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Αρχική arrow newsitems arrow Juncker Appeals to EU Member States+Citizens, proposes Measures, to Build a Better Europe

Juncker Appeals to EU Member States+Citizens, proposes Measures, to Build a Better Europe

Έχει γραφτεί από ACM
Wednesday, 14 September 2016

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*Strasbourg/Angelo Marcopolo/- In a carefuly Prepared, but Unusual Move, the New EU Commission's President, Experienced Long-Time former Prime Minister of Luxembourg and f. Chairman of €uroGroup, Jean-Claude Juncker, speaking at a landmark Public Debate at EU Parliament's full Plenary Session in Strasbourg, launched a vibrant Appeal to EU's 27 Member States, but also to EU Citizens, to take decisive Action, with the Help of  EU Institutions, and already Proposed a Series of Measures, in order to Saveguard the Best Achievements, Ensure and Develop Europe's Future, at the eve of a Crucial forthcoming EU Heads of State/Government Summit at Bratislava, chaired by "Visegrad" Group Member, Slovakia, whose Leadership is notoriously part of European Dissidents vis a vis some, perhaps, "Politicaly Correct", but Controversial and  UnPopular EU Choices, (particularly those recently yielded under intense "Blackmail" Pressure by the Turkish regime around the 2015-2016 Unprecedented Mass Asylum-Seekers/Irregular Migrants influx though Turkey, and subsequent Deadly Terrorism, Violent Sexual Abuse, Harassment, and other various Attacks against Innocent Civilian People, meanwhile. Comp. f.ex. : ...), as EU Council's President, former Prime Minister of Poland, Donald Tusk, had already strongly Denounced in a Dramatic Letter to EU Countries' Leaders, just Published Yesterday, (See : .....).

Characteristicaly Addressing himself, several Times, to the "European People", or to "the Europeans", as he often said, Juncker Warned from the outset, that, despite having Personaly "Witnessed several Decades of EU Integration,", until now, "Never before have I seen so much Fragmentation" : National "leaders speak only of their domestic problems, with Europe men-


tioned only in passing, if at all", "representatives of the EU institutions set... very Different priorities, some-times in direct Opposition to National governments", while "Never before have I seen national governments so Weakened". "It is as if there is almost No intersection between the EU and its national capitals anymore", he Denounced.



In fact, "Our European Union is, at least in part, in an Existential Crisis".
Promissing to speak "with ... Realism, and with ... Honesty", Juncker observed that, currently, "we have many unresolved problems in Europe".


F.ex., "high unemployment and social inequality", "mountains of public debt", from "the huge challenge of  integrating refugees, to the very real threats to our security" (etc), "every one of Europe’s Member States has been affected by ...continuing crises", while "even ...  a member le Leaving our ranks", he observed.  


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


=> Therefore, "We now have a very important Choice to make" :


>>> "will Europe disappear from the international scene and leave it to others to shape the world?


- Will we "let our Union unravel before our eyes?"

- "Is this not the time when Europe needs more determined Leadership than ever, rather than politicians abandoning ship ? Is this not the time to roll up our sleeves and double, triple our efforts? ", he Questioned.


=> -In Fact, "It is Time, We – the Institutions, the Governments, the Citizens – all took responsibility for Building that  Europe. Together.", Juncker stressed, urging to "Work for a Europe that EmPowers our Citizens".

 

eu_parliaments_main_entrance_14_september_2016_400
 


In particular, even EU "Commission has to ... become Political, and Not Technocratic", he stressed. And "a Political (EU) Commission is one that ... Listens to the People !", Juncker concluded.

"Europe can only work if we all work for unity and commonality, and forget the rivalry between competences and institutions"

In particular, "Member States must build a Europe that protects. And we, the European institutions, must Help them deliver this promise", he pointed out, inter alia.

Indeed, "Europe is a cord of many strands – it only works when we are All pulling in the same direction: EU institutions, national governments and national Parliaments alike", at least "in a selected number of areas where common solutions are most urgent".

