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Home arrow newsitems arrow CFE/EcoSoc+Digit.Panel/Day-3: Citizens tell EF they can Debate+Change Agenda. Moves Start

CFE/EcoSoc+Digit.Panel/Day-3: Citizens tell EF they can Debate+Change Agenda. Moves Start

Parašė ACM
Sunday, September 19, 2021

 

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*Strasbourg/EUParliament/Angelo Marcopolo/- The 3rd and Concluding Day, of the 1st CoFoE Panel of Citizens, on Eco-Social and Digital Issues, this Sunday, left an UnExpected Feeling of...Resurrection !

Indeed, after some "Introductions" by "Moderators", the Participating Citizens had a "Discussion" Behind Closed Doors, among themselves, (only with "Facilitators"), about Whether they "Agreed", or had any "FeedBack", perhaps Wished "Changes", etc., Followed by a 30 Minutes Long "Break", where they were practicaly Free to have various Topical Dialogues with "Eurofora" and Other Independent Actors (f.ex. See Infra), Before Returning to the Arena (i.e. the "Plenary"), for a Final Stage, ...Marked by a Surprizing ...Revolt-like Spirit !

During that Special "Break", "Eurofora" had a First Real Chance to Freely Speak with several Participating Citizens or Independent Experts, from Various Key Countries, of Both Sexes, Different Ages, etc, contacted at Random. Those Dialogues were Brief, but more Substantial than expected.

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- A First Surprizing input was from a Young Lady, who Insisted that, at last, Now, Participating Citizens had quite "Enough" Time to Really Speak, Think and Debate between them, on almost All "Hot" Issues they Liked... This Last-Minute Optimism was apparently Supported also by anOther Young Girl and a Young Boy, who were previously Discussing with her...

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- A Youngster from Italy, appeared much More Serious and profound than expected at First Sight : Paolo Mauro, (No Relation to a former Long-Time Top ChristianDemocrat MEP from Italy), told "Eurofora" that, Instead of a Notoriously Bigger Number of Youngsters Under 24 y.o., (since those aged between 17-24 represented Even Small Kids or Babies (sic !), with the Result to Number almost 1/3 of the Total, (as Verhofstad had already Observed in his Press Briefing, Earlier on Wednesday in Strasbourg), he'd rather Prefer to have "Either a clear Event for Youngsters Only, (f.ex. as "EYE", etc), or Events Organized with All the People", represented Equally ! (By the way, Paolo said that he Dreamed to Study the Natural Science of Physics, but in a way Associated with Philosophy : almost Like the Ancient Greek "Atomic" Philosophers, from Ionia).

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cofoe_1st_panel_day_3_finlands_guy_on_digital__agg_eurofora_400_01 

- A serious-looking, well-dressed, Middle-Age Man from Finland, (sitting Alone, as Most Middle-Aged People at this Event, since they are a Minority : See Above), told "Eurofora" that the Main thing for him was to Boost EU's role in Modern "Digital" Technologies, and particularly SmartPhones, Instead of letting various Other Countries in the World (as USA, China, Corea, Japan, Taiwan, sometimes the UK, etc) Dominate that Key Sector of Global Economy and Social Networks, even more... He appeared Glad to be reminded of the Fact that "Nokia", (when it was an Independent Finnish Company, and Not Yet a Secondary Branch of USA's "Microsoft"), had Created the 1st SmartPhones in the World, including even a Unique, Landmark Version of a ...HIgh-Tech "Spacecraft"-looking Device, that my Wife had bought me as a precious Gift, a (Too) Long Time ago...

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cofoe_1st_panelday_3_prof._godart__agg_eurofora_400_01 

- Last, but not least at all, Belgian-Italian University Professor Louis Godart, an Aged but Sportif Man, who had Spoken Yesterday (on Saturday) as an Expert, but was Today (Sunday) Discussing with several Citizens-Participants to the CoFoE with sincere Passion, Agreed with "Eurofora" that a Real, Fully-fledged Education and Culture on properly "European History", Values and Ideas was certainly Needed Nowadays, and Stressed that, in his View, the European Civilisation had Started with the Political Reforms of "Klisthenis", as Early as, Already "Since the 5th Century BC"...

