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Home arrow newsitems arrow Russian Space Research Institute Head Zelenyi to EuroFora: Projects before Medvedev-Sarkozy Summit

Russian Space Research Institute Head Zelenyi to EuroFora: Projects before Medvedev-Sarkozy Summit

Written by ACM
Wednesday, 17 February 2010

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In an Interview to "EuroFora" on the sidelines of International Space University's 2010 Symposium, 1 Day after Galileo's Birthday's Anniversary (15 February 1564), and shortly before Russian President Medvedev meets with French President Sarkozy in Paris, the Director of the Russian Space Research Institute, Academician professor Lev Zelenyi, presented his views on the current prospects for European and International Cooperation in Space Science.

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Topically, Zelenyi's visit to Strasbourg came the same Month that EU's ambitions "to guarantee Europe's Access to Space" (particularly via "a New Generation of Launchers"), and joint wish for a Strategic partnership with Russia, were both stressed by Chancellor Merkel and President Sarkozy, at the latest Franco-German Summit, earlier in Paris, (Comp. February 4 "EuroFora"'s PressReports from Elysee).

- "Attention : It's one of the most important Academocians that we have", carefully warned "EuroFora" ISU's experienced Professor Nicolai Tolyarenko...

But, to "EuroFora"'s 1st question : - "Why Strasbourg now ?", Professor Zelenyi had many answers to give, going from Space to .. Patricia Kaas :

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- "I've heard many times about ISU, and Strasbourg is a famous place : I know about CoE, the History, even ..Particia Kaas (France's top singer at Eurovision's 2009 song contest in Moscow, with a particularly .. spicy "Spacy" text), etc..

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"But this time, particularly, I wanted to show this place to my wife, Eugenia", he told us, pointing at a beautiful, serious and distinguished Lady, also from the Russian Academy of Sciences as her husband Lev, who presented an interesting Poster at ISU's 2010 Symposium with a comparative Synthesis of the main Space powers' projects : EU, Russia, USA, China, etc.

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- "And, also, we are always interested in Space Education, because it's one of the main issues, both in EU, in the States and in Russia, etc. But for us, in Russia, we have a special problem : It's called "Brain Drain", Professor Zelenyi went on to add.

- "When it's drain to the EU, we (Russia) we don't consider that any more as "Brain Drain", because we are considering ourselves (i.e. Russia) as part of Europe. But when educated People go to the US it's more complicated, (since) they never come back, so far.. However, for People working in France or Germany, it's differend, there are contacts, etc", he observed.

- "And now, there is an interesting trend, after 2 Decades of violent Capitalism in Russia : Before, Young People had stopped to be interested in a real career, to be Engineer, to be Scientist, etc. Everybody wanted to be a Lawyer, to be a Stockbroker, Money kripling etc. But now it's changing, the Global Crisis came, and a sort of "Reverse-Flow" begun. We have now many Young Students decided to make their careers, they need to do something real, not imaginary as selling Stocks. So, now we have good Students, good Post-Docs, etc. And now, I've just come here to see how EU is solving the problem of Space Education" and communication to the public, Zelenyi said.

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- " I was impressed by some thoughts : It's really well done", he observed, speaking also about ISU's 2010 Symposium, dedicated to the "Public Face of Space", i.e. Media, Education, outreach, etc.. "I try to advovate the same principles in Russia, because, in Russian Space Agencies there is no such room, or part of Budget for Space Projects which should be allocated to Public Outreach. It's very bad, because our Taxpayers don't know what is going inside. We try to overcome this, and, just recently, special TV programs have been organized, I also read Public Lectures sometimes, etc. and we shall try to change this, in Public from the two sides : Something very important for the Community and Society. It's not very easy, because, for 20 years, our People had some Brain-washing, from some Hollywood movies, that they'd need Money Kripling, to make a Stockbroker, etc. But now, for Young People, there is something like a "Moment of Truth", they change and reconsider their ways. Last 2 or 3 Years have been very good : We had much more Students wanting to come to Physics, Astronomy and Engineering".

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An interesting Proposal presented at ISU 2010 Symposium's Poster session in Strasbourg by Professor Zelenyi, is to "begin preparations for Space Exploration by Manned Missions" by establishing an "International Space Educational" Centre (ISEC) or network, dedicated to "costly projects (which) can be organized only on the assumption of International Cooperation", as "new manned expeditions to the Moon and the 1st manned missions to Mars", etc.

The proposed ISEC's "prestige" should attract "the Best Scientists, Engineers and Experts", but be "relatively non-expensive", "supported" also by non-commercial organizations, working "in close Cooperation with Professionals .. involved in preparation of Manned Flights to the Moon and Mars", suggested the Director of Russia's Space Research Center.

