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New CoE Assembly President Pasquier to EF: Equality + Family to save Europe's Demography ?

Written by ACM
Monday, 25 June 2018
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*Strasbourg/CoE/Angelo Marcopolo/- When "Eurofora" asked the New President of the PanEuropean CoE's Parliamentary Assembly (PACE), Swiss MEP Liliane Maury Pasquier, how did she manage to have 4 (Four) Children, and, nevertheless, be in Shape and so Active for Many Years, Both at Bern, and in Strasbourg, to the point to become, at first Chair of the Swiss Delegation (2011-2013), afterwards Chair of PACE's Social Security and Public Health Committee (2013-2015), followed by Chair of its Rules' Committee (2016-2018), as well as New President of the Socialist Group of MEPS since January 2018, and Finally be Elected President of all PACE Today, at First, she looked Astonished :

- How come that this Journalist doesn't ask me one of the Usual and Obvious Questions, such as, f.ex., on the Turkish Elections, on Russia - PACE relations, on Mass Migration, on Corruption, on ECHR Judgements' Execution, etc. ?, she probably wondered...

- "But, you know, My Children have, Now, become Adults !", Pasquier reacted, pointing at a Fact which is, indeed, Noted in all her Public available CVs.

- And, "then, what were you doing when they were Young ? You didn't work ?", "Eurofora" kicked the Ball Home...

Indeed, Pasquier was, already since 1983, Municipal Councillor, near Geneva, as well as Member of the Town Planning, Youth and Budget Committees, Working also as "Independent Midwife", since 1989, when she Became even Chair of that Municipal Council on 1989 and 1990.
 
Followed by Membership in the Grand Council (Cantonal Parliament) in Geneva, as well as Member of its Committees for Planing, Health and Environment. Promoted, later on 1955-2007, to Councillor of the National Council, (i.e. the Swiss Parliament), Member of Health (again) and Foreign Affairs Committees, and even "Chair of the Council", as well as of the "Federal Assembly" on  2012. Meanwhile, also Chair of the Swiss Federation of MidWives, at Berne.

- "I was doing Part-Time Work then", Pasquier explained to "Eurofora".
But this, obviously, not being enough in order to dissipate all the Mystery, she rapidly added :

+ "And my Husband too", she revealed. "So, he was Helping me", i.e. Each one keeping the Children for a Half of the Day, in Turn.

=> So, that was "the Secret", which might Save Europe's notoriously ailing Demography, (since, Otherwise, many Hesitate to make more Children, by Fear to have Noone to Keep them, so that Women would be Obliged to Sacrifice their Socio-Professional Life) ?  

- I.e., simply, Equality between Men and Women, and a Well-Organized Family !

- But, while Liliane Maury - Pasquier was, rightfully, Proud to show "Eurofora" inside CoE her "Husband, who is Teacher of Art Design", as she told us, smiling, at the same moment, anOther Unusual Phenomenon emerged :

>>> Suddenly, CoE's Biggest Meeting area : right in front of its Parliament's Hemicycle, became ... full of High-Standing, Top CoE Officials, who were, almost all, ...Ladies !
 
 
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Indeed, Together with the New PACE's President, Pasquier, was also the former PACE President (and Long-Time, Experienced Chair of the Liberal Group of MEPs), Anne Brasseur, from Luxembourg, (who was Awarded a Honorary Prize, in a special, and well-attended Ceremony : Comp. many Brasser's Statements to "Eurofora", f.ex., at: ..., etc), but also the New Chair of PACE's ChristianDemocrat/EPP Group of MEPs, Stella Kyriakides, from Cyprus, (who had also served, Earlier, as PACE President : See, f.ex., her Replies to "Eurofra" Questions, then, f.ex., at : ..., etc).  

Together, Pasquier, Brasseur and Kyriakides, formed now "a "Trio" of Women PACE Presidents, to which was only lacking here Lenny Fischer, from Germany, (Comp. several Lenny Fischer's statements to "Eurofora"s co-Founder, Starting by an Interview published, then, to "TCWeekly", etc).

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Pasquier : - "Women as Oxygen" ?...
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+ But, this was Not All : In that, so special, Meeting, in Addition to the 3 PACE's Ladies Presidents, (Comp. Supra), were also present, inter alia, f.ex. :  The Woman CEO of PACE's influential Political Affairs Committee ; the Woman Head of PACE's Press/Communication service ; Woman Head of CoE's Protocol ;  2 Women, Experienced Secretaries of PACE's Presidency Office, Woman Head of the Greek Delegation of MEPs ;  a Woman Translator, even a Woman Photographer, (etc) !

- "I am against Quotas (for Ladies), because I believe that Women can Deserve a Qualified Job, by their own Personal Capacities", stressed Earlier the New CoE Assembly's President, in his regard...

The Predominant number of Top Quality Ladies at that PanEuropean CoE's exceptional Meeting was, indeed, so Obvious, that it reminded, a liitle bit, that Famous Statement of a former Political Leader in Finland, who, after Losing an Electoral race vis a vis the former Long-Time President Tarja Halonen, (See many Halonen's Statements to "Eurofora"'s co-Founder, published Both at "TCWeekly", "MPA Agency", and "Eurofora" itself, at various occasions in the Past, inter alia, f.ex. : ..., + ..., etc), had Bitterly declared to the Press that, "Nowadays, the era of Men has gone, for ever !"

Hopefully, however, at least PACE's Experienced Secretary General, Wojciech Sawicki, from Poland, managed, somehow, to get into the Picture, in fine, showing, at least, that there might be some Survivors...
 
 
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But, at any case, another Pasquier's Statement, earlier Today, was quite bellied this Evening : - "Women, ... like Oxygen, they become Scarcer the Higher up one goes", had Criticized in her Official Speech the New PACE's President, vowing to try to Change that, during her Presidency, by applying "CoE's Gender Equality Strategy 2018-2023".
 
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For Transparency and Human Dignity
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 + In Addition to "Equality", President Maury-Pasquier promised also a "Full Transparency" inside the PanEuropean Parliamentary Assembly, during her mandate, (as well as a "Reconquista" of its "Honour", after some notorious "Corruption ShockWaves" recently).
 
 
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>>> She also Denounced the "Worrying Developments, even Major Aggressions, observed in a certain number of European Countries against Freedom of Expression and Medias' Liberty", as well as versus "Freedom of Meeting, Equality, and Protection of Minorities", she added, while also Speaking in favour of the "Swiss spirit" of "Direct Democracy".

- "Instead of Exclusion and Hate, ... we Must Oppose Justice, Solidarity and Cohesion", Liliane Pasquier stressed, as a matter of general principle.

=> For that purpose, "I'd like, during my Presidency, to Facilitate Exchanges, and Contribute for all of us to Rally around Constructive Solutions", the New PACE President said in her 1st Official Speech, Earlier Today in CoE Assembly's Hemicycle.
 
 
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- "We (CoE's Assembly) are ... a Union, rich of its plurality, around Europe, that we Aspire to Build, Together with our Citizens : A United Europe, where the Respect of Human Dignity is the Pillar of Society", she Concluded,

(just before pointing, later this Afternoon, also at her collegue, former PACE's President from Luxembourg, Anne Brasseur's Number 1 Quality, that she Resumed, anew concluding under the name of "Humanity").
 
 
 
(../..)


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Russia - PACE row may be resolved on EF's ideas, reveals CoE Assembly CEO Sawicki's reply +Document

Written by ACM
Friday, 22 June 2018
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*Strasbourg/CoE/Angelo Marcopolo/- While Time Deadlines arrive at a Critical Threshold, it's near to 2 "Eurofora"'s key observations/suggestions that a Solution might, perhaps, be found Nowadays to the 4,5 Years Old row between Russia and CoE's Parliamentary Assembly (PACE), since all the Russian MEPs were pushed to Quit that Strasbour's body, by Harsher than expected Sanctions, imposed when the Ukranian Conflict was reaching a Pic in growing Deadly Clashes, including Civilian People, particularly at the Eastern pro-Autonomy Regions, and without any really important change since then, despite the 2015 Minsk Agreements, only Partly applied until now.


Meanwhile, after Many Years of exceptional Absence of Russian MEPs from PACE, (even if Russia continued to be part of CoE's Inter-Governemental bodies and activities), Moscow anounced, and recently started to apply in real practice, first a Partial, and afterwards a Total Suspension of its Financial Contribution to CoE's overall Budget, until it would be Guaranteed that its MEPs might Return without Risk to be again Deprived from their Voting and Participation Rights.


A situation which has Now Reached a Critical Point, as the End of June is traditionaly considered to be the Last moment for a CoE's Member Country to pay its Annual Contribution, or not, and UnPrecedented Financial Restrictions (recently Aggravated also by Turkey's UnExpected, Unilateral Decision to Cut almost the Half of its own Contribution, for undeclared motives) have Started to provoke Growing Tensions inside the CoE, including even Angry Protests by some Radio-TV Journalists upset from an anouncement that they will have, from now on, to Pay Cash any use of Camera and/or Studio Facilities at the CoE, which were traditionaly offered to them Free of Charge, (as "Eurofora" witnessed during a Press Meeting earlier this Morning)...

 

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At the Same Time, in parallel, from a Political point of view, that Problem has inevitably Curtailed CoE's own Role as a PanEuropean Organisation, since the ReUnification of Europe at the 1990ies, by putting in Trouble, inter alia, particularly its Cooperation and Joint Activities in the Fight against Deadly Islamist Terrorism Targetting innocent Civilian People throughout the EU and Russia (as well as USA, and elsewhere in the World), Reducing CoE's role in the Quest for Peace in Ukraine (where, on the Contrary, the Vienna-based OSCE took a quasi-Exclusivity), not to speak about Syria, etc, made UnBalanced the Choice of New ECHR's EuroJudges (since Russian MEPs haven't Voted in the Election by PACE of about 33% of New EuroJudges, as Moscow officially Protested these Days, in the run up to the forthcoming Election by PACE even of CoE's New Chief : its New Secretary General from 2019...), while Geo-Political Balance in all Parliamentary Contacts and/or Negotiations, and All Public MEPs' Debates in Any Topical Issue related to COE's Oganisation for Democracy, Human Rights and Rule of Law, (including even BioEthics, as back on 2013+), has been Lacking.


