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Accueil arrow newsitems arrow Strasbourg New Prefect Chevalier to EF: For Joint Projects between 5 Neighbouring European Countries

Strasbourg New Prefect Chevalier to EF: For Joint Projects between 5 Neighbouring European Countries

Ecrit par ACM
Friday, 04 September 2020

 
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*Strasbourg/Angelo Marcopolo/- Replying to an "Eurofora" Question at a Press Conference (See Infra), the New Prefect of Strasbourg's "Great East" Region, Josiane Chevalier, stressed her Wish to develop "Joint Projects" here between France and the 4 Neighbouring European Countries, (Germany, Switzerland, Luxembourg and Belgium), in this unique area at the Heart of Europe.

strasbourgs_great_east_region__5_european_countries_borders_eurofora_400 

Due to Time constraints, at this massive Return back from Summer Holidays and Entry of Classes, Resumption of Collective Activities, etc., Period of the Beginning of Autumn, added to a Continuing "Bumpy" situation in the Virus' Crisis all over Europe and the World, Exceptionaly,  this 1st Venue of the New Prefect in Strasbourg's Press Club, took place at an Unusual Early Time of the Morning (since 8.30 am), and, Moreover, several Journalists were unable to be physiclly present, including, particularly, "Eurofora", for additional unprecedented circumstances.

Therefore, we were practicaly Obliged, for the 1st Time, to Raise our Question, at real Time, but by Digital means and remotely, through the Head of Strasbourg's Press Club, (and after having Also Spoken on that with the Head of the Prefecture's Press Office for the "Great East" Region). Here is the Full Original Text of "Eurofora"s Question, as it had been, Earlier, send also by E-Mail :

<<Question de la part d'un journaliste (exceptionellement empeché d'être ici) : - "Angelo Marcopolo - EUROFORA : -Quelle est vôtre Vision pour les Défis et les Atous des relations de la Région Grand-Est avec ses 4 Pays voisins (Allemagne, Suisse, Luxembourg, Belgique) ?">>. This was, Later, shortly Resumed, (probably for Time constraint reasons), by the Press Club's Head herself, as : - "What is Your Vision for the Trans-Border Cooperation ?"

Chevalier's Positive and Interesting Reply's main point, Focusing on "Joint Projects", naturaly Fits Well "Eurofora"s overall approach in these Issues, and the "Great East" Regions' Unique Geo-Political Location, allowing to Bring Together 5 Core European Countries (4 of the EU + Switzerland, of the EEU), all representing and even hosting Exceptionaly Important European, PanEuropean and/or International outlets, Right Accross Geneva and Strasbourg, Luxembourg and Brussels, (which has been a Constant "Eurofora"s Point of reference, with All French Strasbourg's Prefects, Presidents of the "Great East" Region, and Other Top Key Public Authorities here, (See, f.ex., inter alia, also: http://www.eurofora.net/newsflashes/news/strasbourgregionpresidentrottneronhightech.html , http://www.eurofora.net/newsflashes/news/regionpresidentoneuropeantransportlinks.html + http://www.eurofora.net/newsflashes/news/firsteuuniversityleadersonhorizon.html + http://www.eurofora.net/newsflashes/news/strasbourgpregionprefectontransborderlinks.html + http://www.eurofora.net/newsflashes/news/frenchregionschiefrichertquits.html + http://www.eurofora.net/newsflashes/news/francogermancoreregionleaderseyescienceandethics.html + http://www.eurofora.net/newsflashes/news/prefetfrataccistrasbourgasgebevanyorshanghai.html + http://www.eurofora.net/newsflashes/news/frenchprimeministervallsonhightechfunding.html http://www.eurofora.net/newsflashes/news/frenchregionspresidentricherttoeurofora.html http://www.eurofora.net/newsflashes/news/strasbourgregionpresidentrichertandfrencheconomyministermacrononhighspeedinternet.html  + http://www.eurofora.net/newsflashes/news/newbigfrenchregionheadricherton5eustatesandchina.html + http://www.eurofora.net/newsflashes/news/newstrasbourgbigregionprefect.html + http://www.eurofora.net/newsflashes/news/alsacepresidentrichertonacaleuropeanprojects.html, etc).

Curiously, due probably to the Exceptional Circumstances, there were Not Other Questions raised by the Journalists following that Press-Point, (beyond a Dialogue between the Prefect and a Presentator appointed by the Club for this event).

