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Αρχική arrow newsitems arrow French Regions' President Richert quits + points at Identity+General Interest, in Mystery..

French Regions' President Richert quits + points at Identity+General Interest, in Mystery..

Έχει γραφτεί από ACM
Saturday, 30 September 2017
president_of_great_east_region_philippe_richert_looking_at_agg_eurofora_400

*Strasbourg/Great East Region HQ/Angelo Marcopolo/- The most Experienced French "Regionalist" Top Politician, at EU's Core area of Strasbourg, the ChristianDemocrat/EPP President of the New "Great East" Region, which unites together the Borders of 5 Key European Countries, (France, Germany, Switzerland, Luxembourg and Belgium), but also holding Important Nation-Wide Responsibilities, such as President of the Association of French Regions, former Minister of DeCentralisation, etc., (See Infra), Philippe Richert, surprized many People by suddenly announcing that he resigns, ("for General Interest" reasons, as he said). By a coincidence amidst a lot of various, more or less relevant Political and other exceptional Developments nowadays going on around such an unprecedented event, which still leaves some questions pending, keeping a part of Mystery, (See Infra) mixed with natural Emotions.

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EXPERIENCE/STOCK TAKING
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 Philippe Richert, during more than 34 Years of Service as an important Elected Politician at the Top of various Public Authorities, has held, f.ex., the Office of Senate's vice-President, (something which made some Countries to Welcome him almost "as a Head of State/Government"), Minister of Decentralisaton and Territories, President of the Department of Lower Rhine, President of Alsace Region, and, afterwards, of the "Great East" Region, President of the Nation-Wide Association of French Regions, (etc).


Used to be personally involved in Franco-German cooperation, (including f.ex. at the "Superior Rhine"/OberRhine structure, together with Switzerland too, as f.ex. at its landmark 2010 Meeting at nearby Offenburg, with the then EU affairs Minister Hoyer, nowadays EIB's President, See: ..., but also with the Trans-Border Civil Society and even the Hohenzollern Royal Familly : See ..., as well as in the creation of "Euro-Campus" Franco-Germano-Swiss University/Research Integration project from 2016, See: ...), he regretted, however, Today, for "Not having done yet as much as we are able to do on Trans-Border Cooperation recently", since he took over the heavry Responsibilities of the New, "Great East" Region around Strasbourg, and the Presidency of all French Regions' Association.


=> "Eurofora"'s co-Founder had the opportunity to make many Publications on President Richert's activities, particularly on various Replies he kindly gave to our Questions and/or other Statements, on several Topical Issues, during almost 2 Decades, (among others, See, f.ex. also : http://www.eurofora.net/newsflashes/news/christiansprotestants.html , http://www.eurofora.net/newsflashes/news/regionalelections.html , http://www.eurofora.net/newsflashes/news/sarkozymerkelforeuintegration.html , http://www.eurofora.net/newsflashes/news/ufmediterraneanurbandevelopmentsummit.html , http://www.eurofora.net/newsflashes/news/schaublemnacehollandecontretraiteeurzone.html , http://www.eurofora.net/newsflashes/news/xavierbertrand.html , http://www.eurofora.net/newsflashes/news/worldforumfordemocracy.html , http://www.eurofora.net/newsflashes/news/alsacereferendumresults.html , http://www.eurofora.net/brief/brief/alsacenotoalcaponearea.html , http://www.eurofora.net/newsflashes/news/sarkozyautonomousalternativewinsregions.html   , http://www.eurofora.net/newsflashes/news/franceregionelelectionsrepublicanswithgreensorfnrightistsforstrasbourg.html , http://www.eurofora.net/newsflashes/news/alsacepresidentrichertonacaleuropeanprojects.html , http://www.eurofora.net/newsflashes/news/newbigfrenchregionheadricherton5eustatesandchina.html , http://www.eurofora.net/newsflashes/news/strasbourgregionpresidentrichertandfrencheconomyministermacrononhighspeedinternet.html , http://www.eurofora.net/newsflashes/news/1stregionsoffranceconventionatreimsand2017choices.html , http://www.eurofora.net/newsflashes/news/frenchprimeministervallsonhightechfunding.html , http://www.eurofora.net/newsflashes/news/frenchregionspresidentricherttoeurofora.html , http://www.eurofora.net/newsflashes/news/francogermancoreregionleaderseyescienceandethics.html , http://www.eurofora.net/newsflashes/news/fillonforculturetorevivefranceandeurope.html , rel.+ https://twitter.com/angemarc3/status/913569739565338625 , etc).


