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Home arrow newsitems arrow CFE/EcoSoc+Digit.Panel/Day-1: EF raises Question of Citizens' Freedom to Change Agenda

CFE/EcoSoc+Digit.Panel/Day-1: EF raises Question of Citizens' Freedom to Change Agenda

Written by ACM
Friday, 17 September 2021

 

 cofoe_1st_panelday_1_plenary_eurofora_400

*Strasbourg/EU Parliament/Angelo Marcopolo/- Right from the very Beginning of the 1st Attempt in Europe's History to actively Associate Citizens in Shaping its Future, (See: http://www.eurofora.net/newsflashes/news/eppressheadtoefoncitizenspanels.html, etc), while Other Journalists repeated Queries about the Political Views' Fairness in the Selection of Participants by a Private Company of alleged Experts, (as some EU Politicians had Already done), instead, "Eurofora" Focused on a "Technical" but Crucial critical Question about Whether they Really had a Fair Possibility, in real Practice, to make notable Changes in the Scheduled Agenda of that unique process, and/or Add Key Input (i.e. f.ex. Backing certains Key Proposals, perhaps Neglected by some "Experts"), or not.

An Obvious Problem was the Fact that this First "Citizens' Panel", (out of 4 in Total), Focused on Economic and Social Issues, including Education, Culture and Sport, as well as Digitalisation, had a so "Tight" Draft Daily Programme, during 3 Crucial Days, (17-19/9/2021), that it appeared, a priori, Practicaly very Difficult, if not Impossible, for them, to Seriously Examine all key Facts, Notice eventual Ommissions or other Errors, Discuss, Revendicate, and Obtain any Important Change...

 

eu_conf_on_future_of_europe__timeline_ep__eurofora_400_01 

Indeed, f.ex., inter alia, the 1st and 3rd Days were Cut in a Half, (i.e. Only Afternoon or Morning, respectively), the 2nd (apparently the Most Serious Working Day) was Reduced for 1/3 by Social Events and various Invitations, Added to the Fact that the 1st Day (Friday) was practicaly consumed into Welcoming, Meeting, and Organisation matters, while almost All the Rest was Ostensibly Full of Partial or even Total Interventions by Various Other Actors : "Moderators", "Experts", "Facilitators", MEPs, etc, accompagnied Also by a numerous (and apparently Hard-Working) Secretariat or "NGOs" from Brussels, etc, so that the mainly InExperienced 200 Citizens, from Dispersed Origins, most of whom didn't even know where were located EU Parliament's basic Meeting Places inside a Huge Building, inevitably Risked to feel Lost amidst Only ...5, 10 or 15 Minutes' Time-Slots often assigned by the Draft Programme for Debating and Making Hard Choices even at some Thorny and Complicated Issues... A fotiori when Only "Plenary" Debates were Accessible to Journalists and the Public via EBS), while, on the Contrary, crucial "WorkShop" Meetings between Participant Citizens were kept Closed, (Opposite to what happens with MEPs' "Committee" Debates, at least Since "Eurofora" succesfuly Suggested an Internet Direct Links, when we had Met with then New EU Parliament's President Buzek, in the Past, (See: ..,, etc).

In Addition, as some among the Organizers reminded to "Eurofora", it's, also, a well known Fact that there had Not been a Full Unanimity, inside all EU Parts, for Trying to give a Say to Citizens, (Even if a Majority really Believed that EU should and could Associate Citizens in a Modern and more Democratic Decision-Making process, if it really Wanted a more Ingrated and Stronger Europe in the World : See, already, inter alia, f.ex., also from Strasourg's area Franco-Germann core Couple of Daul and Schaüble at the CoE, earlier, etc). - "But you Remember that, Already Shortly before that Virus, such a Project Risked to be pacticaly going towards a Dead End", an EU Parliament's staff membe Rihtfully Reminded to "Eurofora". So that it's Not Excluded a priori that Some might, perhaps, even, be Secretly Glad if Any such Modern EU Democracy potential Failed, by putting Spokes in EU's Wheels...

