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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

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*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 recent paradox of freezing EU Talks with front-runner Croatia, while continuing controversial EU - Turkey talks, despite Zagreb's acceptance of Refugees' Human Rights to return, that Ankara refuses fex. in Cyprus, while both have "Good Neighborhood" problems vis a vis Slovenia, or Greece, Cyprus and Armenia respectively, can it be justified by the non-fullfilment of EU criteria, as Slovenia says, or, is it "Double Standards" ?    

The question became unavoidable after statements by Presidents of Slovenia and Croatia, Tuerk and Mesic, respectively, to "EuroFora", exclusively or among Strasbourg's journalists this week at the CoE, on the sidelines of its 2009 Summer University for Political Schools, which topically brought them together as successive key-note speakers.


    Comming only a few Months before EU checks Turkey's compliance to its commitments on Cyprus, etc., scheduled for December 2009, this obviously has a special importance for the coherence of EU Enlargement's principles.

     Suspension of EU Negotiations is a normal consequence in case of a Candidate Country's failure to fullfil EU Conditions, such as "Good Neighborhood relations", stressed at first Slovenian President Danilo Tuerk, current CoE's chair.

    But, regarding EU's Criteria,  there shouldn't be any "Double Standards",  reacted Croatian President Stjepan Mesic, commenting the fact that Turkey's controversial EU negotiations continue, while they were recently "freezed" in the case of Croatia, an "unquestionably European Country", which oficially accepts to respect Refugees Human Rights, contrary to Ankara's notorious refusals or reluctance.                                       

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                           - "EU itself has set as a Criterium (for EU Enlargement) the "Good Neighborhood relations",  and their absence justifies the "Suspension" EU Negotiations, (f.ex. with Croatia), because of a Border dispute affecting the territorial integrity of an EU Member Country, stressed Slovenian President, Danilo Tuerk, CoE's Chairman in office (May - November 2009), speaking to Journalists in Strasbourg including "EuroFora".    

Questioned earlier what "consequences on EU's Enlargement policy" can have the "Ban on EU Membership Negotiations", imposed to Croatia, Tuerk replied that "this question comes down to the fulfillement of (EU) Criteria for membership. One has to look at each Candidate Country ., from the point of view whether it fullfils the Criteria that EU has set. One of them are Good Neighborhood Relations, I'd like to remind. And also, there are other factors, such as Justice, Home affairs, Rule of Law, and others".


    - "Now, ..Candidate Countries are at Different Levels of fulfillement of Criteria", he observed.

    - " Croatia is obviously the closest to that. I'm rather optimistic : I think that in the coming Months we'll have an opportunity to look at all these issues constructively and hopefully we'll be able to make progress". "My main concern, at this point, is the situation in Bosnia : We haven't seen enough progres domesticaly. We haven't seen enough during ..political parties within their country.We need a New Energy, a new energetic move towards the Candidature for EU membership. "Other (Western Balkan) Countries (Serbia, Montenegro, FYROM, Albania) have been making soaring Progress, and I think that they should be ready, in a few Years, for the Candidate status".

    - "As far as the Western Balkans are concerned, .. nobody should be left outside" the EU, Slovenian's President concluded, ommitting to mention Turkey's controversial EU bid.

    - "This process may be seen as Slow, but..  Slovenia has also has also been exposed to various "Booms of Slowness" in our accession period. But now we can say that the process was relatively quick, because changes which occur after becoming EU member, are quite large, and they require proper Preparations before the (EU) membership becomes a new factor, an impacting line for a new (EU) member country".
----------------------------

EU "Solidarity" ?
------------------------------   

Slovenian statements made some participants from certain 3rd Countries as FYROM, etc. claim that "the Principle of EU Solidarity" would "produce a.. rising European Union Nationalism (sic !), against Non-EU Countries", as they said, asking unhappy foreign countries to form a "bloc" to exert pressure on the EU...    

But Croatian President Stjepan Mesic dismissed that, supporting "EU Integration", "after the Economy also in Political" issues, as "the achievement" of our times. In EU there is "diversity, but it's United", he stressed, "EU has to be United so that it can become a central factor of Peace" also at the surrounding areas, he replied.

croatian_president_mesic_ 

Speaking later exclusively to "EuroFora", the experienced twice President of Croatia, former President of the International "Non-Aligned" movement, denounced "Double Standards" in the way EU treats recently Croatia compared to Turkey :   

 - "I think that there shouldn't be Double Standards", stressed the Croatian President, in reply to a Question comparing the freeze of EU - Croatia talks, with the continuation of EU - Turkey talks, despite the fact that Croatia is an "unquestionably European country", while Turkey's EU bid is notoriously controversial.


    Mesic was reacting to the observation that, even if he confirmed his "respect of Refugees' Human Rights to return, etc. (See infra), nevertheless, EU talks are suspended with Croatia.. While for oher, controversial candidates, who refuse to respect Refugees' Rights to return, etc., as fex. Turkey does in occupied Cyprus and elsewhere, EU negotiations continue".

    - "I believe that Croatia's accession will confirm that all European Countries who fulfill all of the Conditions and achieve European Standards, have to join the EU. There shouldn't be any Double Standards", went on to add in reply President Mesic.

    In this relation, Croatia's President found "of paramount importance", CoE's "mechanisms enforcing ECHR's judgements"
    
    - "On Refugees and Displaced persons, the process will be completed only after the last person demanding to return will be allowed to do so !", President Mesic Croatia stressed earlier, setting a general standard of obvious importance also for otherr candidates, as f.ex. Turkey, often accused to exclude or heavily restrict Greek Cypriot Displaced persons' return to their Family Homes and ancestral land, provoke difficulties to Turkish-Kurd IDPs return to their home regions at the South-East, etc.

    Some "2.000 People are still reported Missing" in former Yugoslavia, for some Years, (as in Cyprus, modern Europe's oldest case, for 3 Decades. Nagorno-Karabach, Tcecnya in Russia, etc, more recently), and Investigations "will only be completed after establishing the fate of the last one of them", he added.
    
    Speaking earlier on "War Crimes", President Mesic stressed that "Leaders are responsible for (the) Wars (of the Past), not the People", and called against Impunity :  "Individuals have to be held Responsible for Crimes. International Penal Tribunals have to persecute those individuals", perpetrators of War Crimes, he underlined.

    Such statements naturally made Mesic rather popular at ECHR, whose President, French EuroJudge, Professor Jean-Paul Costa, looked particularly smiling when he welcomed him later on Wednesday afternoon, after Slovenian President Daniko Tuerk earlier this week.
           

***

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