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Home arrow newsitems arrow Sarkozy: Green Growth renovates EU Industry against Dumping. Carbon Tax at EU Borders (Global Summit

Sarkozy: Green Growth renovates EU Industry against Dumping. Carbon Tax at EU Borders (Global Summit

Written by ACM
Wednesday, 20 May 2009
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Urmatt, 19 May 2009.

    "Green Growth challenge" must be won by the EU in order to renovate its Industry and overcome the current Economic Crisis by investments to Environment-friendly Modern Productions, defended against "Dumping"  by a "Carbon Tax" on imports violating Environmental Rules, that France and Germany will promote at European and Global level, hoping to benefit from US President Obama's positive stance and inspire him to advance further, from UN, etc. up to the Copenhagen December 2009 Summit, said French President Nicolas Sarkozy at Urmatt, a "Green City" with a huge modern Wood Sewmill, ideally located amidst Fir Tree Forests at Strasbourg's Alsace region. 

A move which apparently found timely support from the PanEuropean CoE, (See related 2nd Newstory, herewith).

    Speaking shortly after a meeting with German chancellor Angie Merkel earlier in Berlin, Sarkozy revealed that, "after the EU (June 2009) Elections, we (France) have to fight, together with our German Friends, to promote a Carbon Tax" on Environmental Dumping Imports "at Europe's borders", first in the UE, afterwards at G-8 and/or G-14 meetings, and at UNO's General Assembly (September 2009), in view of final decisions at Copenhagen December 2009 Global Summit on Climat :


- "This will be the moment of Truth : Everybody will take his Responsibilities for the Planet's future, in front of the eyes of all the International community". "We are the Last Generation which still can do something to protect the Planet's environment, before it becomes too late", he warned.

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"A Chance" for the Environment is given also by US President Obama's recent "Wonderful Speech", and we must all help him to advance even further, f.ex. by inspiring him with some examples from Europe" :

- France and  Europe "have no Oil, no Gaz, but a big potential in other Natural Resources, such as Forests", he pointed out.  F.ex. France alone has 45% of its land covered by Forests, but their capacities are not used in full. - "Wood could represent the equivalent of 6 Nuclear Plants in France, i.e. more than 1/3 of the effort needed in order to pass from 9% to 23% in Renewable Energy Sources during the next 10 Years, according to the "Climat- Energy package" that EU Council adopted on December 2008 and EU Parliament voted in 2009. But this means "21 Million m3 more wood to be processed from our Forests".

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- F.ex. Buildings are a Key-sector for a Strategy to fight Global Warming : Thanks to Wood's Thermal Qualities, it limits Energy consumption in buildings. And Thermal Isolation by Wood could bring a - 38% Economy of Energy bills until 2020". But today, EU member States as France, comparatively use "3 times less wood in buildings than the USA, and 5 times less than Japan", he denounced. Forests can massively capture Carbon from the Air, and provide Oxygen. To develop Forests, we'll test Financial Market mecanisms to favor the capturing of Carbon stocked in products made in wood, that we could promote at the Global Climat Summit's debates at the end of 2009. And we must stimulate and "boost the use of Wood for Energy Production", Sarkozy added.
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    - France and Europe must take care of, and renovate its Industry, because a performant and sustainable Economy cannot be limited only into Services alone. Arbitrary Outsourcing in order to re-import products from abroad through "Social and/or Environmental Dumping" and "Unfair Competition" is "Unacceptable", stressed from the outset Sarkozy, explaining the need for a "Carbon Tax" on imports from countries disrespectful of environmental rules.

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    -  Today, "we are living the worst Economic Crisis that the World has seen since 1929 : USA's Economy was restricted on a 6% annual trend during the first three months. Germany foresees a recession of 6% in a year", It's our Responsibility to act, and my belief that France and Europe can succeed to overcome this crisis and become stronger than before "by Innovation, by Investing ..to prepare the Future".

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    Symbolically, Sarkozy chose to speak at the same place where a pioneer "pole for New Materials from Natural Fibers", aiming at "synergies" between Industries of Wood, Paper and Textile as well as High-Tech Research, (able to invent, f.ex. wood that doesn't burn, textiles attracting Sun's energy, special clothes for Air-Space projects, etc), had been created, by a convention signed here between the French State and Alsace Region in 2007, thanks to former Minister Francois Loos, currently MP from Strasbourg's area.

