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Home arrow In Brief arrow Emotion moments at EU Parliament's Closing Session of the 2014-2019 Legislature

Emotion moments at EU Parliament's Closing Session of the 2014-2019 Legislature

Written by ACM
Tuesday, 23 April 2019





Moments of emotion during the last session

Closing session of the 2014-2019 legislature at the European Parliament in Strasbourg

from 15 to 18 April 2019

Article by Patrick Bracker



(NDLR: Opinions express Writers' Views, but Not necessarily those of "Eurofora". Translations provided herewith in English + French this time)


Beyond the parliamentary work to complete the 2014-2019 mandate, this last session proved to be full of emotions, presences and ruptures.

At the beginning of the session, however, the Chamber was only 50% full, with many activities taking place in the back of the house. However, these absences are not significant, in the sense that all these internal movements most often correspond to the working or organizational meetings that take place in the rooms adjoining the Chamber, where each political group has its own intensely used reserved premises.

The preparation of dossiers is carried out in an organized manner and ends in plenary with the interventions of all the political groups, without requiring all parliamentarians to meet in the Chamber at the same time, except, of course, during the votes where they are all present. This method can be considered as an intelligent optimization of the work of the European Parliament. 

As the week progressed on Tuesday, we were reassured at voting time, as the plenary was de facto filled with more than 90% of MEPs present.

For this last session, it is conceivable that the deputies and their teams were tidying up their offices while at the same time returning the working materials allocated to them with some final administrative formalities, no doubt.

Another aspect of parliamentary dynamics has been expressed in friendships that have developed over a time scale ranging from 5 years to over 30 years. Indeed, links have been forged within political groups, but also between political groups, and European hierarchies, including the Commission and the Council, since it is not uncommon for a Member of the European Parliament to assume high-level functions in the institutions.

A natural extension of the bonds of friendship with EU staff, transport or communication logistics, interpreters, bailiffs, journalists. The interpersonal skills allowed greetings and farewells, good cakes or friendly breakfasts, congratulations, even good luck wishes to each other, and perhaps for some, reunions. In any case, the positive dimension was required, which corresponds to the general state of mind of the house. All these relational dynamics are also a sign of Europe's good health.

Many heavyweights in the European Parliament have gradually announced their withdrawal from the next European elections, which are more or less old, from 10 to 20 years of presence, and some of them more than 30 years of in-depth European work! Continuity and transmission are also some of the determining factors for the good progress of the files... this confers a solid structure that is very useful for the continuation of the following legislatures. 

In the stands there were many visitors from all over Europe. Many high school students attended the debates, with the spontaneous emotion of discovering the institution and its functioning. Certainly the Union's Visitors' Service does a great and effective job of raising awareness of European values among young and not-so-young visitors alike!

It is often a unique opportunity, sometimes amusing and sometimes surprising, to meet the institution's visiting audiences. Most of the time, the encounters are made in a real sympathy and empathy, the people who come are happy to be there; in this particular atmosphere, there is a specificity of the European construction: at the service of citizens, there is something positive, dynamic, convivial at the heart of the European project ! 

I will add to this the dimension of citizens' happiness beyond the flags: indeed, the European Union and the other institutions cover societal construction values that go beyond the national or regional framework. Each floor at local, regional and national levels represents a part of the construction. From this architectural perspective, there is in principle a functional complementarity between the levels, all based on a foundation of values and their concrete implementation.

In short: one can love one's city, one's region, one's country, but the finality remains the development of the human being, his blossoming and his emancipation towards more universal values such as freedom, respect and love.

 Europe is there to remind nations of these realities when they turn away from the foundation of the values chosen together! All the great Europeans I have met over the past forty years have defended this essential aspect of construction.

It would be good to remember this, especially in current international issues that are not always well treated in terms of objectivity by one or the other. It will be recalled here that all too often in past centuries, and the previous one in particular, nations and "princes" of this world had forgotten these realities of human development and the values that enable progress. We had seen the pitiful results of their sinister designs and decisions.

The European construction has made real progress possible de facto and constitutes a serious safeguard to prevent these humans from falling back into their darkest and most often murderous ways, a large number suffering for the interests of a few..." The beast is still prowling"...

Even if not everything is perfect in recent developments, there is a significant difference with other autocratic, dictatorial or limited forms of the decision-making chain in other socio-economic areas. In view of this, Europe and its components represent a factor of hope and progress for human development, both at the level of the human person and at the level of communities.

