished high school, my personal cause has been to help improve the Romanian healthcare system. I’d like for all of us to live longer, with our loved ones, in a healthcare system that respects patients as well as doctors.

What drew you to your party?

It is a historical party and it helped the country get through some very difficult political times. It also gave us some of the most important political figures of our recent history.  I started my political career in the Ciolos Government, in 2016, serving as his State Advisor on health issues. I helped pass several legislative reforms in the health system. I was also one of the founding members of the PLUS party. However, my vision no longer aligned with the one of USR-PLUS, and I decided to move on. For me, the National Liberal Party was the natural choice.

Which European society do you admire most and why?

I would go with the Finnish society, because I believe they place great emphasis on education and research. In a highly technological society, such as ours, an education and research-based society is going to get ahead of other societies, being driven by technology innovation. The Finnish government, much like the Norwegian government, truly looks after the welfare of its people. Finland, I believe, allocates about 20% of its GDP for Research & Development. I can’t help but admire them, and the way they structure their public educational system, to accommodate the needs of all children.

What is your favorite place to visit for a whole week-end in Romania?

The one that first comes to mind is a place that I visited many times as a child. It’s in the area of Tismana, it’s the valley of Tismana, with a river that curves around very steep mountains. There’s a feeling of communion with nature that I really enjoy and there’s also a lovely hiking path that takes you to a small monastery that sits right on top of the mountain.

If you would become Romania’s cultural ambassador, what would you do to better promote Brancusi’s cultural heritage worldwide?

I admire Brancusi a great deal but I feel saddened by the fact that he had to go live in Paris and receive appreciation for his work there, instead of here. The way I would promote his cultural heritage is by talking about his art and trying to interpret it, and encouraging people to do the same. Art is meant to be seen as well as experienced, lived.

What do you see as the biggest 3 challenges facing the EU?

The E.U.’s relationship with the United States strained over the past couple of years, ever since President Trump took  office. There had been issues regarding immigration, as well as issues regarding Trans-Atlantic trade. I believe the new European Parliament has to be able to maintain a Free Trade Agreement with the United States. As President Trump recently mentioned, this Trade Agreement is sort of tied up with NATO. Trump stated that if the E.U. imposed additional tariffs on goods imported from the U.S., the U.S. might withdraw from NATO. Another issue  is U.S.’ relationship with Russia, which has shown expansionist tendencies in the past years. One final big challenge is increased immigration. We must be sure we can assimilate immigrants into our culture, because, otherwise, one-two generations down the road, we are going to be facing big problems in terms of cultural differences, which could even lead to terrorism.

If you could bring any 3 foreign leaders (economic, political, cultural) in your party, who would they be?

I think I would bring both Bill Clinton and Barack Obama as two political leaders. As a more cultural and technological leader, I would bring Elon Musk, the CEO of SpaceX and Tesla, because he has a highly analytical mind and is very goal-oriented. He could help reshape the face of politics in our country, including introducing technological advancements in our country that could encourage people to vote.  

Pro Romania

VICTOR PONTA, 46 – Victor was the Prime Minister of Romania between 2012 and 2015 and the runner up for the Presidency in 2014.  He resigned his position following the Colectiv Nightclub fire, four years ago, but has remained a prominent figure in national politics and within the Romanian Parliament. After founding the Pro Romania Party in 2018, Ponta is seeking a comeback with his run for the European Parliament this May.

VICTOR PONTA

What are your hobbies, talents, and personal causes?

Absolutely sports. I played basketball for a long time. After I was old enough to understand that I can’t play basketball anymore, by chance I succeeded to be a rally co-driver in the national championship and world rally championship. Now I’m even older, so I’ve found golf. We’ve just opened a wonderful golf course in Alba Iulia and it’s my refuge in Romania right now. I think it will be a big tourist success for Romania.

What drew you to politics?

I was 17 at the fall of communism. It happened at the perfect age for me, because I was old enough to remember the communist times and young enough not to be frustrated by them. And then, immediately after, I went to Paris for a year, and then came back thinking “why can’t we have the same life?”

