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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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    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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