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Inicio arrow newsitems arrow EUCommissioners Mogherini+Bulc Debate in EUParliament China Strategy + Personal Data flows : "G-3" ?

EUCommissioners Mogherini+Bulc Debate in EUParliament China Strategy + Personal Data flows : "G-3" ?

Escrito por ACM
07.07.16
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*Strasbourg/Angelo Marcopolo/- Speaking in EU Parliament in Strasbourg at the Eve of the Annual 2016 EU - China Summit, Next Week at Beijing (12-13 July), EU Commissioners Federica Mogherini, (EU's High Representative for External Action) and Violeta Bulc (in charge of Transports), designed a rare, Brief but Interesting, Overall Picture of EU's unfolding, multifacet "Strategy" vis a vis the Country with the Biggest Population and one of the Most Ancient surviving Civilisations in the World, as well as with a lot of Growing, Modern Geo-Political and Economic Potential in a Multi-Polar World, but also facing Common a.o. Challenges nowadays, followed by a subsequent Debate with MEPs on the Topical, High-Tech, Human Rights and Security Issue of Personal Data Protection, of interest both to Big Business Corporations and Civil Society, Citizens, etc, (See Infra).


On Both cases, a "G-3" eventual approach (Europe - China - USA) was, in fact, evoked several times, Together with a Multi-Polar, Wider International Horizon.


 Chinese President Xi Jiping is due to participate, for the 1st time, in such an EU - China Summit, also via a scheduled meeting with EU Council and EU Commission Presidents, Donald Tusk and Jean-Claude Juncker, since his 1st Visit to Europe, back on Spring 2013, took place Before the Changes of May 2014 EU Election, while in the Latest, 2015 such Summit in Brussels, China was represented by Prime Minister Li Keqiang, who shall be also present now, (See "Eurofora"s NewsReports from the spot then, f.ex.. ..... + ....).


Mogherini, (who is now also a vice-President of EU Commission, and had served as former Foreign Minister of Italy, with an Educational background in Political Science), has just Published, during the Latest EU Heads of State/Governments' Summit, last week in Brussels, (Comp. "Eurofora"s various NewsReports from the spot, f.ex., inter alia, also : ..... + ....), a Communication on "Global Strategy for the EU's Foreign and Security Policy", which stresses EU's will to "Engage China", mainly by "Maximising the Potential of EU - China Connectivity", (also via ASEM and/or ASEAN), as well as by "Deepening Trade and Investment", while "Seeking a Level-Playing Field", "Intelelctual Property Rights" and "Greated Cooperation in High-End Technology", Together with "Dialogue" on "Economic Reform", "Human Rights" and "Climate", in parallel with a Multilateral, "more Politically-founded approach to Asia", in general,  for "a Greater practical Contribution to .. Security", but including also various "International Law" Issues, as she wrote.


 - EU's High Representative for External Action, speaking to MEPs in Strasbourg Yesterday Evening (Wednesday), after an important, Wider Debate, precisely, on that Overall, "Global" EU's CFSPolicy, (Comp. Supra), Focused, in Conclusion, for the First Time, on "EU's Strategy on China", by Stressing from the outset that, "10 Years" After the Previous EU Commission's Report on China, "the World has Changed .. very Rapidly", and EU "Needs to Update" its "Vision" and "Paths for Action", particularly in such "a Crucial Issue for (Europe's) Future" and even "Present", involving "one of the World's Greates Powers", since "a Number of Important China-Related Matters will Need to be Adressed in the Comming Weeks and Months".


