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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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    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.                                       

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                           - "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".
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EU "Solidarity" ?
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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.

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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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