Pan-European Peace Forum Advocates European Leaders' Support for Peace in Korea
Frankfurt am main, May 12 – European experts and South Korean peace activists have voiced their support for peaceful reunification of the Korean Peninsula at the 'Pan-European Peace Forum' held in Frankfurt.
Heavenly Culture, World Peace, Restoration of Light (HWPL), a Seoul-based peace NGO as in consultative status with the UN Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC), organized the event to advocate international cooperation for global peacebuilding and support for the peaceful reunification of the two Koreas.
Chairman Man Hee Lee, a Korean War veteran, appealed to attendants of the forum, “More than anything else, a peaceful world without war would be the greatest legacy to hand down to our children. If a single country achieves peace, it does not mean the world has become peaceful. Peace has to be realized in the entire world. If each person walks in the path towards peace, peace will be accomplished in the global community.”
Frankfurt city council member Dr. Manfred F. Welker delivered a speech on the need for civil society’s active participation. Recalling the small gatherings in Leipzig that sparked peaceful demonstrations for Germany's reunification, he said what will bring two Koreas together is "not just government cooperation but - as we have seen from Nikolaikirche [St. Nicholas Church, Leipzig] - it will be by the collaboration and efforts of the people.”
Prof. Dr. Hans Köchler from Austria, president of International Progress Organization, said the issues of denuclearization and reunification of Korea are mutually reinforcing. He pointed out the prospect of a reunified Korea will be "the best security guarantee to both the North and the South.”
He also maintained that nuclear disarmament should be carried out not only in Korea but also in the rest of the world, saying “there must be no policy of double standards concerning disarmament obligations of states.” Dr. Köchler is serving as a member of HWPL Peace Advisory Council, a group of policy makers and experts from civil society for advancing peace in the international community.
At the end of the event, Dr. Welker presented to HWPL delegation a Letter of Support for the peaceful unification of the Korean Peninsula and global peace. As in line with its advocacy campaign for global peacebuilding, HWPL is collecting the Letters of Support from state officials to civil leaders, which aim to being sent to the leaders of two Koreas.
Meanwhile, HWPL, to build sustainable peace, is implementing peace education programs in various educational institutions and collaborating with educational experts and teachers worldwide to develop peace education textbooks and curriculums.
David Zalkaliani has met with the Foreign Minister of Paraguay
Switzerland – Within the framework of the World Economic Forum Annual Meeting in Davos, the Georgian Foreign Minister, David Zalkaliani held a meeting with the Foreign Minister of Paraguay, Luis Castiglioni.
Discussions focused on issues relating to co-operation in bilateral, multilateral and regional formats. The sides highlighted the importance of intensifying the format of political consultations, exchanging high-level official visits and business missions and providing mutual support for each other’s candidates in international organizations.
Mamuka Bakhtadze and COSCO Shipping Chairman Discuss Potential Investment Projects
Georgia's investment opportunities and possible avenues of cooperation were discussed today by Georgian Prime Minister Mamuka Bakhtadze and Chairman Xu Lirong of the COSCO Shipping Corporation. The meeting was held under the World Economic Forum in Davos.
As it was pointed out, the Government of Georgia pays special attention to the development of new transport corridors to provide the fastest and safest alternative cargo movement route between Europe and Asia.
The Chairman of the COSCO Corporation emphasized Georgia's crucial role in the trade between Europe and Asia and welcomed the Georgian Government's efforts dedicated to furthering the country's transit function.
COSCO Shipping expressed readiness to cooperate in the future and to study the opportunities offered by Georgia's maritime transport.
COSCO Shipping is a large Chinese state-owned corporation with its headquarters in Shanghai. The corporation is engaged in the supply chain and transport industries. Its annual revenues make up 14 billion USD, and the number of employees exceeds 21,000.
Prime Minister's Press Office
PRES RO priorities in Eastern neighbourhood
Ensuring proper consistency of European action in the Eastern neighbourhood will be of particular importance for PRES RO, as the EU will celebrate ten years since the launch of the Eastern Partnership (EaP) and five years since the conclusion of the first Association Agreements. Romania will work together with the EEAS, COM, Member States and EU’s partners to properly mark this symbolic context and to communicate the tangible benefits for the citizens provided by the EaP.