The very Name of Klisthenis, (who is personaly related also with the Famous Pericles, by Family and Political Ideas), Triggers a Series of Links with Democracy, particularly Direct Democracy, as well as Freedom of Speech, Social Reforms and large ConFederation plans, etc., which would certainly be Interesting Also for the Next, 2nd Citizens' Panel, focused on European Democracy, considered to be the Most Popular of all, and due to Start Next Week in Strasbourg (21-23/9/2021).

But, Professor Godart's immediate Aim, Nowadays, was rather to Focus on the Cultural/Education aspect, included in the Present, 1st Citizens' Panel. Indeed, this results clearly from his main Intervention to the Plenary as an Expert, Yesterday (Saturday, 18/9/2021), where he Stressed from the outset that the "1st Founding Cultural Value of EU is Democracy, Born at the 5th Century BC in Ancient Greece".

cofoe_day_2_prof_godart_expert_on_demo_ebs__eurofora_400 

+ Adding also "Christianity and Humanism", he Urged to "Look Back to Athens and Rome, among our (European) Founding Values", because "I firmly Believe that the EU Must absolutely encourage and contribute that we are feeling to be the Children of a Shared Same History !" "F.ex., inter alia, via promoting Major Exhibitions, including on Paintings, (f.ex. to teach that even Leonardo Da Vinci and/or Dante were European Citizens)". Indeed, "We are the Offspring of a Culture which has taken form over course of Millenia, and the main Leading Figures of this Culture, the Books they've written, the Artworks of this Culture, can make us Feel as Children of one and Same Culture. Here, the EU has an Enormous Role to play. Including by placing European Culture in our Education Systems, to show f.ex. that we are the Children of a Culture which Emerged before 3 Millenaries, mainly at the Aegean (Sea) area", Godart Concluded, (by a Symbolic Coincidence speaking the very "Day of the European Cultural Heritage", which Attracted a lot of People also to Visit with their Families the EU Parliament's Tower-Building here : Comp. Supra).

 ++ As for "Eurofora"s Input here, that we Discussed with Professor Godart, it was more Related Also to the 4th Panel, about European Defense : It consisted into Linking "European Education", particularly in "History", with the Most Important, Collective "Victories" of Multi-National European Armies, Bringing Together various Countries and Ethnicities of the European Continent, where simple People risked and even Sacrificed their Lives in order to Liberate and/or Saveguard our common Land from Foreign Military Invasions and Occupations accross the Centuries, while usual History Books either Omit, or Downgrade the Immense Importance of such pro-European events : F.ex. the Lepante Naval battle of 1571 after a Massacre of Venitians in Cyprus by the Turks, Decicive for the Mediterranean Sea; the "Holly League" of 1594-1606, Uniting the Vatican, Italians, Spain, Germans, Venice, Serbs, Polish, Russians, etc. in order to Help Liberate Europe from the Turkish-Ottoman Empire ; the Croatian Fortress Sisak, saved by Austrians, the Defense of Wien on 1683, the Liberation of all Budapest on 1696, the Serbian Revolution of 1804-1835, the Greek Revolution of 1921-1921, (including the landmark Naval Victory of the French, English and Russians against the Turks at Navarino on 1827, who seeked to Replace the Population of Moreas Peninsula by massively Imported Africans, while the Greek People were thrown to Slavery and Transfered to Africa, as mainly Bavarian Germans had Denounced); and many others, in various contexts through the Centuries.

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=> After all that, the overall Spirit of Citizens-Participants in the Concluding Sessions of this Sunday, 19/9/2021, "Plenary" Debates and Votes, concerning the "Discussion" and "Approval" of "Streams", appeared to have Radicaly Changed :

- Indeed, with a Series of Energetic, Vibrant, and quasi-Unanimous moves, a large Majority of Participating Citizens took the Initiative to Advance well Beyond what had been Already cited by the "Moderators", previously, and Spearheaded the Adoption also of several Added, New or More Developed Topics, such as, f.ex., on "Ethical, Inclusive and Democratic Digitalisation Technologies", "Scientific Research", "European Culture and Identity" (eventualy Boosted also by the Creation of EU Medias due to Promote those aspects), TransNational "European Education", "Agriculture" and "Food Safety", etc....

