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Expo : Strasbourg's Golden Age

Sunday, 27 April 2008

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Strasbourg's Golden Age : Beyond past Tragedies, "Paradise Garden" of a European Quatrocento, aspiring for a new Renaissance ?

Strasbourg's Golden Age, at the 15th Century, its "Quatrocento", is pictured mainly in 2 contrasting paintings, reveals Expo "1400" : Tragedy against Splendor : Christ's Crucification by a dominican painter, doesn't hide the atrocities of blatant cruelty. But "Paradise Garden" ("Le jardin de Paradis"), on the contrary, strikes by its beautiful, calm, intelligent, light colours, depicting the bright side of an opulent and human everyday life, among a luxurious Nature, typical of Alsace's fertility.

What relation between a so-called "Gothic" Art and the famous Italian "QuatroCento" ? From Rome to Wiena, Frankfurt, Karlsruhe, Koeln, Fribourg, Swiss Bern, and other cities, linked by rivers, lakes and seas, various artists cooperate in forging Strasbourg's original European style : It's precisely in 1423 that Strasbourg's cathedral became, for the 1st time, Europe's highest peak.

But finally, the brightest light, in sculptures and paintings, appears at a Mother's all too Human way to look after her beloved baby or child : In the way she holds it in her hands, plays together, or offers a flower out of a book's wisdom, etc. : A prefiguration of what became later Europe's Capital for Human Rights ?

The father is not far away : Astonishingly, the painters mirrored the father at the child's own face...

And may be, that's the point : Paradoxically, Strasbourg was called, then, "Argentina", from the Latin "Argentoratum", i.e. the "Silver City", as if it postponed its "Golden Age" for a Future time : Half a Millenium later, from 1400 to 2008, the exhibition looks as a symbol of a fresh wish for a new European Renaissance.


See it all (in French, oder Deutsch), from March to July 2008, at : http://www.strasbourg1400.com

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Ries wants to boost Strasbourg's role for EU Citizens

Tuesday, 08 July 2008

Strasbourg's potential for EU Citizens' links to European and PanEuropean decision-making can and must be developed, said in substance the City's Mayor in a Press Conference together with MEP Catherine Trautmann, his former collegue, t EU Parliament.

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- "I intend to work mainly along the line : "European Court of Human Rights and EU Parliament", Ries warned earlier "EuroFora", making more concrete his larger appeal "to the Peoples of Europe".

He added now the EU Ombudsman, where EU Citizens can lodge complaints against alleged violations of EU Law, and he could also extend to the Shengen system, which serves EU Citizens' right to free and secure movement, both headquarted in Strasbourg.

Meanwhile, Strasbourg's Mayor unveiled a colourful program of various events co-organized by the City during the French EU Presidency (July -December 2008), spreading from Media to Music, Science and research, Business and Development, etc.,...tastefully starting immediately with a .."European Food Festival", (that "EuroFora" regretfully had to miss because of an urgent trip to Paris, to prepare the EU - Mediterranean Summit of Heads of State and Government)..

Regardless of normal national political differencies, Ries, (a Socialist for whom earlier rumours hinted at a possible Ministerial mission by President Sarkozy), "thanked the President for scheduling 3 official visits in Strasbourg" this semester (July, October and December 2008), and firmly reminded "Prime Minister Fillon's warning, recently in Holland, that France will never drop Strasbourg as Headquarters of EU Parliament's 12 plenaries each year : - "If anyone might ask to modify EU Treaties on this point, then, everything", including all other EU institutions' location in several EU countries, "will come also at the table for possible changes"..

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Russia - Georgia differend makes CoE re-invent Geography !

Friday, 26 September 2008

 

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The recent Georgia - Russia crisis over South Ossetia had already an unexpected effect in Europe : It obliged the Strasbourg's PanEuropean organization, the Council of Europe (CoE) to start re-inventing functional Geography !

Astonished, but smiling CoE's Officials, revealed to "EuroFora", that a High-level group of Political leaders from its Parliamentary Assembly, who made an exceptional visit to Moscow and Tbilisi, as well as at S.Ossetia, at the eve of a rather "hot" session in Strasbourg next week, had to travel all the way back from Russia to .. Munich (Germany), in order to take another airplane for Georgia, because direct links between the two neighbouring countries had been "freezed" after the conflict !

This unprecedented, giant zig-zag (See Map), transforming a European flight into a .. Trans-Continental one, by its huge dimensions, not only wasted precious Time, but also obliged CoE MEPs' political leaders to stay for tens of hours closed inside airplanes' artificial air and seats not destinated for flights longer than 10 hours...

One of the results was that CoE Assembly's leaders were certainly glad to find Strasbourg's usual Sunday excursion to the best fresh air of the Alsace region : at the Haut Koenigsburg Castle, standing high at a pik of Vosges Mountains full of eye-catching views and refreshing oxygen, which celebrated its 100th Anniversary since being restored from the latest demolition, curiously provoked from an old miltary clash with a Swedish army, from the country which currently chairs the CoE !

