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Home arrow newsitems arrow New Big East French Region President Richert to Eurofora on 5 Countries Borders at EU core and China

New Big East French Region President Richert to Eurofora on 5 Countries Borders at EU core and China

Written by ACM
Thursday, 14 January 2016

*Strasbourg/Press Club/Angelo Marcopolo/- The First Elected President of the New, Big East, French Region "ACAL", Unique to link Together 5 EU  Countries at the Heart of Europe, (France, Germany, Switzerland, Luxembourg and Belgium),  Philippe Richert, speaking to "Eurofora" at the conclusion of a meeting with Journalists co-organized by the 3 Press Clubs of Strasbourg, Metz and Reims, confirmed his intention to use this particularity as a key asset for the New Region's Economic Attractivity, as well as his Readiness to examine a Fresh New Start for the overall area's aleady existing links to China's Global Economic PowerHouse, despite some Blunders reportedly committed by a few Local Former Administrations, (f.ex. on High Speed Train projects, etc), in the context of the New Region's wider Mission to Forge "a New Dimension" for the whole area's Future, while also Integrating its Rich European Cultural History.

(On the New Strasbourg's Big East Region, and the Recent Election won by Philippe Richert , as well as his Earlier relevant Statepents to "Eurofora" , see also: http://www.eurofora.net/newsflashes/news/newstrasbourgbigregionprefect.html , http://www.eurofora.net/newsflashes/news/newstrasbourgbigregionprefect.html , http://www.eurofora.net/newsflashes/news/sarkozyeveofeuturkeysummit.html , http://www.eurofora.net/newsflashes/news/franceregionelelectionsrepublicanswithgreensorfnrightistsforstrasbourg.html , http://www.eurofora.net/newsflashes/news/sarkozyautonomousalternativewinsregions.html).


    - In fact, "the Challenge is to Advance Ahead" into the Future, but "without Forgetting the Identities and those Rich Traditions which made the History of these very Ancient Departments and Regions ,(currently ReGrouped inside the New Big Eastern area of ACAL), while, at the Same Time, we'll be giving it all a New Dimension", strongly stressed Philippe Richert.

    - Because, Today, "It's our Duty to  Build some New common Foundations for us all, to serve during the Years and Decades Ahead". So that, "in order to Advance Ahead, We have to do a litttle bit more and Differently from what we were Used to do", he urged.

    - He was Speaking of "an area which has many UNESCO-protected Assets",


including "Strasbourg's (Highest and over-Millenary) "Cathedral in Alsace", (a Symbol of Franco-German Reconciliation and a Masterpiece which remains still Unfinished, both outside and inside, where, Together with its Catholic and Protestant main structure, was added also an Orthodox one, pointing at a PanEuropean Horizon);





"as well as Reims"' (Historic) Cathedral at Champagne", (i.e. there where Kings of France were Crowned, as f.ex. Charles the "Victorious", who Ended the "War of a Hundred Years" and Build a Centralized State, with the Help of famous Popular Heroine "Jeanne d'Arc", for whom even German Modern Rock Group "Eloy" has composed an Epic Song);




"and Saint-Nicolas Basilica in Lorraine", (an Historic Monument linked to the Crusades and Spain's Saint-Compostela EU-PathWay, as well as to a Popular Tradition still alive throughout most Europe, from France to Russia, and from England to Cyprus) etc.




+ To which should be also added some Old Jewish Synagogues, he also pointed out, as far as Europe's History is concerned.



Find a New overall NAME

    - For all that New Area, "I find that "Alsace - Champagne - Ardenne - Lorraine" (alias : "ACAL") may be quite Cute, but it's Too Long. So, I intend to Cooperate with the Media" on Finding a New Name.

    - Mainstream Center-Right Politician, "Valerie Debord will be in charge of this work. And afterwards, we shall submit to the Vote of our Citizens, in order to Choose among the best Proposals", he anounced.

    => For that purpose, Philippe Richert didn't deny that a possible Name such as, f.ex., "French Part of Europe's Heart", as suggested by "Eurofora", very close to a similar term, Earlier reportedly supported by the New Region's President himself, might ....