- In particular, Pointing at "3 Main Areas" (Highlighted in a Communication Published Last June in Brussels for the Next Five Years of EU - China Relations) : (a) Economy, (b) Foreign Policy and (c) "Global Governance in a Multilateral context", Mogherini underlined that "the Core Principle of our (EU's) Strategy" is "to Step Up ...Engagement with China", "from Trade to Human Rights", etc., in a "principled, practical and pragmatic" way, since China has Become, during the Latest Decade, "much More of a Global Player", and "is More Confident, ...Outer-Looking and .. Assertive", despite "Some Frictions", while, even if the Wider "Asia's Security Environment Today looks more UnStable", nevertheless, "China has also sought Stronger Cooperation, with Other World Powers, including the EU", on various such "Global Issues". Nowadays, "We (EU) are their (China's) Biggest Trading Partner, and ... an important Security Provider in Asia, from Afghanistan to the Philippines", so that "We have an Interest in an Open, Stable and Cooperative China", as also "China .. has a .. Huge Interest in Good Relations with Europe", in "a Lot" of Issues "on which we Can and Should Work Together".


- F.ex., in "Economy", EU is interested to "a Greater Opening-up of the Chinese Market to European Business", for "Trading and Investing", with "Internal and External" Links, by seizing current "Opportunities" such as an "Agreement on Investment", "a Chinese Contribution to the (Juncker) Investment Plan for Europé", "Joint Research and Innovation", (a Key-point at the Latest, 2015 EU - China Summit in Brussels : See relevant "Eurofora"s NewsReport from the spot, at ......), as well as "new Connections inside .. EurAsia", ("Both Physical and Digital"), in order to "make Trade, Investment, and People-to-People Contacts, Faster and Easier", as she said.


+ But, speaking also about some percieved "Risks", "in a Delicate Moment of our Trade relations", where" China .. has (also) Obligations, and not simply Benefits", Mogherini pointed out that EU "must ... Shield (its) Industry from (so-called) Unfair Trade" in some alleged cases, while "China must make ... Cuts in .. OverCapacity", f.ex. "in .. Steel", but also "on Aluminium, Ceramics and Wood", while its own Economy "would benefit from Economic Reform, including the Elimination of State-induced Distorsions" of Market, according to a current official EU stance, (at least Part of which, has already been apparently Accepted by China, which has recently engaged in several such Reforms, even if it has also Rejected Some Accusations about "OverCapacity", and Asked from the EU more Fair "Anti-Dumping probe Criteria", as well as to Agree on "Granting China a Market Economy Status", as it has, in principle, been Scheduled by WTO Rules towards the End of 2016, while also wishing an EU-China "Free Trade" Deal at the Horizon of "2020").  


    But, at the Same Time, EU "has to Strengthen (its) Trade Defence Instruments" in General, (i.e. vis a vis All its Trade Partners : See, f.ex., .......), "Swiftly" enough, while, also, it "canNot Afford to be ..Conservative", having, rather, to "Try" to "Drive the Change", with "Better Rules" and "Reforms, through .. Engagement with the Wider World", as she acknowledged.


    ++ Moreover, on "the 2nd and 3rd Pillars" of EU's Strategy for China, (i.e. Foreign Policy and Global Governance : Comp. Supra), desirable "Reforms include ...Human Rights, ...Rule of Law, and ...Civil Society", through "Dialogue" and via the "EU-China Legal affairs" Cooperation "to Support and Accompagny China's Legal Reforms", which has just been "Launched" on June 2016 in Brussels, (according to an Agreement concluded at the Latest EU - China Summit on 2015 in Brussels : Comp. f.ex. "Eurofora"s NewsReports from the spot, then), reportedly Starting, particularly, with "e - Commerce" and "Consumer Protection", etc.


    - Even more Important, it's also on the Need to Face "InSecurity and Instability in East Asia", which "can only Spread to the rest of our Fragile World", including by Ensuring, f.ex., "Safety of Maritime Routes", and "Respect of International Norms", which "Concern the whole International Community" (i.e. USA included, etc), while EU "is Not Taking Sides on ... Territorial Claims in the South China Sea", but "Expects, in the Days ahead", a "full Compliance with International Norms, especially the .. UNCLOS, and a Peaceful Solution to any Disputes", that Mogherini pointed in addition.