Because, "on-going developments of Space Science demonstrate that new manned expeditions to the Moon and the first manned mission to Mars are not far off"", and "it's evident that the majority of future Participants of such Space Expeditsions have already been born", and should be "better prepared to a great Challenge that Mankind will meet in the 21st Century", as Zelenyi observed. F.ex., "current vital issues, such as the development of reliable and low-cost Life-support equipments, New means of .. soft-Landing systems, the Design of Inter-Planetary SpaceShips and their Launch Vehicles, elaboration of Control devices in Distant Space", etc., can become the topics of ISEC students' research or graduation works and Doctoral thesis".

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"EuroFora" asked Zelenyi what prospects exist in practice "for the "International Space Education Center" that he has proposed :

- "It's our Plan. We wanted to do it. But there are many things on which we have to find the Best Way. One of them was that we wanted to see how it's organized here (i.e. at Strasbourg's ISU). Because what we suggested, in some ways resembled into what is done in this Education Center now".

Asked by "EuroFora" if his idea might include "some kind of Network", Zelenyi partly agreed :

- "That's one of the reasons for which I came here. I want to make some Arrangements for the Future Centre with ISU. Because we already have the Infrastructure", he anounced.

- "If it's in Russia, where might it be (located) ?", "EuroFora" asked.

- "We have 3 main Space-Cities : Moscow, Samara -which is the Rocket-City, at Volga River- and Krasnoyarsk - at Siberia's Ienissei river, with the famous Communication Satellites' industry and institute", Professor Zelenyi replied, apparently leaving several options open.

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Meanwhile, "2010 is also the France-Russia Year", simultaneously celebrated in both countries, "and we have organized a series of events on Space : There will be some Conferences in Paris, other Conferences in Moscow, particularly on October, that we shall devote to Russian-French cooperation. I am organizing Space-Physics, others organize on Medical Science, Mathematics, etc", anounced to "EuroFora" Professor Zelenyi, who is also "Head of the Joint French - Russian Laboratory on Solar System Physics", concerning all neighbouring Planets, including Earth : "It's a kind of Synergy between Planetary and Plasma Sciences", as he described it.

In this context, "I often go to Paris", particularly "for CNES", (the French Space Agency), Zelenyi added, handing to "EuroFora" a superbe "2010" Calendar of the Russian Space Research Institute dedicated to Galileo's and Sputnik's Anniversaries and picturing an ambitious big New Russian Space Mission to Jupiter, symbolically targeting to land at its famous satellite "Europa"..

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   But, the Director of Russia's Space Research Institute left open an "EuroFora" 's question whether the current World-wide need for new "Space Vehicles", (as, f.ex. the Russian "Kliper" project, that ESA debated since Berlin's December 2005 Summit, after USA's reluctance to jointly work for NASA's future Space Vehicle), might be, or should be some kind of cooperation, between France, Germany and other EU countries, with Russia :

- Personally, "I'm not mostly working for Manned Space Flight. But, my impression is, that, what our Agencies want to have, at least with the EU, they want to have a very Extensive Cooperation, with Space Vehicles, and Kliper, etc. I've heard that many times"

- "But it's not easy for us, because it's very Time and Money-consuming, and our Space Programs don't have defined yet our Goals : To go to Mars, to go to the Moon, to the Sun, etc. It's not defined yet". Until now, "Man Space Programs have some Long-term trends, most spread in 50, 40 or 30 Years from now. Otherwise, it's just circling around he Earth, it's not money-wise. And most financing sources, are mostly .. keeping their belts"..

- Zelenyi also said to "EuroFora" that Russian research on the matter has now advanced further than the recent "Kliper" project, (that ESA had examined for a possible cooperation since 2005/2006, after NASA's reluctance to share with Europe the preparation of a future Space Vehicle), particularly "on Nuclear propulsion", etc. "But", at least for the time being, this new technology "seems more adapted to Robotic missions than to Human Space Flight", i.e. leaving the main question open.

However, pointing also at "the potential of the International Space Station for Space Education" and research. - "But there is a possibility to do some good Science at the International Space Station", he added.

