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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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pe_cfe_panel_2_spanish_expert_prof_social_psychology_univ_spain___eurofora_400 

>>> 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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 ep_cfe_participating_citizens_panel_2_eurofora_400

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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 sarko_merkel_mieux

The official presentation of a "Program" respecting People's choices voted in the June 7, 2009 EU Elections, to be debated in EU Council and EU Parliament during its 1st Session on July in Strasbourg, is the No 1 Priority, according to Democratic principles, for the Franco-German axis, said the main winners at the ballot box, French President Nicolas Sarkozy and German Chancellor Angie Merkel.

They stressed  that the New EU Commission's President must have a "Program" in favor of an EU which "protects" its Citizens, regulates financial markets and aims at a "Political" Europe" : a wording they have used as incompatible with Turkey's controversial EU bid.

They also declared ready for a "political" endorsment of "Mr. Barroso's candidacy" in June's EU Council, considering that an official decision would have to be made after EU Parliament's debates and votes, possibly from next month (July), with the legally necessary final acceptance shortly after Lisbon Treaty's entry into force, hoped for September or October.


- "A Program, and Mr. Barroso" : This resumes, in substance, the anouncements made by Sarkozy and Merkel, on the question of current EU Commission's President, Barroso's declared wish to succeed to himself for a second mandate, to be extended during the following 5 years.

 In their 1st meeting after EU Elections, they observed that "the Franco-German axis counted in European Elections' campaign... But, we both keep a realistic view : We saw the number of those who abstained, and we must absolutely give them an answer. We also see the disilusionment of an important number of Europeans vis a vis Europe, and we are aware of the responsibilities we have".

sarko

 - The "Duty" of the new EU Commission's President, after June 7, 2009 EU Elections' result, "is to act for a Europe which protects the Europeans, to commit himself into working for a better Regulation of Financial transactions, ... and to have a Political will for Europe", underlined Sarkozy.

Therefore, "we have asked M. Barroso... to clarify, to officialy present the intentions he has", he anounced.

- "We want to speak also about the Programme", explained Merkel.

- "It's important that for the next EU Parliament's mandate (2009-2014) we take the right Decisions for Europe.  Obviously on Persons, but mainly Decisions on Issues", she stressed.

- "It's not simply a question of a Person, it's also a question of a Programme". We are "really asking Mr. Barroso to commit himself on a Program, and on Principles, on Values", Sarkozy added.

EU President-in-office, Czech Prime Minister Jan Fischer, accepted the Franco-German stance :

- "Barroso must present his Programme. The Czech Presidency agrees with that", Fischer reportedly said later, after meeting Sarkozy.

But Press reports from Brussels claimed that Barroso had preferred to be officially appointed by EU Council since June, (i.e. next week), "because this was implied by the current Treaty of Nice, according to him", and considered any delay until the possible ratification of the new, Lisbon Treaty on September/October, as "undemocratic".

- "At any case, independently of what Germany and France ask, it's also EU Parliament's wish". "We shall propose Mr Barroso's candidacy... But even in the framework of Nice Treaty, EU Parliament has to be associated in this Decision", the French President observed.

If this is correctly done, then "we support Mr. Barroso's candidature", and "if the (EU) Parliament agrees, we might ratify this decision since July", (i.e. next month), they both said.

smerkem_400

- "France and Germany support Baroso's candidacy, But we want to speak also on the Program. We believe that this Program should be established in close cooperation with EU Parliament, and that's why we have followed an appropriate way", said Merkel.  - If EU Parliament wants, this election can take place on July,  but this must be done in full agreement.

- "We shall support Mr. Barroso's candidacy, without doubt", said Sarkozy. "But we have asked from Mr. Barroso, as I told him yesterday, to put into detail.. his intentions, at the eve of his 2nd mandate, if the situation avails itself.


    France and Germany "don't want to take an Official Legal Decision by writting" during "the next (EU) Council" (on June 18-19), declared Sarkozy.  Because they prefer, at this stage, only "a Political decision" on June, "so that we (EU Council) can work together with EU Parliament", which starts to meet only Next Month, since July in Srasbourg, "leaving a Legal decision by writting for later".

    - "If the Conditions are fuillfiled in EU Parliament, we (EU Council) are ready to give the agreement and make it offficial", said Merkel

    - "But, now we are working in the base of Nice Treaty. If tommorow we want to work in the spirit of Lisbon Treaty, we have to find a proper way", she added.

