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Home arrow newsitems arrow Industry/Research Committee Chair f.EUParliament President Buzek to EF: Digital EU Cloud on Science+

Industry/Research Committee Chair f.EUParliament President Buzek to EF: Digital EU Cloud on Science+

Written by ACM
Wednesday, 15 February 2017
 f._president_of_eu_parliament_j._buzek_to_eufofora_400_03
 
  *Strasbourg/EU Parliament/Angelo Marcopolo/- In Exclusive Statements to "Eurofora", the Chairman of EU Parliament's Industry, Research and Energy Committee (ITRE), and former President of EU Parliament, professor Jerzy Buzek, a ChristianDemocrat/EPP MEP from Poland, explained the main reasons for which the planned creation of a European "Cloud" of Computer Data would Benefit EU Citizens, the Economy and Science, both at Home and Abroad, being a Modern Technology Opportunity to seize, by overcoming any eventual challenges.
 

Particularly nowadays, when Public Debates on "Europe's Future" are growing, Both inside EU Pariiament, (with 3 Political Reports during this Plenary Session) and outside, also in view of the forthcoming, Exceptional EU Heads of State/Government Summit at Rome, for the 60th Anniversary of the EU Treaties, due to Highlight some New Horizons, at Rome (Italy), on March 2017.


However, Dreaming on 2016-2017 about the imminent Creation of European Digital "Clouds" didn't start on the Sky, but down on Earth, at Strasbourg's Political, EU Experts and Civil Society Meetings' level, already from 2012-2013, as "Eurofora"s personal Experience attests :


- An Early Proposal around a Digital EU "Cloud", initialy focusing on Legal Rules' framework only, has been made since 2013, during an Annual Cyber-Security Legal, Economic, ICT Experts and Politicians' Conference of Franco-German-Swiss "Superior Rhine" Euro-Region in Strasbourg, to which "Eurofora" had been Invited and actively participated : In particular, this was a main idea of a Key Expert, Senior Official of the French National Security Agency for Information Systems (ANSSI), Philippe Wolf, advanced in an Interview with "Eurofora" : See, f.ex., also : http://www.eurofora.net/newsflashes/news/cyberattaksandeurules.html ).


But it was, Initialy, already at the Beginning of 2012, that an Experienced MEP, former Chairman of EU Parliament's "STOA" Committee on Scientific/Technological Options' Assessment, Paul Rübig from Austria, (ChristianDemocrat/EPP), in cooperation with his successor, Portuguese former Minister Antionio de Campors (SocialDemocrat), Replied to "Eurofora" Questions in a Press Conference in Strasbourg, about foreseable Future Projects "in the Coming Years", by pointing, at the 1st Place, to "Cloud Computing", (See : http://www.eurofora.net/newsflashes/news/euscienceoptionsandcitizens.html ).


Moreover, an interesting PanEuropean/International Conference on "Clouds" data in relation with the Global Fight against Cyber-Crime was organized by CoE's "Budapest" Convention Experts' body on 2015 in Strasbourg, where CoE's Anti-CyberCrime Director, Alexander Seger, spoke to "Eurofora" about the Need for relevant Capacity-Building and potential Victims' Protection, (See : http://www.eurofora.net/newsflashes/news/coecybercrimedirectoroncapacitybuilding.html ).


=> That Rübig's and Wolf's moves proved to be Premonitory :

 

eu_cloud_computing_network_400


- On February 2017, such Pioneer but sketchy Ideas, have become now a seriously documented and Fully-Fledged Official EU Parliament's Report, drafted by ITRE's experienced Chairman, President Buzek, Debated (on Wednesday) and Voted (on Thursday) by MEPs this Week in Strasbourg, on a 2016 initiative launched by EU Commission, which was presented here by EU Commissioner in charge of Scientific Research and Technology Development, Carlos Moedas, (for Other EU Commissioner Moedas' Statements to "Eurofora", see, f.ex., also : ....).


- "We can say that, in the case of Cloud Computing, the most Crucial Issues are about Using that, very Widely, in Science" matters mainly, President Buzek observed from the outset, in Reply to an "Eurofora" Question, Earlier this week.


- "Because we (Europeans) haven't done that yet, until now", and "this is Incredible !", he regretted, (given also the rapidly growing Globbal Competition in this key ICT crossroads area).


- But "Cloud Computing for Research, for Sciences, is of Crucial Importance" nowadays, ITRE's Experienced Chairman (who is also a former University Professor in Physics), underlined.


