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China : the last UN SC Permanent Member to join CoE in Strasbourg ?

Written by ACM
Friday, 27 June 2008
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    EU-educated charming young Chinese presence started to be felt in Council of Europe's corridors in Strasbourg at the aftermath of an Historic Resolution adopted by its Parliamentary Assembly in favor of opening the possibility to give China a special "Status" in the PanEuropean Organization.

    - "My proposal to offer to China an official status as "Observer", in short term, under conditions, was welcomed" by the CoE : "The road to Dialogue between China and the CoE has now been opened", declared after Strasbourg's debates and votes the Head of France's delegation, MEP Jean-Claude Mignon.

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    "Neither complacency, nor a mere condamnation of China", but a "wise approach of a political issue of great importance", advised Mignon to all those who'd either overload claims on Democracy, Human Rights or Minorities, or close their eyes to anything, there as elsewhere... A balance which was not exactly followed during debates, contrary to Mignon's personal stance, which appeared rather even-handed.

    China is the only UNO Security Council permanent member which has not yet any status at the CoE, being still obliged to be represented in Strasbourg by a General Consul : USA and Canada, even Japan and .. Mexico, have already got a special Status at the CoE, following Strasbourg's decision, back in 1995, to counter-balance the accession of Russia (1996) by creating special links to traditional "Western-world" allies.

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    All former "Socialist" Eastern European countries started to have relations whith the CoE through its former sector on Culture and Education, before becoming full Members of Strasbourg's paneuropean organization. Speculations were unfolding recently about establishing a probable concrete link with China through the topical issue of anti-doping in Sport, on the occasion of the 2008 Olympic games.

    More spectacular, a meeting co-organized a few years ago in Strasbourg, by EuroFora and the International Space University between EU Parliament's long-time Rapporteur for EU's Satellite Navigation system "GALILEO", German MEP Brigitte Langenhagen, and a group of postgraduate students, attracted special interest from Chinese experts, and was followed, in less than a month, by the anouncement of China's intention to support EU's GALILEO project with a participation of 200 million €.

    Compared to that, revendications of .. "Turkish" Minorities, by Turkish MEPs, this week in Strasbourg, spreading through a wide area extended ...from Greece up to China, appeared less worrying, than pittoresque...

    Meanwhile, France's political will to start involving China and other important countries in European and Global affairs was due to be raised also at the forthcoming G-8 Summit in Japan by President Nicolas SARKOZY, (NDLR  : confirmed on July 5)

Lisbon Treaty : Irish "No" blocks EU Enlargment, warned MEPs, boosting UK's readiness to ratify..

Written by ACM
Thursday, 19 June 2008

 

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    UK Prime Minister, Gordon Brownn's promise to French President Sarkozy that Great Britain will proceed to Lisbon Treaty's ratification was certainly fuelled further by MEPs' warning, meanwhile in Strasbourg, that all Enlargement stops until EU can have efficient Institutions for more than 27 member Countries.    

    EU Parliament's President, German MEP Hans Gert Poettering, formally announced this position, after consulting all Political Groups' Chairmen, Monday in Strasbourg, and most MEPs made the point crystal clear during Plenary Debates on Wednesday.   

     Thus, from Thursday, UK's House of Commons, at Westminster, gave its "Green Light" to Lisbon Treaty's ratification, which was completed later-on, after ovecoming some last minute attempts to block the process.

    - In only 3 other Member Countries we feel some "hesitations" : Poland, Czech Republic and Cyprus", said, meanwhile, EU Chairman-in-office, Slovenian Foreign Minister, Dr. Dimitri Ruppel, speaking to EU Parliament's Foreign Affairs Committee in Strasbourg, However, "I didn't hear any explicit refusal", he carefully added.

    Rupel's fears were later bellied in Cyprus' case, where a wide majority of political parties confirmed their support to the EU Treaty, but fears were confirmed in Poland's case, while Czechs said they waited for their Constitutional Court to pronounce itself.

