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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) ?

Pisac ACM
07. 07. 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...


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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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    Scientific innovation joined to Faith for Human Rights, Eastern Partnership and fight against the Crisis, but above all, the need to overcome the "Crisis of Trust" from EU Citizens, are the main priorities for new EU Parliament's President, Polish Jerzy Buzek, that a 555-votes-strong majority of MEPs on July 14,  Strasbourg made a living symbol of the fact that, 20 years after the fall of Berlin Wall (1989 - 2009) there is no more an Eastern or Western Europe, but only one Europe, as the head of the largest group of MEPs, ChristianDemocrats/EPP, Joseph Daul, stressed after the event.

    Speaking later to a group of Strasbourg's Journalists, including "EuroFora", the new EU Parliament's President clarified his stance on concrete topical issues, as f.ex. that of Turkey's controversial EU bid, which was one of the main issues of the June 2009 Electoral campain, clearly won by his party of ChristianDemocrats/EPP :  - "At present, Turkey does not fullfil none of EU conditions", he stressed, (See infra).

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    Buzek is well known in Strasbourg and to "EuroFora" as EU Rapporteur for the Framework Program of Scientific Research and Development of Technologies. A Natural Science Professor from the Historic and Religious landmark Polish City of Częstochowa, active in the famous Solidarnosk grass-roots social movement, he served 4 years as Prime Minister (1997-2001), before being elected as MEP in 2004 and 2009, after he brillantly won the latest EU Election at the head of his party (EPP) almost doubling the number of its MEPs from 15 to 28 !

    - "Innovation" and "Energy safety", as well as fight against the "Cimat change", but also "Eastern Partnership", the "Mediterranean", "Strategic partnerships" with Russia, the USA, etc, and the search for "solutions to the Economic Crisis" that EU Citizens "expect" from us, will be his "priorities", announced from the outset the new EU Parliament's President, reminding also that the quest for "Human and Civic Rights" played an important role in his experience with the Solidarnosc grass-roots social movement in Poland's History

    But, the most important of all, is the urgent need to overcome the "Crisis of Trust" between EU Institutions and the People he stressed : - EU "Citizens often don't understand us", denounced Buzek, launcing a call to "do anything for EU Citizens to understand our work" in EU Parliament : "We (MEPs) need to make EU Citizens involved" in "what we are doing every week, in Strasbourg and Brussels", he proposed. Pointing f.ex. to the hot "Debates" with "strong arguments" exchanged between MEPs during the preparation of their Legislative Decisions, in Committees, delivering often hard struggles between initially opposed points of view, long before forging a majority at the final vote, sometimes more than a year..

    Therefore, EU Parliament will be "open to your criticism, for discussion and exchange of views", he promissed to Journalists in Strasbourg.

    In this way, Buzek, in fact, highlighted "EuroFora"s main idea, that we strongly advocate since 1997-2007, to systematicaly and actively involve EU Citizens in public debates during the decision-making process of important EU measures, which affect their lives and the society in which they live, (and not only just a few weeks each 4 or 5 Years at the eve of EU Elections)...
--------------------
    This is related also to the symbolic gift that Buzek chose to give to the out-going former EU Parliament's President, Hans Gert Poettering, (2007-2009), his collegue in the ChristianDemocrats/EPP, who brillantly won 2009 EU Elections in Germany : A genuine statute of sainte Barbara crafted in Silesia's black Coal by Polish Miners : Those simple but strong people who fought for social change against some technocrats and bureaucrats disguissed into so-called "real-socialists" of old times. (PHOTO).

    It's enough to have seen a popular open air mass, at Warsaw's center, with many thousands of people, old and young, simple workers and intellectuals mixed together, with references to Poland's history and struggles for survival and liberty, through various ages, (as fex. that organized at the eve of CoE's 2005 panEuropean Heads of State and Government for the beatification of late Pope John-Paul II), in order to understand what such symbols mean..

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    But, overcoming the "Crisis of Trust" with EU Citizens obviously implies also to rectify any errors done in the past, fex. on Turkey's controversial EU bid, with controversial decisions taken in 1999 and 2004 to give a "candidate" status and to start EU negotiations, provoking an unprecedented series of 3 "No" to EuroReferenda and 3 Majoriy Abstentions in EU Parliament Elections : 1999, 2005 and 2009, (even if the latest one succeeded to decelerate and almost stop the drop of participation rates, opening hopes for vote's revival after an electoral campaign clearly critical to Turkey's claims in several mainstream EU countries)
    
    Therefore, Buzek was faced with manifold critical Questions on EU Enlargement, most of them citting concrete examples of certain political problems  :  But his replies were almost always given as a matter of general principle :

    F.ex. Questioned on the suspension of EU - Croatia talks because of a Border conflict with EU Member Slovenia, Buzek prefered to speak about principles :

- "We know that during Enlargement, the process can be blocked by failure to resolve this kind of issues",  This concerns also other enlargments' cases", and "these rules are always in force" he warned.


But Buzek avoided to directly reply to a queston on "French and German EPP' calls to define the Borders of Europe", as a German journalist asked him by making a reference to French President Nicolas Sarkozy, and German Chancellor Angie Merkel's, critical statements on Turkey at the June 2009 Electoral campain.    

- "Concerning Enlargement, there's always the same rules : There have to be Criteria, which have to be respected if a Country wants to join the EU", he started to simply reply.

- "For my country (Poland) it took us 15 Years to fullfil these Criteria", Buzek reminded, indicating, if proportions are kept, that Turkey, fex. would have to spend some 25 years before eventually joining the EU..

- "Countries wishing to join the EU need to Change their Systems", as we (Poland and other former Eastern European Countries) did, he stressed.

- "'For me, meeting the condition of Human Rights is one of the Key conditions for membership in the EU", preferring again to speak from the point of view of General Principles, on the occasion of an untimely question on Serbia (which is not even a candidate yet)...

- "Turkey" has, "first of all", to fullfil (EU) Copenhagen criteria". Bevause, currently, none of them is fullfiled by Turkey", New EU Parliament's President, denounced, speaking later to a group of Journalists, including "EuroFora".

buzek_close_a_400 

In particular, on Human Rights :  - "We (EU) can never forget Human Rights", because "this is at the very Foundations of the EU", Buzek added.

On the contrary, when he referred to EU Enlargment for the  "Western Balkans Countries ", Buzek appeared upbeat, finding "promising situations", despite "difficulties" in the Past, since "Countries are queuing to become EU members", and this "generated changes", as he said.

As for Russia, Buzek observed that it was a "very important" country, located "in the same Continent", Europe,  "close to our borders", and "we need eachother". "But Russia' has 'differend poblems : "They claim that their system is Democratic, but rules are differend", and we must be "aware of such differencies", fex. "on Human Rights", that we can't ignore, as he said;

Concerning China, where a journalist observed that the recipient of EU Parliament's latest "Sakharov prize" for freedom of thought is "still in prison", Buzek found that since the 1999 events in Tien Amin square, "we see differencies on Human Rights still today", and expressed his "support" for those who try to ameliorate the situation.

On the contrary, speaking recently to "EuroFora" he strongly supported the idea for an EU - Ukraine cooperation, fex. between Airbus and Antonov, in order to build a  less costly but more performant than the old and problematic A400M, new Military Transport Airplane : - "They (Ukranian Antonov Company) can certainly do it. I'm sure they can. It's a good Idea, and I'd be glad if it was done", he told us. (See : http://www.eurofora.net/newsflashes/news/airbusantonov.html )


(../..)

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