Unique Region linking Together 5 European Countries at EU's core

 - "Eurofora" asked President Richert if he found that a Key-point for the Economic Attractivity of the New Big East Region of "ACAL" is the Fact that it's a Unique Region in France and in all Europe which has Direct Links to 5 European Countries located at EU's "Heart", by Bringing Together the Borders of France, Germany, Switzerland, Luxembourg and Belgium, (while also going almost from Geneva up to Brussels, via Strasbourg and Luxembourg, etc).

 - "Yes, of course. I haven't yet spoken about that here, but I intend to use this (argument)", Philippe Richert spontaneously Replied Positively.

- In fact, "It's mainly about our (New) Borders and the (core European) Territories which are Around us", he observed.

     + ACAL is also located throughout the Historic Battle areas which had Separated Europe during the Franco-German War and the 2 subsequent World Wars, back on 1870 -1945, but has also become, later-on, the main area of Franco-German ReConciliation Symbols, as well as the Host of most European, PanEuropean and International Institutions located at the Continent, all accross its proximity to Geneva UNO and other Global bodies, through Strasbourg's CoE, EU Parliament's Plenary Sessions, ECHR, EU Ombudsperson, Shengen Secretariat and EUROCORPS, to Luxembourg's EU Court of Justice and several EU Council's Ministerial meetings, up to Brussels' EU Commission's Headquarters, EU Heads of State/Government Summits, and NATO, etc, i.e. allowing to InterLink Together almost all among the most Important relevant Trans-National Organizations actively present in our Continent.                                                                                                                                                                             - -------------------------

Out-going, controversial "Socialist" former Lorraine Chief, Masseret, undermined Strasbourg- Brussels "TGV" link ?!...

    + But, regarding various practical details, "you don't know yet what pops up when you just start looking around" this New ACAL Big Area, at this Initial stage, President Richert added, referring to an Earlier encounter with "Eurofora", about a possible Geneva-Brussels TGV link, (Comp. : ....).

"F.ex.,  in Lorraine, I found  that they", (i.e. the Out-going former Direction by Controversial "Socialist" Politician Masseret, who had notoriously prefered, Contrary to his National Political Leadership in Paris, to keep some Seats for himself inside the New Region's Assembly, instead of Calling to Vote for Richert between the 2 Electoral Rounds, even if this Risked to throw ACAL into the grip of "FN"'s Far Right), "had done Nothing, about a Plan to Start regular High Speed Train ("TGV") links, mainly between Strasbourg and Luxembourg, from 2016". (He had already Explained earlier to "Eurofora" that Belgium Authorities didn't want for  High Speed Train to Advance beyond Luxembourg, inside Belgium in order to reach Brussels, and that forthcoming Rhine-Rhone "TGV" could be ultimately Extended up to Strasbourg). => "This practicaly means that the whole Project (in principle due to Link mainly Strasbourg to Brussels by High Speed Trains Every Day) "would have to be Postponed, at least for 2017, risking even to be automaticaly Droped after a Time Deadline. "Otherwise, they should have to find soon some 25 Millions €, (i.e. something that it's currently not even possible to Dream of"), as he concluded critically...

+ Ideal location for EU - China links' boost ?


+ Adding, in this context, also the Topical Issue of the possible Development of Economic and Cultural Relations with China's Global Growth Powerhouse, "Eurofora" reminded to President Richert the main already Existing ACAL Region - China Links (See, f.ex., Infra), of which he is Personaly Familiar, and pointed out also the latest EU - China Summit's Conclusions in Brussels, last June 2015 (See "Eurofora"'s NewsReports from the spot), according to which, the two sides Intend to Boost not only mutual Trade, as in the Past, but also Joint Co-Productions, right from the Start, already from the Research/Technological Development stage. I.e. a move which Naturaly implies also an Extension of Educational links, from High Schools/Colleges up to Universities/Post Doc. a.o. segments.

(Regions in France have, indeed, Extensive Competences on High Schools/Colleges, but can also act vis a vis Universities/Post Doc. Research, etc., mainly through Programs due to Boost Economy).


=>  Proactively, President Richert replied sharply to "Eurofora"s query with a Short but Open observation : - "I have just 6 whole Days in my new job, so I didn't yet have enough Time to deal with all main Issues, "even for those which are Legitimate", except from what was Urgent. But one thing is for sure :  - I will always Read all the Projects which will be presented in my Office !", as he characteristicaly stressed, (i.e. obviously Inviting to Move from General Ideas towards Concrete Projects, related to Topical Needs and ready for Taking Action)...