Such excessive and persisting ImBalances (and the Negative Climate that they inevitably provoked, at least partly, as if Half of CoE had been suddenly Forced to Return Back to a ... "Cold War" Era of the Past) were Criticized and Denounced recently by an Important Report, with Resolution and Recommendation to its Committee of Ministers, adopted by CoE's Assembly during the Autumn of 2017, particularly in view of the overall Mission of Strasbourg's PanEuropean Organisation, and, also, in the perspective of an evental New CoE's Summit probably on 2019, which raised in New Terms the Issue of Russia's Full Participation into the CoE : Not Only Inter-Governemental, but also Parliamentary.


This, and other parallel Developments, led also to the Creation,  led also to the Creation, from December 2017, of an Original, High-Level, "Ad Hoc" Committee "on the Mission and the Role" of CoE's PanEuropean Parliamentary Assembly, crafted Also in order to Include an exceptional instance of Dialogue with Top Russian MEPs, (and with the Participation even of Ambassadors/Permanent Representatives of CoE's Member States' National Governments, usually centered around its Committee of Ministers), which organized substantial Meetings on the Sidelines of PACE's Plenary Sessions in Strasbourg, (i.e., already on January and April 2018, See, f.ex. : "Eurofora"s NewsReports at http://www.eurofora.net/newsflashes/news/coedialogueonrussiacontinuesmarch.html, + http://www.eurofora.net/newsflashes/news/russiacoesyria.html, etc), as well as of its Standing Committee's Sessions in other Cities and/or Countries, (f.ex., in Paris, on March 2018, and in Zagreb, on May 2018, since Croatia took over from Denmark CoE's rotating semestrial Presidency, 5-11/2018).


=> As a Result also of this New Round, made out of Periodic, but Regular, High-Level Dialogue, Both on PanEuropean CoE's overall Role, and on Russia's part, it seems, Nowadays, Possible to eventually Seek and soon Find a Solution, at last, to that protracted Problem of Europe's recent, counter-productive, and dangerous Division.


The point became more Clear, after CoE has just decided, this June 2018, to "De-Classify" an Interesting "Memorantum" (Drafted by PACE's out-going President Nicoletti from Italy), which Resumes All relevant Proposals made by various CoE Member Countries and/or MEPs' Political Groups during that "Ad Hoc" High-Level Committee's Meetings.


>>> Astonishingly, but logically, such a possible Perspective Follows, in Fact, the PathWay of "Eurofora"'s 2 Key Observations and Suggestions, which we had, inter alia, Resumed and Reminded, at the Latest, during a mid-May 2018 Meeting in the CoE with the current President-in-office of its Committee of Ministers,
Croatian Ambassador/Permanent Representative Miroslav Papa (for May - November 2018 : See Infra).

 

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- Earlier Today, PACE's Secretary General, Wojciech Sawicki, Replying to an "Eurofora"'s Question, during the traditional Press Briefing with Strasbourg's European Journalists at the Eve of CoE Assembly's Plenary Session, Next Week in Strasbourg, (25-29 June 2018), made it clear that, if, in its Forthcoming Meeting, on Tuesday Afternoon (26/6/2018), that "Ad Hoc" Committee probably Adopts its Official "Report", then, this would Conclude and put an "End" at its Existence, since the Issues it used to Deal with, will Return, then, Back to CoE's Ordinary Top Bodies, i.e. PACE's Bureau and CoE's Inter-Governemental Committee of Ministers, for relevant Decisions, (normally Before January 2019, which is, as things stand Today, the Latest Occasion for an eventual Return of Russian MEPs back to the PACE, for Next Year).


- But, that "Report" is expected to look very much Alike, in its overall Structure, to this "Memorantum", which has just been "De-Classified", Sawicki warned us.


+ Concerning those Issues, Speaking Earlier, since mid-May 2018, with the New President-in-office of CoE's Highest Political Body, that of its Committee of Ministers, Croatian Ambassador Miroslav Papa, in Reply to his own Observation that the Issue of Relations with Russia, as well as CoE's Budget, would be among the most Topical Big "Challenges" Faced by the Croatian Presidency, (in Addition to the relevant Question of the preparation of an eventual New CoE's Heads of State/Government Summit for 2019 or later), "Eurofora" had made, during those Exchanges, mainly 2 Key Observations :


    * (A). From a purely "PRACTICAL" point of view, regarding the TIME still Available in order to Try to eventually Find a workable Compromise for an adequate Solution of the above-mentioned "Russian" Issue, Before it might become Too Late (Comp. Supra), "Eurofora" had reiterated, then, our Previous Suggestion, (that We had Already Made, Earlier, already since January 2018, to PACE's Secretary General, Wojciech Sawicki, who Replied Positively : see http://www.eurofora.net/newsflashes/news/coereformtoeaserussiasolution.html , etc), to eventually make the necessary Changes in order to Enable PACE to Ratify all MEPs' Credentials, Not Only on its January Session, at the Beginning of Each Year, but, during All, Anyone among its Four (4) Plenary Sessions (i.e. on January, or April, June, September/October), so that Parliamentary Diplomacy would have, instead of Only 1, much Better : Four (4) Occasions, during each Year, to find a successful Compromise.


=> Now, such a Proposal has been Also Supported Explicitly, at least by "Romania", inside CoE's High-Level "Ad Hoc" Committee, which has just suggested to "allow each delegation (of MEPs) to fill its seats at any time during a year, and not exclusively before the January part-session", as the above-mentioned "Memorandum" reveals.


+ Moreover, PACE's Secretary General, Sawicki, went Today as far as to also Add, in this Same regard, even anOther such Possibility to Gain precious Time : - PACE could Decide, if it wishes, to Add also One More : i.e. a 5th Plenary Session, "Exceptionally", f.ex. "on December 2018", during which it could have one More Opportunity to Deal with the Issue of Russian MEPs' Credentials, and/or Change its own Rules, in this regard, (Comp. Supra and Infra), he told us during his Press Briefing, earlier this Morning.


- Such a Move is Legally Possible, since PACE's Rules of Procedure provide for "up to 30 Days" for PACE's Full Meetings during Each Year, while, until now, "we don't use but only 20 such Days, Yearly", (i.e. 4 regular Plenaries X 5 Days each = 20, leaving +10 More Days, theoretically Free to be used whenever PACE might like to do so).


 - "It all Depends on whether a Political Will exists, or not, since Technically, Everything is Possible !", the Experienced Sawicki underlined in this regard, smiling.


-------------------------------


    *(B). Concerning the "SUBSTANCE" of the Issue, even if the "Guarantee" that Russia notoriously seeks, for Any MEPs (Russian and/or Other), Not to be Deprived from their Voting and/or Participation Rights (Comp. Supra), might, Eventually, Not be Explicitly Supported also by a Sufficient Number of Other CoE Member Countries, (as the above-mentioned "Memorantum" rather indicates), Nevertheless, there is Also anOther Workable, Alternative Possibility :


    - Indeed, as "Eurofora" had Denounced (and Proved with Crystal-clear Hard Facts), already as Early as since the very Day that Some, inside PACE, suddenly Broke an earlier Compromise (to put just a Few "Sanctions", for only 1 Year), and Pushed, with a Last-Minute Amendment, in order to Impose much More, and Heavier "Sanctions", so that they Pushed, the Exasperated Russian MEPs to Leave PACE. But the Interesting point, (which, Curiously, seems to pass still Unnoticed or, at least, "Silenced", by most Commentators in Establishment's Traditional Medias), is the Fact that, (by Exploiting the Abstention of Russians then, added also to Various Other Countries' MEPs Exceptional Absence), it was Only a ... MINORITY of MEPs who had Voted, Back on 2014, for such Excessive "Sanctions", which Broke a Compromise (Comp. Supra) and Pushed Russia Out of the PACE ! (See the Original "Eurofora"s NewsReport, as Published the very Day of that Event, at : http://www.eurofora.net/newsflashes/news/coeminorityamendmentpushesrussianmepsout.html , etc).     

    
    >>> And, NOW, the above-mentioned PACE's "MEMORANDUM", just Published this June 2018 (Comp. Supra), clearly Reveals that, in fact, there are MANY National Delegations, among CoE's Member Countries, and/or MEPs, who Ask to Maken ibn the Future, much More Difficult, than in the Past, to Refuse MEPs' Credentials, and/or to Impose very Heavy Sanctions, Depriving MEPs from their Rights to Vote and/or Participate in CoE's Parliamentary  Assembly's activities. (F.ex., by Requiring to Verify the Quorum, and/or Setting a Higher Quorum ; by Asking for an Absolute Majority or even a Special, Qualified Majority : f.ex. of the Two Thirds, 2/3, etc).   


    In other words, even if Russia might, eventually, not have fully Convinced, inside the CoE, a Wide-Enough circle of People, that Heavy Sanctions Depriving MEPs even from almost all their Vote and Participation Rights, would be abnatural, a Violation of Democratically Elected Parliamentarians' elementary Rights, i.e. something InCompatible with a really Democratic Parliament's Values and Principles,  as Moscow claims, as well as Against PACE's Mission as a PanEuropean Forum for Public Dialogue, Nevertheless, they seem to have pretty Convinced a Lot of CoE's Member States' representatives that this is something Wrong, or, at least, Too "Heavy" or Extreme, as measure, so that it shouldn't be allowed for anyone to eventually risk to abuse of such methods too easily...                 

                    
    => In Consequence, if such kind of Proposals are Adopted by PACE's, High Level, "Ad Hoc" Committee (Comp. Supra), Next Week in Strasbourg, (Comp. Supra), then, Russia would have, in real Practice, (given also the Fact that its Adversaries Never had any Majority inside the PACE, not even back on 2014, as we found : Comp. Supra), an Important Guarantee for its MEPs, almost as it wished, (Comp. Supra).

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+ In Fact, what happened back on 2014 is Not just as Question of DisProportional or Excessive "Sanctions" on Russian MEPs, but much More a "Double Standards" matter, Compared, at least, to way that Turkey was treated by PACE : Indeed, initially, on 1994, PACE had adopted a Resolution warning the Turkish MEPs that their Credentials would be Rejected if Ankara did Not Stop, in 6 Months, to grossly Violate CoE's Principles and Disrespect its own Commitments, concerning, f.ex., widespread Torture+Inhuman/Degrading Treatments, Killings of Dissidents, Scorched Earth Practices, Refusal to Recognize the Armenian Genocide, Military Invasion and Occupaton of Cyprus' Northern Territories, (an over-Millenary European Civilisation Country, from Ancient Greece and Byzantine Empire, up to 4 Centuries French Kingdom, +2 Italy's Venise, almost 1 Century British, and 58 Years Intependent State), Refusal to Apply ECHRs' Judgements, War Threats against Greece at the Aegean Sea, bloody Kurdish Conflict, (etc).


