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Bulgarian winner party's youngest MP to EuroFora: For a stable Government +best Gas Pipe/Ship choice

Written by ACM
Saturday, 11 July 2009
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Election Winner Bulgarian Party GERB's youngest woman MP, Monika Panayotova, President of its Youth section and a landmark "student" of CoE's "Political Schools", applauded in Strasbourg's 2009 "Summer University", expressed to "EuroFora" her hope for a "stable" new government, while competing Pipelines and/or Ship Energy Transport choices are the 1st challenge of EU interest.

Sofia Mayor, Boyko Borisov's GERM ("Citizens for European Development") brillantly won against a Socialo-Turkish bloc, accused of corruption and for EU's decision to block EU funds, which had negotiated Turkey's controversial and costly Nabucco pipeline, that big EU Countries as France and Germany do not like, while Russia proposes a cheaper South-Stream pipeline directly to Bulgaria, EU member, in addition to prospects for EU-led Ship transports by Sea and River (See infra).

He is now able to form a new government, with the support of some from 3 smaller center-right parties : The failing "Blue Conservatives", the tiny rightist  , or the bigger, nationalist "Ataka" party, which succeeded to elect the most MPs among the 3 possible parters.


But a surprising Time-race apparently threatens to counter 2009 Electoral results on the crucial Energy choices :

  The winner of the 2009 Election, GERB's Borisov, asked to urgently "freeze" all decisions on "public spending over expensive infrastructures", given the difficult situation of Bulgaria's Economy, until a new government can redress the situation and study the best choice. But, on the contrary, the out-going Socialo-Turkish bloc reportedly threatens to "go to Ankara (Turkey), with the (out-going) PM Stanishev, on Monday, (13 of July), to sign an deal on the controversial "Nabucco" pipeline". I.e. ignoring Borisov's call, despite the fact that he's certain to gather a Majority of MPs in the Bulgarian Parliament, convened for only one day later : July 14th... 

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- "36 out of 45 candidates from our School's 400 students succeeded to be elected as MPs", said to "EuroFora" the founder and Director of CoE's Political School in Sofia, Dmitri Stanichev, a former Journalist (of "Readers Digest" at New York). Another young lady from the experienced, white-haired Stanichev's former "students", is EU Commissioner Kuneva, who has just been elected MEP.

 Experienced CoE's Secretary General, Terry Davis, speaking earlier to 650 "students" from 16 Countries, said that "CoE's Schools obviously cannot appoint you as political leaders, but they can teach you how to become one : By winning the Trust of the People".  

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Monika Panayotova, after studying International Relations, including in France, worked as an NGO leader, but she resigned to be politically engaged into Boyko Borisov's GERB new party, where she became President of its Youth section, before being elected to Sofia's Parliament.  Speaking a perfect French as well as English, her only regret is that she missed EU Parliament for a thin difference, but hopes to actively participate in the Bulgarian delegation to CoE's Parliamentary Assembly, whose next session is at the end of September.

 Fond of Global, European and Youth policies, she's aware of the current need to redress Bulgaria's Economy : - F.ex. by introducing new, digital technology-based "E-administration we can develop Young Bulgarian People's capacities, have a more transparent, accessible and efficient Administration, as well as make economies by sparing public funds, she observed. Combining a beautiful youth with a serious political motivation, she looks able to gain a lot from experiences to come.

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But the main topical question raised on Bulgaria's future contribution to Europe is symbolically present at Monika's Photo by "Eurofora", at the chair connecting CoE Ministerial Committee's room to its Parliamentary Assembly's hemicycle, aside a huge poster for CoE's 60 Years, picturing a Tree withs deep roots :

 - Will the new-commer winner party GERB succeed to keep "People's Trust", (according to CoE SG's word : See supra), and develop the country closer to Europe's real interests ? Only then, can it expect popular vote to stay and grow like a deep-rooted tree...

 

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Speaking to "EuroFora" at the CoE in Strasbourg,  the youngest Bulgarian new MP expressed the wish that GERB forms a "stable" Government, but without being obliged to make too many concessions to various directions, prefering one or two good solid partners :

- "Bulgaria's Parliament has 240 MPs, and GERB won 116 MPs", while the out-going Socialo-Turkish bloc "fell down to only 40 and 38 MPs" respectively, Panayotova confirmed to "EuroFora".

Among GERB's possible partners, the "Blue" Conservatives were reduced to "15 MPs", the rightist "Law and order" RZS party got just 9 MPs, but the larger, "Ataka party won 21 MPs",

I.e. the so-called "Blue Conservatives" got only a bit more than what GERB needs, and the rightist "Law and order" RZS party has not enough to be sure.

