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Home arrow newsitems arrow CoE invites Pope Francis while PanEuropean Christian leaders push Dialogue on Ukraine Reforms

CoE invites Pope Francis while PanEuropean Christian leaders push Dialogue on Ukraine Reforms

Written by ACM
Sunday, 22 June 2014

 

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*Strasbourg/CoE/Angelo Marcopolo/- It's at a very Crucial moment for Human Rights, Peace and BioEthical Values throughout all Europe, that the PanEuropean Conference of Bishops (based at nearby Switzerland), by organizing an exceptional  3 Days-long PanEuropean Conference of all its 39 Member States' Secretary Generals in Strasbourg, including at the CoE, offered a Timely opportunity to CoE Parliamentary Assembly's new President, Anne Brasseur from Luxembourg, (former President of the Liberal Group of MEPs), to re-launch anew an official Invitation for new Pope Francis to address the PanEuropean MEPs' forum in the coming period, which seems to be decisive for Europe's Future and well beyond.


While the most Urgent Question of immediate Peace or War in Ukraine, (where too many People, including a recently growing number of Civilians, even defenselessz Women, Elders, Children, etc., have started to be Killed during Kiev's Military Attacks , added to a muich Wider impact of many Destructions, even of Family Homes, Water and/or Electricity Supply Networks, Hospitals, etc., until Today included, notoriously provoking both many Sufferings to the local Populations, and dangerous Risks for Destabilisation and further Conflict also accross the rest of Europe), will have to be Decided during this Week, according to the terms of a brief Cease-Fire declared yesterday by the new Ukranian President Poroshenko in the context of a Plan for a comprehensive "Settlement" of the South-Eastern Ukraine issue, who added a Time Deadline until next Friday 10 a.m., (i.e. right in the middle of the forthcoming EU Brussels' Summit, and just 1 Day after his venue to CoE's PanEuropean Assembly, expected on Thursday, 26 June), by a strange coincidence, it's also during these almost Same Days that the ECHR has just started and/or is due to start examining and/or deciding on various "Hot" Bio-Ethical issues' related affairs, mainly linked to Dangerous for all Humankind risks of Technocratic Interferences vis a vis Natural Births of Human beings,  going from Genetic Manipulations of Human Embryo and/or pre-Natal "Screening", up to "Surrogate Mothers", etc...


Already, late Pope John-Paul II, recently sanctified on April 2014, had been invited to visit in Strasbourg both EU Parliament and CoE's Assembly, as he had done in the Past only on  1988, during what tragically become his last year of life, when he had been engaged in a Hard Fight for BioEthical Values and mainly for the Need to Protect the Human Embryo and the Human Being in general,n not only from simple "Cloning", but also from the so-called "Therapeutic Cloning", etc., back on 2004-2005, just before he Suddenly Died. His long-time close collaborator, and successor, current Pope Emeritus Benedict, had also been repeatedly invited to Strasbourg, including by former CoE Assembly's President Jean-Claude Mignon from France, but didn't find the time and/or the opportunity to do so, (except from his own Press Spokesman, farther Frederico Lombardi, on the occasion of a PanEuropean Ecumenical meeting at the CoE), particularly between his 2008 visit to France, during former President Sarkozy's EU Chairmanship, as well as officially in Germany, back on 2011, to which had been added also the 2005 World Youth Days at Koeln, (initially scheduled by John-Paul II), his 2010 trip to Cyprus, focused on Middle-Eastern Christians, particularly in need of protection recently, but also in the UK, etc. But for New Pope Francis, after his 2013 World Youth Days' overseas trip to Rio (Brazil), and his recent visit to Israel/Middle East, closely followed also by a related special, interconfessional Peace event, Arab and Israeli representatives both included,  back at Rome earlier this June 2014, in the Vatican, (etc), which followed his May/June 2013 events/statements on BioEthics, as well as several 2013-2014 calls for Peace in Syria, Ukraine, etc., CoE Assembly successive Presidents' Mignon and Brasseur's renewed Invitations to visit and speak in Strasbourg's PanEuropean Human Rights, Democracy and Rule of Law Organisation might offer a good and timely occasion in the forseable Future, particularly given the exceptionaly Big Challenges ahead, both on War/Peace and BioEthical issues, probably just after an imminent renewal of CoE's and EU's political leadership during the next Weeks/Months, for the next 5 Years (2015-2019).