This was in Bright Contrast particularly with People apparently Motivated by a Real pro-European Aspiration, including, f.ex. a Collegue Journalist who came to Strasbourg by Air-Flight from Tallin, and/or a Young Lady, Citizen-Participant, who "Eurofora" shaw Working with a Computer, even Alone, until Late Evening, while Most Others were Eating at the Restaurant or Dispersed in various Social Events' Invitations, an Aged but Experienced "Expert" eager to Stimulate an Ambitious pro-European Ambiance, or Press Attaché Kyriakos Closides claiming that Participant-Citizens "did Not Quarell, among them, But, on the Contrary, strived to Find Common Ground for real European Solutions, (etc). Mylti-Active Head Press Attaché Sanne De Ryck, who strived to Help Press Contacts in general, while Admitting that Many Plenary Events were, in fact, "Experts"-driven, nevertheless, pointed at Citizens' "Workshops" and/or "Breaks", for Journalists' INTWs, particularly Later-on, (righfully : See ..., etc UPDATED).

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cofoe_1st_panel_day_1__press_briefing__distance_eurofora_400 

=> EU competent Officials' feeling on the above-mentioned "Eurofora"s Query, Today, appeared to be a somewhat "Balanced" one : Essentialy, they too felt that, Indeed, there was "a Challenge" here, since there was a Limited Time, but for Broad Issues, and an Equilibrium to Find between Input from the Web (i.e. the rest of 500 Millions of European People), Experts, etc, while Also Letting Participants Free to Reflect, Propose, etc., since they should have some Time to reach their own Conclusions, as part of this Process' added Value...

cofoe_1st_panel_day_1_ep_secretariats_off_the_record_reply_to_agg_question_eurofora_400 

(Meanwile, concerning at least the Fact that Participant Citizens are really Eager to Speak and Exchange with Each-Other around the CoFoE's Issues, including among themselves,  this became Immediately Obvious when, Earlier this 1st Day at the Plenary, the Organizers Allowed them to "Know Each Other" during ... Ten (10) Minutes, as an "Eurofora"'s relevant Photo clearly indicates)...

cofoe_1st_panelday_1_people_eager_to_meet_each_other_12_m_ebs__eurofora_400 

In consequence, they Claimed Both that, in order to be Politicaly Efficient, this Conference's Approach would strive to "Narrow-down" the Number and Scope of Various Questions raised here, and that at any case, the 200 or 800 Participant Citizens, as well as All Other EU's 500 Miliions Citizens, would have Opportunities to UpDate and/or Complete their Queries, (using Various Practical Astuces),  during the Rest of the Time Available, (particularly during the Next 2 Panels and/or Following "Interim Reports", due on October + November), until Before the Conference on Europe's Future concludes on Early 2022...

A Preference for "Narrowing down" Issues to Debate, was Also Backed by Brussels-based NGO "European Policy Center"'s envoy, Johannes Greubel, speaking to "Eurofora" Later-on, under Pretext that this would Provoke Sharper Reactions from Participants, in general.

However, there was Not Yet any Crystal-clear Answer to the Crucial, in real Practice, Question, whether the Next 2 Editions of the "Interim Reports" on the various "Proposals" made by EU Citizens at the Website Platform of the Conference for the Future of Europe during the Forthcoming few Months might be Entirely UpDated, i.e. Including Also several interesting Proposals that had Not Been Spoted yet, Nor Cited, or not even Made Earlier, as "Eurofora" suggested...

cofoe_1st_panel_day_1__eptranslation_in_24_languages_eurofora_400 

Indeed, to judge, f.ex., by the 1st "Interim Report" on the CoFoE, just Published on September 15, and due to cover the previous Period of April-August 2021 only, as EU Parliament's Chief Negociator, MEP Guy Verhofstadt, had announced on 14/9/2021, (See : http://www.eurofora.net/newsflashes/news/eppressheadtoefoncitizenspanels.html + ..., etc), in Fact, several Key, Originl Proposals made by Registered EU Citizens at the Official Website Platfotm of the Conference, were, Surprizingly, Not even Mentioned in that Report, while, on the Contary, a lot of Other, sometimes Less Relevant, Repetitive, Superficial, or even of Doubtful Elligibility, are uselessly occupying Many Pages of that "Report", giving a Missleading and Troncated Image of the Real Situation about EU Citizens' pertinent Proposals, so that it Risks to Push towards Errors, UnJustified Ommissions, Arbitrary Rejections, Loss of Rare Opportunities to Efficiently Settle Issues, Legitimate Frustrations, and a Stern Image of European People's Capacity to Imagine and Propose Interesting Solutions...

