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Home arrow newsitems arrow French EU affairs Minister Cazeneuve to EuroFora: Support to efforts for EU Integration on Telecoms+

French EU affairs Minister Cazeneuve to EuroFora: Support to efforts for EU Integration on Telecoms+

Written by ACM
Monday, 14 January 2013
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*Strasbourg/ENA/Angelo Marcopolo/-French Minister for EU affairs, Bernard Cazeneuve, speaking exclusively to "EuroFora", welcomed and expressed his support for recent efforts of EU Countries' biggest Telecom Companies, reportedly with the help of EU Commission, to negotiate ways able to overcome the current Fragmentation of Telecom Markets, still divided accross National Borders, so that Europe could, at last, benefit from a really Unified, Digital Single Market, as "EuroFora" had recently suggested by raising relevant questions to -and obtaining interesting replies from- EU Commissioners Joaquin Almunia and Noelie Kroes, in charge of Competition and Digital agenda, respectively.


The move came while Cazeneuve spoke in general for EU Institutional advances associated with industrial/financial solidarity, as well as for the Franco-German EU motor's capacity to always find adequate compromises for European Integration, preferably in cooperation also with other key EU Countries and able to stimulate the support of most or all EU Members (Comp. Infra), speaking in Strasbourg just a few Days before the forthcoming 21-22 January 2013 celebrations in Berlin of the 50th Anniversary of the pioneer "Elysee" Treaty, signed by historic Leaders De Gaulle and Adenauer.


On January 2013, StockMarkets reportedly boosted "France Telecom" and other big EU Operators' shares, after rumours that, together with "Deutsche Telecom", Spain's "Telefonika", and "Telecom Italia", they had recently met in order to discuss how to prepare a kind of "Network" unifying the currently separated National ICT Markets, as "EuroFora" had just discussed, on December 2012, with EU Commissioners Almunia and Kroes, who had reacted carefully but positively (See relevant "EuroFora"s NewsReports from Brussels and Strasbourg :http://www.eurofora.net/newsflashes/news/unifyphonemarketfordigitalboom.html ).


Meanwhile, Almunia reportedly made it clear that he hadn't yet pronounced himself in favour nor against any concrete project of EU Telcom Operators to unite together their activities in Europe, since he had to examine it seriously beforehand, (his earlier statements to "EuroFora" being of a General and prospective nature, carefuly keeping open the issue of Competition), while Kroes admitted that she had just started, after her statements to "EuroFora", to discuss with big EU Telecom Companies mainly how they might consolidate TransFrontier Investments, etc.


Even ECB's President, Mario Draghi, in recent Statements to Journalists in Frankfurt, including "EuroFora", had reminded the crucial importance that it has, in his view, to overcome any EU Market's Fragmentation.

But when the evolving prospects and/or various attempts from Big Telecom Companies of Europe to explore adequate ways for cooperation in order to reunify EU's Telecom Markets and build a strong basis for Global projects accross the World were evoked by "EuroFora" vis a vis the new French Minister for EU affairs, Bernard Cazeneuve, his reaction was clearly positive :

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     
 - "It's really a Positive development, indeed", Cazeneuve agreed from the outset with "EuroFora".

=> Therefore "we Support it", and "hope that these efforts will make further Progress"

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At a Global level, EU Telecom Companies, such as France Telecom, Deutsche Telecom, Telefonica, Vodafone, Telecom Italia, etc., have to face big competitors, such as ATT, China Telecom,  RosTelecom and Vimpel, AirTel, etc.

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- In general, it's wrong to think that France might not want, currently, any more EU Institutional developments. In fact, we are in favour of strengthening EU's Institutions, but we'd like for that to be accompagnied also by an Industrial or Solidarity move, instead of being exclusively an institutional issue alone, Cazeneuve explained earlier.


I think that we (EU) should strengthen our Integration. Whenever Europe didn't manage to find the right compromise or solution in order to advance further, it faced several problems, particularly considering the growing Global Competition. So, I'm entirely in favor of a advancing further in EU Integration, resolutely, he stresssed.
We (France) don't have any reserve at all vis a vis the prospect of a European Political Union, even of Federalist inspiration, on the condition that it has a Political content which would allow to the EU to keep its links with its People, Cazeneuve added, while speaking earlier in a Conference organized at the ENA Top Officials' School in Strasbourg,


If we (EU Countries) succeed to pull together a strong common Industrial Economic base, able to guarantee our (EU's) Capacities, instead of the current Fragmentation of EU Countries' Defence Industries, then we'd advance towards the right direction, he advised, referring to the mandate given by the latest EU Summit, December 2012 in Brussels, to EU President Van Rompuy to start preparing concrete proposals for the development of EU's common Security and Defence policy to be decided before the end of 2013, (See "EuroFora"s relevant NewsReport from Brussels on 12/2012).
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Europe can also advance forward through the institutional tool of the "Reinforced Cooperations", (which entered into force since 2010, together with EU Lisbon Treaty),  together with those who are willing to do so. We've already done so f.ex. on the Financial Transactions' Taxe, and we (EU) could also do alike in future, f.ex. on Energy and other issues, etc., the new French Minister advised.


