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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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 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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