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Accueil 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

Ecrit par 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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 slovenian__croatian_presidents_at_coe_400

    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.                                       

imag0475_400
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                           - "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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