Romania will also support the efforts undertaken by the EEAS and COM for continued implementation of the deliverables under the EaP Agenda for 2020.
Romania will support the further extension of the benefits of the existing DCFTAs, as well as stronger interconnections with the most advanced EaP states. It will devote special attention to consolidating concrete answers the EU could offer to the aspirations of states such as Republic of Moldova, Ukraine and Georgia for an explicit European perspective. Equally, Romania aims at boosting the importance of the Black Sea on the EU’s agenda. In the context of finalizing the new EU Strategy for Central Asia, Romania intends to contribute to reanimated relations between the EU and the Central Asia.
The main actions and evolutions of the Romanian Presidency of the Council of the European Union could be followed on the website: www.romania2019.eu.
Romanian Presidency of the Council of the European Union: mission and priorities
The first Romanian Presidency of the Council of the European Union is to take place against a backdrop of large-scale developments that will determine the shape of the European Union: the reflection on the future of the Union; the United Kingdom's process of leaving the EU; the transition towards a new legislative cycle as a result of European elections in May 2019, and implicitly the end of the European Commission and European Parliament's terms of office. At the same time, challenges on the international scene deem necessary an active role of the Union at the international stage.
The Romanian Presidency of the Council of the European Union will take place at a time when common efforts of the Member States and of the EU institutions are needed in order to identify workable solutions to major challenges the European unification project is currently facing. Brexit takes the European Union into a new reality, this process must be orderly managed and the unity of the EU27 maintained, while striking for strong and close future relations with the UK. The EU is stepping into a new phase after Brexit and the Presidency should act in order to shape, together with the Member States and the EU institutions, a strategic frame for its future. In this context, a landmark of our Presidency will be the Sibiu informal Summit on 9 May, two weeks before the European elections. We see this Summit as a crucial moment to raise awareness among the citizens about the added value generated by the EU and to send a message of unity within the Union.
Furthermore, the end of the current EU institutional cycle translates into a high number of pending files that reflect key priorities for the future of our Union and its citizens. We have set a high level of ambition in achieving tangible results, while being realistic about the complex context and the specificity of this mandate. For this reason, in the first half of its term, the Romanian Presidency will focus its efforts on advancing with the legislative process, in order to finalise as many files as possible. Work will continue assiduously in the second half of our term with the non-legislative files equally important and complex.
The Union of the future needs a solid and appropriate budgetary framework and resources, in order to achieve the objectives of the following seven years. The European budget is a reflection of how we see the European Union in the future. That is why we need to make sure that the results of the negotiations on the future multiannual budget are equally balanced and well calibrated to the realities that the European citizen perceive day by day. In this vein, another topic on our agenda is moving forward with the negotiations on the Multiannual Financial Framework, which is a flagship file for our Presidency. From this perspective, we will make all efforts to prepare the grounds for a timely agreement on the next multiannual financial framework.
During its mandate, Romania has the chance to prove its strong support for advancing with the European project of integration. While holding the Presidency of the Council of the European Union, Romania will act as a genuine and honest broker in order to find solutions that enable progress of the European agenda.
The Romanian Presidency's work programme is founded on the belief that any vision for the future must be built around the key principles that have steered the evolution of the European Union so far which maintained their relevance all along the evolution of the European project and which have the potential to serve as a driving force for our common action towards consolidating the Union.this is the reason why the approach of the Romanian Presidency of the Council of the European Union revolves around the principle of cohesion, illustrated in our motto and central theme of the Presidency, “Cohesion, a common European value”.
This concept covers many of the realities of the moment that we have to accommodate at the European level. Furthermore, we consider that the EU policies should be more in line with the principle of cohesion among Member States, regions and citizens.
From this perspective, Romania aims at achieving tangible results and at maximising the benefits that a strong and cohesive Union could bring to each and every citizen.
First, we deem it necessary to enhance the cohesion of political action, in order to strengthen the link between Member States, European institutions and citizens. We see cohesion as both a common European value as well as an expression of unity among the states and regions within the European Union.
Second, we need to enhance the economic dimension of cohesion as a catalysing factor in reducing development gaps among Member States and in strengthening the Internal Market. This connotation assigned to cohesion is essential for the new EU Member States such as Romania, in order for their citizens to fully benefit from the integration in the EU Single Market.