"In our Incomplete Union, there is No European Leadership that can Substitute National leadership", Experienced Juncker observed. "European Nations have to defend the rationale for unity. No one can do it for them. They can", he stressed.

In general, "Europe can only be Built with the Member States. Never Against them", Juncker acknowledged.

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

Because, "This (EU) is Not the USA, where the President gives a "State of the Union" Speech to both  Houses of Congress, and millions of Citizens follow his every word, live on television"... "We are Not the "United States of Europe". Our EU is much more Complex", he pointd out.

Nowadays, "Europeans are tired of the endless disputes, quarrels and bickering". "Europeans want concrete solutions to the very pertinent problem(s)". "Europeans want Common Decisions followed by swift and efficient implementation". "What our Citizens need much more is that someone Governs. That someone Responds to the Challenges", Juncker noted.

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

In this regard, "the next 12 Months (9/2016 - 9/2017) are Decisive".

It is so, "if we want to reunite our Union. ...to  overcome the tragic divisions between East and West which have opened up in recent months. ../.to show that we can be fast and decisive on the things that really matter", and "to show to  the World that Europe is still a force capable of joint action", he urged.

=> "Therefore", EU Commission's new President "Proposed a Positive Agenda, of Concrete European Actions, for the Next 12 Months"

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

The Move should Go well Beyond a simple "Vision for the Long Term".

"Yes, we (EU) Need" that, Juncker acknowledged. In consequence, EU "Commission will set out such a vision for the Future in  a White Paper in March 2017, in time for the 60th Anniversary", he anounced.

In particular, it "will address how to strengthen and reform our Economic and Monetary Union". "and ...will also take into account the political and Democratic Challenges", while Both "EU Parliament", "as well as National Parliaments", "will be Closely Involved in that process", he promissed.


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

But, "the next 12 Months are the Crucial time to Deliver a better Europe, .. that protects, ... preserves the European way of life, .. empowers our Citizens, .. Defends at home and abroad; and .. takes Responsibility", Juncker projected.


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

- "many seem to have forgotten what being European means". But, in fact, "I am convinced the European way of life is something worth preserving" :

- "Above all, Europe means Peace" : "the Longest period of peace in written history" in our Continent "Started with" the Beginning of the European Integration, he reminded.

=> Resulted "70 years of lasting peace in Europe", while, almost at the Same Time, the rest of the "World (is facing) ... 40 active armed Conflicts, which claim the Lives of 170,000 people every year".


+ In Addition, "An integral part of our European way of life, is our Values", such as "freedom, democracy, the rule of law".

F.ex., "We Europeans can never accept Polish workers being harassed, beaten up or even Murdered on the Streets", (from "Harlow", up to Reutlingen recently, etc).

++ Also "the Free Movement of (EU Workers is as much a common European value, as our fight against discrimination and racism", while, also, "we Europeans stand firmly against the death penalty" too, and "believe in independent, effective Iustice systems", because "Independent Courts keep  governments, companies and people in Check", while "Effective justice systems support economic growth and defend fundamental rights", Juncker observed.

We, Europeans, also prefer to "Trade", instead of "going to War", and EEU has become "the Biggest Trading Block" in the Planet, while more than "1 in 7 of all Jobs in the EU now, depend on Exports to the Rest of the World", he pointed out.


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

+++ "Being European (also) means the Right to have your Personal Data Protected", particularly "by Strong European Laws", Juncker observed. "In Europe, Privacy matters", because it "is a question of Human Dignity", Juncker strongly defended, (Comp. : .... + ....)


Indeed, "Europeans do Not like Drones overhead recording their every move, or Companies stockpiling their every mouse click", EU Commission's President stressed,  

Thus, f.ex., among others, EU "Parliament, Council and Commission agreed in May this year (2016) a common European Data Protection Regulation. This is a strong European law that applies to companies wherever they are based and whenever they are processing your data". he reminded.