- "And, ... we, in Europe, could be in the Best role in the World ! ", President Buzek, (who has a large Experience also as former EU Parliament's Rapporteur on the Science and Technology Funding, Mutli-Annual Program "Horizon"), optimisticaly Highlighted.  


- "Because, as you know, we (EU) have more than 550 Millions Citizens, and a Lot of Universities, while Science and Research is advancing forward", he noted.


- Success depends also on "whether we (EU) Start Immediately with Cloud Computing, to go through all the Technicaclities, as soon as possible", EU Parliament's competent Rapporteur urged.


+ When "Eurofora" observed that f.ex. our Natural Science's Advisor, Dr. Constantin Marcopoulos, who is currently working as Professor mainly on Physics and Chemistry etc. in China, during a recent visit to France and Germany (2017) said that he Needs an Efficient and Safe "Cloud" for his Original Documents, and Asked Buzek if it is Possible for the EU to Develop such Computer Clouds which would be physically accessible to Users all over the World, ITRE's Chairman replied very Positively : -  "I think so. Yes, Absolutely ! This is (part of) our (EU's) Task".


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


- Speaking, Later-on, in an EU Parliament's Plenary Debate with MEPs on Buzek's Report, EU Commissioner for Science and Innovation Carlos Moedas (Comp. Supra), stressed from the outset EU's "Ambition  of ensuring that science, businesses, public services could reap all the benefits of the so-called ‘Big Data revolution’. Today we produce 2.5 billion – billion – bytes of Data per day. That is, as someone once put it, 4 Eiffel Towers of Blu-ray Discs per Day, so the fundamental Question for us tonight is really How we should deal with it, and the Cloud Initiative is part of the answer".


 - EU Commission "proposed the creation of an inclusive, European, open science cloud, deploying an efficient European data Infrastructure to address such enormous data flows and Opening up the User base to the Public sector and Industry", he resumed in this regard.


- For this purpose, on 2017, "We (EU Commission) are now Discussing sustainable funding and implementation instruments with the Member States, research infrastructures, scientific communities and other key players". "First, on the European Open Science Cloud the Commission is preparing a roadmap for Governance and Financing to be presented to, and discussed with, the Member States in the course of 2017. ...We want our 1.7 Million European Scientists to have the best services for text and data Mining, the best data Management plans, and the best Training programmes. We made Open data the default in "Horizon 2020" (EU Research Funding Program), starting in 2017. In other words, we kind of transformed an exception into a rule", Moedas said.


+ And "We (EU) will Fund a Pilot Project ...to ensure that the Governance in the European Open Science Cloud is truly representative of European Science" and "creates Synergies". "Over the Year, ...we will define a Governance board before the end of 2017 and we will work on making all our research Data fair; Findable, so scientists can identify each piece of data in a unique way; Accessible, so it can always be obtained freely; Interoperable, because science is today at the intersection of disciplines; and ReUsable, because you cannot lose important data after you have used it, you have to be able to use it in different disciplines at different times", he promised.


 - Concerning "the European Data InfraStructure", "a European high performance Computing Strategy (is) under development with Member States and European Industry", which "includes a Pooling of the necessary Investments at all levels to create a World-class ...computing and big data ecosystem by 2023", due "to be built on 2 Exascale Computers. That means a billion operations per second, which is basically 1.000 times Faster than today’s supercomputers", the competent EU Commissioner Highlighted.


 - This "requires seamless user-friendly Access, with appropriate levels of data Protection, Security and services, to ensure Trust and Confidence", he admitted. "So,...on 10 January last, the Commission adopted the Communication on Building a European Data Economy", "dealing with additional big data issues : It advocates reducing barriers to the Free Flow of data. It looks into questions of Ownership, Access to data, Liability", and  "puts emphasis on ...Open and Competitive economy, without unjustified lock-in effects.


+ Citting "a recent Visit" f.ex. to a "Bio-Informatics Institute" at Nearby "Heidelberg", Moedas observed that it had "made" a "Choice" for "Scientific Information Freely Available to the Global Science Community", and pointed out that "This is the Way we (EU Commission) are Going".


- Meanwhile, however, he also said to be "deeply committed to Engaging with All relevant Stakeholders", as well as to "Consider several Proposals, on the Supply and Demand side, and on the Extension to SMEs", as he promised.


