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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 ?

Автор 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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- 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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Recent developments proved that Europe can suceed to overcome challenges by aiming at great objectives, and this is needed also in 2009, said EU chairman, French President Nicolas Sarkozy.

    - "It's in the name of Great Ideas, Projects, Ambition and Ideals, that EU can overcome" challenges, stressed Sarkozy at EU Parliament in Strasbourg, in conclusion of a dense 7 months EU Chairmanship. "It's even easier for Europe to have Great projects, able to overcome national egoism, instead of limiting itself only to small projects" (unable to do alike), he observed.     

- "Europe must remain Ambitious and understand that the World needs her to take Decisions". "The World needs a Strong Europe", which "thinks on its own, has convictions, its own responses, its imagination" : "A Europe which does not limit itself into following" others, (as it did in the Past, when it followed USA, f.ex. on Bosnia). On the contrary, "Europe should undertake its own responsibilities", he said, after a series of succes in stopping the War between Russia and Georgia, and organizing the 1st EuroZone's Summit in Paris, which incited the Washington DC G-20 Summit to extend similar decisions World-wide.  


    - "When you sweep it all under the carpet, prepare yourself for hard tomorrows", he warned. "What hinders decisions is the lack of Courage and Will, the fading away of Ideals", he stressed before EU Parliament's 2008 debate on Human Rights and Sakharov prize on Freedom of thought attributed by MEPs to Chinese cyber-dissident Hu Jia, followed by an EU - Turkey meeting on Friday.

    - "I don't abandon my convictions" and "I will take initiatives" on EU level also in 2009, Sarkozy announced later. "France will not stop having convictions and taking initiatives" on Europe. + "It's an Error to wish to pass over the Heads of those who are elected in their Countries" : "It's an integrism I always fought against"', he warned.
---------------------
French EU Presidency faced 4 unexpected Crisis :

- An institutional crisis, with the Irish "No" to EU Lisbon Treaty, just before it started. A geopolitical crisis, wth the threat of War between Russia and Georgia risking to throw Europe back to Cold-war divisions, on August. A World-wide Financial and Economic crisis, arriving at a bad moment before crucial 2009 EU elections. And even a Strasbourg's mini-crisis, with EU Parliament's roof curiously falling down, from unknown reasons, in a brand new building on August, provoking an unprecedented transfert of the 2 September Plenary Sessions...

But it wasn't enough to stop Sarkozy ! On the contrary, it stimulated him...
---------------------------------------

- "The better way to deal with the recent problems of EU institutions (as the "3 NO" by France, the Netherlands and Ireland) is to take them as a "Test" in order to find solutions closer to Citizens' concerns", said later in Strasbourg Sarkozy's new choice as Ministe for EU affairs, Bruno Le Maire.

- On the Institutional front, Sarkozy gave Time to the Irish to think about it, and stroke on December a deal including a New Referendum after the June 2009 EU Elections, in exchange of a promise to keep the rule of "one EU Commissioner for each EU Member Country", and some opt-outs on Defence and Fiscal EU policies, Abortion, etc. If the Irish get a "Yes" Majority, then the institutional package could be completed in 2010 or 2011 on the occasion of Croatia's probable EU accession.

He was accused in Strasbourg to upgrade EU Council and downgrade EU Commision, but he replied that "strong Political initiatives by EU Council reinforce also the more technical role of EU Commission, under the political-technical leadership of its President", all 3 "working together with EU Parliament".


- But, meanwhile, Sarkozy energetically spearheaded an Historic 1st Summit of EuroZone's 15 Heads of State and Government at EU's core, exceptionally enlarged to a partial participation of British Prime Minister Gordon Brown, on October 12 in Paris' Elysee palace, which started to tackle succesfully the growing world Financial crisis.

    It also paved the way for its endorsement by a subsequent Brussels' 27 EU Member States' gathering, before it all come to Washington's G-20 Summit. And "Europe was united, it asked for the 1st G-20 Summit, and it will also organise the next G-20 Summit on April in London", he observed.   

 But a Conference with EU, Russia, African and other Developing Countries, hosted in Strasbourg shortly after Washington G-20 Summit by the French EU Presidency, took a Resolution asking to enlarge participation to Global Economic Governance. Many found, indeed, illogic and unacceptable that f.ex. states as Turkey were given a seat at G-20 level, while all African Countries, and even the African Union itself, representing the greatest Continent on Earth, were excluded...


    Meanwhile, even USA''s "Paulson No 3" Plan, was, in fact, inspired by Europe's No 1 Plan", Sarkozy observed, largelly applauded by MEPs.

    And "Europe showed Solidarity" by mobilizing some 22 Billion credit for Hungary, 1,7 billion for Ukraine, as we do nowadays for Baltic States, etc., he added.

    The move on Economy was extended on December by an EU stimulus' plan totalling some 200 billion Euros, including 5 Billions released by EU Commission for big Projects, as well as various parallel National plans for Economic revival, (fex. 26 billions in France alone). They might appear limited, compared to USA President-elect Obama's reported plan to boost the American economy with 800 billion $, but at least succeded to overcome Europe's divisions for the first time on Economic governance, opening new horizons.