Which European society do you admire most and why?

I think Portugal is a model for Romania. They were also not exactly the richest part of Europe. They were behind the average level of life, but they were smart enough to build infrastructure, to save nature and tradition, and to use European money. I think Romania could develop as fast as Portugal did. If we compare Romania to Germany or France, we have a different history, different size, different culture. That’s why I see a realistic model in Portugal, a country which was behind for historic reasons but took all the opportunities available from being a member of the EU. We should do the same.

What is your favorite place to visit for a whole week-end in Romania?

For me, the Danube Delta is the most special place in Romania. I always say you can find nice mountains all over Europe, nice churches all over Europe, nice cities, etc. but there is only one Delta. I cannot play golf in the Delta but everything else compensates for it.

How would you promote Romanian culture in the E.U.?

I would present Romania as a European place with hospitality, with green places, and very good food.

What do you see as the biggest 3 challenges facing the EU?

For sure the split between pro-Europeans and anti-Europeans is the biggest challenge. The Brexit failure should be a good example for all of us to think twice, or three times, or five times before blaming Europe for our shortcomings.

Migration is a huge challenge, but I’m not on the side of people who say let’s build walls and keep everybody outside. Look at America. America developed because they were an open country. I think Europe needs fresh people. It doesn’t mean that we have to bring in terrorists, but building walls won’t keep them out.

Third, is that we have to find a solution for the new generation. Europe is not only the oldest continent; its society looks a bit old fashioned. That’s why young people are the unhappiest ones. If we talk to young people about jobs, hospitals, pensions, that’s not what they’re expecting from us. That’s what our parents are expecting. They don’t know and haven’t lived through war in Europe. If I talk to my kids about communism, it’s something strange. They don’t even understand what life is without cell phones and internet. So, I think Europe still isn’t able to provide real attraction to the young generation. If we’re not able to find real solutions, they’ll be disappointed.

PSD (Social Democratic Party)

VICTOR NEGRESCU, 33 – Victor is a Vice President of PSD, the youngest ever to be appointed in such a role. He is a university professor and an expert in European Policy. He was a member of the European Parliament between 2014-2017. During the first year of his EU mandate, he was named Eurodeputy of the year. He was the Minister Delegate for European Affairs, from 2017 to 2018, and he was instrumental for the preparation of Romania’s Presidency of the EU Council. Victor is a graduate of the Victor Duruy High School in Paris, and holds a B.A. in Political Science (in French) from the University of Bucharest, as well as a Master’s Degree from L’Institut D’Etudes Politiques de Grenoble in France.

VICTOR NEGRESCU

What are your hobbies, talents, and personal causes?

I am really passionate about new technologies. I worked, for a couple of years, in the digital industry. I believe we have to promote digitalization, making sure that everyone has access to the new tools that are developed, and making sure that social protection is provided when it comes to the new jobs related to digitalization. When I was younger, I had the opportunity to play soccer. I played in the midfield.

What drew you to your party?

I got involved in politics because I believe that we can make a change, because I saw too many people treated unfairly too many times, either in hospitals, in schools, or when traveling abroad. What I am always trying to do, is to fight against injustice. I believe people have to be treated fairly when it comes to access to schools, when it comes to access to healthcare.

I got involved in politics in left-wing parties because I think they represent people, represent citizens. I first became a member of the French Social Democratic Party, fighting there for the rights of European citizens living in France. When I came back to Romania, it was natural to join the Romanian Social Democratic Party. PSD was the governing party when Romania got both into NATO and the European Union.

Which European society do you admire most and why?

I actually admire the diversity of the European Union. You have people with different backgrounds, with different cultural heritages, and we have to cherish that. I believe Romania, too, has a strong diversity. I lived for many years abroad – around 9 years. I lived in Belgium and in France and I was influenced by those cultures as well. They are part of my identity. To a certain extent, I can also say that those cultures had an impact on who Romania is today.

What do you see as the biggest 3 challenges facing the EU?

