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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
Πέμπτη, 19 Φεβρουάριος 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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Recent developments proved that Europe can suceed to overcome challenges by aiming at great objectives, and this is needed also in 2009, said EU chairman, French President Nicolas Sarkozy.

    - "It's in the name of Great Ideas, Projects, Ambition and Ideals, that EU can overcome" challenges, stressed Sarkozy at EU Parliament in Strasbourg, in conclusion of a dense 7 months EU Chairmanship. "It's even easier for Europe to have Great projects, able to overcome national egoism, instead of limiting itself only to small projects" (unable to do alike), he observed.     

- "Europe must remain Ambitious and understand that the World needs her to take Decisions". "The World needs a Strong Europe", which "thinks on its own, has convictions, its own responses, its imagination" : "A Europe which does not limit itself into following" others, (as it did in the Past, when it followed USA, f.ex. on Bosnia). On the contrary, "Europe should undertake its own responsibilities", he said, after a series of succes in stopping the War between Russia and Georgia, and organizing the 1st EuroZone's Summit in Paris, which incited the Washington DC G-20 Summit to extend similar decisions World-wide.  


    - "When you sweep it all under the carpet, prepare yourself for hard tomorrows", he warned. "What hinders decisions is the lack of Courage and Will, the fading away of Ideals", he stressed before EU Parliament's 2008 debate on Human Rights and Sakharov prize on Freedom of thought attributed by MEPs to Chinese cyber-dissident Hu Jia, followed by an EU - Turkey meeting on Friday.

    - "I don't abandon my convictions" and "I will take initiatives" on EU level also in 2009, Sarkozy announced later. "France will not stop having convictions and taking initiatives" on Europe. + "It's an Error to wish to pass over the Heads of those who are elected in their Countries" : "It's an integrism I always fought against"', he warned.
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French EU Presidency faced 4 unexpected Crisis :

- An institutional crisis, with the Irish "No" to EU Lisbon Treaty, just before it started. A geopolitical crisis, wth the threat of War between Russia and Georgia risking to throw Europe back to Cold-war divisions, on August. A World-wide Financial and Economic crisis, arriving at a bad moment before crucial 2009 EU elections. And even a Strasbourg's mini-crisis, with EU Parliament's roof curiously falling down, from unknown reasons, in a brand new building on August, provoking an unprecedented transfert of the 2 September Plenary Sessions...

But it wasn't enough to stop Sarkozy ! On the contrary, it stimulated him...
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- "The better way to deal with the recent problems of EU institutions (as the "3 NO" by France, the Netherlands and Ireland) is to take them as a "Test" in order to find solutions closer to Citizens' concerns", said later in Strasbourg Sarkozy's new choice as Ministe for EU affairs, Bruno Le Maire.

- On the Institutional front, Sarkozy gave Time to the Irish to think about it, and stroke on December a deal including a New Referendum after the June 2009 EU Elections, in exchange of a promise to keep the rule of "one EU Commissioner for each EU Member Country", and some opt-outs on Defence and Fiscal EU policies, Abortion, etc. If the Irish get a "Yes" Majority, then the institutional package could be completed in 2010 or 2011 on the occasion of Croatia's probable EU accession.

He was accused in Strasbourg to upgrade EU Council and downgrade EU Commision, but he replied that "strong Political initiatives by EU Council reinforce also the more technical role of EU Commission, under the political-technical leadership of its President", all 3 "working together with EU Parliament".


- But, meanwhile, Sarkozy energetically spearheaded an Historic 1st Summit of EuroZone's 15 Heads of State and Government at EU's core, exceptionally enlarged to a partial participation of British Prime Minister Gordon Brown, on October 12 in Paris' Elysee palace, which started to tackle succesfully the growing world Financial crisis.

    It also paved the way for its endorsement by a subsequent Brussels' 27 EU Member States' gathering, before it all come to Washington's G-20 Summit. And "Europe was united, it asked for the 1st G-20 Summit, and it will also organise the next G-20 Summit on April in London", he observed.   

 But a Conference with EU, Russia, African and other Developing Countries, hosted in Strasbourg shortly after Washington G-20 Summit by the French EU Presidency, took a Resolution asking to enlarge participation to Global Economic Governance. Many found, indeed, illogic and unacceptable that f.ex. states as Turkey were given a seat at G-20 level, while all African Countries, and even the African Union itself, representing the greatest Continent on Earth, were excluded...


    Meanwhile, even USA''s "Paulson No 3" Plan, was, in fact, inspired by Europe's No 1 Plan", Sarkozy observed, largelly applauded by MEPs.

    And "Europe showed Solidarity" by mobilizing some 22 Billion credit for Hungary, 1,7 billion for Ukraine, as we do nowadays for Baltic States, etc., he added.

    The move on Economy was extended on December by an EU stimulus' plan totalling some 200 billion Euros, including 5 Billions released by EU Commission for big Projects, as well as various parallel National plans for Economic revival, (fex. 26 billions in France alone). They might appear limited, compared to USA President-elect Obama's reported plan to boost the American economy with 800 billion $, but at least succeded to overcome Europe's divisions for the first time on Economic governance, opening new horizons.

