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Home arrow newsitems arrow CFE/Democracy Panel/Day 2: EU Expert to EF : Agenda Modified to ease Citizens' various input ?

CFE/Democracy Panel/Day 2: EU Expert to EF : Agenda Modified to ease Citizens' various input ?

Written by ACM
Saturday, 25 September 2021

eu_parfliaments_internal_official_double_staircase_eurofora_400

*Strasbourg/EU Parliament/Angelo Marcopolo/- An important in real Practice  Question, Earlier Raised by "Eurofora" to Organizers of EU's landmark "Conference on Europe's Future", (See: http://www.eurofora.net/newsflashes/news/cfepanel1cancitizenschangeagenda.html), seems to have Incited them to make a relevant Change in the Agenda of Citizens' Panels, on the Occasion of the Most Popular among them : That on EU Democracy, (See: http://www.eurofora.net/newsflashes/news/eppressheadtoefoncitizenspanels.html), according to these Days' new Developments and a Reply that gave us a Key EU Expert.

- "Eurofora" had Asked, at a "Press Briefing" on the 1st Panel, Earlier, whether an Obviously very "Tight" Daily Agenda, Divided into Many Short lapses of Time (15, 10 or Even 5 Minutes Each !), and Mostly Full of various Interventions by "Moderators", "Experts", "Facilitators", and Other EU Agents, might, Eventualy, Hinder, in real Practice, Citizens' Free and Thoughtful Analysis, Conclusions, and/or Formulations of their own Preferences, concerning the Measures to take for the Best possible Future of Europe.  

- So, we were, Naturaly, Surprized, when we saw, for this 2nd Panel, that the Usual Daily Agendas had Not been Distributed to the Press Yet, Not even Mentioned in the relevant Press Release, (Contrary to the Practice which had been followed at the 1st Panel).

- When "Eurofora" Asked to EU Parliament's competent Press Attachée, Sanne De Ryck, (a Dutch Lady), to Please Give us, if possible, a Copy of that Agenda, she Kindly Replied asap. by Sending us, such a Document, But our Surprize became even Greater, Because of the UnExpected Fact that this New Agenda was ...Largely Different from the Previous one !

>>> Indeed, instead of a 3 or 4 Pages-Long Document, as Before, this was, Now, Just a 1,5 Page Doc, (i.e. much Shorter), showing Only a Few "Plenary" or "Break Out" (in Special Rooms) Sessions, (With or WithOut "Moderators", respectively, WithOut Even always Explaining the precise Issue due to be Dealt with, Each Time, by this Citizens' Panel, Contrary to what had Happened for the 1st one...

+ "Eurofora" Also asked anOther EU Agent, dealing mainly with Daily Program matters, who Kindlt gave us a somewhat Longer Document, But withOut More Indications on the Substance of the matter, each time, (Except for having Added mainly some "Social Events", perhaps Useful for Contacts/Short Interviews, But Not for Work Agenda's matters on the most Important Political Issues).

=> In Consequence, we Asked several Other EU Agents, as well as Participating Citizens, about what was Really Going on, What had Changed, and Why, as well as how they Evaluated themselves such an Eventual Practical Modification...

- Some said that they had Not Noticed, or Denied any Importance to such a Change.

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>>> But, at least one, a Key EU Expert, went Crystal-clear about Both the Fact of such a Daily Agenda Change, and on its Substantial Importance ;

* Indeed, After some People made Critical Observations on the Initial Agendas, concerning the Time Available, and the Freedom to really use it, for Participating Citizens, withOut Too Much of "Moderators", "Experts", "Failitators", and Other EU Agents, on Each particular Point, it was Decided to Leave More Time for Citizens to Think, Discuss, and Make Choices among them, During somewhat Longer "Break Out" Sessions in their respective Rooms, and Shorter "Plenary" Sessions than Before, revealed to "Eurofora", in substance, a kind Lady, University Professor of Social Psychology from Spain.

+ And some Participating Citizens Aknowledged, indeed, that they Enjoyed, in Practice, to have some More Time to Think and Discuss Freely Between them, Before taking Decisions "Assisted" by "Moderators", "Experts" or "Facilitators", etc, (Despite their Evenual Usefulness).