    - At any case, "China is also an Essential Player in Other Issues", such as, f.ex., "Iran's Nuclear Programme", "Climate Change", (where EU's High Representative on External Action Welcomed Beijing's "Responsible Engagement" and "Role", including on the 2015 "Paris' Conference" of the UNCCC, "compared with their Attitude just a few Years Ago", (Back on 2009 in Copenhagen's International UNCCC Summit of Heads of State/Government, infamous for a so-called "G2" alleged Deal with US President Barack Hussein Obama, In-coming then, but Out-Going Now, Comp. "Eurofora"s NewsReports from that Copenhagen UNO Summit, f.ex. at : .....).  And Beijing has "an Essential Role to Play in Afghanistan", on which "We (EU) will Work Together" to prepare a "Conference .. in Brussels on October" 2016, as she Announced, while being also "a Relevant Actor in Africa and the Middle East", (f.ex. "in the International Support Group for Syria, and in the UN", where "Cooperation is Strong"), as well as "on Migration, ...Development Aid", etc.


    - Last, but not least,  as "None of our (EU's 28) Member States has the Size, nor the Power ... to engage ... with China", it's obviously "as a True Union, as European Union" that "We Can surely Do it", "as Part of the Global <<G 3>>" (Europe - China - USA), Mogherini concluded, speaking at a Moment when the recent UK Referendum for "BREXIT" re-launched various Calls to Boost Plans for Closer EU - Russia links, (existing since De Gaule's "Greater Europe, from the Atlantic to the Urals", and revisited on 2003 during the Controversial Invasion of Iraq, Strongly Criticized Yesterday even by the Famous British "Chilcot" Report Published on Wednesday in London about the UnPopular Dealings of former PM Blair), in order to Forge a Negotiating Block of about 700 - 800 Millions People, more able to Deal with China's more than a Billion.


-----------------------


    => That "G-3" Vision, was also Highlighted at Mogherini's main Reply to various MEPs' observations, at the Conclusion of EU Parliament's relevant Debate, later-on, where she Pointed at the Fact that "Europeans ..., the Chinese, and the Americans" have almost "the Same Level in terms of Size, But ...very Different Standards", and "This is the (main) Issue we Have to Work on", (particularly in a Multi-Polar World vision, Dear to De Gaule and several Other European, but also Chinese Politicians, including President Xi).


    Meanwhile, EU Commission's vice-President ensured MEPs that she "Heard" their "Comments on the Challenges we are Facing", "particularly" on Industrial

"OverCapacity", "Human Rights", "Market Access", or "Market Economy Status" (MES), etc., to which she "add(ed)" also "Security in Asia", that "Few .. if None" among them "pointed out", even if "it Affects, ..somehow, Global Stability and .. our (EU's) own Security", as she Criticized in turn, noting even "the South Chine Sea issue".


    But for Mogherini, "MES" "is Not the Main Issue, Nor the Issue of the Strategy we Discuss Tonight". Moreover, on the Contrary, EU's China "Strategy aims at 2 things" : Not only at "Being ...Honest and Crystal-clear on the Challenges and Difficulties", (about "Security, Trade, ..Market, OverCapacity and Human Rights"), "But also to Create a Commong Ground ... on a Positive and Forward-Looking basis ... on the Opportunities, that We (EU) Can and Must Seize ...with China", as she Stressed, Concluding by a Call to EU Parliament to "Help" "Impement this (EU) Strategy" by "Tackling the Challenges in the most Useful Way for ..European Citizens and Businesses", while "also .. Getting the Benefits of a Relationship that is Strategic"

.
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    A somewhat Similar, mutatis-mutandis, EU Interest in a Recently Growing Potential to Develop much Further EU - China relations, including on High-Tech Sectors, while also Feeling a Need to Address asap certain Concerns by Taking adequate Measures, was obviously Ambiant even at a subsequent EU Parliament's Debate Today Afternoon (Thursday) on the "Transfert of Personal Data to China", i.e. in a Key Digital Economy and Society Modern Issue :


    - EU Commissioner for Transports, Violeta Bulc, (a former Minister of Development, Integration and Cohesion, from Slovenia, with a Background in Digital Technology and Innovation), observed from the outset that China "has Not Yet any Legislation on Personal Data Protection", Neither is it engaged into Bilateral Talks with the EU about a relevant Legal Reform until now, even if the EU currently has Discussions with APEC, where China is Member, to which is added also the Fact of  "Binding Corporate Rules", as she pointed out.


