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Home arrow newsitems arrow EU Parliament's Top Press Officers in Upbeat mood ahead of crucial 2019 European Elections...

EU Parliament's Top Press Officers in Upbeat mood ahead of crucial 2019 European Elections...

Written by ACM
Wednesday, 16 January 2019

 eu_parliaments_director_of_communications_duch_gives_a_thumbs_up_to_eurofora_on_jan._2019_400

*Strasbourg/EU Parliament/Angelo Marcopolo/- A Fast-Track look at the Annual Reception of accredited Journalists for the Crucial New Year of 2019 European Elections, by EU Parliament's Top Press Officers, as well as by its President, Antonio Tajani, yesterday (Tuesday) evening, on the sidelines of this January Plenary Session, clearly surprized by a quite UpBeat Mood witnessed by "Eurofora" at several Key persons, in various but converging ways, despite the awesome Challenge that notoriously represent for EU's present and foreseable Future the main conditions, turnout and results of this exceptionally important, forthcoming Vote of May 23-26 :

 

new_year_2019_invitation_by_eu_parliaments_director_general_on_communications_jaume_duch_eurofora_400

 

- Starting by the experienced new Director General of EU Parliament's Communications, and long-time Spokesman, Jaume Duch-Guillot, who, while Greeting "Eurofora", confirmed the well-known moto : "An Image worths 1.000 Words", by spectacularly resuming his mood with an expressive "Thumbs-Up" Bright Smile, in a superb Winston Churchil style, (See relevant Photo)...

 

- Among Jaume's probable motivations certainly is also the Fact that he had just succeeded to bring, together with him, EU Parliament's President, Antonio Tajani, (a very experienced, former Twice EU Commissioner, Top MEP, Foreign Minister, High-Tech Engineer, etc., who has even touched upon Journalism personaly the Past), despite an exceptional overload by many other meetings held in parallel that same day, to greet Journalists, in front of "Eurofora", with a Toast firmly dedicated to the "Freedom of Press" :

 

eu_parliaments_president_tajani_shares_a_toast_with_journalists_for_2019_on_press_freedom_eurofora_400 

 

 - Simply Because an efficient and Democratic Society needs Pluralist and Free Information by Medias regularly covering European Issues, sometimes even at the Risk of their own Lives, as it was shown in the Recent Tragic Examples of the Brutal Killings, in 2017-2018, of an experienced Maltese Journalist, who had dared dangerously expose herself in public by adding an Independent and Critical Web-News Site with Original NewsReports to her routine articles for a traditional weekly, followed even by that of a young Slovak Web-Journalist reportedly investigating some corruption affairs for Big Medias, (etc), evoked President Tajani, vowing to Resolutely Continue to Defend Press Freedom also after the May 2019 EU Elections.

+ Naturally, Jaume Duch, who is of Spanish origin, had also the rare pleasure, these days, to Welcome in EU Parliament both the Speaker of Spain's National Parliament, and the Prime Minister of the Country, respectively at an Exhibition opened on Tuesday Evening (together, inter alia, with the former EU Parliament's President Gil Robles), and on Wednesday, at a Plenary Debate with MEPs. Moreover, earlier ceremonies to celebrate the Anniversary of "20 Years" since the adoption of €uro Currency, were added on Tuesday.

But it's even his Spokesman Office's Head, and Deputy EU Parliament's Spokesperson, Marjory Van Den Broeke, who gave one of her rare Smiles, while Wishing a Happy New Year to "Eurofora", just after listening to our description of the beautiful spectacle of Huge Trees and/or even Gardens often preserved inside the Center of Buildings' Blocksa at several Hotels in Brussels, sometimes giving a Superb View of SunRise, at Early Morning's time, (f.ex. when returning from a Long EU Heads of State/Governments Summit's Night), as we highlighted, (See, f.ex., relevant Photo, taken from the latest, December 2018 EU Brussels' Summit nights, etc).

brussels_interior_garden_sunrise_during_eu_summit_eurofora_400 

Brussels' interior Garden Sunrise, during the latest EU Summit (Eurofora)

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>>> Much more Important, however, for the overall Mood of EU Parliament's Senior Press Officers Nowadays, obviously was the Exceptional Fact that, by a Timely Coincidence, the above mentioned Annual Reception for Journalists took place in Strasbourg almost ...at the Same Time that, at London's Westminster, Brittish MPs were engaged in a Decisive Vote on the latest UK - EU draft Deal on "BREXIT" !


