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Home arrow newsitems arrow EU Commission President Baroso to EuroFora: EU Citizens' Initiative can be useful for "New Alliance"

EU Commission President Baroso to EuroFora: EU Citizens' Initiative can be useful for "New Alliance"

Written by ACM
Saturday, 17 April 2010

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EU Citizens' Initiative can become useful for a "New Alliance" able to stimulate all pro-Europeans' urgently needed active contribution to boost Europe's role in a modern World facing the challenge of Globalization and other emerging geopolitical areas, if it succeeds to really bring together People from various even nationaly conflicting Socio-Political origins, but motivated by a common aspiration towards European Union's General Interest and values, replied in substance the President of EU Commission Manuel Jose Barroso to one of "EuroFora"'s questions (*).


Speaking to  Journalists at a Press-point in Strasbourg, Barroso stressed that he had "just launched here an urgent call for political ambition to create a New Alliance of all pro-Europeans", during a bi-annual gathering dedicated to Citizens' participation in EU's activities, where he pointed to the need to start implementing and giving political substance in real life to EU Lisbon Treaty's innovations, such as stronger EU Parliament's rights, a unique EU Council President, an EU Foreign Minister with EU Diplomats for External actions, more areas for joint action at EU level, etc. 

But "EuroFora" asked Baroso if he believed that the new Right given to EU Citizens by EU Lisbon Treaty (which entered into force since December 2009) to undertake Popular Iniatives able to trigger new Legislative Bills for vote in EU Parliament, could attract Citizens' active participation to the development of EU's action for General Interests of importance to the European Society, (pointing at an EU Lisbon Treaty main innovation which, curiously, had not been mentioned yet in his earlier speech).


- "Yes, of course", replied positively EU Commission's President to "EuroFora"'s question on the potential of EU Citizens' Initiative.


 - "We (EU Commission) have already put that in" the pipeline of EU decision-making "We have already made a Proposal" on how to organize it in real practice, Barroso added, referring to a recent Draft publised just a few days ago. (See infra).


 - "EU is, still today, the biggest Financial power in the World  : EU's GDP, taken all together, is bigger than that of USA's. EU is, by far, the 1st Trade power, ...and the 1st Aid Donor in the World". And "our (EU's) Economic and Social Model is more advanced than in those Countries where there is no Workers' Rights, no respect of the Environment, no real Democracy, etc. I think that we (EU) are (in fact) stronger than those Countries where there is no respect of these Values", he answered to another Journalist who had asked Barroso "why Europe isn't as strong (Politically) as USA, or China, etc.". "But it's true that we (EU) don't manage always to translate this into more Political influence", he admitted.

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It's in these directions, obviously, that EU Citizens' Initiative, by setting in motion Popular Movements of at least 1 Million People from various EU Member Countries,  could foster an EU-wide Public Opinion-making area, (by stimulaing EU-wide topical Political Debates on concrete Policy-making decisions), which currently lacks.


But the first, spontaneous reactions by many EU Citizens to some Draft Proposals recently made by controversial new EU Commissioner Sefcovic are strongly critical and express deep disapointment against risks for excessive restrictions and a too long series of procedural complications added at the last minute, which could raise bureaucratic obstacles to EU Lisbon Treaty's only innovation for regular and active direct Popular involvement of Europeans, together with their elected MEPs, instead of merely contacting them only .. once in 5 Years with a notoriously and dangerously declining participation, (in fact ..Majority Abstention in EU Elections since the 1999-2004+ shock, which notoriously created a "Democratic Gap" that has to be somehow bridged)..

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Barroso stressed earlier that "Divisions between pro-Europeans were exploited by Euro-Sceptics or EuroPhobes who don't want for EU to advance further", trying to bring together those who are for more Common Market, and those who aspire for Political Integration.


 EU Commission's Chair also criticized "some who, paradoxically, make, on the contray, an inter-Governemental reading of the Changements" brought in by EU Lisbon Treaty (since December 2009),  instead of "more Community approach".  "Some men or women Politicians at National level want to play their own National games and don't want to play EU's game", as he said. "But, we'd be much stronger as EU, if ..Member States acknowledged, once for all,   that they should work together with EU Institutions", so that "EU speaks in One Voice". "Because our Member States, even the bigger-ones, have not enough Influence to speak as Equals with the USA, or China, etc. Even the bigger (EU Member) States must accept to be represented, all together", Barroso added.


But, (in addition to the obvious fact that EU Governments direct Electoral mandates can bring in some Fresh Oxygen in Europe, when it lacks  to the People, at least as long as we don't have yet a Direct Election of any EU Head except in EU Parliament and in EU Council), he would certainly gain to realize that Euro-Sceptics exploited also many, more or less legitimate or at least understandable reactions against what was felt as counter-productive and/or anti-democratic , technocratic "Bureaucracy" by numerous EU Citizens who, in fact, were, are or can be among Europe's Real Supporters, if it succeeds to find efficient, simplified, intelligent and substantial ways to become more EU Citizen-friendly.


Particularly by actively involving EU Citizens in main EU Decision-making public Debates,  as "EuroFora"s co-founders have formally proposed as early as since 1997 and 2006-2007, i.e. already before, and after the infamous Majority Abstentions in the 1999 - 2004+ EU Parliament Elections, and in the 2005 - 2007 "No" to 3 EuroReferenda.