Among the Numerous and Manifold concrete Realisations boosted here by Richert, he mentioned, Today, f.ex., also :      
- the Creation of the "Memorial" for Alsace - Lorraine, the "Spacecraft for Sciences",  the restoration of the majestic "Castle of Haut-Koenigsbourg", the World-Famous "Lalique" Museum (on Crystal Artworks), "Lichtenberg Castle",  the "Alsacian Archeology" entity, the "New Archives", etc, in addition to a sustained support to the Regional Economy.


Most of all, Richert pointed at a Recent move to spread Modern Very High Speed Internet Connexions all accross the Region's Urban and Rural areas, from Cities to Small Villages included, proud to Help make this Region "the 1st in France" to achieve such a result, which aims to Avoid any "Gaps" or "Digital Divide" between Citizens, as he stressed. This Pioneer Program had been Launched in Srasbourg together with the then Minister of Economy, and Today new French President, Emmanuel Macron, (See "Eurofora"s NewsReport from that event at : ....).


+ However, at the Same Time, we managed to re-organize the New "Great East" Ragion's overall activities in a way that "we Spared almost -1 Billion € per Year", compared with what used to be spend for all those Territories in the Past, he pointed out, as far as Financial Economies are concerned.


 - Before I Started Politics, I was just a College Professor of Sciences, more interested on ... "Butterflies", joked Phiippe Richert, but, after being Elected from the 1st Time with more than 75% of the Votes, +34 Years Later, I've had the Chance to meet more than "16 Prime Ministers, and 15 Prefects", but also "the Pope, the Dalai-Lama, the Brittish Queen, etc", and Travelled around for a total of about 300.000 kms, as he characteristically noted,  smiling...


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Historic+ IDENTITY
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Topically Speaking at the immediate Aftermath of the Elections at Neighbouring Germany, where mainstream Media and Politicians observed a growing Popular Demand to preserve that key European Country's cultural a.o. Identity, particularly after the Recent "Tsunami" of more than 1,5 Millions of Mass Asylum Seekers/Irregular Migrants through Turkey from 2015-2016, (mainly Muslim Migrants from the Middle-East or Central Asia, etc, Turkish agents reportedly Dissuading Christian Minorities and/or Qualified People, according to EU Leaks from Brussels), and even of an UnRelated, Controversial Independence Referendum Attempt in Catalonia, scheduled for Tomorrow, Sunday, Richert surprized by Focusing, for the 1st Time so openly, on "Identity":


- "We have Not Finished yet our Work on the Issue of Identity", and "Today, this is the main Question" raised, Richert stressed.


 Shortly Before he spoke, Strasbourg's main Local Newspaper "DNA" had just Published a Petition, signed by more than a Hundrend various Local/Regional Personalities, which Ask ro Restore "Alsace Region" strenghened by "Additional Competences" on "Culture, Language, Education", as well as "Trans-Border Cooperation and Economy".
They referred to Polls showing that "84% of the Population" was "Favorable for Alsace to quit the (much Wider) Great East Region", (CSA, 4/2017 : backed also by Similar, more Recent Polls cited by "DNA", f.ex. of "Radio Nuée Bleue", etc), in order to avoid "degrading its Specificity", but, on the contrary, both "preserve its Past, and build its Future", by "Continuing its History and personality", also through "its Rhenan and European mission".