- The French President stressed even harder the unique role of an active EU Council's chairmanship, when he moved swiftly and efficiently, at the beginning of August, to succesfully stop War between Russia and Georgia, at the last minute, which threatened to bring Europe back to Cold War division.

"We (EU) also wanted to avoid a situation like in Bosnia, in the Past, when EU was absent, so that our American friends took their responsibilitues, and EU only followed", despite the fact that the conflict took place in Europe. Now, it was the EU who took its responsibilities".

A roadmap towards a new PanEuropean Security policy, before which all unilateral moves to place new Missiles (from USA or Russia) would be freezed, was proposed by Sarkozy after a meeting with Russian president Medvedev, at the eve of Washington DC's G-20 Summit.

Ukraine's "European" character was stressed at a Sarkozy - Jushenko Summit, September in Paris, while EU adopted on December an "Eastern policy", in which, "I'm convinced that our (EU's) future is to find with our Neighbours the conditions for Economic Development. Peace and Security, by explaining them that.. they must respect (Human Rights') Values, and adopt behaviors different from the Past", explained Sarkozy in Strasbourg.

Meanwhile, the "Union for the Mediterranean" was created, since July's Summit if 45 Heads of State and Government in Paris, as "an organisation for a permanent Dialogue, that we need", mainly in order to tackle the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, by bringing together, for the 1st time, Israelis and Arabs, where "Europe must be present, in order to avoid a frontal clash".

- "If Europe doesn't take its part for Peace in the Middle-East, nobody else will do that in our place", Sarkozy stressed.
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    Meanwhile, other EU Agreements were brokered during the French EU Presidency on Immigration, (fex. common Asylum rules, etc), and Climat- Energy :

    - On Climat-Energy, the 2007 German EU Presidency had fixed a triple 20% aim for 2020 (20% renewable Energies, 20% reduction of CO2 emmission, 20% energy efficience/economies), and the 2008 French EU Presidecny realized that, making the necessary compromises in order to modernize EU's industry, but without throwing some former Central-Eastern European Countries into abrupt Economic break down risking "social explosion".

    - Defence-Security EU policy was mainly postponed for April 2009, since both German chancellor Merkel and French president Sarkozy want to strike a deal with the new American president Obama in Strasbourg's NATO Summit.

    However, with all these 4 unexpected Crisis diverting attention to other urgencies, People wil wonder now, what happened to the famous deal proposed by freshly-elected French President Sarkozy on Turkey's controversial EU bid, back on August 2007, to continue EU - Turkey negotiations, but on the double condition that core chapters, intrinsequally linked with EU Membership, will be excluded, and that a collective Reflexion and Debate on Europe's future would start before the end of 2008.

    It was meant to reply to the crucial question : What kind of Europe do we want in 10 or 20 Years from now : A large Market, or a Political Europe, with a popular identity ? In Sarkozy's thinking, presented in his 2 landmark speeches on Europe in Strasbourg, shortly before and after the 2007 Elections, (on February and July 2007), Turkey's controversial EU bid would be incompatible with the second choice.

    It's true that EU Commision's Chairman, Jose Barroso, (who had notoriously declared, as former Portuguese Prime Minister, that he found "nonsense" the idea that Europe might become equal to the US), had repeatedly tried to avoid that Sarkozy's criticism on Turkey might start winning a larger audience in Europe, preferring a discrete "wismens' committee" work. And that most of the personalities later chosen in order to participate in a Committee on Europe's Future, are too much linked with Socialist parties and/or American policies, to be really critical of USA's notorious wish to impose Turkey to the EU, as Sarkozy had noted himself since March 2007..

     - "It's on EU Council's presidency to take political initiatives. EU Commission has other competences", stressed Sarkozy. The "European Ideal" is to "build Europe with the States, not against them". "Ask Europeans to chose between their countries and Europe won't work. You don't choose between your two parents : We must add them together".

    "France and Germany have an Historic Duty to work together, precisely because of what happened to the Past. We have to work hand by hand. We cannot be separated.It goes beyond me and Mrs Merkel today, Mr Schroeder and Mr. Chirac yesterday. It's not a choice, it's a duty to Europe and to the World".  "We need Germany, as Germany needs Europe". Compromise is inevitable, here as everywhere, and each one made some steps towards eachother's positions.

    But "it's true that Mrs Merkel didn't chose her Socialist partners, while I chose mine", Sarkozy said, in an indirect hint that the Socialist Minister of Finance in Germany might be a cause of minor past disagreements in Economy, which were overcome in recent negotiations.

    "We (France and Germany) have particular duties in Europe", but "in a Europe of 27 Member States, it's not enough for France and Germany to agree between them.

    "I always thought that Great Britain has a special role to play in Europe. ... Now, everybody "saw what it cost payed the UK for having been too exclusively open towards the US (and) Financial services. Europe needs the UK, but also the UK needs Europe" :- "We were able to face the hardest moment of the Financial crisis because the UK clearly chose Europe", stressed Sarkozy, reminding Gordon Brown's exceptional participation to the Historic 1st Heads of State/Government Summit of EuroZone, October 12 in Paris (See EuroFora's Reportage from Elysee Palace then).

     - "Some look at Europe with old glasses aged 30 years ago. While we must look at her in relation to what it will be in 30 years" in the Future, Sarkozy concluded.

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