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Home arrow In Brief arrow Strasbourg Region, Alsace, doesn't want to become ... "ALCA(PONE)" area !?

Strasbourg Region, Alsace, doesn't want to become ... "ALCA(PONE)" area !?

Written by ACM
Saturday, 11 October 2014

 

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*Strasbourg/Bordeaux squr./Angelo Marcopolo/- Most Strasbourg Region, Alsace's People don't seem to like at all for their Historic land, with its Symbolic and specific role for EU Integration through the Historic Franco-German Reconciliation, to be suddenly submerged inside a much larger but Artificial conglomerate, made by adding together 3 Different Regions, including Lorraine and even Champagne-Ardennes, which might, perhaps, have an interesting point into bringing together 4 Borders to other European Countries, (from Switzerland and Germany up to Luxembourg and Belgium, throughout France's North-Eastern frontiers), as the Socialist Chair of Strasbourg's Urban Community, Herrmann, recently argued at a meeting with the local Press Club, but, nevertheless, risks to look quite .. fishy with its Strange scheduled Name of ... "ALCA", which would inevitably remind Chicago border-city's World-famous Chief Gangster "ALCAPONE"...

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This became clear during a Popular Mass Demonstrations of critics, mainly from the Center and Right side of the Political Spectrum, which was added Today to another, previous Protest also from Rightists and/or Regionalists, representing all in all a large Majority in Alsace, considering also of the fact that even some Socialists, and particularly "Greens", are, them too, critical of the current Government's Draft Bill on ReGrouping France's Regions, that the Senate might oblige the National Assembly to soon review at a second, and crucial reading soon.

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- "PACA Region's Chairman Vauzelle, (from the Southern Marseilles area), used to tell me that Nobody  knows "PACA", while, on the contrary, Picardy, Ardeche and Cote d' Azur, are quite Well known", denounced from the outset Alsace Region's President, Philippe Richert, who has a unique Experience as also former President of Lower Rhine's Department and former Minister for all France's Territorial organisations.

 

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- Similarly, nobody would know what "ALCA" (the controversial planned "Alsace-Lorraine-Champagne/Ardennes" Super Region) might be, while our Region, Alsace, is already well known, both throughout Europe and Internationaly, he pointed out, calling rather to  "develop our own piece of France, and piece of Europe : Alsace", as he stressed, largely applauded by an enthousiastic Mass Demonstration of some Tens of Thousands of People gathered at Strasbourg's Bordeaux square, right in front of Regional TV's HQ "France 3 - Alsace", and close to the European quarter where CoE and ECHR, as well as EU Parliament's buildings are located.  But the desirable Administrative Simplifications and Economies could be better made otherwise : i.e. by merging together the 2 currently existing Departments of Lower and Superior Rhine, inside a revigorated Alsace Regional Council, Richert proposed instead, backed by an impressive gathering of Local and Regional elected politicians, from Mulhouse and Colmar up to Strasbourg itself and many Villages.

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Indeed, Alsace is one of the  few Regions to have had a special Pavillon of its own at the International area of Shanghai's 2010 World Expo, has the biggest ratio of Foreign Investments in France after Paris' Region, holds a notoriety as Host of the PanEuropean CoE, with its Court of Human Rights, EU Parliament's full Plenary Sessions and Ombudsperson, EUROCORPS' Army HQ, is at the forefront of the Franco-German Integration at the core of EU's €uroZone, including with the "OberRhein (Superior Rhine)" Tri-National project, together with Switzerland, has the only French University out of Paris which is rated among the 100 Best in the World by the Shanghai Academic Ranking of Universities, with 3 Nobel Prize winners active, exports its "Elsass" Café trademark by Henri even up to Moscow or Japan, etc.,, as well as its famous traditional White Alsacian Wines and Beer "Kronenbourg 1664" (recently bought by Danish Giant "Carlsberg"),  has recently got its own, private TV station : "Alsace-20", and is quite well known in Brussels and throughout the World as one of the most performant and pittoresque French Regions, neighbooring wonderful German "Black Forest" and Swiss Bale areas, etc., thanks also to an active "Alsace International" organisation.

