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Inicio 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

Escrito por ACM
04.09.20

 
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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.

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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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Recent developments proved that Europe can suceed to overcome challenges by aiming at great objectives, and this is needed also in 2009, said EU chairman, French President Nicolas Sarkozy.

    - "It's in the name of Great Ideas, Projects, Ambition and Ideals, that EU can overcome" challenges, stressed Sarkozy at EU Parliament in Strasbourg, in conclusion of a dense 7 months EU Chairmanship. "It's even easier for Europe to have Great projects, able to overcome national egoism, instead of limiting itself only to small projects" (unable to do alike), he observed.     

- "Europe must remain Ambitious and understand that the World needs her to take Decisions". "The World needs a Strong Europe", which "thinks on its own, has convictions, its own responses, its imagination" : "A Europe which does not limit itself into following" others, (as it did in the Past, when it followed USA, f.ex. on Bosnia). On the contrary, "Europe should undertake its own responsibilities", he said, after a series of succes in stopping the War between Russia and Georgia, and organizing the 1st EuroZone's Summit in Paris, which incited the Washington DC G-20 Summit to extend similar decisions World-wide.  


    - "When you sweep it all under the carpet, prepare yourself for hard tomorrows", he warned. "What hinders decisions is the lack of Courage and Will, the fading away of Ideals", he stressed before EU Parliament's 2008 debate on Human Rights and Sakharov prize on Freedom of thought attributed by MEPs to Chinese cyber-dissident Hu Jia, followed by an EU - Turkey meeting on Friday.

    - "I don't abandon my convictions" and "I will take initiatives" on EU level also in 2009, Sarkozy announced later. "France will not stop having convictions and taking initiatives" on Europe. + "It's an Error to wish to pass over the Heads of those who are elected in their Countries" : "It's an integrism I always fought against"', he warned.
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French EU Presidency faced 4 unexpected Crisis :

- An institutional crisis, with the Irish "No" to EU Lisbon Treaty, just before it started. A geopolitical crisis, wth the threat of War between Russia and Georgia risking to throw Europe back to Cold-war divisions, on August. A World-wide Financial and Economic crisis, arriving at a bad moment before crucial 2009 EU elections. And even a Strasbourg's mini-crisis, with EU Parliament's roof curiously falling down, from unknown reasons, in a brand new building on August, provoking an unprecedented transfert of the 2 September Plenary Sessions...

But it wasn't enough to stop Sarkozy ! On the contrary, it stimulated him...
---------------------------------------

- "The better way to deal with the recent problems of EU institutions (as the "3 NO" by France, the Netherlands and Ireland) is to take them as a "Test" in order to find solutions closer to Citizens' concerns", said later in Strasbourg Sarkozy's new choice as Ministe for EU affairs, Bruno Le Maire.

- On the Institutional front, Sarkozy gave Time to the Irish to think about it, and stroke on December a deal including a New Referendum after the June 2009 EU Elections, in exchange of a promise to keep the rule of "one EU Commissioner for each EU Member Country", and some opt-outs on Defence and Fiscal EU policies, Abortion, etc. If the Irish get a "Yes" Majority, then the institutional package could be completed in 2010 or 2011 on the occasion of Croatia's probable EU accession.

He was accused in Strasbourg to upgrade EU Council and downgrade EU Commision, but he replied that "strong Political initiatives by EU Council reinforce also the more technical role of EU Commission, under the political-technical leadership of its President", all 3 "working together with EU Parliament".


- But, meanwhile, Sarkozy energetically spearheaded an Historic 1st Summit of EuroZone's 15 Heads of State and Government at EU's core, exceptionally enlarged to a partial participation of British Prime Minister Gordon Brown, on October 12 in Paris' Elysee palace, which started to tackle succesfully the growing world Financial crisis.

    It also paved the way for its endorsement by a subsequent Brussels' 27 EU Member States' gathering, before it all come to Washington's G-20 Summit. And "Europe was united, it asked for the 1st G-20 Summit, and it will also organise the next G-20 Summit on April in London", he observed.   

 But a Conference with EU, Russia, African and other Developing Countries, hosted in Strasbourg shortly after Washington G-20 Summit by the French EU Presidency, took a Resolution asking to enlarge participation to Global Economic Governance. Many found, indeed, illogic and unacceptable that f.ex. states as Turkey were given a seat at G-20 level, while all African Countries, and even the African Union itself, representing the greatest Continent on Earth, were excluded...


    Meanwhile, even USA''s "Paulson No 3" Plan, was, in fact, inspired by Europe's No 1 Plan", Sarkozy observed, largelly applauded by MEPs.

    And "Europe showed Solidarity" by mobilizing some 22 Billion credit for Hungary, 1,7 billion for Ukraine, as we do nowadays for Baltic States, etc., he added.

    The move on Economy was extended on December by an EU stimulus' plan totalling some 200 billion Euros, including 5 Billions released by EU Commission for big Projects, as well as various parallel National plans for Economic revival, (fex. 26 billions in France alone). They might appear limited, compared to USA President-elect Obama's reported plan to boost the American economy with 800 billion $, but at least succeded to overcome Europe's divisions for the first time on Economic governance, opening new horizons.