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- But, at least as matters stand until now, and as it often happens with many Other Good Things in Life, it seems that there is also a "Catch", in that Change :

=> Indeed, such much Longer Periods of Time for "Break Outs" in Citizens' "Working Rooms", and Shorter "Plenary" Sessions, Together with EU Agents, in fact, ...Reduced also the Transparency of Panels' Work !

Indeed, Journalists and the Public, etc., can Only Attend to Panels' "Plenary" Sessions, (normaly at EU Parliament's Hemicycle), while, on the Contrary, they are Practicaly Excluded from doi,ng so, as far as the Panels' "Break Outs" in various "Working Rooms" are concerned...

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pe_cfe_panel_2_father_of_underage_girl_eurofora_400 

- To the Point that, as "Eurofora" was Told by the Father of an Under-Age Young Girl from France, 15 or 16 Years old, Even himself, who was there precisely in order to Look After his Too Young Daughter, (as the CFE's Rules Allowed for Parents to do, in such cases), Nevertheless, was Obliged to Limit his own Presence Only inside the Hemicycle during the "Plenaries" Sessions, But was Excluded from entering, on the Contrary, a "Working Room", during those, apparently Longer "Break Outs" !

+ Probably, Even More : For the 1st Time, "Eurofora" saw a Lot of Various EU Agents Dealing with Substantial Aspects of the Panels, apparently Work until Too Late at the Evening, or almost OverNight, Crossing EU Parliament's Corridors often with a somehow Concerned, or, at least Thoughfull, Expression on their Faces... +Sometimes, this went as Far as to, at least Partly, reach the Building's Exit Doors so Late at Night, that some had Just Closed, and we had to either Call by Phone the Security's Center, and/or Speak to some Experienced Security Agents, (who were all Kindly Helpful), in order to Open, for them too, all the way out...

- Was it just Because of, apparently, Shorter "Plenary" Sessions and/or Interventions to Settle all things during the Day, or, Perhaps, Also due to a some times quite "Hard" character of the Issues at Stake, Doubled, maybe, even by Eventual DisAgreements on Serious Political Matters ?

- A Spontaneous Ironic Laugh, by 3 EU Agents' Ladies, when we simply reminded that the EU Democracy Issues were considered to be quite "Popular" among EU Citizens, (and Knowing the Contradictions still existing, between some, at least on the way to use certain "Rule of Law" called Mechanisms vis a vis one or two EU Member States' Governments, gave the Impression that the Latter Might, Indeed, be True, at least in some cases...

Finaly, it's Even until the very Last Minute : Sunday Afternoon, that some EU Agents appeared still Discussing about, at least, the "Consensus" Issue in EU Council's Decision-Making, as a Group of Young Experts told "Eurofora", while Leaving EU Parliament.

"Eurofora"'s Friends Position on that Issue, is that Small/Medium EU Member Countries should, in Principle, adhere to an Efficient Majority Decision-Making, with the Exception, mainly, of Crucial National Security Issues, as well as When their Society's Cultural and/or Moral core Identity is at Stake, (as it has been Published even at CFE's Web Platform). Both under a Fair Judicial Monitoring, to Prevent Abuses. This shouldN't, normaly, disrupt EU's main Development.

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Last, but not least : Exceptionaly, some Unexpected practical upheavals, and/or a strange Problem with our Dictaphone, Unfortunately Lost the precious Audio-Registrations of the Short but Interesting Interviews that "Eurofora" made at least with 2 Kind Couples of Participant Citizens from Finland, and Spain plus Romania...

WithOut enough Written Notes, Neither Audio Registrations, it would be Irresposnible to Publish some Approximate traces of Memory, and Press Deontology Obliges us to Abstain. The infamous "Scalfari" Method, (from the Founder of Italian Newspaer "Republica", Famous for Publishing withOut Notes, even on the Pope), is Not "Eurofora"s Preference...

We just Remember well that those from Finland had Plans about Digital High-Tech, while those from Romania and Spain appeared Interested in History and Culture... But, Both of them appeared Sincerely pro-European, and that's, Naturaly, the main point... As for the Main Issues, in this Article, All that Obviously Underlines the practical Importance to Ensure, at any case, Also enough Time and Means for Transparency vis a vis the Press too.

 

(../..)

 

("Draft-News")

 

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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.

    ***

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