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Home arrow newsitems arrow A Paradox: China push for European Integration, if EU delays (+Transport/Trade/Decision-Making) ?

A Paradox: China push for European Integration, if EU delays (+Transport/Trade/Decision-Making) ?

Written by ACM
Saturday, 07 July 2018
china__16_centraleastern_european_countries_ceec_161_400


*Strasbourg/Angelo Marcopolo/- A Big but Timely Paradox emerges from an EU Court of Auditors' Report, recently published at nearby Luxembourg, compared to an almost Synchronous, Exceptional Summit between 16+ Central-Eastern European Countries and China, in Sofia, at the Conclusion of Bulgaria's rotating EU Presidency (1-6/2018), and shortly Before Neighbouring Romania takes over the EU Council's chairmanship from January 2019 (1-6/2019) :


Will China's Real GeoPolitical Interests really Contribute to Boost European Integration, at least in certain Key Areas, Faster and Better than EU itself tried alone to do recently ?


With Spectacular Facts as, f.ex., that of the Famous, EU-supported "Magistrale" High Speed Train link, planned between Paris and Budapest, through Strasbourg and Stuttgart, at Europe's Heartland, having been so much Delayed,


while, Today, China reportedly Ambitions to launch an ...Athens - Budapest High Speed Train link, between the Aegean Sea and "Mittel-Europa" area, (See Infra), inevitably, some Legitimate Questions are raised...


- ECA's Latest 2018 Report notoriously Denounced that, in fact, the "European High Speed Rail Network" plan, was, still Today,  "Not a Reality, but an Ineffective Patchwork".

eu_court_of_auditors_2018_report_criticizing_insufficiency_of_high_speed_train_network_eurofora_screenshot_400


- In fact, what "has been Constructed", until now, is "an ineffective patchwork of Poorly connected National Lines", criticized ECA's Rapporteur Oskar Herics, according to an official press release.


- Simply Because "High-speed lines Crossing national Borders do Not rank among National Priorities", and the EU "Commission has No Power to Enforce them", he explained.     

 

eufunded_high_speed_train_links_audited_by_the_eca_2018_eurofora_screenshot_400


ECA's Report also shows Big Differencies on EU Funds :  F.ex. with various Costs per Minute of Time Won in each case, being very UnEqual among Projects. And/or some land-locked EU Member Countries receiving Much More EU Funds than the Others, (f.ex. Spain : more than 45% of the Total EU Funds !), etc.


However, the Worst seems to be the Fact that although the length of National high-speed rail networks is Growing", nevertheless, in Total, the EU Target of tripling the Length of high-speed rail lines (to 30,000 km) by 2030 will Not be reached, according to ECA. Indeed, the Time lapsed between the Moment such a Project is Planned, and the Date from which it will Start to be Used Effectively, is, in average, Too Long. One of the Longest, until now, being, f.ex., that of Munich - Padova High Speed Train link, reportedly Planned already since 1986, but Expected to be Used only after 2040 !...


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In such a Context, the Nowdays' "16+1" Summit of CEECs and China, (this time attended also by Greece and EU Commission as "Observers"), co-Chaired by Chinese Prime Minister Li Keqiang and Bulgarian Prime Minister Boyko Borissov at Sofia, gives a Strikingly Different View, with a lot of Fast-Track Projects reportedly discussed, including the above-mentioned Athens - Budapest High Speed Train link...

+ But also, reportedly : Car Highways, SeaPorts, Industrial Parcs, Fiber Optic Cable Networks, Electricity producing Power Plants, (etc), and/or even Oil/Gas Pipelines, (as, f.ex., between Greece - Bulgaria - Romania, in order to be Linked to a Bigger, Black Sea - Romania - Hungary - Austria strategic Gas Pipeline project leading Directly towards EU's Industrial Core : Comp. ..., etc).

 

Timely, China's Move in Sofia (Bulgaria) comes as EU itself nowadays strives to Boost Western Balkans' European Integration, at the forefront of both the Austrian EU Presidency (7-12/2018) and the Croatian CoE Presidency (5-11/2018), just after a notorious EU Commission's Strategic Decision taken recently in Strasbourg..


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+ However, it's Not Only in various Transports Links that China's "Push" towards a stronger EU Integration is felt Nowadays but Also in Other Ways :


- Inter alia, f.ex., Recently, the Experienced President of the ChristianDemocrat/EPP Party, former Long-Time Chairman of EU Parliament's EPP Group and Strasbourg's MEP, Joseph Daul, (also former Head of Agricultural Trade Unions, Europe-wide), speaking at a Political Meeting in Strasbourg, where "Eurofora" was Invited, (Comp., f.ex. : ..., etc), described a Surprizing exchange with the Chinese Ambassador/Permanent Representative to the EU, during which he Asked him to Help broker a Big Deal between the EU and China on Buying many Hundrents of Thousands of Tonnes of Beef Meat, in order to Feed a Network of American MacDonald Fast-Food Restaurants, due to be established throughout all the 1,3 Billions Population strong Country, in the forseeable Future...


