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Inicio 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

Escrito por ACM
19.02.09

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 ?

fast_train_eu_us_400

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...

speed_trains_rating_400

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 incoming Swedish EU Presidency (July-December 2009) may still remain in favour of Turkey's controversial EU bid, despite June 2009 EU Elections' results, but it has "very strong demands on Turkey"'s obligation to respect EU Rules, said the Head of Swedish Foreign Ministry's Press Service, Cecilia Julin, to "EuroFora", reacting to critical Press reports.

    - "I know (that) the link is often made also to Sweden's position on Turkey"'s controversial EU bid. Indeed, "we (Swedish EU Presidency) are very much engaged in the future membership of Turkey, but not without fullfiling all the Criteria".

    - "It's very clear that we (Swedish EU Presidecny) have very Strong Demands on Turkey, in a sort of concept for Future membership of the Union, ...which will be a Long Process...", she stressed.

    This means, in particular, "the Copenhagen Criteria (on Human Rights, Democracy and Rule of Law), and also the adaptation to the Acquis of the European Union".

     - "If you listen to what Mr. Bildt (the Swedish Foreign Minister) says on Turkey at different occasions, it's very clear : We want Turkey to become part of the Union, in the Future. But we want it to fullfil all the Criteria : The Acquis of the European Union. That's very clear", she concluded.

    The Senior Official of the Swedish Foreign Ministry was reacting to critical Press Reports, from Brussels' Journalists invited by EU Commission's secretariat to Stockholm, who claimed that Bildt was abusing of a ..."Whip" (sic !) against Cyprus, by "threatening" the presence of UNO's Peace-keeping force at the "Green line" which separates the island's Government-controlled areas from the territories occupied by Ankara's army, if Nicosia didn't accept any political solution, regardless of Turkey's demands, before the end of 2009.

        Governing AKEL Party's new Secretary General, Andros Kyprianou, reacted by declaring that no-one can threat the People of Cyprus : -"We shall decide for our Future, and nobody else",  he reportedly said, asking to "keep calm". "In order to find a Solution soon, certain basic Principles must be respected", he stressed, calling those who feel an urgency to use their influence on Turkey. Other Political Parties were more critical.

    This was a reference to recently reported statements by Turkish Minister Bagis, Prime Minister Tayip Erdogan and Turkey's National Security Council (a Military-Political body), accused to push towards a partitionist "2 States" solution, contrary to UNO SC Resolutions for Cyprus' reunification.

    December 2009 is a crucial moment for EU's appraisal of Turkey's controversial EU bid, because EU Council has decided to review then Ankara's compliance with the European position on the recognition of Cyprus' Government, which was clearly set out by an EU reply of 21 September 2005 to Turkish Prime Minister Tayip Erdogan's claims, refusing to recognize even the existence of EU Member Cyprus, in controversial statements he made to London (former EU chair) on July 29, 2005.

    EU Parliament's latest Resolution on Turkey, adopted on March 2009 in Strasbourg, warned Ankara that "the non-fulfillment of Turkey's commitments... by December 2009, may further seriously affect the process of Negotiations" with the EU.

    In practice, the issue boils down to Ankara's "embargo" against Ships and Airplanes using Cyprus' seaports or airports at the strategic EU island, which traditionaly hosts one of the World's biggest Shipping flags. EU has already "freezed" 6 relevant Chapters in EU - Turkey Negotiations since December 2006, after Ankara refused to fullfil a commitment it had undertaken when EU had decided to open controversial "accession" negotiations with Turkey, back on December 2005.

    - "As far as EU - Turkey relations are concerned, it's clear that Turkey needs to fullfil its obligation of full, non-discriminatory implementation of the additional Protocol (to "EC-Turkey Association Agreement"),  This is an important issue....and should be addresseed as soon as possible as it clearly affects the pace of the accession negotiations.Issues covered by the Declaration of September 2005 will continue to be followed up, and progress is urgently awaited", warned earlier in Strasbourg the out-going Czech EU Presidency (former vice-Prime Minister Alexander Vodra).

    But the Head of the Swedish Foreign Ministry's Press Service, Cecilia Julin, dismissed "interpretations" by "some" that Foreign Minister Carl Bildt was reportedly "threatening" Cyprus with consequences on the UNFICYP, if it doesn't accept any solution until December 2009, while Turkey is reportedly delaying in an attempt to impose a partitionist "2 States" solution.

