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Home arrow Front-end arrow CoE : Bildt "against Volcanoes" !

CoE : Bildt "against Volcanoes" !

Written by ACM
Saturday, 10 May 2008



CoE Ministers' Swedish Chairmanship starts dealing with "delicate" PanEuropean issues : From Abkhazia, to ECHR judgements' implementation (and Turkey), up to Genetic Testing : - To "handle with care !"...


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Council of Europe's New Chairman, Sweden's Foreign Minister Carl Bildt, was better inspired than he thought, when he stressed with emphasis in Strasbourg that "we (CoE) are against Volcanoes !"

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Bildt was refering to a reply given by CoE's Secretary General, Terry Davis, to a topical question on the row between Georgia and Russia on how to deal with the Abkhazian region :

- "We (CoE) used to call such kind of conflicts : "Frozen Conflicts". But, sometimes, a better description could be : .."Sleeping Volcanoes !" , Davis warned.

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He was speaking the same week that the whole World was astonished by the unprecedented spectacle of a Chilean Volcano, which had been quietly "sleeping" for Thousands Years, but suddenly started to erupt, with Dangerous Giant Ash Clouds triggering a series of damages and threats...

Before Kosovo's unilateral declaration of independence, Vladimir Putin, former President and new Prime Minister of Russia, had warned that hasty moves might trigger a series of various other territorial issues concerning many differend ethnic conflicts in Europe's surroundings :

- "I wouldn't be surprised if now he said : - "I warned you !", a Slovenian diplomat told us.

In these conditions, naturally, Bildt's declared intent to prevent any "Volcanoes" from erupting in CoE's 47 Member Countries, as a matter of Pinciple, starting from the urgency of Abkhazia in Georgia, could only be welcomed...

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But this week's news proved that the most dangerous "sleeping volcanoes" might emerge by surprise, at unexpected areas, even there where no eruption ever took place for thousands of years...

And facts indicate, that other kinds of "sleeping volcanoes", might not be located so far away as .. Chile's Patagonia or Georgia's Abhhazia, but might emerge even at Europe's core, threatening to affect all its area, if nobody cares to take adequate measures on time :


Is it merely another "coincidence", that Bildt's declaration "against volcanoes" came just before he was questioned on another issue, less "spectacular", but bigger ?

- "EuroCourt's President, Jean-Paul Costa, warned this year that the problem of overload in pending cases is no more limited to the Court, (which notoriously faces for years a rising number of applications), but started to affect also CoE's Ministers, because many judgements are not implemented", EuroFora's question to Bildt began.

That's why, CoE's 2008 Ministerial Summit "stressed .. the need to actively .. enhance the effectiveness of the (European) Convention (on Human Rights)' control system". It found "important.. to ensure that the Convention is effectively implemented", "thereby contributing to a reduction in the workload of the European Court". CoE's No 1 priority for 2009 is "action to ensure the effectiveness of the implementation of the ECHR at National and European levels", with "measures to enhance implementation", a communique said.

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- But, "recent Statistics reveal that 1.400 condemnations by ECHR at the last Decade (1998-2007), mostly for Grave Human Rights Violations, concern one State : Turkey. And that's also a New Problem, because even at the end of 2007, more than 23% of non-executed ECHR's judgements concern also the same State. Is there any hope to use EU - Turkey Negotiations, or any other idea, in order to convince it to respect ECHR's judgements ?", Bildt was asked.

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- "There is only one possible answer : Yes. Of course, we (CoE) are hoping that", started CoE's new Chairman, Swedish Foreign Minister's answer. Thus, "EU - Turkey accession negotiation" "will take its Time" and "there will be Challenges, that we are all aware of", Bildt warned Ankara in reply.

He went on to stress the "great importance" that has also the "resolution of Cyprus' issue" with a "reunification of the island" able to "ensure respect for Human Rights and Democracy in all parts of Cyprus", welcoming the "hopes" recently created by a "New Phase" in preparatory talks.

Bildt wasn't wrong when he decided to include Cyprus in his reply : ECHR has notoriously condemned Turkey for massive and "continuing" human rights' violations against Displaced persons' homes and properties, "Missing" People and their Families, etc.

