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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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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.

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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.

***

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