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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...

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 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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  imag0573_400

    An "Eugenic" loophole Amendment, which might expose to Dangers reminiscent of "3rd Reich's" notorious Genetic Abuses, hidden at the last minute inside an otherwise Good, larger Health policy Package scheduled to be voted on Thursday, was strongly denounced by a coalition of MEPs from various Political Groups and Countries, in a Press Conference held this afternoon at EU Parliament in Strasbourg.

    Mainly calling to "Select Human Embryos", via "Genetic Counselling" and "pre-implantation" Techniques including "Genetic Tests", in order to "Eradicate Hereditary rare Diseases", it might open ways to Dangerous Practices in Future, they denounced in substance.

    But they also made it clear that a much larger Report inside which this Controversial Amendment "No 15" was added in dubious circumstances, officialy destinated to struggle against "Rare Diseases", and drafted by Professor Antonios Trakatellis, was otherwise "an Excellent Report", aiming at a "completely Uncontroversial target" of Health policy on which "all MEPs and Experts are united, believing that Europe should act" to protect People's Health (See "EuroFora"'s earlier News).

    The controversy came at a particularly delicate moment for the EU in relation to Citizens, at the eve of June 2009 EU Elections, and shortly before Ireland re-votes for "Lisbon Treaty"..    

- Denouncing risks of "an Eugenic demand, very similar to what we had during the 3rd Reich in Germany, but now coming from some Scientisists themselves", German ChristianDemocrat/EPP MEP Dr. Peter Liese stressed that critical MEPs were against "Eugenic" engineering with "Selection of Human Embryos", and anything which might ultimately lead up to to a "Selection of Human Race". It doesn't help to "eradicate" Human Lives, he added.


    Several Experts and NGOs expressed "Deep Concern", as f;ex. DR M.C. Cornel of the "European Society of Human Genetics", which stressed, on this occasion, that "the importance of Non-Directiveness in Reproductive issues is a Central characteristic of Human Genetics, after the Atrocities committed in the name of Genetics in the first half or the 20th Century".

     - "This is completely Unacceptable", stressed Italian Liberal MEP Vittorio Prodi, on the Controversial Amendment, also because pushes to "eliminate early Human Life", as he noted.

     - "This opens a Dangerous Road, rather a Motorway", denounced Danish MEP Mrs Margrette Auken, from the "Greens", observing that various similar attempts were made in the Past "not only in Germany, but also in several other Countries, "even at the 1970ies", "f.ex. on forced Sterilisation of Roma" People, and other criticisable situations f.ex. in the UK, in Sweden, etc. as she said.

    + Other NGOs, as f.ex. "LebenHilfe" from Berlin, added that, among various other Risks, could also be that, by exploiting the pre-implantation Genetic Diagnostics and the Selection of "healthy" Embryos, some may "propagate" several "Eugenic" aims, starting f.ex. by pushing to eradicate Human Livies which might "Cost too much" to preserve, ultimately exposing to dangers reminiscent of the "3rd Reich"'s atrocious abuses.

    In consequence, ChristianDemocrats/EPP and "Green" MEPs "decided by Majority to vote against" this Controversial Amendment, anounced to Journalists the 5 MEPs who participated in the Press Conference, representing a wide spectrum, from Liberals to "Greens" and ChristianDemocrats, and from Hungary, Italy, Germany and Danemark up to Ireland (Gay Mitchell), etc.
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    Hungarian ChristianDemocrat MEP Laszlo Surjan said "that it was "Suddenly, at the End of the Procedure" in Committee, that "appeared this (Controversial) Amendment, which has nothing to do" with the main purpose of the Report, on which all agreed.

    He denounced an "Unhonest" move, and called to "avoid this kind of unacceptable situations". Nobody should "Select People", Surjan stressed.