But, Cyprus' related ECHR judgements, despite their importance, are only a ..tiny proportion out of nearly two Thousand condamnations of Turkey for human rights' violations, which concern also other issues (Torture, Arbitrary deprivation of Liberty, Unfair Trials, Enforced "Disappearances", oppression of Freedom of Speech, Kurds, impunity of abuses committed by Turkish security forces, etc).

Real stakes are huge : If some don't want for CoE to name the "Smoking Gun", responsible for a deadly threat against Europe's Human Rights protection system, then, it might end up as a ... "Smoking Volcano", threatening to cover with its dangerous ashes all CoE and its 800 Million Citizens !..

Some already started to speculate that EU might take over CoE's Ministerial Committee's task to "supervise execution" of ECHR judgements (according to CoE's Statute), provoking a gradual withering-away of the CoE, if it fails in its duties, an experienced CoE Expert told us..

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ECHR's President Jean-Paul Costa, and Head Register Erik Fribergh, with CoE's Human Rights Commissioner, Thomas Hammarberg, at CoE's 2008 Ministerial Summit : plotting a new way to implement ECHR's judgements ?

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He obviously warned because he sincerely wished for his beloved organisation : the CoE, to wake-up on time, before it becomes too late in order to save its "life" from the dangers of such a huge "Sleeping Volcano" as the growing number of ECHR's non-executed judgements on grave human rights' violations...

A bad example, particularly for "new" CoE member-States, like Poland, Ukraine or Russia...

A new Report, currently prepared by CoE's Assembly, on implementation of ECHR's judgements, due to be debated in public and voted during 2008, may observe such risks.

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EU Chairman, Slovenian Foreign Minister dr. Dimitri Rupel, at CoE's piano : ready to help CoE play the Human Rights music ?

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But this might not be the end of CoE's "Sleeping Volcanoes" :

You'll never find it in any fancy Radio-TV or sensational, mass-circulation Newspaper, but this doesn't mean that there is nothing inside CoE to inspire famous Cinema director, Steven Spielberg :

Nobody noticed, at the edge of an endless Catalogue of numerous Decisions taken by CoE's 2008 Ministerial Summit, (not immediately given to the Press), a bureaucratic reference to the "adoption of the Additional Protocol to the Convention on Human Rights and BioMedicine concerning Genetic Testing for health purposes".

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What's that ?

Simply something which might soon become much more important than the Georgia - Russia row over Abkhazia, the solution of Cyprus' issue, or even the execution of ECHR's judgements :

- The legalisation of "'Tests" on Human persons, at the age of Genetics, a Decade after deciphering all Human Genome, almost a Century after Aldus Huxley's world-famous "Brave New World" warning !

Naturally, CoE, which is alone in Europe and the whole World to forge Legally-binding Rules on Bio-Medicine and Human Rights, had to try to accomplish its duty to set Legal Standards able to facilitate the development of efficient and promising New Technologies, while also ensuring the respect of Human Persons' fundamental Rights, Freedom and Dignity.

But the right balance to find between these two important factors is notoriously a very delicate exercice.. And the eventual Dangers, in case of errors of loopholes, are obviously huge for all Humankind.

Did CoE's Experts succeed to overcome any serious risk, and strike the right balance ?

Are there some "gaps" to fil, (as it was also the case with CoE's basic International Convention on "Bio-Medicine and Human Rights", opened to signature at 1998 Oviedo Conference) ? Is it urgent to rectify or complete something ? How, and when might this be done ?

All these (and many other) Questions have to start being examined in enlightened Public Debate and full Transparency, now that CoE adopted the Protocol on "Genetic Testing".

Careful, Sweden's predominantly Christian-Democrat Government, even if the country has a "liberal" reputation on Genetics, didn't seem too eager to hastily hurry-up developments on this issue, perhaps in order to avoid an eventual World-wide "sleeping volcano"...

Wisely, Sweden decided to keep this file "freezed" during all its 6 Months CoE Chairmanship (May to November 2008). It promised to let the following, Spanish Socialist Government's chairmanship of the CoE, open to signature the "Genetic Testing" Protocol only on November 2008, when Madrid will take over.