The issue of digitalization, the issue of environment are two important issues, especially for young people and, indeed the European Union could do more about that. In the end, the European Union should do more about its citizens. We have built this project to improve people’s lives and citizens should be at the core of the European project.

If you would become Romania’s cultural ambassador, what would you do to better promote Brancusi’s cultural heritage worldwide?

I have to mention that, as a member of the European Parliament, I already tried to do that. I organized a debate around Brancusi’s cultural heritage. I also promoted cultural exchanges between local authorities that are promoting and using Brancusi’s cultural heritage. In the end, it is not about having an ambassador. It is about us being ambassadors of our own country and of our own culture.

If you could bring any 3 foreign leaders (economic, political, cultural) in your party, who would they be?

I will mention Greta Thunberg, the 16-year-old student and activist who has been nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize for her effort in climate activism and fighting against global warming. I would also invite Barak Obama, even though he is not European, because he illustrates hope and change. Last but not least, I will mention a Romanian entrepreneur, Daniel Dines, who created a very innovative international company, UiPath. It’s a successful story, proving that Romanians can succeed at the global level.

USR – Save Romania Union

NICU STEFANUTA, 37 – Nicu is a European diplomat and represents the European Parliament in Washington D.C. He has been working for the European Parliament from day one of Romania’s E.U. membership, January 1st, 2007, as an expert in the agriculture and budget commissions, and, afterwards as a EU Diplomat. He studied economy, public policy and diplomacy at Georgetown University in Washington D.C., at the Diplomatic Academy in Vienna and at the West University of Timisoara.

NICU STEFANUTA

What are your hobbies, talents, and personal causes?

I am someone who’s very engaged in the community. I am a member of the Board of the City Foundation of Sibiu (Fundatia Comunitara Sibiu), which co-ordinates social projects across my town, Sibiu. I run marathons, mostly in support of these projects, I dance, I love to read, I love telling jokes. I am somebody who loves life and who loves people.

What drew you to your party?

There has been no party like the Save Romania Union until now. I eagerly awaited and I wanted to participate in a new movement of the young Romanian Intelligentsia, of the decent people who want to change the face of Romania. That kind of party has not existed until USR was founded.

Which European society do you admire most and why?

I am a big fan of Scandinavian societies, not only because they promote freedoms and they have people at the person of the rights, but also because they know how to find a good balance between prosperity and solidarity.

What is your favorite place to visit for a whole week-end in Romania?

I have two favorite places to visit for a week-end in Romania: the place where I come from, Sibiu, and its surroundings; the other place I like to visit is Constanta, at the Black Sea.

If you would become Romania’s cultural ambassador, what would you do to better promote Brancusi’s cultural heritage worldwide?

Unfortunately, I find that Brancusi needs more promotion at home than worldwide. Brancusi is a household name all across the world. We find him at the Met in New York City, as well as in some of the greatest museums in the world. However, I was now (campaigning) in Targu Jiu and I would do much more for the beautiful sites there, so that people all across the world know about them, but also people all across Romania come to Targu Jiu and visit them.

What do you see as the biggest 3 challenges facing the EU?

The biggest 3 challenges facing the E.U. are: climate change, ageing population, artificial intelligence and robotization.

No country can withstand climate change on its own. European population is an ageing population. We are losing many young people every year, people who go outside the E.U. We need to talk more on how AI and robotization impacts the future of work because countless people are going to be affected and we need to figure out ways to make it work.

If you could bring any 3 foreign leaders (economic, political, cultural) in your party, who would they be?

Michelle Obama, because I think she is a great leader and great inspiration for women empowerment, for women in politics. Secondly, Ska Keller, from Germany, the Green leader, who is doing a lot for the environment but also for justice in Romania. She has spoken in favor of protesters in Romania and has impressed me because she said “Romanians are my constituency, too.”

Thirdly, I would invite the Swedish teenager Greta Thunder, because I like her civic activism, and I like the fact that she is aware we need to figure out who will bear the cost of climate change, so that its not on the shoulders of young people.

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