- The French President stressed even harder the unique role of an active EU Council's chairmanship, when he moved swiftly and efficiently, at the beginning of August, to succesfully stop War between Russia and Georgia, at the last minute, which threatened to bring Europe back to Cold War division.

"We (EU) also wanted to avoid a situation like in Bosnia, in the Past, when EU was absent, so that our American friends took their responsibilitues, and EU only followed", despite the fact that the conflict took place in Europe. Now, it was the EU who took its responsibilities".

A roadmap towards a new PanEuropean Security policy, before which all unilateral moves to place new Missiles (from USA or Russia) would be freezed, was proposed by Sarkozy after a meeting with Russian president Medvedev, at the eve of Washington DC's G-20 Summit.

Ukraine's "European" character was stressed at a Sarkozy - Jushenko Summit, September in Paris, while EU adopted on December an "Eastern policy", in which, "I'm convinced that our (EU's) future is to find with our Neighbours the conditions for Economic Development. Peace and Security, by explaining them that.. they must respect (Human Rights') Values, and adopt behaviors different from the Past", explained Sarkozy in Strasbourg.

Meanwhile, the "Union for the Mediterranean" was created, since July's Summit if 45 Heads of State and Government in Paris, as "an organisation for a permanent Dialogue, that we need", mainly in order to tackle the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, by bringing together, for the 1st time, Israelis and Arabs, where "Europe must be present, in order to avoid a frontal clash".

- "If Europe doesn't take its part for Peace in the Middle-East, nobody else will do that in our place", Sarkozy stressed.
-----------------------
    Meanwhile, other EU Agreements were brokered during the French EU Presidency on Immigration, (fex. common Asylum rules, etc), and Climat- Energy :

    - On Climat-Energy, the 2007 German EU Presidency had fixed a triple 20% aim for 2020 (20% renewable Energies, 20% reduction of CO2 emmission, 20% energy efficience/economies), and the 2008 French EU Presidecny realized that, making the necessary compromises in order to modernize EU's industry, but without throwing some former Central-Eastern European Countries into abrupt Economic break down risking "social explosion".

    - Defence-Security EU policy was mainly postponed for April 2009, since both German chancellor Merkel and French president Sarkozy want to strike a deal with the new American president Obama in Strasbourg's NATO Summit.

    However, with all these 4 unexpected Crisis diverting attention to other urgencies, People wil wonder now, what happened to the famous deal proposed by freshly-elected French President Sarkozy on Turkey's controversial EU bid, back on August 2007, to continue EU - Turkey negotiations, but on the double condition that core chapters, intrinsequally linked with EU Membership, will be excluded, and that a collective Reflexion and Debate on Europe's future would start before the end of 2008.

    It was meant to reply to the crucial question : What kind of Europe do we want in 10 or 20 Years from now : A large Market, or a Political Europe, with a popular identity ? In Sarkozy's thinking, presented in his 2 landmark speeches on Europe in Strasbourg, shortly before and after the 2007 Elections, (on February and July 2007), Turkey's controversial EU bid would be incompatible with the second choice.

    It's true that EU Commision's Chairman, Jose Barroso, (who had notoriously declared, as former Portuguese Prime Minister, that he found "nonsense" the idea that Europe might become equal to the US), had repeatedly tried to avoid that Sarkozy's criticism on Turkey might start winning a larger audience in Europe, preferring a discrete "wismens' committee" work. And that most of the personalities later chosen in order to participate in a Committee on Europe's Future, are too much linked with Socialist parties and/or American policies, to be really critical of USA's notorious wish to impose Turkey to the EU, as Sarkozy had noted himself since March 2007..

     - "It's on EU Council's presidency to take political initiatives. EU Commission has other competences", stressed Sarkozy. The "European Ideal" is to "build Europe with the States, not against them". "Ask Europeans to chose between their countries and Europe won't work. You don't choose between your two parents : We must add them together".

    "France and Germany have an Historic Duty to work together, precisely because of what happened to the Past. We have to work hand by hand. We cannot be separated.It goes beyond me and Mrs Merkel today, Mr Schroeder and Mr. Chirac yesterday. It's not a choice, it's a duty to Europe and to the World".  "We need Germany, as Germany needs Europe". Compromise is inevitable, here as everywhere, and each one made some steps towards eachother's positions.

    But "it's true that Mrs Merkel didn't chose her Socialist partners, while I chose mine", Sarkozy said, in an indirect hint that the Socialist Minister of Finance in Germany might be a cause of minor past disagreements in Economy, which were overcome in recent negotiations.

    "We (France and Germany) have particular duties in Europe", but "in a Europe of 27 Member States, it's not enough for France and Germany to agree between them.

    "I always thought that Great Britain has a special role to play in Europe. ... Now, everybody "saw what it cost payed the UK for having been too exclusively open towards the US (and) Financial services. Europe needs the UK, but also the UK needs Europe" :- "We were able to face the hardest moment of the Financial crisis because the UK clearly chose Europe", stressed Sarkozy, reminding Gordon Brown's exceptional participation to the Historic 1st Heads of State/Government Summit of EuroZone, October 12 in Paris (See EuroFora's Reportage from Elysee Palace then).

     - "Some look at Europe with old glasses aged 30 years ago. While we must look at her in relation to what it will be in 30 years" in the Future, Sarkozy concluded.

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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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