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-  Significantly, it's already at the beginning of June 2014, that Pope Francis reportedly "Prayed for the Victims... in some Regions of Ukraine", "with a very Sad Heart".


=> In consequence, Pope Francis called for "Dialogue" and "Reconciliation", among "All Parties involved", by "overcoming MisUnderstandings", as he reportedly stressed already since June 2, i.e. in the middle of some  very Tragic Days particularly for the Civilian Population at the Dissident regions of Eastern Ukraine, (comp., f.ex. : ......).
This latest move by the New Pope came after several earlier calls for "Peace" in Ukraine, Syria and the Middle-East, and, if extended also into the latest relevant developments (Comp. Supra), it might hopefuly helpto avoid a Dangerous Division and Conflict  in Europe, after almost 70 Years of Peace, which could even have a Negative impact even elsewhere in the World (through USA - Russia tension, f.ex.), as, f.ex.. it had, mutatis-mutandis, been previously attempted succesfully, back on August 2008, also by his predecessor, current Pope emeritus Benedict, via a call launched during an "Angelus" from a small Italian village near the Alpes mountains (cllose to German Chancelor Merkel's Summer Holiday resorrt) : Brixen-Bressanone, in order to Urgently Stop a risky Russian troops advance towards the Georgian capital of Tbilisi, as a retaliation of former Georgian President Shaklasvili's controversial Military Attack against Secessionist Regions of South Ossetia and Abkhazia, (another off-spring of the notoriously doubtful concrete conditions in which had been suddenly imposed the "implosion" of the former USSR, since the 1990ies), which had found a real Echo at former French President Sarkozy, then Chairman of the EU, who immediately flew to Moscow and Tbilisi to personaly meet with both the Russian and the Georgian leaders and broker a Peace Deal which, even if imperfect, at least succeeded to Stop Bloodshed and Destructions, while also still standing until Today, 7 Years later (2008-2014 : practically coinciding even with "EuroFora"s own life-time, since our ERFRA NewsReports practicaly Started with that, exceptionaly Moving and Crucial August 2008 Appeal to urgently prevent War in Europe, and give Peace a Chance).
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    As for now, when the most Crucial point Today obviously is to find a way to Start real "Negotiations" and Dialogue among all parties involved in the Deadly and Destructive Ukranian Conflict, it's naturally Interesting to note the fact that, (as CCEE's Press Spokesman Thierry Bonaventura told "EuroFora" Friday at the CoE), during their meeting earlier with CoE's "Venice" Commission's Director, Thomas Markert, the SG's of the PanEuropean Bishops' Conference, (where bothy Ukraine and Russia are full Members), asked for a well-known Ecumenical Group which gathers Together all various Christian Communities' reprfesentatives since the beginning of the "Maidan" demonstrations, back on November 2013, until now, to be included among all those who shall be Consulted before CoE's watchdog on Constittutional Law concludes its Report on the forthcoming Draft Amendments for Ukraine's Constitutional Reform, (Comp. f.ex. : http://www.eurofora.net/newsflashes/news/kievpostponesconstitutionreformcoecheckforoctober.html + http://www.eurofora.net/newsflashes/news/venicecomissiontocheckukraineconstitutionreformonjune.html). Markert reportedly appeared "open" on such a possibility, which could naturally be a useful Step towards a much-needed, wider and real "Dialogue" between all the main Parties really involved in that Conflict, according also to the April 17, EU-USA-Russia MFA's  Geneva Deal.