However, the European construction does not seem to find a serious echo to its societal exemplarity in the other geographical spheres from which some prefer to benefit or even fight it, rather than to develop evolutionary systems similar to them... It would be good to understand its meaning in the interest of Europeans, European citizens and the European project, but also to avoid possible internal regressions, and influence peddling from outside minimizing our core values....  

Behind the scenes of the parliament, the distant, yet so close, memory of the Warsaw Ghetto of the 1940s was recalled, and many MEPs wore the yellow flower in commemoration of April 19, 1943. I put this flower in a buttonhole on my jacket, and answered the interview of the Polish television which organized the "Remember together". Beyond the commemoration of suffering and repression there are also the acts of resistance by the resistance fighters of the Ghetto which is recalled.  

The meeting with the Latvian Prime Minister provided an opportunity for an enthusiastic discussion on the future of Europe, and the dialogue with MEPs was very positive. At the end of the meeting, Mr Krisjanis Karins was applauded at length by the deputies. One could also feel a testimony from members of parliament with one of their former colleagues since the Prime Minister had served almost 10 years in parliament and left good memories for his colleagues.  

Many members wished the future MEPs who will take over after the May 2019 votes a good continuation.  They also thanked the staff of the Union, the interpreters, the bailiffs for their support, performance and quality of work, with a clear awareness of the value of these supports. President Tajani, President Juncker, or the Commissioners were also grateful to the Union's officials and staff. 

One future issue to be resolved will be the relationship between three components of the Union: the Commission, the European Council and the European Parliament, since it has been proven that cases are regularly blocked at Council level. This situation can be embarrassing insofar as the majorities voted on are not respected by the Heads of State, which raises questions about the democratic value of the Union.

The meeting of the EPP pan-European working group, organised by Lukas Mandl, focused on a theme linking the present, the past and the immediate future, the title being: "Looking Back and forth: the European Parliament 2014-2024. Achievements and further duties " After the brilliant introduction given by Dr Paul Rübig, Lukas Mandl moderated the general discussion with interventions from MEP Michaela Sojdrova, MEP Heinz Becker and Christian Zoll. Some relevant questions from the audience, coming from Bernt Posselt or from our guest diplomat Vladimir Chernega and the Austrian youth representative, were echoed and answered appropriately and constructively by the speakers.

As always, this meeting took place in a friendly and relaxed atmosphere. Unfortunately, the one-hour working time is too short. Indeed, after the appetite was whetted, we would often like to continue sharing, but we already had to leave for our respective schedules in the house. That being said, our meetings provide food for thought during the in-depth discussions by the committees and the EPP Group on the main themes dealt with. Congratulations for this continuity and the sharing brought by the participants, faithful to the activities. I wonder who could be awarded this new pan-European loyalty award, among others that were distributed, sometimes with humor!

Here too, within our pan-European unity, the emotion was palpable, not only for the renewal of the parliament but also because Dr Paul Rübig, who has been present since 1996, is not standing for re-election. We will miss him and his team, I think of Thomas and Stefan. However, we can be sure that Dr Rübig will come back to us on many occasions and will continue his action for the good of Europe, of the Austrian and European citizens. Good luck to him and to all of you  

After taking appropriate photos, and having a coffee with some colleagues from the ECHR and the Council of Europe present to prolong the discussion, we went back to our internal or external occupations.

Among the usual activities of presenting works of art that reflect European realities was the exhibition sponsored by Deputy Raffaele Fitto, Vice-President of the European Conservatives and Reformists (ECR) Group, on Salento, the peninsula at the southeast end of the Apulia region in Italy.

Entitled "De finibus terrae, Xylella landscapes", this photographic exhibition shows the devastating effects of the Sylella bacterium on olive trees. The paintings on display of this landscape metamorphosis were impressive. Of course this opens up an in-depth reflection at European level; we see here that the presentations of these realities, added by the creativity of the artists Bruna Rotunno and Fabian Albertini, help raise awareness among Europeans of the need to find solutions for the future in the face of a problem that may be more global. 

A scientific exhibition joined the debate held in the Chamber on "Horizon Europe" for which, as part of the EU's next long-term budget (2021-2027), the European Commission is proposing a €100 billion budget for research and innovation. The dynamics of scientific research in Croatia "Croatian innovations", sponsored by MP Davor Skrlec of the Green Group. The paintings presented in the space of the "Flowered Floor" showed Croatian-inspired achievements in various scientific fields such as: cycling or electric cars, crash detection or early warning systems for mopeds, the Echo smart system for air purification, the Ronna robotic neurotic navigation or the teddy smart toy bear, as well as other highly specialized information detection, monitoring or diagnostic systems, such as the RLC23 level crossing protection system or advanced research in the pharmaceutical field.