Third, the social dimension of cohesion should also be promoted, keeping in mind the need to ensure social convergence and to preserve the four fundamental freedoms of the EU Single Market.
As first Member State in the current Presidency Trio, Romania coordinated its working programme with Finland and Croatia, but also with its predecessor, the Republic of Austria, aiming at ensuring a high grade of continuity and consistency of the EU agenda.
The Romanian Presidency's work agenda will focus on four main pillars, which will be reflected in the specific actions of ten configurations of the Council of the European Union, as well as in the events that will take place throughout the semester.
- Europe of convergence: ensuring convergence and cohesion for a sustainable and equitable development for all citizens and Member States, by enhancing competitiveness and closing development gaps, social progress, promoting connectivity and digitization, stimulating entrepreneurship and strengthening industrial policy. Taking forward the negotiation process on the 2021-2027 Multiannual Financial Framework will be an overarching objective throughout our Presidency.
- A safer Europe: making Europe safer by increasing cohesion among Member States confronted with new security challenges that threaten citizens' safety and by supporting cooperation initiatives in this area. Migration will continue to be a topic intensely debated in Europe and our action will need to be comprehensive, both on the internal and external aspects of management of the migration.
- Europe, a stronger global actor: enhancing Europe's global role by continuing the work on the implementation of the Global Strategy, ensuring the availability of the resources required at EU level, and promoting the enlargement policy, EU action in its neighbourhood and the implementation of the EU's global commitments. The EU's action in the Eastern Neighbourhood will benefit from a favourable context during the first semester of 2019, when we celebrate the tenth anniversary of the launch of the Eastern Partnership/EaP. The Romanian Presidency will support the organisation of a high-level Anniversary Conference in Brussels in May 2019, aiming to mark this historic momentum.
The Enlargement Policy, as an instrument capable of extending stability and prosperity across Europe, will represent another important topic, which contributes to a safer and a more prosperous future for the EU.The Romanian Presidency will make efforts to achieve progress and facilitate political decisions in relation with all partners involved in the enlargement process.
- 4. Europe of common values: stimulating EU solidarity and cohesion by promoting policies to fight discrimination, encourage equal opportunities and equal treatment for men and women, and increase citizens' involvement in European debates. All EU policies and action should be underpinned by European values and principles as provided by the Treaties. A democratic, fair and tolerant Union is the core foundation of the European project. At the same time, advancing on the European project should be done through a united, inclusive and open approach for all Member States. There cannot be divisions throughout the Union and this is a key message to reinforce citizens’ trust.
All the elements under the four pillars and their correspondent actions under each Council configuration are included in the document „Romanian Presidency Programme for the Council of the European Union”, available on the Presidency website (www.romania2019.eu).
The calendar of the Romanian Presidency of the Council of the European Union comprises a significant number of meetings and events, both at high level and at technical level that will take place in particular in Brussels, Luxembourg, Strasbourg and Bucharest. Approximately 1700 technical meetings and 40 meetings of the EU Council at ministerial level are scheduled to take place in Brussels. At the same time, we will host, besides the Leaders Summit in Sibiu on 9 May 2019, 288 meetings and events in Romania, out of which 22 informal ministerial meetings in Bucharest, 98 high-level officials meetings, 68 expert meetings and 99 conferences. At the same time, actions and events are foreseen in the capitals of the EU Member States as well as of third countries, where Romania will ensure local representation of the European Union.
During its six-months mandate as the rotating Presidency of the EU Council, Romania will deploy considerable efforts both in terms of the substantive matters, which are of high complexity, and in terms of logistics, which implied extensive preparation process and continues to require the mobilization of the entire Romanian public administration and society. The following six months are also a great chance to bring Romania closer to the citizens of the other Member States, to present a European country deeply anchored in the cultural and spiritual tradition of the European continent.
Through its work and actions, Romania strives to contribute to the advancement of the European construction process, based on the consolidation of the European cohesion and unity. The main actions and evolutions of the Romanian Presidency of the Council of the European Union could be followed on the website: www.romania2019.eu.
Globalization at crossroads of critical choice
BEIJING, Jan. 22 (Xinhua) -- Throughout human memory, the bandwagon of economic globalization has generally been rumbling forward, bringing people across the world ever closer for enormous shared benefits, whether it is powered by animals or algorithms, combustion engines or computers.