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

 

"Being European also means a fair playing field", so that, f.ex., "workers should get the same pay for the same work in the same place", as a matter "of social justice". "Internal Market is Not a place where Eastern European Workers can be Exploited, or Subjected to Lower Social Standards", because "Europe is Not the Wild West, but a Social Market Economy". And "every Company, no matter how Big or Small, has to Pay its Taxes, where it makes Profits", as, f.ex., also "Giants like (USA-Headquartered) "Apple too", whose "Market Value is Higher than the GDP of 165 Countries in the World", Juncker Timely pointed out.


+ "For most of us, being European, ... also means the €uro" Currency, which "Stayed Strong", "During the Global Financial Crisis, and Protected us from even Worse Instability", and Nowadays "is a Leading World currency, bringing huge, often in-visible economic Benefits. Euro area countries saved €50 billion this year in interest payments, thanks to the European Central Bank’s monetary policy. ...that our finance ministers can and should Invest". And, "while public Deficits stood at 6.3% on average in the euro area in 2009, Today they are below 2%", Juncker observed, obviously referring to the "Fiscal Brake" Treaty of 2011-2012, (alias known as Treaty of the "€uroZone").


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

+ Moreover, Nowadays, "Europe must Not cower in the face of Terrorism", Juncker stressed, speaking just after the Numerous Recent Deadly Terrorist Attacks by Extremist Islamistic fans if "ISIS", etc.

- "No – Member States must Build a Europe that Protects. And we, the European Institutions, must Help them deliver", he urged.
                                                                                                                        

++  To "emPower our Economy" and "our Citizens", who "Both have gone Digital", Europe "Needs to be Connected" in "Digital Communications", because "our Economy Needs it", and European "People Need it", Juncker went on to Add.

=> "That's why, Today (EU) Commission is Proposing" to "Create a New Legal Framework that Attracts ... Investments in Connecitivity", by "a Reform of our European TeleCommunications Markets", he anounced.

    Advancing eve,n Further, EU "Commission is (also) Proposing to Fully Deploy "5G", the Fifth Generation of Mobile Communication Systems, accross the EU by 2025", so that almost "Everyone (would) Benefit from Connectivity", "Not Matter Where you live, or How Much you Earn", Juncker promissed, adding that Both these 2 Moves would also create "Millions" of "Jobs in the EU".

    In this Direction, he also "Proposed ... to Equip every European Village, and every City, with Free Wireless Internet Access, ...by 2020", (a Movement which has already Started, in several EU Regions, while Others, on the Contrary, still remain more or less "Deserts" vis a vis a  "Digital Divide", Globaly growing, elsewhere in the World).

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


    But, to "EmPower Economy", EU naturaly also Needs "to Invest also in Job Creation", as he said, Anouncing that  EU Commission "proposes Today to Double the Duration of the "Investment Plan for Europe", (that Juncker has notorioously Introduced since 2015 : See, f;ex. .....),"and Double its Financial Capacity":
    
    - Already, from the "€ 315 Billions ... which we Agreed Together (with EU Parliament) .. just 12 Months ago, ... € 116 Billions have been Raised ... in its First Year", while "over 200.000 Small Firms and Start-Ups accross Europe got loans", and an estimated "over 100.000 People got New Jobs", Juncker noted.
    
    + "Now, we will take it Further : ... We will make sure that our (EU's) Fund will provide .. at least € 500 Billions - i.e. Half a Trillion - of Investment, by 2020, and we will Work Beyond that to Reach € 630 Billions (i.e. the Double of the initial Sum) by 2022", he Promissed, (while also noting that, If "Member States would Contribute", then, "we Can Get There even Faster").

    ++ "But", in order Not to Depend Only on Banks, European Economy also Needs "to Accelerate our (EU's) Work for a Capital Markets Union", Juncker added, "putting a concrete RoadMap for this at the Table, Today", so that Euroepan "Companies" would have "Easier and  Diversified Access to Finance", (F.ex. a Start-Up that "cannot get a Bank Loan, right Now", "will be Offered Alternative, Vital Sources of Funding", as he said).

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

    +++ Even (much) More  : "Today", EU Commission also "Launched an ambitious Investment Plan" extended "for Africa and the Neighborhood", with a "Potential to Raise € 44 Billions", and able to "Go Up to € 86 Billions, if Member States pitch in", Juncker also anounced, (as it was partly Expected : See, f.ex., Yesterday's relevant "Eurofora" NewsReport at : ....).