- A Big and Topical Issue, scheduled to be Debated by MEPs' the Next Morning (Wednesday), which inevitably Dominated also various Discussions among Journalists and EU Parliament's Press Officers, etc., during that Annual Reception of Tuesday Evening :  - Despite a spontaneous ... "What a Mess !", reaction by another Press Staff Member, speaking to "Eurofora", when it became clear that a Big Majority with a Difference of more than 200 Brittish MPs were, indeed, Opposed to that Draft Deal, as it stood, on the contrary, Most Interlocutors looked rather ...Happy about it, apparently Hoping that the UK may finally Stay inside the EU...


Some, inside EU Parliament, might, perhaps, have been Glad for the prospect of certain Other EU Member States to Gain More MEPs than before in the May 2019 Elections, due to a probable "BREXIT", meanwhile, on March, (as, f.ex., +5 for France and Spain, +3 for Italy and the Netherlands, +2 for Ireland, +1 for Poland, Sweden, Finland, Denmark, Austria, Croatia, Romania, etc, but +O for Other Countries, so that the Total Number of MEPs would go from 751 down to 705, after the Departure of the UK, while 46 Seats would be Reserved for eventual "TransNational" Lists in the Future, and/or for Enlargement). Nevertheless, Others notoriously prefered for the UK to Remain inside the EU.


- The Best Example was that of EU Parliament's new Press Director, Neil Corlett, a serious and experienced former Long-Time Head of Medias/Communication for the Liberal Group of MEPs, and Brittish himself, who Laughed wholeheartedly, together with some Friends, when he heard "Eurofora" suggest that a Key reason for an eventual "NO" to "BREXIT" could be People like Corlett himself !


- Indeed, obviously he was, personally, Against "BREXIT", and had been, surprisingly, Selected by EU Parliament in order to become its Press Director Recently, when "Hot" EU - UK Negotiations had been engaged, Despite the Fact that he was Brittish, without clearly knowing what might happen to him (and other UK Citizens employed by the EU) if and when the UK might Leave the EU, (as he had already told "Eurofora" since then). By a strange Coincidence, Neil Corlett had assumed the role of EU Parliament's new Press Director during that Same Plenary Session of Autumn 2017 in Strasbourg in which EU Council's President, Donald Tusk, a former Prime Minister of Poland, had Surprized Observers during a key MEPs' Debate, by Evoking a Possibility for the UK to Finally Stay inside the EU, if it wished so...


>>> However, the most Interesting was what the experienced Corlett had to say nowadays on the Crucial Issue of the estimated overall "Turnout" in the forthcoming 2019 EU Elections, (which had Previously been Discussed several times in the Past, mainly between "Eurofora" and Jaume Duch : See Infra) :


- I think that there is, now, a real chance for EU Citizens' Turnout in the 2019 European Elections to be Higher than the Last Times. Not just Because of our (EU Parliament's Press Service) more or less "ProActive" Strategy, but, much More due to "the Political Context" of nowadays, Neil Corlett told us.


=> Indeed, from the one side, so-called "Populists, and/or various "EuroSceptics", Far Leftists or Rightists, may feel Recently that they could have a Chance to get a Bigger Say inside EU Parliament, than they ever had in the Past. But, at the Same Time, alleged "Pro-Europeans", and/or several Traditional, mainstream Political Parties' fans, may Feel that their Ideas about Europe would Risk to be seriously Heart and Damaged or Replaced by some reportedly "Anti-European" Views. So that Both Sides of this Political Spectrum would be Incited to Participate in the May 2019 Votes, More than in the Past, increasing the Turnout, EU Parliament's new Press Director, agreed with "Eurofora", in substance.


