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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 : "

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"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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    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)...
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    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".

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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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