    - "Of course it's Legally complicated, because we are going to make a Political proposal to the forthcoming Council, for an EU Commission's President, on the basis of Nice Treaty : So, we (EU Council) will not appoint the Commissioners. Only the President.  If EU Parliament agrees, it could endorse this position on July", explained Sarkozy.

    But, on Autumn, "if Ireland ratifies Lisbon Treaty, there will be, at any case, a 2nd Decision, to appoint the Commission's President, this time on the basis of Lisbon treaty, and then, we, the EU Member States, would have to appoint (also) the EU Commissioners", he added.

    As for the precise Timing :  - "Everything is suspended until the Irish vote... Now, we must all make everything possible to help Ireland to say "Yes"" to Lisbon Treaty... The Irish Referendum, ..will take place either on September or on October. It's a Question which depends on the Irish. And,  then, we shall have the Choice of the Candidates for the permanent Institutions of Europe".

    However, "if Ireland says No, we, French and Germans, have to assume our responsibilities, and we'll do so", he concluded.

    But British and Swedish governments were reportedly eager to have a final EU Council decision on Barroso since this month, on June's European Council. While the other EU Member Countries are divided, several of them preferring to wait until EU Parliament pronounces itself, on July, and/or until Lisbon Treaty might be ratified by Ireland at the beginning of the Autumn. Barroso's current mandate ends on November.

    There are also various, contradictory and/or unpredictable reactions inside EU Parliament vis a vis Barroso's wish to continue a 2nd mandate, because many MEPs are openly or secretly opposed, reluctant, or hesitating.

    In the biggest EU Countries, as France and Germany, EU Citizens voted on June 2009 EU Elections for a renovated, non-technocratic but Political Europe which cares for its Citizens, with an Identity, Values and Borders, declared incompatible with Turkey's controversial EU bid, by mainstream, pro-European Governing Parties. Similar choices were also supported in several other small or medium EU Countries.

    On the contrary, whenever, in other Countries, Governing and other mainstream Parties didn't make these choices or eluded them, EU Citizens massively voted for euro-Sceptics whenever they were the only ones to to promise anti-bureacratic change and oppose Turkey's demand to enter into the EU, (f.ex. in the UK, Netherlands, etc).

    It's seems to be an Open Question whether Sarkozy and Merkel's conditions will be really accepted by Barroso, who was appointed on 2004 in a different political context, (with Socialist Prime Ministers in Germany, France, etc), had rejected in the Past the idea of EU becoming "equal to the USA" as "ridiculous", and pushed for Turkey's contoversial EU bid, trying to "soften" or contain the changes desired by the People who voted for Merkel and Sarkozy with another policy vis a vis Turkey on 2005 in Germany and on 2007 in France, as they did all over Europe on 2009.

    In addition to many EPP Governments, it's 3 remaining Socialist Prime Ministers : Gordon Brown in the UK, Zapatero in Spain, and Socrates in Prortugal, who support Barroso, as well as Liberal Swedish Prime Minister Reinfeldt. But their Parties lost the June 2009 EU Elections.

    Questioned whether there was still "Time" for "other" possible "Candidates", Sarkozy and Merkel did not deny, nor made any comment on that, but simply said that "it's not for us to make publicity for any candidates. We anounced our choice ("A Program, and Mr. Barroso"). But we respect any other candidate".

    Among various other names cited are former Belgian Prime Minister Verhofstadt, former UNO's Human Rights Commissioner Mary Robinson of Ireland, Italian former EU Commission's vice-President Monti, etc. Meanwhile, Luxembourg's PM Juncker, (who had been unanimously accepted by EU Council for EU Commission's Presidency on 2004, but refused), announced his intention to resign from "EuroGroup"'s Chair. Thus, he might be available for another Top EU job.

    As "EuroFora"'s "opinion" said (See publication dated 9/6/09) : - "If the current candidates (i.e. Barroso, etc) to the Top EU jobs promise and guarantee to respect People's democratic choices, then, it's OK".

"Otherwise, Europe must find new candidates, really motivated and able to implement these democratic choices of the People."

    Because, "in Democracy, the forthcoming choices for EU's Top Jobs,...should be made according to EU Citizens' Votes in June 7, 2009 European Elections, and main EU Governments' strategic policies".
        

***

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