By another "coincidence", the chosen Date comes immediately after USA Presidential Election, scheduled for the beginning of November.

CoE's International Convention on "Bio-Medicine and Human Rights", for obvious reasons, was open from the start to participation from all Countries in the World, and USA's Experts contributed in its preparation. Everybody knows that Bio-Ethics (and mainly restrictions against Genetic Tests destroying Human Embryos) was an issue for USA' President George W. Bush's "Veto" to some controversial bills of the American Congres, as he had promised to his voters in 2000 and 2004.

But nobody knows yet which "'volcano" might wake up after November 2008 ..volcano_cloud_m_400 volcano_cloud_sea_400

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Meanwhile, EuroFora can't but wish "bon courage" to Carl Bildt's declared wish to act "against Volcanoes" during his 6 Months chairmanship of CoE's Ministerial committee.

All well-wishers are welcome to join, f.ex. by making good use of Carl Bildt's excellent Web-blog, where he astonishingly succeeds to note almost every move or project, at : http://carlbildt.wordpress.com

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Bildt speaking to Journalists, under the careful eye of Swedish Ambassador Per Sjorgen, and the careful ear of CoE's Communication's Director, Seda Pumpyanskaya. 

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Naturally, given all the delicate "hot" issues with which he has to deal, recently it become a ..Linguistic "Volcanoe" :

- Initially published in English (until 2007's end), recently, Bildt's interesting blog, wisely switched over to the ...Swedish language !

Got that handy Swedish dicco with you ?...

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Sarkozy and Merkel : June 2009 solution to May 2005 "NO" ?

 - Will French President Nicolas Sarkozy and German Chancellor Angie Merkel live up from June 2009 to their obvious Historic European mission to revitalize, and re-launch the "European Dream", after the series of 3 "NO" since May 2005 in France, the Netherlands and Ireland, by renewing, and changing the EU with fresh stimulus, big horizons, and values attractive for EU Citizens ?

Whatever views anyone might have, it's a Fact that, recently, EU's political spectrum didn't produce other more charismatic and popular EU leaders than Merkel and Sarkozy, starting from September 2005 and May 2007, respectively.

This trend was confirmed, in one way or another, both during the German EU presidency in 2007 (shared by Merkel with the SPD), and mainly during the French EU Presidency in 2008, (with Sarkozy "free" to move).


The positive 2009 EU Polls are a natural consequence :

- Both with 72% Sarkozy and Merkel are considered by EU Citizens to be "the most Influential" leaders in Europe, by far.

- They are the only EU political leaders to attract a Majority of "Positive" views by EU Citizens, (Merkel over 60%, Sarkozy over 50%, particularly in the continent).

- 60% of EU Citizens find the 2008 French EU Presidency "Good", (and the satisfaction grows up to 67,5% in continental Europe).

The Poll was made by "OpinionWay" in big EU countries as Germany, Italy, Spain and the UK, (with the only exception of France), from 26 to 28 May 2009.

sarkozy_merkel_polls_400

But the most important is that both Franco-German leaders seem willing to, at last, really start serious business on EU's indispensable renovation and Renaissance from 2009 : Year of crucial EU and German Elections.

Therefore, this time, the joint European move by Sarkozy and Merkel, which just published a common Franco-German Manifesto, aims to stimulate aspirations and action not only in their respective countries, but also in many other EU "partners", as they say.

Both on EU economy, social values and scientifico-technologic research, as well as on Turkey's controversial EU bid, obviously incompatible with a popular Political Europe, whose Citizens can find a collective Identity and popular Values, they have already started to magnetize various growing voices accross the European landscape :

"Today, more than ever, it' time for action", they stress from the outset.

Facing "an unprecedented Global financial and economic Crisis", "Europeans must get resolutely involved if they want for the World which is being built to meet their Values of Liberty, Solidarity and Justice".

"That's what we want" and "propose to our Partners" :

* "A strong Europe, able to protect us" :

- "We refuse a Bureaucratic EU, which mecanically applies burdensome rules and is afraid of change. We want a European Union which listens what Citizens have to say, which innovates, stimulates".

