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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) ?

Parašė ACM
Saturday, July 07, 2018
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*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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    EU Rapporteur on Enlargment Strategy, maistream German MEP Elmar Brok, speaking to "EuroFora", welcomed the proposal made earlier this week by French President Nicolas Sarkozy for the EU to"start Now Talks with Turkey to create a common Economic and Security area", instead of full Accession, at a period when Ankara looks more and more unfit and/or unwilling to respect EU conditions.

    - "For Europe to have strong Political will, it must stop dilutiing itself in an endless Enlargement. It must have borders...Diversities enrich, on the condition that they don't undermine European Cohesion, and don't weaken EU Unity", Sarkozy stressed.
    
    - "Countries like Turkey share a part of common destiny with Europe, with which they have a vocation to build a Privileged Relation, to be closely associated, but not to become Member of the EU"  : "Noone respects his friends by telling them lies. Noone respects his friends by making them promises that will be never kept", he added.

    That's why "we'd better start, from now, negotiating with Turkey to create a common Economic and Security area", Sarkozy proposed.

Significantly, the French President was repeatedly and largely applauded by EU citizens, 3 times, when he made the Turkey point, (strategically placed between Europe's "Political Will" and its cultural heritage, historically open to mutually enriching dialogue with all the World, but never diluted).

    - "We could propose such a great ambition also to Russia, which must not be percieved as an Adversary of Europe, but as a Partner. Thus, we'd create a wide area, of more than 800 Million inhabitants, sharing the same Security, the same Prosperity", he concluded.

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    Sarkozy's move was anounced at the eve of a Franco-German Top meeting with Chancellor Angie Merkel in Berlin on Sunday, to jointly launch the EU Elections campain, after an EU Summit at nearby Prague, to launch a new kind of relations, called "Eastern Partnership", with neighboring countries such as Urkaine, Belarus, Moldova, Georgia, Armenia, Azerbaidjan, etc, (to which Russia, reportedly, is not - and does not want to be - included).

    As for Ukraine, which has already expressed her wish to join the EU in future, "Kiev will have a special place, and a very important role to play", replied earlier this week in Strasbourg, to an "EuroFora" question EU Chairman in office , Czech vice-Prime Minister Alexander Vodra.

    - "This direction is more Realistic for Turkey than Accession negotiations", reacted immediately EU Parliament's Rapporteur for Enlargment Strategy, mainstream German MEP Elmar Brok, commenting Sarkozy's idea for "EuroFora"

     Particularly "as far as it concerns the respect of EU Rules by both sides", he added, hinting at Turkey's now obvious inability and/or unwillingness to abide with EU Acquis, EU Commitments (fex. on Cyprus, etc), and European Democracy/Human Rights rules. (Comp. infra).

    Brok added that, in his view, a similar proposal might be made also to Ukraine and other neighbouring Countries, regardless if they have, or not, a "European vocation". This would not necessarily mean that there couldn't be any accession prospects at all." for all the countries that might be included in this area, according to Brok.  But it's preferable, particularly for Turkey, "because it's a more Realistic approach than full Membership".

    On this point, Sarkozy's proposal, (which he'll share with German Chancellor Merkel), seems more crystal-clear.

daul_in_press_file_400

    - "Turkey does not fullfil EU Criteria, and will never fullfil EU Criteria" on Human Rights, Democracy and Rule of Law. "Some have been lying to Ankara, but we must tell the Truth, and have honest and close relations with her", said meanwhile to "EuroFora" on the same issue also the President of EU Parliament's largest Group of MEPs (ChristianDemocrats/EPP), Joseph Daul.
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"Hot" Debate at EU Parliament reveals CHANGE of mood towards "Suspension" of EU - Tukey talks.
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    Earlier this week, many MEPs, and even some of those who were previously in favor of Turkey's controversial EU bid, strongly criticized the persistance and even aggravation of serious Human Rights violations in the country, that ECHR continues to "unanimously" condemn ":

      - "After winning a big victory in the latest Local Elections, the pro-Kurdish party DTP almost doubled its Elected Mayors from 52 to 98", but afterwards "more than 400 politicians were thrown to Prison and prosecuted" by the Turkish Authorities, denounced on behalf of the ChristianDemocrat/EPP Group, Belgian MEP Frieda Brepoels.

     At the same time, "more than 1.500 Children are closed in Turkish Prisons", she added. "What will the EU Commission do" against these facts ?

- "Turkey appears to be at greater Distance away from Copenhagen Criteria after 4 Years of accession Negotiations, than when they started !", denounced on behalf of the Liberal Group, German MEP Alexander Lambsdorf.    

"On the central issue of Press Freedom, Critical Journalists face obstacles for their accreditation, others are prosecuted, condemned, fined and/or jailed, Media blocked or closed", he denounced.   

 - "EU Made 2 grave Mistakes with Turkey : To start accession negotiations, and to continue them", despite everything, criticized Dutch MEP Bastian Belder, on behalf of the Ind/Dem group.

(../..)

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