But, Suddenly, on 1995-1996, Despite Turkey's Refusal to obtemperate, PACE Backed Down, made a Spectacular U-Turn, and Changed all that into a mere ..."Monitoring" Process !  Meanwhile, inter alia, French Prime Minister Eduard Balladur (whose Family was of Armenian Origin) had been ousted, and Helmut Kohl's ChristianDamocrats/EPP had been radicaly Weakened, on the brink or loosing their Parliamentary Majority in Germany, while, in Italy, Prime Minister Ciampi, who had studied Ancient Greek, and whose Government Coalition included 2 Parties of the Right, with a ChristianDemocrat Foreign Minister close to Kohl then, had left, (etc)...


    However, Russia wasn't yet a CoE's Member State then, so that, perhaps, most of its Diplomats simply Ignore that Historic PACE's 1994 U-Turn on Turkey, and/or UnderEstimate the Exclusion of Greece during the Colonels' regime (1967-1974), while, once again, even when Turkish Colonels Hung alive an elected Prime Minister and Imposed a "Coup d'Etat" in the 1960ies, despite a CoE's Human Rights' Director reportedly Angry and crying at the European Organision's corridors that Turkey should have Never been CoE Member (since the Cold War), nevertheless, Nothing happened...    


    So that the Russian MEPs' Ousting from PACE, added to several previous Threats against former Ukranian Governments' MEPs accused to be Too Friendly towards Russia in the Past, but also to the Exclusion, out of the CoE, for the Greek "Colonels" regime (etc), while Nothing Similar ever happened for Turkey, with that 1994 CoE's "U-Turn" (Comp. Supra), not even during the 1960 Coup d'Etat which Hang a Prime Minister (and 2 of his Ministers), Neither later at the 1980 Coup d'Etat, despite a Massive Oppression of various Ankara regime's Dissidents, (etc), all that, obviously, looks to be Too Much of "Double Standards".


    => Added to the above-mentioned, "too Heavy", if not even Incompatible with Elected Paliamentarians' Rights, character of so Harsh Measures (as Suspension of Vote + Participation Rights, etc), that they would, at least, Need a Quorum, Special Majority and/or Other Safeguards against Risks of Abuse, as Many proposed Recently in PACE's High Level "Ad Hoc" Committee (Comp. Supra), all that, naturally Pleads towards Finding, at least Now, a well Balanced and Workable Solution on this Russia - PACE row asap.


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    According to that recently DeClassified "Memorandum", and as PACE's Secretary General Sawicki confirmed Today in his Press Briefing, if the High-Level "Ad Hoc" Committee adopts a similar Report, it will, most probably, Result in a Double Transmission to Both PACE's Committees on Political affairs and on Rules and Procedures, for relevant Changes in CoE Assembly's official Rules, as well as to the Inter-Governemental CoE's Committee of Ministers, for Coordinated Moves, and eventual even Changes in CoE's overall Statute, if necessary.


    + Already, an Indication that, indeed, something like this might be currently prepared, and almost already on the pipeline, is also the relevant Fact that CoE has just Decided to "Revive" its "Joint Committee", (Composed by Representatives of Both its Parliamentary Assembly, and its InterGovernemental Committee of Ministers), from Next Week, as Sawicki Anounced Today.


    The Russian Parliamentary side is due to be Represented, from Tuesday, already in the probably Last Meeting of CoE's "Ad Hoc" High Level Committee (Comp. Supra), by its Duma's Foreign Affairs Committee's President, Leonid Slutsky, one of the 2 most Experienced Top Russian MEPs who know well PACE, since a Long Time ago, as well as his collegue from the Federal Council, Konstantin Kosachev, (the President of that Council's Foreign Affairs Committee, who reportedly was not only in Strasbourg Back on January, but also in Zagreb on May 2018).


    ++ Meanwhile, in anOther Exceptional Move Recently, CoE's Secretary General, Thornbjorn Jaglant, suddenly Visited Moscow just two Days ago, on 19 to 20 June 2018, where he met, inter alia, also with the Russian Foreign Minister Serguei Lavrov, (Comp., inter alia, also Lavrov's Statements to "Eurofora", already as Early as since the May 2011 "G 8" Summit of Heads of State/Government in Deauville, France, at: ..., etc), but even with President Vladimir Putin himself, at the Kremlin : Something which had not occured for Years, (since 2016).

 

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Jagland, a former Prime Minister and President of Parliament at Neighbouring Norway, and Top Member of the Oslo Committe for NOBEL Peace Prize, had clearly expressed his Interest for the PanEuropean Dimension of the CoE, in repeated Statements replying to relevant "Eurofora"s Questions, already as early as since his 1st Press Conference, immediately after his initial Election in Strasbourg, back on 2009, but also more Recently, during a Press Point on his Re-Election on 2014, even after some had provoked the Ukranian conflict, (See, f.ex. : http://www.eurofora.net/newsflashes/news/jaglandagg1.html + http://www.eurofora.net/newsflashes/news/coesgonpaneuropeanspacefuture.html , etc).


>>> But the Most Substantial Issue on which Jagland is Consistently building upon for CoE's relations with Russia, as a matter of General Principle, related also to Strasbourg's PanEuropean Organisation for Human Rights, Democracy and Rule of Law main Mission, proved to be, once again, his concern to Safeguard a fully-fledged functioning of ECHR's Jurisdiction, for the Protection of Citizens' Rights and a Democratic Functioning of the State, throughout all CoE's 47 Member Countries, naturally including the Biggest of all, Russia with about 150 Millions of Population, as he reiterated on this occasion also just 2 Days ago in Moscow, on 20 June 2018.


- Shortly Afterwards, a Statement attributed to Foreign Minister Lavrov, after his meeting with COE's Secretary General Jagland, expressed Russia's "Concern" for "the Fact that, because of the PACE Crisis, more than 1/3 of the Judges at the ECHR have been Elected withOut the Participation of a delegation of Russian" MEPs, (who, normally, should Vote, Together with All other MEPs from CoE's 47 Member Countries, every time that there is an Election of a New EuroJudge to the ECHR by PACE, among 3 Candidates, during PACE's Plenary Sessions in Strasbourg, (as, f.ex., for the Choice of a New EuroJudge from San Marinio, Next Week, while Turkey's, as well as Other EuroJudges' Election was reportedly Postponed for October 2018 or even Later).                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                             
- But, in a subsequent meeting and Press Conference with UNO's Secretary General, Antonio Guterres, Yesterday (21 June 2018) in Moscow, Lavrov expressed also Russia's belief in what he called : - the "Vital Sphere of Human Rights", as he said, speaking of USA's WIthdrawal from UNO's World Council of Human Rights (WCHR), at nearby Geneva. (On UNO's Historic 2005 Summit's decision to create WCHR, on 9/2005 in New York, Comp. also "Eurofora" co-Founder's NewsReport from NYC, Published then at "TCWeekly).


- Even Acknowledging that "No one ... is Perfect", as he said, the Russian MFA observed, on this occasion that "the Number of complaints against Russia sent to the ECHR has Dropped more than Three times (-300%) over the past 5 Years", compared to the Past.


Even if not any Official Statemenrt was Published on the well known Political Issues AFTER those Top Meetings, neither in Moscow, nor in Strasbourg, (Comp. also Infra), nevertheless, at least the Photos Published by Kremlin's website, look quite positive...

 

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Meanwhile, Moscow curiously is, these Same Days, at the Epicenter of an Exceptionally Dense and Busy Diplomatic "Whirlpool", the above-mentioned Exceptional Visit of CoE's Secretary General Thornbjorn Jagland, 2 Days ago, (not just for the ...Football Mundial, as he pointed out, in his meetng with President Putin, who had taken the initiative to point there), was Followed by a Phone Call from Urkanian President Pedro Poroshenko, that Putin extended also into a Briefing to UN Security Council Members the same day, before another Official Visit by UNO's Secretary General, Antonio Guterres, who met with Russian Foreign Minister Lavrov Yesterday, (Comp. Supra), preceded by Exceptional Phone-Conversations, Earlier, between Lavrov and Mike Pompeo, the New USA's Secretary of State, since June 18, also about a forthcoming possible USA - Russia Summit with Presidents Vladimir Putin and Don Trump, perhaps in Vienna, "for the Near Future",  as it was said, in the current preparations for the July 11, 2018, Summit of NATO, (whose Secretary General, Jens Stoltenberg, who was recenty reported as Favorable to USA - Russia Top Meetings, (and even NATO - Russia)..., which should better take place "as Quickly as possible", as Kosachev reportedly advised.

 

In the Middle of all that, "Eurofora" was Surprized to realize (unfortunately too Late) that we had an unexpected Chance to Cross COE's Secretary General, Thornbjorn Jagland himself, who had Silently Walked along our Left Side, all the way from CoE's Main Hall (Exceptionally full of Music, then, because of a Special "Music Day" here in France), up to the PanEuropean Organisation Headquarters' Main Entrance's exterior "Parvis", slowly Strolling even Turning Around us until he entered in his Car, by a Coincidence, Parked Right in Front of our Eyes, where he stayed for several Long Moments, with an Open Window, looking at a Piece of Paper, while his Driver was already sitting inside, Ready to Go, but, apparently, withOout receiving a "Green Light" Message before a Longer than expected Period of Time elapsed, Later-on...

Any Other Journalist (and, a fortiori, Particularly "Eurofora", who had Notoriously being Practicing with EU/COE+ Political Personalities, Heads of State/Govrnment, Foreign and Other Ministers, Top EU/CoE Officials or Experts, etc., Many Short but Topical, Original Interviews "on the Fly", many times and at Various Occasions, here and elsewhere), would, Naturally, had Tried to immediately Valorize such a Timely Chance, by Simply Raising at least 1 Short and Clear Question to Jagland, while he was still Remaining so Near to us, Shortly after his above-mentioned, Exceptional Visit to Moscow, and at the Eve of Crucial relevant Decisions in the Next Few Days...