It's, indeed, True that, concerning China, several PathWays are already  prepared, throughout all the New Big East Region of "ACAL" :


Alsace Region is linked to Jiansu Region, which has the 2nd net Growth in China, hosts Nankin City, i.e. the former long-time Capital of the Country, and is located near Shanghai's International Hub, where it has build an Innovative, Ecological High-Tech Building for its own Pavillon during the 2010 World Expo. The Number of Chinese Students in Strasbourg University is 2nd only to Neighbouring Germany, while some of the Best Private High Schools/Colleges based in Strasbourg eye their expansion mainly to Shanghai from 2016 on. China is already Alsace's 4rth Foreign Trade Partner, competing with USA, and has here a "Confucius" Institute, a Budhist Temple, and an expanding Consulate General, also competent for relations with the Council of Europe. Lorraine Region hosts a Chinese "Technopole" with an important poential, near Metz. And Champagne-Ardenne is linked to Sichuan province, even by Airplane, focusing mainly on Education and Culture (from University and High School/College, up to Traditional Chinese Medicine, Cinema and Communication, etc), but eyes also an Industrial Cooperation Project., etc.


Thus, Richert's faithful and Experienced Head of Office, Christophe Kieffer, confirmed, shortly Afterwards, to "Eurofora", that, indeed, the Political Leadership of the New, Big East Region of "ACAL", is already "Aware" of the existence of several China-related Strong Points in each one among the various Areas which were included in that New Big Territorial Grouping,  and is currently Considering how to Wrap it all up in a New Coherent Whole, and according to which overall  Strategy to proceed.



("NDLR" : Fast Translation from the Original in French).


("DraftNews", as already send to "EuroFora"s Subscribers/Donors, earlier. A more accurate, full Final Version, might be Published asap).




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People in Europe and the World expect from CoE to make a succes of its "Monitoring" for Human Rights and Democracy, despite difficulties, said Finland's President Tarja Halonen to "EuroFora" at a crucial moment for the mecanism built 15 years ago by the paneuropean organization which celebrates its 60th Anniversary in 2009.

Halonen, known as "Mother" of CoE's "Monitoring" mecanism, a long-time MEP and former Foreign Minister before becoming Finland's President, holds a long experience in the mattter, after also serving twice as CoE and EU Chairwoman in the past. That's why she is well placed to judge how CoE's "monitoring" should deal today with some crucial issues of importance both to CoE and to the EU.

The move came just a Month before a crucial, last visit to Turkey, scheduled for June, by the President of CoE''s "Monitoring" Committee, Ukranian MEP Serge Holovaty, to finalize his Report on Ankara, the CoE Member State with the longest Monitoring procedure. From its results depends its overall credibility.

This is a Test-case, because, in fact, it's in order to avoid Sanctions threatened against Turkey by a CoE's Assembly's April 1995 Resolution for grave Human Rights violations, Democracy gaps, the continuing Military Occupation in Cyprus, the unresolved Kurdish problem, Aegean differend with Greece, etc., that MEPs decided to create, for the 1st time on April 1996, a "Monitoring" proces, allegedly destinated to check, without excluding Countries who did not fulfill all CoE's standards.

In the Past, the obliged withdrawal of Greece's Military regime and of its "Civil" cover-up out of the CoE had helped bring back Democracy in 1974. But, on the contrary, since April 1996, the idea was to "monitor" Human Rights' respect while keeping most concerned Countries inside the CoE. After Turkey's oldest example, this was extended also to several former "Eastern" European Countries, even if CoE's Assembly has imposed to some of them (fex. Ukraine, Russia, etc., after Belarus, Serbia, etc) various "Sanctions", that Ankara always avoided. Curiously more succesful even than .. USA itself, (a CoE "Observer" since 1995), which has been at least threatened with sanctions some years ago..