    A paradox is that the Polish President Lech Kaczynski, who reportedly expressed concerns about Lisbon Treaty, had personally signed himself its blueprint, while, on the contrary, Cyprus' new President, Christofias, despite its own party's opposal, declared that he'll respect the signature of his precedessor, former President Tassos Papadopoulos, in favor of EU Treaty.

    But, "all that noise is a misinterpretations by some Western Media : Poland will ratify the EU Treaty, and even earlier than some other Member Countries", declared to "EuroFora", in a surprisingly optimistic tone, the Polish Chairman of EU Parliament's Foreign Affairs Committee, Jacek Saryuswolski...

Sarkozy stimulated by Irish "No": - "A call to build Europe otherwise. Difficult, but Fascinating !"

Written by ACM
Saturday, 14 June 2008

Sarkozy stimulated by Irish "No" challenge : - "It's a call to change and build Europe otherwise. Not later, but now. It won't be easy, but it's fascinating !"

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* Paris, Elysee, June 14, 2008.

Forthcoming EU Chairman, French President Nikolas Sarkozy, created a surprise by declaring that the challenge of the Irish "No" to the EU Treaty, stimulates his belief that we must immediately change the way Europe is built.

A difficult but fascinating task, that he intends to accomplish in the next 6 Months, during which he will analyse developments 3 times to EU Parliament in Strasbourg, on July, October and December 2008.

But Agenda obliged to give a first reply to Questions raised by the Irish Referendum, on the sidelines of a Press Conference with USA President GWBush, in Paris' Elysee palace, Saturday :

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Sarkozy's reply was twofold :

First, the Franco-German position is that EU must make sure "that the Irish Incident does not become a Crisis". Ratification must continue, after 18 EU Member States, also to the rest, as UK Prime Minister Gordon Brown promised.

But, pointing at deeper causes, Sarkozy also criticized bureaucratic "sabotage" of Europe's "founding fathers" original dream. The move reminded his Historic February and July 2007 speaches in Strasbourg on Europe's future, joining criticism to a call for EU's Renaissance, which now became urgent :

(../..)

Read more...

Strasbourg to invent new EU Energy ?!

Written by ACM
Friday, 13 June 2008


Fillon invites EU to invent "New Horizons" behind Oil crisis

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geothermal_plant_400_01Soultz-under-Forests, June 13, 2008

A pioneer Franco-German research project on GeoThermy, near Strasbourg, served as "Symbol" of EU's will to become Independent on Energy by developing innovative Technologies, while imported Oil prices threaten to provoke a World-wide crisis.

It's essential to demonstrate Europe's will to "invent New Horizons", by creating Environment-friendly, Independent and Renewable Energy sources, while price rises continue for Oil, a polluting old ressource with insufficient stocks, stressed French Prime Minister Francois Fillon, anouncing that this will be a focus during the forthcoming French EU Presidency (July - December 2008).

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Fillon symbolically injected a 1st KWh produced by GeoThermy into Strasbourg's Electricity grid, during a special gathering of German and French officials at Soultz-under-Forests ("Soultz-sous-Forêts"), using a geothermal innovation which is "the most advanced in the World" :

The innovation uses Strasbourg's underground water richness to capture Heat, by injecting liquid among Rocks 5 km deep, where temperature is 200 c. Thus, it can be activated at any moment and location, even without natural warm water springs : A big advantage compared to old biothermal tools.

Engineers, Scientists and the Industry will have 2 Years to invent practical ways for this innovation to become productive and cost-efficient in real Economy, said Fillon.

115 Millions of Euros invested, 15 Research Labos, 430 Scientific Publications including 34 Doctoral PhD, and a systematic cooperation between French and German Governments and Public Agencies on Research, succeeded to prove that the new method works.

Already able to serve Electricity to a village with 1.500 inhabitants, the pioneer project intends to reach a capacity to serve 20.000 inhabitants before 2015, as part of a larger Plan to make all Renewable Energy Resources (together with Wind, Solar, etc) able to cover more than 23% of all Electricity needs before 2020.

geothermy

- In fact, "behind the challenge" faced with the current Oil crisis, there "is a New Horizon that we can shape all together", by "creating New Tools for the Future", Fillon launched towards EU Member States.