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


However, during the EU Parliament's debate, despite an overall Positive, in principle, Welcome by most MEPs, among some Criticism was also f.ex., on behalf of the Conservative/Reformist Group, (mainly UK-driven), MEP Krasnodebski's call to Better Focus on the "Industry sector" and "the realities of the Market", instead of a "Centralized" EU "Commission"'s "Intereference", as he said, expressing also a Reserve about EU's estimation of an "Additional Public-private Investment of 4,7 Billions €" "within 5 Years".


He didn't, however, go as far as the Euro-Sceptic British MEP Diane James, who lated spoke on behalf of "Independent" MEPs, Criticizing a "forecast" to "Cost 6,7 Billions €, including a 4,7 financial Shortfall", which would "mean that no one knows Where almost 5 Billions € ... will be Found", so that, Other, "Existing Global, and fully International Alternatives", might be, perhaps, preferable, according to her opinion.

On the Contrary, "EuroLeft" Group's representative, MEP Marisa Matias from Portugal, found "Necessary ... that the (EU) system is maintained in the Public domain, guaranteeing the use and access to the entire community, from researchers to SMEs, ...secondly, to ensure the portability and interoperability of the data; in the third place, to Protect the personal data", as she stressed.

- On behalf of the "Green" Group, MEP Judith Sargentini, denouced the Fact that, until now, "we do store very often data Outside the EU, and that is Not Good, because outside our jurisdiction, we can Not Protect Governments, Businesses, Scientists and Citizens", while f.ex. "US Companies and NSA watch", as well as some "Russian companies", etc., while, nowadays, "Personal Infrmation is extremely Important" to safeguard. Therefore, EU's "Cloud Initiative" could be also "Good for our Wallets and for our Privacy", particularly if EU Ciommission "Stop Listening to (some) American Companies that would like to have a Monopoly on the Cloud", such as, f.ex. "Hewlett-Packard and Amazon", etc.. "By EnForcing Open Standards" for All, "we (EU) could Reduce that Risk", awhile "also, our (EU's) Data Protection Laws, by keeping the (EU) Cloud very Safe, can Offer even to Foreign Companies, (and/or) Out of the EU, some very Good Opportunities", she observed.


- French MEP Jean-Luc Schaffhauser, (who had been, initialy, the Rapporteur for that Issue"), speaking on behalf of the "Nations and Freedoms" Group (Rightists), stressed from the outset that his main "Concern was to Keep, ... Both the Software and the Harware, for really European Businesses, i.e. Headquartered in the EU, Producing in Europe, and having European Capital". But also "to Monitor Security" and "the concept of Openess, ... so that it doesn't serve only some Foreign Powers", as he Warned, in addition to "Protecting the Data, according the Principle hat they Belong to those who Produce them", as he said.


But, together with "a Team of 25 Experts and 5 Coordinators (MEPs), specialized in this field, we Found ... that even some among the Leading European Companies had Not been Consulted", as he claimed, while, moreover, EU Commission had chosen to "Put Huge (Financial) Means on Super-Computers, but Abandoned the Quantic (Tech) or Other Sectors, as, f.ex. the Micro-Processors, which represent 2O Times more than the Market of SuperComputers", so that this all risked to Benefit "mainly the Foreign Lobbies", in his view.


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


 - Experienced, mainstream ChristianDemocrat/EPP MEP Paul Rübig from Austria, one of EU's Pioneers in the domain of "Cloud Computing" (Comp. Supra), Welcomed EU Commission's initiative, as a means to "Strengthen Europe", and Advised to Better use the potential "Bonuses" of the "Protection of Personal Data, in a Trusted European Cloud".


- F.ex., a "Cloud Select Industry Group has sought a Code of Conduct, ...set for European Standards", "so that the European Cloud Industry gets in this area a Strong Role", also at "a Global" level, Rübig stressed, while also Saluting the presence of "ENISA and ETSI's Key players" at EU Parliament, Hoping that EU's Initiative "would Really Bring a sustainable Success for European SMEs".


=> For that purpose, "We (EU) also Need a Cloud Computing Compliance-Monitoring Catalog System, to set Standards, (and) enable us to Avoid Distrust and Crisis of Confidence, in this area". In Fact, "we (EU) Need a European Cloud "Quality Seal", for the "Data Storage to European Cloud Providers, in European Data Centers", with "the full Source Code Available in Europe", as well as, "we Need the European Law, and the European (EU and/or CoE) Rules on Data Protection, to apply to the (EU) Cloud a Quality Seal", Rübig urged.