Another exhibition, which shows European creativity, already ancient, but very present nowadays due to sociological, war or accidental events, showed us the magnificent models of Chambord Castle and the spiral staircase, these extraordinary architectural achievements, at a time when architecture was full of meaning and quality. The presentation paintings reminded us of the times when humanism, art and construction worked in harmony thanks to the great artists of Europe sponsored by the rulers. Nowadays, with regard to current constructions, we can wonder about the place of these elements in harmony with the development of societies: nature, construction, the relationship between humans and societies or institutions... Extensive program of course. With the central question: which value base, in the service of whom or what.

In short, a mandate for technical progress, with progress on a few dossiers of general interest but also options to be reviewed, and problems to be solved, in particular the report of the trialogue at decision-making level, would have to be corrected in the next legislatures. However, we can be sure that the next term will be honored by the constructive attitudes of the newcomers, since we can already anticipate a significant rotation of members of parliament, which we felt with the emotions expressed during this closing session of the 14-19 term!

The foundation of values established by the European Union and the Council of Europe will certainly represent paths to be followed but also relevant safeguards in the future prospects of construction in view of the current challenges. A solid shield against barbarism and slavery of all kinds! 

Good luck to the next ones by keeping the human state of mind and progress for the benefit of Europeans and their families first and foremost!  We will be there to ensure that.




Session de clôture de la législature 2014-2019 au Parlement européen à Strasbourg

 du 15 au 18 avril 2019

Moments d’émotions lors de la dernière session

Article de Patrick Bracker

Par-delà les travaux parlementaires de finition du mandat 2014- 2019, cette dernière session s’est révélée remplie d’émotions, de présences et de ruptures.

En début de session pourtant, l‘hémicycle n’était remplie qu’à 50% de présence, de nombreuses activités couvaient dans l’arrière fond de la maison. Ces absences ne sont pourtant pas significatives, dans le sens ou tous ces mouvements intérieurs correspondent le plus souvent aux réunions de travail ou d’organisation qui ont lieu dans les salles connexes à l’Hémicycle, ou chaque groupe politique est doté de locaux réservés intensément utilisés.

La préparation des dossiers est faite de manière organisée et se termine en plénière avec les interventions de tous les groupes politiques, sans nécessiter la réunion dans l’hémicycle de l’ensemble des parlementaires en même temps, hormis, bien entendu lors des votes où ils sont tous présents. L’on peut considérer cette méthode comme une optimisation intelligente des travaux du Parlement Européen. 

Au fur et à mesure de l’avancée de la semaine, mardi, l’on était rassuré à l’heure du vote, car la plénière se trouvait de facto remplie à plus de 90 % de présence des députés européens.

Pour cette dernière session l’on conçoit que les députés et leurs équipes rangeaient leurs bureaux tout en s’affairant à rendre les matériels de travail qui leur était attribué avec quelques dernières formalités administratives, sans doute.

Un autre aspect de la dynamique parlementaire s’est exprimé dans les amitiés qui se sont développés sur une échelle de temps allant de 5 ans à plus de 30 ans. En effet des liens se sont tissés au sein des groupes politiques, mais aussi entre les groupes politiques, et les hiérarchies européennes, y compris la  Commission et le Conseil, puisqu’il n’est pas rare de voir un membre du parlement européen assumer des fonctions de haut niveau dans les institutions.

Un prolongement naturel des liens d’amitiés avec les personnels de l’Union, logistique de transport ou de communication, les interprètes, les huissiers, les journalistes. Le savoir-vivre relationnel autorisait les salutations et les fêtes de départ, de bons gâteaux ou les petits déjeuners amicaux, les congratulations, voire les souhaits de bonne chance aux uns et aux autres, et peut être pour certains, des retrouvailles. En tout état de cause la dimension positive était de mise, ce qui correspond à l’état d’esprit général de la maison. Toutes ces dynamiques relationnelles sont aussi le signe de la bonne santé de l’Europe.

