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Home arrow newsitems arrow EU Commission v.President Sefcovic+Rapporteur Yanakou to EuroFora:EU Parties+Citizens for EU Debates

EU Commission v.President Sefcovic+Rapporteur Yanakou to EuroFora:EU Parties+Citizens for EU Debates

Written by ACM
Wednesday, 12 September 2012


*Strasbourg/EU Parliament/Angelo Marcopolo/- EU Citizens' role through -and together with- stronger EU Political Parties, directly engaged in Public Debates on vital European Issues, has to be resolutely developed in the next Months/Years, in the run-up to crucial June 2014 EU Elections, for an efficient Economic Governance to  to definitively overcome the Global Crisis with a necessary Political Union, replied in substance EU Commission's vice-President responsible for Institutions, Mario Cefcovic, as well as EU Parliament's Rapporteur on Political Parties, experienced former Minister Marietta Yanakou,  to "EuroFora"'s Questions succesively.
The move significantly came the same Day that EU Commission's President, Jose Barroso, in a landmark speech at EU Parliament's Plenary in Strasbourg on "the State of the Union", stressed the need to Start preparing a strong European "Political Union" at the "Horizon", as an indispensable "Support", and for the "Democratic Legitimacy" of the "Economic and Monetary Union" which recently became Urgently necessary in order for Europe to become able to efficiently and definitively solve the current problems provoked by the Global Crisis, as several EU Leaders (including German Chancellor Angie Merkel, etc) recently invited to do :

- "The Economic and Monetary Union raises the question of a Political Union and the European Democracy that must underpin it", he explained.

=> For that purpose,  EU needs "the Development of a European Public Space, where European Issues are Discussed and Debated, from a European standpoint... This Debate has to take place in our Societies and among our Citizens", while also "strengthening the role of EU Parliament", and "promoting (its) .. Complemêntarity and Cooperation (with) National Parliaments", as Barroso topically observed in Strasbourg, just before an important PanEuropean Conference for Speakers of Parliaments organized here by the CoE Next Week..

 - "This cannot be done without Strengthening EU Political Parties", and "an important means to deepen the pan-European Political Debate would be the presentation by EU parties of their Candidate for the post of (EU) Commission President (for the next Period of 2014-2020) at EU Parliament Elections already in 2014", he proposed.


    - "EuroFora" observed that, concerning the currently urgent "Need of a European Public Space for EU Debates", earlier highlighted both by EU Commission's President Barroso and Sefcovic himself,  in fact, "there are the (EU) Parties, but there is also the Space for Debate, for Discussions" to build, in itself, (i.e. what the famous German Philosopher Habermas, from nearby Frankfurt, calls "Offentlichkeit", etc).

    => Therefore, "do you think that it might be Useful in this Direction, to utilize all available relevant tools, taken all together, f.ex. also EU Citizens, Initiatives of EU Citizens which may result in EU Parliament's Debates, (f.ex.  if there is no Legislative possibility, as you have agreed with MEPs), as well as Other Possibilities, f.ex. by Electronic Media, by New Technologies via the Internet, to bring EU Citizens in Debates, where all Partners can participate, including EU Commission, etc.?" , we asked Sefcovic.

    + And "what about some's concrete proposal, already made earlier, to elect at least a Part of MEPs on European, not only National Lists ?", "EuroFora added.
- "I really think that increase the Role of EU Political Parties is very Crucial for the whole process of Deepening the EU (Political Union), and, I think that, for sure, with the tools that we (EU Commission) have adopted Today, we can start having at least  a Minimum of Deep European Debates, really built on the EU level", European Commission's vice-President observed at the beginning of his Reply to "EuroFora"s question.

+ "But, I'm sure that it's also taking place in a National Context : If you look at the course of Recent National Elections in EU Countries, the European Element  was much more Present than before. And I think that many will see Now that Elections in the Next Period of Time, and, of course, specially the (forthcoming 2014) Elections to the EU Parliament, (etc), I'm Sure that Europe, Europe's Future, the Functioning of the EU, will be, very clearly, the Topics on which there wil be very Intense Political Debate, and it will involve the Citizens, National and European political Parties, etc", Sefcovic forecasted with plausible vision.

- "So, I think that our (EU's) proposal today, actually tries to Contribute to the Consolidation of the Public European Space"

 In this regard, "we (EU Commission) also want to make it clear that the European Political Party is the party which can Articulate the Concerns of EU Citizens, and can Represent them Well on EU Level. It can Express the Wishes, it can express the Interests, and, at the same time, this is a Party which Respects EU Values : This was very Important for EU Parliament as well, and I (i.e. EU Commission) think that stressing EU Values us very Important, in particular in the context of Some of the National Debates that we are witnessing accross the EU", as he said, apparently pointing at some atypical, usualy marginal parties, which are often called "Extremist", etc).

