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Home arrow newsitems arrow EU stimulus plans equal to Obama's, but faster, says Devedjian to EuroFora after capitals' tour

EU stimulus plans equal to Obama's, but faster, says Devedjian to EuroFora after capitals' tour

Written by ACM
Thursday, 19 February 2009

EU Economy boost plans equal to Obama's US plan, but faster, says French Minister Devedjian to "EuroFora" after capitals' tour

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* World-record breaking, 600 km/h High Speed innovative Train TGV, produced at Strasbourg's outskirts, became a Symbol for EU Economy revival, after French key Minister Devedjian's statements to "EuroFora" that the "addition" of "coordinated" EU stimulus plans is "equal" but "faster" to new US President Obama's plan, while Stock markets were still wondering which way to go.

Revealing the main results of a fast-track trip to 4 EU Capitals before a series of crucial EU and Global Summits, Devedjian stressed "Mutual Support and information", "TransNational Measures" and a "global European Policy", as agreed ways to add the "complementary" effects of national recovery plans. So that EU's comparatively faster moves, lesser debt and strong Savings can equal USA's impressive plan, and, taken all together, incite economic actors to move swiftly in order to seize a chance to "anticipate" and be ahead.

Speaking shortly after US President Obama unveiled in Denver his plan to boost Fast Trains, (including $1·3bn for Amtrak, and $8·4bn for high speed passenger rail projects), Devedjian said SNCF, the French Rail company's 2008 Benefits from new Strasbourg High Speed line of the already existing TGV, made it possible to "anticipate" and start working from early February 2009, on new projects for "rail renovation" even before one € arrives from the Government's stimulus plan, voted at the end of January...
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In reply to "EuroFora"'s question if, after his tour of the biggest EU capitals and EU-chair, the Czech Republic, he hopes that sufficient Stimulus' measures will be taken and that the forthcoming EU Economy Summit, at the 1st of March, will be succesful, the French Minister looked upbeat :

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    - "We went to London, Berlin, Prague and Rome, together with Minister for EU affairs, Bruno Le Maire" this week, he noted in his first statements after the unprecedented move, made at the initiatiative of French President Nicolas Sarkozy, at the eve of a G8's EU Members Summiy hosted by Chancelor Angie Merkel in Berlin on Sunday.

    - "Everybody" among EU's 27 Member Countries "is starting to deal with (Economy) Recovery Plans, including f.ex. the (small) Czech Republic, which is launching a 2,5 Billion € plan, even if it hadn't initially foreseen to do so".

    - "The main aim of our trip wasn't to interfere into government policies", since "recovery plans have, first of all, National aims"', "but mainly to establish a Coordination between the existing Stimulus plans".

    The move was welcomed by new German Economy Minister, Karl-Theodor zu Guttenberg, who reportedly "called for a Coordinated European action against the Crisis", while meeting with Devedjian, earlier this week.

    - "Because we have many Stimulus plans which all point at the same direction : Create activities there where there isn't any, create jobs there where is unemployment". So that national "measures can be Complementary" to each other'', added Devedjian in his reply to "EuroFora"'s question.¨   

- "Thus, we established some Rules, with these four countries :"

"1) We inform each other on all measures under consideration by each one, and we provide mutual support  to implement the measures thus decided by each country."

"2) We try to establish together some Trans-national measures : F.ex. in Railroads, car Highways, Energy and electricity or Gas transport, etc., where we can take Common measures"

"3) Last (but not least), we would like to formulate a real global European recovery policy, in particular by adding the effects of all stimulus measures".
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    "F.ex. the (French) President of the Republic, (Nicolas Sarkozy) has just anounced 2,6 Billion € measures for recovery in favor of the most vulnerable People exposed to the economic Crisis. Some critics claim that it's not enough. But this is added to other measures of the same kind, which had been already decided : "

(../..)

 (../..)

