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Home arrow newsitems arrow French Ambassador Mattei to EF on CoE AudioVisual body 2018 Presidency: Culture = Key for Cohesion+

French Ambassador Mattei to EF on CoE AudioVisual body 2018 Presidency: Culture = Key for Cohesion+

Written by ACM
Thursday, 11 January 2018

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*Strasbourg/CoE/Angelo Marcopolo/- French Ambassador/Permanent Representative to the CoE, Jean-Baptiste Mattei, speaking to "Eurofora" on the occasion of the take-over of the PanEuropean (47 Member States-strong, Russia included) Organisation's AudioVisual Experts' Presidency by France for the Year 2018, agreed that, in addition to the fact that "the Human Right for Freedom of Expression includes the Access to Culture", as he stressed, "Culture" offers also that "Common Base of our Imaginary", with which "each one must be able to identify himself", for the "Cohesion" of those "fellow European Citizens" to whom French President Macron recently Appealed in order to "design a Great Project" and "ReVive a European Ambition", for a more Sovereign, more Democratic, and Better Europe for our People, as he said in his New Year Address, practically Joining German Chancellor Angie Merkel's parallel call for "Us, Europeans", to "Hold Together as a Community", that she named as "the Crucial Issue of the coming years", (Comp. : ....).

 

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- In this regard too, European AudioVisual Observatory's (EAVO) capacity to offer "Reliable and Trustworthy Experts"' insight, to Economy, Political Decision-makers, and the Public at large, is particularly Useful, Ambassador Mattei noted earlier.

+ But, in order to Help Build such an "Imaginary", obviously, a Stronger "European Production" of original "AudioVisual" Works is needed, admitted the New Director on Economy in CoE's AudioVisual Observatory, Gilles Fontaine, speaking afterwards to "Eurofora", on the occasion of that same event Today in Strasbourg.

 

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- However, while it's expected that the current Worldwide Trend towards Distribution of AudioVisual Works mainly by Internet Service Providers, through Modern Digital Technologies, would Accentuate Further on 2018, it's also a Fact that, until now, Most of them are USA Companies, and it remains a Question Mark whether they will Invest in European Audiovisual Production, and/or if New European Internet Service Providers will Emerge, or not, in sufficient number, strength and quality, as Fontaine observed.

 

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>>> Meanwhile, the incoming 2018 French Presidency of the EAVO has Decided to Focus, this Year, mainly on the Topical Issue of "Internet Platforms providing Videos", as announced officially Today the Competent Representative of France in that CoE's Body's Executive Council, Elizabeth Le Hot, deputy Director on Cultural Economy's development at the Ministry of Culture. Inter alia, a relevant International Colloquy will be organized in Paris, on June 2018, at the prestigious Museum of Quai Branly/"Jacques Chirac", she added, (reminding the Historic, Long-Time former French Prime Minister and President of the Republic, with whom "Eurofora"s co-Founder has cooperated during many Years in the Past, both at Elysée Palace, and in EU Summits in Brussels, as well as in Berlin, Germany, etc, then via "TCWeekly"+).


++ Nevertheless, independently of all that, and in Addition, the Year 2018 is also due to be impacted, even in the European AudioVisual sector, by "BREXIT" Negotiations in view of UK's planned Departure from the EU after March 2019, Because "the UK is very Deeply Involved in Europe's Audio-Visual realities", as EAVO's Executive Director, Susanne Nikoltchev from Germany, told "Eurofora".

 

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- Nikoltchev, (who holds also a important Experience as former Head of EAVO's Legal section in Strasbourg), made clear that this is Not Limited only to the, already Important, Fact that Many EU Radio-TV Companies use to have Established Offices in the UK also in order to Transmit AudioVisual products to several Other EU Member Countries, (as Fontaine had observed earlier). Indeed, BREXIT's possible Effects to the European AudioVisual sector can be much More Wider than that, and concern also Manifold Other AV-related Issues, CEO Nikoltchev stressed, believing that EU's Chief BREXIT Negotiator, Michel Barnier's staff should, normally, be Aware of that, for the needs of the 2nd Phase Talks about UK's Future Relations with the EU.

 

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EAVO's CEO Nikoltchev + Strasbourg D.Mayor for Europe/World Rafik-Elmrini (Eurofora)
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After Poland, which has just passed over its 2017 EAVO's Presidency to France for 2018, it is Italy which is due to take over Next Year, on 2019 : A series of Three Countries with a Traditionally Strong Role on European Production of AudioVisual works, which might Help give a much needed Boost to this, both "Classic", but also Fully ReNovated and Modernized Sector of Economy, (which is in the process of being more and more Spectacularly Transformed by Digital Web-related Technologies) with manifold big Socio-Political Stakes, (Comp., f.ex.: ...).

 

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 sarko_merkel_mieux

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.

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- "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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