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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

 

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*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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Swedish Foreign Minister, Carl Bildt, speaking  to "EuroFora", denied rumors on Turkey's attempts to avoid an EU check of its obligations on Cyprus on December 2009 by blackmailing Nicosia to either accept any deal with intransigeant Turkish claims contrary to EU values on the island's political issue, or face threats against the territorial integriy of the EU island, semi-occupied by Ankara's army.

On the contrary, the incoming EU President-in-office, speaking exclusively to "EuroFora", promissed that he will act for EU Council's decisions on December 2009 assessment of Turkey's commitments on Cyprus to be kept.


    Bildt was asked to react to Cyprus' President Christofias' denunciation, earlier this week, that some want to exert "pressure" on Cyprus in order for Turkey to escape from its obligations.

    Avoiding to mention any precise Deadline, Bildt, however, warned about "Consequences" in case of "failure" to reunite Cyprus, but without saying whose responsibility an eventual deadlock might be.  

 Asked by "EuroFora" if there is a risk for "Turkey's commitments to "be forgotten or downgraded", "despite crystal-clear EU Council decisions and EU Parliament's latest Resolution on the assessment to make at the end of this year on Turkey's obligations", according to rumours that, instead of pressing Turkey, on the contrary, there might be "pressure on Cyprus", even "blackmail", as Media reported and President Christofias denounced this week, Bildt denied :

- "No ! ", he clearly replied.


- On the contrary, invited by "EuroFora", to "reassure that the Swedish EU Presidency (7-12/2009) will keep a fair stance, based on principles",  Bildt promised that "we (Swedish EU Presidency) will be very clear on all of the decisions taken by the (EU) Council".

He added, however, that "we have very numerous decisions that have been taken" by EU Council, as if he warned, also, on something else.

- "'I am not aware of any sort of statements coming out today''", Bildt started to say, on our reference to Cyprus' President Christofias" denunciation of Turkish lobby's manoeuvers this week, replying earlier to 'another"EuroFora"'s question during a Press Conference at EU Parliament in Strasbourg.


 - '"I know the issues that you' are concerned with'", he added, remembering  the statements he gave us when Sweden was chairing the PanEuropean CoE on 2008.

- "But, obviously, .. I think that Cyprus' Peace negotiations are extremenly important".

- And "'I think that we are at a unique moment in History, in the sens that both (Cyprus') President Christofias and Mr. Talat (the Turkish Cypriot leader), are personally convinced of the need to overcome the division".

 - "It's 20 Years since the fall of Berlin Wal, but we still have a Capital in Europe (Nicosia) that's divided". ,

- 'I don't that we should loose any time in overcoming that"..

 - ''We should be aware of the fact that success will bring great benefits, but failure, will also have major consequences. There will not be Status Quo' " It's a question of seeking a solution, or entering another situation, which is somewhat difficult to see exactly how that could evolve", he warned.

- "That being said, this is a negotiation for Cyprus itself", Bildt admitted.

 - ''We (EU) can support, the (EU) Commission primarily, be technically helpful, and then, of course, there is a specific role for the UN, when it comes to the Cyprus' situation".  

- "At least so far. It might not be for ever'. Certainly not for ever, but for this period of time", Bildt added, skiping now any reference to concrete threats on UNO's Peace keeping force in face of more than 40.000 Ankara's soldiers, contrary to some Press claims, (See previous NewsReports).


     Replying to another "EuroFora"'s Question,  if anyone might attempt to "impose a Deadline for the conclusion" of Cyprus' Talks on December 2009, Bildt avoided to speak of any precise Time-frame, and indirectly evoked the fact that  35 Years of Turkish Invasion/Occupation obviously durated too long :

'- "If I was from Cyprus, I would say that the Deadline was Yesterday ! '",
Bildt concluded.

Cyprus' Government Spokesman, Stephanou, reportedly pointed out that "a settlement is possible on December if Turkey changes its stance", accepting a solution for the reunification of the island based on UNO resolutiona and EU principles.

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Earlier, EU Chair, Swedish Prime Minister Fredrik Reinfeld, highlighted an "historic opportunity" to "re-Unite" Cyprus according to EU's "basic Values"' (i.e. Human Rights) and 'Rules'", in a last-minute change of his draft speech to EU Parliament in Strasbourg.

    The initial Draft spoke only about "healing" the island.

    Significantly, Reinfeldt linked Cyprus' reunification with Turkey's obligations to respect EU's "Values" and "follow" EU's "common Rules" :

    - What is "called Membership Negotiations" should lead, "at- the end of the day", into "sharing a set of common Basic Values (i.e. Human Rights, Democracy, etc), and following common Rules", stressed Reinfeld from the outset.
    
    - "This is something that those on the Outside (of the EU), are now  contemplating", up "to Ankara", for "a solution" on "Cyprus", observed the EU Chairman, immediately afterwards..  

    - "Both sides of Cyprus have been granted a historic opportunity to together reach an agreement on a solution to re-Unite the island, that has been divided for far too long", said Reinfeldt, modifying his draft text.


-  "The Swedish Presidency will act ...in accordance with Commitments EU has made, on the basis of Criteria that apply", "as a Honest Broker", he promised.    

- "To those on the inside (of the EU), allowing the membership process to become an opportunity to solve protracted disputes, can be tempting", he added.


    "In such cases, we must find solutions that can benefit both sides, and open up a way forward. Otherwise, it would jeopardize the progress we have made towards EU integration", Reinfeldt said.

***

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