    Operating with the "Same Logic", as also it has Started to be done "for the Internal Investment Plan", (See Above), this "will be Using Public Funding as a Guarantee to Attract (other) Public and Private Investment", he explained.
    
    => Also Because "this will Complement our (EU's) Development Aid, and Help Address one of the Root Causes of Migration" from Africa, Juncker pointed out.

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


        Concerning "Young" People, in Addition to the Continuation, even Further, of EU's "Youth Guarantee", which already helped "get a Job, Traineeship^or Apprenticeship" by "More than 9 Millions of Youngsters", EU Commission Decided Today to officialy Propose "to set up a European Solidarity CORPS", where Young People across the EU will be able to Volunteer their Help where it's Needed most, to Respond to Crisis situations", such as, f.ex., "the Recent Earthquake in Italy", etc.
    
    This "European Solidarity Fund" should be "Up and Running by the End of the Year" 2016, "and by 2020" it should "see the First 100.000 Young Europeans taking part". accordiung to Juncker. In this way, "These young people will be able to Develop their Skills, and get not only Work but also invaluable Human Experience", he noted.


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

    But, Nowadays, "Europe ... must Defend" its Citizens also "against Terrorism", both "at Home and Abroad", EU Commission's President stressed, as eagerly Expected by many.

    >>> Already, almost 50% (i.e. "13") of the 30 Terrorist Attacks in Europe, which emerged "Since the Madrid Bombing of 2004", (i.e. during 12 Years), took place just "in the Last Year (2015-2016) Alone !", Juncker observed. "More than 600 innocent (Civilian) People Died in cities like Paris, Brussels, Nice, or Ansbach", he Denounced.
    
    In Addfition to Measures against "Terrorism and Foreign Fighters", "Terrorist Propaganda OnLine", and "Radicalisation in Europe's Schools and Prisons",  EU should Now Focus also on "Defending our (External) Borders with the New European Border and Coast Guard", recently Voted by EU Parliament on Last July, (-See : ....),and that "Now, EU Institutions and Member States should Work, very Closely Together, to Quickly Set up", Juncker guaranteed.

    => In Addition to "over 600 Frontex Agendts .. at the Borders with Turkey in Greece, and over 100 in Bulgaria", Now, "I Want to see at least +200 extra Border Guards, and 50 extra Vehicles, Deployed at the Bulgarian External Border" Facing Turkey, "as of October 2016", Juncker urged.

    ++ "We (EU) will defend our (External) Borders, as well, with strict Controls, adopted by the End of the Year (12/2016), on everyone Crossing them", "Every time someone Enters or Exits the EU", he added.

    +++ Moreovern "By November (2016), we will propose a European Travel Information System – an automated system to


determine who will be allowed to travel to Europe. This way we will know who is Travelling to Europe, Before they even get here", he boasted.


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


    But, "Europe Needs to Toughen up", even more, nowadays, and this is "nowhere Truer than in our Defence Policy", Juncker stressed in Conclusion,

    F.ex., "it is Time taht we (EU) had a Single HeadQuarters for these Operations", he urged.

    +We should also Move towards Common Military Assets, in some cases Owned b the EU", (while Keeping"Complementary with NATO", as he said).

    Fopr such purposes, the "European Defense Industry Needs t Innovate", Juncker acknowled, whila also Anouncing that EU Commission intends to "Propose, before the End of the Year (December 2016), a European Defense Fund, to Turbo-Boost Research and Innovation", (Comp.: ....)

    In this regard, the forthcoming Bratislava EU Summit, could be a 1st Politiical Step" towards that Direction", he suggested, since, already, "the Lisbon Treaty enables (EU) Member States who Wish to Pool their Defence Capabilities, in the Form of a Permanent Structured Cooperation", and, "the Time to make Use of this Possibility is Now", he urged.


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

    Last, but not least, EU now Needs "a Political Commission", which "Listens to the People", and, "this means Correcting Technocratic Mistakes", Juncker concluded.