    - But, Meanwhile, Data Movements between EU Countries and China have already Started to Grow de facto, Despite the European Principle that Legal "Safety" of Personal Data is "Necessary" in order to "Enable their Transfert" regularly from one Country to anOther. Indeed, "Transfert of Data (from the EU) to Countries who don't have a Personal Data Legislation is Only Possible If there are Other equivalent Safeguards", which, "Include", f.ex., "Standard Contractual Clauses, or Binding Corporate Rules", etc,  as Bulc reminded.


    (That Latest Possibility, concerning mainly Big Multinational Companies, "is particularly relevant to <<Cloud>> Computing", i.e. a New Technique used more and more Often recently, as "Global Businesses Need to Trasfert and Store Data in Differend Locations").


    - Because, for the EU, "Personal Data Protection is a Fundamental Right", and, (in Addition to a Pre-Existing PanEuropean CoE's relevat Convention on PDP : Comp. f.ex. .....), an EU's New Directive on that area "Will Enter into Force on 2018", she observed. Meanwhile, Implementation and Enforcement of relevant Laws is entrusted "to National Data Protection Authorities and Courts", which have the Power to Order, f.ex. "the Blocking, Erasure or Destruction of Data, or to Ban Processing" them, definitively or provisionaly, (etc). "Without adequate Safeguards", Trasferts of Data "risk to create Trade Barriers" and/or "to Violate WTO Commitments", she Warned.


    - Therefore, EU is "Concerned", f.ex., about "Access of Public Security Authorities to Personal Data Transfered from the EU to China", concerning their "Localisation", etc, while it Hopes that "China's Security concerns will be Addressed in a Proportional way", according to EU Commissioner Bulc.


     - That Latest Observation (Comp. Supra) is related to "Cyber-Security" and "National Security" Issues, on which "China Adopted and/or Proposed several Laws during the Last 18 Months", she observed, however.


    - In this respect, EU also "Welcomed an Opportunity to be Consulted", and "China's engagement in Transparency on the Legislative Process" in that matter, Bulc nevertheless noted Positively.


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    Vice-President of EU Parliament's Committee on Legal Affairs, German MEP Axel Voss, from the Governing ChristianDemocrat Party, speaking on behalf of the Biggest Group of MEPs (that of EPP), observed the Fact that, "already, Personal Data Transfert to China is a Reality, f.ex. by Cloud Computing, (particularly for Big, Multinational Companies, etc), or by using (Shanghai Headquartered) "Alibaba" e-Trade Platform, etc, and he expressed the wish for "an Adequate Level of Protection", Not very "far away" from what "we (EU) are Negotiating currently with the USA", as he said, (making Today another, indirect Hint to that "G-3" already refered to, Yesterday, by EU Commissioner Federica Mogherini : Comp. Supra).


    - But, "I learn from Collegues (MEPs) who are Activists on these matters", that there are some "Shortfalls", in this regard, and, "therefore, I Ask the (EU) Commission, How it can Guarantee", particularly "the Privacy Standards" of Europe, "for the Transfert of Data to China", "Better than what has been done so far", "Because I believe that it's, So Far, Too Little", Voss Criticized.


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    + Replying to this and various similar Observations also by several Other MEPs, EU Commissioner Bulc reiterated that Protection of Personal Data is inscribed both in EU's "Charter" of Fundamental Rights and Freedoms (which entered into force on 2010), as well as in EU secondary "Laws" (Comp. Supra), while also "Underlying" that "Transfert of Data" is Not Legal "in the Absence of Adequate Safeguards", as a matter of General Principle.


    >>> Such Safeguards "Can, f.ex. be also included in Contractual Clauses", imposing "Obligations on Security and Protection of Personal Data, against Loss, Alteration, and/or Anauthorized Access", etc., she Suggested.


