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Home arrow newsitems arrow Austrian Election 1st Winner, Kurz to Eurofora: I met the Norway Prime Minister too in Brussels !...

Austrian Election 1st Winner, Kurz to Eurofora: I met the Norway Prime Minister too in Brussels !...

Written by ACM
Thursday, 19 October 2017

kurz_greets_agg_photo_rony_mertens_for_eurofora_400 

 
*Brussels/EPP Summit/Angelo Marcopolo/- The Symbolic but Timely Fact that he's just met with Norwegian Prime Minister Erna Solberg, revealed the Number 1 Winner of the Austrian Elections, and likely New Chancellor, Leader of the ChristianDemocrat/EPP Party, Sebastian Kurz, replying to an "Eurofora" Question at the Conclusion of the traditional EPP National Political and State Leaders' Summit, organized in preparation of the subsequent EU Heads of State/Government Summit, later this Evening, at another side of Brussels.


Norway's Solberg heads a Twice succesfull Government of Unity of the Right, bringing Together her "Conservative" party with the Rightists of "Progress" party, supported by the smaller "Liberals" and "Christians" parties.


Her Example has been, since, mutatis-mutandis, followed, in substance, also at various SImilar Political Landscapes throughout Europe, f.ex. in Denmark, Finland, Bulgaria, etc.  Denmark is due to become President-in-office of CoE's PanEuropean Organisation for Human Rights, Democracy and Rule of Law on November 15, in Strasbourg, for the period of 11/2017-5/2018, while Finland already Chairs the OSCE for the whole Year of 2017, and Bulgaria will Chair the EU from January 2018, until the end of June 2018.


Kurz, who has just Won a big 1st place in the Austrian Elections, during the Last Week-End, with his ChristianDemocrat/EPP Party getting 31,5% of the Votes and 62 MPs (+15 More than before), could easily reach an Absolute Majority in the Parliament, Together with the 2nd Winner : the Rightists of the "Freedom" Party (FPO), who got More than 26 % of the Votes ad 51 MPs (+11 More than before). The Socialists (who Previously held the Chancellorship) practically Stagnated, keeping around 26% too and 52 MPs , with the smaller parties of Center-Right Liberals of "NEOS" staying also at 5,3% (and 10 MPs), while a New Ecology Party of Pilz won +4,4% of the Votes and 8 new MPs, the "Greens"' Party of MEP Lunacek (a LBGTI Heavy-Weight) having been DownVoted by the Austrian People, Vanishing from the Parliament, (See : http://www.eurofora.net/newsflashes/news/austrianelectionresults.html ).


- The probable New Chancellor of Austria, (who is expected to be given Tomorrow, Friday, by the President of the Country, Alexander von der Bellen, an official Mandate to try the 1st to Form a New Government), was Positively Surprized by - and Naturaly Welcomed - "Eurofora"s mention of the Fact that, Recently, just Before the September 2017 German Elections, Chancellor Angie Merkel, had reportedly Declared, in Berlin (in Reply to a Question, Exceptionally raised by Children at a special event organized by her CDU Party), that her Favorite Head of State/Goverment was, unexpectedly, ... Norway Prime Minister Erna Solbeg, (Comp. Supra) !

Merkel, who has recently Won anew the German Elections of 9/2017, this time with More than 33% of the Votes, (while the Socialists Fell Down to Only 20%, deciding to go in the Opposition), is Now, for the First Time, Flanked, at her Right, by the Rightists of the "Alternative" (AfD) Party which got 13,5%, and, at her Left side, by the Liberals, who returned back to the Bundestag with 10,5%, as well as the "Greens", with 9,5%, (the "Leftists" holding another 9%) :


A Fact which made her show a Bright Smile, just after the Anouncement of the main Results, Symbolically arbouring a placard with her Favorite Key Word for her ChristianDamocrat Party : "the Center", when she spoke to the Press... (See : http://www.eurofora.net/newsflashes/news/2017germanelectionresults.html). That Rare situation Reminds, mutatis-mutandis, what had Existed, somehow, also during Historic Chancellor Adenauer's era, after the 1949, 1953 and 1957 Elections, when his CDU/CSU mainstream Parties had to make a Governing Coalition including also the so-called, then, "German Party" ("die Deutsche Partei" = "DP"), of Ultra-Conservatives, at its Right, as well as the "Liberals" a.o. at its "Left" side...


