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Expo : Strasbourg's Golden Age

27. 04. 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

08. 07. 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 !

26. 09. 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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How do I participate ?

27. 04. 2008.

All Europeans, persons legally residing in the EU, persons or organizations affected by, and/or interested in European decision-making process, are welcome to take part into EuroFora's various activities, at the desired and appropriate level or form.

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It's important to create a synergy between "mutually stimulating" EU Countries' moves in order to overcome an "Unjust" Crisis "imported from USA", stressed new French Minister for Economic Revival, Patrick Devedjian, in Strasbourg, warning also that, while hoping for a vigorous Obama US Plan, nevertheless, "Time" is of essence for Europe...

In fact, it's EU's own interest to act Fast, before June 2009 EU Election, since, with Lisbon Treaty not ratified yet, it cannot face again the risk of a Majority Abstention, as back in 1999 and 2004, nor another "anti-EU" mood among Citizens, as in the 2005 French and Dutch "No", followed by the 2008 Irish "No", without endangering rare Historic opportunities, currently open for the EU, whose future is at stake.

From Social issues up to High-Tech Scientific Research, concrete action for Economic revival started from Strasbourg and its European dimension, for the new super-Minister Patrick Devedjian, who visited a Popular Social Housing and Infrastructure project at nearby Hagenau village, before meeting new leaders of Strasbourg's unified mega-University in a Scientific Labo at the Campus, close to EU Parliament and CoE headquarters.

Devedjian, who met also with all the spectrum of Local Political  deciders of Alsace region, close to FrancoGerman borders, wants for deeds to meet the words, in real practice, whenever politicians speak about Strasbourg and Europe's development.

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Devedjan to "EuroFora" : "European coordination can act as a multiplicator by mutual stimulations"
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Devedjian was questioned by "Euro-Fora" on his expectations for reciprocal effects of coordinated European plans :

- "We are living in a (European and Global) system where borders are transparent : When we take measures in France, they produce effects also in Germany, in Belgium, Italy, Spain, or other EU countries, and vice-versa. "So, we can have mutually stimulating effects between national revival Plans, if they are somehow coordinated", ..."They can augment each other's effects, acting as multiplicators and levers". "As a State stimulates Local authorities and Private business, similarly, each EU country's economic revival plan may multiply the effects of other EU countries' actions", he told us.

- "F.ex., when I visited Strasbourg University's Scientific labos, they told me that part of the renovation, funded by France, is realized by German companies located only a few Kms away from the border. Thus, the French revival plan benefits also the German economy. And vice-versa : when Germany takes certain measures, they can have beneficial effects also for French companies"

In an era of Globalisation, "nobody can close and isolate himself inside a Fish-Bowl !", he concluded.
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Economy's revival starts from Strasbourg and Europe, for new French Minister Devedjian
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This could be one of the reasons for which the new French Minister for Economic Stimulus chose to make his 1st visit to Strasbourg, the headquarters of European and Paneuropean Institutions, in the Franco-German river borders at the heart of Europe.

- "It was President Sarkozy's idea", he revealed, adding also fresh "support to Strasbourg's European vocation, not only with words, but also with deeds" :F.ex., the completion of a High-Speed Train network, due to stimulate fast links with Germany, Austria, Italy, Hungary and other central EU Countries.

- "This Crisis is Unjust for Europe, because it wasn't its fault". The greatest part of the "Crisis was imported from the USA, where problems are deeper than here'', in the EU. The Crisis "wasn't due to a bad managment by Europe", who was affected by problems which emerged elsewhere. That's why Europe must be united and active enough to face this challenge. said Devedjian, who has just won +5% in popularity...

- "I hope that there will be an "Obama-effect" also on Economy, and that the Plan of the New American President will be substantial enough to face this crisis, which is worse in the USA than in our area", Europe, he added.

"Economic Revival overcomes political divisions : F.ex. Strasbourg's Socialist Mayor "Ries agreed that State actions funded by Public Debt are justified during such exceptional circumstances", noted the Center-Right republican Minister.

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"Zeitnot" for 2009 EU Elections ?

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"My problem is Time", stressed Devedjian from the outset, at Strasbourg's University. "I have to engage 75% of funds in 2009, out of a total of 29 Billion euros", he explained later. "Monitoring will be of essence", because we must "avoid bureaucracy or delays. No project should get lost or neglected in complex meanders of adminstrative offices' moving sands", he warned.

- "I must create activities in the middle of the Crisis", he added. Questioned by EuroFora whether he aims to start creating some "hopes before the June 2009 EU Elections", Devedjian, a former leader of the Governing Political Party in France: UMP, did not immediately reply, but revealed, later, that he "hoped to start at least some Projects on May 2009, even if the bulk of Revival Plan's effects are "expected from Autumn 2009".

However, with only 30% of EU Citizens currently aiming to cast a vote at the forthcoming EU Elections on June, (See other NewStory), the  coordinated moves' results are expected to be crucial for Citizens' participation and votes at the forthcoming June 2009 EU Elections throughout all 27 EU Member Countries...Thus, it's vital for all Europe's own Future that coordinated national Economic revival plans start to have concrete results and create hopes for new dynamics before the June 2009 EU Election...

A real challenge, since careful choices are needed : Our aim is to fund projects which "create activities", even "in the middle of the crisis", and have a "lever effect, attracting other investments", Devedjian said. Because the "Stimulus' Plan has 2 aims : A Tactical one : to create New Activities. And a Strategic one : Choose what can become efficient and useful also in the Long-term". 

- "Are you ready ?", he asked Strasbourg University's new President, professor Alain Beretz, with some 700 million euros in his pockets for Education-Research in France. - "We are !", he replied.

- "The Minister's initiative can accelerate funds, and Time is important for us. This concerns the entire renovation of all our buildings", said to "EuroFora" President, Beretz. "I showed some Scientific Research Labos to Mr. Devedjian. But, If we had more time, I could show him also some Education Amphis, whose condition needs to meet Strasbourg's new Mega-University's ambition" to reach the 10 best in the World, as Prime Minister Fillon earlier anounced here.

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(Devedjian kicks off his Economic Revival tour from Strasbourg University, meeting with its new chairman Beretz, at Scientific Institute Le Bel) 

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Regional Prefectures should gather and select projects to be presented for decision before the end of January 2009.

A well-known close friend of President Sarkozy, who succeeded as EU Chairman to launch, in agreement with German chancelor Merkel and even British prime minister Brown, vigorous EU actions against the Financial/Economic Crisis, (starting from the 1st Historic Summit of EuroZone's Heads of State/Government, October 12 at Elysee Palace, followed by Washington G20 Global Summit), Devedjan will have a key role in the realisation of National and EU plans recently agreed in Brussels.

President Sarkozy is expected to arrive himself in Strasbourg, on the occasion of the official inauguration of its brand New Mega-Hospital, on the 9th of January 2009, at the eve of EU Parliament's session here, Elysee confirmed shortly after Devedjian's visit.

EU is due to review its economic revival plans at March 2009 EU Council in Prague, before the April 2 London Global Summit.

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Multi-facet concrete activities at focus : Stimulus Minister Devedjian at the Political, Social and High-Tech fronts in Strasbourg...

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2009 EU Elections were won by Parties against Technocracy and Turkey's controversial EU bid, while the 1999-2004 Majority Abstention trend decelerated. What should be done in 2009-2014 ?

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