+ Concerning the above-mentioned "Eurofora"s Question, Chevalier went on to Add that, naturaly, Each Local Vice-Prefect, specialy Competent for the French Districts/Departments of Higher Rhine, Lower Rhine, Moselle or Ardennes, (Parts of the "Great East" Region), should Focus, particularly, on relations with Switzerland, Germany, Luxembourg, or Belgium, respectively, (herself taking over the Franco-German TransBorder Cooperation, since she is Also Vice-Prefect of Strasbourg's District/Department of "Bas-Rhin", which is adjacent to 2 German Länder).

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In this regard, she noted that France currently holds the rotating Presidency of the Superior Rhine (Ober-Rhine) Inter-Regional Organisation for 2020, (between Germany, France and Switzerland). 

The Main thrust of Our Question eyed, however, the Overall Relations between All the "Great East" Region of France, and those 4 Neighbouring European Countries, taken Together, (i.e., f.ex., for Joint Mega-Projects Including All those 5 Regional Actors at Europe's Core, from Geneva to Strasbourg, until Luxembourg and Brussels, included : See the above-mentioned earlier "Eurofora"s NewsReports). But the Exceptional Lack of a Direct Contact, this time, (Comp. Supra), Hindered any such Reminder/Clarification with an eventual Follow-up Question at this specific point...

 ++ Spontaneously, Chevalier went on to Add, at her own Initiative, that, among the Challenges of such Trans-Border Relations, (Comp. "Eurofora"s Full Original Question, Supra), was also the fact that, all those 5 Neighbouring European Countries, normaly, Should Better "Avoid eventualy Closing their Borders with Anyone among their 4 Neighbours, "particularly even withOut previous Consultation", as she pointed out, (Obviously making Reference, indirectly but surely, to Germany's previous Decision to Suspend Free Movement of Citizens from and to France around its "Great East" Region -Except from Trade traffic, etc- during the Hardest Moment of this Virus' Crisis, a few Months ago, due to a Particularly Elevated percentage of Infections' cases here, then). At any case, "the Virus knows No Borders", she also Claimed, in this regard.

Despite the Fact that, Indeed, the above-mentioned UnPrecedented Suspension (around March-April+ 2020) of EU Citizens' Free Movement between France and Germany, concerning particularly the "Europa Bridge" linking Strasbourg to Kehl, etc., did realy Shock a lot of People, here, since the Intra-€uroZone, at the Shenghen Area, Freedom of Movement had been Always, until now, Positively Identified by the Local Population as a Fundamental Gain and Advance in the process of European Integration, after the 1990ies, Nevertheless, it's Also true that, in real Practice, things were quite Complicated then...

Unfortunately, various (negative or positive) recent Examples from all over Europe as well as throughout the whole World, Proved, during this Virus' Pandemic, that, very Often, a Timely and Proper Border Protection Against real Risks of Infections' Spread, is a quite Effective Measure, (sometimes even Necessary, as, f.ex., Wuhan's Regional Quarantine, notoriously Saved, practicaly, China asap, and Similar Tight Borders' Closure, mutatis - mutandis, Also by Taiwan, Vietnam, initially Russia vis a vis China, etc, proved its Efficiency. While, on the Contrary, France and Germany's Delay to Close Borders towards NW. Italy, as well as Russia's subsequent Under-estimation of Infection Transmission from EU Countries, until it became too late, Attest of Harsh Consequences in case of Laxist Negligence).

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At any case, it's true that, Diplomaticaly speaking, Prefect Chevalier placed an Accent on the "Concertation" aspect of Such Eventual Suspensions of Trans-Borders' Free Movement (Comp. Supra), while, at least Until Now, Despite a Recent notorious ReBound of Virus' Infections throughout the EU and most of the World, including, particularly France, etc., (and Even if, unfortunately, Strasbourg's "Great East" Region still remains with the Highest Proportion of Deaths in France, Compared to its Population), Nevertheless, this time, Germany did Not Issue any "Travel Warning" against Our Region (Contrary to what it has Just done for Paris', Marseille's and Brussels' areas), Neither, a fortiori, any Border Closure, for the Time being.

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Let's Hope that, at least this time, Trans-Border Cooperation, (and, Eventually, some adequate "Joint Projects" in the Fight Against the Virus, also Preventive, Beyond the really Vital Help by the German Hospitals' which notoriously Hosted, Earlier, Many People affected by the Virus in Strasbourg's area, who were Urgently Transported in order to be Cured there, Easing a serious Overload here, then), might Succesfully Find some Better Solutions, (even if, naturaly, the Number 1 Priority always remains, for all, to Protect Human Lives, from any serious Infection Risks).


(../..)

 

("Draft-News")

 

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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.

smerkem_400

- "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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