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Home arrow newsitems arrow EU Parliament Votes for Inland WaterWays Transports, But Big Projects Evaporated ?...

EU Parliament Votes for Inland WaterWays Transports, But Big Projects Evaporated ?...

Written by ACM
Tuesday, 14 September 2021

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*Strasbourg/Angelo Marcopolo/- Europe is a unique Continent in the World, closely Surrounded by 4 Seas (Mediterranean, Atlantic, Baltic/Arctic, Black/Caspian, etc), abundantly Linked by Rivers (Danube, Rhine, Volga, Elbe, Rhone, etc), Lakes, etc, so that Inland Waterways naturaly have a Huge Potential, particularly for Simple and Ecologic (Non-CO2 "Green") Transports, including in Strategic areas.

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In consequence, an EU Parliament's Resolution, quasi-Unanimously Voted Today by 641 MEPs out of 603 Present, with Only 45 Abstaining and 7 Opposed, supported by EU Commission's New "NAIADES" (from Ancient Greek Godesses of Lakes and Rivers' Mythos) Program of 2021-2027 Funding, aiming to Boost "Green" and Digital, "Ambitious" Targets of Inland Navigation in the foreseable Future, and lively Backed, in Yesterday's Public Debate by the sympathetic EU Commissioner Nicolas Schmit from Luxembourg, (Comp. other Statements by Schmit to "Eurofora"s co-Founder back on 2005, then as Minister), should, Normaly, Charm EU Citizens and Satisfy all well-wishing Readers...

But, from Where comes, then, an unexpected Bitter Feeling, particularly of Real, convinced Europeans ?

 

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However, inter alia, Goodies like "Multi-Modal" Links with Seaports and Railways, Modern Design of New Shipping Vehicles, Funds adapted to SMEs, Har-Working Family Business, and UpGrading of the WorkForce, even Space Technologies' use, "Attractiveness for (Private) Investors", Calls for Links to Circular economies and Energy markets, as well as Many and Various Others, are also Abundantly present, all accross the relevant Report, naturally Drafted by a Dutch MEP, Caroline Negtegaal...

Nevertheless, it's also a Surprizing Fact that "Eurofora" was led to practicaly Postpone (if not Drop, at least partialy), several Other "Flagship" Reports and flaboyant, Mediatic Debates, at EU Parliament this week, for the Time being, such as those on "Hot" Topical Foreign Policy Issues (normaly Our main Preference, during 27 Years of European Journalism), concerning Afghanistan, Russia, China, USA Sanctions, Cuba, Lebanon, etc.,, scheduled Mainly fora confortable Tuesday Afternoon, just to Focus on EU's Inland Waterway Transports, a "Short" Debate hastily cornered on Not so Mediatic Monday Afternoon Time slot, followed by an Obscure Vote OverShadowed by various Other Impressive Issues, (as, f.ex., Natural Disasters in Europe, the New EU's Annual Budget, the Pre-Accession Assistance, Blue Card, and/or Brexit adjustment, etc).

- Why on Earth ? Perhaps, just in order to give a False Impression of ...Walking on the Water ? Notoriously, and Obviously,  We are Not accustomed to such Superficial approaches, Prefering Austere Hard Facts, on Core Issues of Crucial Importance for Europe ! So, the real Heart of the Matter is much More Important than what it Seems at First Sight...

>>> Indeed, at these Times of an UnPrecedented and landmark EU "Conference on the Future of Europe", (which Holds 3 Days of "Citizens' Panels" this week in Strasbourg), Crucial for the Necessary Relations between the EU and its Citizens, the Core-Matter is always a Cystal-Clear Reply to the Key Question about What "Big Horizon" can be Opened by a given Measure, in order to Make Europe much Stronger, and/or considerably Ameliorate the Lives of European Citizens by creating New Perspectives for them in the foreseable Future. Anything else is, Comparatively, of Secondary importance, and could be Skiped, at least for Now...

    => And, in his regard, from this Main and Cucial View-Point, the current Resolution on Inland Water Transports curiously Lacks of a Vital Component of Key Importance, that this matter, on the Contrary, used to have in the Past :  - "Eurofora"s Interest had, indeed, been Attracted to that Issue, initialy, Because of 1 Big Stake : EU's Political Agenda had been largely Dominated, then, directly or Indirectly, by UK's "BP" Company's stuborn (obviously Gao-Politicaly Motivated) Insistance to strive to Monopolize the Kaspian Sea's Oil/Gas Transport towards Europe Only through ... Turkey, and particularly its Ceyhun SeaPort, Excluding any Other Possibility, Even if it was much Better !  