Richert had been Criticized by some in the Past for accepting to become on 2016 President of the New and Bigger "Great East" Region, which includes the Pre-Existing Regions of Alsace, Lorraine and Champagne-Ardennes, according to a controversial 2015 Reform of France's Regional Structures, imposed by former French President Hollande, (a "Socialist"), allegedly in order to make Financial Economies in Logistics, and Bigger/Stronger new Regions, (even if this implied to bring together some "Heterogeneous Territories, which did Not know Eachother" yet, as he acknowledged).


But, as he Reminded Today, Richert, himself a former Alsace Region President for years, had Initially struggled to Defend the pre-existing Structure, organized a Popular Referendum for the creation of a stronger "Alsace Council" Merging Together that Region with its 2 Departments (Districts) of Superior and Lower Rhine, led Public Demonstrations against the Change pushed by Hollande (Comp. Supra), and even backed a Legal Complaint against it, up to the country's Highest Judges (its "Constitutional Court"), etc., in vain, given the Former Government's insistence. Thus, he had been practically Obliged to Lead his (Center-Right) Party's campaign in the Elections for that New, Bigger "Great East" Region, (which Merged 3 pre-existing, smaller regions : Comp. Supra), in order to Prevent the Risk for Rightists of the "National Front" (led by MEP Philippot) to snatch the Top Job. And he Brillantly Won that Popular Vote, (See: ... + ...).


- In fact, "I think that we Need to Keep such Identities" (as "Alsace"', "Lorraine", "Champagne-Ardennes", etc), the Experienced Top Regionalist of France went on to add Now, inter alia, also for the "Needs to Export towards International" areas, where, f.ex., "the Brand <<Made in Alsace>> was Adopted Initially by 5.000 Businesses, whose Number recently Grew up to 7.000, (the last-one being the well known De Dietrich Company)".


+ Moreover, "We Need such Identities", mainly "Because", in addition to their "History", they represent also "a Geographical, Human, and Political Reality", he stressed.


- F.ex., "Alsace pre-Existed even Before the creation of the Region named Alsace" : i.e. , already in the "Ancient" era of "Austrasia", (Eastern Franc Kingdom), etc. And Historians speak about what they call the "Alsace of Humanism", when "several Philosophers around Europe came here to exchange at Selestat" city, he reminded, inter alia.

>>> Therefore, 'the Question of Identity was at the Heart of my Work", President Philippe Richert underlined.


- And, even if also the New French "President (Macron) and Prime-Minister (Philippe) told me that they do Not intent to restore the Alsace Region" as it was before, nevertheless, other Possibilities exist in Practice :
=> - F.ex., "we can always Merge Together the 2 Departments of Superior and Lower Rhine, in order to Create 1 New Department throughout All Alsace area, which might even be called "Alsace Council", and "Negotiate (with the French State) the Addition of some More Competences", he suggested, in this regard.


---------------------------------
ACT for GENERAL INTEREST/VALUES/CITIZENS
-------------------------------------------------------------


+ But President Philippe Richert's main and longest Plaidoyerie, during his landmark, Final Speech, Today, was Focused on the Principle of "General Interest" Action for "Values" and the "Citizens", as he stressed many times :


 - Indeed, the question of "Values", "is Not a Detail which would come Afterwards", but, on the contrary, an Important matter which "comes First" of all, he stressed from the outset.


- F.ex., if "I Believe in (Territorial) DeCentralisation, it's because it allows to come Closer to the Citizens, and this Helps Democracy to work Better" : That's why I am a real, convinced Regionalist", he pointed out.
>>> In Fact, "Act in the Name of those People who Voted for You, is a Heavy Responsibility, but also  an Extraordinary Opportunity !", underlined Richert, as a matter of General Principle.


- And, in this regard, as a Philosopher used to say : "We are what we are Doing", because "Ideas are Not made in order to be Thought, but in order to Live according to them" in real practice. In other words :  "Speak Less, but take Action !", he concluded.