- "We want a strong and united EU in the World, while also respecting its Member States' Diversity", which "brings Courageous Replies to the Questions of our Times, ensuring our Prosperity :  

This implies to "favor Research and Innovation", "Economic Coordination", to "develop real Policies on Immigrationn, Energy, Defence, and modernise  common policies, particularly Agriculture".

*  "EU must bring immediate replies to the Global Crisis".

- "Lawless liberalism failed". "The Model we want is that of a Responsible Market Economy, which favors Enterpreneurs and Workers, above Speculators ;  Long-term Investment, over immediate profiits".

- "We appeal upon the EU to take, from June, the first decisions to ensure a real European Regulation of Financial Markets, based on coordination and cooperation". "On speculative funds, on fiscal heavens, CEO's and financial operators' earnings, EU must give the example".

- "We call to change the rules of accounts, which are important for our Economy's revival : The competent normative authorities must take action". "The issue of a sufficient Credit offer is of central importance for our Economy". "We don't accept that, during this Financial Crisis, the European Banks' capacity to lend money might be unjustly reduced by Capital's requirements and accountant's rules

* "During the German and French Presidencies, EU has resoçlutely prepared itself for the fight against Global Warming... EU is the 1st and only area in the World to have adopted a package of ambitious and legally binding rules to comply with International Aims"

- "We have now to convince our Friends and Partners, to get involved, in order to atteint, next December at Copenhagen, a Global Agreement worthy of whay is at stake. Our closer ally, the US, but also other big industrial countries, must commit themselves with the same force as the Europeans".

"Green Growth is a Chance ... and an opportunity to create jobs turned towards the Future. Europe must be a leader".

- But, at the same time, we must ensure that our companies remain competitive in the World. The ambitious European involvements on Climat must not lead into a position where EU industry might become a Victim of Unfair Competition. Climat protection and Competitvity must go together. If our International partners refuse to associate themselves to our efforts, we are determined to take measures to protect European Industry"

* "Europe must be more ambitious for its Industry" : "It must favor the emergence of strong European enterprises at a Global level".

- "As long as an International mechanism" to "monitor Public Aids at WTO level, and hinder 3rd Countries to give abusive subsidies to their enterprises, provoking unfair competition", is "not yet set up, we must consider Transitory European Solutions".

* "The current Public Debt is too heavy... We must head anew towards sound public finance, as soon as we'd have passed the crucial stage in this crisis".
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* Last, but not least :  "Europe must play a top-level role in the World"

- "For that purpose,  it needs efficient Institutions. That's why we need Lisbon Treaty". "The 27 Member States decided, last December (2008) that the Treaty should enter into force before the end of this year (2009)". To obtain that, June EU Council must agree "on the Guarantees for Ireland".

- But, "to be able to act, EU needs Borders. An Enlargment without Limits is not possible", Sarkozy and Merkel stressed in an obvious reference to Turkey, etc.

- "In order to be strong, Europe must assume its Values and its Identity". "Human Rights .. are at the basis of our commitment for a Peaceful Development accross the World".

- "For that purpose, we shall strengthen our common Defence and Security policy".
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* "We are ready to contribute to activate the EU towards the realisation of these aims, with our EU Partners".

"In order to succeed", Europe  "needs the active involvment of all, starting by Citizens themselves. That's why the June 7 rendez-vous is important", and "we are calling all Europeans to vote".

"We are convinced that, if Europe wants, Europe can", they conclude.
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Precisely : - What can better forge "Europe's Will" than a "European Consciousness" emerging from political, democratic struggles to face Global Challenges, and open big New Horizons, including by crystal-clear Public Debates, with active EU Citizens' involvement, before the most important EU Decisions affecting People's lives ?

Precisely what "EuroFora"s project warns since 1997-2007, and unprecedented Majority Abstentions, since 1999-2004, added to 3 "NO" to EU Referenda in 2005 and 2007, proved meanwhile..

Let's hope that the Time wasted by some scandalous anti-European and anti-Democratic obstacles of the Past, will stimulate faster, simplified but substantial and persistent, efficient action.-

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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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