European Media already observed that with 39% of votes for GERB, added to some 7% for "Blue" Conservatives, this arrives to "only 46%", needing a bigger ally in order to get a stable, large Majority well over 50%. Moreover, according to latest Press reports, the "Blue conservatives would not agree to a coalition with GERMSo, 2009 Elections' mathematics obviously point at the "Ataka" party, which won some 10% of votes and 21 MPs, being the only one which can largely cover GERB's needs for a "stable" majority.


On June 2009 EU Elections, "Ataka" won 12% of the vote, after campaigning on a crystal-clear "No to Turkey's entry into the EU !".  That's similar to the unexpected large wins by the "Free" party in the Netherlands and the "Indep" party in the UK, which succeeded to become the 2nd-bigger parties in their countries. But also to the mainstream Franco-German EPP leaders, Sarkozy and Merkel's who won after clearly confirming their well-known opposal to Turkey's controversial EU bid.

GERB's Leader, Borisov, has been critical of Socialists' bloc with the Turkish lobby's Party, and is reportedly known for critical remarks vis-a-vis Turkish lobby's attempts to influence EU Member Bulgaria's policies.  - "I am convinced that Turkey will not meet the (EU) membership criteria for at least 20-30 more years !", Borisov reportedly stated recently

(See : http://www.novinite.com/view_news.php?id=104403 )

So, normally, Bulgarian people should expect to have with Borisov less dependency from Turkish influence from the East and Asia, but a more European-oriented policy looking Westwards.

If GERB makes a coalition with the 2nd strongest winning party, Ataka (up to 21 MPs), it will be close to  its June 2009 EU Electoral campain on a clear : - "No to Turkey's entry into the EU !"

(Comp. fex. http://www.novinite.com/view_news.php?id=105072 )

This might even bring GERB closer to the Franco-German "heart" of Europe, given the well-known stance of French President Sarkozy and German chancellor Merkel for a strong and developed Europe, and, therefore, against Turkey's controversial EU bid.

The fact that GERB ("Citizens for European Development") succeeded to win against an out-going coalition between Socialists and a Turkish minority party, which was so strongly criticized for "Corruption" that EU suspended badly needed funds to Sofia, may have important consequences for Europe :

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Because the New Bulgarian Government will have to make soon a Strategic choice, according to Press Reports, between 2 differend Gas Pipelines' projects :   

- The new and cheaper "Souh Stream", comming from Russia directly to EU Member Bulgaria, by crossing the Black Sea. And the more expensive old "Nabucco" controversial pipeline, which has to cross a long and hazardous way through Non-EU Member Turkey, Georgia, etc. before arriving at EU land, with uncertain yet supplies.

Another, eventually complementary choice, would be to explore projects of EU-led Ship transports of Energy directly into the EU, through the Black Sea and Danube River, thanks to new EU TransEuropean Networks for "Sea and River Highways" funding. EU Parliament has recently voted in Strasbourg a Resolution calling for the creation of LNG terminals to liquefy, store and/or vaporize back to natural Gas brought by Ships via European Sea-River Networks.

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Experienced Strasbourg observers noted that, if GERB really wants to be for a "European Development" of the country, faithful to the name of the party which attracted Voters, it should focus on the more Direct possible European access to Energy sources, reducing risks to depend on 3rd Non-European countries, as Turkey, etc..

GERB also has the ambition to bring Bulgaria in the "Euro"-zone, i.e. away from Anglosaxon networks notoriously pushing for Turkey's controversial Nabucco project, and closer to the Franco-German axis, which is not convinced at all, and prefers other, more european transport means.

At any case, one of the worst weaknesses of the controversial "Nabucco" old Turkish project, notoriously is that it's .. too expensive, mainly because of its excessive dimension, (too long even according to USA data, which explain that, for liquefied Gas LNG, Ship transports cost less than Pipelines longer than 2.200 km, while Nabucco is more than 3.300 km long !).

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That's why GERB's leader, Boiko Borisov, has just launched an urgent call to "freeze" all Public decisions about "spending on expensive infrastructures", in order to redress Bulgaria's difficult financial situation, and give Time to the new elected Government to chose the best possibility.

But the out-going Socialo-Turkish bloc, curiously refuses to "stop" !

Its out-going Minister on Energy reportedly claimed today that he is "curious what Boyko Borisov wants us to stop", threatening to "go to Ankara (Turkey), on Monday, (13 of July), together with the (out-going) PM Stanishev, to sign an agreement on the "Nabucco" gas pipe", ignoring the new Prime Minister-elect's call..

On the contrary, GERB wants for the new Bulgarian Government, due to be formed at the end of July, to be free to seriously examine the situation and make the best choices between various Energy routes, urgently redress the grave Financial problems and corruption notoriously left by the out-going Socialo-Turkish bloc, in order to re-launch EU funding, attract Foreign Investors, and strike an austerity--deal with IMF to get urgently needed loans.