+ Turnout's Numbers in EU Elections has become a very "Hot" Issue of Crucial Importance, particularly since the 1979 - 1994 Majority of Registered EU Citizens, suddenly Ceased to appear, after a Sharp Fall of Participation from 62 - 57% down to Only a Minority of 49 or 45%  of Voters between 1999 - 2004, before a Stabilisation around 43% twice, on 2009-2014.


The Fact that a Long Trend to always Fall towards a Lower Turnout, already since 1979-1994, suddenly Agravated on 1999-2004, was apparently Diminished, before being Stopped (if not reversed) on 2009-2014, (Comp. Supra), has been often Discussed, earlier, by "Eurofora" with EU Parliament's Spokesman and former Long-Time Press Director, Jaume Duch, currently Director-General of Communications, as, f.ex., inter alia, also back on July 2014, (See: http://www.eurofora.net/newsflashes/news/whatstopedabstentiontrendandstartedparticipationgrowthineuelections.html , etc). According to that latest discussion in public, (during the regular Press Briefing of Monday Afternoon, at the Beginning of a Plenary Session), Duch had already announced that EU Parliament was, normaly, expected to Examine the way in which it had Succeeded to achieve that Stabilisation, of a previously Falling Turnout, (as mentioned above), in order to reach Practical Conclusions for the Next EU Elections of 2019, (Comp. Supra). Something which, precisely, remains to be seen Nowadays, (Hoping, also, for an eventual Reversal of that previous Trend, now, towards a Stronger Electoral Participation by EU Citizens, much needed for Europe's present and Future)...


At any case, an Unforgettable Fact, in this regard, naturally is what had told "Eurofora" the Famous 1st President of EU Parliament in History, former Minister and afterwards Academician, Simone Veil, back during a Conference in Paris' prestigious University of Sorbonne, already as early as since 2010, (precisely when Polls had shown that she was, then, the Most Popular Figure in France) :


- When "Eurofora" had asked Veil to explain the "Paradox", for EU Citizens to have been regularly Voting, with Big Majorities, at EU Parliaments' Elections back on 1979-1994, when MEPs had Only a Few Competences, while, on the Contrary, they suddenly Started to Abstain in Majority, more Recently (since 1999-2004), Despite the Fact that MEPs have got, meanwhile, much More and Important Competences than in the Past, that Historic and Popular European Personality had not hesitated to Reply, realistically but Optimistically, (with a Bitter Smile, after a Thoughtfull moment), that, in her view, "Europe is still in a Transitional" Stage, between a Past and a Future Level of Development, (See : http://www.eurofora.net/newsflashes/news/simoneveileuropeintransition.html).


=> Shall we Start to see, at least Now, in the forthcoming, crucial May 2019 EU Elections, something like a Prelude or Beginning of such a New Stage for Europe, or shall we have to Wait, even Longer, perhaps until the Next, 2024 EU Elections, if not even Further Away in the Future ?


+ It's also a Fact that even the Experienced, current EU Commission's President, former Long-Time Prime Minister of Luxembourg and €uroGroup's Head, Jean-Claude Juncker, has concluded a landmark Conference, in Strasbourg University's Political Science Institute, more recently on Autumn 2017, (See: ...), by the Surprizing Observation that, Contrary to what Most People Think, the European Construction is Not "Too Old", but, rather, "it's Just Beginning !"...


Juncker has certainly said that in order to Encourage, but Not to Delay.
But, has Nowadays Europe, and its People, the "luxe" to Wait even much Longer, or No more ?...


Aren't Real Europeans obliged to, at least, help Start Something New, in the few Time still available, around these crucial May 2019 EU Elections ?

 

 eu_parliaments_pressroom_jan._2019_eurofora_400

 

(../..)

 

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The official presentation of a "Program" respecting People's choices voted in the June 7, 2009 EU Elections, to be debated in EU Council and EU Parliament during its 1st Session on July in Strasbourg, is the No 1 Priority, according to Democratic principles, for the Franco-German axis, said the main winners at the ballot box, French President Nicolas Sarkozy and German Chancellor Angie Merkel.

