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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 !"

-------------------

* 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.

soultz_map_400

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Written by ACM
Sunday, 27 April 2008
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Swedish Foreign Minister, Carl Bildt, speaking  to "EuroFora", denied rumors on Turkey's attempts to avoid an EU check of its obligations on Cyprus on December 2009 by blackmailing Nicosia to either accept any deal with intransigeant Turkish claims contrary to EU values on the island's political issue, or face threats against the territorial integriy of the EU island, semi-occupied by Ankara's army.

On the contrary, the incoming EU President-in-office, speaking exclusively to "EuroFora", promissed that he will act for EU Council's decisions on December 2009 assessment of Turkey's commitments on Cyprus to be kept.


    Bildt was asked to react to Cyprus' President Christofias' denunciation, earlier this week, that some want to exert "pressure" on Cyprus in order for Turkey to escape from its obligations.

    Avoiding to mention any precise Deadline, Bildt, however, warned about "Consequences" in case of "failure" to reunite Cyprus, but without saying whose responsibility an eventual deadlock might be.  

 Asked by "EuroFora" if there is a risk for "Turkey's commitments to "be forgotten or downgraded", "despite crystal-clear EU Council decisions and EU Parliament's latest Resolution on the assessment to make at the end of this year on Turkey's obligations", according to rumours that, instead of pressing Turkey, on the contrary, there might be "pressure on Cyprus", even "blackmail", as Media reported and President Christofias denounced this week, Bildt denied :

- "No ! ", he clearly replied.


- On the contrary, invited by "EuroFora", to "reassure that the Swedish EU Presidency (7-12/2009) will keep a fair stance, based on principles",  Bildt promised that "we (Swedish EU Presidency) will be very clear on all of the decisions taken by the (EU) Council".

He added, however, that "we have very numerous decisions that have been taken" by EU Council, as if he warned, also, on something else.

- "'I am not aware of any sort of statements coming out today''", Bildt started to say, on our reference to Cyprus' President Christofias" denunciation of Turkish lobby's manoeuvers this week, replying earlier to 'another"EuroFora"'s question during a Press Conference at EU Parliament in Strasbourg.


 - '"I know the issues that you' are concerned with'", he added, remembering  the statements he gave us when Sweden was chairing the PanEuropean CoE on 2008.

- "But, obviously, .. I think that Cyprus' Peace negotiations are extremenly important".

- And "'I think that we are at a unique moment in History, in the sens that both (Cyprus') President Christofias and Mr. Talat (the Turkish Cypriot leader), are personally convinced of the need to overcome the division".

 - "It's 20 Years since the fall of Berlin Wal, but we still have a Capital in Europe (Nicosia) that's divided". ,

- 'I don't that we should loose any time in overcoming that"..

 - ''We should be aware of the fact that success will bring great benefits, but failure, will also have major consequences. There will not be Status Quo' " It's a question of seeking a solution, or entering another situation, which is somewhat difficult to see exactly how that could evolve", he warned.

- "That being said, this is a negotiation for Cyprus itself", Bildt admitted.

 - ''We (EU) can support, the (EU) Commission primarily, be technically helpful, and then, of course, there is a specific role for the UN, when it comes to the Cyprus' situation".  

- "At least so far. It might not be for ever'. Certainly not for ever, but for this period of time", Bildt added, skiping now any reference to concrete threats on UNO's Peace keeping force in face of more than 40.000 Ankara's soldiers, contrary to some Press claims, (See previous NewsReports).


     Replying to another "EuroFora"'s Question,  if anyone might attempt to "impose a Deadline for the conclusion" of Cyprus' Talks on December 2009, Bildt avoided to speak of any precise Time-frame, and indirectly evoked the fact that  35 Years of Turkish Invasion/Occupation obviously durated too long :

'- "If I was from Cyprus, I would say that the Deadline was Yesterday ! '",
Bildt concluded.

Cyprus' Government Spokesman, Stephanou, reportedly pointed out that "a settlement is possible on December if Turkey changes its stance", accepting a solution for the reunification of the island based on UNO resolutiona and EU principles.

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Earlier, EU Chair, Swedish Prime Minister Fredrik Reinfeld, highlighted an "historic opportunity" to "re-Unite" Cyprus according to EU's "basic Values"' (i.e. Human Rights) and 'Rules'", in a last-minute change of his draft speech to EU Parliament in Strasbourg.

    The initial Draft spoke only about "healing" the island.

    Significantly, Reinfeldt linked Cyprus' reunification with Turkey's obligations to respect EU's "Values" and "follow" EU's "common Rules" :

    - What is "called Membership Negotiations" should lead, "at- the end of the day", into "sharing a set of common Basic Values (i.e. Human Rights, Democracy, etc), and following common Rules", stressed Reinfeld from the outset.
    
    - "This is something that those on the Outside (of the EU), are now  contemplating", up "to Ankara", for "a solution" on "Cyprus", observed the EU Chairman, immediately afterwards..  

    - "Both sides of Cyprus have been granted a historic opportunity to together reach an agreement on a solution to re-Unite the island, that has been divided for far too long", said Reinfeldt, modifying his draft text.


-  "The Swedish Presidency will act ...in accordance with Commitments EU has made, on the basis of Criteria that apply", "as a Honest Broker", he promised.    

- "To those on the inside (of the EU), allowing the membership process to become an opportunity to solve protracted disputes, can be tempting", he added.


    "In such cases, we must find solutions that can benefit both sides, and open up a way forward. Otherwise, it would jeopardize the progress we have made towards EU integration", Reinfeldt said.

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