"F.ex., a) At the beginning of April, we shall distribute an advance for the "active solidarity revenue" (RSA) of  3.800.000 persons ; b) The "prize to crash" (old cars) is also a stimulus for car sales ; c) The RSA, from July, will represent 1,5 Billion € more than what they initially had with RMI, and d) the Social Transferts (alias : "automatic stabilisators") augment in 2009 for 17 Billions €  in favor of the most exposed People".

"Obviously, all those measures are added together : "

-  "In every (EU) Country there are various recovery measures of this kind, and, when we compare with what is going on in the US, with the Obama Plan, which has not started yet, while ours is already being implemented, f.ex. I've just inaugurated the 1st rail wagon of SNCF's recovery plan : Our Stimulus Plan is starting. While, in the US it will have to pass now through each one of the States, once it's adopted at the Federal level. And similarly in Germany, where it must passs through each one of the Landers. Thus, it's implementation is obviously longer."

- "The Idea is to show to everybody, that when Europe adds all Stimulus measures it has already or is currently taking, then, (regardless of numbers, which evolve from day to day), our (EU) plan is perfectly equivalent to the US efforts".

-"Indeed, the Economic recovery Actions are considerable, and should incite Economic Actors to be more optimist"

This goes even more when France's, Germany's, and the rest of Europe's Debts are certainly important, but less than USA's sky-rocketing Debt, While both France, Germany and several other EU Countries also have "very strong Savings".

    So,"it's important to boost projects which are ready to start. Anticipate and accelerate is crucial in order to be more competitive, attractive and ahead" of others, Devedjian stressed.
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    An example was given by Strasbourg's local General Council (Department of lower Rhine), the 1st in France to adopt a "Local Stimulus Plan to generate more than 775 million € in 2009", according to his President, Guy-Dominique Kennel. Devedjian was welcomed by Kennel and his councillors in his superbe riverside building, glad to have already made the same fast-track move as US President Obama, to condition funds to projects' ability to start working in a few Months, "until June".


- "We don't ignore the difficulties. But we want to face them, confident in our capacity to understand and act" for "positive effects to start to be felt from the next weeks", said Kennel. "Have trust : Don't wait for Banks. Invest !", was Kennel's advise to Alsace, the 2nd richest area of France, after that of Paris.

- "We are all United when it comes to Economic recovery", because fighting against Crisis is a common cause, stressed from the outset Devedjian, when Kennel introduced him to a "Socialist" local politician, Jean-Jacques Gsell, observing that "despite that, he voted for our recovery plan". Gsell took it for granted, and joined Journalists in asking Devedjian to fund 3 local projects, getting immediately a first Ministerial answer for 2 of them.
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    But, when it comes into "anticipating" and "accelerating", what's best than Fast Trains' symbolic actuality ?

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Until now, before Obama's big move (See supra), all US Administrations had so much neglected High Speed Trains, by focusing only on cars and planes, that USA's ranking in the World on fast rail was astonishingly  ....below Turkey's (!)  On the contrary, core EU countries as France, closely followed by Germany, are competing with Japan for World's record 1st place...

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Meanwhile, a brand new High Speed Train "AGF" (TGV's successor) was unveiled by Alstom in 2008, at the presence of President Sarkozy, with an innovative Motor Architecture allowing passengers' space gains and a 360 km/h speed in established links.                

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                   On February 2009, SNCF, TGV's Railroad company, anounced a strategic, pioneer freight link from France to ..China, able to transport merchandises at a 12.000 kms' long railroad through France, Germany, Poland and Russia before 2011.Cheaper than Airplane, Rail is also faster than Ship transport : Instead of 6 Weeks, to arrive from Chinese to European Seaports, SNCF aims only 10 Days...


But the way leading to the 2009 spectacular InterContinental strategic move, had been paved by Franco-Germano-Russian Summits in Paris since 2005, "EuroFora" remembers well... Another topical example of "anticipating" key European projects, which add now succesful decisions opening to EU economy big new Horizons preparing 2011...

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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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