+ "Concerning the EU Citizens' Initiative, I think that this is just going, very much, in Complementarity with the Proposal that we (EU Commission) made Today, Because, Now, we (EU) are Creating the Conditions for the Better Functioning of the EU Political Party, and for the EU political Foundations, and the EU Citizens' Initiative is creating the Conditions for the Individual Citizens to become Active, to present their Views", EU, the competent EU Commissioner positively observed, adding both points together.


 - "And I'm very Glad that we are Progressing on Both Fronts, because we Need more Inclusion of EU Citizens into the European Debate, and, Now, we are Creating much Better Conditions for that than what it just was a couple of Months ago".
+ But, "about the (Electoral) Lists (See supra), I think that the Proposal for a Trans-National List, which is the other Question that  You entered, it was Discussed at great Length, here, at EU Parliament, and we'll shall just have to Wait until the Conclusion of these Debates, because It still needs some Internal Deliberations (i.e. among MEPS), and, once EU Parliament's position is made clear, then, I'm sure that it will generate also discussions at the level of National Parliaments", he carefully pointed out.
+ On "Small" Groups potential :
+ Moreover, even "Small" Groupings could become officially recognized "European Political Parties", much more earier than in the Past, but on the condition to play the EU Democratic Game, Sefcovic replied in substance to more "EuroFora"s Questions :
 - In particular, referring to some Critics of the Past, a supplementary question about whether there is a Fair Chance also for Small Groupings or Parties, which might be attracted into the mainstream EU Political Game, or make Coalitions with bigger parties, etc., f.ex., by Simplifying Rules, etc., was  raised by "EuroFora" to EU Commission's vice-President Sefcovic :

- "I think that's what we (EU) are achieving with this Proposal : .. We are making the Conditions for becoming an EU Political Party much more Clear, and Simplier than before", EU Commmission's v ice-President positively replied to "EuroFora"s question.
- But, "at the same time, they are much more Demanding" on the substance,

"because, actually, in the field of Defending Values (as Human Rights, Democracy, etc), in the field of Financial Management Disclosure, f.ex. of Donations, all these Annual Reports, ;etc., it's quite clear that now there are much Higher Demands on Democracy", Sefcovic warned

- Moreover, "there is also a Regime of Sanctions, if Parties don't adhere to the Commitments they undertook when they received the Legal Status of being a European Political Party", he added.

+ "We (EU) changed also the Funding Rules for the Political Parties, and we have, also through this Regulation, established a very clear Link between Political Foundations and Political Parties : It makes it very clear to which Political Parties is  linked a Foundation", as he observed.

 - "Once this is done, I think, then, of course, it's up to the Activities of the Political Parties, depending on the political Support that they will get in the Free EU Parliament Elections,  and up to the Leaders of these Political Parties to Decide if they want to represent the Interests of their Voters as a Single EU Party, or if they prefer to Cooperate with others in some kind of political Group, in which they would work Togeher".

=> - "So, I think that this depends very much on Election Results, and on Decisions of the Leadership of these Parties, how they want to progress", Sefcovic concluded.
+ EU Parliament's twice Rapporteur, MEP Yanakou to "EuroFora" :


Meanwhile, experienced EU Parliament's Rapporteur on EU Political Parties, former Minister and  Head of the National Delegation of MEPs from the New Governing ChristianDemocrat/EPP party in Greece, Marietta Gianakou, (whose initial 2011 Report was mentioned by EU Commission's vice-President Sefcovic twice during his earlier meeting with Strasbourg's Journalists, expressing the Hope that she will take over also the New Report on the Proposals adopted here by EU Commission Today), said that she was "Glad" that several among her suggestions have Now been Endorsed also by the Collective Commissioners' body, particulalry at this crucial juncture when Leaders have just felt the need to boost a much stronger EU Political Union.  

- Speaking later to "EuroFora", Yanakou reminded also that the possibilities for EU Parties to "freely choose any EU Country and/or City for their "Headquarters", as well as "for EU Citizens to be able to be registered DIRECTLY to any EU Party they wish, (etc), are included in a series of Concrete Suggestions already made by her Initial 2011 Report, aiming to ease political EU Integration, as well as several Rules on EU Parties' specific Legal Personality and Financial Funding, (f.ex. about political Foundations, the 25.000 € "ceiling", etc) which have just been adopted Today by the 2012 EU Commission's Legislative proposal.

Already, some 13 EU political Parties share a 31 Millions € overall Budget in 2012, administered by EU Parliament.

Sefcovic's New, 2012 Legislative Proposal, augments both Transparency and Funding possibilities, by obliging EU political parties to Declare every Donation over 1.000 €, together with the Name of the contributor, but also lifts the Ceiling for their Maximum Individual Funding up to 25.000 € per person in 1 year, (instead of only 12.000 € until now).