EU-effects of CoE's Monitoring process became obvious between 2001-2008, since the "closure" of this procedure, when CoE felt that a Country had met most of its Human Rights, Democracy and Rule of Law obligations, (i.e. the "Copenhagen Criteria" for the EU), helped trigger Negotiations with the EU for "Accession" or other closer relations : This occured already before the 2004 and 2007 EU Enlargements to former "Eastern" European Countries, as well as for the commencement of "accession" negotiations with Croatia, and of "open-ended" negotiations with Turkey in 2005.

    But a stricking new development are Holovaty's recent findings that on core Human Rights issues as Torture and Freedom of Expression, Turkey, even "5 Years after" CoE closed its "Monitoring", back in 2004, inciting EU to start accession Negotiations in 2005, still presents grave problems.

    His findings are of crucial importance after a 2008 CoE Resolution called, "if need be", to "seriously consider the possibility of Re-Opening the Monitoring procedure for Turkey" : A move which might affect Ankara's controversial EU bid, since EU Accession Negotiations are based on the Hypothesis that the Candidate fullfils the "Copenhagen Criteria" (See above)..
    Holovaty expressed his will to check  "Matters still Outstanding" and  those that he "didn't have an opportunity to discuss" at an earlier visit this year, "in order to discuss the more complex issues in greater depth", at his forthcoming New Visit to Ankara, before the December 2009 EU Summit.  This is all based on the 2004 CoE Resolution which stresses that, CoE "will continue.. post-monitoring Dialogue with the Turkish authorities,...in addition to a 12-points list,..and on any Other Matter that might arise in connection with Turkey’s Obligations as a CoE member state".

    CoE's Resolution also asks  from Turkey "to secure the proper Implementation of Judgements, particularly in the Cyprus v. Turkey InterState case", of 2001, which concerns also the plight of many Hundreds of MISSING People. It adds Turkey's obligations to "execute" ECHR's Judgements in the Loizidou case,..and in particular adopt General Measures to avoid repetition or continuation of Violations found by the Court" to the detriment of Refugees.

    Nevertheless, Holovaty said to "EuroFora" that "MISSING" persons,"might be included" and cannot be excluded, but he has yet to examine the situation "to find out  which issues will be raised" to the Turkish Government.

    Therefore, "EuroFora" asked Halonen, as the Historic "Mother" of CoE's Monitoring mecanism, if she thought that, "whenever there are grave Human Rights Violations, as fex. "MISSING" persons, attested even by ECHR's judgements, they should be always checked by a Monitoring process. Or could they be forgotten ?"
     - "We (CoE) must be, at the same time, Fair, Realistic, but not in the mind that "now we have Forgotten", etc., replied to "EuroFora"'s question Halonen, speaking as a matter of general principle.

    - "When we think of those People that are suffering from the lack of Democracy, of Human Rights, and of the Rule of Law", "we should find a base on how to deal with the (Monitoring) system more rapidly"', she stressed.

    - "Sometimes it's very difficult to combine Transparency and Effectivenes together, particularly in this specific case", she went on to say. But, "I have not found a (CoE Member) Country who could be insensitive in this sens", Halonen answered concerning grave Human Rights violations attested by the ECHR.

    - "I have no ready-made answer. I have the expectations that you, in the CoE, will, step by step, find the different types of the monitoring systems."

    Also "because this is a part of the UN's Post-Conflict system, (fex. when it comes to Cyprus' MISSING persons), and it's a more Global system". So that, "If we make a succes in Europe, the others will follow", throughout the World.  "But they expect that we (Europe) are this opportunity, this Opportunity to make a Succes", Halonen concluded.

    In addition, she advised to extend CoE's Monitoring to all its 47 Member States, "because, as long as we hear that, all these monitoring systems are "OK for the neighbor, but not for me", "it's very difficult" to understand. Something which could make easier to Compare...

    Finnish MEP Jaako Laakso, former CoE Rapporteur on the Occupied Territories of Cyprus and one of the 5 Signatories of the Historic CoE's call to create the "MONITORING" mecanism since 1996, was more specific :  - "We (CoE Assembly) have to find a way for the issue of Cyprus' MISSING People to be better followed", he stressed, anouncing his intention to "speak to Mr. Holovaty" about that. "There might be also other ways", added Laakso.

    - The 2008 "Year had been a very Bad one for Turkey with regard to Human Rights in general, and Freedom of Expression in particular", denounced, meanwhile, Holovaty's preliminary Post-Monitoringh Draft Report by Holovaty, published by the CoE on April 2009.