    - "We (MEPs) had No Chance to Discuss" this last-minute Amendment earlier added at a Committee's level, said German MEP Peter Liese

    Speaking to "EuroFora", Dr. Liese, the Spokesman of the ChristianDemocrat/EPP Group in EU Parliament, said that MEPs didn't oppose other references of the Report f.ex. on "Genetic Tests", because they were "no proposals" to impose them, while, on the contrary, there was "a Problem" if anyone attempted to "impose" f.ex. this or that Genetic Technique and "Genetic Counselling", etc. to the People on human reproduction.
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The precise Text :
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    Controversial parts of Amendment No 15 ask mainly "to lead finally to the Eradication" of "Hereditary" "rare diseases", "through Genetic Counselling .., and ..pre-Implantation Selection of healthy Embryos".

    But  EU Rapporteur Professor Trakatellis, said to "EuroFora" that fears should be alleviated by Guarantees that all this should be done only "where appropriate", when it's "not contrary to existing National Law", and "always on a Voluntary basis", according to other Parts of the Amendment.

    He stressed that the main aim was to allow "a free and informed choice of persons involved", without imposing them anything :  - "It's not an obligatory, but advisary" text, he said.

    To make that point clear, he was ready, in agreement with many MEPs, to eventually drop at least that part of the controversial Amendment which initially called for "efforts to ..lead finally to the Eradication of those rare diseases" "which are Hereditary".

    But, until late Wednesday evening, reportedly together with many other MEPs, he stood by all the rest of the controversial Amendment, (fex. on the "Genetic Counselling" and the "pre-implantation Selection of healthy Embryos"), so that critical MEPs, going from ChristianDemocrats as Dr. Liese, to "Greens" or "Ind/Dem", observed to "EuroFora" that "this was not enough" to close the dangerous loophole.

    Particularly since, as Professor Trakatellis noted himself, "this is already allowed to the U.K.", and "other National Legislations would probably follow, sooner or later" in a similar direction. As for a general call to "Eradicate Hereditary rare Diseases", this "should happen, at any case, in practice, de facto", to protect public Health.

    On the contrary, "our goal should be to help patients suffering from rare diseases, not to eradicate the patients. In case of genetic disease risk, the decision should not be guided by scenarios" made by politicians. "Perents who may decide to accept a child, even if handicapped or with genetic disease, must be respected and supported with solidarity", critical MEPs stated.

    - "Any Pressure" to "a patient or couple (who "should be able to make an informed choice consistent with their own values"),"from health Professionals, Public Health Policies or Governemental Institutions, or Society at large, should be avoided", stresses the "European Society for Human Genetics".

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Each MEP's vote will be registered !

-----------------------------------   

The Socialist Group requested a "Split vote" on the Amendment 15, first without, and afterwards with the words "lead finally to the Eradication" etc.


    But the first "split vote" leaves intact all the other parts of the Controversial Amendment, (i.e. "Genetic Counselling", "Selection of healthy Embryos", etc).

    That's why, 3 Groups of MEPs : ChristianDemocrats/EPP, "Greens/EFA", and "Ind/Dem", have asked for "Roll Call Votes", on everything regarding the Controversial Amendment No 15, and on the final outcome of the resulting Report as amended, which will register all the individual positions to be taken by each MEP.   

Something which will obviously make each MEP think twice before voting for one or another choice, to be sure that he/she will make the right choice in front of EU Citizens, particularly at these pre-Election times...


    Crucial Votes were scheduled between 12 Noon and 1 p.m. local Strasbourg time, in the middle of a long series of various other Reports, and after a long Public Debate on the larger Health policy package, from 9 to 11.50 am.

    The specific Report inside which was hidden the controversial Amendment is due to be debated between 11 and 12 am.

    So that more last-minute Surprises may not be excluded a priori...

    Particularly at the present Historic moment, when even the Institutional Future of the EU depends on the result of a second Referendum on "Lisbon Treaty", later this year, in ...Ireland, a mainly Catholic country, where People are particularly sensitive in such kind of socio-cultural and values issues...
 

      ***     
 
     (Draft due to be updated).
 
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