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Home arrow newsitems arrow Franco-German plan brings Historic EU MEGA Deal towards Funds+Governance Integration, But Needs More

Franco-German plan brings Historic EU MEGA Deal towards Funds+Governance Integration, But Needs More

Written by ACM
Tuesday, 21 July 2020

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*Strasbourg/Angelo Marcopolo/- After a Record-High 5 Days Summit, EU made a Hard-Born but Historic Deal in Brussels ...at the Anniversary of Alexander the Great's Birth 2.376 Years Ago, the UnDefeated Ancient Greek Civilisation's legend, who Dared Head towards China 1 Millenary Before Marco Polo, and is Also Famous for his Decisive Way to Find a Solution, with Political Will, on the World's Most Difficult, Intractable and UnSolved Problem then, known as "Gordian Knot" : He UnDone that with his Sword, reportedly Argying that What Mattered Most wasN't How to proceed, But to Solve it !

alexander_the_great_was_born_this_day_2021_july_on_356_bc_greekcitytimes__eurofora_patchwork_400 

alexander_the_great_cuts_the_gordian_knot_jf._godefroy_painting_1767__eurofora_screenshot_400

(Alexander the Great cuts the Gordian Knot - JF. Godefroy painting, 1767)

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Notoriously Initiated by a landmark Franco-German EU core's Joint Proposal, brokered last Spring, on May 2020, right in the Middle of Mass Deadly Virus' UnPrecedented Pandemic, which had Europe as its EpiCenter, the Final, Collective, 27 EU Member-States' Agreement innovates by several Key Points, pushing concrete Breakthroughs towards a Beginning of quasi-Federal European Integration, mainly via EU Funding, But Also related EU Governance, etc.,

while, However, remaining still a Partly UnFinished Work-on-the-Making, whose Real Future Depends from various Pending, and/or Possible but UnCertain yet Further Moves at the Horizon :

>>> At its Core is the Creation of an Ambitious EU Revival Fund, with 390 Billions € in full Grants, added to another 360 Billions € in Loans, whose Distribution to 27 Member States is due to be Decided by a Qualified Majority (and No more Unanimity) in EU Council, thanks to Money that will be gathered (for the 1st Time in History) by Collective EU Borrowing (with its "AAA" Rating), to be Reimbursed between 2026-2058, in Large Part through Forthcoming EU's "Own Resources", according to Choices to be made Soon. + This comes at the Top of a 2001-2007 MultiAnnual Financial Framework Deal for the Regular EU's Budgets, brokered in Parallel, which would Add More than 1.050 Billions €, Resulting in a Total ByPassing 1,85 Trillions €, (that EU Parliament and EU Commission Wish to Extend Further, particularly in some Key Areas).

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eusummit_francogerman_press_conf_euc_video_eurofoera_screenshot_400 

But, obviously, the Main Protagonists, French President Emmanuel Macron and German Chancellor Angie Merkel, (who currently Chairs the EU for the Crucial Period of July-December 2020: See http://www.eurofora.net/newsflashes/news/merkel5pointsforeurevival.html), Together with EU Council's President Charles Michel (former Prime Minister of Belgium), accompagnied by EU Commission's Chief, Ursula von der Leyen (former several times Minister, including of Defense, in Germany), had to make Many and Various Compromises, Changing Several Parts of their Initial Plan, in order to Obtain an Unanimous Agreement of All 27 EU Member States' Leaders, after an Originaly 2 Days "Exceptionnal" Summit reached a 5th Day's Morning, (some Foreseeing possible Even more than "a Week" !), amidst Manifold Tensions, Oppositions, Conflicts, alleged "Blackmails", and Hard Bargaining, (Often Some Playing Games ...Hidden Behind Others, as National Parliaments have still to Ratify the Deal), which made, sometimes, Fear another Eventual Blockade,  Risking to Seriously Damage the EU, after Too Many Deaths by the Virus, even earlier Errors and/or EU Delays to Urgently take Protective Measures, that added also OverSpend and Slowed-Down Economies, while the Pandemic Crisis is Not Yet Over, throughout the World.

