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Haupt arrow newsitems arrow EUROCORPS New Commander, General Weigt to EF: Next Years important for Decisions on EU Defence

EUROCORPS New Commander, General Weigt to EF: Next Years important for Decisions on EU Defence

Geschrieben von ACM
Samstag, 11 November 2017

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*Strasbourg/WW1 Armistice Ceremony/Angelo Marcopolo/- EUROCORPS' new Commander for the Period of 2017-2019, General Jürgen Weigt, speaking to "Eurofora", expressed a careful but clear Optimism as far as possible Developments of soon Forthcoming moves for EU's CFSPolicy are concerned in Defence, and eventual repercussions on the original Army Staff's Multinational European body, initialy created by a Franco-German initiative 24 Years ago, (See Infra).                                                                                                                             
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"Eurofora", saluting Weigt, pointed at the Fact that, Next Week in Brussels, several EU Member States are due to Sign the 1st ever Agreement for the Creation of a Permanent Structural Cooperation (according to the EU's "Lisbon Treaty") in Defence, and asked him whether such an important Strategic Move would also Boost "EUROCORPS" role in the foreseable Future.

EU Parliament has already Debated and Voted in Strasbourg's Plenaries several Resolutions on EU's Common Foreign and Security Policy, in which, MEPs have explicitly and clearly called, several times, for EUROCORPS to play a Key role.

EUROCORPS, a Multi-National Force focusing on Leading the Staff of Thousands of Soldiers from several Countries, , is Headquartered in Strasbourg since 1993, and has as "Framework" Nations France, Germany, Spain, Belgium and Luxembourg, but also Poland as a New, evolving Member, while Many Other EU Countries have posted "Liaison Officers" here, and more are expected to join, sooner or later, in one way or another. It has also been used for Cooperation with NATO, and Headed Operations in Kosovo and Afghanistan (International Missions), Mali and Central Africa (EU Missions), etc. More Recently, it has started to Lead also EU's Battle Group, as on 2016.

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 - "Yes !", I know, General Weigt immediately reacted, declaring to be Aware of those, previous and, particularly forthcoming concrete EU +steps.  

- In consequence, "I Think so", EUROCORPS' New Commander Positively replied spontaneously, to "Eurofora"s above-mentioned Topical Question, about probable further Developments on the role of that particular European Force.

- However, "I am Not Sure" yet, he Carefully added, later-on.

 - Because "We have to Wait for the Political Decisions" that still have to be officially taken on that matter, he advised.

 - "But, certainly, the Corps would be ready to move in that direction, he estimated, logically, for, now.

- And, as far as this matter too is concerned, my Mandate (at EuroCorps' Head) "is for 2 Years": Autumn 2017- Autumn 2019, Commander Weigt observed.

- Therefore, he simply Smiled in Agreement with "Eurofora"s Observation that such a move on European Defence should, logically, at least Start during his term in office, which is, now, practically, at its Beginnings, since he has just taken over his new responsibilities, Earlier this Autumn, since September 2017, (See : http://www.eurofora.net/newsflashes/news/eurocorpsanddrones.html).
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It's also of a Fact of Timely, and Highly Symbolical Significance, that General Weigt, who comes from Germany, spoke thus to "Eurofora", on the sidelines of a Ceremony for the Anniversary of the 1st World War Armistice, at Strasbourg's Monumental "Republic" square, Together with several among his French collegues, including, f.ex., the Military Governor of Strasbourg, General Casanove, the Alsace Region's Gendarmes' force Commander, General Ottavi, the Commander of the Military Intelligence brigade, General Maury, etc., in the presence of he New Prefect of Strasgourg's "Great East" Region, Jean-Luc Marx, with other representatives of the Civilian Adminsitrations and Elected Politicians.


Particularly because, it's just Yesterday, at Nearby Colmar/Watwiller, that the new Presidents of France and Germany, Macron and Steinmeier, have jointly Inaugurated a Pioneer "Historica" Museum on the Deadly Horrors of the 1st World War, as they were Tragically and spectacularly pictured at the Juge Pic of the Mountain known as "Hartsmanwillerskopf", where more than 30.000 French and German Soldiers lost their Lives, in a vain and bloody Conflict for a Strategic Line which did Not, however, pactically moved at all during the duration of all the War !


 - Nowadays, European People need both a common Memory, and to be better Protected, particularly by a European Defence, stressed, in substance, on this occasion, the French President Emmanuel Macron, echoed by his German counterpart, with whom he had also, earlier in Paris, a long Meeting, focusing particularly on "Important" Developments expected, as far as Europe's Future is concerned, from 2018.


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+ Meanwhile, as also a Multi-Modal Force, EUROCORPS has been recently trained to Monitor Both Land, Air, and Sea Military Operations, in an organized whole.


This Last Point was also evoked, Today, by the presence, on the spot, of a Young French (but fluently English-Speaking) Officer from the Naval Forces, who said to "Eurofora" that he has been affected to Strasbourg, (where, however, there are Rivers and Lakes, but Not any Sea), including in the framework of Wider, intermodal Intelligence operations, based here.