 A Multi-Speed Europe, already exists in practice, and that works much better than if we had all stopped and waited those who will never come, the new French EU Minister added in reply to another Question. In general, I think that it's better to do things together with those who want to, on condition that have enough Countries with us, than to expect something from those who don't want to do nothing more, as he said.
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But, concerning the Franco-German relations at EU's core, Cazeneuve observed that discussions trying to bridge various natural differences at the beginning are as inscribed in its essence ("consubstantiel" at the original in French) as also their profound attachment into searching and finding always compromises, in one way or another, since Europe can't advance otherwise. It's another issue, if, sometimes, this EU core relation might be somehow "balanced" by associating also another key EU Country, and/or more "Open" to other EU Member States, f.ex. in order to guarantee their support, etc.


In this regard, he pointed f.ex. at the Mitterand - Helmut Kohl relation, revealed that even Giscard d'Estaing with Schmidt, contrary  to the appearance of a rather unanimous couple, in fact had some disagreements, but had chosen "not to speak" (particularly not in public) about them, while, already, the co-founders of the Franco-German Reconciliation and Cooperation, De Gaulle and Adenauer themselves, hadn't always the same views f.ex. on the TransAtlantic relations (EU - USA), but always managed to overcome them. So thet the existence of some differences doesn't exclude at all to advance forward together, as he said.
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What happened last November 2012, when the exceptional EU Summit on the 2013-2020 Financial Perspectives didn't arrive yet to final conclusions, but decided to continue Negotiations later-on, at the beginning of 2013, doesn't occur for the 1st time : F.ex., on 1999 EU already hadn't reach an agreement neither, Cazeneuve reminded.


However, Cazeneuve expressed his preference rather for a "Checks and Balances" Institutional Architecture inside the EU (pointing f.ex. at the Power-sharing between EU Commission, EU Council and EU Parliament, etc), instead of an over-Concentration of Power in the hands, f.ex. of an omnipontent EU President alone.
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Meanwhile, there is no reason to open EU's doors to all products which don't respect the Social and Environmental standards that we are accustomed to apply in our own production, he also pointed out.


As for EU Enlargement, we are in favour, if rules are respected, and a sufficiently rigorous framework exists to guarantee that Candidate Countries would  have adopted the acquis communautaire of the EU.


But not to enlarge the EU without making sure that this would be done in the framework of certain Rules which will ensure that  both EU's Interests and those of the candidate country will be met, Cazeneuve warned.


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Because, Enlarge the EU without ensuring that this will be inserted in a framework which guarantees that EU's interests wil be preserved, this is an Error, he warned. On the contrary, we must also make sure that EU's principles on respect of Rule of Law, Democracy and Human Rights, Pluralism, Freedom of Expression, etc., are really applied, he topicaly added, speaking only a few days after EU Rapporteur on Turkey, Dutch ChristianDemocrat/EPP MEP Ria Oomen-Ruijten, presents in Brussels its Annual Report on Ankara's progress, or not, towards meeting EU standards, due to be soon debated and definitively voted at a next EU Parliament's Plenary sesssion in Strasbourg.

 Moreover, Cazeneuve's moves came while EU Parliament's President, German Socialist MEP Martin Schulz, has just confirmed that new French President François Hollande would pay a 1st official visit in Strasbourg in order to speak with MEPs during the next Plenary session of February 2013. 

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(NDLR : "Draft News", as already sent earlier to "EuroFora"s Subscribers/Donors. A more accurate, full Final Version might come asap).

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Former "Green-Red" German government's Foreign Minister Joschka Fischer's job at the controversial Turkish pipeline "Nabucco" was denounced as "not proper", "very bad", and "incompatible with Democracy", by the new President of EU Parliament's EuroLeft Group, German Lothar Bisky, replying to an "EuroFora" question.

For once, criticism of Joschka Fischer's doings with Turkey affecting Europe, didn't come only from the Center-Right of the political spectrum, but even from his Left side : The experienced Bisky, who has been chairing all over 1993-2009 the PDS - Die Linke party :  

- "Former Foreign Minister Joschka Fischer got involved in dealings with oil-gaz business in a foreign country, Turkey, and its controversial Nabucco pipeline. This raises questions about Democracy, also because of the well known problems of Human Rights violations in that country. Do you thing that this might be abused in order to cover up and close EU's eyes on Human Rights violations ?", "EuroFora" asked Bisky.

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- "Nabucco pipeline is (only) at the planning stage". And "there are some difficulties",  he observed from the start. But "'I don't want to get into the details of Nabucco pipeline, because I don't think that there is any point for it at the moment".
 
At any case,  "we  (EU Parliament's EuroLeft Group) strongly believe that Politicians should not get involved in the Energy Business, and all these commercial transactions", President Bisky declared on the Joschka Fiischer's affair.