Nowadays, the "Liberals" and the "Alternative" have Won many More Votes in the 2017 German Elections, with 10,5% and 13,5% respectively, than the "Greens" and the "Leftists", who have practically Stagnated at around 9% each only, so that, at least in Theory, an eventual "Unity of the Right" New Governmental Coalition, (with Merkel's CDU/CSU and the 2 Firstly above mentioned Parties FPD and AfD) would obviously be more Respectfull of the Peuple's Choices, from the point of view of Democracy.


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Such kind of Questions of Political Strategy, in Austria, Germany, and/or Other European Countries, are naturally intermixed also with certain Key, Relevant Issues, and the Positions taken by EU Leaders on them, as, f.ex., Turkey and mass Migration, etc., which have, reportedly, occupied most of the Discussions among EPP Political Leaders, earlier Today, at this ChristianDemocrat/EPP Summit in Brussels, as "Eurofora" learned. (See also : ...).


- But, on the Contrary, EU relations to Russia, (which have been notoriously Damaged since the Ukranian Conflict, which had made too Many Victims, even among Civilian People in the pro-Autonomy, Russian-speaking Regions of Donetsk/Luhansk, Attacked by Heavy Tanks, Missiles, and Military Airplanes, etc, particularly Back on 2014, when Kurz's Precedessor, Spindelegger -a Fellow ChristianDemocrat- suddenly Resigned "UnExpectedly" from "all Political positions", as "Wikipedia" reminds, under pretext of a Tax policy Dispute with the Socialists), were Not yet Discussed, Today, at this EPP Summit, Sebastian Kurz told "Eurofora".


- Kurz (who has notoriously expressed some Interesting Positions for a Peaceful and Ambitious EU - Russia Cooperation prospects, including that of an eventual EU - Russia PanEuropean Free Trade Area, from Portugal up to Vladivostok, as had, Meanwhile, succeeded to Spindelegger, as Austria's Foreign Minister, already from 2013, and, therefore, Served as CoE's President-in-office, during an important part of the 2013 rotating Chairmanship of CoE's Highest Political body : that of its Committee of Ministers, in Strasbourg, then, as "Eurofora" Reminded him, inciting a spontaneous Smile and a Kind Salute from his part, as he told us that he Remembered those CoE Events, (See relevant Photo).

 

austrian_sebastian_kurz__for_eurofora_400


 - Indeed, "Today, he appeared very "Soft", from the outset, "stressing thet he is <<Pro-European>, etc", said to "Eurofora" a German Collegue from a TV-Media, who had seen Kurz Earlier, when he Entered into EPP's Summit, earlier this Morning, here in Brussels.


 Indeed, Kurz was ...the First EU Leader to Enter at Today's EPP Summit, and almost the ...Last to leave it, at the End, (signes of participation in Exceptionally prolonged Dicussions), as "Eurofora" attested.


His Meetings started, at First, by a "Bilateral" with the ChristianDemocrats/EPP party's President, Joseph Daul, himself, (who had Previously shared a Phone Call with Chancellor Merkel, etc), anOther Source told "Eurofora", before an active participation to Extensive Collective Debates (Comp. Supra), but also some Other Dealings, which kept Kurz there much Longer than usual.


The Next Few Weeks might, in Fact, prove to be of Crucial Importance, Both for Austria itself, and for All Europe, which currently Faces several Big Issues, at the Top of Discussions also at Wien's Strategic GeoPolitical crossroads...

 

Austria is due to Chair the EU Next Year, during the Period of July - December 2018.

 

(../..)


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(Photos by Rony Mertens for "Eurofora")

 +

("DraftNews", as already send to "Eurofora" Subscribers/Donors, earlier. A more accurate, full Final Version, might be published asap).

 

 

***

 

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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.

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