    + Moreover, "Multinational Companies" often include relevant Safeguards "in Binding Corporate Rules", (Comp. Supra), that even "Individuals" can invoke "as Third Parties", Bulc added.


    - In Legal Practice, the main Point is for "Rules", f.ex. on "Compensation in case of Breach", etc., to exist, as well as "a Possibility to make a complaint before an Authority for Data Protection and/or a Court", she explained.


    => Therefore, "EU Commission Will continue to Promote our (European) Principles" on "Data Flows" and Protection of Personal Data", both Directly with China, and via APEC or Other Regional/Internatiional Organizations, the EU Commissioner Concluded, speaking in Strasbourg just a Week before the forthcoming Annual EU - Chna Summit in Beijing, (Comp. Supra), and a few Months before PanEuropean CoE's 2 Important International Conferences here on "Freedom of Expression at the Internet", September 2016, and on "Cyber-Crime", November 2016, before UNO's Annual "GDF" in Mexico, December 2016.


     Until Now, CoE's classic International "Convention on Personal Data Protection", which exists since 1981, and is Open to Signature and Ratification by Any Country, is the Only Legaly Binding Treaty on that matter in the World. Strasbourg's PanEuropean Organization (which Includes Russia among its 47 Member States), has also a "Cyber-Crime Convention", opened to SIgnature at Budapest, with a similar Global Potential. USA and Other Non-European Countries from various Continents accross the World participated in the Preparation of Both these 2 Parallel Legal Instruments on the Modern Digital Society, and, even if Washington has not yet become an Official Member, nevertheless, several Other Countries from America, Australia, Africa or Asia have started to Join those CoE's Moves, while its Committee of Minister Started, Recently, to strongly Support the Perspective of a World-wide Expansion of Membership in these Legal Tools, that its Current, Estonian Presidency (May - November 2016) intends to Boost further, (See, f.ex.: ... + ...).


    It's alsoo True, However, that some CoE Member Countries, such as, particularly Russia, etc, have already expressed certain Reserves, mainly vis a vis a 2011 "Additional Protocol" to the above-mentioned CoE's Data Protection Cnvention, as well as to its Forthcoming "Review", scheduled for the End of 2016, but also on the PanEuropean Organization's "Cyber-Crime" Convention, particularly as far as it concerns "Trans-Border Data flows" and/or Data processed by National Govzernments for "Security" purposes. Various Technical and/or Legal Possibilities for Controversial Access to such Sensitive Data by Foreign Countries as f.ex. USA, etc., has , reportedly, played a Notable Role in this Issue, (as "Eurofora" has Witnessed at Various concrete Occasions in several International Conferences in Strasbourg, during these Post-9/11 Years, and mainly during Out-going USPresident Obama's terms of Office in 2008-2016, who has apparently taken a Growing Keen Interest on such matters).  


    However, such Issues as "Personal Data Protection", and/or "CyberCrime", etc., could, eventualy, become integral Parts of the above-mentioned, Wider "EU - China Dialogue on Legal affairs", which was Agreed on 2015 and has just Started since June 2016, with its Next Meetings Scheduled in Brussels for the Beginning of 2017, (Comp. Supra).


    At any case, Exceptionaly, EU Parliament did Not prepare, this time, any relevant written Resolutions for Vote, probably because sufficient Time lacked before the forrthcoming Annual EU - China Summit in Bejing Next Week, (Comp. Supra).

 

 

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("DraftNews", as already send to "Eurofora"s Subscribers/Donors, earlier. A more accurate, full Final Version might be Published asap).

 

 

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Speaking exclusively to "EuroFora", the New EU Parliament's President, former Polish Prime Minister, ChristianDemocrat/EPP MEP Jerzy Busek, welcomed proposals by EuroFora about innovative ways for EU Citizens to attend EU debates before important final decisions which affect people's lives.