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Sometimes, Citizens had to Repeat, Insist, Argue, and Trigger an EnLarging Popular Support for their Proposals, in order to Convince certain recalcitrant "Moderators", (f.ex. also for "European Education and Research", for "Agricultural Development and Food Safety", etc), But they Succeeded, Most of the times, particularly when Solidarity among them was clearly Expressed in Public.

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However, these and Other "Topics" selected by the Citizens-Participants practicaly Depend on what will happen, Later at CoFoE's Plenary, concerning, in particular, those 20 "Ambassadors", that Each Panel of Citizens is due to Choose Randomly among its 200 Members, (i.e. a Total of 80), in order to Represent them during the most Crucial Part of the Conference, when Final Decisions will be taken.

Curiously, this 1st Panel of Citizens has Just Chosen, Already Today, its 20 "Ambassadors", withOut Waiting... And here, this has Nothing to do with Any Kind of so-called "Direct Democracy" tool, of the king used f.ex. in Klisthenis' Historic era (Comp. Supra). Indeed, then, it was All the Free People (Voting in the "Ecclesia" of their "Demos") who Chose f.ex. an MP for the Parliament ("Bouli"), with a Mandate Duration of Only about 1 Month ! And the Final Legislative Decisions were Not Taken by such "MPs" ("Bouleutes"), competent Only in order to "Prepare" them, But Only by All the Free PeopleVoting All Together, in the "Ecclesia" of their "Demos"... As for the "Executive, Public Officials" (as Ministers, etc), they were roportedly Elected in the Same Manner, But Only for ... One (1) Day ! Last, but not least, the Bulk of Administrative Bureucrats, Secretariat, Staff, Policemen, etc., they were reportedly Selected among ..."Slaves" ! Thus, Risks of Abuse of Power, and/or of Arbitrary Usurpation of Privileges, were Minimized.

But, on the Contrary, those CeFoE's "Ambassadors", are Not Elected by All the European People, (Only Chosen "Randomly" inside a Grouplet of Just 200 Participating-Citizens : Comp. Supra), Neither Limited in the Duration of their Mandate, (since they are reportedly due to Stay inside CoFoE's Plenary as long as the Conference will go on)...

=> Therefore, in real Practice, it seems that it will all Depend from the Authority that will be Recognized in Fact, to the "Resolutions" or "Recommendations" due to be made by the Panels of Citizens by Writting, (as long as they are still there).

 

(../..)

 

("Draft-News")

 

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People in Europe and the World expect from CoE to make a succes of its "Monitoring" for Human Rights and Democracy, despite difficulties, said Finland's President Tarja Halonen to "EuroFora" at a crucial moment for the mecanism built 15 years ago by the paneuropean organization which celebrates its 60th Anniversary in 2009.

Halonen, known as "Mother" of CoE's "Monitoring" mecanism, a long-time MEP and former Foreign Minister before becoming Finland's President, holds a long experience in the mattter, after also serving twice as CoE and EU Chairwoman in the past. That's why she is well placed to judge how CoE's "monitoring" should deal today with some crucial issues of importance both to CoE and to the EU.

The move came just a Month before a crucial, last visit to Turkey, scheduled for June, by the President of CoE''s "Monitoring" Committee, Ukranian MEP Serge Holovaty, to finalize his Report on Ankara, the CoE Member State with the longest Monitoring procedure. From its results depends its overall credibility.

This is a Test-case, because, in fact, it's in order to avoid Sanctions threatened against Turkey by a CoE's Assembly's April 1995 Resolution for grave Human Rights violations, Democracy gaps, the continuing Military Occupation in Cyprus, the unresolved Kurdish problem, Aegean differend with Greece, etc., that MEPs decided to create, for the 1st time on April 1996, a "Monitoring" proces, allegedly destinated to check, without excluding Countries who did not fulfill all CoE's standards.

In the Past, the obliged withdrawal of Greece's Military regime and of its "Civil" cover-up out of the CoE had helped bring back Democracy in 1974. But, on the contrary, since April 1996, the idea was to "monitor" Human Rights' respect while keeping most concerned Countries inside the CoE. After Turkey's oldest example, this was extended also to several former "Eastern" European Countries, even if CoE's Assembly has imposed to some of them (fex. Ukraine, Russia, etc., after Belarus, Serbia, etc) various "Sanctions", that Ankara always avoided. Curiously more succesful even than .. USA itself, (a CoE "Observer" since 1995), which has been at least threatened with sanctions some years ago..