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As a consolation, the Swedish President of CoE's Political Committe, Goran Lindbland, confirmed to "EuroFora" that he'd visit Haut Koenigsburg, peacefully this time..., but, in order to keep a cool atmosphere, he preferred to postpone for afterwards the formal anouncement of CoE group's visit to Russia and Georgia.. Recent Demands to freeze the credentials of Russian MEPs at CoE's Assembly, have stirred a controversy, which, according to some observers,might, eventually, spread also towards the credentials of the Georgian delegation, just coming back to Strasbourg from recent elections..

An unmistaken indication that all this could put a heavy work burden over CoE's Committee on the Rules, which is competent also for checking MEPs' credentials, is the fact that, as "EuroFora" found out, CoE has just decided to reinforce its team, precisely, at the Committee of Rules, by sending there also a beautiful and smart young lady, previously dealing with Political issues, to work together with the experienced and clever head of its secretariat...

Unlike EU or NATO, CoE has no Money or Army to use as possible "Sanctions", (effective or threatened), and, therefore, it often uses its own existence, as a PanEuropean organization, in some "carrot and stick" moves : I.e. a country might be promissed to be given - or on the contrary be threatened to lose - Full or partial Membership, or a special Status, inside CoE, according to whether it complies, or not, to certain Criteria, and/or to the decisions taken by a Majority of other CoE's Member States..

Thus, f.ex., Russian MEPs' credentials have already been "suspended" in the past, as well as Ukranian MEPs', while Belarus was practically dismissed, Serbia delayed, Greece obliged to withdraw during a Military Hunta period, and even ... the USA once were threatened to lose the special status they've got since 1995...

The only one, among those Countries who are usually cited as "problematic" from the point of view of CoE's principles on Human Rights and International Law, to have escaped from such threats, until now, is Turkey : In 1994 - 1995, CoE's Assembly had initially adopted an "Ultimatum" asking Turkey to make substantial progres on Human Rights, Democracy, Cyprus' issue, the Kurdish problem, and the Aegean differend with Greece, etc, and giving Ankara a Deadline of 6 Months.

However, later-on, a compromise avoided any sanction : Instead, CoE created a "Monitoring" Committee, due to check recalcitrant Member States' compliance with commitments, starting witrh Ankara's. Now, this "Monitoring" Committee has to check various countries, but also to re-start checking Turkey's situation, almost the same time as Russia's and Georgia's, ... while recently even an old CoE Member, as the U.K. did not escape from a check on its controversial 2005 Election result....

But, at this crucial moment, the over-active Swedish Foreign Minister, Carl Bildt, who currently chairs CoE's powerful Ministerial Committee, suddenly took another Geography-twisting decision : - Exceptionally, CoE's Foreign Ministers did not meet this week in Strasbourg, but at ... New York, on the sideliness of UNO's Assembly !..

Probably justified by topical political developments, and by the fact that Foreign Ministers were, at any case, obliged to be in New York these days for the UNO, this second Geographic paradox, indirectly but surely had also another unexpected result :

In real practice, this exceptional New York CoE Ministerial meeting was inevitably transformed (at least partially) into a kind of ... informal Heads of State and Government Summit, since Foreign Ministers were, as usual, accompagnying their Presidents or Prime Ministers to New York..

Perhaps the Timing was not due to pure chance : Big Political decisions, usually dealt with at a Top level, have to be taken, indeed, next week at the CoE in Strasbourg on at least 2 thorny issues : The Russia - Georgia differend, and the Cyprus' issue, which inevitably relates also to EU - Turkey relations.. Both of great interest also to the USA and other Global players.

It's a fact that the New York - Strasbourg's exceptional round trip, occured this same week with the, equally exceptional, Moscow - Munich - Tbilisi zig-zag...

Perhaps the people usually worried about how Strasbourg's airport might link with Brussels for EU Parliament - Commission transport, have seen nothing yet : CoE makes the challenge trans-continental !..

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Sunday, 27 April 2008

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Brixen-Bressnone/ACM/10 August 2008

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Pope Benedict XVI launched a call "in the name of the common Christian heritage" of "all Christians", to "immediately stop military actions", and "resolutely take, the road of negotiation and dialogue", with "Initiatives" for a "peaceful and sustainable solution" in South Ossetia.

It's with "profound anxiety" that we read "the news, more and more dramatic", on "these tragic events ..which have caused many innocent victims and obliged a great number of civilians to leave their homes". All involved must "avoid to cause more, and worse sufferings to the population", he said.

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He warned against "more violent confrontations and retaliations, which may degenerate in a conflict of even larger scope".

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To avoid this risk, "the International Community and the most inffuent countries" should "make every effort to support and promote .. initiatives" for a stable Peace, he stressed, shortly before his visit to France, where President Nicolas Sarkozy is the current EU chair.

"Together with our Orthodox brothers, we pray for these aims, and we entrust them to the intercession of her sanctity, virgin Mary, Mother of Jesus and of all Christians", he concluded.

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Pope Benedict XVI spoke in front of more than 12.000 People during the Angelus of an Open-air Mass at Brixen-Bressalone (north of Italy), at the end of his short stay at the Alpes, close to German chancelor Angie Merkel's restplace, where he received the visits of two f.Italian Presidents, Ciampi and Cossiga, together with Minister Tremonti.

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Pope's spokesman, Federico Lombardi, said ttesterday that he highlighted Brixen-Bressanone's synthesis, a peaceful and mutually enriching meeting point of many cultures, as "a model for Europe".

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