- "We (EU Parliament) must be transparent", Buzek stressed from the outset.  "We must have clear answers also for delicate questions. If we don't touch a problem, you must know why, and when shall we decide in the nearest future".. "Because "we (EU) must think about Europeans, first of all : They don't understand well what is going on in the EU. So, it's our duty to inform them, to make discussions here more interesting".

"EuroFora" congratulated President Buzek for the anouncement he made, from the 1st day of his election in Strasbourg (on Tuesday, 14 July 2009), on his intention to make  transparent debates, exchanges of views, etc. before the final adoption of decisions in EU Parliament's Plenary, when issues are evolving inside Committees, (See earlier publication).

And we reminded, in this regard, that "EuroFora" has been advocating a project for EU Citizens' active involvement in pluralist EU debates before important EU decisions, since more than a Decade : 1997-2007+

- "Thank you. We (EU Parliament), indeed, have exciting debates", Buzek replied. But, in practice, "without a possibility for our Citizens to see them, not even by the Press, the Radio or TV, etc., because it is in Committees", he regreted.

- "But, they (i.e. Media, Citizens, etc) might interact with you, with MEPs, etc, May be we can imagine something", "EuroFora" proposed.

- "Yes, (but) it needs, a quite new idea", Buzed observed.

- "Why not through some innovations ?", "EuroFora" suggested.

- "Innovation ? That's it. Fantastic  New Information Technologies !", Buzek realized.

- "Precisely, "EuroFora" has such a project, since more than a Decade (1997-2009), to use new technologies for public debates before major EU decisions are taken", we reminded.

- "If you have such proposals, please come to us, come to us. We must" do something, agreed the new EU Parliamen's President.

buzek_chairing_400 

    This fits with Buzek's main stance, expressed at EU Parliament's plenary earlier this week in Strasbourg, that the European Union must succeed to overcome a "Crisis of Trust" vis a vis EU Citizens. (See previous EuroFora publication).

    For that purpose, obviously information and debates are valuable, but purely instrumental, procedural means which can help focus on, and highlight a substantial content, attractive to EU Citizens, which needs to be determined by other, political, and not mediatic factors.  

    Buzek spoke about the urgent need to overcome the Global Economic Crisis,  the struggle for Human and Civic Rights, Democracy, etc., the Eastern Partnership, links with Russia, strategic partnership with USA and emerging countries, etc.

    But he also used (while speaking both to "EuroFora" and other Media) the expression : "The Europeans", for EU Citizens. This points right towards what several important EU leaders (including French President Sarkozy, German Chancellor Merkel, etc) have started to highlight particularly during the recent years : That there is a vital need, and an historic opportunity, for the development of a European Conscience, to stimulate e renaissance of a European Identity able to attract Popular support, for the EU to become a strong player in a Multopolar World : In other words, the revitalisation of a project for a "Political Europe".

    By a coincidence, this was indirectly but surely reminded, earlier in Strasbourg, by another ... Busek (this time with a "s") : 

busekcoe_400

    Speaking to more than 650 participants from CoE's member countries, at the conclusion of the 2009 Summer University of its Political Schools, Erhard Busek, (with an "s"), former vice-Chancellor of Austria and EU Coordinator for South-Eastern Europe, pointed at the current need to revitalize Europe's "Identity", forged by Greek philosophy and Roman Law, Christian values and Enlightment's ideas, etc. through the ages.     

- "We have almost the same name with Jerzy Buzek (EU Parliament's new President, who is a former Polish Prime Minister), because both our Families come ...from  the same village, located at the Heart of Europe, which was often shared between Poland, Germany and the Czech Republic. But my family emmigrated a long time ago to Austria, while Jerzy Buzek's family remained in Poland", explained f. vice-Chancellor Erhard Busek to "EuroFora".   

 An astonishingly concrete and simple example of European Integration from the grassroots : Starting by EU Citizens, i.e. those "Europeans", that EU Parliament's new President, Jerzy Buzek (this time with a "z"), wants to bring alongside MEP's decision-making proces, (according to "EuroFora"'s main idea : Comp. supra)...

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