Thus, inter alia, f.ex. even Turkmenistan Refused to Obey to such Outside Pressure, and Prefered to use a Russian a.o. Way to Europe. In fact, Nobody Else didN't Submit to that UK-USA's Blind and Harsh Ultimatum, (which Obliged to Drop Any Direct, Shorter, Cheaper, and Safer Way to Europe, Insisting for a Strange, Longer, more Expensive, and Dangerous Zig-Zag through Southern-East Tukey, (i.e. via Kurdish and Earthquake-prone areas of Southern Anatolia plateau), Except the usual "Captive" of Ankara : Azerbeidjan, (Despite the Fact that it had also a much Better, Alternative Solution, i.e. Straight via Georgia, Directly trhough the Black Sea and Romania, into the EU !)

In Consequence, this Imposed to Europê a more Expensive Kaspian Energy, through the predominant Kurdish Lands, and even Facing the Military Occupied Cyprus' Territories, located ostensibly Nearby... Tus, it Already Trigered, inter alia, a Sudden Lebanon - Israel Deadly Rockets Warfare, (Astonishingly : on the Eve of the Baku-Ceyhun Pipeline Inauguation, when Top Officials were Asked to Sign Deals looking so Expensive, then, that Nothing was Excluded, even various Last-Minute, Total or Partial Refusals, ctc), After which, Oil Prices got a Boost at Speculative Global Markets, Artificialy Transfoming that Controversial Baku-Ceyhun Pipeline into a somewhat Lucrative one, so that, at least, some Deals were Signed asap ! Since then, (2006), a UN Mandate gave to European Countries (led by France on the Land, and Germany in the Sea), for Controling and Peace-Keeping at the Lebanon-Israel Land and Sea Borders.

+ But, anOther inevitable Consequence was, also, to practicaly ...Burry any Fair Political Solution in the Bloody Kurdish Conflict, (which, notoriously Started to be Harshly Blocked between 2007 - 2015, until Nowadays)... ++ Moreover, it pushed Turkey to become even More Reluctant to Withdraw its Military Invasion-Occupation Army from the Northern Teritories of Cyprus, part of which Faces diectly Ceyhun... (So that it all Concluded in a Deadline on UN-sponsored Talks for an Agreed Political Solution to the Cyprus' Problem, up to the Latest, Spectacular BreakDowns on 2018 at Pelerin Mountain/Switzerland, and, Nowadays, on 2021, with a Blunt Refusal by Turkey of Any perspective for a Peaceful ReUnification of Cyprus, recently Condemned by the EU and UNO's Security Council : See ..., etc).

    >>> Against all those Far-Reaching, Negative Consequences, (which, practicaly, Deprived Europe from a Cheap, Safe, and Neighburing Energy Source, as the Kaspian Sea area : Comp. Supra), "Eurofora"s co-Founder had Supported a clearly Pro-European, Peacedul, and Rational Alternative Solution (i.e. Shorter, Simpler, Safer, Cheaper, etc) to Transor Kaspian Sea's Oil/Gas towards Europe by a Pipeline through Georgia, crossing the Black Sea with Ships, and Concluding, inside the EU, until its Industrial Franco-German Core, via Romania, etc., thanks Mainly to ... "Inland Waterways" offered by Danube and Rhine Rivers, (inter-Linking between them Near Strasbourg) : This could be done all Thanks to New Technologies of "Gas Liquification", allowing (for the 1st Time in History) a Multi-Modal "Containers" Transport on Sea and River Ships, Rail and Lorries, until the Final Destinations for Stocks and/or Consumption. Among other Supporters, it's Romanian former Long-Time President Trian Basescu (Nowadays a ChristianDemocat/EPP MEP in EU Parliament), an Experienced former River Ship Captain and Economy Expert in Brussels, who Strongly Backed, during Many Years, such a Key Mega-Project, (Often Pointing also a its "Ecological", "Green" Value, already Long Before it Became Popular, Since 2011, starting from Germany). Soon, we were, more or less, Joined also by EU Commissioner, then of Energy, Oettinger, Georgia's then President Shakasvili, even ...Azerbaidjan's long-time vice-Foreign Minister, in charge of European Issues, Mamadov, (etc), as well as various Other EU/CoE/UN Top Political or Expert Personaliies; (and Many relevant Articles were Published at "Eurofora", through several Years, with Original Interviews, etc).