 - When this will be achieved, "then, EU Taxes ... and IT Services will be Able to Contribute (to Fund and Support) our InfraStructure", the experienced Top MEP concluded.


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


+ Spanish MEP Jose Blanco Lopez, added a Wish "to make it possible for All Regions of the EU to participate, withOut New Gaps".


Dutch MEP Lumbert van Nistelrooij, observed that in several EU Countries, already, "New Academies Combining Big Data, Science, Ethics, and Entrepreneurship", were "Starting", Hoping that EU would "Not Repeat what had happened during the Last Years, when we Lost Time (f.ex.) vis a vis the USA", as he found.


Greek Conservative MEP Notis Marias, observed that "Revenues from EU's Cloud Computing could reach 80 Billions € until 2020". But he also reminded that "Protection of Personal and other Sensitive Data should have a Priority on the Free Flow of data", while also, "any European Policy" on this field, "should respond to the Needs and Benefit SMEs, and particularly Consumers, both at an EU, National, Regional and Local level", as he said.


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


- In Reply, EU Commissioner Moedas, from Portugal, anew Stressed that "Open Data is the Future, and Locking up is the Past", urging  "Not o Miss this Boat of  Open Access, Open Data, Open Science, and Openness to the World", as "this (EU) Cloud is about being Able to Mine text and Data, Better than others, and about having Access to Information that can create Ideas" and "Jobs", as he said.


+ However, at the same time, he also Promised to "Speed Implementation, Invest in a World-leading Capacity, set up a Governance structure ...truly Representative of European Science", and "Protect People's Data and Privacy", as well as "Ensure that European Industry and Public Sector Benefit from that".


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


>>> President Buzek's Draft Report supports such an "European Open Science Cloud" (EOSC), particularly after observing the fact that "Countries like USA, China Japan and Russia are seriously Investing in such Systems", while also stressing that it "should be Developed with due regard for the Fundamental Rights enshrined in (EU's) Charter ..., in particular the Rights of Data Protection, Privacy, Liberty and Security", as well as to Benefit also SMEs, be associated with a Wider Access to Broadband Internet for the People, throughout Regions, and by engaging with Civil Society Together with all other relevant European stakeholders.


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


An Alternative Draft Resolution, presented in the form of an Amendment by the "Nations and Freedoms" Group of Rightist MEPs, warned, inter alia, also about "US Intelligence Services" allegedly "advocating Maximum Openness", observed that f.ex. "China requires every Cloud Operator to have a Minimum of 50% of Chinese Capital", Regretted that EU "Commission (allegedly) Failed to Consult the only European Producer of MicroProcessors, ... or Europe's largest Cloud Computing Company, although it did Consult their Non-European Rivals", Urges to use "Free (EU) Linux Software" in order to "Save... Tens of Billions €" and "allow the European Digital Sector to play a Leading role", Calls to consider a Company as "European" "only if its Office and ..Decision making centers, Manufacturing Sites, are on European Territory, and if it's Controlled by European Capital, and subject to consolidated Tax" here, (instead of merely having "a European Subsidiary", as EU Commission allegedly would estimate), Denounces "Storing or Processing Data Outside of Europe", as "tantamount to Killing off EU's Digital Economy", asks for "Governance" to be "under European Jurisdiction", asks to "encourage and Fund the writing of Secure Free Software" in Europe, particularly "with Linux", and to "massively Invest in (EU's) SemiConductor Industry", as well as "to adopt High Encryption standards", (a point also made in Buzek's Draft), and Concluded by calling to ensure that "anyone Using .. Data should Remunerate the Data Provider", with "Dissuassive Fines on Companies illegaly using Data", so that "Europe" could become "a Safe Haven for Data Storage in the World", as it claimed.


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


As a whole, that Text was, however, Rejected by a strong EU Parliament's Majority of at least 535 MEPs, against only about 40 and 5 Abstentions.


While, on the Contrary, President Buzek's Draft Resolution, (which Included some Responses to several among those Concerns : Comp. partly Supra), was clearly Adopted by EU Parliament, with a Crystal-clear absolute Majority of 444 Votes in Favour, and Only almost 144 Dissident Votes, (Against or Abstentions), i.e. supported by More than 3/4 of MEPs.


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

(../..)


