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Home arrow newsitems arrow EUParliament NATO +CSDP Top French MEP Danjean Reply to Eurofora Question on BREXIT+Security/Defense

EUParliament NATO +CSDP Top French MEP Danjean Reply to Eurofora Question on BREXIT+Security/Defense

Written by ACM
Thursday, 15 June 2017
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*Strasbourg/Press Club/Angelo Marcopolo/- Vice-President of EU Parliament's Committee for NATO, and Rapporteur on Common Foreign/Security Policy, as well as "Dual Use" assets, Experienced former Chairman of EU Parliament's Security/Defense Committee, Arnaud Danjean, a Top MEP of French Main Opposition "Republican" Party (ChristianDemocrats/EPP), Replying to an "Eurofora" Question on the Recent Developments about BREXIT and the Need for Europe to develop an Efficient Security/Defense policy asap, appeared well Aware , but quite Optimist, about both Timing and Strategic issues :  


 - "Eurofora", particularly, pointed at the Latest Events which have apparently extended some Uncertainties, at least about the Precise Timing of the forthcoming Next Moves for the relevant EU - UK Negotiations. (Evoking mainly the Unexpected Outcome of June 8 UK Elections, the Manchester and twice London Islamist Terrorist Attacks, cowardly Targetting and Killing Civilians, followed by the Grenfell Tower's tragedy of more than 50 People killed in a huge Fire allegedly provoked by Electricity Incidents during Overload at a Key Moment of Muslim Ramadan, whose rituals recently spread in London City). I.e. just Before Next Monday's, 19 June initialy Scheduled, Official Opening of EU - UK BREXIT Talks in Brussels, (etc).


    In this Context, we Asked Danjean if he Believed that the EU would, despite all that, Succeed to Foster asap a Strong enough European Security/Defense Policy withOut more Undue Delays,  eventualy using also Alternative ways for EU-27 format Heads of State/Government a.o. Meetings, (f.ex. as Recently at Bratislava and Rome and Brussels 9/2016, 3/2017 + 4/2017 Summits : Comp. "Eurofora"'s NewsReports from the spots, etc), and any other adequate mechanism for that purpose. BREXIT, by theoreticaly giving some More Play, particularly, to the Franco-German couple and other Wiiling to move EU Stats (f.ex, Spain, Italy, Poland, etc), wouldn't be both a Callenge and an Opportunity, particularly on ESDP issues ?", "Eurofora pointed out in this regard.


    The event took place during a Press Conference organized at Strasbourg's Press Club, and with the Active Participation of Many Journalists, particularly those usualy Covering EU Parliament's related activities.

 

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    - "On BREXIT, I know that there has been a Kind of Enthousiasm, in some European circles, saying f.ex. that, once the British would have gone, we'll Advance much Faster, as far as Defense is concerned", he reminded from the outset.


      - But, that "Partly True, Partly False !", Danjean Warned.


    - "It's true, that, Cosmeticaly, a certain Number of (EU) Decisions, are Easier to be Taken withOut the Brittish :"


     - "We shaw it, f.ex., in the Creation of that small European Structure for the Planification and the Conduct of Operations, a kind of European HQ (Etat Major) : It's True that, there, it was the UK which was Blocking", he reminded. "Very well : That,  is a UnQuestionable Success, and it was, indeed, Facilitated by the BREXIT", he acknowledged".


     - "However, in the Long Run, I'm much Less affirmative", inter alia, also "Because the British were Not the only ones who Blocked and Hesitated : Once they will be Gone, we (EU) are going to Find that, in fact, there were also Other Countries which were Hidding themselves Behind the Brittish Refusals, too opportunisticaly...(which Suited them)... F.ex. the Swedish, sometimes the Polish, etc."


    -  "So that we (EU) are going to Face Different, or even Similar Dificulties, but vis a vis Other Partners", he Warned, for the foreseable Future. And, "while it was Easy, in the Past, to systematicaly Blame the Brittish : something quite Conveniant, this will No more be possible", also Later-on : "We will have to take our Responsibilities", Danjean Warned.


     + A"2nd Point, which also Alleviates the BREXIT's (supposed) Virtues concerning (EU) Defense, is that England  -whether we Like it, or not, and even if one might Discuss its current Military Capabilities-  still Remains, However,  Together with France, one of the Main Military Components in Europe" !" 

    - "So that, if you Want to Develop something Ambitious in Europe, in the Military Field, while pushing the British aside, this does Not seem very Realistic, at least Not in the Long Run....", he Denounced.