Today (2010), it's evident that careful, and serious consideration, with various proposals and ideas, is urgently needed before final decisions are taken, with large, pluralist and transparent enough Public Dialogue, focusing on real EU Citizens active involvement and real EU-wide political debates on topical decisions of importance to People's lives and concerns, without one of the most important EU Lisbon Treaty's innovations  (EU Citizens' initiative) being muzzled or hijacked by anyone :


- Neither  sterile "EuroScepticism", nor counter-productive and unpopular Bureaucracy ! Whatever hypocritical "mask" anyone might abuse to hide its real aims, against  today's Historic chance to resolutely develop Europe's real potential by stimulating a strong Popular support among EU Citizens.


Meanwhile, Barroso anounced today that EU "Commission will present Next Week (during EU Parliament's May Full Plenary session in Strasbourg) a Program of concrete activities which will complete the Common Area of Justice, Freedom and Security", as a way to respond to "a demand for means to use in practice more efficiently Citizens' rights", so that EU's "Community of Law" can better "serve the Europe of Citizens", as he promised.

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[ (*) NDLR : See also another "EuroFora" Publication" on more extensive Replies given by the EU Commission's President, Jose Barroso, to "EuroFora"'s Questions on differend topical issues :  High-Tech Solar Power projects "Desertec" and "TransGreen") ]


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Sarkozy and Merkel want deals with Obama on European Security at Strasbourg's NATO 2009 Summit

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In parallel but concording moves, EU Chair, French President Nicolas Sarkozy and German Chancellor Angie Merkel both invited this week US-President elect, Barack Obama, to discuss important deals breaking new ground on European Security during the NATO's 60 Years Anniversary Summit of Heads of State in Strasbourg, where Obama is expected to make his 1st visit to Europe as a President on April 2009.

Merkel focused mainly on smoother NATO - EU Defence and Security policy cooperation, while Sarkozy spoke about PanEuropean Security, associating both Russia and the USA, proposing to freeze missile and shields' deployement until an agreement is reached.

But both tackled some hard nuts to crack : Turkey's VETO against the participation of EU Member Cyprus to EU-NATO cooperation, and Russia's anouncement on deployment of missiles up to Kaliningrad, at EU's belly, in reply to USA's wish to set up missile shields in EU States such as Poland or Czech Republic, etc.


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- "Certainly...one of the points that we'll dicuss with the New US President", Barak OBAMA, "who will come f'or the 1st time in Europe as president, at the NATO Summit", co-hosted by France and Germany in Strasbourg, ""concerns, above all, the European Security and Defence Policy" (ESDP), and "the relations between NATO and its partners", with whom it should "work together", anounced earlier this week Merkel.

We must find "a reasonable and adequate concept to articulate NATO and European Security and Defense policy", because of a "series of practical issues, sometimes difficult to understand", but that "we must discuss".

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- "An example" of that is "the issue of Cyprus and Turkey", said Merkel, where Ankara raises problems "from Kosovo up to Afghanistan", as also CoE's chair, Swedish Foreign Minister Carl Bildt recently observed in Strasbourg replying to EuroFora's questions.

- "We must do something to smoothen this problem for good, and not only on a case-by-case basis, laboriously negotiated each time". Here, we must find "a reasonable and adequate concept to articulate NATO and European Security and Defense policy", Merkel stressed.

- "With good will from all sides, it could and should be posible. Germany wants also to help on that". Otherwise, "the coming generations will not understand why it took Decades to do so". But, if we "don't even achieve that for Decades, this would be an Historic Failure !", the German Chancellor warned

- "I think that our American partners are increasingly realizing that", Merkel said, pleading for "a stronger European Security and Defence policy, with which, I believe, the Atlantic Security Partnership can also strengthen and solidify".

Meanwhile, USA is also due to take in 2009 a special status inside EU-led EUROCORPS, the European Army HeadQuarters, based in Strasbourg.

Merkel said that after meeting in Berlin with NATO's Secretary General, Jaap de Hoop Scheffer, earlier this week, precisely in order to "prepare NATO's Summit", scheduled for the beginning of April 2009 in Strasbourg.

Scheffe, knows well Strasbourg, since he chaired the CoE, as Holland's Foreign Minister, when he brokered a controversial deal precisely on Turkey and Cyprus about the implementation of ECHR judgements on Greek Cypriot displaced persons' houses and properties in 2003. He returned later at least once, for a WEO meeting at the CoE, where he precisely had highlighted such EU - NATO issues.

EU Commission's 2008 Report on Turkey has just observed that, on European Defense - Security policy, "Turkey continues to object to EU-NATO Cooperation which would involve all EU Member States". "This created Problems for EU-NATO co-operation in the context of Civilian ESDP missions, in particular in Kosovo and Afghanistan".
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 French EU Chair, President Sarkozy and Merkel are visiting Washington on Friday and Saturday for a Global G-20 Summit with current US President George Bush, on the sidelines of which are expected preparatory contacts with US President-elect Obama's entourage, even if himself might stay in Chicago until he takes over on January 21.

Before going to Washington, Sarkozy concluded today an UE - Russia Summit with Dmitry Medvedev, where they "spoke in length on PanEuropean Security" :

- As EU President, I proposed that we meet on mid-2009 in a framework such as OSCE's in order to set the foundations of a Future Pan-European Security, which would associate Russia and USA, and that, meanwhile, nobody speaks about deploying missiles or shields, which complicate the situation".

- NATO's Summit in Strasbourg-Kehl, on April 2009 is a perfect occasion to discuss with our American friends and to prepare a possible OSCE Summit for these issues f.ex. for June or July", Sarkozy concluded.

- We must all abstain from Unilateral measures" dangerous for Europe's security. "Russia only reacted to decisions taken by some other countries. But if they are ready to cooperate, we are ready to discuss. EU could be an intermediary", added Russian President Dmitry Medvedev, before going himself too at the Washington G-20 Economic Summit.

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