=> This went as far as to even ...Motivate his Decision to Resign Today, also by "the General Interest" to give a Chance to his Successors to have enough Time in order to Better "Prepare the Next Elections", as he said, (See Infra).


 - "Stand always United and Work Together, for the General Interest, for our Citizens !", concluded President Richert in his Last Message at Strasbourg's "Great East" Region's Members of his Political Majority Today, who largely Applauded.


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MYSTERY (+ Emotions)
----------------------------------------------------------


Many were Surprized by Richert's anouncement that he Resigns Today : Indeed, he has just been brillantly Elected as President of the New Big Region of Strasbourg : "Great East", only about 1,5 Year ago (December 2015 - September 2017), and still had about 3 or 4 Years more to run in this mandate, up to 2021.


Even some among the few who reportedly "knew" that he was considering to eventually resign Before the End of his current Mandate, (as, f.ex., Local French Strasbourg's Newspaper "DNA"s experienced Head of Politcal News, Fortier, etc), several acknowledged, speaking to "Eurofora", that, at least they "did Not Know When" he might do so...


Philippe Richert is aged just 64 Years Today (1953-2017). I.e. he's Younger than New US President Don Trump (aged 71 : 1946-2017). And even More Younger than Germany's Finance Minister Wolfgang Schäuble, probable New President of Parliament, who has just Celebrated, at Nearby Offenburg, his 75th Anniversary, together with EU Commission's President, Jean-Claude Juncker, and German Chancellor Angie Merkel, (See "Eurofora"'s NewsReport from the Offenburg : ...)


Therefore, "It's Not a matter of Age", Richert was obliged to say, as far as his unexpected decision to resign now is concerned. But, it might be "a matter of Seniority", (I.e. for having served in Politics for a too Long Period of Time), he added.


Indeed, he has been serving as an Elected Politician, at various Public Authorities, more than 34 Years now, (1982-2017), he reminded. According to some Estimations "I've been Working for the General Interest and the Republic during more than 150.000 Hours", he joked, (counting only actual Working Time)...


Bad lack : It's just a Week ago that all German Medias reminded the Fact that his Neighbour, Schäuble, (Freshly Re-Elected as MP also for the forthcoming period of 2017-2021), has already completed ... 45 Years of service as MP (1972 - 2017), in addition to various Ministerial posts, etc.


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


What was, then, the Real Reason for Richert's Sudden Resignation ?
Could it be, simply because of a Recent "Hot" Disagreement with current French Prime Minister Philippe, for his Refusal to Keep a Promise given by his Predecessor, former Prime Minister Valls before the Presidential and Parliamentary Elections of 2017, concerning the Global Budget of All Regions of France, which was reportedly Diminished Now with  -350 Millions € Less than expected for the Next Year of 2018 ?


Indeed, the fact that such a promise, initially given by Valls at the Annual Congress of the Association of "Regions of France" on 2016 in Reims, (Comp. "Eurofora"s NewsRaports from Reims, then, f.ex. : ...), and subsequently Endorsed even by the Parliament, was, finally, Droped by Philippe at the 2017 Congress in Orleans, (reportedly because of the Need to make an effort for Economies in France's overall Budget), provoked Strong Reactions by most Presidents of Regions : It resulted, inter alia, also to their Exceptional Decision to immediatelly Stop any Concertation with the current National Government, until this Problem is Solved, and "Trust" restored, between the Regions and the State, as an Official Decision has just Announced...


Richert, who has also been Elected President of the National Assiociation of "French Regions" since 2016, Explained that exceptional move Today, by saying that, even "More Important than hose -350 Millions €" Cut from their initial Budget for 2018, "is the Principle of Mutual Respect, Respect to Commitments, and Fairness, on which we could build the Future", as he critically said now.


But, at any case, those Differences were, in fact, an obviously Collective Issue, felt and endorsed by Most if not all the Regions of the country, and explicitly Supported by all the competent Collective Bodies of that Organisaion... So that Not Only the Independence of the Regions made normally Impossible, even for a Top State Official as f.ex. the current Prime Minister, to eventually Oblige the President of the Association of French Regions to Resign, but, Moreover, any such attempt would also be Useless, since Most Presidents of Regions supported that Collective Decision, (Comp. Supra).