De nombreux poids lourds du Parlement européen ont progressivement annoncé leur retrait des prochaines élections européennes, plus ou moins anciens, de  10 ans à 20 ans de présences, et pour quelques-uns plus de 30 années de travaux européens approfondis! La continuité, la transmission sont aussi quelques facteurs déterminants de la bonne avancée des dossiers…  cela confère une solidité de la structure bien utile pour la continuation des législatures suivantes. 

Dans les tribunes les visiteurs venant de toute l’Europe étaient très nombreux. Beaucoup de collégiens assistaient aux débats, avec l’émotion spontanée de la découverte de l’institution et de son fonctionnement. Assurément le service visite de l’Union fait un grand travail efficace de la conscientisation des valeurs européennes auprès des jeunes visiteurs et des moins jeunes aussi !

Ce sont souvent des instants inédits, quelques fois amusants et d’autres fois surprenants,  de faire la rencontre des publics visiteurs de l’institution. La plupart du temps les rencontres se font dans une sympathie et empathie réelle, les gens qui viennent sont heureux d’être là ; il y a dans cette ambiance particulière, une spécificité de la construction européenne : au service de citoyens, il s’y passe quelque chose de positif, de dynamique, la convivance au cœur du projet européen ! 

J’y  rajouterai la dimension du bonheur des citoyens par-delà les drapeaux : en effet l’Union européenne comme les autres institutions couvrent des valeurs de constructions sociétales qui dépassent le cadre national ou régional. Chaque étage aux échelons locaux, régionaux nationaux représentent une part de la construction. Dans cette perspective architecturale, il existe en principe une complémentarité fonctionnelle entre les échelons, le tout fondé sur un socle de valeurs et de leur mise en œuvre concrète.

En clair : l’on peut aimer sa ville, sa région, son pays, mais la finalité reste le développement de l’être humain, son épanouissement et son émancipation vers les valeurs plus universelles comme  la liberté, le respect et l’amour.

 L’Europe est là pour rappeler ces réalités aux nations, lorsqu’elles se détournent du socle des valeurs choisies ensemble! Tous les grands européens que j’ai croisés depuis plus de quarante ans ont défendu cet aspect essentiel de la construction.

 Il serait bon de s’en souvenir, en particulier dans les dossiers actuels internationaux qui ne sont pas toujours bien traités au niveau de l’objectivité par les uns ou les autres. L’on se rappellera ici que trop souvent dans les siècles passés et le précédent en particulier, les nations et les « princes » de ce monde avaient oubliés ces réalités du développement humain et ces valeurs qui permettent le progrès. L’on avait vu les pitoyables résultats de leurs sinistres desseins et décisions.

La construction européenne a permis de facto un réel progrès et constitue une protection sérieuse pour empêcher ces humains de retomber dans leurs voies les plus sombres et meurtrières, le plus souvent, un grand nombre en souffrance pour les intérêts d’un petit nombre … « La bête rôde toujours »…

Même si tout n’est pas parfait dans les récentes évolutions, l’on constate le différentiel important avec d’autres formes autocratiques, dictatoriales ou limitées de la chaine de décision dans d’autres espaces socio-économiques. Face à cela, l’Europe et ses composantes représentent un facteur d’espoir et de progrès pour le devenir humain, aussi bien à l’échelle de la personne humaine que des collectivités.

Cependant, la construction européenne ne semble pas trouver un écho sérieux à son exemplarité sociétale dans les autres sphères géographiques dont certains préfèrent en bénéficier voire la combattre, plutôt que de développer des systèmes évolutifs ressemblants chez eux... Il serait bon d’en comprendre le sens dans l’intérêt des européens, des citoyens européens et du projet européen, mais aussi pour éviter les régressions internes éventuelles, et le trafic d’influence venant de l’extérieur minimisant notre socle des valeurs…  

Dans les coulisses du parlement, se trouvait remémoré le souvenir lointain, mais si proche pourtant,  du Ghetto de Varsovie des années 1940, et nombre de députés portaient la fleur jaune en commémoration du 19 avril 1943. J’ai mis cette fleur en boutonnière sur ma veste et répondu à l’interview de la télévision polonaise qui organisait le  « Remember together » Par-delà la commémoration de la souffrance et de la répression il y a aussi, les actes de la résistance par les résistants du Ghetto qui est rappelé.  

La rencontre avec le premier ministre Letton a permis une discussion enthousiaste sur l’avenir de l’Europe, le dialogue avec les députés s’est avéré très positif. A l’issue de la réunion Monsieur Krisjanis Karins, a été longuement applaudi par les députés. L’on pouvait également ressentir un témoignage des membres du parlement avec un de leurs anciens collègues puisque le 1er ministre avait siégé près de 10 ans au parlement et laissé de bons souvenirs à ses collègues.  