But, UnExpectedly, (and withOut having fully Realized the Reasons for such a Unusual for us Behavior, Nevetheless, "Eurofora", Exceptionaly, ...Abstained from Raising Any Question at all !


Was it, merely, due to the Fact that, inter-alia, Because of an Exceptional Lack of Time, during some very Busy Days (and Nights), added to a series of various Harassments, even Aggressions (f.ex. against "Eurofora" WebNews Media Site, even Brutal Bloody Road "Accidents" hitting and seriously Wounding our Wife, with her Brake put Out of Order, and her Handlebars Sabotaged, etc), so that we were again Obliged to Work OverNight, and Sacrifice even Health in order to Catch up with Time, on too Many Occasions in a Row, so that we were Physically Exhausted ?


However, it wasn't the First Time, (and such Obstacles had Never Stopped us before, when something Really Important as News was at Stake, f.ex. concerning such Key Issues of Human Rights, BioEthics, Peace, etc)...


Or, was it, perhaps, Because of a Strange, UnPrecedented piece of "Draft" Paper, written by an Anonymous Author, (but reportedly "endorsed" by PACE's "Bureau" behind Closed Doors a Few Days Earlier, withOut any Warning, and due to be ...Silently "Endorsed" also by PACE's Plenary on Monday Morning, practically Hidden among a Lot of Various Other Papers and Reports, etc), which had Just been Distributed Silently to Strasbourg's European Journalists, during the Regular "Press Briefing" of the COE at the Eve of the forthcoming COE Assembly's Plenary Session, Next Week, and contained a Stern Prohibition (Never Seen Before in More than 24 Years of permanently Covering and Publishing European/PanEuropean/International News: +9/1993-2018 !) adressed to all COE's Accredited Journalists, among others, also to: ..."Interfere with ...the Proper (sic !) Conduct of (UnDetermined) Activities (by Anyone ?), or the Free Movement (sic !) of individuals", etc... To that was Added also the ... Crime of any Journalist to "Interfere with the.. Privacy" (sic !) of anyone, to take any (even Short) "Interview" i

 

=> In Other Words, IF a Journalist had Simply Tried (as it Used to be Regularly done, Many Times in the Past, here and elsewhere, with a Great Efficiency, particularly vis a vis "Busy" Top Politicians, who had No Time for Long Interviews, Intermediary Bureaucracy, etc., But were usually Willing and Able to give Short but Topical Replies, particularly to "Hot" News and/or General Policy Issues for the Press/Medias to Publish), also Now, to Simply Ask now Jagland how he Felt after his Recent Top Contacts on the Russia - PACE Issue, (Comp. Supra), even if he had Kindly Replied, with his usual Concise and Smiling way to Speak even on the most Thorny Issues, when he really Wanted to do so, with People that he Knew Well for Many Years, Nevertheless, whoever among Strasbourg's Press Workers would have Received such an Interview, Risked, from now on, to be Accused to ... "Interfere" (or "Attempt to Interfere") "with the Free Movement of Individuals", and/or to "Interfere with ... the Proper Conduct of Activities", (whatever this might mean...), or, at least, to "conduct an Interview" in a Place Other than those which were Exclusively Listed by that Strange Draft Paper (Comp. Supra) !...


In consequence, one among the relatively New but Mainstream Strasbourg's European Journalists, Samantha Agro, from the Italian Press Agency "ANSA", had just Strongly Criticized that Strange "Draft" Paper, full of UnPrecedented, obviously Excessive, and often Too Vague Prohibitions, often unnecessarily and excessively Restricting an elementary and traditionaly established, during Decades, Press Freedom inside the CoE , when she Spoke out Loudly, Against several among the  Obstacles it attempted to Oppose to normal Journalistic activities and established Press practices, during this Morning's PACE Press Briefing (Comp. Supra).


But, despite PACE CEO Sawicki's and Press Officers' kind Promises that such and other Criticism from Samantha and several more European Medias, would be "Transmitted" to those responsible for taking Final Decisions, since Nothing hasN't yet been Rectified or Changed for the Better, on this matter, spontaneously preferring to be Careful, "Eurofora" ...Auto-Censored itself, and totally Abstained from Raising Any Question to CoE's SG Jagland, on this Good and Timely Occasion...


=> So that, we shall Never Know what CoE's Head, the Experienced Thornbjorn Jagland,  might, eventually, have had to Say, and What Message he might wish to send to all involved, just Before this Crucial Week-End, at the Eve of an Exceptionaly Important CoE Assembly's Plenary Session, Next Week in Strasbourg, (Comp. Supra), in order to be Published in WideSpread English Language PanEuropean Media Timely,


i.e. exactly when all those involved are notoriously Preparing their Last-Minute Compromises, Ideas, and/or Concrete Proposals, in order to Find a Solution able to Help the PanEuropean CoE's Organisation to Overcome that Crisis and Advance Ahead in the foreseable Future, (Comp. Supra).

 

 

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(NDLR : "DraftNews", as already send to "Eurofora"s Subscribers/Donors, Earlier. A more accurate, full Final Version, might be Published asap).

 

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PanEuropean Commissioner for Data Protection, Walter to EF: Start by checking our own Organisations

Written by ACM
Thursday, 21 June 2018
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*Strasbourg/CoE/Angelo Marcopolo/- Speaking to "Eurofora" just after being Elected, earlier Today, as the New PanEuropean Commissioner for Data Protection, Jean-Philippe Walter, an Experienced former Long-Time President of CoE's Experts in that area, and the man who pushed all the way along the Recent "Modernisation" of its Pioneer, Historic Convention, in close "Coordination" with the EU, surprized by Announcing his Intention to : - "First, Examine what is going on, in this regard, Inside the CoE itself !", as he told us for Strasbourg's 47 Member Countries - strong Organisation, which Includes also Russia and various Other Countries.


Walter was Officially Elected Today by CoE's competent "Committee for the Protection of Individuals with regard to Automatic Processing of Personal Data", during its Weekly Plenary Session of 19-21 June 2018.


The Event was announced during an Exceptional International Conference on the current Perspectives for Wider Cooperation in the Field of Data Protection for the foreseable Future, Both between EU and COE, as well as at a more or less Global Level, (Comp. also : ..., etc).


"Eurofora" has Already met with, and Published Walter's various Replies to our Questions on Topical Issues, at several Earlier Occasions in the Past, (as, f.ex., at : ... + ..., etc).


After Graduating with a Master in Law from the University of Fribourg, in Switzerland, Jean-Philippe Walter succesfully presented a Doctoral Thesis on "the Protection of the (Human) Personality during the Processing of Data for Statistical reasons", and Worked as University Assistant, Legal Expert at the Swiss Federal  Administration, Head of Data Protection at the Ministry of Justice, and Deputy Federal Commissioner on Data Protection and Information (from 1993 until Now : 2018), as well as vice-Chairman of the French-Speaking Association of Data Protection Authorities during a Decade (2007-12/2016), while also Regularly making Working Visits at the COE in Strasbourg for about 30 Years, where he Chaired its PanEuropean Committee of Experts on Data Protection, and, Twice, also CoE's Committee on its relevant, Pioneer Convention, (known as "108"), before Dealing, more Recently, with its Modernisation, in Coordination with the EU's relevant Directive on 2018, etc.


Thus, Walter's usual Scope is much Larger than CoE's 47 Member States, (including Russia, etc), since its above-mentioned Convention already has 52 Member Countries, and its New, recently Modernized Version is Aimed to Become progressively Global, (Comp., f.ex., at : ..., etc).


- While Stressing that, First of all, it was very "Important to have a Good European Coordination", between EU and the CoE, in order to Better "Integrate" EU's recent Directive with CoE's Pioneer and recently Modernized landmark Convention on Data Protection, as well as ECHR's "Historic" relevant "Case Law", Walter, also pointed Today at the "Strong Interest" that are showing, in this regard, Various Countries in the World, (Comp. also "Eurofora"s NewsReport : ...).


+ At the same time, Walter also spoke Now in Favor of "Transparency", including "vis a vis Civil Society", as well as in favor of the search of the Largest possible "Consensus", if not "Unanimity", at the end of the process.


- Walter told "Eurofora" that he Expects, for the New, "Modernized" Version of CoE's landmark, Historic Convention on Individuals' Data Protection, - for which he Succeeded to Efficiently Contribute Both for the closest possible Agreement with the EU, and to Find a Deal with Russia on a series of Key points (including on Security and Trans-Border Data Flows in relation with USA's role in recent practice, etc) - to probably get more than 28 or 30 Signatures from European Countries on Autumn 2018, before Reaching the Threshold of 37 Ratifications, in order to Enter into Force during the Next Few Years.


- In Fact, our (CoE's) Initial "Draft" Text, has Not Changed Very Much, and we Could have Arrived at a Conclusion much Earlier, but "Brussels' Agenda" from the EU "Influenced" CoE's course, as well as the Need to Broker an Agreement with Russia, etc. However, it was Worthwhile to strive for the Largest possible EU-CoE "Coordination" and Political "Consensus", he pointed out.


Simple People might probably Like to See CoE's new Commissioner on Data Protection to Dare immediately Check rather such things as our everyday ...SmartPhones, and/or "Twitter"'s recent Controversial Policies, etc., the Soonest possible, after he finishes asap. with his Idea to First "Check inside CoE", as he Told us, (Comp. Supra).


But, if he insists to really practice his "Transparency", prior "Consultation", close "Coordination", and/or the Largest "Consensus"-Seeking Methods (Comp. Supra), also throughout PanEuropean CoE's various Buildings, who have progressively Mushroomed around Strasbourg's European Quarter, then, they might have to ...Wait a bit :


However, Hopefully Not so much as his Team of Experts was obliged to give for that recent "Modernization" of COE's Historic "Convention 108", (now Changed into "Convention 108+"), for the reasons explained above (and that he Regretted) : More than 7 Years (2009-2018) !


That's probably one reason more for which Walter appeared, Today, speaking to "Eurofora", rather Glad to be called, No more "Mr. President" (of a CoE's Committee, as in the Past), but, from Now on, "Mr. Commissioner"...


It might make some things much more Easy.