They stressed  that the New EU Commission's President must have a "Program" in favor of an EU which "protects" its Citizens, regulates financial markets and aims at a "Political" Europe" : a wording they have used as incompatible with Turkey's controversial EU bid.

They also declared ready for a "political" endorsment of "Mr. Barroso's candidacy" in June's EU Council, considering that an official decision would have to be made after EU Parliament's debates and votes, possibly from next month (July), with the legally necessary final acceptance shortly after Lisbon Treaty's entry into force, hoped for September or October.


- "A Program, and Mr. Barroso" : This resumes, in substance, the anouncements made by Sarkozy and Merkel, on the question of current EU Commission's President, Barroso's declared wish to succeed to himself for a second mandate, to be extended during the following 5 years.

 In their 1st meeting after EU Elections, they observed that "the Franco-German axis counted in European Elections' campaign... But, we both keep a realistic view : We saw the number of those who abstained, and we must absolutely give them an answer. We also see the disilusionment of an important number of Europeans vis a vis Europe, and we are aware of the responsibilities we have".

sarko

 - The "Duty" of the new EU Commission's President, after June 7, 2009 EU Elections' result, "is to act for a Europe which protects the Europeans, to commit himself into working for a better Regulation of Financial transactions, ... and to have a Political will for Europe", underlined Sarkozy.

Therefore, "we have asked M. Barroso... to clarify, to officialy present the intentions he has", he anounced.

- "We want to speak also about the Programme", explained Merkel.

- "It's important that for the next EU Parliament's mandate (2009-2014) we take the right Decisions for Europe.  Obviously on Persons, but mainly Decisions on Issues", she stressed.

- "It's not simply a question of a Person, it's also a question of a Programme". We are "really asking Mr. Barroso to commit himself on a Program, and on Principles, on Values", Sarkozy added.

EU President-in-office, Czech Prime Minister Jan Fischer, accepted the Franco-German stance :

- "Barroso must present his Programme. The Czech Presidency agrees with that", Fischer reportedly said later, after meeting Sarkozy.

But Press reports from Brussels claimed that Barroso had preferred to be officially appointed by EU Council since June, (i.e. next week), "because this was implied by the current Treaty of Nice, according to him", and considered any delay until the possible ratification of the new, Lisbon Treaty on September/October, as "undemocratic".

- "At any case, independently of what Germany and France ask, it's also EU Parliament's wish". "We shall propose Mr Barroso's candidacy... But even in the framework of Nice Treaty, EU Parliament has to be associated in this Decision", the French President observed.

If this is correctly done, then "we support Mr. Barroso's candidature", and "if the (EU) Parliament agrees, we might ratify this decision since July", (i.e. next month), they both said.

smerkem_400

- "France and Germany support Baroso's candidacy, But we want to speak also on the Program. We believe that this Program should be established in close cooperation with EU Parliament, and that's why we have followed an appropriate way", said Merkel.  - If EU Parliament wants, this election can take place on July,  but this must be done in full agreement.

- "We shall support Mr. Barroso's candidacy, without doubt", said Sarkozy. "But we have asked from Mr. Barroso, as I told him yesterday, to put into detail.. his intentions, at the eve of his 2nd mandate, if the situation avails itself.


    France and Germany "don't want to take an Official Legal Decision by writting" during "the next (EU) Council" (on June 18-19), declared Sarkozy.  Because they prefer, at this stage, only "a Political decision" on June, "so that we (EU Council) can work together with EU Parliament", which starts to meet only Next Month, since July in Srasbourg, "leaving a Legal decision by writting for later".

    - "If the Conditions are fuillfiled in EU Parliament, we (EU Council) are ready to give the agreement and make it offficial", said Merkel

    - "But, now we are working in the base of Nice Treaty. If tommorow we want to work in the spirit of Lisbon Treaty, we have to find a proper way", she added.

    - "Of course it's Legally complicated, because we are going to make a Political proposal to the forthcoming Council, for an EU Commission's President, on the basis of Nice Treaty : So, we (EU Council) will not appoint the Commissioners. Only the President.  If EU Parliament agrees, it could endorse this position on July", explained Sarkozy.