I.e. the International Monetary Fund, which is currently chaired by a .. Frenchman, chosen by French President Sarkozy, one of the core-EU leaders (as German chancellor Merkel) who do not believe at all that they should spend money for Turkey's controversial "Nabucco", that they find too costly, not necessary, risky and uncertain.

Particularly when oil prices continue to fall downwards, arriving to less than 60 $ and heading towards only some 50 $ a baril..

In this context, it's natural for a new Bulgarian Government, free from any Turkish lobby's influence, to start examining also the prospects for Ship Energy Tranport, by Sea and River, thanks to its Black Sea and Danube river ports (linked to Rhine river, through EU's Franco-German core, up to UK-Scandinavian North Sea), thanks to new technologies of liquefied gas, probably in cooperation with neighbouring EU Member States Romania and/or Greece, (which adds also a Mediterranean outlet) : Solutions which do not need expensive, too long and risky pipelines depending on 3rd Non-EU countries.

South-Stream Euro-Russian pipeline project, coming directly from the producer to EU territory (Bulgaria), by a shorter and cheaper trajectory, might fit the overall schema, if correct choices are made, particularly on interconnections to the rest of the EU.

 
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Comparatively, Turkey's controversial Nabucco pipeline, obviously looks too long, too expensive, too risky (crossing earthquake-prone areas, full of armed conflicts with Kurds, etc., threatened to be blocked by a transit country with the heaviest foreign Debt, etc), and uncertain :

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Without sufficient supplies from central Asian former-USSR countries who prefer deals with Russia, China or directly the EU, (fex. by Georgia, Ukrania or Russia-Romano/Bulgarian Ship transport links via the Black Sea and Danube River, which became possible after Romania's and Bulgaria's 2007 entry into the EU).

The fact that it's controlled also by a 3rd Non-EU foreign State, which is not a producer but a mere intermediary asking for money, a 15% percentage, etc., and already exploiting the transit to blackmail the EU on political issues, as recent threats by Turkish Prime Minister Erdogan in Brussels proved, raises obvious unanswered questions.

***
 
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(In fact, there are so many geopolitical combinations in various possible pipeline routes, that a serious examination is obviously needed by the new Bulgarian Government, before making any hasty moves).
 

Croatian President, Mesic, to "EuroFora" : New EU Energy Access by Ship Transports ?

Written by ACM
Thursday, 09 July 2009

 

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A "New Access" for Energy transports by Ships could be opened for the EU with Croatia's accession process, said to "EuroFora" the Croatian President, Stjepan Mesic.

 Replying to an "EuroFora" question on Croatia's potential contribution for Sea and River "Energy Transports" towards the EU, Mesic was concretly positive :
 
- "Yes, you are right to say that", started to say the Croatian President.

- "Because we (Zagreb) are currently negotiating about building an LNG Energy Terminal in Croatia", he revealed.

-  "And this would allow a New Access of Energy Ship Transport, from the Adriatic Sea to other parts" of Europe, Mesic concluded.

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Croatia is one of the few European Countries to have both Sea and River strategic links, thanks to long Coasts to the Adriatic/Mediterranean Seas, and an outlet to River Danube, linking the Black Sea to the North Sea via its connection to the Rhine. Frontrunner EU candidate Croatia, as well as Serbia, are in 2009 the last "missing links" for EU to dominate the entire Danube - Rhine rivers strategic corridors, after 2007's accession of Bulgaria and Romania.


Until France eventualy opens a Rhone-Rhine river connection to big Ship transports, Croatia will remain the only Mediterranean access to the Danube-Rhine central European corridor, due to a unique proximity between the Sea and the River, which facilitates fex. liquefied Gas containers' transport-links, (comp. Map). 

EU Parliament has recently voted in Strasbourg a Resolution calling for Sea and River Highways to be equiped with LNG terminals to liquefy, store and/or vaporize back to natural Gas brought by Ships through PanEuropean Energy Transport Networks.


Given Croatia's Geographic location, such Energy Transport links could obviously be useful for Slovenia, Hungary, Austria, Czech Republic, Germany, and other EU Member Countries.

 

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The experienced Mesic, who was elected President of Croatia twice, after serving also as Prime Minister, last President of the former Yugoslavia, and Secretary General of the International Non-Aligned movement, spoke to "EuroFora" in the framework of a larger Interview, given at the sidelines of his visit to CoE's 2009 Summer University. (See also other Newstories).

Slovenian+Croatian Presidents to EuroFora: Double Standards on EU-Talks ban for Croatia, not Turkey?

