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Home arrow newsitems arrow UfMediteranean Urban development chairs French+Egyptian Ministers Richert+Baradai to EuroFora on EWE

UfMediteranean Urban development chairs French+Egyptian Ministers Richert+Baradai to EuroFora on EWE

Written by ACM
Thursday, 10 November 2011
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*Strasbourg/CoE/Angelo Marcopolo/- The two co-Chairs, from both sides of the Mediterranean, of the 1st UfM. Ministerial Summit on Urban Sustainable Development, French Minister Philippe Richert, and Egyptian Minister Mohamed Fathi El Baradai, as well as Ambassador Serge Telle, responsible for all Union for the Mediterranean (UfLM)  projects in its inceptor, French President Sarkozy's Elysee palace administration, replying to "EuroFora"s questions, stressed the crucial and dynamic importance of Climate and/or Extreme Weather Events' topical issues needing a succesful, New Model of Urban development during the City Population "Boom" expected in the area in the forthcoming period up to 2025  :
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- "EuroFora" asked both main actors, Ministers Richert and Baradei, as well as Ambassador Tille, whether "Global Warming",  "Extreme Weather Events", and related potential risks in the Mediterranean could and should be dealt with by adequate Euro-Mediterranean concrete Projects also on Urban issues, (including "Renewable Energies, as f.ex. "Solar", Research, High-Tech, etc), what we might hope to achieve in this regard from that policy in the foreseeable future.

- "Projections show that we are due to have, before 2025 in the Mediteranean bassin area , a further augmentation for more  than  +20% in the Urban Population",  started by observing the EU Co-Chairman from the EU, French Minister for Territorial entities, and President of Strasbourg' s Region Alsace, Philippe Richert,  in reply to "EuroFora"s question.


- This "risks to become the 1st cause of Greenhous Gases", and, "given the magnitude of the expected Demographic and Geographic developments" there, we face a "Risk of a huge "Explosion" in Greenhouse Gases' Emissions, that we must prevent", warned the experienced in Climate issues co-Chairman of UfM's Ministerial Summit on Urban sustainable development.


=> Therefore, "we have the political Will" to seek to build a New Model of Urban development, able to "offer enough Economic Activities" to the rapidly growing Number of Populations there, but also to "preserve an Environmental Quality", by facing the issues of a "greater Density" of populations (i.e. in Urban centres), as well as the "Social links", and the "Solidarity" between People, i.e. what makes the basic "Quality of Living Together", Richert ambitiously concluded, making an indirect but obvious reference to the 1st Collective Resolution on Urban issues adopted today in Strasbourg by the UfM Ministers.


- On all these issues, we aim to prepare several Concrete Projects, (according to the practical inspiration of the Union for the Mediterranean from its inception, back on July 2007, by the Paris' Summit of Heads of State/Government from EU and third Mediterranean Countries, spreading from Turkey to Morocco, including Israel, etc), making good use of "European experiences", as well as all Mediterranean's Historic Culture and Natural Resources, also with the active contribution of Fund Raisers, which were present today in Strasbourg, such a, f.ex., the World Bank, the European Investment Bank, the French Agency for Development, etc, and various other Partners from the Public and Private sector", Richert added.


- "The big Changes, of primary importance, that we are currently experiencing in the Mediterranean region open up new Perspectives but also Challenges (such as Climat, Weather and Urban Populations, etc : Comp. supra), on which we must be Vigilent", he advised. 

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Because "Mediterranean Cities are particularly Exposed to Global Warming's Effects" : Thus, f.ex. "the Mediterranean was marked, by the 4rth Report of the IPCC, among the Regions due to face the Most Extreme Weather Events in the World", which risk to provoke both Economic Destructions and Human losses !", Richert earlier warned.


- In fact, as he observed,  while, already, 2 out of 3 inhabitants in the Mediterranean area live in Urban areas, soon it's due to concern more than 3 our of 4 Persons". "In such a context, risks are huge, while Mediterranean Cities are spreading" all over its Southern Coasts, so thzt "Mediterranean Cities must take their part in the fight against Climate Change and Global Warming, particularly by ameliorating Energy Efficiency", since, "Cities, at a Global level, consume 2/3 of Energy and provoke more than 60% of C02 Emmissions". Therefore, "we must all unite together our forces, in all concerned Countries, both Governments and Private sector", in order to succesfully face such "Major Challenges", also by "a Diplomacy of Projects", UfM's Urban Ministerial Summit's co-Chairman pleaded.


- Thus, f.ex., among others, on Renewable Enerhy Sources, a "Solar Plan" could make good use, in this regard (See supra)  of Mediterranean's Natural Resources, from which, at a 2020 Horizon, we expect f.ex. to reach "a capaciy of 20 GIGA Wats", as Richard noted.
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=> Indeed, f. ex. "in Egypt alone, we are currently Building more than 17 New Cities across the Country", said to "EuroFora" the other Co-Chairman of the Union for the Mediterranean's 1st Urban Ministerial Summit, Egyptian Minister for Urban Development and Housing,  Mohamed Fathi Al-Baradai, who was in Strasbourg together with Minitser Ahmed Ateya for Local Development.        