    "Amnesty International believes that freedom of expression is not guaranteed given the various articles of the Criminal Code that restrict it. .. "For example, 1,300 Websites are said to have been closed down by the (Turkish) authorities in 2008" ! While "the new Turkish Criminal Code was used to bring a total of 1,072 proceedings between June 2005 and April 2008, and led to the conviction of 192 people", for expressing views. "Representatives of the Özgür Gündem newspaper, which specialises in Kurdish affairs, ..complained about Numerous Attacks on their Freedom of Expression ...as was everyone who advocated a settlement to the question by means other than the intervention of the army" "According to their figures, 19 Newspapers had been suspended 43 times between 4 August 2006 and 4 November 2008" !...

    Moreover, on 2008,  CoE's "Ministers adopted its 4rth Resolution on the execution of the judgments of the ECHR, ...and outstanding issues regarding 175 Judgements and decisions relating to Turkey delivered between 1996 and 2008...  concerning Deaths resulting from the excessive use of force by members of the Security forces, the failure to protect the right to life, the DIisappearance and/or death of individuals, Ill-Treatment and the Destruction of property". CoE's " Ministers urged the Turkish authorities ...to ensure that members of Security forces of all ranks can be prosecuted without administrative
authorisation" for "serious crimes". Holovaty reminded.

"Nonetheless", Holovaty heard anew of "Several cases of Violence committed last year (2008) by the (Turkish) security forces". Amnesty International speaks of Many Cases of ill-treatment and Torture in the prisons and by the police". "Including, fex."'the death of Engin Ceber, a young man of 29 who died on October 2008 as a result of the TORTURE allegedly inflicted on him by police officers, prison staff and members of the gendarmerie. He was part of a group of people arrested on September 2008 during a demonstration and Press Conference in Istanbul'. Proceedings against suspects are "on-going" in this case.

- " I therefore noted an Obvious Contradiction between the Government’s stated “zero tolerance” policy.... of Torture and other forms of ill-treatment, and the different testimonies given", denounced CoE's Rapporteur.  Turkish "authorities must make considerable efforts to guarantee that proper investigations are carried out into allegations of abuses by members of the security forces and that perpetrators are effectively punished" "In this respect, I have requested detailed Statistics on the number of Investigations, acquittals and convictions in cases involving allegations of abuse in order to show the positive impact of the measures taken to date", Holovaty said, repeating a permanently unsatisfied CoE's demand to Turkey since a Decade...

    - "The Political Crisis that shook the country in the spring of 2008 highlighted the Weaknesses of the (Turkish) Constitution", which comes from the Military regime of 1982, "and the Urgent Need of Reforms", stressed from the outset CoE's Rapporteur in 2009. In particular, "the ...Democratic functioning of state institutions, including the independence of the judicial system, are crucial", he observes.

    But, "the Electoral  system and the ways in which it is circumvented do not appear to give those elected complete Legitimacy, and tend to pervert the course of direct universal suffrage", denounces Holovaty, observing that, even 5 Years later, Turkey did not yet change the 10% nationwide Threshold for a party to take any seat, which is "far higher" than the "3%" maximum in Europe and already condemned as contrary to European Standards by the CoE.

    + Moreover, EU Parliament's 2009 Report on Turkey, drafted by Dutch MEP Ria Oomen-Ruijten and adopted in Strasbourg on March, expresses "Concern over the Failure of the (Turkish) Judiciary to prosecute cases of Torture and Ill-treatment, the Number of which is Growing". EU also "is concerned about continuing Hostility and Violence against Minorities" in Turkey. It also "calls on the Turkish Government to launch, as a matter of Priority, a Political Initiatve favouring a lasting Settlement of the Kurdish issue, (while "condemning violence.. and terrorist groups"). EU "regrets that No progress has been made on establishing full, systematic Civilian suprevisory functions over the (Turkish) Military".

    The final results of Holovaty's 2nd and last visit to Turkley will be known later this year, and, at any case, before EU's December 2009 Summit.


2009 EU Elections were won by Parties against Technocracy and Turkey's controversial EU bid, while the 1999-2004 Majority Abstention trend decelerated. What should be done in 2009-2014 ?


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