But, even more concretely, among other relevant Facts, it's also the Expected Signature of EU's Permanent Structural Cooperation in Defence matters, for the 1st Time, even by the small but Strategic Island of Cyprus, next week in Brussels, which contributes to underline the Manifold Importance of the overall EU moves for Autonomous Defence capabilities :


Indeed, f.ex., that concrete move is, apparently, linked also with EU's possible Direct Energy Supplies of Oil/Gas which may soon start to arrive from evolving Findings at EU Member Cyprus' Seabed, as well as at the Neighbouring and Friendly Countries of Israel and Egypt, etc., (Comp. f.ex. : ...). And all this has, Timely and Significantly, been associated, thes

e very days, also with various relevant Moves and Visits by Egyptian Naval Forces, the Israeli Defence Minister Liberman, etc., inter alia also in Greece, while an exceptionally important EU Mediterranean Member Countries' Summit its scheduled, during the next weeks/Months in Cyrpprpriot counterpart, President Anastasiades, earlier this week in Paris.


Meanwhile, in addition to France and other EU Countries' (f.ex. Italy, Denmark, etc) role at an efficient UN Peace-Keeping force between Lebanon and Israel, since 2006, it's also Germany, which has had ensured the management of a relevant Naval Force, based in Cyprus' island.


The overall aim being to help guarantee a Peaceful and Stable Development of Energy and other Economic Activities of Europan Interest at that Southern Middle-East key area, with Direct Links to the EU.

(../..)

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    The incoming Swedish EU Presidency (July-December 2009) may still remain in favour of Turkey's controversial EU bid, despite June 2009 EU Elections' results, but it has "very strong demands on Turkey"'s obligation to respect EU Rules, said the Head of Swedish Foreign Ministry's Press Service, Cecilia Julin, to "EuroFora", reacting to critical Press reports.

    - "I know (that) the link is often made also to Sweden's position on Turkey"'s controversial EU bid. Indeed, "we (Swedish EU Presidency) are very much engaged in the future membership of Turkey, but not without fullfiling all the Criteria".

    - "It's very clear that we (Swedish EU Presidecny) have very Strong Demands on Turkey, in a sort of concept for Future membership of the Union, ...which will be a Long Process...", she stressed.

    This means, in particular, "the Copenhagen Criteria (on Human Rights, Democracy and Rule of Law), and also the adaptation to the Acquis of the European Union".

     - "If you listen to what Mr. Bildt (the Swedish Foreign Minister) says on Turkey at different occasions, it's very clear : We want Turkey to become part of the Union, in the Future. But we want it to fullfil all the Criteria : The Acquis of the European Union. That's very clear", she concluded.

    The Senior Official of the Swedish Foreign Ministry was reacting to critical Press Reports, from Brussels' Journalists invited by EU Commission's secretariat to Stockholm, who claimed that Bildt was abusing of a ..."Whip" (sic !) against Cyprus, by "threatening" the presence of UNO's Peace-keeping force at the "Green line" which separates the island's Government-controlled areas from the territories occupied by Ankara's army, if Nicosia didn't accept any political solution, regardless of Turkey's demands, before the end of 2009.

        Governing AKEL Party's new Secretary General, Andros Kyprianou, reacted by declaring that no-one can threat the People of Cyprus : -"We shall decide for our Future, and nobody else",  he reportedly said, asking to "keep calm". "In order to find a Solution soon, certain basic Principles must be respected", he stressed, calling those who feel an urgency to use their influence on Turkey. Other Political Parties were more critical.

    This was a reference to recently reported statements by Turkish Minister Bagis, Prime Minister Tayip Erdogan and Turkey's National Security Council (a Military-Political body), accused to push towards a partitionist "2 States" solution, contrary to UNO SC Resolutions for Cyprus' reunification.

    December 2009 is a crucial moment for EU's appraisal of Turkey's controversial EU bid, because EU Council has decided to review then Ankara's compliance with the European position on the recognition of Cyprus' Government, which was clearly set out by an EU reply of 21 September 2005 to Turkish Prime Minister Tayip Erdogan's claims, refusing to recognize even the existence of EU Member Cyprus, in controversial statements he made to London (former EU chair) on July 29, 2005.

    EU Parliament's latest Resolution on Turkey, adopted on March 2009 in Strasbourg, warned Ankara that "the non-fulfillment of Turkey's commitments... by December 2009, may further seriously affect the process of Negotiations" with the EU.

    In practice, the issue boils down to Ankara's "embargo" against Ships and Airplanes using Cyprus' seaports or airports at the strategic EU island, which traditionaly hosts one of the World's biggest Shipping flags. EU has already "freezed" 6 relevant Chapters in EU - Turkey Negotiations since December 2006, after Ankara refused to fullfil a commitment it had undertaken when EU had decided to open controversial "accession" negotiations with Turkey, back on December 2005.