    On the contrary, Julin, stressed that "Sweden has strong demands on Turkey'"s respect of "Copenhagen Criteria and EU Acquis".

    Meanwhile, Sweden  is "concerned" about the risk of "Stalemate" in Cyprus' Talks, but is well aware that "the main responsibilities lie with the two leaders and the UNO", Europe playing only a role of "facilitator".

    After carefully verifying, the Head of Swedish Foreign Ministry's Press Service, stressed to "EuroFora" that Bildt's reference to UNFICYP "was not linked to a Threat", and dismissed those who "interpreted" it so.

    On the contrary, the Swedish EU Presidency acknowledged the fact that Peace Talks are mainly for the UN and the leaders of the Cypriot communities, EU's role being limited into that of a "facilitator".

    As for Turkey's reported attempts to impose a "2 States' solution", the Head of the Swedish Foreign Ministry's Press Service sharply replied by stressing that Turkey must respect the "EU Acquis" rules.

    In particular :

    - "Basically he (Bildt) underlined that it's the leaders of the two communities in Cyprus and the UN that have the main responsibilities for solving the problem", started to say the Swedish Senior Official to "EuroFora", referring to the above-mentioned "briefing".

    - "But the EU had a role in sort of pointing out the benefits and facilitating a little bit the outcome for the settlement of the whole Cyprus' issue", she added.

    - "And he did state the Fact, that the rest of the World (i.e. USA, etc) will, of course, look at the differend issues which are at the table, and the future of the UN Peace keeping force is part of what is at the table", she admitted.

    - "I understand that some have interpreted that as a Threat, by the Swedish Minister" "But", in reality, "it's a statement of a Fact, that, when we'll look at the differend issues, one of the issues on which we shall have to take a stand on, is the future of the UN Peace keeping force in Cyprus".

    Indeed, one of the questions usually raised for a Solution of Cyprus' issue is what International and/or European or other Guarantees, by a Peace-keeping force, might be needed afterwards, eventually for a transitory period.

    Questioned anew by "EuroFora" whether (according to critical Press Reports) this could be taken as a veiled warning that, if Cyprus didn't accept any Turkish demand for any solution whatever, it might be left alone to face Ankara's Military Invasion/Occupation, she denied :

    - "He (Bildt) didn't say it in that way"... "It was not linked to a threat, or anything like that", the Head of the Swedish Foreign Ministry's Press Service stressed.

    On the contrary, "he (Bildt) underlined that the main responsibility lies with the parties concerned on the island". "The EU can try to facilitate and show the benefits of reaching a settlement. But also, when the EU and the rest of the World (i.e. USA) will have to look at it, they will look at all the Facts on the table, and the presence of the UN Peace-keeping force is one".

    And "he (Bildt) didn't speak about that at all", she replied to "EuroFora" question on Turkey's reported attemps to impose, in one way of another, a partitionist "2 States solution".

    Asked whether Bildt's aim was to incite both parties to move forward efficiently, she agreed :

    - In fact, "the EU is really very concerned with the Stalemate in the situation. Yes !", the Head of Sweden's Foreign Ministry's Press Service anounced. That's why Bildt "was hoping for the two parties (i.e. for Turkey's also) to engage and break, a little-bit, the present stalemate, come to a solution of the issue" of Cyprus.

    But, replying  to a "EuroFora"s question on the risk, denounced by several politicians in case of strict Time Deadlines, for Turkey to provoke a stalemate and wait for the time to come to impose a partitionist "2 States' solution", she reacted by pointing at Turkey's obligation to respect "EU Acquis" :

    - "Turkey must fullfil the EU Acquis : That's clear !", the Swedish Senior Official stressed.

    More details are expected when Swedish Prime Minister Reinfeldt will debate his Programme with new MEPs at EU Parliament's plenary mid-July in Strasbourg, that he has visited already in 2008.

    Foreign Minister Carl Bildt became familiar with Strasbourg's CoE last year, when Sweden chaired the PanEuropean organization of Human Rights. As EU chairman-in-office, he will also chair the 27-member States strong EU Group inside the 47-member States strong CoE.

    Minister for EU affairs, Cecilia Malmstrom is well known at EU Parliament, where she has been an active MEP of the Liberal Group for many years, following also Press Freedom issues.

    Both have already made various statements at "EuroFora", on differend topical matters.

    ***

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