    But, on Autumn, "if Ireland ratifies Lisbon Treaty, there will be, at any case, a 2nd Decision, to appoint the Commission's President, this time on the basis of Lisbon treaty, and then, we, the EU Member States, would have to appoint (also) the EU Commissioners", he added.

    As for the precise Timing :  - "Everything is suspended until the Irish vote... Now, we must all make everything possible to help Ireland to say "Yes"" to Lisbon Treaty... The Irish Referendum, ..will take place either on September or on October. It's a Question which depends on the Irish. And,  then, we shall have the Choice of the Candidates for the permanent Institutions of Europe".

    However, "if Ireland says No, we, French and Germans, have to assume our responsibilities, and we'll do so", he concluded.

    But British and Swedish governments were reportedly eager to have a final EU Council decision on Barroso since this month, on June's European Council. While the other EU Member Countries are divided, several of them preferring to wait until EU Parliament pronounces itself, on July, and/or until Lisbon Treaty might be ratified by Ireland at the beginning of the Autumn. Barroso's current mandate ends on November.

    There are also various, contradictory and/or unpredictable reactions inside EU Parliament vis a vis Barroso's wish to continue a 2nd mandate, because many MEPs are openly or secretly opposed, reluctant, or hesitating.

    In the biggest EU Countries, as France and Germany, EU Citizens voted on June 2009 EU Elections for a renovated, non-technocratic but Political Europe which cares for its Citizens, with an Identity, Values and Borders, declared incompatible with Turkey's controversial EU bid, by mainstream, pro-European Governing Parties. Similar choices were also supported in several other small or medium EU Countries.

    On the contrary, whenever, in other Countries, Governing and other mainstream Parties didn't make these choices or eluded them, EU Citizens massively voted for euro-Sceptics whenever they were the only ones to to promise anti-bureacratic change and oppose Turkey's demand to enter into the EU, (f.ex. in the UK, Netherlands, etc).

    It's seems to be an Open Question whether Sarkozy and Merkel's conditions will be really accepted by Barroso, who was appointed on 2004 in a different political context, (with Socialist Prime Ministers in Germany, France, etc), had rejected in the Past the idea of EU becoming "equal to the USA" as "ridiculous", and pushed for Turkey's contoversial EU bid, trying to "soften" or contain the changes desired by the People who voted for Merkel and Sarkozy with another policy vis a vis Turkey on 2005 in Germany and on 2007 in France, as they did all over Europe on 2009.

    In addition to many EPP Governments, it's 3 remaining Socialist Prime Ministers : Gordon Brown in the UK, Zapatero in Spain, and Socrates in Prortugal, who support Barroso, as well as Liberal Swedish Prime Minister Reinfeldt. But their Parties lost the June 2009 EU Elections.

    Questioned whether there was still "Time" for "other" possible "Candidates", Sarkozy and Merkel did not deny, nor made any comment on that, but simply said that "it's not for us to make publicity for any candidates. We anounced our choice ("A Program, and Mr. Barroso"). But we respect any other candidate".

    Among various other names cited are former Belgian Prime Minister Verhofstadt, former UNO's Human Rights Commissioner Mary Robinson of Ireland, Italian former EU Commission's vice-President Monti, etc. Meanwhile, Luxembourg's PM Juncker, (who had been unanimously accepted by EU Council for EU Commission's Presidency on 2004, but refused), announced his intention to resign from "EuroGroup"'s Chair. Thus, he might be available for another Top EU job.

    As "EuroFora"'s "opinion" said (See publication dated 9/6/09) : - "If the current candidates (i.e. Barroso, etc) to the Top EU jobs promise and guarantee to respect People's democratic choices, then, it's OK".

"Otherwise, Europe must find new candidates, really motivated and able to implement these democratic choices of the People."

    Because, "in Democracy, the forthcoming choices for EU's Top Jobs,...should be made according to EU Citizens' Votes in June 7, 2009 European Elections, and main EU Governments' strategic policies".
        

***

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