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    Urmatt, a tiny village surrounded by large Forests at Vosges' Mountains, only 40 km from Strasbourg, succesfully combines its "Green City" Prize for Holidays along Bruche River, and a ..huge Industry covering some 45 acres with an Historic Wood Sewmill, founded back in 1827, continued and developed by 4 Generations of a Family business, until it became No 1 and the biggest industrial site in France on Fir Trees' wood, mainly after 45 Millions € investment in Modern Machines made in Germany, which automatised the industrial process with a Computer-governed robot-network. Proud to be "Zero waste", since all parts of the processed wood are used 100%, in one way or another, (either for Construction, or Paper, etc), "Siat-Braun" passed from 50 to 300 workers, multiplied by X 10 its turnover with 110 Million € per year, and recently doubled its production to some 900.000 m2 per year.

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    Several Targets obviously take as an example Strasbourg's Region Alsace, a pioneer in Buildings' Energy Efficiency and use of Renewable Energy sources, which got a Prize from EU Environment Commisioner Dimas on 2008, (See earlier NewStory on Alsace and Environment).

    Among several practical Measures announced are Tax reductions, low interest Loans, the creation of a sectoral Investment Fund, Rules augmenting 10% Wood's use in Buildings, better Prices for Electricity produced from Wood, "CO2 titles" at Financial Markets, reorganisation of Forests' Management, etc.

    - But, "what we are starting to do now for Forests and wood, we shall do it also on other Key-Sectors of decisive importance for the equilibrium of the Planet", Sarkozy anounced...

***  

 PanEuropean CoE's synchronous moves on Environment ?  CoE's Chairwoman, Ambassador/PR Marjetica Bole to "EuroFora"  

Strasbourg, May 20, 2009.

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Sarkozy's move came almost at the same time that "the Right to live in a Healthy Environment" was strongly supported at a PanEuropean level by the President of CoE's Assembly, Spanish MEP Luis de Puig :

Speaking after a Conference in Saint Petrograd, at Russia, De Puig announced that CoE's Assembly will officially ask to add to the European Convention of Human Rights also a right to live in a Healthy Environment, thanks to a Resolution scheduled to be debated and voted at its September 2009 plenary session in Strasbourg.


Timely welcoming invitees at the CoE with a placard titled : - "Forests : Europe's tresor" (PHOTO),  the incoming Slovenia's CoE Presidency inaugurated, next day in Strasbourg, an Exhibition dedicated on splendid Natural Landscapes, curved by water from the Seaside, through Rivers and Lakes, up to Alpes Mountains' sources.


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At the crossroads between Health and Cultural Heritage, which are among the priorities of CoE's Slovenian Presidency, Environment figured high in CoE's Chairwoman-in-office, Slovenian Ambassador-Permanent Representative Marjetica Bole's speech : - "12% of Slovenian territory is classified as protected Natural Parcs : 45 in all". This is " very important" for the protection of "Natural Resources", and "we are also aware that Landscapes are an essential part of .. Cultural Heritage, contributing to the ..European Identity", she stressed.

Ambassador Bole asked details from "EuroFora" on Sarkozy's visit at Urmatt, near Strasbourg, found "very interesting" his main declarations in favor of Nature, Climat, Energy, Industrial renovation, carbon tax, Green Growth, Investement and Scientific/technologic Innovation, etc., and noted that the Time Period highlighted by the French President (from June to December 2009 : See supra) "coincides" with that of the Slovenian CoE Presidency : from mid-May to November 2009, agreeing that such moves could be supported also by the PanEuropean, 47 Member Countries' strong, organization.

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    The incoming Swedish EU Presidency (July-December 2009) may still remain in favour of Turkey's controversial EU bid, despite June 2009 EU Elections' results, but it has "very strong demands on Turkey"'s obligation to respect EU Rules, said the Head of Swedish Foreign Ministry's Press Service, Cecilia Julin, to "EuroFora", reacting to critical Press reports.