    - "As far as EU - Turkey relations are concerned, it's clear that Turkey needs to fullfil its obligation of full, non-discriminatory implementation of the additional Protocol (to "EC-Turkey Association Agreement"),  This is an important issue....and should be addresseed as soon as possible as it clearly affects the pace of the accession negotiations.Issues covered by the Declaration of September 2005 will continue to be followed up, and progress is urgently awaited", warned earlier in Strasbourg the out-going Czech EU Presidency (former vice-Prime Minister Alexander Vodra).

    But the Head of the Swedish Foreign Ministry's Press Service, Cecilia Julin, dismissed "interpretations" by "some" that Foreign Minister Carl Bildt was reportedly "threatening" Cyprus with consequences on the UNFICYP, if it doesn't accept any solution until December 2009, while Turkey is reportedly delaying in an attempt to impose a partitionist "2 States" solution.

    On the contrary, Julin, stressed that "Sweden has strong demands on Turkey'"s respect of "Copenhagen Criteria and EU Acquis".

    Meanwhile, Sweden  is "concerned" about the risk of "Stalemate" in Cyprus' Talks, but is well aware that "the main responsibilities lie with the two leaders and the UNO", Europe playing only a role of "facilitator".

    After carefully verifying, the Head of Swedish Foreign Ministry's Press Service, stressed to "EuroFora" that Bildt's reference to UNFICYP "was not linked to a Threat", and dismissed those who "interpreted" it so.

    On the contrary, the Swedish EU Presidency acknowledged the fact that Peace Talks are mainly for the UN and the leaders of the Cypriot communities, EU's role being limited into that of a "facilitator".

    As for Turkey's reported attempts to impose a "2 States' solution", the Head of the Swedish Foreign Ministry's Press Service sharply replied by stressing that Turkey must respect the "EU Acquis" rules.

    In particular :

    - "Basically he (Bildt) underlined that it's the leaders of the two communities in Cyprus and the UN that have the main responsibilities for solving the problem", started to say the Swedish Senior Official to "EuroFora", referring to the above-mentioned "briefing".

    - "But the EU had a role in sort of pointing out the benefits and facilitating a little bit the outcome for the settlement of the whole Cyprus' issue", she added.

    - "And he did state the Fact, that the rest of the World (i.e. USA, etc) will, of course, look at the differend issues which are at the table, and the future of the UN Peace keeping force is part of what is at the table", she admitted.

    - "I understand that some have interpreted that as a Threat, by the Swedish Minister" "But", in reality, "it's a statement of a Fact, that, when we'll look at the differend issues, one of the issues on which we shall have to take a stand on, is the future of the UN Peace keeping force in Cyprus".

    Indeed, one of the questions usually raised for a Solution of Cyprus' issue is what International and/or European or other Guarantees, by a Peace-keeping force, might be needed afterwards, eventually for a transitory period.

    Questioned anew by "EuroFora" whether (according to critical Press Reports) this could be taken as a veiled warning that, if Cyprus didn't accept any Turkish demand for any solution whatever, it might be left alone to face Ankara's Military Invasion/Occupation, she denied :

    - "He (Bildt) didn't say it in that way"... "It was not linked to a threat, or anything like that", the Head of the Swedish Foreign Ministry's Press Service stressed.

    On the contrary, "he (Bildt) underlined that the main responsibility lies with the parties concerned on the island". "The EU can try to facilitate and show the benefits of reaching a settlement. But also, when the EU and the rest of the World (i.e. USA) will have to look at it, they will look at all the Facts on the table, and the presence of the UN Peace-keeping force is one".

    And "he (Bildt) didn't speak about that at all", she replied to "EuroFora" question on Turkey's reported attemps to impose, in one way of another, a partitionist "2 States solution".

    Asked whether Bildt's aim was to incite both parties to move forward efficiently, she agreed :

    - In fact, "the EU is really very concerned with the Stalemate in the situation. Yes !", the Head of Sweden's Foreign Ministry's Press Service anounced. That's why Bildt "was hoping for the two parties (i.e. for Turkey's also) to engage and break, a little-bit, the present stalemate, come to a solution of the issue" of Cyprus.

    But, replying  to a "EuroFora"s question on the risk, denounced by several politicians in case of strict Time Deadlines, for Turkey to provoke a stalemate and wait for the time to come to impose a partitionist "2 States' solution", she reacted by pointing at Turkey's obligation to respect "EU Acquis" :

    - "Turkey must fullfil the EU Acquis : That's clear !", the Swedish Senior Official stressed.

    More details are expected when Swedish Prime Minister Reinfeldt will debate his Programme with new MEPs at EU Parliament's plenary mid-July in Strasbourg, that he has visited already in 2008.

    Foreign Minister Carl Bildt became familiar with Strasbourg's CoE last year, when Sweden chaired the PanEuropean organization of Human Rights. As EU chairman-in-office, he will also chair the 27-member States strong EU Group inside the 47-member States strong CoE.

    Minister for EU affairs, Cecilia Malmstrom is well known at EU Parliament, where she has been an active MEP of the Liberal Group for many years, following also Press Freedom issues.

    Both have already made various statements at "EuroFora", on differend topical matters.

    ***

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