Meanwhile, we should intensify Energy Savings, simplify Transports, and help the Poorest cope with growing Oil prices, until EU joins a World-wide lead into inventing reliable and sufficient Renewable Energy Sources, he added.

Many, technologic and other Challenges exist, but they can be overcome : F. ex. the new GeoThermic method tested at Shoultz since 1987, had provoked an Earthquake at a nearby site, close to Bale, by injecting big volumes of pressurized Water in underground broken Rocks near a Seismic Faultline in 2003. But the move was rectified later-on, by diminishing the amount and pressure of the water injected in underground rocks, so that no Earthquake is provoked.

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geothermy_map heat_data

More than 1 Billion Euros are invested by France on Scientific and Technologic Research about Sustainable Development until 2012, aiming to take a 10 years advance, there where innovation can become source of Growth, Competitivity and Jobs, which, according to some evaluations could reach more than 220.000 before 2020, Fillon observed.

During the forthcoming French EU Presidency, together with our German friends, we shall do all necessary efforts for Europe's World-wide lead against Global Warming, thanks to Energy tools able to ensure its Independence, Growth, and Citizens' well-being, he concluded.

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The "Enhanced Geothermal System" (EGS) stems from pioneer research initiated by teams from France, Germany and Italy, joined also by Swiss, the U.K., and Sweden, even U.S. and Japan, since the 90ies.

In 1996, a European Economic Interest Group (GEIE) was founded, in order to exploit Electricity-produsing Heat from deep underground Rocks, including France's EDF and Germany's PfalzWerke.

In 2002, a Pilot scientific project started to be tested in Soultz-under-Forests, 50 kms north of Strasbourg.

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Written by ACM
Sunday, 27 April 2008
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Recent developments proved that Europe can suceed to overcome challenges by aiming at great objectives, and this is needed also in 2009, said EU chairman, French President Nicolas Sarkozy.

    - "It's in the name of Great Ideas, Projects, Ambition and Ideals, that EU can overcome" challenges, stressed Sarkozy at EU Parliament in Strasbourg, in conclusion of a dense 7 months EU Chairmanship. "It's even easier for Europe to have Great projects, able to overcome national egoism, instead of limiting itself only to small projects" (unable to do alike), he observed.     

- "Europe must remain Ambitious and understand that the World needs her to take Decisions". "The World needs a Strong Europe", which "thinks on its own, has convictions, its own responses, its imagination" : "A Europe which does not limit itself into following" others, (as it did in the Past, when it followed USA, f.ex. on Bosnia). On the contrary, "Europe should undertake its own responsibilities", he said, after a series of succes in stopping the War between Russia and Georgia, and organizing the 1st EuroZone's Summit in Paris, which incited the Washington DC G-20 Summit to extend similar decisions World-wide.  


    - "When you sweep it all under the carpet, prepare yourself for hard tomorrows", he warned. "What hinders decisions is the lack of Courage and Will, the fading away of Ideals", he stressed before EU Parliament's 2008 debate on Human Rights and Sakharov prize on Freedom of thought attributed by MEPs to Chinese cyber-dissident Hu Jia, followed by an EU - Turkey meeting on Friday.

    - "I don't abandon my convictions" and "I will take initiatives" on EU level also in 2009, Sarkozy announced later. "France will not stop having convictions and taking initiatives" on Europe. + "It's an Error to wish to pass over the Heads of those who are elected in their Countries" : "It's an integrism I always fought against"', he warned.
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French EU Presidency faced 4 unexpected Crisis :

- An institutional crisis, with the Irish "No" to EU Lisbon Treaty, just before it started. A geopolitical crisis, wth the threat of War between Russia and Georgia risking to throw Europe back to Cold-war divisions, on August. A World-wide Financial and Economic crisis, arriving at a bad moment before crucial 2009 EU elections. And even a Strasbourg's mini-crisis, with EU Parliament's roof curiously falling down, from unknown reasons, in a brand new building on August, provoking an unprecedented transfert of the 2 September Plenary Sessions...