 - That's why, the experienced Egyptian Minister, and UfM's Co-Chair on Urban Development policies, went on to stress to "EuroFora" that one of his Expectations is to create a win-win Partnership between the EU and the 3rd Mediterranean Countries in this area, mainly "by exchanging Solar Energy to be produced in Southern Mediterranean Countries (f.ex. by projects such as Germany-led "Desertec", on Production, and France-led "TransGreen", on Energy Transport), for European Technologies, f.ex. also on Sea Water Desalination, etc", as El Baradei told us.
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=> Topically, this "concrete project"-inspired UfM move timely responds to Decisions just taken, last week in Cannes, by the 2011 "G-20" Heads of State/Govenment Summit (Comp. "EuroFora"s NewsReports from the spot), where leaders, while "addressing  the Challenges of Development", (on which had earlier focused a landmark Speech by 2011 G20 Chairman, French President Sarkozy, about ways to link Help to Poor Countries' Development with Growth stimulation in the Advanced Countries : See "EuroFora"s earlier NewsReport), "Recogniz(ed) that the lack of Infrastructure dramatically hampers Growth Potential in many Developing Countries, particularly in Africa", and, therefore, declared their "Support" to, "and Highlight 11 Exemplary Infrastructural Projects", on which they  "call on the MDBs, working with Countries involved, to pursue the Implementation" : 

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- "In the Mediterranean region", the G20 Summit selected "2 Projects" for such Infrastructures,  including "the Mediterranean Solar Plan (MSP)", due to "develop Solar Energy in the Mediterranean region, and Export this Energy to European markets", which "concerns 5 Countries : Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia, Egypt and Jordan", according to the 2011 "G20" Summit's conclusions. (Comp. "EuroFora"s NewsReports from Cannes).
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+ Meanwhile, Ambassador Serge Telle, in charge of all Union for the Mediterranean's projects in its inceptor, French President Sarkozy's Elysee Palace's team, replying to another "EuroFora"' question also on reported risks for more "Extreme Nature Events", such as Earthquakes, Heatwaves, Fires, Desertification, etc. particularly in the Mediterranean area, stressed the need for "Natural Catastrophes' risk to be taken into account particularly in the Construction sector, mainly on Housing, in order to both Anticipate and Reduce their impact", as he laconically but substantially pointed out.

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- However, in addition to modern, High-Tech. innovations obviously needed for a really "New Model" of Urban sustainable development in the Mediterranean, able to create a Know-how which could, afterwards, be eventually "exported" also in other areas of the World, sometimes, there is also a Traditional, Historic and Cultural know-how in Mediterranean civilisations' over-Millenary lifespan, about certain original and practical ways to Build Houses and/or organise Cities in some territories, which could and should be preserved, valorised and used anew today probably in modernized versions, observed also  French Presidential "Elysee" palace's UfM mission's Expert, responsible for Territorial Development, Gilles Pennequin, briefing earlier Strasbourg's Journalists at the CoE, including "EuroFora".

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=> The most important thing is that "from now on, a Road-Map exists, endorsed at a Political level, for an Urban Sustainable Development policy in the Mediterranean, allowing to make an overall Map with the measures due to be taken throughout all the Countries in the Mediterranean area, as well as to prepare the selection of concrete projects, while also working with the Barcelona (Spain) based UfM Secretariat, stressed, among other key results of the Strasbourg's Ministerial Summit, Antoine-Tristan Mocilnikar, an Engineer who is also responsible for Environment and sustainable development issues in the UfM. mission at the French Presidential palace Elysee, speaking later to "EuroFora".

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Indeed, the Official, collective "Declaration" adopted today in Strasbourg by the 1st Ministerial Conference of the Union for Mediterranean on sustainable Urban Development, which gathered here  35 EU and third Mediterranean Countries, including more than 17 Ministers and other specialized Senior Officials and/or Experts, clearly stresses from the outset, starting already from its Article No 1, that all participants are "Aware of the Interplay between Urban/Territorial Development and Climate Change and the Environment".

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Therefore, they officially "call on each UfM Member (Country) to define, when it's not yet the case, a national Stratefy of sustainable Urban Development ... enabling Cohesion between Socio-Economic and Environmental aspects", so that even "Local Planning and Capital Investment Planning", can "reflect Priorities and impacts".


+ Moreover, the Natural Environment-oriented French Expert and UfM Official also found useful to eventually do in the foreseeable Future a Comparative study of the situation evolving throughout all the various Seas surrounding Europe, f.ex. Mediterranean, Baltic and North, Black, etc., since it could result in some interesting obsevations on main differencies, similarities or parallels, which might lead both to Regionaly specific and overall, general findings and conclusions.

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+ Mocilnikar  said that in reaction to an interesting fact, typical of the choice of Strasbourg as a symbolic also way to involve also Central/Northern EU Countries in the EU-African issues at stake in the Mediterranean, which, in a way, also attests of UfM main idea's possible success : "EuroFora" was earlier positively surprised when we saw, inside CoE's Committee of Ministers' Plenary room, during the 1st Urban sustainable development Ministerial Summit of UfM, addressed by its EU-side co-Chair, French Minister for Territorial entities, Philippe Richert, (See supra for his Reply to "EuroFora"s question), even .... a Finland's Senior Officer, from the Permanent Representative to the CoE, sitting side by side with a reportedly rather active Greece's representative, Mrs Mourmouras (by an extreme coincidence, a relative of New Minister responsible for Privatization, and deputy Minister of Economy, Professor John Murmuras)..  - "In addition to the fact that we (Finland), as EU Country, we are Members of the UfM, we are also interested into comparing UfM's organization's way to work with that of Baltic >Sea's, where there are many specific, independent bodies on various sectors, but not an overall organizatio of the whole, as in the Mediterranean", the sympathetic Finnish Senior Official explained to "EuroFora". As for "Solar" issues, she kindly invited "EuroFora" to visit a rare quality, pittoresque Natural location, Rovenismi, 1h.30 time AirFlight from Helsinki, "at the Polar Circle, in the North of Finland", where the Sun never sets down, as she promissed, (also advising to visit Scandinavian Countries during Summer time, and Mediterranean Countries during Winters)...

(../..)


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(NDLR : "DraftNews", as already sent earlier to "EuroFora"s Subscribers/Donors. Watch out for a possible Final Version, more accurate and complete, 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...
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- "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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