>>> It's obvious, furthermore, that, since the most Important point for a Peaceful Solution on the Ukranian Conflict notoriously is a possible Federalisation and/or DeCentralisation Reform, then, if anyone in Kiev might eventually Refuse to Negociate Directly with the South-Eastern Regions' Dissidents, then, at least, CoE's "Venice" Committee might include such a necessary pluralist Debate, between All Parties involved, perhaps through an adequate use of Consultation procedures during the preparation of its Report on the forthcoming Ukraine's Constitutional Reforms...
Meanwhile, last Friday afternoon, "EuroFora" was surprised to briefly meet CCEE's Secretary General, the young Mgr. Duarte da Cuhna, inside CoE's corridors, during an exceptionaly busy day, mainly around the Ukranian Tragic Conflict, shortly before the conclusion of its one Day-long session entirely dedicated into meeting and discussing with several key CoE's Top Officials, in a Room dedicated to Gasperi, where he guided us, before attending also his subsequent speech at a special "Mass for Europe", this Sunday morning, in Strasbourg's Cathedral.


Da Cuhna succeeded since 2008 to Aldo Giordano, an experienced long-time CCEE Secretary General, who has been sent then to Strasbourg as Vatican's Permanent Representative to the CoE, and was recently appointed (at the End of 2013) as ArchiBishop of Paraguay, in Latin America, new Pope Francis' initial continental workplace, by a coincidence there from where has recently arrived the new "Prime Minister" of the Vatican, in Rome. The new CCEE's  SG  was recently re-elected for 5 more Years (2013-2018).


In his Strasbourg Cathedral's speech, Today, Mgr. Da Cuhna, among others, mainly focused at a Timely call, for committed Christians throughout Europe to get actively and fully involved in the contemporary Social and Political Life, and, instead of getting out of this World, on the contrary, to strive to be present right in the middle of it and follow God's example : work for values which "embrace all the World". - "If" this becomes a full reality, then, Europe could become really able to accomplish several very great tasks, he concluded in substance.


Curiously, however, even if the CCEE  had just participated in the latest Christian Catholic - Orthofdox Ecumenical Forumm at Minsk,  welcomed by Belarussian President Lukashenko, on June 2 to 6, when fresh Appeals for Peace in Ukraine were jointly launched, together with CCEE's President, Cardinal Péter Erdő from Hungary, (an experienced, Key-personality also for the currently on-going BioEthical "Hot" issues about Natural Family, that Pope Francis has reportedly scheduled to conclude on 2015), nevertheless, many observers were rather astonished from the unexpected fact that Today, Da Cunha's speech in Strasbourg's Cathedral apparently didn't include any more mention or appeal to definitively Stop Destructive and Deadly Violence at Ukraine, at all...


A lack that was shortly met by Strasbourg's ArchiBishop Jean-Pierre Grallet, also an eminent Member of COMECE: the EU-related Bishops' Committee, who rushed to add also an obviously Topical call for "Unity and Peace" among all Christians in Europe, in his last opportunity to address that issue Timely, before the next Friday's 10 a.m. concluding Ceasefire Deadline...


    Another, different, but maybe not unrelated surprise, was to hear, afterwards, a visible mention of the Strange Fact that, at the same time that CCEE's Secretary General, Mgr. Da Cunha, confirmed in his earlier Speech, the PanEuropean Christian Organisation's declared ambition, to help Europe becom conscious of "its Christian roots", and not forget them, on the contrary, it was anounced that, paradoxicaly, "Turkey was a (full) Member" Today of that "European" Conference of Bishops, even if, (due to its notoriouysly Oppressive regime), the Ankara-controllled Turkish State of this Century notoriously didn't have, anymore, but ...Less than 1% (one per cent) of Christians left among its 99% "Muslim" population, (i.e. even Less than Lebanon, Syria, Egypt, or Iraq !)...


    EU Citizens' massive Votes during both the 2009 and the 2014 EU Parliament's Elections weren't enough in order to remind such crystal-clear Facts ?...


  

 (../..)

 

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    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.                                       

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                           - "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".
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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.

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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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