***

(NDLR : Partly Updated on Thursday, February 16, 2017).

+

("DraftNews", as already send to "Eurofora" Subscribers/Donors, earlier. A more accurate, full Final Version, might be published asap).

***


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    The incoming Swedish EU Presidency (July-December 2009) may still remain in favour of Turkey's controversial EU bid, despite June 2009 EU Elections' results, but it has "very strong demands on Turkey"'s obligation to respect EU Rules, said the Head of Swedish Foreign Ministry's Press Service, Cecilia Julin, to "EuroFora", reacting to critical Press reports.

    - "I know (that) the link is often made also to Sweden's position on Turkey"'s controversial EU bid. Indeed, "we (Swedish EU Presidency) are very much engaged in the future membership of Turkey, but not without fullfiling all the Criteria".

    - "It's very clear that we (Swedish EU Presidecny) have very Strong Demands on Turkey, in a sort of concept for Future membership of the Union, ...which will be a Long Process...", she stressed.

    This means, in particular, "the Copenhagen Criteria (on Human Rights, Democracy and Rule of Law), and also the adaptation to the Acquis of the European Union".

     - "If you listen to what Mr. Bildt (the Swedish Foreign Minister) says on Turkey at different occasions, it's very clear : We want Turkey to become part of the Union, in the Future. But we want it to fullfil all the Criteria : The Acquis of the European Union. That's very clear", she concluded.

    The Senior Official of the Swedish Foreign Ministry was reacting to critical Press Reports, from Brussels' Journalists invited by EU Commission's secretariat to Stockholm, who claimed that Bildt was abusing of a ..."Whip" (sic !) against Cyprus, by "threatening" the presence of UNO's Peace-keeping force at the "Green line" which separates the island's Government-controlled areas from the territories occupied by Ankara's army, if Nicosia didn't accept any political solution, regardless of Turkey's demands, before the end of 2009.

        Governing AKEL Party's new Secretary General, Andros Kyprianou, reacted by declaring that no-one can threat the People of Cyprus : -"We shall decide for our Future, and nobody else",  he reportedly said, asking to "keep calm". "In order to find a Solution soon, certain basic Principles must be respected", he stressed, calling those who feel an urgency to use their influence on Turkey. Other Political Parties were more critical.

    This was a reference to recently reported statements by Turkish Minister Bagis, Prime Minister Tayip Erdogan and Turkey's National Security Council (a Military-Political body), accused to push towards a partitionist "2 States" solution, contrary to UNO SC Resolutions for Cyprus' reunification.

    December 2009 is a crucial moment for EU's appraisal of Turkey's controversial EU bid, because EU Council has decided to review then Ankara's compliance with the European position on the recognition of Cyprus' Government, which was clearly set out by an EU reply of 21 September 2005 to Turkish Prime Minister Tayip Erdogan's claims, refusing to recognize even the existence of EU Member Cyprus, in controversial statements he made to London (former EU chair) on July 29, 2005.

    EU Parliament's latest Resolution on Turkey, adopted on March 2009 in Strasbourg, warned Ankara that "the non-fulfillment of Turkey's commitments... by December 2009, may further seriously affect the process of Negotiations" with the EU.

    In practice, the issue boils down to Ankara's "embargo" against Ships and Airplanes using Cyprus' seaports or airports at the strategic EU island, which traditionaly hosts one of the World's biggest Shipping flags. EU has already "freezed" 6 relevant Chapters in EU - Turkey Negotiations since December 2006, after Ankara refused to fullfil a commitment it had undertaken when EU had decided to open controversial "accession" negotiations with Turkey, back on December 2005.

    - "As far as EU - Turkey relations are concerned, it's clear that Turkey needs to fullfil its obligation of full, non-discriminatory implementation of the additional Protocol (to "EC-Turkey Association Agreement"),  This is an important issue....and should be addresseed as soon as possible as it clearly affects the pace of the accession negotiations.Issues covered by the Declaration of September 2005 will continue to be followed up, and progress is urgently awaited", warned earlier in Strasbourg the out-going Czech EU Presidency (former vice-Prime Minister Alexander Vodra).

    But the Head of the Swedish Foreign Ministry's Press Service, Cecilia Julin, dismissed "interpretations" by "some" that Foreign Minister Carl Bildt was reportedly "threatening" Cyprus with consequences on the UNFICYP, if it doesn't accept any solution until December 2009, while Turkey is reportedly delaying in an attempt to impose a partitionist "2 States" solution.