And such Curious Shortcomings are Obvious Even at the Notoriously Most Important and Popular segment of this Conference on Europe's Future : That which concerns European DEMOCRACY, as Verhofstadt observed !  Indeed, you can Find in that "1st Interim Report", a lot of clumsy Suggestions Favoring some "Lobbies" or Oligarchies, possibly More Dangerous than the Already Existing ones, (as several Observers pointed already out, at Critical Comments made there), or, for the Rest, Only a Repetitive Litany of Countless ...Remakes of the Notorious "Citizens' Initiative", in one way or another, Again and Again..., while, at the Same Time, some really New and Original Ideas, (Even if they might have been Welcomed by Heads of State/Government, EU Parliament's President, Top Key MEPs, etc) are Curiously 100% Ommitted, Hidden and Muzzled !

But, thus, a great Part or all the Good Work done by Honest, Active and Creative EU Parliament's and Other Staff, as well as several Fresh Ideas, sincere EU Aspirations, Useful Proposals, by Motivated European People, Risks to be Undermined and Lost, at an Obviously Crucial Juncture for possible and Necessary Developments able to Boost Europe's Present and foreseable Future, in a Hard World... All EU Citizens' Potential must be saveguarded and developed according to its real value, without any irresponsible abuse.

 

(../..)

 

("Draft-News")

 

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  imag0573_400

    An "Eugenic" loophole Amendment, which might expose to Dangers reminiscent of "3rd Reich's" notorious Genetic Abuses, hidden at the last minute inside an otherwise Good, larger Health policy Package scheduled to be voted on Thursday, was strongly denounced by a coalition of MEPs from various Political Groups and Countries, in a Press Conference held this afternoon at EU Parliament in Strasbourg.

    Mainly calling to "Select Human Embryos", via "Genetic Counselling" and "pre-implantation" Techniques including "Genetic Tests", in order to "Eradicate Hereditary rare Diseases", it might open ways to Dangerous Practices in Future, they denounced in substance.

    But they also made it clear that a much larger Report inside which this Controversial Amendment "No 15" was added in dubious circumstances, officialy destinated to struggle against "Rare Diseases", and drafted by Professor Antonios Trakatellis, was otherwise "an Excellent Report", aiming at a "completely Uncontroversial target" of Health policy on which "all MEPs and Experts are united, believing that Europe should act" to protect People's Health (See "EuroFora"'s earlier News).

    The controversy came at a particularly delicate moment for the EU in relation to Citizens, at the eve of June 2009 EU Elections, and shortly before Ireland re-votes for "Lisbon Treaty"..    

- Denouncing risks of "an Eugenic demand, very similar to what we had during the 3rd Reich in Germany, but now coming from some Scientisists themselves", German ChristianDemocrat/EPP MEP Dr. Peter Liese stressed that critical MEPs were against "Eugenic" engineering with "Selection of Human Embryos", and anything which might ultimately lead up to to a "Selection of Human Race". It doesn't help to "eradicate" Human Lives, he added.


    Several Experts and NGOs expressed "Deep Concern", as f;ex. DR M.C. Cornel of the "European Society of Human Genetics", which stressed, on this occasion, that "the importance of Non-Directiveness in Reproductive issues is a Central characteristic of Human Genetics, after the Atrocities committed in the name of Genetics in the first half or the 20th Century".

     - "This is completely Unacceptable", stressed Italian Liberal MEP Vittorio Prodi, on the Controversial Amendment, also because pushes to "eliminate early Human Life", as he noted.

     - "This opens a Dangerous Road, rather a Motorway", denounced Danish MEP Mrs Margrette Auken, from the "Greens", observing that various similar attempts were made in the Past "not only in Germany, but also in several other Countries, "even at the 1970ies", "f.ex. on forced Sterilisation of Roma" People, and other criticisable situations f.ex. in the UK, in Sweden, etc. as she said.

    + Other NGOs, as f.ex. "LebenHilfe" from Berlin, added that, among various other Risks, could also be that, by exploiting the pre-implantation Genetic Diagnostics and the Selection of "healthy" Embryos, some may "propagate" several "Eugenic" aims, starting f.ex. by pushing to eradicate Human Livies which might "Cost too much" to preserve, ultimately exposing to dangers reminiscent of the "3rd Reich"'s atrocious abuses.

    In consequence, ChristianDemocrats/EPP and "Green" MEPs "decided by Majority to vote against" this Controversial Amendment, anounced to Journalists the 5 MEPs who participated in the Press Conference, representing a wide spectrum, from Liberals to "Greens" and ChristianDemocrats, and from Hungary, Italy, Germany and Danemark up to Ireland (Gay Mitchell), etc.
----------------------------------
    Hungarian ChristianDemocrat MEP Laszlo Surjan said "that it was "Suddenly, at the End of the Procedure" in Committee, that "appeared this (Controversial) Amendment, which has nothing to do" with the main purpose of the Report, on which all agreed.