Written by ACM
Thursday, 09 July 2009

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    The recent paradox of freezing EU Talks with front-runner Croatia, while continuing controversial EU - Turkey talks, despite Zagreb's acceptance of Refugees' Human Rights to return, that Ankara refuses fex. in Cyprus, while both have "Good Neighborhood" problems vis a vis Slovenia, or Greece, Cyprus and Armenia respectively, can it be justified by the non-fullfilment of EU criteria, as Slovenia says, or, is it "Double Standards" ?    

The question became unavoidable after statements by Presidents of Slovenia and Croatia, Tuerk and Mesic, respectively, to "EuroFora", exclusively or among Strasbourg's journalists this week at the CoE, on the sidelines of its 2009 Summer University for Political Schools, which topically brought them together as successive key-note speakers.


    Comming only a few Months before EU checks Turkey's compliance to its commitments on Cyprus, etc., scheduled for December 2009, this obviously has a special importance for the coherence of EU Enlargement's principles.

     Suspension of EU Negotiations is a normal consequence in case of a Candidate Country's failure to fullfil EU Conditions, such as "Good Neighborhood relations", stressed at first Slovenian President Danilo Tuerk, current CoE's chair.

    But, regarding EU's Criteria,  there shouldn't be any "Double Standards",  reacted Croatian President Stjepan Mesic, commenting the fact that Turkey's controversial EU negotiations continue, while they were recently "freezed" in the case of Croatia, an "unquestionably European Country", which oficially accepts to respect Refugees Human Rights, contrary to Ankara's notorious refusals or reluctance.                                       

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                           - "EU itself has set as a Criterium (for EU Enlargement) the "Good Neighborhood relations",  and their absence justifies the "Suspension" EU Negotiations, (f.ex. with Croatia), because of a Border dispute affecting the territorial integrity of an EU Member Country, stressed Slovenian President, Danilo Tuerk, CoE's Chairman in office (May - November 2009), speaking to Journalists in Strasbourg including "EuroFora".    

Questioned earlier what "consequences on EU's Enlargement policy" can have the "Ban on EU Membership Negotiations", imposed to Croatia, Tuerk replied that "this question comes down to the fulfillement of (EU) Criteria for membership. One has to look at each Candidate Country ., from the point of view whether it fullfils the Criteria that EU has set. One of them are Good Neighborhood Relations, I'd like to remind. And also, there are other factors, such as Justice, Home affairs, Rule of Law, and others".


    - "Now, ..Candidate Countries are at Different Levels of fulfillement of Criteria", he observed.

    - " Croatia is obviously the closest to that. I'm rather optimistic : I think that in the coming Months we'll have an opportunity to look at all these issues constructively and hopefully we'll be able to make progress". "My main concern, at this point, is the situation in Bosnia : We haven't seen enough progres domesticaly. We haven't seen enough during ..political parties within their country.We need a New Energy, a new energetic move towards the Candidature for EU membership. "Other (Western Balkan) Countries (Serbia, Montenegro, FYROM, Albania) have been making soaring Progress, and I think that they should be ready, in a few Years, for the Candidate status".

    - "As far as the Western Balkans are concerned, .. nobody should be left outside" the EU, Slovenian's President concluded, ommitting to mention Turkey's controversial EU bid.

    - "This process may be seen as Slow, but..  Slovenia has also has also been exposed to various "Booms of Slowness" in our accession period. But now we can say that the process was relatively quick, because changes which occur after becoming EU member, are quite large, and they require proper Preparations before the (EU) membership becomes a new factor, an impacting line for a new (EU) member country".
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EU "Solidarity" ?
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Slovenian statements made some participants from certain 3rd Countries as FYROM, etc. claim that "the Principle of EU Solidarity" would "produce a.. rising European Union Nationalism (sic !), against Non-EU Countries", as they said, asking unhappy foreign countries to form a "bloc" to exert pressure on the EU...    

But Croatian President Stjepan Mesic dismissed that, supporting "EU Integration", "after the Economy also in Political" issues, as "the achievement" of our times. In EU there is "diversity, but it's United", he stressed, "EU has to be United so that it can become a central factor of Peace" also at the surrounding areas, he replied.

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Speaking later exclusively to "EuroFora", the experienced twice President of Croatia, former President of the International "Non-Aligned" movement, denounced "Double Standards" in the way EU treats recently Croatia compared to Turkey :   

 - "I think that there shouldn't be Double Standards", stressed the Croatian President, in reply to a Question comparing the freeze of EU - Croatia talks, with the continuation of EU - Turkey talks, despite the fact that Croatia is an "unquestionably European country", while Turkey's EU bid is notoriously controversial.


    Mesic was reacting to the observation that, even if he confirmed his "respect of Refugees' Human Rights to return, etc. (See infra), nevertheless, EU talks are suspended with Croatia.. While for oher, controversial candidates, who refuse to respect Refugees' Rights to return, etc., as fex. Turkey does in occupied Cyprus and elsewhere, EU negotiations continue".