Both the competent EU Commissioner and EU Parliament's Rapporteur agreed that their joint Aim is to try to have the New Measures, (drafted suring the current Cyprus' EU rotating Presidency of 7-12/2012), should be definitively adopted before July 2013, (i.e. during the forthcoming, Irish EU rotating Presidency of 1-6/2013), so that everything would be Ready for the exceptionaly important 2014 EU Elections.
On that purpose, Commissioner Sefcovic smiled spontaneously and agreed with "EuroFora" that it was, in principle, a good, Symbolic coincidence in the fact that the forthcoming June 2014 EU Parliament's Elections are scheduled to take place under the Rotating EU Chairmanship by the New Government in Greece, the Country where the Modern European Ideals of "Democracy" (both Representative and Direct), as well as for the Political (even Moral and Scientific) Value of Rational Public "Debates",  open to all Citizens, on the most important Issues for the People and the Society, were Historically born.


(NDLR : "DraftNews", as already sent earlier to "EuroFora"s Subscribers/Donors. A more accurate and full, Final Version may be published asap).




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    The incoming Swedish EU Presidency (July-December 2009) may still remain in favour of Turkey's controversial EU bid, despite June 2009 EU Elections' results, but it has "very strong demands on Turkey"'s obligation to respect EU Rules, said the Head of Swedish Foreign Ministry's Press Service, Cecilia Julin, to "EuroFora", reacting to critical Press reports.

    - "I know (that) the link is often made also to Sweden's position on Turkey"'s controversial EU bid. Indeed, "we (Swedish EU Presidency) are very much engaged in the future membership of Turkey, but not without fullfiling all the Criteria".

    - "It's very clear that we (Swedish EU Presidecny) have very Strong Demands on Turkey, in a sort of concept for Future membership of the Union, ...which will be a Long Process...", she stressed.

    This means, in particular, "the Copenhagen Criteria (on Human Rights, Democracy and Rule of Law), and also the adaptation to the Acquis of the European Union".

     - "If you listen to what Mr. Bildt (the Swedish Foreign Minister) says on Turkey at different occasions, it's very clear : We want Turkey to become part of the Union, in the Future. But we want it to fullfil all the Criteria : The Acquis of the European Union. That's very clear", she concluded.

    The Senior Official of the Swedish Foreign Ministry was reacting to critical Press Reports, from Brussels' Journalists invited by EU Commission's secretariat to Stockholm, who claimed that Bildt was abusing of a ..."Whip" (sic !) against Cyprus, by "threatening" the presence of UNO's Peace-keeping force at the "Green line" which separates the island's Government-controlled areas from the territories occupied by Ankara's army, if Nicosia didn't accept any political solution, regardless of Turkey's demands, before the end of 2009.

        Governing AKEL Party's new Secretary General, Andros Kyprianou, reacted by declaring that no-one can threat the People of Cyprus : -"We shall decide for our Future, and nobody else",  he reportedly said, asking to "keep calm". "In order to find a Solution soon, certain basic Principles must be respected", he stressed, calling those who feel an urgency to use their influence on Turkey. Other Political Parties were more critical.

    This was a reference to recently reported statements by Turkish Minister Bagis, Prime Minister Tayip Erdogan and Turkey's National Security Council (a Military-Political body), accused to push towards a partitionist "2 States" solution, contrary to UNO SC Resolutions for Cyprus' reunification.

    December 2009 is a crucial moment for EU's appraisal of Turkey's controversial EU bid, because EU Council has decided to review then Ankara's compliance with the European position on the recognition of Cyprus' Government, which was clearly set out by an EU reply of 21 September 2005 to Turkish Prime Minister Tayip Erdogan's claims, refusing to recognize even the existence of EU Member Cyprus, in controversial statements he made to London (former EU chair) on July 29, 2005.

    EU Parliament's latest Resolution on Turkey, adopted on March 2009 in Strasbourg, warned Ankara that "the non-fulfillment of Turkey's commitments... by December 2009, may further seriously affect the process of Negotiations" with the EU.

    In practice, the issue boils down to Ankara's "embargo" against Ships and Airplanes using Cyprus' seaports or airports at the strategic EU island, which traditionaly hosts one of the World's biggest Shipping flags. EU has already "freezed" 6 relevant Chapters in EU - Turkey Negotiations since December 2006, after Ankara refused to fullfil a commitment it had undertaken when EU had decided to open controversial "accession" negotiations with Turkey, back on December 2005.

    - "As far as EU - Turkey relations are concerned, it's clear that Turkey needs to fullfil its obligation of full, non-discriminatory implementation of the additional Protocol (to "EC-Turkey Association Agreement"),  This is an important issue....and should be addresseed as soon as possible as it clearly affects the pace of the accession negotiations.Issues covered by the Declaration of September 2005 will continue to be followed up, and progress is urgently awaited", warned earlier in Strasbourg the out-going Czech EU Presidency (former vice-Prime Minister Alexander Vodra).