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    - Idenity issues were highlighted even ...Musically by American Singer Liza Doby's "Who are we ?" latest Album. After softly promissing to "love, unconditionaly" her new homeland : Alsace region in North-Eastern France, Doby almost prayed for the region's future, with her "Sankt Amarin" song, before concluding, timely, with a critical "I don't need a Doctor" at all, with the satirical "Dr. FeelGood" song, obviously percieved now in Strasbourg as a denunciation of some "Dr. Frankestein juniors", too hastily rushing to excessively heavy operations over Regions' remake, dangerously cutting and/or grafting these or those Regions together, even without taking any necessary precaution beforehand...

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     - "In fact, Alsace might, perhaps, fit well with Lorraine's Moselle department, but not so much with its Meuse and/or Vosges parts, and certainly not with Champagne-Ardennes' region, as far as Historic and Cultural identities and particularities are concerned", told "EuroFora" Richert's Brother, Pierre, with an astonishing, almost identic twin-like resemblance to the President of Alsace Region, while proudly holding its traditional flag...

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    Indeed, specific realities as such of Franco-German BiLingualism inside Elementary Education, the "Concordate" which gives a special status to Historically recognized Religions (as Christian, etc), the so-called "Local Law", which has, in particular, a special regime for Social Security, for the creation of Associations, etc., together with Geography, crafted by the Natural landscape of Rhine valley, from its Swiss sources all way through the Mountains of "Vosges" and "Black Forest" in the French and German side of the River, respectively, as well as the Economy and the abundance of pittoresque small-medium Villages accross mainly Rural areas, (etc), form integral parts of Alsace Region's own characteristics.

 
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     + Even on a European level, "Alsace would better work on Franco-German relations, while Lorraine should focus on Luxembourg, Belgium and Sarre" (a semi-French speaking area at nearby Germany). "That's better both for France and Europe", advised wisely the experienced long-time former President of EU Parliament's biggest Group of MEPs, that of ChristianDemocrats/EPP, and currently New Head of the EPP Party, headquartered in Brussels, Joseph Daul, speaking to "EuroFora", while personaly participating (disguissed as a grassroots Farmer) in a very Popular free distribution of fresh, home-grown Agricultural products of the area, which made many People happy...

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    From Young representative, freshly elected Municipal and Regional politician Elsa Schalck, up to ... "Miss France 2012", superbe Red-haired Alsacian Delphine Wespeiser's Mother and Father, representing to Strasbourg's Demonstration their Daughter, obliged to travel to Shri Lanka, Canada, etc, who posed smiling proudly for an "EuroFora" Photo, the overall atmosphere of this exceptional Popular Gathering united both Aged and Young People, including several young couples with their Children, Citizens and Municipal, District and/or Regional elected representatives, Consular Chambers, etc., in a rare mix.

 

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    In conclusion, Alsace Region's President Philippe Richert, invited all participants to sing, all together, France's National hymne, known as "la Marseilleuse", which has notoriously been created historically in Strasbourg, inspired from the "Rhine army" saga in the Past, before it was brought, through the Rhone valley, until Marseilles city, from where it won its National prestige thanks to an important group of revolted People who succesfully fought their way up to Paris during the Historic 1789 National Revolution which established the nowadays Republic since then. Consistently, the Demonstration for Alsace region ended with a Flight of "Blue, White, Red" Baloons, French flag's colors... 

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(../..)

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ECHR's President to "EuroFora" on Journalists Gongadze and Adali murders : Principles must apply to all States, without discrimination.


+ ECHR's Statistics on Freedom of Expression (See below).


 European Court of Human Rights' President, Jean-Paul Costa, questioned by "EuroFora" on Journalists' murders, as in Gongadze and Adali's cases etc., strongly stressed all CoE Member States' obligation to make efficient Investigations to find and punish those responsible, and underlined that ECHR's case-law's principles must apply to all without any discrimination.

His call was clearly supported by various Top MEPs who denounced a risk of "Double Standards" if some Journalists' murders are investigated, while others don't.

To avoid such risks, CoE's Parliamentary Assembly adopted a Resolution, on the occasion of Ukranian Journalist Gongadze's murder, "stressing", as a matter of general Principle, "the importance it attaches to the safety of Journalists and political activists, especially those linked to opposition groups, in ALL member states of the CoE". All "crimes against journalists and political activists must be investigated ... as a matter of priority, without political interference".