 

 

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(NDLR : "DraftNews", as already send to "Eurofora"s Subscribers/Donors, Earlier. A more accurate, full Final Version, might be Published asap).

 

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CoE Legal+Human Rights Director Giakoumopoulos to EF: Europe may go Global on Data Protection

Written by ACM
Thursday, 21 June 2018
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*Strasbourg/COE/Angelo Marcopolo/- The New CoE's Director General for Legal and Human Rights Affairs, Christos Giakoumopoulos from Greece, speaking to "Eurofora" after an International Conference, with key participants from all Continents of the World, on the Perspectives of the New EU and CoE Legal Tools for Personal Data Protection in the foreseable Future, that he Opened with an official speech at the PanEuropean COE's Headquarters in Strasbourg, pointed, in substance, to the Fact that Europe may, Nowadays, - thanks to EU-CoE close Cooperation, particularly in that area, and CoE's original Convention System,- develop also a much Wider, Global Impact in this Key Issue on Digital Technologies :


- EU and CoE have closely followed each other's recent efforts to Modernise their relevant Legal Tools, with EU's recent New Directive in that matter, which has just entered into force on May 2018, and CoE's New Version, adopted Earlier on 2018, of its Pioneer, Historic Convention "for the Protection of Individuals with regard to the Processing of Personal Data", with Experts striving to Coordinate their moves.


 - But EU's Legal System is, in principle, Focused mainly on its 28 Member States, (27 if the UK's BREXIT is soon realized), while the PanEuropean CoE, in Addition to its 47 Member States, (including Russia, etc), has also a Particular Characteristic in many among its Legal Conventions : They can (and Often are, as in the Presenrt Case) "Also Open to Any Other, 3rd Country, even Non-Member of this Organisation, and even Beyond Europe, from All over the World, Giakoumopoulos observed.


+ AnOther such relevant Case is, f.ex., also CoE's "Budapest" Convention for the Fight against "Cyber-Crime", where f.ex., in addition to Russia, it's also, often, several Key participants from the USA who take place in its widely attended Annual Conferences in Strasbourg, a Next one being, currently, Scheduled for July 2018.


=> Thus, f.ex., CoE's relevant Convention for Personal Data Protection has Already as many as 52 Member States, in its Classic Version. And, Today, during the above-mentioned Conference, several Key Participants, also from Other Continents of the World, confirmed the current Perspectives for many Important New Accessions to Both, Old and New, "Modernized" Version(s) of that landmark Legal Treaty, including, f.ex., Representatives from Mexico, Argentina, Morocco, Ghana, New Zealand, etc., (while Others, as Tunisia and Capo Verde, etc, have Already become recently Members), to which are also Added Nowadays probable Estimations even for South Korea, Japan, Chile, etc.


- Experienced CoE's Deputy Secretary General, Gabriella Battaini-Dragoni, from Italy, who gave a Concluding Speech at the Closing Session of Today's International Conference, significantly went as Far as to even, Characteristically  ...Play with Words and Express her Wish for COE's New, "Modernized" Version of its Landmark, Pioneer PanEuropean Convention for the protection of Individuals whenever their Personal Data are Processed, to Be Soon Named : "Global" Convention !...

 

- Nowadays, about "126 Countries", accross the World, already have some kind of "Data Protection Laws", more or less well developed, observed, meanwhile, Professor Graham Greenleaf, from Australia, before going down to more concrete Details about his Estimations on their most probable stance vis a vis Cooperation with Europe on this Topical Issue.

 

----------------------------


- In fact, "what Counts most for the CoE, is that this Convention has Human Rights at its core, which currently, Face notorious Challenges in a "Connected" Environment of various Digital Communication Technologies, Giakoumopoulos went on to stress, as a matter of Principle.


+ Indeed, other Participants in this Conference, pointed also to the Fact that even the Modernized, New Version of the above-mentioned CoE's Convention makes an Explicit Reference to the Core Value of "Human Dignity".


CoE had, in fact, Already Drafted its main Text quite a Long Time Ago, but it had, Meanwhile, to Solve at least 2 Serious Problems : Find a workable Compromise mainly with Russia, (as far as it concerns Trans-Border Flow of Data and USA's role, as well as Security Issues, etc), and Discuss, moreover, how to Coordinate Efficiently with EU's parallel work on its Recent Directive, (Comp. Supra).


The Next Step for that CoE's "Convention 108", as it's Traditionaly nick-named, (Nowadays' New Version Adding a "Plus" after its Name, i.e. resulting in "Convention 108+"), is currently Scheduled for the forthcoming Autumn of 2018, when Dozens of Countries are Expected to Sign the "Modernized" Legal Document, whose Entry into Force has been Fixed by CoE's Highest Political Body, that of its Committee of Ministers, at the Threshhold of at least 37 Countries, a Number reportedly due to be reached in the next few years, if not even earlier.


The main point is that, Now, a Key Movement has Started, with a Political Will to Help it Spread World-wide, at the Greater possible Extend, in this particularly Global Issue.

 


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(NDLR : "DraftNews", as already send to "Eurofora"s Subscribers/Donors, Earlier. A more accurate, full Final Version, might be Published asap).

 

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CoE v.Chair, Croatia v.Prime Minister Buric to EF : for W.Balkans Integration, Minorities = Bridge

Written by ACM
Tuesday, 19 June 2018
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*Strasbourg/CoE/Eurofora/- Replying to an "Eurofora"s Question on Western Balkans at the incoming Austrian EU Presidency's Priorities (7-12/2018) and Croatia's PanEuropean CoE's Presidency's (5-11/2018) interest for Minorities' protection, the v.Prime Minister and Foreign/EU Affairs Minister of Croatia, Marija Pejčinović Burić, expressed her Belief that, with a Closer EU/CoE Cooperation, the European Integration of those Countries could be greatly Facilitated, inter alia, also by valorizing National Minorities' potential as key Links between Countries.EU Commission has notoriously adopted, recently in Strasbourg, an overall Strategy aimed to Boost Western Balkans Countries' European orientation.

 

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Topically, the New CoE's vice-President-in-office spoke to "Eurofora" just after Opening, together with CoE's Secretary General, Thornbjorn Jagland, former Prime Minister of Norway and Key Member of Oslo's NOBEL Peace Prize Committee, an Exceptional, 2-Days Long, International Conference on the 20th Anniversary of the 47 Member States' strong PanEuropean Organisation's landmark Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities (FCNM), and its Charter for Regional and Minority Languages, with active Participation of 6 more Foreign Ministers, as well as Experts also from Russia, from the OSCE and UNO's Highest relevant Senior Officials, (See Infra).

 

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On this occasion, the Croatian v.Prime Minister's Reply to our Question, came among several Other relevant Statements to "Eurofora", also by OSCE's High Commissioner on National Minorities, Ambassador Zannier, by CoE's Presidents of Committees on National Minorities and Regional or Minorities' Languages, respectively Edita Ziobene and Vesna Crnic-Grotig, by the CEO of CoE's Committee on Minorities, Marco Leidekker, of this International Convention's Rapporteur, former CoE's Legal/Human Rights issues Director, Philippe Boillat, and various Other Top Official and/or Experts d.ex., from Norway, Russia, etc, (See Infra).

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-------------------------------

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- "Yes, we (i.e. CoE's Presidency by Croatia) shall strive, indeed, to Work closer Together with the Austrian EU Presidency (Comp. Supra), particularly on Western Balkan's Stability and Integration, she confirmed to "Eurofora", from the outset.


- And, as far as National "Minorities" are concerned, "I am really Convinced that they can be very Good Bridges" between various Countries, the Croatian v. Prime Minister characteristically  stressed in Substance, in her Reply.


+ Earlier, she had already observed, as a matter of General Principle, that, at least, National Minorities can "Contribute to Strengthen Bilateral Relations".


Interestingly, Pejčinović Burić, an EU - Experienced Croatian, had been Born at Nowadays Bosnia-Herzegovina, and has reportedly Worked, as an EU/WTC Affairs Consultant also with various Other Western Balkan Countries, as well as on EU Consulting for neighbouring Serbia.


- And, nowadays, her Country, "Croatia has the Greatest Number of permanent Minorities", as she had observed.

 

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- "Measures to encourage TransFrontier Cooperation", as well as "Bilateral and Multilateral Agreements with Other States" (etc), are among the Measures supported by the above-mentioned CoE's Convention (FCNM), according to its Article 18, (and a recent CoE's Pamphlet, Resuming the FCNM places "International and Transfrontier Cooperation" among the 12 main "Commitments" undertaken by State Parties).

 ----------------------------------------

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+ At the same time, in Parallel, CoE does "Not" like "Parallel Societies" inside any of its Member States, and the way that its Convention on National Minorities is applied in practice, should also  "facilitate their Integration" in the State whose Citizens the are, stressed to "Eurofora" the CEO of CoE's National Minorities' Convention, Marco Leidekker, in the margins of a relevant Press Conference, Earlier Today, (See also Infra).


All this may Facilitate Nowadays, inter alia, also some Geo-Politically Important Public Infrastructures, that EU Insiders had already Highlighted, at a special meeting at the CoE in Strasbourg, where "Eurofora" had participated, as Early as shortly after the Fall of Berlin' Wall, precisely, for that Western Balkans' "Corridor", between Europe's Central Franco-German area, near Strasbourg, (alias "Mittel-Europa"), Straight towards South-Eastern Mediterranean Sea's and/or Middle East Oils/Gas Energy Sources.

 

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Something that even ...Hitler had, in fact, desperately Tried to do, 1st by struggling to Cross that Direct and Shorter, "Western Balkan Corridor", all the way until down to Greece's Southern Island of Creta, (where he was notoriously Delayed by a surprizing "No" even from a Far Right Government of that of Authoritarian Nationalist Prime Minister Metaxas, until Anglo-American and French Allies blocked his route towards Egypt), but, even with Harder Alternatives, such as General Rommel's North-African Mediterranean Coast-line route, (succesfully faced by Allies' General Montgomery in several Battles in the Sahara), as well as in the German Attack of Russia, which had rectified Napoleon's Historic Error to Invade Moscow, by suddenly Turning Southwards, and seeking to cross the Caucasus area, in order to Reach Nowaday's Iraq/Syria's Oil/Gas Natural Resources, until Russia, supported by all Allies, notoriously succeeded to Stop Hitler at Stalingrad, then, (nowadays Volgograd). As a Result, whent the NAZI Tanks' attacked through France's Ardennes' Forests, later-on, even if they Initially Won some Battles, nevertheless, at the End, they were spectacularly Obliged to Stop any advance, precisely because of that Lack of Energy sources..., proving that the Strategic "Western Balkans' Route" was Instrumental, in Europe, even for the Final Outcome of the 2nd World War !

