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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

Parašė ACM
Thursday, February 19, 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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    The recent paradox of freezing EU Talks with front-runner Croatia, while continuing controversial EU - Turkey talks, despite Zagreb's acceptance of Refugees' Human Rights to return, that Ankara refuses fex. in Cyprus, while both have "Good Neighborhood" problems vis a vis Slovenia, or Greece, Cyprus and Armenia respectively, can it be justified by the non-fullfilment of EU criteria, as Slovenia says, or, is it "Double Standards" ?    

The question became unavoidable after statements by Presidents of Slovenia and Croatia, Tuerk and Mesic, respectively, to "EuroFora", exclusively or among Strasbourg's journalists this week at the CoE, on the sidelines of its 2009 Summer University for Political Schools, which topically brought them together as successive key-note speakers.


    Comming only a few Months before EU checks Turkey's compliance to its commitments on Cyprus, etc., scheduled for December 2009, this obviously has a special importance for the coherence of EU Enlargement's principles.

     Suspension of EU Negotiations is a normal consequence in case of a Candidate Country's failure to fullfil EU Conditions, such as "Good Neighborhood relations", stressed at first Slovenian President Danilo Tuerk, current CoE's chair.

    But, regarding EU's Criteria,  there shouldn't be any "Double Standards",  reacted Croatian President Stjepan Mesic, commenting the fact that Turkey's controversial EU negotiations continue, while they were recently "freezed" in the case of Croatia, an "unquestionably European Country", which oficially accepts to respect Refugees Human Rights, contrary to Ankara's notorious refusals or reluctance.                                       

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                           - "EU itself has set as a Criterium (for EU Enlargement) the "Good Neighborhood relations",  and their absence justifies the "Suspension" EU Negotiations, (f.ex. with Croatia), because of a Border dispute affecting the territorial integrity of an EU Member Country, stressed Slovenian President, Danilo Tuerk, CoE's Chairman in office (May - November 2009), speaking to Journalists in Strasbourg including "EuroFora".    

Questioned earlier what "consequences on EU's Enlargement policy" can have the "Ban on EU Membership Negotiations", imposed to Croatia, Tuerk replied that "this question comes down to the fulfillement of (EU) Criteria for membership. One has to look at each Candidate Country ., from the point of view whether it fullfils the Criteria that EU has set. One of them are Good Neighborhood Relations, I'd like to remind. And also, there are other factors, such as Justice, Home affairs, Rule of Law, and others".


    - "Now, ..Candidate Countries are at Different Levels of fulfillement of Criteria", he observed.

    - " Croatia is obviously the closest to that. I'm rather optimistic : I think that in the coming Months we'll have an opportunity to look at all these issues constructively and hopefully we'll be able to make progress". "My main concern, at this point, is the situation in Bosnia : We haven't seen enough progres domesticaly. We haven't seen enough during ..political parties within their country.We need a New Energy, a new energetic move towards the Candidature for EU membership. "Other (Western Balkan) Countries (Serbia, Montenegro, FYROM, Albania) have been making soaring Progress, and I think that they should be ready, in a few Years, for the Candidate status".

    - "As far as the Western Balkans are concerned, .. nobody should be left outside" the EU, Slovenian's President concluded, ommitting to mention Turkey's controversial EU bid.

    - "This process may be seen as Slow, but..  Slovenia has also has also been exposed to various "Booms of Slowness" in our accession period. But now we can say that the process was relatively quick, because changes which occur after becoming EU member, are quite large, and they require proper Preparations before the (EU) membership becomes a new factor, an impacting line for a new (EU) member country".
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EU "Solidarity" ?
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Slovenian statements made some participants from certain 3rd Countries as FYROM, etc. claim that "the Principle of EU Solidarity" would "produce a.. rising European Union Nationalism (sic !), against Non-EU Countries", as they said, asking unhappy foreign countries to form a "bloc" to exert pressure on the EU...    

But Croatian President Stjepan Mesic dismissed that, supporting "EU Integration", "after the Economy also in Political" issues, as "the achievement" of our times. In EU there is "diversity, but it's United", he stressed, "EU has to be United so that it can become a central factor of Peace" also at the surrounding areas, he replied.

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Speaking later exclusively to "EuroFora", the experienced twice President of Croatia, former President of the International "Non-Aligned" movement, denounced "Double Standards" in the way EU treats recently Croatia compared to Turkey :   

 - "I think that there shouldn't be Double Standards", stressed the Croatian President, in reply to a Question comparing the freeze of EU - Croatia talks, with the continuation of EU - Turkey talks, despite the fact that Croatia is an "unquestionably European country", while Turkey's EU bid is notoriously controversial.


    Mesic was reacting to the observation that, even if he confirmed his "respect of Refugees' Human Rights to return, etc. (See infra), nevertheless, EU talks are suspended with Croatia.. While for oher, controversial candidates, who refuse to respect Refugees' Rights to return, etc., as fex. Turkey does in occupied Cyprus and elsewhere, EU negotiations continue".

    - "I believe that Croatia's accession will confirm that all European Countries who fulfill all of the Conditions and achieve European Standards, have to join the EU. There shouldn't be any Double Standards", went on to add in reply President Mesic.

    In this relation, Croatia's President found "of paramount importance", CoE's "mechanisms enforcing ECHR's judgements"
    
    - "On Refugees and Displaced persons, the process will be completed only after the last person demanding to return will be allowed to do so !", President Mesic Croatia stressed earlier, setting a general standard of obvious importance also for otherr candidates, as f.ex. Turkey, often accused to exclude or heavily restrict Greek Cypriot Displaced persons' return to their Family Homes and ancestral land, provoke difficulties to Turkish-Kurd IDPs return to their home regions at the South-East, etc.

    Some "2.000 People are still reported Missing" in former Yugoslavia, for some Years, (as in Cyprus, modern Europe's oldest case, for 3 Decades. Nagorno-Karabach, Tcecnya in Russia, etc, more recently), and Investigations "will only be completed after establishing the fate of the last one of them", he added.
    
    Speaking earlier on "War Crimes", President Mesic stressed that "Leaders are responsible for (the) Wars (of the Past), not the People", and called against Impunity :  "Individuals have to be held Responsible for Crimes. International Penal Tribunals have to persecute those individuals", perpetrators of War Crimes, he underlined.

    Such statements naturally made Mesic rather popular at ECHR, whose President, French EuroJudge, Professor Jean-Paul Costa, looked particularly smiling when he welcomed him later on Wednesday afternoon, after Slovenian President Daniko Tuerk earlier this week.
           

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