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


Thus, Richert really had to Explain his Decision to Resign Now, basically by claiming that this would be Necessary, in real Practice, in order to Give Suffisient Time to his Successor, to Prepare himself, his Agenda and his Team, for the Next Elections to the "Great East" Region. I.e. something, apparently, Logical, at least at First Sight, considering also Richert's Long-Serving presence at the Head of local Departments or Regions in Strasbourg's area, during Many Years.


But, nevertheless, it's also a Fact that, Between Now and the Next Regional Elections, it's a quite Long Distance : Almost 4 Years, from 2017 until 2021. I.e., obviously Too Long if it's only to "Prepare" those Elections...


In consequence, given alsoo that Richert did Not mention any ecentual Health or Other Reason for such a, Exceptionally Precocious Departure, Observers were, inevitably, pushed into Speculating Either about a possible imminent Political ReOrientation of certain key Parties in France, (f.ex., including a Recent Division inside the Rightist Party of Marine Le Pen's "National Front", added to the probable Election of former Minister, and currenty Region President, Alain Wauquiez, at the Head of mainstream Center-Right "Republican" Party, founded by former President Nicolas Sarkozy ; added also to parallel ReStructuring of the "Socialist" Party, etc), or, Otherwise, about some Other Factor, Hidden and Fishy, (f.ex., perhaps, Threatened by anyone ?, etc)...


To Dissipate such possible Concerns, Richert said that "Nobody Asked" him "to Resign", and undertook full responsiblity for that decision.


However, given all the above-mentioned Facts, several People may, obviously, still Think Otherwise, and still Wonder about UnAnswered Questions on what really happened, and who or what might, eventually, have Pushed him to do so...


Shall we ever Know ?


At any case, Richert himself would "Not make any Comments" on Politics, any more, he also anounced, Curiously. I.e. something that Not even German former Chancellor Helmut Kohl, neither French former Senator, f. President of Strasbourg's "Lower Rhine" Department, and f. Mayor + f. President of France's Association of Mayors, as well as f. Minister, Daniel Hoeffel, ("a Big Monsieur"', as Richert acknowledged), did Not do.
At least some among his Political allies reportedly stressed that they were "Shocked" when they heard that he was resigning.


So that, at least some Readers' First Comments published in the Web, already Started to Raise Questions, about what might have, eventually, been the Real and/or More Important Reason which pushed Richert to Resign Today.


But, Richert did Not Exclude, Today, to, eventually, use his Experience Otherwise : I.e., perhaps, in some Scientific or other Research, Conferences, etc, in France and/or elsewhere in Europe or the World, (f.ex. in University, Colloquies, CoE/EU events, Articles, etc, on DeCentralisation or other relevant matter), or to Publish relevant Books, (including, f.ex., an Auto-Biography, etc)...

 

great_east_region_majority_members__press_gather_waiting_for_prichert_eurofora_400


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Human and/or Political Emotions appeared High, among the more than a Hundrend Invitees, mainly from Richert's Majority in the "Great East" Region's Headquarters in Strasbourg, particularly when he clearly confirmed that he's "Leaving everything Tonight", in conclusion of his official declarations, that they all hailed by a Long and vibrant Standing Ovation.

 

all_great_east_region_majority_members_giving_a_long_standing_ovation_to_philippe_richert_eurofora_400


Most of them, (including the current Head of Philippe Richert's Political Majority, Jean Rottner, former Mayor of Mulhouse, who is reportedly one among his most probable Successors), looked sincerely Moved and Thoughtfull, generally declining to add anything more to the Journalists who were invited at this Exceptional Event, simply by observing that "it's not the right moment" now for that, with a kind but bitter smile, full of internal emotions.

 

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elsa_schalck_eurofora_400 
 
(../..)
 
___________________________


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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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