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Haupt arrow newsitems arrow EU Chief BREXIT Negotiator Barnier to "Eurofora": -I Think we'll reach a Deal Before 2019 Election

EU Chief BREXIT Negotiator Barnier to "Eurofora": -I Think we'll reach a Deal Before 2019 Election

Geschrieben von ACM
Tuesday, 12 September 2017
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*Strasbourg/EU Parliament/Angelo Marcopolo/- Despite recent concerns by some that Bumpy EU - UK Negotiations on BREXIT might drag their feet Longer than a March 2019 Time Deadline, nevertheless, EU's Chief Negotiator, Michel Barnier, Replying to a Question raised by "Eurofora", Today in EU Parliament in Strasbourg, expressed his clear Belief that a Deal "Will be Reached on Time".

 

His BREXIT statements were followed, later this Evening, also by other, Relevant statements made here by Parliament's President Antonio Tajani, (See Infra/UPDATED).

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 - "Eurofora" had Asked Barnier if an EU - UK Deal on BREXIT might be really reached adequately Before the Next European Elections (scheduled for May 2019), in view of which, EU Citizens are due to Debate and Vote on some very Crucial topical Issues on Europe's foreseable Future.


 - "Normaly, Yes !", was Michel Barnier's 1st, spontaneously Positive Reaction.


 + But, when "Eurofora" asked to make it Crystal-Clear if he Believed Today that it was Really Feasible to do so, or not, he became More Specific :


 - "I Think that We Shall Do it !", EU's Chief Negotiator added in reply, affirmatively.


Michel Barnier is particularly Well-Placed in order to Appreciate the current Chances for doing so, since he Personally Combines a Rare Threefold relevant Experience : Both at EU-level, as twice former EU Commissioner, as well as Top MEP in EU Parliament, and at a Key National Goverment level, as many times Minister in France (for Foreign Affairs, Agriculture, Environment etc), but also at a Specific EU Elections' level, as f. Coordinator of the Biggest PanEuropean Political Party, that of Center-Right's ChristianDemocrats/EPP for the Preparation of the Latest European Elections of 2014.


(Comp., f.ex., various Barnier Statements to "Eurofora"'s co-Founder, at Many Different Occasions in the Past, f.ex., among others, also at ... + ..., etc).

+ He also revealed, earlier, that "Recently", he "Feel(s) that the Negotiations are Working More Seriously", contrary to a previous Pessimism.

++ Concerning the Possibility to eventually agree an Extension for a "Transitional Period", Beyong the 29 March 2019 Time Deadline, Barnier, while Not Exluding that, a priori, however Sharply reacted, previously, by Pointing out that, as a matter of General Principle, such "Transitions have to be Short !"


Meanwhile, "Eurofora" was told also by EU-experienced French, independent but Insider sources, that, regardless if there might, perhaps, be the slightest Legal hypothesis for eventual "Transition" periods on any Substantial Issue, or not, Neverheless, there would "Not" be, at all, "Any Political Will" (from the EU Side) to do so.

 

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+ Barnier, speaking to an Exceptionaly Overcrowded PanEuropa (EPP) Meeting in EU Parliament, earlier Today, attended by Many Important MEPs, where "Eurofora" was Invited, revealed the Personal but Interesting Fact that, when he Voted "for the 1st Time in (his) Life", it was, Back on the early 1970ies, in a Popular "Referendum" FOR the Acceptance of UK's Accession, as Full Member, into the EU...


Brittish Prime Minister, Theresa May, has reportedly been Invited and accepted to Speak and Debate about BREXIT prospects also in EU Parliament, but its BREXIT-Coordinator, Liberal Group's President and former Prime Minister of Belgium, Guy Verhofstadt, just asked from May to extend her agreement for Debate also to Other MEPs,  and not only with Political Groups' Presidents.

 

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EU Parliament's President, Antonio Tajani from Italy, (an Experienced, former Twice EU Commissioner, Foreign Minister, as well as f. EU Parliament's vice-President), speaking, Later-on Today in Strasbourg, reminded that MEPs (who Must Vote on any EU - UK Deal on "BREXIT") had mainly "3 Concerns" : About EU (and UK) Citizens residing at each other's area, about the Borders to Ireland, and on UK's Financial obligations.

 

However, it's Certain that we shall have also to Find a Way to Associate the UK with the EU for the Future, because there still are a lot of areas in which We must Cooperate in Europe, (f.ex. on Security, Trade, Science-Technology, etc), he added.

 

Tajani also made it Clear that "EU Parliament intends to Closely Follow the EU - UK Negotiations on BREXIT right from October" 2017.


At least from that point of view too, ... Time seems to be Short, since EU Parliament exceptionaly holds 2 next Plenary Sessions in Strasbourg during October 2017, the First Starting as Soon as, already, from Next Month's Day 2..


(../..)

 

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("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)..
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    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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