=> So, First of all, the so-called "Frugal" or, alias, "Stingy", EU Member States' Leaders, (Netherlands, Denmark, Sweden, and Austria, Later Partly Joined by Finland, mainly Led by Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte, helped by Austrian Prime Minister Sebastian Kurz : See http://www.eurofora.net/newsflashes/news/eurevivalsummitneedseuropeanvision.html ), appeared Pushing Hard for a Series of Changes on the Original EU Plan, and Got, Finally, several Concessions, including the Maintain of a Rebate for 4 of them, even After UK's Departure with the "BREXIT"), Augmented for Most of them, But also a Diminution of the Total Volume of EU Grants, from 500 Billions € initially, Down to 390 Billions € finally, (the Rest of the 750 Billions € Recovery Fund being covered by Loans), as well as a "Tighter" EU Monitoring Process for any Handovers to its Member States. Later, it was announced that Germany was Included to such Rebates' continuation, (but withOut any Augmentation).

+ From anOther Side, mainly Italy (with Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte, who Joined Spain, Portugal, Greece, France and Many Other Countries into Defending EU Grants, as initially Planned), reportedly fought Against Maintaining Unanimity, instead of a Qualified Majority, at EU Council's Decisions on that Recovery Fund, Apparently Fearing that Critics - as Netherlands' Rutte, etc.- might, Otherwise, hold a "Veto". And this was, Indeed, Droped, after Various Other Countries Joined the move.

++ Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban (See: http://www.eurofora.net/newsflashes/news/euuturnforlongerbalanceddeal.html) said that he Backed Italy, Obviously Motivated by Rutte's Opposite stance (Comp. Supra), since the Dutch Prime Minister Also appeared to Head a (Wider in Fact) Move to Immediately Add an UnPrecedented Mechanism for Excluding from EU Funds those Member Countries which are Accused for alleged "Rule of Law" Discrepancies, (i.e. currently Hungary and Poland). But, Strongly Backed by his National Parliament, (where Orban's Center-Right Party "Fidesz" brillantly Won -even Better- the Latest Election on 2018, followed by a Powerful Rightist "Jobbic" Party, while, on the Contrary, the "Socialists" Fell even Lower), which Recently Adopted a Resolution clearly Excluding any Deal which might, Eventually, "Use EU Funds for Political Issues, inside National States", as it Warned, the Hungarian Prime Minister had to Brandish a "Veto" If Rutte and/or others eventually Imposed such an Exclusion Trigger. Orban, Supported also by Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki, who Currently Chairs the 4 Countries of the Center-Eastern "Visegrad" Group, (Hungary, Poland, Chequia, Slovakia), claimed that they Obtained, finally, Gain of cause on that Point, and that's why they Accepted to Sign this EU Brussels' Deal.

However, that Issue Appears quite Tricky, or UnClear Yet... Indeed, Even if Rutte's and Others' Attempt to Immediately Impose the Above-Mentioned Exclusion Mechanism, under "Rule of Law" Claims, withIn that overall EU Summit's Deal (Comp. Supra) was Finally Droped, and, Instead, the Present Brussels' Compromise simply Added an elementary Mention of the Fact that EU Council "underlines the Importance of the respect of Rule of Law", (a Principle that Orban generally Supports, and was even Arrested, as he Reminded, by the Police of the Previous Regime, precisely for "Fighting for Freedom, i.e. Rule of Law", which concerns EU Membership itself, and Not Just Money, as he pointed out), Nevertheless, this is Not All...

In Fact, while Victor Orban's circle was, reportedly, Glad about this alleged Development in the Latest Draft Proposal of EU Council's President Michel, to the point to Inform, Already, to Hungarian Medias, as Early as Since 20 July at the MidNight, However, Whoever might, Eventually, had Told him that this Simple Mention was All, did Not correspond Exactly to the Full Final Text.