    - "I know (that) the link is often made also to Sweden's position on Turkey"'s controversial EU bid. Indeed, "we (Swedish EU Presidency) are very much engaged in the future membership of Turkey, but not without fullfiling all the Criteria".

    - "It's very clear that we (Swedish EU Presidecny) have very Strong Demands on Turkey, in a sort of concept for Future membership of the Union, ...which will be a Long Process...", she stressed.

    This means, in particular, "the Copenhagen Criteria (on Human Rights, Democracy and Rule of Law), and also the adaptation to the Acquis of the European Union".

     - "If you listen to what Mr. Bildt (the Swedish Foreign Minister) says on Turkey at different occasions, it's very clear : We want Turkey to become part of the Union, in the Future. But we want it to fullfil all the Criteria : The Acquis of the European Union. That's very clear", she concluded.

    The Senior Official of the Swedish Foreign Ministry was reacting to critical Press Reports, from Brussels' Journalists invited by EU Commission's secretariat to Stockholm, who claimed that Bildt was abusing of a ..."Whip" (sic !) against Cyprus, by "threatening" the presence of UNO's Peace-keeping force at the "Green line" which separates the island's Government-controlled areas from the territories occupied by Ankara's army, if Nicosia didn't accept any political solution, regardless of Turkey's demands, before the end of 2009.

        Governing AKEL Party's new Secretary General, Andros Kyprianou, reacted by declaring that no-one can threat the People of Cyprus : -"We shall decide for our Future, and nobody else",  he reportedly said, asking to "keep calm". "In order to find a Solution soon, certain basic Principles must be respected", he stressed, calling those who feel an urgency to use their influence on Turkey. Other Political Parties were more critical.

    This was a reference to recently reported statements by Turkish Minister Bagis, Prime Minister Tayip Erdogan and Turkey's National Security Council (a Military-Political body), accused to push towards a partitionist "2 States" solution, contrary to UNO SC Resolutions for Cyprus' reunification.

    December 2009 is a crucial moment for EU's appraisal of Turkey's controversial EU bid, because EU Council has decided to review then Ankara's compliance with the European position on the recognition of Cyprus' Government, which was clearly set out by an EU reply of 21 September 2005 to Turkish Prime Minister Tayip Erdogan's claims, refusing to recognize even the existence of EU Member Cyprus, in controversial statements he made to London (former EU chair) on July 29, 2005.

    EU Parliament's latest Resolution on Turkey, adopted on March 2009 in Strasbourg, warned Ankara that "the non-fulfillment of Turkey's commitments... by December 2009, may further seriously affect the process of Negotiations" with the EU.

    In practice, the issue boils down to Ankara's "embargo" against Ships and Airplanes using Cyprus' seaports or airports at the strategic EU island, which traditionaly hosts one of the World's biggest Shipping flags. EU has already "freezed" 6 relevant Chapters in EU - Turkey Negotiations since December 2006, after Ankara refused to fullfil a commitment it had undertaken when EU had decided to open controversial "accession" negotiations with Turkey, back on December 2005.

    - "As far as EU - Turkey relations are concerned, it's clear that Turkey needs to fullfil its obligation of full, non-discriminatory implementation of the additional Protocol (to "EC-Turkey Association Agreement"),  This is an important issue....and should be addresseed as soon as possible as it clearly affects the pace of the accession negotiations.Issues covered by the Declaration of September 2005 will continue to be followed up, and progress is urgently awaited", warned earlier in Strasbourg the out-going Czech EU Presidency (former vice-Prime Minister Alexander Vodra).

    But the Head of the Swedish Foreign Ministry's Press Service, Cecilia Julin, dismissed "interpretations" by "some" that Foreign Minister Carl Bildt was reportedly "threatening" Cyprus with consequences on the UNFICYP, if it doesn't accept any solution until December 2009, while Turkey is reportedly delaying in an attempt to impose a partitionist "2 States" solution.

    On the contrary, Julin, stressed that "Sweden has strong demands on Turkey'"s respect of "Copenhagen Criteria and EU Acquis".