Nombre de membres ont souhaité une bonne continuation aux futurs députés qui prendront le relais après les votes de mai 2019.  Ils ont aussi remercié les personnels de l’Union, les interprètes, les huissiers pour leur soutiens, performances et qualité de travail, en ayant la claire conscience de la valeur de ces supports. Le président Tajani, Le président Juncker, ou les commissaires ont aussi été reconnaissants vers les fonctionnaires et personnels de l’Union. 

Une donnée future à régler sera le rapport entre trois  composantes de l’Union : la Commission, le Conseil Européen et le Parlement européen, puisqu’il est avéré que des dossiers sont régulièrement  bloqués au niveau du Conseil. Cette situation peut se révéler gênante dans la mesure où les majorités votées ne sont pas respectées par les chefs d’états, ce qui interroge au niveau de la valeur démocratique de l’Union.

La réunion du groupe de travail paneuropéen du groupe PPE, organisée par Lukas Mandl a tourné autour d’un thème liant le présent, le  passé et le futur immédiat, le titre étant : «  Looking Back and forth : the European Parliament 2014-2024. Achievements and further duties » Après l’introduction brillante donnée par Dr Paul Rübig , Lukas a modéré la discussion générale avec les interventions de MEP Michaela Sojdrova, MEP Heinz Becker and Christian Zoll. Quelques questions pertinentes venant de la salle de la part de Bernt Posselt  ou de notre invité le diplomate Vladimir Tchernega et du représentant des jeunes autrichiens, ont trouvé un écho et des réponses appropriées et constructives de la part des orateurs.

Comme toujours, cette réunion s’est déroulée dans une atmosphère conviviale et détendue. Hélas, le temps de travail d’une heure représente un temps trop court. En effet après la mise en appétit, l’on aimerait souvent continuer les partages mais il nous fallait déjà partir vers nos emplois de temps respectifs dans la maison. Ceci étant, nos réunions alimentent la réflexion intérieure  lors des approfondissements faites par les commissions et le groupe PPE sur les grands thèmes traités. Bravo pour cette continuité et les partages apportés par les participants, fidèles aux activités. Je me demande d’ailleurs à qui l’on pourrait attribuer ce nouveau prix paneuropéen de la fidélité, parmi d’autres qui furent distribués, quelque fois avec humour !

Là aussi au sein de notre unité paneuropéenne, l’émotion était palpable, non seulement en vue du renouvellement du parlement mais aussi parce que le Dr Paul Rübig présent depuis 1996 ne se représente pas. Il nous manquera ainsi que son équipe, je pense à Thomas et à Stefan. Gageons cependant que Dr Rübig reviendra nous voir en de maintes occasions et qu’il continuera son action pour le bien de l’Europe, des citoyens autrichiens et européens. Bon vent à lui et à tous  

Après avoir pris des photos de circonstance, et le temps d’un café avec quelques collègues présents de la CEDH et du Conseil de l’Europe pour prolonger la  discussion, nous sommes repartis vers nos occupations internes ou externes.

Parmi les habituelles activités de présentation d’œuvres d’art témoignant des réalités européennes, il y avait l’exposition patronnée par le député Raffaele Fitto vice –Président du groupe des conservateurs et réformateurs européens (ECR) concernant  le Salento, la péninsule formant l'extrémité sud-est de la région des Pouilles en Italie.

Intitulée « De finibus terrae, Xylella landscapes »  cette exposition photographique montre les ravages paysagers causés par la bactérie Sylella qui affecte les oliviers. Les tableaux exposés de cette métamorphose des paysages étaient impressionnants. Bien entendu cela ouvre une réflexion en profondeur au niveau européen, l’on voit ici que les exposés de ces réalités ajouté par la créativité des artistes Bruna Rotunno et Fabian Albertini, aident la prise de conscience en matière de recherche de solutions pour le futur de la part des européens face à un problème qui peut être plus global. 