 

 coe_interior_minorities_conference_eurofora_400

 

- Indeed, CoE's Convention on National Minorities was its "Only Treaty which was Drafted in Less than 8 Months' Time, in a context of Extreme Time Pressure, particularly "during the Last 3 Months, that I shall never forget, as Leading then a Legal Team which Prepared that Text", precisely "Because War had just Started in the former Yugoslavia's area", and there was an Urgent Need for such a Legal Text, as that Country (which Dominated then most of the Western Balkan's route) was Breaking Down into Several Independent Parts becoming New States, reminded to "Eurofora" the Experienced, until recently, Long-Time CoE's General Director of Legal and Human Rights issues, Philippe Boillat, (who served now as "Rapporteur" of this International Conference to CoE's Committee of Minisers, and afterwards Hailed, by Nowadays CoE's General Director of Democracy, Snezana Samardzi-Markovic, at the Closing Session, as "an Intellectual Father of this Convention".

 

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- The Move had come just After CoE's Exceptional "Heads of State/Government's Summit in Vienna on 1993, which had Focused on Democratic Security", and the Convention on National Minorities' protection "Had to be Drafted just between 1993 and 1994", Boillat reminded earlier to "Eurofora", adding, Later-on, also that all that had, in Fact, started just After the "1989 Fall of Berlin's Wall" and the subsequent "Explosions of Yugoslavia and the URSS on 1991", which created many "New States" in those Areas, as he reminded in fine. The main Point was to try to establish "a PanEuropean Area of Democratic Security", "precious for Peace, which is a Condition for any Development, economic, scientific or cultural", as he stressed at the Closing Session.


---------------------------

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- Indeed, too Often, "when you hear about Minorities, it's also about Conflict !", realistically reminded, speaking earlier to "Eurofora", the Experienced OSCE's High Commissioner on National Minorities, Ambassador Lamberto Zannier, who notoriously was, until recently, the Long-Time Secretary General of all OSCE's Euro-Atlantic Organisation, (where Both Russia and USA are Members : Comp. already, Zannier's previous Statements to "Eurofora", as early as since, already, the December 2014 OSCE's Annual Summit, then at nearby Basel, f.ex., at : ..., etc). Therefore an interesting link to Security and Peace-making/Keeping and/or various relevant operations, (whose General "Know-how" might even be usefully, later-on, Transmitted also to Other Areas of the World, including, f.ex. to the African Union, etc. as he Added Later-on, during a Debate with UNO's former Rapporteur on Minorities, and nowadays UN Rapporteur against Racial Discrimination, Rita Iszak-Ndiaye : See also Infra).


- However, even if Both CoE's relevant Legal Tools on the "Protection of National Minorities" and "Regional and Minorities' Languages" entered into Force since 1998, (i.e. completing their 20th Anniversary on 2018), nevertheless, they were Not Equaly WideSpread : Indeed, while National Minorities are covered thus throughout 39 among CoE's 47 Member Countries, (including Russia, but Excluding France, Turkey, Andorra, Greece, Belgium, Luxembourg and Iceland : the three first without even signing, and the other four because they didn't yet ratify, despite having signed), nevertheless, "Regional and Minority Languages" are Only covered in 25 CoE's Member Countries, (as another 8 have Only Signed, but Not Ratified yet : including France, Italy and Russia, Iceland,  Georgia, Azerbaijan, Moldova, FYROM, etc, while another 12 have Not even Signed : including Turkey, Greece, Belgium, Ireland, Bulgaria, Albania, Portugal, the Baltic States, etc).


- It's true that, at least in the Particular Case of "Greece and Turkey, Minority Issues are covered by the (Older : 1923) Treaty of Lausane", as the CEO of CoE's National Minorities' Convention, Marco Leidekker, reminded to Strasbourg's Journalists, including "Eurofora", during a Press Conference, (Comp. also Supra + Infra).


- But the Présidents of Both CoE's Committees which Monitor the Implementation of those Legal Tools, and particularly Vesna Crniuc-Grotic, concerning the "Regional and Minority Languages", speaking also at the Closing Session of this 20th Anniversary International Conference, complained about the Fact that Many States' full Accession has been recently "Stuck".


- Indeed, f.ex., in cases as such of Russia, whose Languages may Total (including even those which are still spoken Nowadays by Only a Few People : f.ex. Dozens or 10, perhaps 5...) about 200 (sic !), while, if one added Also the Languages of Foreign-Origin Communities which have come and Settled in Russia, (as, f.ex., in some Villages populated mainly by Kurds, etc), Estimations might go even Further than ... 300, as Moscow "Lomonosov" University's Expert, Olga Kazakevich, told "Eurofora", (See also Infra).


 + There are also the cases of some Small Countries, as f.ex. FYROM, which have already Officialy Recognized the existence of Many "National Minorities", such as "the Albanian People, Turkish People, Vlach People, Serbian People, Roma People, and Bosniac People", according to COE's Official Documents, distributed this week in Strasbourg. (While, given a notorious History of Thousands of Years, since the Ancient Greek Civilisation, revived in the Byzantine Empire, etc, at least some Greeks, and afterwards Bulgarians should, normally, be included, at the South and Eastern Areas, respectively. Among others, considering also, both Sofia's influence for Many Decades, and that President Tito's Balkan Policies were quite Popular among Leftist Greeks who fought on the Balkan Mountains as Allies of the Yugoslavian side, during the Civil War of 1946-1949 in Greece, when FYROM's area had been born, at the Beginning of the Cold War, and, logically, stayed there, probably prolonging that for Generations, since it had become afterwards Impossible for them to move in nowadays Greece for Decades).


By a Coincidence, it's also when CoE's Convention on National Minorities had been Drafted and Adopted in a Hurry, Back on 1993-1994,  mainly Because of the Former Yugoslavia's War, (as a main Actor as Boillat reminded to "Eurofora" these Days : Comp. Supra), that Liberal/"Socialist" former USA President Bill Clinton chose to Appoint Mathew Nimitz as his Envoy for the Issue of the Future "Name" of Skopje's Region, (located approximatively at the Ancient "Paeonia", particularly the Kingdom of "Dardania", Northwards), later accepted as "FYROM" inside the UNO, in relation with the Ancient Greek Macedonian History and Culture, centered Southwards, and, particularly, Modern Greece (1821-2018).

 

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- Regarding the "National Minorities" themselves, Rapporteur Philippe Boillat (Comp. Supra), reminded, at the Closing Session of CoE's International Conference, that, in order also to attract as much as possible among the concerned Member States to Sign and Ratify that "Framework Convention", it had been Drafted in a very "Soft" Way, f.ex., Leaving it up to the Contracting States a Free Choice on the Definition of What They Recognized (each one, in particular) as "National Minorities" inside their Territory. Moreover, States can also Choose most of the Commitments that they Decide to Undertake, or not, with "the Only Exception of the Article 6, about Tolerance", (but also "Protect(ion)" from eventual "Threats, or acts of Discrimination, Hostility, or Violence, as a result of ...Ethnic, Cultural, Linguistic or Religious Identity", as that Article adds). At the same time, "we stressed also the respect of States' Territorial Integrity and Sovereignity", he added, (pointing at CoE's Convention's Preambule).


But it's also a Fact that, there are at least Some "Delicate" Points in CoE's "National Minority" and/or "Regional/Minority Languages" Legal Tools, as, f.ex., among others, the Distinction between Allowed "Integration Policy" and "Practices aimed at Assimilation of persons ...Against their Will", (Article 5 of the FCNM) ; or Educational Measures which, sometimes, might even go as far as to Revendicate Special "University" level studies for one or another Minority, etc.; perhaps use of even some rare Languages in Exchanges with National Authorities, (etc), which might, at least partially, explain some CoE's Member States' reluctance to Engage too much in such Issues, and/or some's Hesitation to Fully Implement All their Commitments in this regard, (as several Critical Observers pointed out).

Inter alia, f.ex., Regional/Minority Languages is, in some Countries a very "Sensitive" Issue, (even in Big and Strong ones, as, f.ex., France). To the point that, f.ex., in FYROM, Demographic Census' Data and relevant Maps seem to have practically Disappeared since 2002, reportedly because the 2001 Ohrid Agreements had linked a 20% Minority Threshhold in each Municipality with a promised Right for a secondary Official Language vis a vis Local Authorities, (as also "Wikipedia" notes : https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Demographics_of_the_Republic_of_Macedonia). That's why, f.ex., relevant FYROM's Demographic Maps, (existing between 1961 and 2002) recently seem to Lack between 2002 and 2018. 

 

 fyroms_demographic_map_wikipedia__eurofora_2018_400

(Based on "Wikipedia" of 2018.

White Color reportedly means "Empty" or unclear Demography Municipalities)

--------------------------------


- Moreover, as f.ex. a Spanish Representative critically Observed during the Debates of this CoE's International Conference, sometimes, Countries like Spain and others, simply "Don't dispose of sufficient (Financial and/or other) Means to have, at their Capital, enough Staff and other Tools in order to Translate all required Documents, Letters, Exchanges, etc., in All Regional or Minority Languages", (as far as CoE's relevant "Charter" is concerned : Comp. Supra and Infra).


>>> This is one among the Various current Problems which might be more or less Alleviated by the adequate Development and use of "Digitalisation" New Technologies, on which "Eurofora" had just Focused our main Question in CoE's Press Conference, Earlier Today, with the Presidents of the Paneuropean "National Minorities" and "Regional/Minority Languages"' Monitoring Committees, respectively Edita Ziobiene and Vesna Crnic-Grotic, (Comp. also Supra) :

 

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- Their Replies to the above-mentioned "Eurofora"s Question were, in Substance, to point Both towards the New "Opportunities" and to the "Challenges" that Modern "Digitalisation Technologies" seem to Open also in relation with various Minorities-related Issues : F.ex., inter alia, also Better Community Interactions, Automatic Translations, etc., emergening "Social Medias" and other New Web Oulets at the Internet, advancing well Beyonf the "Traditional Medias", but also more Risks of "Hate Speach", and so on, as they Highlighted.