    - "I believe that Croatia's accession will confirm that all European Countries who fulfill all of the Conditions and achieve European Standards, have to join the EU. There shouldn't be any Double Standards", went on to add in reply President Mesic.

    In this relation, Croatia's President found "of paramount importance", CoE's "mechanisms enforcing ECHR's judgements"
    
    - "On Refugees and Displaced persons, the process will be completed only after the last person demanding to return will be allowed to do so !", President Mesic Croatia stressed earlier, setting a general standard of obvious importance also for otherr candidates, as f.ex. Turkey, often accused to exclude or heavily restrict Greek Cypriot Displaced persons' return to their Family Homes and ancestral land, provoke difficulties to Turkish-Kurd IDPs return to their home regions at the South-East, etc.

    Some "2.000 People are still reported Missing" in former Yugoslavia, for some Years, (as in Cyprus, modern Europe's oldest case, for 3 Decades. Nagorno-Karabach, Tcecnya in Russia, etc, more recently), and Investigations "will only be completed after establishing the fate of the last one of them", he added.
    
    Speaking earlier on "War Crimes", President Mesic stressed that "Leaders are responsible for (the) Wars (of the Past), not the People", and called against Impunity :  "Individuals have to be held Responsible for Crimes. International Penal Tribunals have to persecute those individuals", perpetrators of War Crimes, he underlined.

    Such statements naturally made Mesic rather popular at ECHR, whose President, French EuroJudge, Professor Jean-Paul Costa, looked particularly smiling when he welcomed him later on Wednesday afternoon, after Slovenian President Daniko Tuerk earlier this week.
           

***

EPP Head Daul to EuroFora on 1st post-electoral contact with PS Head Schulz on Barroso+EU Parliament

Written by ACM
Saturday, 04 July 2009

 

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The first contact since June EU Election before imminent deals on EU Commision and EU Parliament's Heads, between the winner : President of EU Parliament's largest Group : EPP/Christiandemocrats, Joseph Daul, and the Socialist Group's President, Martin Schulz, was a phone conversation, on Saturday, at the sidelines of a Governing French UMP Party gathering in Strasbourg, "EuroFora" learned, in order to prepare crucial Plenary Sessions from mid-July in Strasbourg.

Schulz reportedly had underlined on Thursday, July 2 that "he had not contacted EPP leader Joseph Daul since the June European elections" (http://www.euractiv.com/en/future-eu/socialists-bid-grab-key-commission-portfolios/article-183727 ).


The  long "phone conversation" between Daul and "Schulz" on July 4 resulted into an "agreement", Daul told "EuroFora", without going into details.

Topically, the event took place at the eve of Monday's, July 6, scheduled EU Parliament's Presidential Committee's meeting with the Swedish EU Presidency at Stockhom.

- "We intend to vote for Barroso", as EU Commission President for 2009-2014, the EPP leader confirmed.


But Daul didn't yet seem ready to have a reply to the question whether EU Parliament's majority in Strasbourg might wish, or not, some further developpements or clarifications to Barroso's one and a half page of condensated text presented to EU Governrments in Brussels in June, after a joint call by German Chancellor Merkel and French President Sarkozy earlier in Paris to present "a Programme" for Europe's future in 2009-2014.

- "At first, there will be a vote on July in agreement with Shultz", he simply said to "EuroFora".

- Then, "Schulz agrees that the matter is possible for all only from September.

According to some Brussels' Press Reports  "Schulz ...is widely expected to trade his group's support for Barroso in exchange for the post which would see him chair the Assembly from 2012 to 2014", (See f.ex."EuroActiv", http://www.euractiv.com/en/future-eu/socialists-bid-grab-key-commission-portfolios/article-183727 ).

Wide speculations guess that a  "technical agreement" might support for EU Parliament's President an EPP/ChristianDemocrat candidate, (Polish Jerzy Buzek or Italian Mario Mauro), and a Socialist or Liberal candidate, sharing the 5 years-mandate.

The winner of June 2009 EU Elections, EPP's President Joseph Daul, confirmed to "EuroFora" that, at least for the first period, EU Parliament's Presidency should go to the largest Group of MEPs : European Popular Party/ChristianDemocrats.


However, even after succeeding to be, by far, the 1st Group in EU Parliament, EPP/ChristianDemocrats have to build political Coalitions in agreement with other political parties in order to form a Mejority.

On Friday, French President Nicolas Sarkozy and Swedish President Fredrik Reinfeldt reportedly acknowledged that EU Parliament apparently doesn't agree on a July vote for Barroso's candidacy to the EU Commission's Presidency for 5 more years (11/2009-2014), and that it would be wiser to wait until Autumn, probably starting from September.