Une exposition scientifique, rejoignait le débat tenu dans l’hémicycle concernant « Horizon Europe » pour lequel, dans le cadre du prochain budget à long terme de l'UE (2021-2027), la Commission européenne propose une enveloppe de 100 milliards d'euros pour la recherche et l'innovation. La dynamique de la recherche scientifique en Croatie « Croatian innovations », parrainée par le député Davor Skrlec du groupe des Verts. Les tableaux présentés dans l’espace du « parquet fleuri » montraient des  réalisations d’inspirations croates dans les domaines scientifiques divers comme : le vélo ou la voiture électrique, les systèmes de détection de crash ou d’alerte rapides pour les cyclomoteurs, l’Echo smart system pour la purification de l’air , le Ronna robotic neurotic navigation ou le teddy smart toy bear, ainsi que d’autres systèmes de détection, de monitoring ou de diagnostic de l’information de haute spécialisations, comme le système de protection de passage à niveau type RLC23 voire des recherches poussées dans le domaine pharmaceutique.

Une autre exposition qui montre la créativité européenne déjà ancienne mais très présente de nos jours du fait de faits sociologiques, guerriers ou accidentels, nous faisait voir les magnifiques maquettes du château de Chambord et de l’escalier hélicoïdal, ces extraordinaires réalisations architecturales, à l’époque ou l’architecture se révélait remplie de sens et de qualité. Les tableaux de présentation nous rappelaient les époques ou l’humanisme, l’art et la construction œuvraient en harmonie grâce aux grands artistes d’Europe sponsorisés par les gouvernants. L’on peut s’interroger de nos jours, en regard des constructions actuelles, sur la place de ces éléments en harmonie avec le développement des sociétés : la nature, la construction, la relation entre les humains et les sociétés ou les institutions… Vaste programme évidemment.  Avec la question centrale : quel socle de valeurs, au service de qui ou de quoi.  

En résumé, une mandature de progrès technique, avec l’avancée sur quelques dossiers d’intérêts généraux mais aussi des options à revoir, et problèmes à régler, en particulier le rapport du trilogue au niveau décisionnel serait à corriger dans les prochaines législatures. Gageons cependant que le prochain mandat serra honoré par les attitudes constructives des nouveaux arrivants, puisque l’on peut d’ores et déjà prévoir une rotation importante des membres du parlement, ce que l’on a ressenti avec les émotions exprimées lors de cette session de clôture du mandat 14-19 !

Le socle de valeurs dégagé par l’Union et le Conseil de l’Europe représenteront à coup sûr des chemins à poursuivre mais aussi des gardes fous pertinents dans les perspectives futures de la construction en regard des enjeux actuels.  Un bouclier solide face aux barbaries et aux esclavagismes de toutes sortes!

Bonne chance aux suivants en gardant l’état d’esprit humain et de progrès pour le bien en priorité des européens et de leurs familles!  Nous serons là pour y veiller.





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People in Europe and the World expect from CoE to make a succes of its "Monitoring" for Human Rights and Democracy, despite difficulties, said Finland's President Tarja Halonen to "EuroFora" at a crucial moment for the mecanism built 15 years ago by the paneuropean organization which celebrates its 60th Anniversary in 2009.

Halonen, known as "Mother" of CoE's "Monitoring" mecanism, a long-time MEP and former Foreign Minister before becoming Finland's President, holds a long experience in the mattter, after also serving twice as CoE and EU Chairwoman in the past. That's why she is well placed to judge how CoE's "monitoring" should deal today with some crucial issues of importance both to CoE and to the EU.

The move came just a Month before a crucial, last visit to Turkey, scheduled for June, by the President of CoE''s "Monitoring" Committee, Ukranian MEP Serge Holovaty, to finalize his Report on Ankara, the CoE Member State with the longest Monitoring procedure. From its results depends its overall credibility.

This is a Test-case, because, in fact, it's in order to avoid Sanctions threatened against Turkey by a CoE's Assembly's April 1995 Resolution for grave Human Rights violations, Democracy gaps, the continuing Military Occupation in Cyprus, the unresolved Kurdish problem, Aegean differend with Greece, etc., that MEPs decided to create, for the 1st time on April 1996, a "Monitoring" proces, allegedly destinated to check, without excluding Countries who did not fulfill all CoE's standards.

In the Past, the obliged withdrawal of Greece's Military regime and of its "Civil" cover-up out of the CoE had helped bring back Democracy in 1974. But, on the contrary, since April 1996, the idea was to "monitor" Human Rights' respect while keeping most concerned Countries inside the CoE. After Turkey's oldest example, this was extended also to several former "Eastern" European Countries, even if CoE's Assembly has imposed to some of them (fex. Ukraine, Russia, etc., after Belarus, Serbia, etc) various "Sanctions", that Ankara always avoided. Curiously more succesful even than .. USA itself, (a CoE "Observer" since 1995), which has been at least threatened with sanctions some years ago..