    He denounced an "Unhonest" move, and called to "avoid this kind of unacceptable situations". Nobody should "Select People", Surjan stressed.

    - "We (MEPs) had No Chance to Discuss" this last-minute Amendment earlier added at a Committee's level, said German MEP Peter Liese

    Speaking to "EuroFora", Dr. Liese, the Spokesman of the ChristianDemocrat/EPP Group in EU Parliament, said that MEPs didn't oppose other references of the Report f.ex. on "Genetic Tests", because they were "no proposals" to impose them, while, on the contrary, there was "a Problem" if anyone attempted to "impose" f.ex. this or that Genetic Technique and "Genetic Counselling", etc. to the People on human reproduction.
-------------
The precise Text :
-----------------
    Controversial parts of Amendment No 15 ask mainly "to lead finally to the Eradication" of "Hereditary" "rare diseases", "through Genetic Counselling .., and ..pre-Implantation Selection of healthy Embryos".

    But  EU Rapporteur Professor Trakatellis, said to "EuroFora" that fears should be alleviated by Guarantees that all this should be done only "where appropriate", when it's "not contrary to existing National Law", and "always on a Voluntary basis", according to other Parts of the Amendment.

    He stressed that the main aim was to allow "a free and informed choice of persons involved", without imposing them anything :  - "It's not an obligatory, but advisary" text, he said.

    To make that point clear, he was ready, in agreement with many MEPs, to eventually drop at least that part of the controversial Amendment which initially called for "efforts to ..lead finally to the Eradication of those rare diseases" "which are Hereditary".

    But, until late Wednesday evening, reportedly together with many other MEPs, he stood by all the rest of the controversial Amendment, (fex. on the "Genetic Counselling" and the "pre-implantation Selection of healthy Embryos"), so that critical MEPs, going from ChristianDemocrats as Dr. Liese, to "Greens" or "Ind/Dem", observed to "EuroFora" that "this was not enough" to close the dangerous loophole.

    Particularly since, as Professor Trakatellis noted himself, "this is already allowed to the U.K.", and "other National Legislations would probably follow, sooner or later" in a similar direction. As for a general call to "Eradicate Hereditary rare Diseases", this "should happen, at any case, in practice, de facto", to protect public Health.

    On the contrary, "our goal should be to help patients suffering from rare diseases, not to eradicate the patients. In case of genetic disease risk, the decision should not be guided by scenarios" made by politicians. "Perents who may decide to accept a child, even if handicapped or with genetic disease, must be respected and supported with solidarity", critical MEPs stated.

    - "Any Pressure" to "a patient or couple (who "should be able to make an informed choice consistent with their own values"),"from health Professionals, Public Health Policies or Governemental Institutions, or Society at large, should be avoided", stresses the "European Society for Human Genetics".

----------------------------------

Each MEP's vote will be registered !

-----------------------------------   

The Socialist Group requested a "Split vote" on the Amendment 15, first without, and afterwards with the words "lead finally to the Eradication" etc.


    But the first "split vote" leaves intact all the other parts of the Controversial Amendment, (i.e. "Genetic Counselling", "Selection of healthy Embryos", etc).

    That's why, 3 Groups of MEPs : ChristianDemocrats/EPP, "Greens/EFA", and "Ind/Dem", have asked for "Roll Call Votes", on everything regarding the Controversial Amendment No 15, and on the final outcome of the resulting Report as amended, which will register all the individual positions to be taken by each MEP.   

Something which will obviously make each MEP think twice before voting for one or another choice, to be sure that he/she will make the right choice in front of EU Citizens, particularly at these pre-Election times...


    Crucial Votes were scheduled between 12 Noon and 1 p.m. local Strasbourg time, in the middle of a long series of various other Reports, and after a long Public Debate on the larger Health policy package, from 9 to 11.50 am.

    The specific Report inside which was hidden the controversial Amendment is due to be debated between 11 and 12 am.

    So that more last-minute Surprises may not be excluded a priori...

    Particularly at the present Historic moment, when even the Institutional Future of the EU depends on the result of a second Referendum on "Lisbon Treaty", later this year, in ...Ireland, a mainly Catholic country, where People are particularly sensitive in such kind of socio-cultural and values issues...
 

      ***     
 
     (Draft due to be updated).
 
***

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