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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


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.

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)..


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.


[ (*) 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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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.


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.



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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