    - "But, what are going to do the Brittish in the Future, it depends on them... "


    - However, "As we (France) already have Bilateral Deals with the UK" (on SDP), "which are Not Affected at all by the BREXIT", "I also Hope that, very Soon, it will also Become Possible for the EU, Collectively, to make Similar Arrangements "ad hoc", in order to Continue Working Together".


    - "I'm Not very Anxious" about that, "Because the Common Security and Defense Policy is something Very Flexible", so that "Cooperation with 3rd Countries, in CFSP, is Not so much Complicated. And we (EU) are always Happy to have such Deals with 3rd Countries, which Cooperate in several Operations", he explained.


    + Now, "concerning, specifically, Security issues, such as Counter-Terrorism operations, etc., I think that Nobody should Play Games to provoke Fear, particularly just after the Manchester Massacre" : In fact, "the Franco-Brittisj Cooperation is Strong, and Will remain Strong" also in the Future, Because it does Not pass through Brussels !", the Experienced MEP pointed out.


     - "This is Only done, Formally, in very Few Cases, Just for some Small Segments  - Such as "EuroPol, f.ex., which is going to be Affected by BREXIT, as well as Other EU Agencies. But, there too, "EuroPol" has several Cooperations with Other Countries, where it Integrates, very Rapidly, also 3rd Countries : F.ex. the USA Participate in EuroPol !. So, it wan't be so Difficult to have also the English there, who are Europeans", he indicated.


     - In general "Anti-Terror Cooperation goes mainly through (National) Capitals, Not Brussels, and, therefore, it woN't be very seriously Affected by BREXIT, and that's Good !", Danjean concluded on that point.


    + "The Essential Questions, therefore, are mainly Political :"


    -  "First, when Europeans are Blocked, as far as Their own Will on Defense Issues is concerned", (Comp. Supra), "that's the Time of Truth : they won't be, no more, able to Hide themselves behind the English, (as we've already seen Before)"....


    - "Second, I think that it's the British' own Interest to Continue in Contributing" to Europe's "Security/Defense Policy. And, I might be in Error, perhaps the Future might Belie me, but, I Bet that the Brittish are sufficiently Pragmatic, in order to Respond Positively, if we (EU) Mark some real Successes in the area of Defense". So that, "If the European Defense makes certain real Advances, I'm sure that the Brittish would like to Take a Part in that, in One Way, or AnOther", Danjean optimisticaly foresaw.


    - "F.ex., among some Modest, but Interesting Precedents in EU Security/Defense Policy, is also that of 2008, when Spain and France wished to Launch an Anti-Piracy operation around the Somalian Coasts, (i.e. near Suez Channel) : While it was, initialy, Spain and France who were Pushing in that direction, the British appearing UnWilling, nevertheless, it was Inconceivable for Great Britain, that a Franco-Spanish Maritime Operation might Work, withOut the UK ! So that, when it became a Success, not only they (the British) Started to Participate, but they (the UK) even... Took Over that Operation's HeadQuarters !", he reminded.


    + "Moreover, while the British, almost always, systematicaly Complaint against any EU's common Security and Defense Policy, nevertheless, whenever EU goes on with such an ESDP operation, almost Always, at a Key Position, there is a British Officer coming and going around there !", Danjean made People spontaneously laugh.. "Some might Claim that this culd, perhaps, be attempts to Sabotage. But, I'd say, Optimisticaly, that they just Want to Know what's going on : If they (the British) See something which really Works, then, they would like to Contribute into that", he concluded.     


    >>> "But, from Now on, it will be upon us (the EU) to Prove that it Can Work !", the Experienced Top MEP Warned.


    Timely, Danjean's observations came just before an important EU Summit in Brussels, Next Week, which is due to Focus also on CFSP.


    +Meanwhile, it's also "EURO-CORPS", the European Army HQ Organisation, based in Strasbourg, with Main Partners : France, Germany, Spain, Belgium, Luxembourg and Poland, as well as Liaison Officers from Italy, Greece, and Other Countries, (that has already been entrusted with Missions to Kosovo, Afghanistan, Mali, etc), which is due to Officialy Celebrate its 25th Anniversary, at the Beginning of September 2017, on the occasion of the transfert of its Rotating Presidency from Spain to Germany, for 1 Year, (9/2017-8/2018), "Eurofora" was informed.

 

(../..)



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(NDLR : Fast Translation from the Original in French)


+

 

("DraftNews", as already send to "Eurofora" Subscribers/Donors, earlier. A more accurate, full Final Version, might be published 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.
---------------------
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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