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Francois Lafond: More cooperation and long-term prospect in the Black Sea area

More cooperation and longer-term prospects are needed in the Black Sea region, said Francois Lafond, arguing that this is exactly what the Blue Growth initiative provides

By: EBR - Posted: Friday, May 19, 2017

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The Black Sea region has the capacity to develop a much better cooperation among ports and infrastructures in order to offer the economic operators the best networks possible. Spontaneous initiatives are of course welcome but they will be more efficient with some coordination and long term perspective. This is what the Blue Growth initiative is offering to most of the countries. Transportation goods, energy or information need obviously that interconnection exist and give the economic agents the best quality possible in reducing time and cost. The more coordinate and connected the regions will be, with a clear geo-spatial scheme, the better it will be for everybody. And these local initiatives are also the best tool to overcome historical, territorial or ethnical susceptibilities.
The Black Sea region has the capacity to develop a much better cooperation among ports and infrastructures in order to offer the economic operators the best networks possible. Spontaneous initiatives are of course welcome but they will be more efficient with some coordination and long term perspective. This is what the Blue Growth initiative is offering to most of the countries. Transportation goods, energy or information need obviously that interconnection exist and give the economic agents the best quality possible in reducing time and cost. The more coordinate and connected the regions will be, with a clear geo-spatial scheme, the better it will be for everybody. And these local initiatives are also the best tool to overcome historical, territorial or ethnical susceptibilities.

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by Aria Koutra and Nikos Lambropoulos

The president of Blue Networks and Opportunies and assistant professor at Sciences Po Paris stressed the need for better interconnection of infrastructure in the region in order to offer the economic operators the best networks possible.

He also commented the outcome of the French presidential election and the importance of Macron’s victory to the French business world.

Mr. Lafond was interviewed by the Director of Euractiv.gr Nikos Lambropoulos and the journalist Aria Koutra.

How is the election of the new president, Emmanuel Macron, is perceived by the business community in France. Do you believe he will be able to meet the expectations Europe has for him to reform the French economy and support a new approach for Europe?

The election of Emmanuel Macron has been well perceived by the business community in France, but also beyond it, in the whole European Union. During the last week of the electoral campaign, the chief representative of the French business community explicitly call to beat Marine Le Pen and to vote for Emmanuel Macron. Before that, when Mr. Macron was minister for economy, industry and digital, he was already appreciated by them, despite belonging to a centre-left government.

During his governmental period, he had also expressed some criticisms to decisions promoted by colleagues, which brought him finally to quit the government. Indeed, he was explicitly recognizing the vital importance to offer a more favorable legal framework allowing private companies and in particular small and medium enterprises to create wealth and jobs. Some of the political proposals Emmanuel Macron has made during the campaign aim to decrease the cost of the labor, to reduce by 60 billion € in 5 years the public expenses, to modify the fiscal framework in favor of the business community and to invest in key future sectors.

Many economists mentioned how his economic program was the most equilibrated, respecting the EU rules (public deficit under the 3% in 2017 and beyond during his mandate), an open market with a fair (but not naïve) trade. The European partners (Germany in particular), and the European Commission were looking for such cooperative attitude.  Once the legislative elections mid-June done, and according the majority President Macron will get, he will then be able to implement quickly such program and propose to be a new positive, and dynamic member of the EU.  


Do you consider that Black Sea region as far the ports and logistics sector is concerned, has the adaptive capacity to take advantage of the Blue Growth initiative? Do you see an interconnection between the sector and construction of the pipelines?

The Black Sea region has the capacity to develop a much better cooperation among ports and infrastructures in order to offer the economic operators the best networks possible. Spontaneous initiatives are of course welcome but they will be more efficient with some coordination and long term perspective. This is what the Blue Growth initiative is offering to most of the countries. Transportation goods, energy or information need obviously that interconnection exist and give the economic agents the best quality possible in reducing time and cost. The more coordinate and connected the regions will be, with a clear geo-spatial scheme, the better it will be for everybody. And these local initiatives are also the best tool to overcome historical, territorial or ethnical susceptibilities.    

How would you envisage the future of the Balkan and the Black Sea area regarding their European perspective? Do you think that these countries may be included in a future Enlargement process?

The European perspective for the Balkans is still an EU commitment. Last March 2017, the Rome declaration of the EU27 at the occasion of the 60th anniversary of the Rome Treaty reaffirms such objective: “We want a Union which remains open to those European countries that respect our values and are committed to promoting them”.

“The Eastern partnership” is also an articulated and comprehensive tool that the EU has promoted more than ten years ago, and which is recalibrated to the specificities to each country. Then, Turkey remains an essential partner, for obvious economic and strategic reasons, in the membership negotiations, despite periodical problems.

As the European Union will need to digest the UK decision to leave the Union, we may have to think a different European institutional constellation, giving to each country of the continent the role they really want to assume, and the degree they accept to pool their national sovereignties with their partners. In front of the numerous current challenges, this is surely a new step to think about.     

*EBR with EurActiv.gr

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