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Home arrow newsitems arrow 2011 EU Chair, Hungarian Prime Minister Victor Orban to EuroFora on EU Identity and Energy

2011 EU Chair, Hungarian Prime Minister Victor Orban to EuroFora on EU Identity and Energy

Written by ACM
vendredi, 17 décembre 2010

 

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*Brussels/Angelo Marcopolo/ Incoming EU President from Jan. 2011, Prime Minister of Hungary, Victor Orban (a brillant winner of 2/3 Majority in Budapest), speaking to "EuroFora" in Brussels at the conclusion of the December 2010 EU Heads of State/Governement Summit, stressed the crucial importance it has for Europe's present and future to develop its Cultural, Historic Identity able to boost Citizens' Enthousiasm, also in order to fully exploit its huge Economic Potential, f.ex., inter alia, by building Direct Energy Networks, as that of Natural Liquefied Gas' Ship transport from Asia, through Black Sea and Danube/Rine rivers :

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Topical Questions on  EU Identity + Energy

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Orban was replying to 2 Questions by "EuroFora" in his Post-EU Summit Press Conference, where we observed that, in his Introductory Statement, he "spoke well about the need for Enthousiasm in EU and its huge Economic Potential" in general, while being also, in fact, "very close to both, even in concrete, practical points of view" linked to recent on-going events :

- "One of these is that you are reportedly considering in Hungary to introduce into the Constitution a reference in the Millenary History of the Country, including its Cultural/Religious aspects (f.ex. on its Christian roots, etc). Do you think that the Debate on the Future of Europe, which includes Culture, History and Identity - as, inter alia, also French President Sarkozy (who notoriously has some Hungarian links) has already advised -  might be an interesting topic today for (EU) Citizens ?", "Eurofora" asked at first.  + At the same time, "on another, Economic issue, in Budapest you have also the Danube (Navigation) Organisation, and your (2011 EU) Presidency comes at an important moment : 

- What are currently the perspectives, via TransEuropean Networks, to use New Technologies on Liquefied Gas, in order to enable Direct Energy Transport from Asia into the EU, thanks to Ships crossing the Black Sea, afterwards Danube and Rhine rivers (in EU's Franco-German industrial core), even up to the Northern Sea, towards UK-USA ?", "EuroFora" asked the Hungarian Prime Minister.

(EU) "Energy Commissioner Oettering is well aware about this, (See relevant Oettering's statements to "EuroFora"), and recently you visited the AGRI project, initiated by Romania, Georgia and Azerbaidjan. But there are also other Countries, such as Russia (member of the Danube Organization), etc., who could benefit from such projects", we observed in this regard.

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* Victor Orban on EU Identity :

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- "Cutural Identity ...is a very important issue,  as well as Cultural Diversity, for the  Hungarian (EU 2011) Presidency", Victor Orban replied to "EuroFora"'s 1st question from the outset.

- "The fact that, today, it gets less attention, overshadowed by another issue (Global Economic and Monetary Crisis) which covers the Sun, and keeps all other topics on the shade, it doesn't mean that it might have decreased the importance of the issue", on the contrary,  he realistically but critically observed.

>>> Simply because, "obviously, "without having an (EU) Identity, EU Citizens won't be able to create a succesful Europe !", stressed incoming 2011 EU President Victor Orban.

- "This is the Philosophical Conviction that I believe in", stressed the Popular Hungarian Prime Minister, who won a landmark 2/3 Majority in recent Elections  : As an Historic Figure in the Hungarian History had said : - "I am a good Hungarian, and that's why I am a good European. If I hadn't been a  good Hungrian, I couldn"'t be a good European", he reminded.


- "I think Hungarian Identity is very Easy to link with the European Identity and feelings", observed Orban, indirectly but surely referring to the History of a Country which had succeeded to stimulate so deep and large Solidarity and common Conscience of what is realy at stake for most EU Nations, that it had, in fact, almost managed to inspire the creation of a ...1st European Defence, when Armed People from all over Europe (f.ex. England, Sweden, Germany, France, Spain, Italy, etc) had converged towards Budapest in order to help liberate Hungary from the Military Invasion and Occupation by the former Ottoman/Turk Military, (as "EuroFora" had earlier discussed with an Hungarian Official who appeared well aware)...

This was crystal-clear in the astonishing Historic resume and Cultural/Religious Symbols which had been spectacularly put forward, already as early as since 1999 by the former Hungarian CoE (i.e. PanEuropean) Presidency, with a similar Government based on Prime Minister Victor Orban and Foreign Minister Martonyi, when it had hosted CoE's supreme body : its Committee of Ministers from 47 Countries and invited Journalists, including "EuroFora'"s co-founder, to a special session in Budapest.