Daul stressed to "EuroFora" that "the essential" "Priorities" for the EPP Group are new EU Institutions and the Crisis :  I.e. to succeed into "the ratification of Lisbon Treaty and to win the fight against the Economic Crisis". 

After nearby Karlshue's German Constitutional Court's judgement on Lisbon Treaty, the obvious 1rst Urgency is for the required Constitutional Reforms to be adopted in Berlin, overcoming some reserves reportedly held by certain "Laender" (Regional States of the German Federation).

On the contrary, Daul, replying later to a participant's question, dismissed .."Burqua" (the Islamic head and corps' total veil) as an EU matter : - "It might be discussed, but it's not a current European issue".

- "Surprisingly, I saw less Head Scarfs in Turkey itself, than in some Europe's townships !", Daul smiled. "So, we'd better talk with our Turkish friends who are present here : Some of them are for, others against", he observed.

Swedish EU Presidency to "EuroFora" : - "We have strong demands on Turkey".

Written by ACM
Friday, 03 July 2009
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    The incoming Swedish EU Presidency (July-December 2009) may still remain in favour of Turkey's controversial EU bid, despite June 2009 EU Elections' results, but it has "very strong demands on Turkey"'s obligation to respect EU Rules, said the Head of Swedish Foreign Ministry's Press Service, Cecilia Julin, to "EuroFora", reacting to critical Press reports.

    - "I know (that) the link is often made also to Sweden's position on Turkey"'s controversial EU bid. Indeed, "we (Swedish EU Presidency) are very much engaged in the future membership of Turkey, but not without fullfiling all the Criteria".

    - "It's very clear that we (Swedish EU Presidecny) have very Strong Demands on Turkey, in a sort of concept for Future membership of the Union, ...which will be a Long Process...", she stressed.

    This means, in particular, "the Copenhagen Criteria (on Human Rights, Democracy and Rule of Law), and also the adaptation to the Acquis of the European Union".

     - "If you listen to what Mr. Bildt (the Swedish Foreign Minister) says on Turkey at different occasions, it's very clear : We want Turkey to become part of the Union, in the Future. But we want it to fullfil all the Criteria : The Acquis of the European Union. That's very clear", she concluded.

    The Senior Official of the Swedish Foreign Ministry was reacting to critical Press Reports, from Brussels' Journalists invited by EU Commission's secretariat to Stockholm, who claimed that Bildt was abusing of a ..."Whip" (sic !) against Cyprus, by "threatening" the presence of UNO's Peace-keeping force at the "Green line" which separates the island's Government-controlled areas from the territories occupied by Ankara's army, if Nicosia didn't accept any political solution, regardless of Turkey's demands, before the end of 2009.

        Governing AKEL Party's new Secretary General, Andros Kyprianou, reacted by declaring that no-one can threat the People of Cyprus : -"We shall decide for our Future, and nobody else",  he reportedly said, asking to "keep calm". "In order to find a Solution soon, certain basic Principles must be respected", he stressed, calling those who feel an urgency to use their influence on Turkey. Other Political Parties were more critical.

    This was a reference to recently reported statements by Turkish Minister Bagis, Prime Minister Tayip Erdogan and Turkey's National Security Council (a Military-Political body), accused to push towards a partitionist "2 States" solution, contrary to UNO SC Resolutions for Cyprus' reunification.

    December 2009 is a crucial moment for EU's appraisal of Turkey's controversial EU bid, because EU Council has decided to review then Ankara's compliance with the European position on the recognition of Cyprus' Government, which was clearly set out by an EU reply of 21 September 2005 to Turkish Prime Minister Tayip Erdogan's claims, refusing to recognize even the existence of EU Member Cyprus, in controversial statements he made to London (former EU chair) on July 29, 2005.

    EU Parliament's latest Resolution on Turkey, adopted on March 2009 in Strasbourg, warned Ankara that "the non-fulfillment of Turkey's commitments... by December 2009, may further seriously affect the process of Negotiations" with the EU.

    In practice, the issue boils down to Ankara's "embargo" against Ships and Airplanes using Cyprus' seaports or airports at the strategic EU island, which traditionaly hosts one of the World's biggest Shipping flags. EU has already "freezed" 6 relevant Chapters in EU - Turkey Negotiations since December 2006, after Ankara refused to fullfil a commitment it had undertaken when EU had decided to open controversial "accession" negotiations with Turkey, back on December 2005.

    - "As far as EU - Turkey relations are concerned, it's clear that Turkey needs to fullfil its obligation of full, non-discriminatory implementation of the additional Protocol (to "EC-Turkey Association Agreement"),  This is an important issue....and should be addresseed as soon as possible as it clearly affects the pace of the accession negotiations.Issues covered by the Declaration of September 2005 will continue to be followed up, and progress is urgently awaited", warned earlier in Strasbourg the out-going Czech EU Presidency (former vice-Prime Minister Alexander Vodra).

