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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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 sarko_merkel_mieux

The official presentation of a "Program" respecting People's choices voted in the June 7, 2009 EU Elections, to be debated in EU Council and EU Parliament during its 1st Session on July in Strasbourg, is the No 1 Priority, according to Democratic principles, for the Franco-German axis, said the main winners at the ballot box, French President Nicolas Sarkozy and German Chancellor Angie Merkel.

They stressed  that the New EU Commission's President must have a "Program" in favor of an EU which "protects" its Citizens, regulates financial markets and aims at a "Political" Europe" : a wording they have used as incompatible with Turkey's controversial EU bid.

They also declared ready for a "political" endorsment of "Mr. Barroso's candidacy" in June's EU Council, considering that an official decision would have to be made after EU Parliament's debates and votes, possibly from next month (July), with the legally necessary final acceptance shortly after Lisbon Treaty's entry into force, hoped for September or October.


- "A Program, and Mr. Barroso" : This resumes, in substance, the anouncements made by Sarkozy and Merkel, on the question of current EU Commission's President, Barroso's declared wish to succeed to himself for a second mandate, to be extended during the following 5 years.

 In their 1st meeting after EU Elections, they observed that "the Franco-German axis counted in European Elections' campaign... But, we both keep a realistic view : We saw the number of those who abstained, and we must absolutely give them an answer. We also see the disilusionment of an important number of Europeans vis a vis Europe, and we are aware of the responsibilities we have".

sarko

 - The "Duty" of the new EU Commission's President, after June 7, 2009 EU Elections' result, "is to act for a Europe which protects the Europeans, to commit himself into working for a better Regulation of Financial transactions, ... and to have a Political will for Europe", underlined Sarkozy.

Therefore, "we have asked M. Barroso... to clarify, to officialy present the intentions he has", he anounced.

- "We want to speak also about the Programme", explained Merkel.

- "It's important that for the next EU Parliament's mandate (2009-2014) we take the right Decisions for Europe.  Obviously on Persons, but mainly Decisions on Issues", she stressed.

- "It's not simply a question of a Person, it's also a question of a Programme". We are "really asking Mr. Barroso to commit himself on a Program, and on Principles, on Values", Sarkozy added.

EU President-in-office, Czech Prime Minister Jan Fischer, accepted the Franco-German stance :

- "Barroso must present his Programme. The Czech Presidency agrees with that", Fischer reportedly said later, after meeting Sarkozy.

But Press reports from Brussels claimed that Barroso had preferred to be officially appointed by EU Council since June, (i.e. next week), "because this was implied by the current Treaty of Nice, according to him", and considered any delay until the possible ratification of the new, Lisbon Treaty on September/October, as "undemocratic".

- "At any case, independently of what Germany and France ask, it's also EU Parliament's wish". "We shall propose Mr Barroso's candidacy... But even in the framework of Nice Treaty, EU Parliament has to be associated in this Decision", the French President observed.

If this is correctly done, then "we support Mr. Barroso's candidature", and "if the (EU) Parliament agrees, we might ratify this decision since July", (i.e. next month), they both said.

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- "France and Germany support Baroso's candidacy, But we want to speak also on the Program. We believe that this Program should be established in close cooperation with EU Parliament, and that's why we have followed an appropriate way", said Merkel.  - If EU Parliament wants, this election can take place on July,  but this must be done in full agreement.

- "We shall support Mr. Barroso's candidacy, without doubt", said Sarkozy. "But we have asked from Mr. Barroso, as I told him yesterday, to put into detail.. his intentions, at the eve of his 2nd mandate, if the situation avails itself.


    France and Germany "don't want to take an Official Legal Decision by writting" during "the next (EU) Council" (on June 18-19), declared Sarkozy.  Because they prefer, at this stage, only "a Political decision" on June, "so that we (EU Council) can work together with EU Parliament", which starts to meet only Next Month, since July in Srasbourg, "leaving a Legal decision by writting for later".

    - "If the Conditions are fuillfiled in EU Parliament, we (EU Council) are ready to give the agreement and make it offficial", said Merkel

    - "But, now we are working in the base of Nice Treaty. If tommorow we want to work in the spirit of Lisbon Treaty, we have to find a proper way", she added.