Because, on the Contrary, if he was obliged to Negotiate with one by one among the 28 EU Member Countries, then, he would have, obviously, lost a Lot of Time and Energy...


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Pure Real-GeoPolitics, adequately practiced, may, sometimes, have even a Better outcome than Clumsy or Hypocritical "Good Wishers"' vows, remaining withOut effect, or even with adverse effects...


- Indeed, Beijing's obvious immediate Interest to facilitate Trade-routes between Europe and China, indirectly but surely, may also Help EU's further Integration, as well as its Steadfast Geo-Political Views in favour of a "Multi-Polar World", (a De Gaulle/Chirac+ Favorite), almost as a properly ...Robert Schuman's method goes from Economy to Politics :


- "China supports the European Integration, and the Unity of the EU, which is an Important Power for Global Prosperity and Peace", as well as "it Supports also a Multi-Polar World", Prime Minister Li reportedly Stressed Yesterday (Friday) in Sofia.


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++ Last, but not least, "Eurofora" will never forget a meeting, in EU Parliament in Strasbourg, with a Team of Young Chinese University Students, Government Experts, etc. who had been Systematically Visiting EU Council's, Commission's and Parliament's Headquarters in Brussels, Strasbourg and Luxembourg, (in Addition to Paris, Berlin, London, Rome, etc) :


- Their main, Number 1 spontanous Question to "Eurofora", at the Conclusion of their European Working Visit, was just One :


>>> - "Where is Europe ? (i.e., its main Policy Decision-Making body) ?", they naively, but critically Wondered...


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


Already, the Quest for a Reply to this Key Question, in real Practice, was, indirectly but clearly, at the Substance of the 1st Official Visit to the EU by Chinese President Xi Jiping, as early as since 2014 :


- Indeed, the New (then) China's Leader surprized by his Choice to Visit Paris, Berlin and Brussels, (just after an Initial Trip to Moscow, shortly before that), extended to an adjacent meeting at Nearby Netherlands, (including for the Inauguration of a Trans-Continental Railroad link, etc), in order to meet mainly with the Franco-German Leaders and EU Top Officials, before Concluding by presenting his View on Europe, as it was then, in a landmark Speech at Bruges' College.


>>> In Fact, Xi's Quest for Europe's Political Decision-Making Core, was Obvious, while Flying in almost a perfect Circle Around ... Strasbourg, (as even the semi-Official Chinese Medias pictured : See relevant "Eurofora"'s NewsReport, then, f.ex., inter alia, also at : http://www.eurofora.net/newsflashes/news/chinagreecelinktoeuworld.html, etc), but without landing yet here...


=> The Wish expressed, then, by "Eurofora", naturally was that, in his Next Trip to Europe, EU+ Integration would have Advanced sufficiently enough, in order to Justify his eventual Landing also at the natural Center of that Circle, i.e., Here...


But, for that purpose, History-on-the-making obviously Needs much More genuine, "Real Europeans", and Not Only too many "EurINO"s, (i.e. "Europeans-In-Name-Only")...

 

So that, if some, inside EU Institutions, might, eventually, anew "Dream" of a European High Speed Train Network (Comp. Supra), then, they'd Better start, at least, Dreaming ...Really Big ! (Comp.: http://www.eurofora.net/newsflashes/news/g20andglobalrailnetwork.html)  


Something that the Forthcoming, May 2019 new EU Elections might, eventually, Help to Settle, at least partially, in one way or another.

 

 

(../..)


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    The recent paradox of freezing EU Talks with front-runner Croatia, while continuing controversial EU - Turkey talks, despite Zagreb's acceptance of Refugees' Human Rights to return, that Ankara refuses fex. in Cyprus, while both have "Good Neighborhood" problems vis a vis Slovenia, or Greece, Cyprus and Armenia respectively, can it be justified by the non-fullfilment of EU criteria, as Slovenia says, or, is it "Double Standards" ?    

The question became unavoidable after statements by Presidents of Slovenia and Croatia, Tuerk and Mesic, respectively, to "EuroFora", exclusively or among Strasbourg's journalists this week at the CoE, on the sidelines of its 2009 Summer University for Political Schools, which topically brought them together as successive key-note speakers.


    Comming only a few Months before EU checks Turkey's compliance to its commitments on Cyprus, etc., scheduled for December 2009, this obviously has a special importance for the coherence of EU Enlargement's principles.

     Suspension of EU Negotiations is a normal consequence in case of a Candidate Country's failure to fullfil EU Conditions, such as "Good Neighborhood relations", stressed at first Slovenian President Danilo Tuerk, current CoE's chair.

    But, regarding EU's Criteria,  there shouldn't be any "Double Standards",  reacted Croatian President Stjepan Mesic, commenting the fact that Turkey's controversial EU negotiations continue, while they were recently "freezed" in the case of Croatia, an "unquestionably European Country", which oficially accepts to respect Refugees Human Rights, contrary to Ankara's notorious refusals or reluctance.                                       

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                           - "EU itself has set as a Criterium (for EU Enlargement) the "Good Neighborhood relations",  and their absence justifies the "Suspension" EU Negotiations, (f.ex. with Croatia), because of a Border dispute affecting the territorial integrity of an EU Member Country, stressed Slovenian President, Danilo Tuerk, CoE's Chairman in office (May - November 2009), speaking to Journalists in Strasbourg including "EuroFora".    