But, Suddenly, ...what a Surprize : This, latest, EU Parliament's "Short" Debate's Resolution of 2021 (Comp. Supra), ... does Not Say Anything Clear about all that : Not even 1 Word ! Its' Authors either Ignored Everything, or Rejected Everything on that, for Reasons that, Obviously, they doN't seem to want to disclose and/or present to a Rational and Free, Democraic Debate, under UnKnown yet Pretexts...

>>> It's, However, True, at least, that this, almost Unanimously Voted EU Parliament's latest Resolution, Today, "Calls ...to Strengthen the Synergies between InLand WaterWays Infrastructures, and the Trans-European Networks for Energy, which will ... support the development of Ports as Energy Hubs", as well as "HighLights, in this regard, the need to better Integrate Inland Waterways infrastructure into the European Energy Grid", and "stresses ...the(ir) Potential ...for the Transport of Alternative Fuels", (etc). Already, "a substantial share of EU Inland Waterway freight is Seaport related", MEPs observe, so that "both Sea and Inland ports play an Important role as MultiModal Hubs, providing Connections with other modes of Transport". "It is therefore Important ... that *** Sea and Inland Ports should be well Connected with one another, and .... with the hinterland", particularly as "Inland Ports should Become Energy Hubs for sustainable Alternative Fuels", (probably, as, f.ex. Liquefied Natural Gas, CO2-Free).

But, even such Short and Dispersed, indirect and InComplete Mentions, here or there, are practicaly ..."Lost" in the Middle of Various Other "Green"-oriented, Different Matters, so that the actual and Full GeoPolitical Importance of the Above-Mentioned Big Issue (Comp. Supra), appears Lost in the Jungle...

+ Perhaps, is it, then, mainly Because of an Alleged "Drought and Climate Change", as "the 2 Major Problems facing European Inland Waterway Transport", given that, f.ex., "in several European Regions, inland waterway transport was Hit hard by the long period of  Drought in 2018 owing to extremely Low Water levels", whose  "consequences were Devastating for the Rhine and its tributaries, the upper and middle Danube, and the upper and middle Elbe" ? "Eurofora" had alread Heard such Claims Pretexts, or Fears, Back on 2012-2013, by a Few circles, (mainly Politicaly Opposed to the Above-mentioned Project), But they canNot Definitively "Burry", so easily, such a Big Issue... Particularly Not Nowadays, when, on the Contrary, Europe has, Notoriously, Just Faced Too Many Rains and Inundations This Year (2021) !

Having Followed and Often Studied various such Strange Meteo Phenomenons, as the so-called "Omega" formats, with High Atmospheric Pressure in the Middle, Causing a kind of Hot and Dry "Depression" there, (known since 1905 !), But a too Rainy and Fresh Surrounding Area, (as, f.ex., mainly Agains France, back on the 2003 Disagreement about the Iraq War, and/or on 2010 against Russia, meanwhile China, even Some USA's Regions, etc), while UNO's International Treaty against "Hostile Modifications of the Environment" (Supported mainly by China and Europe, known as "ENMOD") Dates from the 1975 Post-Vietnam War period, and Spectacularly reminded, inter alia, Also at the Opening of the 2008 International Olympic Games in Beijing, when Chinese Artificialy Provoked Rainfalls, (etc), Nowadays, People may Legitimately Expect from Europe that, at last, from 2021 and on, it Finds out, at last, How to Protect the Natural Environment, (withOut having to Watch again ... Famous former "OO7 James Bond"/Sean Connery"'s landmark Science-Fiction Film "the Weather-Maker") !

At any case, such kind of Eventual Developments would Obviously Strengthen Europe's Space and Natural Environment Protection's Sovereign Autonomy, as well as New Technologies. While, in Addition, a Crystal-Clear Public Debate, always has much More Merits in a Modern Democracy, than a Suspect and/or InComprehensible Silence, vainly attempting to Sweep some thorny (Big) Issues Under a (Small) Carpet...

 

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https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FA2w-PMKspo


(../..)

 

("Draft-News")

 

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    EU Rapporteur on Enlargment Strategy, maistream German MEP Elmar Brok, speaking to "EuroFora", welcomed the proposal made earlier this week by French President Nicolas Sarkozy for the EU to"start Now Talks with Turkey to create a common Economic and Security area", instead of full Accession, at a period when Ankara looks more and more unfit and/or unwilling to respect EU conditions.