Indeed, the Full Final Conclusions of this EU Summit Also Include, at least, +2 More relevant Points :

- (A) One reads that : "Based on this background, a regime of Conditionality ... Will be Introduced", and, for that purpose, "the (EU) Commission will propose Measures, in case of Breaches, for Adoption by the (EU) Council", which will (Exceptionally) Decide "by qualified Majority", (and Not Unanimity, so that, f.ex., Hungary and/or Poland could No More mutually Support EachOther by, eventually, using their Veto, in case of an Attempt to Exclude one of them). + Curiously, such an Addition was Printed, in the Official EU Conclusions, as published Today (July 21) early Morning, at ... anOther Page of that Text, Even if it Immediately Follows the Above-mentioned Reference to the "Rule of Law", (Comp. Supra), which, Astonishingly, was, thus, left with an UnExplained ...Long EMPTY Space, accompagnying it in Its own Page, (i.e. Obviously giving the False Impression that it would stand Alone) !

At any case, Viktor Orban had, However, Already said to European Journalists that he would be Ready (regardless if the Summit had to Durate Much Longer in Brussels), to, Eventually, Negotiate a possible New EU Mechanism on "Rule of Law" matters, as Some Asked for, (Even if he Believed that Useless, since the EU had Already Mechanisms for that), on Condition that it would be "Seriously" Discussed and Legally Analysed, withOut Hastily Imposing a Makeshift Draft which would contain Vague, ImPrecise Terms, etc., Dangerous for Democracy, as he Warned, (See: .., etc).

- (B) But, anOther Point is that, the Above-Mentioned, Vague Reference to the "Importance" of the "Rule of Law" (Comp. Supra), was Inserted, at the Final Full Text of EU Summit's Official Conclusions, in a very Particular Context : I.e. Immediately After a Different reference to "the Protection of EU's Financial Interests" (sic !), "in accordance with the General Principles embedded on the (EU) Treaties". Given the Fact that EU "Commission is invited to ...Protect" those EU Funds "Against" Not Only "Fraud", But, Also, "and Irregularities", (as it's Vaguely added, Afterwards, in the Final EU Conclusions), as well as that National States' "Plans" for EU Funding "Shall be Approved by the (EU) Council by a qualified Majority" (i.e. Not Unanimity : Comp. Supra) "on a Commision proposal", is there a Way to SafeGuard f.ex. Hungary and/or Poland, or Any Other EU Member State, from Eventual Rejection under some "Rule of Law" Pretext ?... Particularly when it's, in Addition, up to "1 or more (EU) Member States" (f.ex. Mr. Rutte ?) to, Eventually, "Request ...to refer the matter to the Next European Council", "if" they "Consider that there are Serious Deviations", After which, "No ... Payments" may be made, "Until the Next European Council has Exhaustively Discussed the matter", in a "Process" which "may" take "3 Months" more..., (while People may be still Dying by the Virus !).

Obviously, whoever might, Perhaps, have been Told, during a Sleepless MidNight of the 20 to 21 July, that the Latest Draft Compromise would have "Only 1 Mention" of the "Rule of Law"'s "Importance" for the EU, in general, withOut having, Afterwards, around 6 a.m. in the Early Morning, Enought Time and/or Readiness in order to Find, Read, and Associate all those, above mentioned, Other References, Scattered around Various Different Places inside this EU Summit's Long Full Final Conclusions, (Comp. Supra), could, Eventually, have been MisLed (by False, InComplete, or InAccurate initial Appearances)...

But, Europe should Not be, Eventually, Sullied by Anyone's possible Attempt to, Perhaps, irresponsibly Play such Dirty Tricks ! Indeed, Even if, as, f.ex., some German MEPs had earlier told "Eurofora", Private Businesses' legitimately Need for Hungarian and/or Polish or other Countries' Judges to be as "Independent" as possible, Nevertheless, it's Also true that, in Fact, Behind at least Some so-called "Rule of Law" Complaints, might, Perhaps, be Hidden Dangerous Attacks against Hungary's, Poland's, and/or Any Other relevant Country's National, Democraticaly Chosen, and Popular Choices in favor, f.ex., of the Natural Family, between a Man and a Woman, and, therefore, of Natural Births, (Instead of Articicial Fabrications of Children, Controlled by Technocrats), and/or for the Protection of Human Embryos against Genetic Manipulations, Perhaps, Also, for European Culture Migration, and/or to Help Develop National Population's Increase, instead of Cotroversial Mass Irregular Migration from Far Away Foreign Countries, withOut any European Culture, Neither real Wish to Assimilate it, Risking to Provoke "Parallel Societies" and Impose a "Multi-Culti", that Angie Merkel's main Governing German Party of ChristianDemocrats (CDU/CSU) had alreaday Succesfully Denounced, since 2010 and in the 2013 Parliamentary Elections, managing, then, to Win almost + 40 % of the People's Votes, approaching Even an Absolute Majority, for the 1st Time in recent History...