But it wasn't enough to stop Sarkozy ! On the contrary, it stimulated him...
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- "The better way to deal with the recent problems of EU institutions (as the "3 NO" by France, the Netherlands and Ireland) is to take them as a "Test" in order to find solutions closer to Citizens' concerns", said later in Strasbourg Sarkozy's new choice as Ministe for EU affairs, Bruno Le Maire.

- On the Institutional front, Sarkozy gave Time to the Irish to think about it, and stroke on December a deal including a New Referendum after the June 2009 EU Elections, in exchange of a promise to keep the rule of "one EU Commissioner for each EU Member Country", and some opt-outs on Defence and Fiscal EU policies, Abortion, etc. If the Irish get a "Yes" Majority, then the institutional package could be completed in 2010 or 2011 on the occasion of Croatia's probable EU accession.

He was accused in Strasbourg to upgrade EU Council and downgrade EU Commision, but he replied that "strong Political initiatives by EU Council reinforce also the more technical role of EU Commission, under the political-technical leadership of its President", all 3 "working together with EU Parliament".


- But, meanwhile, Sarkozy energetically spearheaded an Historic 1st Summit of EuroZone's 15 Heads of State and Government at EU's core, exceptionally enlarged to a partial participation of British Prime Minister Gordon Brown, on October 12 in Paris' Elysee palace, which started to tackle succesfully the growing world Financial crisis.

    It also paved the way for its endorsement by a subsequent Brussels' 27 EU Member States' gathering, before it all come to Washington's G-20 Summit. And "Europe was united, it asked for the 1st G-20 Summit, and it will also organise the next G-20 Summit on April in London", he observed.   

 But a Conference with EU, Russia, African and other Developing Countries, hosted in Strasbourg shortly after Washington G-20 Summit by the French EU Presidency, took a Resolution asking to enlarge participation to Global Economic Governance. Many found, indeed, illogic and unacceptable that f.ex. states as Turkey were given a seat at G-20 level, while all African Countries, and even the African Union itself, representing the greatest Continent on Earth, were excluded...


    Meanwhile, even USA''s "Paulson No 3" Plan, was, in fact, inspired by Europe's No 1 Plan", Sarkozy observed, largelly applauded by MEPs.

    And "Europe showed Solidarity" by mobilizing some 22 Billion credit for Hungary, 1,7 billion for Ukraine, as we do nowadays for Baltic States, etc., he added.

    The move on Economy was extended on December by an EU stimulus' plan totalling some 200 billion Euros, including 5 Billions released by EU Commission for big Projects, as well as various parallel National plans for Economic revival, (fex. 26 billions in France alone). They might appear limited, compared to USA President-elect Obama's reported plan to boost the American economy with 800 billion $, but at least succeded to overcome Europe's divisions for the first time on Economic governance, opening new horizons.

- The French President stressed even harder the unique role of an active EU Council's chairmanship, when he moved swiftly and efficiently, at the beginning of August, to succesfully stop War between Russia and Georgia, at the last minute, which threatened to bring Europe back to Cold War division.

"We (EU) also wanted to avoid a situation like in Bosnia, in the Past, when EU was absent, so that our American friends took their responsibilitues, and EU only followed", despite the fact that the conflict took place in Europe. Now, it was the EU who took its responsibilities".

A roadmap towards a new PanEuropean Security policy, before which all unilateral moves to place new Missiles (from USA or Russia) would be freezed, was proposed by Sarkozy after a meeting with Russian president Medvedev, at the eve of Washington DC's G-20 Summit.

Ukraine's "European" character was stressed at a Sarkozy - Jushenko Summit, September in Paris, while EU adopted on December an "Eastern policy", in which, "I'm convinced that our (EU's) future is to find with our Neighbours the conditions for Economic Development. Peace and Security, by explaining them that.. they must respect (Human Rights') Values, and adopt behaviors different from the Past", explained Sarkozy in Strasbourg.

Meanwhile, the "Union for the Mediterranean" was created, since July's Summit if 45 Heads of State and Government in Paris, as "an organisation for a permanent Dialogue, that we need", mainly in order to tackle the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, by bringing together, for the 1st time, Israelis and Arabs, where "Europe must be present, in order to avoid a frontal clash".