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"I would share with you my Experience on International Cooperation in Space Activities", Russian Space Research Center's Director replied later to another "EuroFora"'s question at ISU's Symposium : - "A Difficulty seems to be to have cooperation of many Countries in large, huge Space Projects, like Missions to Mars, Missions to Moon, etc. which is also underway. But for Small Scientific Satellites it's quite natural, because many Countries are f.ex. currently interested into Monitoring Hazardous events", as. f.ex. in the case of "a Weather Satellite for the Balkans, where people from Bulgaria, Poland, Ukraine, etc. have joined Space projects to study such Monitoring capabilities that Spacecrafts and Satellites make feasible to many. And we have also seen strong interest by Latin American Countries who want to have this Weather Monitoring Capability, so wa have discussions with Argentinians, with Brazil, etc".

- "So, small Scientific Satellites seem even better suited for International Cooperation, because they are less Bureaucratic than the "heavy" projects of Space Agencies : If it's done at a University level, it's much faster", Professor Zelenyi concluded.

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- "Since Peter the Great, in Russia, Education is going on in Universities, while Scientific Research is done in the Academy of Sciences", even if this separation is not absolute", he said in a speach at ISU's Symposium later.

- So, "our Goal is not just to initiate People in Space, but to initiate them in Space Science", stressed Zelenyi, who is an Academician, Professor of Physics.

However, "while "Russian Space Industry is in a very good shape, mainly because of many Commercial launches for American, EU or other companies", on the contrary, for several years, "there have not been many Scientific Satellite launches", contrary to the Past, and that's why "small Educational Micro-Satellites", easier to launch, became interesting in practice. .

- "A lot of Press Reports" spoke about what became later the "Program on Lightnings" : Some "Strategic Satellites" had "found Gamma-flashes not only from Stars, but also by Lightning Discharges". he observed.

- An "Interesting" phenomenon, "not known before" : "these Electrons interact, strongly accelerated, during Lightning Discharges in Upper Atmosphere", and "these accelerated particles .. give very strong Gamma Ray emmissions".

- "The most Exciting part was Data Analysis" done after an Educational Satellite launch, "by Australian and Russian Students", on Scientific Satellites' results, he noted.

- "This was a New Phenomenon", of a kind of "Terrestrial Gamma-Flashes", who has to be studied by "New Physics", he concluded.

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"EuroFora" asked Professor Zelenyi to "develop" his point on "New Physics" :

- "It was unexpected when it produced some new facts about accelerated ..electrons which interacted with others", he replied.

- "A previous, 1st experiment was Educational. But a New one is about some Physics' interests for Lightning discharge. ..The 1st one was 3 years ago. It was Educational, called "Colibri". But this "is a New one, called "Chibis" (a small Bird in Russian)", he explained.

- "It's about some studies of the Physics of ..Lightning, of new appearances in Lightning : It's related with the Acceleration of ..Electrons, and generation of Gamma-flashes. They are produced by highly accelerated electrons. And the electrons are created by strokes of Electric Fields produced in the course of colliding"

- "This was already found", earlier, "but not by a specialized spacecraft", but only by one used for other, "Strategic" missions, as fex. to search for secret Nuclear Weapons' Testing. "It looked not to the sky, but for the Earth part of the story". So, "it wasn't designed for these studies".

- "But now, we want to have a good Resolution, because it's important to seek the Secret : Which comes first ? It's a kind of "Chicken and Egg" problem", he said about the Lightings and the strange Optical eventts.

So, "New Physics are the physics of what is happening there, how this super-stroke electricity is generated, very close to the Earth". - "People never thought about it". There is "No Model" for this yet, Professor Zelenyi concluded.

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French CNES' Satellite "Taranis", due to be launched Next Year (2011/2012), is reportedly destinated to examine Radiations from Lightnigs, sprites, and other Optical events recently observed on Thunderstorms.

Earlier-launched Russian satellites "Universitetsky-Tatiana" I and II ,(after a strange incident which blocked one of them, provoking speculations about an eventual external "interference"), reportedly found that terrestrial gamma ray bursts are focused mainly around the Equatorial area.

Now "Chibis" New Russian, Educational Satellite is reportedly ready to advance Scientific Research on Terrestrial Gamma bursts even further.

Gamma Rays, the strongest radiation, initially discovered by French Scientist Paul Villard (1860-1934), might, in some rare hypothesis, destroy part of the Ozone layer protecting Earth's Atmosphere, but also provoke burns, cancers or genetic mutations. Thick layers of protective materials are needed in order to safeguard Humans.

But on the so-called "Terrestrian Gamma Flashes", and other "Optical Events" reportedly occuring over Thunderstorms, another practical interest is to contribute into exploring Atmospheric and probably Weather Science, whose importance grew after various recent Extreme Weather Phenomena both in Europe and Worldwide.

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(NDLR : Some inaccuracies in details might occur due to technical problems in Audio-Transcript, and will be corrected asap).

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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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