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+ However, there are Also several, at least 3, still Open Questions on the Economic/Financial core Aspects of this Summit's Deal on EU's Recovery Fund :

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

- The First one concerns the Time which would be Needed, in Real Practice, for EU Funds to actually Arrive there where EU Citizens have to Act, during the current Crisis. Indeed, according to EU Summit's Conclusions, the Procedure may take at least 2 + 1 + 3 = 6 Months (for EU Commission's and EU Council's Initial Decisions, as well as an Eventual Objection by one or more EU Member States... To what is Added the Necessary Period of Time for Each Project to Reach the Stage of a "Satisfactory Fulfilment of the ....Targets", Only After which, the EU Commission and Council may Decide to Start Handing over the relevant "Payments", according to the Final EU Summit's Deal, (apparently, at least partially, Influenced by Mr. Rutte's desiderata). And, on the Top of it, Inevitably comes Even the Time that it will take, Before that, for All the 27 EU Member States' National Parliaments in order to Ratify the Brussels' Deal, (i.e., approximatively until the End of 2020)... So that it doesN't seem sure at all whether a Project's Authors Might just Start Receiving some EU Funds Before the ...Middle or even the End of Next Year (2021) !  

=> Isn't there Any Way to somewhat Simplify things, (at least during the current Virus' Crisis) ?

Even if the respective Situations are Not Identical at all, neverheless, it's a Fact that, during a Previous Economic Crisis on 2008+, it was Enough for an Only One (1) Day Summit of €uroZone's Heads of State/Government, (the First ever in History, a Sunday, at "Elysée" Palace in Paris, Organized on October 2008 by the French, then, Chairmanship of the EU, headed by former President Nicolas Sarkozy : See "Eurofora"'s relevant NewsReport, right from "Elysée" Palace at: ..., etc), so that, Already ... From the Next Day, (Monday or Tuesday) Immediately Starts an UnPrecedented, collectively Coordinated Series of €uroZone Countries' Big Plans and Financial Moves to Boost an Urgently Needed Economic ReVival, which Proved, Later-on, to be quite Succesfull !

In France, that Effort was Supervised by a particularly Important, Specialized Minister, former Chief of the Governing Party, and Close Ally of the President, Patrick Devedjian, who Both Started and Concluded his relevant Activities by Visiting Strasbourg, where he personally Described to "Eurofora" and other Journalists, the main Aims and Results of his Action, (See, f.ex., among others, also: http://www.eurofora.net/newsflashes/irish/devedjian.html + http://www.eurofora.net/newsflashes/news/devedjiansaveandinvest.html , etc). Devedjian's Experience and Views might have been particularly Interesting Nowadays, But he was, meanwhile, tragically Killed, precisely, by this Deadly Virus ! However, Sarkozy, (who notoriously exchanges Often with Macron, nowadays), has, reportedly, Just Finished a New Book, now on 7/2020, Focused on the First Years of his former Presidency, around 2007-2008, which May include some Interesting Insights...

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

- The Second Open Question is about the Projects due to be Funded by the EU: Curiously, there are No real European Projects foreseen, But just National ones, presented by Each Member State...

 But, thus, EU Obviously risks to Lose a precious Occasion to Promote a Europe-Wide, Joint Vision, as well as InfraStructures, etc., which could Also Create some Symbolic common European Achievements for the General Conscience of 450 Millions of EU Citizens, but Also generate real Common Interests between EU's 27 Member States, which could Facilitate to achieve Compromises and Deals much more Easier in Future EU Summits, (as "Eurofora" Already observed, Since the Beginning of this "Exceptional" 7/2020 Brussels' Summit : see http://www.eurofora.net/newsflashes/news/eurevivalsummitneedseuropeanvision.html, etc).