- "We feel that it's something that shouldn't be done. It's not proper !"           

- "We don't think that it's compatible with Democracy either, and it gets politics into a very Bad track", Bisky went on to denounce.
                                                                                                                                                                        
- "EuroLeft  and "Die Linke" always spoke against that, saying that politicians should not get directly into the arms of private enterprises"

- "It is pretty bad if a former Minister takes a job f.ex. in a major Energy producer. So, it's an issue if a Minister who may have seen excellent opportunities, subsequently gets personally grasp of them, in very serious parts of the economy, once he has given up his (Government) job."

- "It doesn't really make politics in general look any better'", Bisky concluded.

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Earlier, this week in Strasbourg, other Journalists had also raised critical questions on former Foreign Minister Joschka Fischer's involvement in the conroversial Turkish Nabucco pipeline to the President of his own EuroParty : Kohn-Bendit of the "Greens", who, contrary to Bisky, tried to find excuses for Fischer, while criticizing his long-time partner, Schroeder for having done a similar move :

- "Shroeder was chancellor", and he "negociated" with "Russians", who gave him a job only "3 Months" after he resigned from the Government. While "Joschka Fischer", on the contrary, got a job with the controversial Turkish Nabucco pipeline only "4 Years after" he left the Government. "He didn't negociate Nabucco", so I have "no objection", Kohn Bendit claimed.

But, many Facts indicate the contrary :

Joschka Fischer was Foreign Minister in Germany from 1999 up to 2005 : I.e. from the year that EU took the controversial decision to give Turkey a "Candidate" status, until he year it started controversial "accession negotiations, (later declared "open-ended" after Sarkozy-Merkel's arrival from 2005-2007).

During that period was prepared the controversial so-called "Annan" Plan (in fact, drafted by others and attributed afterwards to the former UN SG) on Cyprus, which failed after a Popular Referendum said "No" on 2004 with a large Majoriy of 3/4 : 75%. Mainly because it was criticized for making too much concessions to the Turkish side :  Particularly by restricting Greek Cypriot Refugees' Human Right to return to their ancestral Land and/or get restitution of their Familiy Homes and private properties, usurpated by Ankara's Army since the 1974 militay invasion and continuing occupation of the northern part of Cyprus. And by weakening the Central Government, leaving to 2 "constituent States" so much powers and separate interests that more conflicts appeared inevitable, provoking the danger of a break-down in the foreseable future, with more crisis, troubles, perhaps bloodshed, etc., instead of creating an harmoniously integrated, really one federal State.

The controversial Plan was finalized on March-April 2004 at Burgenstock (Switzerland), curiously in the presence of an Envoy by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Germany, then governed by Joschka Fischer, but in the absence of a French and not even an European Union's Envoy, contrary to what was usually practiced on similar occasions in Switzerland (fex. in 1997 at Montreux, in 2000 at Geneva, etc).

Turkey notoriously exploited the failure of the "Annan" Plan in order to convince the EU to decide to start accession Negotiations on December 2004. This provoked an unprecedented series of Institutional Crisis inside the EU, shortly afterwards, when French and Dutch People rejected, 2 popular EuroReferenda by a majority "'No" vote to the EU Constitutional Treaty on 2005, aggraveted in 2004 a Majority Abstention to EU Elections, etc., followed by the recent Irish "No", etc.

"Nabucco" Gas pipeline was notoriously planned since ..2002. It follows an even earlier idea, for an Oil pipeline Baku-Ceyhun, which started to be prepared on 1999-2001 and was meanwhile recently completed.  

So, facts indicate that what is now at stake is based on decisions made during Joschka Fischer's term as former Foreign Minister, closely interested in Turkey's controversial EU-bid.

To the point that he now practically ...switched jobs with a poliician from Turkey, (the State which pays today openly Joschka Fischer), Mr. Ozdemir, who came earlier in Germany, got fast the nationality, and became EiuroMP in a few years, continuing now as head of the "Greens" in Germany, i.e. in Joschka's former job !...

Such astonishing facts risk, unfotunately, to give to German politician Lothar Bisky's criticism of  representative Democracy a topical meaning :

 - "We (EuroLeft Group) think that what is really at stake is Democracy. It's not only about Gas Pipelines or Energy sources", President Lothar Bisky went on to add in his reply to "EuroFora"'s question on Joscka Fischer's personal interests in the controversial Turkish "Nabuco" pipeline.

Such facts, "make People get more distance from Politics. ...People had had enough, and they are fed up !".

- "That's why we (EuroParliament's "EuroLeft" Group) want to strengthen Direct Democracy in Europe. Citizens should be involved in the (EU) Decision-making. In the end of the day, it's not going to help anyone if Politicians are always taking decisions, without involving Citizens. We want to give a voice to the People of Europe. They've got to have their say in the decisions that are taken. That's one of our absolutely fixed and steadfast views. We want more Direct Democracy in Europe. That's how it can become more effective and stronger", he concluded.

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