    On the contrary, Julin, stressed that "Sweden has strong demands on Turkey'"s respect of "Copenhagen Criteria and EU Acquis".

    Meanwhile, Sweden  is "concerned" about the risk of "Stalemate" in Cyprus' Talks, but is well aware that "the main responsibilities lie with the two leaders and the UNO", Europe playing only a role of "facilitator".

    After carefully verifying, the Head of Swedish Foreign Ministry's Press Service, stressed to "EuroFora" that Bildt's reference to UNFICYP "was not linked to a Threat", and dismissed those who "interpreted" it so.

    On the contrary, the Swedish EU Presidency acknowledged the fact that Peace Talks are mainly for the UN and the leaders of the Cypriot communities, EU's role being limited into that of a "facilitator".

    As for Turkey's reported attempts to impose a "2 States' solution", the Head of the Swedish Foreign Ministry's Press Service sharply replied by stressing that Turkey must respect the "EU Acquis" rules.

    In particular :

    - "Basically he (Bildt) underlined that it's the leaders of the two communities in Cyprus and the UN that have the main responsibilities for solving the problem", started to say the Swedish Senior Official to "EuroFora", referring to the above-mentioned "briefing".

    - "But the EU had a role in sort of pointing out the benefits and facilitating a little bit the outcome for the settlement of the whole Cyprus' issue", she added.

    - "And he did state the Fact, that the rest of the World (i.e. USA, etc) will, of course, look at the differend issues which are at the table, and the future of the UN Peace keeping force is part of what is at the table", she admitted.

    - "I understand that some have interpreted that as a Threat, by the Swedish Minister" "But", in reality, "it's a statement of a Fact, that, when we'll look at the differend issues, one of the issues on which we shall have to take a stand on, is the future of the UN Peace keeping force in Cyprus".

    Indeed, one of the questions usually raised for a Solution of Cyprus' issue is what International and/or European or other Guarantees, by a Peace-keeping force, might be needed afterwards, eventually for a transitory period.

    Questioned anew by "EuroFora" whether (according to critical Press Reports) this could be taken as a veiled warning that, if Cyprus didn't accept any Turkish demand for any solution whatever, it might be left alone to face Ankara's Military Invasion/Occupation, she denied :

    - "He (Bildt) didn't say it in that way"... "It was not linked to a threat, or anything like that", the Head of the Swedish Foreign Ministry's Press Service stressed.

    On the contrary, "he (Bildt) underlined that the main responsibility lies with the parties concerned on the island". "The EU can try to facilitate and show the benefits of reaching a settlement. But also, when the EU and the rest of the World (i.e. USA) will have to look at it, they will look at all the Facts on the table, and the presence of the UN Peace-keeping force is one".

    And "he (Bildt) didn't speak about that at all", she replied to "EuroFora" question on Turkey's reported attemps to impose, in one way of another, a partitionist "2 States solution".

    Asked whether Bildt's aim was to incite both parties to move forward efficiently, she agreed :

    - In fact, "the EU is really very concerned with the Stalemate in the situation. Yes !", the Head of Sweden's Foreign Ministry's Press Service anounced. That's why Bildt "was hoping for the two parties (i.e. for Turkey's also) to engage and break, a little-bit, the present stalemate, come to a solution of the issue" of Cyprus.

    But, replying  to a "EuroFora"s question on the risk, denounced by several politicians in case of strict Time Deadlines, for Turkey to provoke a stalemate and wait for the time to come to impose a partitionist "2 States' solution", she reacted by pointing at Turkey's obligation to respect "EU Acquis" :

    - "Turkey must fullfil the EU Acquis : That's clear !", the Swedish Senior Official stressed.

    More details are expected when Swedish Prime Minister Reinfeldt will debate his Programme with new MEPs at EU Parliament's plenary mid-July in Strasbourg, that he has visited already in 2008.

    Foreign Minister Carl Bildt became familiar with Strasbourg's CoE last year, when Sweden chaired the PanEuropean organization of Human Rights. As EU chairman-in-office, he will also chair the 27-member States strong EU Group inside the 47-member States strong CoE.

    Minister for EU affairs, Cecilia Malmstrom is well known at EU Parliament, where she has been an active MEP of the Liberal Group for many years, following also Press Freedom issues.

    Both have already made various statements at "EuroFora", on differend topical matters.

    ***

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