    - "Of course it's Legally complicated, because we are going to make a Political proposal to the forthcoming Council, for an EU Commission's President, on the basis of Nice Treaty : So, we (EU Council) will not appoint the Commissioners. Only the President.  If EU Parliament agrees, it could endorse this position on July", explained Sarkozy.

    But, on Autumn, "if Ireland ratifies Lisbon Treaty, there will be, at any case, a 2nd Decision, to appoint the Commission's President, this time on the basis of Lisbon treaty, and then, we, the EU Member States, would have to appoint (also) the EU Commissioners", he added.

    As for the precise Timing :  - "Everything is suspended until the Irish vote... Now, we must all make everything possible to help Ireland to say "Yes"" to Lisbon Treaty... The Irish Referendum, ..will take place either on September or on October. It's a Question which depends on the Irish. And,  then, we shall have the Choice of the Candidates for the permanent Institutions of Europe".

    However, "if Ireland says No, we, French and Germans, have to assume our responsibilities, and we'll do so", he concluded.

    But British and Swedish governments were reportedly eager to have a final EU Council decision on Barroso since this month, on June's European Council. While the other EU Member Countries are divided, several of them preferring to wait until EU Parliament pronounces itself, on July, and/or until Lisbon Treaty might be ratified by Ireland at the beginning of the Autumn. Barroso's current mandate ends on November.

    There are also various, contradictory and/or unpredictable reactions inside EU Parliament vis a vis Barroso's wish to continue a 2nd mandate, because many MEPs are openly or secretly opposed, reluctant, or hesitating.

    In the biggest EU Countries, as France and Germany, EU Citizens voted on June 2009 EU Elections for a renovated, non-technocratic but Political Europe which cares for its Citizens, with an Identity, Values and Borders, declared incompatible with Turkey's controversial EU bid, by mainstream, pro-European Governing Parties. Similar choices were also supported in several other small or medium EU Countries.

    On the contrary, whenever, in other Countries, Governing and other mainstream Parties didn't make these choices or eluded them, EU Citizens massively voted for euro-Sceptics whenever they were the only ones to to promise anti-bureacratic change and oppose Turkey's demand to enter into the EU, (f.ex. in the UK, Netherlands, etc).

    It's seems to be an Open Question whether Sarkozy and Merkel's conditions will be really accepted by Barroso, who was appointed on 2004 in a different political context, (with Socialist Prime Ministers in Germany, France, etc), had rejected in the Past the idea of EU becoming "equal to the USA" as "ridiculous", and pushed for Turkey's contoversial EU bid, trying to "soften" or contain the changes desired by the People who voted for Merkel and Sarkozy with another policy vis a vis Turkey on 2005 in Germany and on 2007 in France, as they did all over Europe on 2009.

    In addition to many EPP Governments, it's 3 remaining Socialist Prime Ministers : Gordon Brown in the UK, Zapatero in Spain, and Socrates in Prortugal, who support Barroso, as well as Liberal Swedish Prime Minister Reinfeldt. But their Parties lost the June 2009 EU Elections.

    Questioned whether there was still "Time" for "other" possible "Candidates", Sarkozy and Merkel did not deny, nor made any comment on that, but simply said that "it's not for us to make publicity for any candidates. We anounced our choice ("A Program, and Mr. Barroso"). But we respect any other candidate".

    Among various other names cited are former Belgian Prime Minister Verhofstadt, former UNO's Human Rights Commissioner Mary Robinson of Ireland, Italian former EU Commission's vice-President Monti, etc. Meanwhile, Luxembourg's PM Juncker, (who had been unanimously accepted by EU Council for EU Commission's Presidency on 2004, but refused), announced his intention to resign from "EuroGroup"'s Chair. Thus, he might be available for another Top EU job.

    As "EuroFora"'s "opinion" said (See publication dated 9/6/09) : - "If the current candidates (i.e. Barroso, etc) to the Top EU jobs promise and guarantee to respect People's democratic choices, then, it's OK".

"Otherwise, Europe must find new candidates, really motivated and able to implement these democratic choices of the People."

    Because, "in Democracy, the forthcoming choices for EU's Top Jobs,...should be made according to EU Citizens' Votes in June 7, 2009 European Elections, and main EU Governments' strategic policies".
        

***

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