Questioned earlier what "consequences on EU's Enlargement policy" can have the "Ban on EU Membership Negotiations", imposed to Croatia, Tuerk replied that "this question comes down to the fulfillement of (EU) Criteria for membership. One has to look at each Candidate Country ., from the point of view whether it fullfils the Criteria that EU has set. One of them are Good Neighborhood Relations, I'd like to remind. And also, there are other factors, such as Justice, Home affairs, Rule of Law, and others".


    - "Now, ..Candidate Countries are at Different Levels of fulfillement of Criteria", he observed.

    - " Croatia is obviously the closest to that. I'm rather optimistic : I think that in the coming Months we'll have an opportunity to look at all these issues constructively and hopefully we'll be able to make progress". "My main concern, at this point, is the situation in Bosnia : We haven't seen enough progres domesticaly. We haven't seen enough during ..political parties within their country.We need a New Energy, a new energetic move towards the Candidature for EU membership. "Other (Western Balkan) Countries (Serbia, Montenegro, FYROM, Albania) have been making soaring Progress, and I think that they should be ready, in a few Years, for the Candidate status".

    - "As far as the Western Balkans are concerned, .. nobody should be left outside" the EU, Slovenian's President concluded, ommitting to mention Turkey's controversial EU bid.

    - "This process may be seen as Slow, but..  Slovenia has also has also been exposed to various "Booms of Slowness" in our accession period. But now we can say that the process was relatively quick, because changes which occur after becoming EU member, are quite large, and they require proper Preparations before the (EU) membership becomes a new factor, an impacting line for a new (EU) member country".
----------------------------

EU "Solidarity" ?
------------------------------   

Slovenian statements made some participants from certain 3rd Countries as FYROM, etc. claim that "the Principle of EU Solidarity" would "produce a.. rising European Union Nationalism (sic !), against Non-EU Countries", as they said, asking unhappy foreign countries to form a "bloc" to exert pressure on the EU...    

But Croatian President Stjepan Mesic dismissed that, supporting "EU Integration", "after the Economy also in Political" issues, as "the achievement" of our times. In EU there is "diversity, but it's United", he stressed, "EU has to be United so that it can become a central factor of Peace" also at the surrounding areas, he replied.

croatian_president_mesic_ 

Speaking later exclusively to "EuroFora", the experienced twice President of Croatia, former President of the International "Non-Aligned" movement, denounced "Double Standards" in the way EU treats recently Croatia compared to Turkey :   

 - "I think that there shouldn't be Double Standards", stressed the Croatian President, in reply to a Question comparing the freeze of EU - Croatia talks, with the continuation of EU - Turkey talks, despite the fact that Croatia is an "unquestionably European country", while Turkey's EU bid is notoriously controversial.


    Mesic was reacting to the observation that, even if he confirmed his "respect of Refugees' Human Rights to return, etc. (See infra), nevertheless, EU talks are suspended with Croatia.. While for oher, controversial candidates, who refuse to respect Refugees' Rights to return, etc., as fex. Turkey does in occupied Cyprus and elsewhere, EU negotiations continue".

    - "I believe that Croatia's accession will confirm that all European Countries who fulfill all of the Conditions and achieve European Standards, have to join the EU. There shouldn't be any Double Standards", went on to add in reply President Mesic.

    In this relation, Croatia's President found "of paramount importance", CoE's "mechanisms enforcing ECHR's judgements"
    
    - "On Refugees and Displaced persons, the process will be completed only after the last person demanding to return will be allowed to do so !", President Mesic Croatia stressed earlier, setting a general standard of obvious importance also for otherr candidates, as f.ex. Turkey, often accused to exclude or heavily restrict Greek Cypriot Displaced persons' return to their Family Homes and ancestral land, provoke difficulties to Turkish-Kurd IDPs return to their home regions at the South-East, etc.

    Some "2.000 People are still reported Missing" in former Yugoslavia, for some Years, (as in Cyprus, modern Europe's oldest case, for 3 Decades. Nagorno-Karabach, Tcecnya in Russia, etc, more recently), and Investigations "will only be completed after establishing the fate of the last one of them", he added.
    
    Speaking earlier on "War Crimes", President Mesic stressed that "Leaders are responsible for (the) Wars (of the Past), not the People", and called against Impunity :  "Individuals have to be held Responsible for Crimes. International Penal Tribunals have to persecute those individuals", perpetrators of War Crimes, he underlined.

    Such statements naturally made Mesic rather popular at ECHR, whose President, French EuroJudge, Professor Jean-Paul Costa, looked particularly smiling when he welcomed him later on Wednesday afternoon, after Slovenian President Daniko Tuerk earlier this week.
           

***

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