 Otherwise, (as we all saw these last days : Comp. Ibid), Exclusively National, Separate Projects, even if funded by the EU, Risk to Stay, in People's Memory and everyday Practice as 27 Member States' Different Achievements, keeping Separate Interests, and sometimes Conflicting Viewpoints, also Afterwards...

 => That's why it would certainly be Good, if, at least, Certain Important Projects were, eventually, Supported by Many EU Countries, practically Cooperating All Together to Achieve a Common, Big Goal, (which should, Naturally, be Facilitated also by EU Commission and/or EU Council during the implementation of this overall Deal), in the Next Stages.

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

- The Third Open Question concerns the Search for New Sources of Funding for EU's Recovery Fund and MFF, (Comp. Supra), which Include also possible EU's "Own Resources", (as it has been, in principle  Agreed, for the 1st Time in History).

The Recovery Fund, once Decided by EU Council, canNot be legaly Modified by EU Parliament, But the MultiAnnual Financial Framework Can, and, there, MEPs are notoriously Critical for alleged Cuts, as usual, (particularly compared to EU Commission's Initial Proposals), not only on Agriculture and Cohesion, but Even on Health, Research, and Foreign Policy. This, Obviously, canNot be Compensated by the Recovery Fund's Money, f.ex. for Climate Protection, (which, at least in Some Countries, including even France, is reportedly due to be Spend, mainly on ...Too Classic "Thermic Isolation of Buildings" : an Old Practice f.ex. around Strasboug and adjacent Villages, since Too Many Years, which sometimes Transforms formerly Fresh Buildings into Excessive Heat HellHoles !)... Thus, EU Parliament and Commission are expected to Press mainly for Substantial EU's "Own Resources", that EU Council has, in principle, Promised.

=> But, it's Not Yet Clear WHICH ones !  Because, among those Already Proposed, f.ex. Taxes on Plastics haveN't, reportedly, any serious Potential, while Both Taxes on CO2 at the Borders, and on Digital GAFAM, appear "Complex", the 1st mainly for "Technical" Reasons, and the 2nd, rather for "Political" ones, particularly in its More Interesting Version : that on International Trade, where Heavy USA Reactions are expected, as long as an OECD Compromise still Lacks...

>>> So that, what is really Needed is something clearly New, withOut Narrow Limits, Neither Complicated Technical Problems, Nor Fear of Reactions from someone perhaps Stronger than the EU, (as, f.ex. the USA : Comp. Supra), etc. And, in fact, it seems that such a Possibility, Really Exists :

- Indeed, currently, EU appears to have an Important Potential for New, and much Needed (particularly After the already advanced Extinction of North Sea's former Deposits) Big Energy Resources, at its South-Eastern Mediterranean Borders, between EU Member Cyprus (Eventually even Greece) and Friendly Neighbbouring Countries as Israel and Egypt, whose Exploitation and Development is  Delayed or Blocked Only by illegal Bullying, aqainst that Small but Strategic Island, by retrograde Turkey. Natural Gas is Climate-Friendly, since it Avoids CO2, and can be Easily and Directly Transported, from there, straight into EU's Industrial Core, either by an UnderSea Pipeline, (nick-Named "East-Med" Project, sponsored by the EU), and/or by High-Tech Ships using New Technologies of Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) towards Equiped Terminals, as, f.ex. that of "Foss 2" near France's Marseille, (but with more or less Similar "De-Liquefaction" Terminals already existing Also in Greece, Croatia, Italy, Spain, etc). Relevant Findings inside EU Member Cyprus' EEZ are Already Important, and Much More are Expected in Foreseen Explorations at the Rest of its Large and Well Situated Maritime Area, while Israel and Egypt have Already Found Huge Energy Quantities, and are Cooperating with EU Countries Cyprus and Greece for Various possible Collective Projects of Massive Energy Transferts Directly into EU's core.