    Meanwhile, Sweden  is "concerned" about the risk of "Stalemate" in Cyprus' Talks, but is well aware that "the main responsibilities lie with the two leaders and the UNO", Europe playing only a role of "facilitator".

    After carefully verifying, the Head of Swedish Foreign Ministry's Press Service, stressed to "EuroFora" that Bildt's reference to UNFICYP "was not linked to a Threat", and dismissed those who "interpreted" it so.

    On the contrary, the Swedish EU Presidency acknowledged the fact that Peace Talks are mainly for the UN and the leaders of the Cypriot communities, EU's role being limited into that of a "facilitator".

    As for Turkey's reported attempts to impose a "2 States' solution", the Head of the Swedish Foreign Ministry's Press Service sharply replied by stressing that Turkey must respect the "EU Acquis" rules.

    In particular :

    - "Basically he (Bildt) underlined that it's the leaders of the two communities in Cyprus and the UN that have the main responsibilities for solving the problem", started to say the Swedish Senior Official to "EuroFora", referring to the above-mentioned "briefing".

    - "But the EU had a role in sort of pointing out the benefits and facilitating a little bit the outcome for the settlement of the whole Cyprus' issue", she added.

    - "And he did state the Fact, that the rest of the World (i.e. USA, etc) will, of course, look at the differend issues which are at the table, and the future of the UN Peace keeping force is part of what is at the table", she admitted.

    - "I understand that some have interpreted that as a Threat, by the Swedish Minister" "But", in reality, "it's a statement of a Fact, that, when we'll look at the differend issues, one of the issues on which we shall have to take a stand on, is the future of the UN Peace keeping force in Cyprus".

    Indeed, one of the questions usually raised for a Solution of Cyprus' issue is what International and/or European or other Guarantees, by a Peace-keeping force, might be needed afterwards, eventually for a transitory period.

    Questioned anew by "EuroFora" whether (according to critical Press Reports) this could be taken as a veiled warning that, if Cyprus didn't accept any Turkish demand for any solution whatever, it might be left alone to face Ankara's Military Invasion/Occupation, she denied :

    - "He (Bildt) didn't say it in that way"... "It was not linked to a threat, or anything like that", the Head of the Swedish Foreign Ministry's Press Service stressed.

    On the contrary, "he (Bildt) underlined that the main responsibility lies with the parties concerned on the island". "The EU can try to facilitate and show the benefits of reaching a settlement. But also, when the EU and the rest of the World (i.e. USA) will have to look at it, they will look at all the Facts on the table, and the presence of the UN Peace-keeping force is one".

    And "he (Bildt) didn't speak about that at all", she replied to "EuroFora" question on Turkey's reported attemps to impose, in one way of another, a partitionist "2 States solution".

    Asked whether Bildt's aim was to incite both parties to move forward efficiently, she agreed :

    - In fact, "the EU is really very concerned with the Stalemate in the situation. Yes !", the Head of Sweden's Foreign Ministry's Press Service anounced. That's why Bildt "was hoping for the two parties (i.e. for Turkey's also) to engage and break, a little-bit, the present stalemate, come to a solution of the issue" of Cyprus.

    But, replying  to a "EuroFora"s question on the risk, denounced by several politicians in case of strict Time Deadlines, for Turkey to provoke a stalemate and wait for the time to come to impose a partitionist "2 States' solution", she reacted by pointing at Turkey's obligation to respect "EU Acquis" :

    - "Turkey must fullfil the EU Acquis : That's clear !", the Swedish Senior Official stressed.

    More details are expected when Swedish Prime Minister Reinfeldt will debate his Programme with new MEPs at EU Parliament's plenary mid-July in Strasbourg, that he has visited already in 2008.

    Foreign Minister Carl Bildt became familiar with Strasbourg's CoE last year, when Sweden chaired the PanEuropean organization of Human Rights. As EU chairman-in-office, he will also chair the 27-member States strong EU Group inside the 47-member States strong CoE.

    Minister for EU affairs, Cecilia Malmstrom is well known at EU Parliament, where she has been an active MEP of the Liberal Group for many years, following also Press Freedom issues.

    Both have already made various statements at "EuroFora", on differend topical matters.

    ***

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