Yet a prevailing historical trend does not guarantee a trouble-free journey. Rather, economic globalization has experienced many twists and turns.
Ninety years ago, Herbert Hoover won the White House by promising higher tariffs to protect America's farmers in a world clouded by trade protectionist practices. Ten months into his presidency, the Great Depression struck. The Smoot-Hawley Tariff Act Hoover signed the next year prolonged the financial meltdown, further fueled protectionism worldwide and exponentially deflated global trade. Economic globalization suffered a severe setback.
Nine decades later, globalization has reached another crossroads, with economists worldwide expecting a new round of global economic recession, if not a repeat of the 1929 crash.
Against this backdrop, the 2019 World Economic Forum (WEF) annual meeting opens on Tuesday under the theme "Globalization 4.0: Shaping a Global Architecture in the Age of the Fourth Industrial Revolution."
The topic indicates the need for business titans and policy makers from around the globe gathering in the snowy Swiss resort of Davos to reflect on the troubling status quo of globalization and brainstorm its future course.
When Chinese President Xi Jinping spoke at the WEF in Davos two years ago, he talked about "a world of contradictions," and warned against protectionism and trade wars.
In the following two years, trade protectionism, economic nationalism, and populism have reared their heads. The rules-based multilateral economic system with the World Trade Organization (WTO) at its center is under an unprecedented assault. Globalization seems to be losing its steam.
So the great question of this age is why so many around the world, particularly those in the West, have felt betrayed by the elites of their own countries as globalization chugs forward.
One key reason is that while global trade has created a lot of human wealth, many Western countries have failed to fairly distribute the dividends among their citizens. As a result, the wealth gap has been widening year by year. The boisterous Yellow Vest protests demanding lower taxes, higher household incomes and better public service on the streets of Paris over the recent weeks are just the tip of the populist iceberg of discontent in the wealthy West.
Also, the growing prevalence of social media has made it possible and more convenient for people from all walks of life to express their grievances openly and form new identity groups along racial or religious divides. That rise of identity politics has further promoted populism, fractured societies, and made it increasingly difficult for Western politicians to push through necessary domestic social reforms.
To win elections, those poll politicians have become more prone to pandering to the populist demagoguery, and accustomed to trying to shift blame for the domestic problems overseas. They claim that the economic emergence of the developing countries has been the result of abusing the global trade playbook and taking advantage of globalization at the expense of the West.
The fact is that ever since the end of the Cold War, the emerging economies have achieved their economic development by adapting to the global trade rules virtually written by the West, opening up their markets and integrating themselves into the global economy.
China once had its doubts about economic globalization but it made a historical choice to ride the unpreventable tide and opened up to the outside world at the end of the 1970s. After 40 years of reform and opening-up, China has now become the world's second-largest economy with a total trade volume of import and export goods of over 3 trillion U.S. dollars.
"We have had our fair share of choking in the water and encountered whirlpools and choppy waves, but we have learned how to swim in this process. It has proved to be a right strategic choice," Xi told the Davos forum participants two years ago.
In dealing with the problems brought by globalization, China has not lost its domestic focus. Beijing understands that while it is important to expand the economic pie, it is even more imperative to undertake domestic reforms and ensure a fair distribution.
That is the very reason why China has worked so diligently in reducing poverty and went ahead with broader and bolder reforms. In April last year, Xi announced at the Boao Forum for Asia in China's Hainan Province a wide range of reform measures, including significantly cutting tariffs, broadening market access, creating a more attractive investment environment, strengthening the protection of intellectual property rights and expanding imports.
By holding the first China International Import Expo (CIIE) in Shanghai late last year and allowing foreign firms to have wholly-owned subsidiaries in more sectors, China has proved it would always honor what it has promised.
At such a critical juncture for the global community, choosing the right course for economic globalization will have significant and far-reaching implications for the world's future.
Just as Xi said at Davos: "Whether you like it or not, the global economy is the big ocean that you cannot escape from."
Globalization can never be perfect. It destroys and builds at the same time no matter how it evolves. The globalization 4.0 that this year's WEF focuses on is no exception.
The only question that matters now is how the nations of the world choose to act so that they can better harness the forces of globalization for the good of all. Remember, backpedaling should never be an option.