s.e._med._energy_hub_eurofora_patchwork_400_01

=> In Consequence, if the 450 Millions Population Strong, Rich, Developed and Strong EU Countries, Use their clearly Superior Forces in order to just Protect those New Energy Resources (a Big Part of which actually Belong to Europe) around EU-Member Cyprus from illegal retrograde Turkey's Bullying, then, they Naturally could, f.ex., Also, f.ex., Lift a kind of "Protection Tax" on All Revenues of Future Massive Energy Transports from those South-Eastern Mediterranean HotSpots, (whose Geology looks Similar to that of Energy-Rich Mexico Gulf at the USA, as "Eurofora"s co-Founder had guessed, Already as Early as Since 2000-2001 : See relevant Publications, then at "Cyprus Weekly", f.ex. from Interviews at an International Mega-Conference on "Geo-Science" organized by the "Globe Institute" of Strasbourg's University, etc), which could Obviously be Added, even From the Next Few Years, (since a Big Part of that Energy is Already Found and/or Stocked, almost Ready to be Delivered asap),  as a Precious and Promising, New EU's "Own Resource" !

Such a Timely (and Middle-Long Term duration's) Financial Boost could seriously Help, to well Start and Develop EU's Recovery Fund, as well as to Smoothly Face the above-mentioned EU Budget Challenges (Comp. Supra), in the Best Way possible, (while Also Firmly Asserting EU's Important Role throughout its External Borders, and its Neighbouring Areas, as well as in the World).

And, by the way, as it concerns also EU's Franco-German core's Couple, in Addition to the Naturally Pioneer, active Involvement of France, at this Mediterranean Topical Issue, (See, f.ex., Already Emmanuel Macron's relevant Replies to "Eurofora"s Questions at a Press-point as Early as since 2015 in Strasbourg, when he was Economy Minister, as well as, Later-on, as President of the Republic, f.ex. at the "G20" Summit of Hamburg, in Germany, on 2017, etc.: http://www.eurofora.net/newsflashes/news/frencheconomyministermacronegyptisraelcyprusgaspipelinebigchance.html + http://www.eurofora.net/newsflashes/news/macrontoprotectcyprusisraelenergyforeurope.html), it's Also the experienced German Chancellor Angie Merkel, current EU President-in-office for July-December 2020, who had already Visited personaly Cyprus, (first at the German Navy, hosted there, and afterwards as an Official State Visit), as Early as Since ...2006, when Germany had taken over the Leadership of EU's Naval Forces, hosted at a SeaPort in Cyprus, included in the European Force, under UN Mandate, led then by Historic former French President Chirac, particularly at the Land, for Peace-Keeping at nearby Lebanon, to urgently but Successfully Pacify a Middle-East Risk of bloody Conflict triggered between Israel and Arabs then, which, finally, Ended Well, Thanks also to Europe's active and decisive presence.

>>> In Substance, Both Then (2006) and Now (2020), it's just a matter of ... "Alexander the Great"'s readiness and Strong Political Will to simply Focus on Solving asap. that "Gordian Knot" Issue, that Others erroneously Took for almost "Mission Impossible", as Also this Previously "Blocked" EU Brussels' Exceptional July 2020 Summit, which Succeeded, Nevertheless, to Finally Strike a Deal, (Comp. Supra), as, mutatis-mutandis, History teaches us  !...

 alexander_the_greats_statue_thessaloniki_greece_eurofora_screenshot_400

(Alexander the Great statue, ThessaloNiki SeaPort, Greece)

 --------------

gordian_knot_rock_group_400  

("GORDIAN KNOT" Group of Rock Music, Berkeley California, First, 1999 Album :

After a "Hard" Beginning,  it all Becomes much Softer and Lively, as it Goes On...)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UMamvozbIJY

 

(../..)

 

("Draft-News")

 

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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.
---------------------
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...
---------------------------------------

- "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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2009 EU Elections were won by Parties against Technocracy and Turkey's controversial EU bid, while the 1999-2004 Majority Abstention trend decelerated. What should be done in 2009-2014 ?

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