- Afterwards, Experienced Russian Expert Olga Kazakevich, (who is also Director of the Laboratory for Computational Lexicography, at Lomonosov University's Computing Center, in Moscow), one of CoE's Invited Speakers in a special Debate about "Digitalisation" (See Infra), Replying, Later-on, to an "Eurofora"s Question, Acknowledged, in principle, that an eventual Development of "Automatic, Machine Translations", including, f.ex., "On Line" at the Internet, etc., might, possibly, Help to overcome at least some among such Language Barriers vis a vis Minorities, in the foreseable Future, (Comp. Supra).

 

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- However, Kazakevich also Warned "Eurofora" about the Current "Limits of Machine Translation", to the point that many find "Preferable to hold a Good Dictionary", instead, while, in Real Practice, Most People "use to simply Switch into the Wider-Spread Language in a Country", often, f.ex. "English or Russian", etc.

 

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- So that, inter alia, particularly Small Minority Languages, some spoken by "Less than 50.000 People", until to even "Only some Dozens, eventually 10 or 5 People still alive", are "Dying", risking to be left with No Descendants Anymore, the Russian Expert told Earlier CoE's Conference. Therefore, "some Old People", Lone Survivants of such Dying Languages, often "Wish to be Video-Filmed in order to leave a Message which might Interest, if not even their own Kids, at least, perhaps, their Great-Children, and/or Other People, in the Future" : I.e. something "Interesting Also for Scientific Research by Linguistists", that New, Digital Technologies can Help Saveguard, she added also, Speaking Later with "Eurofora" (Comp. Supra).

 

 
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+ But, in this regard, it's a Young Expert from Estonia, (an EU Member Country with notorious Advance in Internet Communications, but also quite Strict in Minority Languages' exchanges vis a vis the Public Administration, f.ex. Russian, as she observed herself), Ms Maimu Berezkina, who works for the Norwegian Directorate of Health, at Oslo, and was also Invited by the CoE to speak at that Special Debate on "Digitalisation", who appeared much More UpBeat about the Practical Possibilities to really Use Digital Technologies in order to Help People (including, naturally, various Minorities) Communicate, much more Easily than in the Past, Well Beyond Linguistic Barriers, as she Described by pointing, f.ex., at her own Experience as "Web Advisor" in Norway for "e-Health".


- It's also from Norway, that came anOther interesting Expert, Bjorn Olav Megard, Director General at the Ministry of Modernisation and Local Government, in charge of Minority Affairs, who Participated, in this regard, to CoE's Conference Debates, and also afterwards Explained to "Eurofora", that a Team of Researchers is recently Developing a New, "Grammar-Based" Machine Translation Method, (which is, f.ex., Independent of the Number of Users, Unlike USA's "Google" Translations, whose "Reliability and Quality", on the Contrary, depend on Massive Use, as a UK Expert had just pointed out), that might be Helpful in these and other cases.

 

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+ Giving a Wider Overview of also Various Other "New Developments" by "Digitalisation", during that CoE's Debate, Swedish Professor Jarmo Lainio, at the Department of Slavic and Baltic Languages, Finnish, Dutch and German, of Stockholm University, described, f.ex., a Recent Trend for "Traditional Medias to Merge with On-Line Medias" at the Internet, so that, inter alia, the Key References of COE's Conventions about Minorities to "TV Channels", "NewsPapers", "Radios", and other such "Classic" Medias, have Now become "Out-Dated", as he Warned, (and should, in consequence, be rather extended also to New, Internet Medias).


++ Moreover, thanks to the Internet, it has "become Easier", Nowadays, "to Establish Contacts, and Create Communities", etc., it was pointed out, in the context of various Minorities at various Countries.


+++ However, in Addition, at the same time, there is also an "Increasing" use of "Geo-Blocking", (i.e. Hindering the World Wide Web to be Accessed in Certain Countries (f.ex., often, currently, between EU and USA, etc), but, "perhaps, also Inside one Country, among its Various Regions", etc", so that all this, obviously, may create "a New Problem", as he critically Observed.


>>> Nevertheless, the Experienced Rapporteur of this COE's International Conferenxce, and former Director General on Legal and Human Rights, Philippe Boillat from Switzerland, Urged, at the Closing Session, to try to Benefit from the "Digitalisation", in order also to "Increase the Visibility" of CoE's Legal Tools, by Developing the "Use of the Immense Potential of New Communication Technologies", as he said.


--------------------------


+ But, Recent Developments appear to Add also some Other New Possibilities :

 

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- Already, CoE's Secretary General, Thornbjorn Jagland, had observed from the outset, in his Official Speech at the Opening of CoE's International Conference, (Comp. Supra), the Fact that, f.ex., "Armenia has Recently set up Schools which Teach in 3 Minority Languages : Assyrian, Kurdish and Yazidi", as he observed, Welcoming such moves.


- As "Eurofora" found Confirmation also by the Armenian Ambassador/Permanent Representative to the CoE, Pamur Hovhannisyan (Comp. also: ...., etc), that Recent move was, indeed, Motivated by Yerevan's Political Will to show Solidarity and Help, by such Humanitarian Means, those genuine Political or War Refugees, mainly from Syria and/or Iraq, who have notoriously been Brutaly Persecuted and Oppressed particularly by Islamist Terrorists of ISIS' coward Killers Targetting innocent Civilian People, near the Borders of Turkey, that they naturally canNot Trust at all. This includes even a Landmark, Brand New Church Building for Yazidi Refugees, recently established at the Armenian Capital City, etc.


+ However, going even Further than such, obviously moraly necessary moves, OSCE's new High Commissioner on National Minorities, (who has served also as former Secretary General of that PanEuro-Atlantic Organisation : Comp. f.ex. his previous Statements to "Eurofora" at : ..., etc), speaking at a Joint, CoE-OSCE-UNO Debate on the "International Protection of Minority Rights" (Compr Supra), referred to the OSCE's "Guidelines for Integration in a Diverse Society", and Explored the Idea of Using CoE's a.o. "Legal Tools, initially made for Traditional Minorities", also for Nowadays "New (Mass) Migrants", i.e. for the "Integration of New Minorities", as he said, for which "our (Political) Leaders are Not Well Prepared" yet.

 

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- CoE's Director General on Democracy, Snezana Samardzic-Marcovic, appeared to Agree, by adding that certain "CoE's Experts are also for Using these Tools vis a vis <<New Minorities>>, but, at least for the Time being, there are, among others, also severe "Budget Problems" inside the CoE :


I.e. after the Scheduled "Freezing" of Russia's Financial Contribution recently, following 4 Years of Obstacles to the Russian MEPs' Participation in CoE's Parliamenary Assembly since the 2014 Ukranian Conflict following the Violent and Deadly Clashes provoked in Kiev on February that year, which Brutally Cancelled a Political Compromise Agreement, signed between the then Président Yanukovitch and the Opposition Leaders (for Cease-Fire, Amnesty, New Goverment of National Unity, and New Presidential Elections before the end of that Year, etc. + But Also ...Turkey's UnWarned Unilateral Restriction of its Financial Contribution, thanks to a recent Augmentation of which, Ankara had Obtained More Seats for its MEPs in CoE's Assembly, that Turkey apparently still Keeps even after this Sudden Financial Cut, at least until very recently...


-------------------------------------


=> But, at the Official "Closing Session", CoE's Democracy Director-General Focused much More on How to "Help States to meet their Obligations", not jus by Criticizing them, and/or via "Name and Shame", but rather "by Assisting them" to accomplish their Duty, as she characteristically stressed.

 

 

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- Her move met that of Hungary's Foreign Minister, Peter Szijjarto, who had already Launched a Vibrant Call to Better use all available "Instruments to Force Implementation" of CoE's relevant Conventions, as he had Urged since the Opening Session of this CoE's International Conference, Speaking First among a Group of 6 Foreign and/or EU Ministers/Secretaries of State, also from Other Countries, such as : Albania, Armenia, Montenegro, Romania, and Serbia, in Addition to Croatia's vice-Prime Minister (Comp. Supra), i.e. from 7 CoE Member States. Szijjarto, indeed, pointed at the Fact that "Hungary, because of History, has Minorities in All its Neighbouring States", (i.e. from Ukraine, and Romania, down to Serbia, etc).

 


=> - Echoing such Calls, at the Closing Session, the new President-in-office of COE's Committee of Ministers, Croatian Ambassador/Permanent Representative Miroslav Papa, (Comp. his Recent Statements to "Eurofora" on Other Big Challenges of Zagreb's CoE's Presidency nowadays, between May - November 2018, at: ...), Vowed to Support inside CoE's Committee of Ministers this International Conference's Rapporteur, Philippe Boillat's main Coclusions, for a Series of Practical Measures (f.ex., Publication of Monitoring Reports after Dialogue with the concerned State, more Frequent Actions, Contacts even Before Reporting Visits, etc), in order to Strengthen the "Multilateral" (and Not Bilateral) character of COE's role in this field, and Meet the "Need to Revigorate and Strengthen the Monitoring" of Member States' Compliance to their above mentioned Legal Obligations :

 

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- Indeed, "Monitoring lies at CoE's Heart", in general, as he Concluded.

 

(../..)

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Benedict's "Source" to revitalize Europe : - "The World needs Hope", Pope says, calling to relaunch E.U. via Human Rights !

Paris - Lourdes - Strasbourg : 12 - 17 September 2008.

The vital need to re-launch Europe can be succesfully met by defending fundamental Human Rights of the People, said Pope Benedict XVI in his 1st speech in France, at his meeting with President Nicolas Sarkozy, who currently chairs the EU.

Sarkozy replied by welcoming Christian and other religions' contribution to indispensable Public Debates on crucial issues which affect Human Dignity, Europe, even Humankind, as BioGenetics.

- "When Europeans will see and personally experience that the inalienable Rights of the Human Person .., those of their free Education, their Family life, their Work, ..their Religious Rights, ..are respected and promoted, then, these Europeans will fully understand the greatness of the European construction and will be actively involved in it", Benedict XVI stressed.