    - "For Europe to have strong Political will, it must stop dilutiing itself in an endless Enlargement. It must have borders...Diversities enrich, on the condition that they don't undermine European Cohesion, and don't weaken EU Unity", Sarkozy stressed.
    
    - "Countries like Turkey share a part of common destiny with Europe, with which they have a vocation to build a Privileged Relation, to be closely associated, but not to become Member of the EU"  : "Noone respects his friends by telling them lies. Noone respects his friends by making them promises that will be never kept", he added.

    That's why "we'd better start, from now, negotiating with Turkey to create a common Economic and Security area", Sarkozy proposed.

Significantly, the French President was repeatedly and largely applauded by EU citizens, 3 times, when he made the Turkey point, (strategically placed between Europe's "Political Will" and its cultural heritage, historically open to mutually enriching dialogue with all the World, but never diluted).

    - "We could propose such a great ambition also to Russia, which must not be percieved as an Adversary of Europe, but as a Partner. Thus, we'd create a wide area, of more than 800 Million inhabitants, sharing the same Security, the same Prosperity", he concluded.

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    Sarkozy's move was anounced at the eve of a Franco-German Top meeting with Chancellor Angie Merkel in Berlin on Sunday, to jointly launch the EU Elections campain, after an EU Summit at nearby Prague, to launch a new kind of relations, called "Eastern Partnership", with neighboring countries such as Urkaine, Belarus, Moldova, Georgia, Armenia, Azerbaidjan, etc, (to which Russia, reportedly, is not - and does not want to be - included).

    As for Ukraine, which has already expressed her wish to join the EU in future, "Kiev will have a special place, and a very important role to play", replied earlier this week in Strasbourg, to an "EuroFora" question EU Chairman in office , Czech vice-Prime Minister Alexander Vodra.

    - "This direction is more Realistic for Turkey than Accession negotiations", reacted immediately EU Parliament's Rapporteur for Enlargment Strategy, mainstream German MEP Elmar Brok, commenting Sarkozy's idea for "EuroFora"

     Particularly "as far as it concerns the respect of EU Rules by both sides", he added, hinting at Turkey's now obvious inability and/or unwillingness to abide with EU Acquis, EU Commitments (fex. on Cyprus, etc), and European Democracy/Human Rights rules. (Comp. infra).

    Brok added that, in his view, a similar proposal might be made also to Ukraine and other neighbouring Countries, regardless if they have, or not, a "European vocation". This would not necessarily mean that there couldn't be any accession prospects at all." for all the countries that might be included in this area, according to Brok.  But it's preferable, particularly for Turkey, "because it's a more Realistic approach than full Membership".

    On this point, Sarkozy's proposal, (which he'll share with German Chancellor Merkel), seems more crystal-clear.

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    - "Turkey does not fullfil EU Criteria, and will never fullfil EU Criteria" on Human Rights, Democracy and Rule of Law. "Some have been lying to Ankara, but we must tell the Truth, and have honest and close relations with her", said meanwhile to "EuroFora" on the same issue also the President of EU Parliament's largest Group of MEPs (ChristianDemocrats/EPP), Joseph Daul.
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"Hot" Debate at EU Parliament reveals CHANGE of mood towards "Suspension" of EU - Tukey talks.
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    Earlier this week, many MEPs, and even some of those who were previously in favor of Turkey's controversial EU bid, strongly criticized the persistance and even aggravation of serious Human Rights violations in the country, that ECHR continues to "unanimously" condemn ":

      - "After winning a big victory in the latest Local Elections, the pro-Kurdish party DTP almost doubled its Elected Mayors from 52 to 98", but afterwards "more than 400 politicians were thrown to Prison and prosecuted" by the Turkish Authorities, denounced on behalf of the ChristianDemocrat/EPP Group, Belgian MEP Frieda Brepoels.

     At the same time, "more than 1.500 Children are closed in Turkish Prisons", she added. "What will the EU Commission do" against these facts ?

- "Turkey appears to be at greater Distance away from Copenhagen Criteria after 4 Years of accession Negotiations, than when they started !", denounced on behalf of the Liberal Group, German MEP Alexander Lambsdorf.    

"On the central issue of Press Freedom, Critical Journalists face obstacles for their accreditation, others are prosecuted, condemned, fined and/or jailed, Media blocked or closed", he denounced.   

 - "EU Made 2 grave Mistakes with Turkey : To start accession negotiations, and to continue them", despite everything, criticized Dutch MEP Bastian Belder, on behalf of the Ind/Dem group.

(../..)

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