EU-effects of CoE's Monitoring process became obvious between 2001-2008, since the "closure" of this procedure, when CoE felt that a Country had met most of its Human Rights, Democracy and Rule of Law obligations, (i.e. the "Copenhagen Criteria" for the EU), helped trigger Negotiations with the EU for "Accession" or other closer relations : This occured already before the 2004 and 2007 EU Enlargements to former "Eastern" European Countries, as well as for the commencement of "accession" negotiations with Croatia, and of "open-ended" negotiations with Turkey in 2005.

    But a stricking new development are Holovaty's recent findings that on core Human Rights issues as Torture and Freedom of Expression, Turkey, even "5 Years after" CoE closed its "Monitoring", back in 2004, inciting EU to start accession Negotiations in 2005, still presents grave problems.

    His findings are of crucial importance after a 2008 CoE Resolution called, "if need be", to "seriously consider the possibility of Re-Opening the Monitoring procedure for Turkey" : A move which might affect Ankara's controversial EU bid, since EU Accession Negotiations are based on the Hypothesis that the Candidate fullfils the "Copenhagen Criteria" (See above)..
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    Holovaty expressed his will to check  "Matters still Outstanding" and  those that he "didn't have an opportunity to discuss" at an earlier visit this year, "in order to discuss the more complex issues in greater depth", at his forthcoming New Visit to Ankara, before the December 2009 EU Summit.  This is all based on the 2004 CoE Resolution which stresses that, CoE "will continue.. post-monitoring Dialogue with the Turkish authorities,...in addition to a 12-points list,..and on any Other Matter that might arise in connection with Turkey’s Obligations as a CoE member state".

    CoE's Resolution also asks  from Turkey "to secure the proper Implementation of Judgements, particularly in the Cyprus v. Turkey InterState case", of 2001, which concerns also the plight of many Hundreds of MISSING People. It adds Turkey's obligations to "execute" ECHR's Judgements in the Loizidou case,..and in particular adopt General Measures to avoid repetition or continuation of Violations found by the Court" to the detriment of Refugees.

    Nevertheless, Holovaty said to "EuroFora" that "MISSING" persons,"might be included" and cannot be excluded, but he has yet to examine the situation "to find out  which issues will be raised" to the Turkish Government.

    Therefore, "EuroFora" asked Halonen, as the Historic "Mother" of CoE's Monitoring mecanism, if she thought that, "whenever there are grave Human Rights Violations, as fex. "MISSING" persons, attested even by ECHR's judgements, they should be always checked by a Monitoring process. Or could they be forgotten ?"
    
     - "We (CoE) must be, at the same time, Fair, Realistic, but not in the mind that "now we have Forgotten", etc., replied to "EuroFora"'s question Halonen, speaking as a matter of general principle.

    - "When we think of those People that are suffering from the lack of Democracy, of Human Rights, and of the Rule of Law", "we should find a base on how to deal with the (Monitoring) system more rapidly"', she stressed.

    - "Sometimes it's very difficult to combine Transparency and Effectivenes together, particularly in this specific case", she went on to say. But, "I have not found a (CoE Member) Country who could be insensitive in this sens", Halonen answered concerning grave Human Rights violations attested by the ECHR.

    - "I have no ready-made answer. I have the expectations that you, in the CoE, will, step by step, find the different types of the monitoring systems."

    Also "because this is a part of the UN's Post-Conflict system, (fex. when it comes to Cyprus' MISSING persons), and it's a more Global system". So that, "If we make a succes in Europe, the others will follow", throughout the World.  "But they expect that we (Europe) are this opportunity, this Opportunity to make a Succes", Halonen concluded.

    In addition, she advised to extend CoE's Monitoring to all its 47 Member States, "because, as long as we hear that, all these monitoring systems are "OK for the neighbor, but not for me", "it's very difficult" to understand. Something which could make easier to Compare...

    Finnish MEP Jaako Laakso, former CoE Rapporteur on the Occupied Territories of Cyprus and one of the 5 Signatories of the Historic CoE's call to create the "MONITORING" mecanism since 1996, was more specific :  - "We (CoE Assembly) have to find a way for the issue of Cyprus' MISSING People to be better followed", he stressed, anouncing his intention to "speak to Mr. Holovaty" about that. "There might be also other ways", added Laakso.