    But the Head of the Swedish Foreign Ministry's Press Service, Cecilia Julin, dismissed "interpretations" by "some" that Foreign Minister Carl Bildt was reportedly "threatening" Cyprus with consequences on the UNFICYP, if it doesn't accept any solution until December 2009, while Turkey is reportedly delaying in an attempt to impose a partitionist "2 States" solution.

    On the contrary, Julin, stressed that "Sweden has strong demands on Turkey'"s respect of "Copenhagen Criteria and EU Acquis".

    Meanwhile, Sweden  is "concerned" about the risk of "Stalemate" in Cyprus' Talks, but is well aware that "the main responsibilities lie with the two leaders and the UNO", Europe playing only a role of "facilitator".

    After carefully verifying, the Head of Swedish Foreign Ministry's Press Service, stressed to "EuroFora" that Bildt's reference to UNFICYP "was not linked to a Threat", and dismissed those who "interpreted" it so.

    On the contrary, the Swedish EU Presidency acknowledged the fact that Peace Talks are mainly for the UN and the leaders of the Cypriot communities, EU's role being limited into that of a "facilitator".

    As for Turkey's reported attempts to impose a "2 States' solution", the Head of the Swedish Foreign Ministry's Press Service sharply replied by stressing that Turkey must respect the "EU Acquis" rules.

    In particular :

    - "Basically he (Bildt) underlined that it's the leaders of the two communities in Cyprus and the UN that have the main responsibilities for solving the problem", started to say the Swedish Senior Official to "EuroFora", referring to the above-mentioned "briefing".

    - "But the EU had a role in sort of pointing out the benefits and facilitating a little bit the outcome for the settlement of the whole Cyprus' issue", she added.

    - "And he did state the Fact, that the rest of the World (i.e. USA, etc) will, of course, look at the differend issues which are at the table, and the future of the UN Peace keeping force is part of what is at the table", she admitted.

    - "I understand that some have interpreted that as a Threat, by the Swedish Minister" "But", in reality, "it's a statement of a Fact, that, when we'll look at the differend issues, one of the issues on which we shall have to take a stand on, is the future of the UN Peace keeping force in Cyprus".

    Indeed, one of the questions usually raised for a Solution of Cyprus' issue is what International and/or European or other Guarantees, by a Peace-keeping force, might be needed afterwards, eventually for a transitory period.

    Questioned anew by "EuroFora" whether (according to critical Press Reports) this could be taken as a veiled warning that, if Cyprus didn't accept any Turkish demand for any solution whatever, it might be left alone to face Ankara's Military Invasion/Occupation, she denied :

    - "He (Bildt) didn't say it in that way"... "It was not linked to a threat, or anything like that", the Head of the Swedish Foreign Ministry's Press Service stressed.

    On the contrary, "he (Bildt) underlined that the main responsibility lies with the parties concerned on the island". "The EU can try to facilitate and show the benefits of reaching a settlement. But also, when the EU and the rest of the World (i.e. USA) will have to look at it, they will look at all the Facts on the table, and the presence of the UN Peace-keeping force is one".

    And "he (Bildt) didn't speak about that at all", she replied to "EuroFora" question on Turkey's reported attemps to impose, in one way of another, a partitionist "2 States solution".

    Asked whether Bildt's aim was to incite both parties to move forward efficiently, she agreed :

    - In fact, "the EU is really very concerned with the Stalemate in the situation. Yes !", the Head of Sweden's Foreign Ministry's Press Service anounced. That's why Bildt "was hoping for the two parties (i.e. for Turkey's also) to engage and break, a little-bit, the present stalemate, come to a solution of the issue" of Cyprus.

    But, replying  to a "EuroFora"s question on the risk, denounced by several politicians in case of strict Time Deadlines, for Turkey to provoke a stalemate and wait for the time to come to impose a partitionist "2 States' solution", she reacted by pointing at Turkey's obligation to respect "EU Acquis" :

    - "Turkey must fullfil the EU Acquis : That's clear !", the Swedish Senior Official stressed.

    More details are expected when Swedish Prime Minister Reinfeldt will debate his Programme with new MEPs at EU Parliament's plenary mid-July in Strasbourg, that he has visited already in 2008.

    Foreign Minister Carl Bildt became familiar with Strasbourg's CoE last year, when Sweden chaired the PanEuropean organization of Human Rights. As EU chairman-in-office, he will also chair the 27-member States strong EU Group inside the 47-member States strong CoE.

    Minister for EU affairs, Cecilia Malmstrom is well known at EU Parliament, where she has been an active MEP of the Liberal Group for many years, following also Press Freedom issues.

    Both have already made various statements at "EuroFora", on differend topical matters.