- "So, I believe in the fact that we shouldn't be afraid of being good Christians,  and the Leftist interpretation that would consider National Identity as a Threat, rather than Energy, is something which I cannot accept", Victor Orban clearly stressed.
+ This goes even more when "in this identity, for us, we should be able to identify points or issues on which we can able to cooperate. This is what is taking place right now, and this is very good", the incoming 2001 EU President intelligently added (See infra). Of course, there are some debates, but we would keep them in" an appropriate way, he concluded.        
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Significantly, it's at the eve of the 1st official Public Debate on the Hungarian EU Presidency's Program, at EU Parliament in Strasbourg, on January 17, 2011, that an exceptional "Mass for Europe" is scheduled in the impressive, huge Historic Cathedral of the city, as Vatican's Permanent Representative to the Council of Europe, Mgr. Aldo Giordano, (a polyglot speaking fluently Italian, French, German, English and even Flamish !)

All this acquires today even a practical a Key-importance for the full activation of EU's Economic Potential, because, inter alia, it also facilitates a necessary close Cooperation between several National Governments of similar Political orientation (Center-Right, and mainly ChristianDemocrats, etc) which were recently voted in power by the People of most of those Countries which can be involved in the Trans-European Direct Energy Transport from Asia to Europe via NLG carrying Ships through the Black Sea and Danube/Rhine rivers, on which "EuroFora" had questioned Orban, as he observed himself :
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**  Victor Orban on direct Energy transport :

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- "Now, as regards your 2nd Question, (on the current prospects to build Direct Energy Trans-European Transport Networks from Asia to the EU: See supra), "I am very Grateful to you for having mentioned this issue, (because) this is another Major Issue which has not yet got all the attention it actually deserves", went on to reply the incoming 2011 EU President to "EuroFora": - "If we look at the (GeoPolitical) situation of Hungary in the Carpathian bassin, what we see is that, whether we might be ready to bridge, or not, negotiations with SLovakia, there were conflicts there, but we'll be able to have a Breakthrough on Energy", he optimistically declared.


- Because, "if you look at our Neighbours, I have to tell you that the situation is the Best in Decades", the Hungarian Prime Minister observed.


- "So we have joint and shared objectives with the Romanians, the Slovakians, and others. And I think that (even if in the Past) ...(in) this area may be some existing Nations have had conflicts,  the situation can be remedied by the Center-Right (i.e. mainly ChristianDemocrat : See supra) Governments which we now have in these Countries, so that this can create a new possibility" for close and systematic cooperation, Victor Orban pointed out.


- (F.ex.) "we (Hungarians) work far together with the Romanian President (Traian Basescu : who has already stated, many times to "EuroFora"s co-founder, his strong interest for the Black Sea - Danube/Rhine Rivers Ship transport network for Liquefied Gas from Asia directly to Europe), to enter the (EU's) Shengen area. (etc).


+ Moreover, today,  "we : Hungarians, Romanians and Bulgarians can have Gas supply systems which are inter-linked. That has a great importance", he observed. - "In addition, we are able to deliver Gas  .. at the end  of this pipeline" - Ship transport Network, "from the  Black Sea to another region" inside the EU, he added.


=> In consequence, "This project has a European Value by aiming to transport Energy from Azerbaidjan to Europe without the participation of (other) Major Political Players", (i.e. DIRECTLY), Victor Orban underlined, speaking of a factor of obviously crucial importance : 

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            - Otherwise, "it's well known, that, if you have a 3rd Major Player in an Energy Program, then, other Political Issues, other than Energy, will be involved", threatening to weaken EU's Energetic Independence (f.ex. a Political Blackmail, as Turkey notoriously often does), the experienced Hungarian Prime Minister pointed out.


 - "Well, this Energy transport" Network project " is without Turkey and Russia", he observed, even if "it does not mean that we should forget all about Nabucco, Turkey, or the South Stream, that is important for the Russians, a big partner".


- But it's currently a fact, (among many other Criticisms against the controversial, too long, too expensive, and too dangerous Turkish Nabucco Gas pipeline old project, zig-zaging far away from Europe, through areas facing Risks of Violent Conflicts : f.ex. Kurdish, etc., of EathQuakes, Political/Commercial Blackmails, etc., without even having ensured enough Gas to transport... ), that, "according to Forecasts, Gas prices are not going to rise, so that Businessmen are reluctant to invest in big (and uncertain : See supra) infrastructures", and "that's why Nabucco is suffering", as he observed later-on.


- For all these reasons, the examined alternative Project to use New Technologies of Liquefied and/or compressed Gas (i.e. easy to transport also in Containers), to transport Energy directly from Asia to Europe, by Ships crossing the Black Sea and Danube/Rhine rivers and/or related pipeline networks, (See supra) "is a Project which adds to Competition and increases Freedom" of choice for the EU, Victor Urban concluded.


These, and various other topical Energy issues, are due to be discussed during the February 2011 EU Energy Summit, organized under the auspices of the Hungarian EU Presidency, he also anounced.

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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...
---------------------------------------

- "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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