EU-effects of CoE's Monitoring process became obvious between 2001-2008, since the "closure" of this procedure, when CoE felt that a Country had met most of its Human Rights, Democracy and Rule of Law obligations, (i.e. the "Copenhagen Criteria" for the EU), helped trigger Negotiations with the EU for "Accession" or other closer relations : This occured already before the 2004 and 2007 EU Enlargements to former "Eastern" European Countries, as well as for the commencement of "accession" negotiations with Croatia, and of "open-ended" negotiations with Turkey in 2005.

    But a stricking new development are Holovaty's recent findings that on core Human Rights issues as Torture and Freedom of Expression, Turkey, even "5 Years after" CoE closed its "Monitoring", back in 2004, inciting EU to start accession Negotiations in 2005, still presents grave problems.

    His findings are of crucial importance after a 2008 CoE Resolution called, "if need be", to "seriously consider the possibility of Re-Opening the Monitoring procedure for Turkey" : A move which might affect Ankara's controversial EU bid, since EU Accession Negotiations are based on the Hypothesis that the Candidate fullfils the "Copenhagen Criteria" (See above)..
    Holovaty expressed his will to check  "Matters still Outstanding" and  those that he "didn't have an opportunity to discuss" at an earlier visit this year, "in order to discuss the more complex issues in greater depth", at his forthcoming New Visit to Ankara, before the December 2009 EU Summit.  This is all based on the 2004 CoE Resolution which stresses that, CoE "will continue.. post-monitoring Dialogue with the Turkish authorities,...in addition to a 12-points list,..and on any Other Matter that might arise in connection with Turkey’s Obligations as a CoE member state".

    CoE's Resolution also asks  from Turkey "to secure the proper Implementation of Judgements, particularly in the Cyprus v. Turkey InterState case", of 2001, which concerns also the plight of many Hundreds of MISSING People. It adds Turkey's obligations to "execute" ECHR's Judgements in the Loizidou case,..and in particular adopt General Measures to avoid repetition or continuation of Violations found by the Court" to the detriment of Refugees.

    Nevertheless, Holovaty said to "EuroFora" that "MISSING" persons,"might be included" and cannot be excluded, but he has yet to examine the situation "to find out  which issues will be raised" to the Turkish Government.

    Therefore, "EuroFora" asked Halonen, as the Historic "Mother" of CoE's Monitoring mecanism, if she thought that, "whenever there are grave Human Rights Violations, as fex. "MISSING" persons, attested even by ECHR's judgements, they should be always checked by a Monitoring process. Or could they be forgotten ?"
     - "We (CoE) must be, at the same time, Fair, Realistic, but not in the mind that "now we have Forgotten", etc., replied to "EuroFora"'s question Halonen, speaking as a matter of general principle.

    - "When we think of those People that are suffering from the lack of Democracy, of Human Rights, and of the Rule of Law", "we should find a base on how to deal with the (Monitoring) system more rapidly"', she stressed.

    - "Sometimes it's very difficult to combine Transparency and Effectivenes together, particularly in this specific case", she went on to say. But, "I have not found a (CoE Member) Country who could be insensitive in this sens", Halonen answered concerning grave Human Rights violations attested by the ECHR.

    - "I have no ready-made answer. I have the expectations that you, in the CoE, will, step by step, find the different types of the monitoring systems."

    Also "because this is a part of the UN's Post-Conflict system, (fex. when it comes to Cyprus' MISSING persons), and it's a more Global system". So that, "If we make a succes in Europe, the others will follow", throughout the World.  "But they expect that we (Europe) are this opportunity, this Opportunity to make a Succes", Halonen concluded.

    In addition, she advised to extend CoE's Monitoring to all its 47 Member States, "because, as long as we hear that, all these monitoring systems are "OK for the neighbor, but not for me", "it's very difficult" to understand. Something which could make easier to Compare...

    Finnish MEP Jaako Laakso, former CoE Rapporteur on the Occupied Territories of Cyprus and one of the 5 Signatories of the Historic CoE's call to create the "MONITORING" mecanism since 1996, was more specific :  - "We (CoE Assembly) have to find a way for the issue of Cyprus' MISSING People to be better followed", he stressed, anouncing his intention to "speak to Mr. Holovaty" about that. "There might be also other ways", added Laakso.