    ***

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Facing a 70% Abstention threat in 2009 Election, EU endorses EuroFora's idea for Citizens' debates on crucial EU decisions !

- Different views on "Europe's Future", should be debated among Citizens at June 2009 EU Elections, thanks to political Parties' "Manifestos", says EU Parliament's Report


                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                               
A main idea, initiated and promoted by EuroFora's founders since 1997: the vital need to develop European Citizens' democratic right to actively participate in multilingual debates on EU decisions, is formally endorsed by the EU from 2009 !

The move is a key attempt to overcome "catastrophic" Polls which warn that only ...30% of Citizens are ready to vote in the forthcoming June 2009 EU Election !  This was revealed by EU Commission's vice-president, in charge of Communication policy, Margot Wallstrom, during a "hot" meeting of EU Parliament's Committee on Culture and Education, during the December 2008 Strasbourg session.

Wallstrom faced criticism, but also suggestions from various MEPs, naturally worried by Abstention threats which herself found even "worse" than in 1999 or 2004...

A Report on "Active Dialogue with Citizens",examined at the same time, presented some useful practical tips, on "facilitating Interviews"; etc., but also a  potentialy important call to "incorporate the conclusions of ...debates...into (EU) policies, and take into consideration the expectations that Citizens have of the EU when deciding". An amendment even implies that Citizens' participation in debates on EU decisions is a democratic "Right".

More importantly, it finds that  a Debate "on the Future of Europe", (as French President Nicolas Sarkozy has asked since 2007), would be a good idea " for the 2009 European parliamentary Elections", because "clarifying the political differences between the EU political parties would help citizens to identify themselves with, and choose between various concepts", for which "all parties (should) present their Manifesto".

A "Joint political declaration on Communicating Europe in Partnership", co-signed by "the European Parliament, Council and ... Commission", confirms that they "attach the utmost importance to improving communication on EU issues", by "enabling European citizens to exercise their right to participate in the democratic life of the Union, in which decisions are taken as openly as possible and as closely as possible to the citizens, observing the principles of pluralism, participation, openness and transparency".

This should "enable Citizens to exercise their right to express their views and to participate actively in the public Debate on European Union issues", while also "promoting the respect of multilingualism". In this regard, EU confirms its "wish to develop synergies with national, regional and local authorities as well as with representatives of Civil Society".

    It's since 1997 that a group of EuroFora's founders have officially presented a pioneer Project (then called "EIW", for "Europe in the World"), which aimed to develop Strasbourg's "Polyphonic music", by providing "Interactive information", on "main issues ... during the Decision-making process of European Organizations which engage in Transparent and Public Democratic Debates"

    This should be done, inter alia, by "exploring the potential of New Communication Tools (mainly Internet)", as well as classic-form debates, the 1997 EIW pioneer project's anounced in its "Synopsis". It was formally "accepted for evaluation" by EU Commission in Brussels in order to be examined for a grant in the framework of the "Research/Technology/Development (RTD) Programme in the field of Information Technologies", then called "ESPRIT", as a "Best Practice Pilot Project".

eiw_project_eu_program_esprit_ds_1997.._400

        But the vital, urgent Political need for EU to search new, efficient ways to reach the People and interact with European Citizens, was really felt in Brussels and elsewhere only after the unprecedented in History 1999 and 2004 Majority Abstention in EU Elections, followed by 3 "NO" in Referenda in France, the Netherlands and Ireland, on 2005 and 2008...
    In this New Political Landscape, we prepared a new, actualised and more developed version of our initial idea, in a simplified and more efficient form, thanks also to a large Experience accumulated during many years of EU/CoE/UNO Press work and Multi-lingual debates, with the New project "EuroFora" :

    On 2006 we presented in Public its main lines during Questions/Replies that we raised at two Press Conferences by EU Commission President, Jose Baroso, and mainly EU Commission's vice-President, in charge of Communication policy, Margot Wallstrom, together with EU Parliament's vice-president, Alejo Vidal-Quadras, in Strasbourg, (Videos available), and we reminded it at various brief contacts with Commissioner Wallstrom in 2007 and 2008.

    Meanwhile, a new Text was also presented for "EuroFora" Project mainly to certain Political and other personalities, at European, National or Regional/Local level, mainly in 2007, but also in 2008..

    Now, after the unexpected 2008 Irish "NO", and before the 2009 EU Elections, which are due to be of exceptionally crucial importance for Europe's Future, the moment has obviously come to launch that project, progressively, but in real practice.

    Whoever really cares for Europe and its Citizens is welcome to join, in one way or another. Only anti-European, anti-democratic, obscure or ignorant groups might oppose or attempt to "steal" and deviate the main idea.

    But European Citizens, incited by enlightened political leaders, are those who will finally write the real History.

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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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