- The French President stressed even harder the unique role of an active EU Council's chairmanship, when he moved swiftly and efficiently, at the beginning of August, to succesfully stop War between Russia and Georgia, at the last minute, which threatened to bring Europe back to Cold War division.

"We (EU) also wanted to avoid a situation like in Bosnia, in the Past, when EU was absent, so that our American friends took their responsibilitues, and EU only followed", despite the fact that the conflict took place in Europe. Now, it was the EU who took its responsibilities".

A roadmap towards a new PanEuropean Security policy, before which all unilateral moves to place new Missiles (from USA or Russia) would be freezed, was proposed by Sarkozy after a meeting with Russian president Medvedev, at the eve of Washington DC's G-20 Summit.

Ukraine's "European" character was stressed at a Sarkozy - Jushenko Summit, September in Paris, while EU adopted on December an "Eastern policy", in which, "I'm convinced that our (EU's) future is to find with our Neighbours the conditions for Economic Development. Peace and Security, by explaining them that.. they must respect (Human Rights') Values, and adopt behaviors different from the Past", explained Sarkozy in Strasbourg.

Meanwhile, the "Union for the Mediterranean" was created, since July's Summit if 45 Heads of State and Government in Paris, as "an organisation for a permanent Dialogue, that we need", mainly in order to tackle the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, by bringing together, for the 1st time, Israelis and Arabs, where "Europe must be present, in order to avoid a frontal clash".

- "If Europe doesn't take its part for Peace in the Middle-East, nobody else will do that in our place", Sarkozy stressed.
-----------------------
    Meanwhile, other EU Agreements were brokered during the French EU Presidency on Immigration, (fex. common Asylum rules, etc), and Climat- Energy :

    - On Climat-Energy, the 2007 German EU Presidency had fixed a triple 20% aim for 2020 (20% renewable Energies, 20% reduction of CO2 emmission, 20% energy efficience/economies), and the 2008 French EU Presidecny realized that, making the necessary compromises in order to modernize EU's industry, but without throwing some former Central-Eastern European Countries into abrupt Economic break down risking "social explosion".

    - Defence-Security EU policy was mainly postponed for April 2009, since both German chancellor Merkel and French president Sarkozy want to strike a deal with the new American president Obama in Strasbourg's NATO Summit.

    However, with all these 4 unexpected Crisis diverting attention to other urgencies, People wil wonder now, what happened to the famous deal proposed by freshly-elected French President Sarkozy on Turkey's controversial EU bid, back on August 2007, to continue EU - Turkey negotiations, but on the double condition that core chapters, intrinsequally linked with EU Membership, will be excluded, and that a collective Reflexion and Debate on Europe's future would start before the end of 2008.

    It was meant to reply to the crucial question : What kind of Europe do we want in 10 or 20 Years from now : A large Market, or a Political Europe, with a popular identity ? In Sarkozy's thinking, presented in his 2 landmark speeches on Europe in Strasbourg, shortly before and after the 2007 Elections, (on February and July 2007), Turkey's controversial EU bid would be incompatible with the second choice.

    It's true that EU Commision's Chairman, Jose Barroso, (who had notoriously declared, as former Portuguese Prime Minister, that he found "nonsense" the idea that Europe might become equal to the US), had repeatedly tried to avoid that Sarkozy's criticism on Turkey might start winning a larger audience in Europe, preferring a discrete "wismens' committee" work. And that most of the personalities later chosen in order to participate in a Committee on Europe's Future, are too much linked with Socialist parties and/or American policies, to be really critical of USA's notorious wish to impose Turkey to the EU, as Sarkozy had noted himself since March 2007..

     - "It's on EU Council's presidency to take political initiatives. EU Commission has other competences", stressed Sarkozy. The "European Ideal" is to "build Europe with the States, not against them". "Ask Europeans to chose between their countries and Europe won't work. You don't choose between your two parents : We must add them together".

    "France and Germany have an Historic Duty to work together, precisely because of what happened to the Past. We have to work hand by hand. We cannot be separated.It goes beyond me and Mrs Merkel today, Mr Schroeder and Mr. Chirac yesterday. It's not a choice, it's a duty to Europe and to the World".  "We need Germany, as Germany needs Europe". Compromise is inevitable, here as everywhere, and each one made some steps towards eachother's positions.

    But "it's true that Mrs Merkel didn't chose her Socialist partners, while I chose mine", Sarkozy said, in an indirect hint that the Socialist Minister of Finance in Germany might be a cause of minor past disagreements in Economy, which were overcome in recent negotiations.

    "We (France and Germany) have particular duties in Europe", but "in a Europe of 27 Member States, it's not enough for France and Germany to agree between them.

    "I always thought that Great Britain has a special role to play in Europe. ... Now, everybody "saw what it cost payed the UK for having been too exclusively open towards the US (and) Financial services. Europe needs the UK, but also the UK needs Europe" :- "We were able to face the hardest moment of the Financial crisis because the UK clearly chose Europe", stressed Sarkozy, reminding Gordon Brown's exceptional participation to the Historic 1st Heads of State/Government Summit of EuroZone, October 12 in Paris (See EuroFora's Reportage from Elysee Palace then).

     - "Some look at Europe with old glasses aged 30 years ago. While we must look at her in relation to what it will be in 30 years" in the Future, Sarkozy concluded.

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