    F.ex., he cited also some Recent Developments related to "Mobila Phones' Roaming" costs-cutting when EU Citizens travel Abroad in other European Countries, as well as the Introduction of some "Flexibility" in EU's "Stability and Growth Pact", etc.

    More Widely, "we (EU Institutions) should ...seek the Necessary Rendez-Vous with Democracy", and Not Prevent this", EU Commission's experienced President Highlighted in Conclusion, (Comp. also Supra).

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

 + Juncker on Turkish VISA Blacmail

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

    => Finally, Replying to European People's elected Representatives, among several EU Parliament's MEPs' critical observations, particularly on the Topical Issue of Ankara's notorious Attempts to again Blackmail Europe (by Threatening to unleash even More Mass Migrants anew) about the Controversial and UnPopular demand for a Totaly VISA-Free status for all 80 Millions of Turks, (who could then Enter and Stay inside the EU whenever they Wanted, for at least 6 Months Each Year), President Juncker confirmed a Crystal-Clear stance, based on Principles : 

 - He "emphasized" that an eventual "Liberalisation of Visas for Turkey mightOnly be considered IF ALL (EU standard) CONDITIONS would be Fullfiled by Turkey". "This is a very Tough Issue", I Hope Possible, But Not necessarily ready to be resolved by Turkey. "F.ex., withOut an adequate Reform of its Anti-Terror Law, it woN't be possible for Turkey" to obtain that, he ensured. 

 

(../..)

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    The recent paradox of freezing EU Talks with front-runner Croatia, while continuing controversial EU - Turkey talks, despite Zagreb's acceptance of Refugees' Human Rights to return, that Ankara refuses fex. in Cyprus, while both have "Good Neighborhood" problems vis a vis Slovenia, or Greece, Cyprus and Armenia respectively, can it be justified by the non-fullfilment of EU criteria, as Slovenia says, or, is it "Double Standards" ?    

The question became unavoidable after statements by Presidents of Slovenia and Croatia, Tuerk and Mesic, respectively, to "EuroFora", exclusively or among Strasbourg's journalists this week at the CoE, on the sidelines of its 2009 Summer University for Political Schools, which topically brought them together as successive key-note speakers.


    Comming only a few Months before EU checks Turkey's compliance to its commitments on Cyprus, etc., scheduled for December 2009, this obviously has a special importance for the coherence of EU Enlargement's principles.

     Suspension of EU Negotiations is a normal consequence in case of a Candidate Country's failure to fullfil EU Conditions, such as "Good Neighborhood relations", stressed at first Slovenian President Danilo Tuerk, current CoE's chair.

    But, regarding EU's Criteria,  there shouldn't be any "Double Standards",  reacted Croatian President Stjepan Mesic, commenting the fact that Turkey's controversial EU negotiations continue, while they were recently "freezed" in the case of Croatia, an "unquestionably European Country", which oficially accepts to respect Refugees Human Rights, contrary to Ankara's notorious refusals or reluctance.                                       

imag0475_400
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                           - "EU itself has set as a Criterium (for EU Enlargement) the "Good Neighborhood relations",  and their absence justifies the "Suspension" EU Negotiations, (f.ex. with Croatia), because of a Border dispute affecting the territorial integrity of an EU Member Country, stressed Slovenian President, Danilo Tuerk, CoE's Chairman in office (May - November 2009), speaking to Journalists in Strasbourg including "EuroFora".    

Questioned earlier what "consequences on EU's Enlargement policy" can have the "Ban on EU Membership Negotiations", imposed to Croatia, Tuerk replied that "this question comes down to the fulfillement of (EU) Criteria for membership. One has to look at each Candidate Country ., from the point of view whether it fullfils the Criteria that EU has set. One of them are Good Neighborhood Relations, I'd like to remind. And also, there are other factors, such as Justice, Home affairs, Rule of Law, and others".


    - "Now, ..Candidate Countries are at Different Levels of fulfillement of Criteria", he observed.