- "If Europe doesn't take its part for Peace in the Middle-East, nobody else will do that in our place", Sarkozy stressed.
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    Meanwhile, other EU Agreements were brokered during the French EU Presidency on Immigration, (fex. common Asylum rules, etc), and Climat- Energy :

    - On Climat-Energy, the 2007 German EU Presidency had fixed a triple 20% aim for 2020 (20% renewable Energies, 20% reduction of CO2 emmission, 20% energy efficience/economies), and the 2008 French EU Presidecny realized that, making the necessary compromises in order to modernize EU's industry, but without throwing some former Central-Eastern European Countries into abrupt Economic break down risking "social explosion".

    - Defence-Security EU policy was mainly postponed for April 2009, since both German chancellor Merkel and French president Sarkozy want to strike a deal with the new American president Obama in Strasbourg's NATO Summit.

    However, with all these 4 unexpected Crisis diverting attention to other urgencies, People wil wonder now, what happened to the famous deal proposed by freshly-elected French President Sarkozy on Turkey's controversial EU bid, back on August 2007, to continue EU - Turkey negotiations, but on the double condition that core chapters, intrinsequally linked with EU Membership, will be excluded, and that a collective Reflexion and Debate on Europe's future would start before the end of 2008.

    It was meant to reply to the crucial question : What kind of Europe do we want in 10 or 20 Years from now : A large Market, or a Political Europe, with a popular identity ? In Sarkozy's thinking, presented in his 2 landmark speeches on Europe in Strasbourg, shortly before and after the 2007 Elections, (on February and July 2007), Turkey's controversial EU bid would be incompatible with the second choice.

    It's true that EU Commision's Chairman, Jose Barroso, (who had notoriously declared, as former Portuguese Prime Minister, that he found "nonsense" the idea that Europe might become equal to the US), had repeatedly tried to avoid that Sarkozy's criticism on Turkey might start winning a larger audience in Europe, preferring a discrete "wismens' committee" work. And that most of the personalities later chosen in order to participate in a Committee on Europe's Future, are too much linked with Socialist parties and/or American policies, to be really critical of USA's notorious wish to impose Turkey to the EU, as Sarkozy had noted himself since March 2007..

     - "It's on EU Council's presidency to take political initiatives. EU Commission has other competences", stressed Sarkozy. The "European Ideal" is to "build Europe with the States, not against them". "Ask Europeans to chose between their countries and Europe won't work. You don't choose between your two parents : We must add them together".

    "France and Germany have an Historic Duty to work together, precisely because of what happened to the Past. We have to work hand by hand. We cannot be separated.It goes beyond me and Mrs Merkel today, Mr Schroeder and Mr. Chirac yesterday. It's not a choice, it's a duty to Europe and to the World".  "We need Germany, as Germany needs Europe". Compromise is inevitable, here as everywhere, and each one made some steps towards eachother's positions.

    But "it's true that Mrs Merkel didn't chose her Socialist partners, while I chose mine", Sarkozy said, in an indirect hint that the Socialist Minister of Finance in Germany might be a cause of minor past disagreements in Economy, which were overcome in recent negotiations.

    "We (France and Germany) have particular duties in Europe", but "in a Europe of 27 Member States, it's not enough for France and Germany to agree between them.

    "I always thought that Great Britain has a special role to play in Europe. ... Now, everybody "saw what it cost payed the UK for having been too exclusively open towards the US (and) Financial services. Europe needs the UK, but also the UK needs Europe" :- "We were able to face the hardest moment of the Financial crisis because the UK clearly chose Europe", stressed Sarkozy, reminding Gordon Brown's exceptional participation to the Historic 1st Heads of State/Government Summit of EuroZone, October 12 in Paris (See EuroFora's Reportage from Elysee Palace then).

     - "Some look at Europe with old glasses aged 30 years ago. While we must look at her in relation to what it will be in 30 years" in the Future, Sarkozy concluded.

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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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