    - The 2008 "Year had been a very Bad one for Turkey with regard to Human Rights in general, and Freedom of Expression in particular", denounced, meanwhile, Holovaty's preliminary Post-Monitoringh Draft Report by Holovaty, published by the CoE on April 2009.

    "Amnesty International believes that freedom of expression is not guaranteed given the various articles of the Criminal Code that restrict it. .. "For example, 1,300 Websites are said to have been closed down by the (Turkish) authorities in 2008" ! While "the new Turkish Criminal Code was used to bring a total of 1,072 proceedings between June 2005 and April 2008, and led to the conviction of 192 people", for expressing views. "Representatives of the Özgür Gündem newspaper, which specialises in Kurdish affairs, ..complained about Numerous Attacks on their Freedom of Expression ...as was everyone who advocated a settlement to the question by means other than the intervention of the army" "According to their figures, 19 Newspapers had been suspended 43 times between 4 August 2006 and 4 November 2008" !...

    Moreover, on 2008,  CoE's "Ministers adopted its 4rth Resolution on the execution of the judgments of the ECHR, ...and outstanding issues regarding 175 Judgements and decisions relating to Turkey delivered between 1996 and 2008...  concerning Deaths resulting from the excessive use of force by members of the Security forces, the failure to protect the right to life, the DIisappearance and/or death of individuals, Ill-Treatment and the Destruction of property". CoE's " Ministers urged the Turkish authorities ...to ensure that members of Security forces of all ranks can be prosecuted without administrative
authorisation" for "serious crimes". Holovaty reminded.

"Nonetheless", Holovaty heard anew of "Several cases of Violence committed last year (2008) by the (Turkish) security forces". Amnesty International speaks of Many Cases of ill-treatment and Torture in the prisons and by the police". "Including, fex."'the death of Engin Ceber, a young man of 29 who died on October 2008 as a result of the TORTURE allegedly inflicted on him by police officers, prison staff and members of the gendarmerie. He was part of a group of people arrested on September 2008 during a demonstration and Press Conference in Istanbul'. Proceedings against suspects are "on-going" in this case.

- " I therefore noted an Obvious Contradiction between the Government’s stated “zero tolerance” policy.... of Torture and other forms of ill-treatment, and the different testimonies given", denounced CoE's Rapporteur.  Turkish "authorities must make considerable efforts to guarantee that proper investigations are carried out into allegations of abuses by members of the security forces and that perpetrators are effectively punished" "In this respect, I have requested detailed Statistics on the number of Investigations, acquittals and convictions in cases involving allegations of abuse in order to show the positive impact of the measures taken to date", Holovaty said, repeating a permanently unsatisfied CoE's demand to Turkey since a Decade...

    - "The Political Crisis that shook the country in the spring of 2008 highlighted the Weaknesses of the (Turkish) Constitution", which comes from the Military regime of 1982, "and the Urgent Need of Reforms", stressed from the outset CoE's Rapporteur in 2009. In particular, "the ...Democratic functioning of state institutions, including the independence of the judicial system, are crucial", he observes.

    But, "the Electoral  system and the ways in which it is circumvented do not appear to give those elected complete Legitimacy, and tend to pervert the course of direct universal suffrage", denounces Holovaty, observing that, even 5 Years later, Turkey did not yet change the 10% nationwide Threshold for a party to take any seat, which is "far higher" than the "3%" maximum in Europe and already condemned as contrary to European Standards by the CoE.

    + Moreover, EU Parliament's 2009 Report on Turkey, drafted by Dutch MEP Ria Oomen-Ruijten and adopted in Strasbourg on March, expresses "Concern over the Failure of the (Turkish) Judiciary to prosecute cases of Torture and Ill-treatment, the Number of which is Growing". EU also "is concerned about continuing Hostility and Violence against Minorities" in Turkey. It also "calls on the Turkish Government to launch, as a matter of Priority, a Political Initiatve favouring a lasting Settlement of the Kurdish issue, (while "condemning violence.. and terrorist groups"). EU "regrets that No progress has been made on establishing full, systematic Civilian suprevisory functions over the (Turkish) Military".

    The final results of Holovaty's 2nd and last visit to Turkley will be known later this year, and, at any case, before EU's December 2009 Summit.


2009 EU Elections were won by Parties against Technocracy and Turkey's controversial EU bid, while the 1999-2004 Majority Abstention trend decelerated. What should be done in 2009-2014 ?


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