    But the Head of the Swedish Foreign Ministry's Press Service, Cecilia Julin, dismissed "interpretations" by "some" that Foreign Minister Carl Bildt was reportedly "threatening" Cyprus with consequences on the UNFICYP, if it doesn't accept any solution until December 2009, while Turkey is reportedly delaying in an attempt to impose a partitionist "2 States" solution.

    On the contrary, Julin, stressed that "Sweden has strong demands on Turkey'"s respect of "Copenhagen Criteria and EU Acquis".

    Meanwhile, Sweden  is "concerned" about the risk of "Stalemate" in Cyprus' Talks, but is well aware that "the main responsibilities lie with the two leaders and the UNO", Europe playing only a role of "facilitator".

    After carefully verifying, the Head of Swedish Foreign Ministry's Press Service, stressed to "EuroFora" that Bildt's reference to UNFICYP "was not linked to a Threat", and dismissed those who "interpreted" it so.

    On the contrary, the Swedish EU Presidency acknowledged the fact that Peace Talks are mainly for the UN and the leaders of the Cypriot communities, EU's role being limited into that of a "facilitator".

    As for Turkey's reported attempts to impose a "2 States' solution", the Head of the Swedish Foreign Ministry's Press Service sharply replied by stressing that Turkey must respect the "EU Acquis" rules.

    In particular :

    - "Basically he (Bildt) underlined that it's the leaders of the two communities in Cyprus and the UN that have the main responsibilities for solving the problem", started to say the Swedish Senior Official to "EuroFora", referring to the above-mentioned "briefing".

    - "But the EU had a role in sort of pointing out the benefits and facilitating a little bit the outcome for the settlement of the whole Cyprus' issue", she added.

    - "And he did state the Fact, that the rest of the World (i.e. USA, etc) will, of course, look at the differend issues which are at the table, and the future of the UN Peace keeping force is part of what is at the table", she admitted.

    - "I understand that some have interpreted that as a Threat, by the Swedish Minister" "But", in reality, "it's a statement of a Fact, that, when we'll look at the differend issues, one of the issues on which we shall have to take a stand on, is the future of the UN Peace keeping force in Cyprus".

    Indeed, one of the questions usually raised for a Solution of Cyprus' issue is what International and/or European or other Guarantees, by a Peace-keeping force, might be needed afterwards, eventually for a transitory period.

    Questioned anew by "EuroFora" whether (according to critical Press Reports) this could be taken as a veiled warning that, if Cyprus didn't accept any Turkish demand for any solution whatever, it might be left alone to face Ankara's Military Invasion/Occupation, she denied :

    - "He (Bildt) didn't say it in that way"... "It was not linked to a threat, or anything like that", the Head of the Swedish Foreign Ministry's Press Service stressed.

    On the contrary, "he (Bildt) underlined that the main responsibility lies with the parties concerned on the island". "The EU can try to facilitate and show the benefits of reaching a settlement. But also, when the EU and the rest of the World (i.e. USA) will have to look at it, they will look at all the Facts on the table, and the presence of the UN Peace-keeping force is one".

    And "he (Bildt) didn't speak about that at all", she replied to "EuroFora" question on Turkey's reported attemps to impose, in one way of another, a partitionist "2 States solution".

    Asked whether Bildt's aim was to incite both parties to move forward efficiently, she agreed :

    - In fact, "the EU is really very concerned with the Stalemate in the situation. Yes !", the Head of Sweden's Foreign Ministry's Press Service anounced. That's why Bildt "was hoping for the two parties (i.e. for Turkey's also) to engage and break, a little-bit, the present stalemate, come to a solution of the issue" of Cyprus.

    But, replying  to a "EuroFora"s question on the risk, denounced by several politicians in case of strict Time Deadlines, for Turkey to provoke a stalemate and wait for the time to come to impose a partitionist "2 States' solution", she reacted by pointing at Turkey's obligation to respect "EU Acquis" :

    - "Turkey must fullfil the EU Acquis : That's clear !", the Swedish Senior Official stressed.

    More details are expected when Swedish Prime Minister Reinfeldt will debate his Programme with new MEPs at EU Parliament's plenary mid-July in Strasbourg, that he has visited already in 2008.

    Foreign Minister Carl Bildt became familiar with Strasbourg's CoE last year, when Sweden chaired the PanEuropean organization of Human Rights. As EU chairman-in-office, he will also chair the 27-member States strong EU Group inside the 47-member States strong CoE.

    Minister for EU affairs, Cecilia Malmstrom is well known at EU Parliament, where she has been an active MEP of the Liberal Group for many years, following also Press Freedom issues.

    Both have already made various statements at "EuroFora", on differend topical matters.



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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