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- "It's important that during France's EU Presidency, there is, indeed, a desire for the Church to contribute to protect Human Person's integrity, and I think that there is also a growing Conscience, beyond any polemics, to defend Human Rights, and, thus, contribute to ensure respect for Human Dignity", added to "EuroFora" the Pope's Spokesman, Vatican's Press Director Federico Lombardi.

- "Nobody really told us here that Lisbon Treaty was good for this or that reason to the People. They only told us that we "had" to ratify it, and tried to scare us, but failed", said 2 Irish pilgrims to "EuroFora", after 2 Majority Abstentions in 1999 and 2004 EU Elections and 3 "NO" to Referenda in France and the Netherlands in 2005, followed by the Irish "No" in 2008, during a Decade of EU Crisis since the controversial Turkey EU- bid (1999-2008).

More than .."224 cases of Murders, Torture, "Disappearancies" or Destructions" by "agents of Turkish Security forces", where all those responsible for so heavy Crimes still remain scandalously unpunished, despite regular condemnations of Ankara by Strasbourg''s European Court of Human Rights from 1996 to 2008, were examined the same week by CoE's Ministers, who decided to launch a fresh call "urging" the Turkish Authorities to end this dangerous "virtual Impunity" of criminals, without comparison to European countries.

- "Why not Ukraine, instead of Turkey ?", asked EuroFora a Journalist from "Kiev : the city where it's enough to cross the streets in order to realize that it's a European town", as Sarkozy recently said, before solemnly declaring this week, together with Ukranian President Jushenko and EU Commission's chair Baroso, EU's "recognition that Ukraine is a fully European Country, linked to Europe by culture and History".

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Europe's "Christian roots" and Values, with "openess and mutual respect" to other cultures and beliefs, were highlighted by Sarkozy in harmony with Benedict XVI.

The Human person should be protected "from his inception until his natural death", added the Pope, faithful to BioEthic principles defended by his predecessor and collaborator, John Paul II, of topical importance in France, Europe and the World today, as Sarkozy announced :

- "Fast and important progres in Genetic Science and procreation raise delicate BioEthical Questions to our Democracies", which "involve our view of Humans and Life, and can lead to Social Mutations. That's why they cannot remain only a business of experts", hestressed.

- "It's Politician's responsibility to set a proper framework for such Public Debates", as "France will do on BioEthics in 2009". "Religious and Philosophic traditions must take part, with their ideas and centuries' long experience : A positive Laicity is an open invitation to Dialogue", he said.

- "France engaged in Europe at another Debate on how to make Financial Capitalism more moral", and the "Social doctrine of the Church fits well what is at stake in modern Globalized Economy"

- "But, a "Real Dialogue is not for an elite of a Globalized world : It penetrates deep into the People : That's why Churches should actively participate : .. It's bringing New Oxygen to Public Debates", stressed Sarkozy.

- "Democracy must not be cut off Reason", which is "compatible with Faith", thanks to "the meeting between Christianism and Greek philosophy ", he added, referring to Pope's views. "It means to advance with logic arguments, search what's best and respect common principles of thinking :... It's an everyday need for Public Administration and the Political Debate", he added.
----------------------------
Pope Benedict's 1st visit to France looked like the start of a brillant, manifold demonstration that this was well-founded and could become true in the lives of the People : After its Theoretical foundations unfolded at a "speech to the world of Culture", inaugurating Bernadins' cultural centre, and its dogmatic instrument shaped at an address to the Clergy in the Historic Notre Dame' Cathedral, he started to resolutely reach out to the People :

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The move went upwards like Bach's music : Begining with a call to more than fifteen thousand enthousiastic Youngsters gathered at Notre Dame's parvis with overnight celebrations, it gained strength in an impressive open-air Mass at Paris'central Invalides'area facing Alexander III's bridge, attended by more than 150.000 people, French Prime Minister Fillon, many Ministers, Foreign Ambassadors, etc, and culminated in a series of pan-European Mega-meetings at Lourdes 150th anniversary, together with all French Bishops, EU Commission's vice-Chairman Barrot, and some 200.000 enthousiastic People from all over Europe and beyond : After a Sea of Lights astonishingly braved Saturday Night's rain, an open-air mass at riverside fields among Pyrenees' Mountains Sunday Morning, was followed on Monday by a Sea of "Compassion" to those facing Health or Life threats, surrounded by an endless gathering of People, whose gigantic dimensions obviously surprised the organisers..

Meanwhile, Benedict had the occasion to speak to the French Priests at Notre Dame of Paris, and with the Bishops at Lourdes, where they prepare a crucial November plenary meeting, due to take important decisions on imminent EU debates and choices about Europe's identity, BioEthics, etc.
-------
- "A new way of thinking about Laicity has become necessary", agreed the Pope with President Sarkozy at Elysee. While keeping the "distinction between Politics and Religion, to guarantee Citizens' Liberty", "religion is important for shaping Consciousness and contributing, together with others, to create a basic Ethical Consensus in society".

- "Searching Essential realities", (as "God" for christians), needs "Speech : "Logos" in greek, i.e. Reason", "able to shape a Community","with creative work transforming Human History". But "Dialogue" is instrumental for "Reason", because it's the way to "search" for Truth", in "Liberty", according to Greek Platonic Philosophy, with Socrates' dialectics. "Reason" implies "Spirit and Liberty", hence the polyphonic "Music" of "Dialogue", in a responsible, "well balanced" way, to avoid "destruction".

Starting with a "Dialogue between christians and intellectual or artistic movements" highlighted at Bernardins' Cultural Center. with former Presidents Chirac and Giscard d'Estain, UNESCO's chair Anastassopoulos, etc., as well as representatives of Muslim Communities, (including a separate Turkish), after contacts with Jews at Vatican's Embassy, the Pope turned towards the People :

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To French Priests : "Church built on the rock" !
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- Speaking to thousands of French Priests at Notre Dame's Cathedral, Benedict highlighted a solid "Church built on the Rock" of conscious and active persons, transmitting "a lively, energetic and sharp" "God's Speech, actively working on Human History".

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"Praying together" with "representatives of Christian Churches and ecclesiastic communities", (as Orthodoxes, Armenians, Protestants, etc), he called "to reinforce the Unity of the church", against "any form of Division", around Holy Spirit', "the Word","Christ's Justice", and "Love" to fellow- humans : Essentials which "resume all holy scripts", as he said.

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To Young People : "New Horizons"
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To some 15.000 enthousiastic Young People at Notre Dame's parvis, along Seine's river, Benedict spoke about "the Energy of the Holy Spirit" and "the Mystery of the Cross" : - "The Holy Spirit opens New Horizons to Human Intelligence .. and makes it conscious of the real greatness of Christ's sacrifice, dying and resurecting for World's life".

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Some "may slander you as crazy, laugh at you, or even persecute you. But, "the Holy Cross is a symbol of God's love", and "givesmoral strength" : "Witness of People's pains, it's at the same time, a precious, unique expression of their Hopes", he told them at Paris' dawn.

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Invalides' plateau : "People chosen to become God's friends"
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At the 1st open-air Mass in Paris' center area of Invalides, facing the Grand Palais, along the river Seine, during an impressive gathering of more than 150.000, French Prime Minister Fillon, Ministers Alliot-Marie, Bachelot, Dati, Jouyet, Assembly's President Accoyer, Senate's Chair Poncelet, former 1st Lady Bernadette Chirac, former Prime Minister Raffarin, many foreign Ambassadors, and other political personalities were present. (While earlier, from the Socialist opposition, Paris' Mayor Delanoye, artist Robert Hussein a.o. assisted at the Elysee meeting).

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But the "Entry Song" focused on the "People chosen to become God's Friends". The September 11 mass was Dedicated to "Saint Chrysostomus, that great priest of Constantinople", with his "wonderful eloquence and great courage to face challenges", who "made out of despaired and godless people, a people of brothers", opening a possibility to "become all one complete entity", as Pope Benedict reminded.

- "Reason never enters in real contradiction with Faith", stressed Pope Benedict, who prepared his speeches for France during a short Summer rest at Brixen/Bressanone's Seminar, whose Library honors both "Faith and Science".. - "We must use not only our Reason, but also our Faith" : "Get away from Idolatry", "cupidity", "avidity for money, power or even knowledge deviating from essential aims", and other "falses appearances". and "build your Home on the Rock", "with the force that Holy Spirit gives to those who let it act in them", he said to the People of Paris.

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Benedict at Lourdes : - "Become Light (even) in the Dark !"
------------------------------------------------------------------
- "Our World needs Hope", stressed Pope Benedict, addressing an impressive TorchLight procession at Lourdes' sanctuaries, where a Sea of Lights held by Hundreds of Thousands of People gathered at Pyrenee's Mountains from all over Europe astonishingly kept their flames despite a heavy Rain at a windy Dark Night...

- "150 years earlier (1858 - 2008), ..here, in the cave, ... a simple young girl, Bernadette .. saw a Light". "The everyday life of her Family was, however, made of Misery, Sadness, Sickness, Misunderstandings, Rejection and Poverty... It was hard to live in Jail". Today, "we think to all Human Beings who suffer : The innocent Victims who face Violence, War, Terrorism, Hunger, Injustices, Catastrophes, Hate and Oppression, Violations of Human Dignity and of their fundamental Rights, of their Liberty to act and think. We also think to those who face Familial problems, sufferings from Unemployment, Sickness, Infirmity, Isolation, or their situation as Immigrants, without forgetting those who suffer and die for the name of Christ", he said.

- "But the Shadows of the Earth, did not hinder Sky's Light to shine : <<The Light shines in the Dark>>" ..."A Way full of Light opens in Human History even in its Darkest moments" : ..."As Night falls, Christ tels us : <<- Keep your Lamps alight !>>."Hold a Light while walking in the Night .. sums up our condition as Christians on their way : "We need light, and we are called to become Light !", Benedict stressed to People setting in motion Lights, Flags and Songs with enthousiasm.

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"<<- She looked at me as a Person, who speaks to another Person>>, the poor girl had noted."Light emerges from such a Dialogue", stressed the Pope : "A small Flame called Hope, Compassion and Tenderness dwells inside those who return after being moved by Lourdes' experience". "Christ .. entrusts us with the Mission to let the Light of Charity shine : To make of our Prayers an Act of Love to our brothers and to Fraternal Charity", he concluded.

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(../..)

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