Costa was replying to "EuroFora"s question on the fact that, after CoE's Committee of Ministers, also CoE's Assembly had just adopted a Resolution on Gongadze murder case, based on an ECHR's judgement of 2005, asking a full Investigation from Ukraine, who has found and condemned  in 10 years of jail 2 executants, but not yet the instigators.

While nothing similar was yet done for dissident Turkish Cypriot Kutlu Adali's murder, with 5 bullets shot at his head out of his Family's home in the territories of Cyprus occupied by Ankara's army, despite another ECHR's judgement of the same year 2005, and despite Turkey's claim that nobody was found among those responsible for the murder, and that there was nothing more to do..

In order to be credible and efficient, CoE's mechanisms shouldn't find a way to at least ask for full investigations of all Journalists' murders anywhere they might be committed, without exceptions ?

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- "On the larger question that you raised, I'd like to say, since we are in a period of stock-taking on ECHR's 50 Years, that the Court's case-law developed certain concepts ....such as the Positive obligations of States, part of which are also the procedural obligations", started to reply ECHR's President.

 - "Whenever Journalists, Lawyers, Defenders of Human Rights, or even simple Citizens are murdered, the States are held responsible, not only if its their own security forces' agents who committed these murders, but also if they didn't make sufficiently substantial and efficient Investigations", he stressed.

- "I want to strongly underline that we (ECHR) have found in many cases numerous violations of Articles 2 and 3 against States, ....(about) murders or torture, ...because they didn't make enough Investigations in order to try to find and punish those responsible".

- "We (ECHR) do that vis-a-vis all 47 (CoE) Member States, without any discrimination".

"Naturally, the circumstances in each particular case may be differend, and we can't ommit to apply the rules of proof, or the rules of criminal procedure".

"But we try, by all means, to apply these principles of our case-law, to all States", he concluded.

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      Costa's call was strongly supported by several Top CoE MEPs, from various Political areas


- "To investigate the murder of one Journalist, and not of another, looks like Double Standards", denounced the President of EuroLeft Group in CoE's Assembly, Dutch MEP Tiny Cox.  

- "What is the reason ? Politics or specificity of a case ? Of course, if Cyprus and Turkey are involved, it's always a Political case"..

- "Murders of Journalists should always be fully investigated, because killing Journalists is not only killing persons, but also killing Free Press".  "We (CoE's Assembly) should do our outmost to help People who are working on Free Press and they are under threat or murdered".

Because for Free Politics, Free Press is a pre-requisitive : Parliamentarians  cannot  function without a Free Press. Not investigating, is not protecting ourselves".

So we should investigate all Journalists' murders : We are talking about Gongadze, about the Cypriot man (Adali), about the Journalist murdered in Moscow one week ago, etc", Cox concluded

- "CoE can' look at these cases differently. CoE can't wear Blinckers  !".
- "If the one is investigated, so has to be also the other. Why there wasn't full investigation ? Why's that ?", wondered British  Socialist MEP, Alan Meale.

- "A good idea" would be to "make a Motion for Resolution", and "join all Journalists' murders. Adali and Gongadze etc", said to "EuroFora" EU Parliament Political affairs Committee's President, Goran Lindbland, ChristianDemocrat MEP from Sweden.


(See also earlier News at "EuroFora" on similar issues).
-------------------------------

ECHR's Statistics on Freedom of Expression :


    Almost Half of condemnations by ECHR for violations of Freedom of Expression in 2008, concern Turkey : 20 out of a total of 48 for all CoE's Member States.

    Russia, Poland, France and Moldova were condemned only 3 times. Romania, Greece, Portugal, 2 times, and the other CoE Member States only 1 time, or none.
--------------------
    During the last Decade : 1998 - 2008, Turkey was condemned for violating Freedom of Expression in ..169 cases, while Austria only in 24.

    France and Moldova in 14 and 13, respectively, closely followed by Russia and Poland with 11 and 10, respectively. The rest of CoE Member States had less than ten condemnations.    
    

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