    - The 2008 "Year had been a very Bad one for Turkey with regard to Human Rights in general, and Freedom of Expression in particular", denounced, meanwhile, Holovaty's preliminary Post-Monitoringh Draft Report by Holovaty, published by the CoE on April 2009.

    "Amnesty International believes that freedom of expression is not guaranteed given the various articles of the Criminal Code that restrict it. .. "For example, 1,300 Websites are said to have been closed down by the (Turkish) authorities in 2008" ! While "the new Turkish Criminal Code was used to bring a total of 1,072 proceedings between June 2005 and April 2008, and led to the conviction of 192 people", for expressing views. "Representatives of the Özgür Gündem newspaper, which specialises in Kurdish affairs, ..complained about Numerous Attacks on their Freedom of Expression ...as was everyone who advocated a settlement to the question by means other than the intervention of the army" "According to their figures, 19 Newspapers had been suspended 43 times between 4 August 2006 and 4 November 2008" !...

    Moreover, on 2008,  CoE's "Ministers adopted its 4rth Resolution on the execution of the judgments of the ECHR, ...and outstanding issues regarding 175 Judgements and decisions relating to Turkey delivered between 1996 and 2008...  concerning Deaths resulting from the excessive use of force by members of the Security forces, the failure to protect the right to life, the DIisappearance and/or death of individuals, Ill-Treatment and the Destruction of property". CoE's " Ministers urged the Turkish authorities ...to ensure that members of Security forces of all ranks can be prosecuted without administrative
authorisation" for "serious crimes". Holovaty reminded.

"Nonetheless", Holovaty heard anew of "Several cases of Violence committed last year (2008) by the (Turkish) security forces". Amnesty International speaks of Many Cases of ill-treatment and Torture in the prisons and by the police". "Including, fex."'the death of Engin Ceber, a young man of 29 who died on October 2008 as a result of the TORTURE allegedly inflicted on him by police officers, prison staff and members of the gendarmerie. He was part of a group of people arrested on September 2008 during a demonstration and Press Conference in Istanbul'. Proceedings against suspects are "on-going" in this case.

- " I therefore noted an Obvious Contradiction between the Government’s stated “zero tolerance” policy.... of Torture and other forms of ill-treatment, and the different testimonies given", denounced CoE's Rapporteur.  Turkish "authorities must make considerable efforts to guarantee that proper investigations are carried out into allegations of abuses by members of the security forces and that perpetrators are effectively punished" "In this respect, I have requested detailed Statistics on the number of Investigations, acquittals and convictions in cases involving allegations of abuse in order to show the positive impact of the measures taken to date", Holovaty said, repeating a permanently unsatisfied CoE's demand to Turkey since a Decade...

    - "The Political Crisis that shook the country in the spring of 2008 highlighted the Weaknesses of the (Turkish) Constitution", which comes from the Military regime of 1982, "and the Urgent Need of Reforms", stressed from the outset CoE's Rapporteur in 2009. In particular, "the ...Democratic functioning of state institutions, including the independence of the judicial system, are crucial", he observes.

    But, "the Electoral  system and the ways in which it is circumvented do not appear to give those elected complete Legitimacy, and tend to pervert the course of direct universal suffrage", denounces Holovaty, observing that, even 5 Years later, Turkey did not yet change the 10% nationwide Threshold for a party to take any seat, which is "far higher" than the "3%" maximum in Europe and already condemned as contrary to European Standards by the CoE.

    + Moreover, EU Parliament's 2009 Report on Turkey, drafted by Dutch MEP Ria Oomen-Ruijten and adopted in Strasbourg on March, expresses "Concern over the Failure of the (Turkish) Judiciary to prosecute cases of Torture and Ill-treatment, the Number of which is Growing". EU also "is concerned about continuing Hostility and Violence against Minorities" in Turkey. It also "calls on the Turkish Government to launch, as a matter of Priority, a Political Initiatve favouring a lasting Settlement of the Kurdish issue, (while "condemning violence.. and terrorist groups"). EU "regrets that No progress has been made on establishing full, systematic Civilian suprevisory functions over the (Turkish) Military".

    The final results of Holovaty's 2nd and last visit to Turkley will be known later this year, and, at any case, before EU's December 2009 Summit.

Polls

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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