    - " Croatia is obviously the closest to that. I'm rather optimistic : I think that in the coming Months we'll have an opportunity to look at all these issues constructively and hopefully we'll be able to make progress". "My main concern, at this point, is the situation in Bosnia : We haven't seen enough progres domesticaly. We haven't seen enough during ..political parties within their country.We need a New Energy, a new energetic move towards the Candidature for EU membership. "Other (Western Balkan) Countries (Serbia, Montenegro, FYROM, Albania) have been making soaring Progress, and I think that they should be ready, in a few Years, for the Candidate status".

    - "As far as the Western Balkans are concerned, .. nobody should be left outside" the EU, Slovenian's President concluded, ommitting to mention Turkey's controversial EU bid.

    - "This process may be seen as Slow, but..  Slovenia has also has also been exposed to various "Booms of Slowness" in our accession period. But now we can say that the process was relatively quick, because changes which occur after becoming EU member, are quite large, and they require proper Preparations before the (EU) membership becomes a new factor, an impacting line for a new (EU) member country".
----------------------------

EU "Solidarity" ?
------------------------------   

Slovenian statements made some participants from certain 3rd Countries as FYROM, etc. claim that "the Principle of EU Solidarity" would "produce a.. rising European Union Nationalism (sic !), against Non-EU Countries", as they said, asking unhappy foreign countries to form a "bloc" to exert pressure on the EU...    

But Croatian President Stjepan Mesic dismissed that, supporting "EU Integration", "after the Economy also in Political" issues, as "the achievement" of our times. In EU there is "diversity, but it's United", he stressed, "EU has to be United so that it can become a central factor of Peace" also at the surrounding areas, he replied.

croatian_president_mesic_ 

Speaking later exclusively to "EuroFora", the experienced twice President of Croatia, former President of the International "Non-Aligned" movement, denounced "Double Standards" in the way EU treats recently Croatia compared to Turkey :   

 - "I think that there shouldn't be Double Standards", stressed the Croatian President, in reply to a Question comparing the freeze of EU - Croatia talks, with the continuation of EU - Turkey talks, despite the fact that Croatia is an "unquestionably European country", while Turkey's EU bid is notoriously controversial.


    Mesic was reacting to the observation that, even if he confirmed his "respect of Refugees' Human Rights to return, etc. (See infra), nevertheless, EU talks are suspended with Croatia.. While for oher, controversial candidates, who refuse to respect Refugees' Rights to return, etc., as fex. Turkey does in occupied Cyprus and elsewhere, EU negotiations continue".

    - "I believe that Croatia's accession will confirm that all European Countries who fulfill all of the Conditions and achieve European Standards, have to join the EU. There shouldn't be any Double Standards", went on to add in reply President Mesic.

    In this relation, Croatia's President found "of paramount importance", CoE's "mechanisms enforcing ECHR's judgements"
    
    - "On Refugees and Displaced persons, the process will be completed only after the last person demanding to return will be allowed to do so !", President Mesic Croatia stressed earlier, setting a general standard of obvious importance also for otherr candidates, as f.ex. Turkey, often accused to exclude or heavily restrict Greek Cypriot Displaced persons' return to their Family Homes and ancestral land, provoke difficulties to Turkish-Kurd IDPs return to their home regions at the South-East, etc.

    Some "2.000 People are still reported Missing" in former Yugoslavia, for some Years, (as in Cyprus, modern Europe's oldest case, for 3 Decades. Nagorno-Karabach, Tcecnya in Russia, etc, more recently), and Investigations "will only be completed after establishing the fate of the last one of them", he added.
    
    Speaking earlier on "War Crimes", President Mesic stressed that "Leaders are responsible for (the) Wars (of the Past), not the People", and called against Impunity :  "Individuals have to be held Responsible for Crimes. International Penal Tribunals have to persecute those individuals", perpetrators of War Crimes, he underlined.

    Such statements naturally made Mesic rather popular at ECHR, whose President, French EuroJudge, Professor Jean-Paul Costa, looked particularly smiling when he welcomed him later on Wednesday afternoon, after Slovenian President Daniko Tuerk earlier this week.
           

***

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