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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



*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).


-  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).

    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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Recent developments proved that Europe can suceed to overcome challenges by aiming at great objectives, and this is needed also in 2009, said EU chairman, French President Nicolas Sarkozy.

    - "It's in the name of Great Ideas, Projects, Ambition and Ideals, that EU can overcome" challenges, stressed Sarkozy at EU Parliament in Strasbourg, in conclusion of a dense 7 months EU Chairmanship. "It's even easier for Europe to have Great projects, able to overcome national egoism, instead of limiting itself only to small projects" (unable to do alike), he observed.     

- "Europe must remain Ambitious and understand that the World needs her to take Decisions". "The World needs a Strong Europe", which "thinks on its own, has convictions, its own responses, its imagination" : "A Europe which does not limit itself into following" others, (as it did in the Past, when it followed USA, f.ex. on Bosnia). On the contrary, "Europe should undertake its own responsibilities", he said, after a series of succes in stopping the War between Russia and Georgia, and organizing the 1st EuroZone's Summit in Paris, which incited the Washington DC G-20 Summit to extend similar decisions World-wide.  

    - "When you sweep it all under the carpet, prepare yourself for hard tomorrows", he warned. "What hinders decisions is the lack of Courage and Will, the fading away of Ideals", he stressed before EU Parliament's 2008 debate on Human Rights and Sakharov prize on Freedom of thought attributed by MEPs to Chinese cyber-dissident Hu Jia, followed by an EU - Turkey meeting on Friday.

    - "I don't abandon my convictions" and "I will take initiatives" on EU level also in 2009, Sarkozy announced later. "France will not stop having convictions and taking initiatives" on Europe. + "It's an Error to wish to pass over the Heads of those who are elected in their Countries" : "It's an integrism I always fought against"', he warned.
French EU Presidency faced 4 unexpected Crisis :

- An institutional crisis, with the Irish "No" to EU Lisbon Treaty, just before it started. A geopolitical crisis, wth the threat of War between Russia and Georgia risking to throw Europe back to Cold-war divisions, on August. A World-wide Financial and Economic crisis, arriving at a bad moment before crucial 2009 EU elections. And even a Strasbourg's mini-crisis, with EU Parliament's roof curiously falling down, from unknown reasons, in a brand new building on August, provoking an unprecedented transfert of the 2 September Plenary Sessions...

But it wasn't enough to stop Sarkozy ! On the contrary, it stimulated him...

- "The better way to deal with the recent problems of EU institutions (as the "3 NO" by France, the Netherlands and Ireland) is to take them as a "Test" in order to find solutions closer to Citizens' concerns", said later in Strasbourg Sarkozy's new choice as Ministe for EU affairs, Bruno Le Maire.

- On the Institutional front, Sarkozy gave Time to the Irish to think about it, and stroke on December a deal including a New Referendum after the June 2009 EU Elections, in exchange of a promise to keep the rule of "one EU Commissioner for each EU Member Country", and some opt-outs on Defence and Fiscal EU policies, Abortion, etc. If the Irish get a "Yes" Majority, then the institutional package could be completed in 2010 or 2011 on the occasion of Croatia's probable EU accession.

He was accused in Strasbourg to upgrade EU Council and downgrade EU Commision, but he replied that "strong Political initiatives by EU Council reinforce also the more technical role of EU Commission, under the political-technical leadership of its President", all 3 "working together with EU Parliament".

- But, meanwhile, Sarkozy energetically spearheaded an Historic 1st Summit of EuroZone's 15 Heads of State and Government at EU's core, exceptionally enlarged to a partial participation of British Prime Minister Gordon Brown, on October 12 in Paris' Elysee palace, which started to tackle succesfully the growing world Financial crisis.

    It also paved the way for its endorsement by a subsequent Brussels' 27 EU Member States' gathering, before it all come to Washington's G-20 Summit. And "Europe was united, it asked for the 1st G-20 Summit, and it will also organise the next G-20 Summit on April in London", he observed.   

 But a Conference with EU, Russia, African and other Developing Countries, hosted in Strasbourg shortly after Washington G-20 Summit by the French EU Presidency, took a Resolution asking to enlarge participation to Global Economic Governance. Many found, indeed, illogic and unacceptable that f.ex. states as Turkey were given a seat at G-20 level, while all African Countries, and even the African Union itself, representing the greatest Continent on Earth, were excluded...

    Meanwhile, even USA''s "Paulson No 3" Plan, was, in fact, inspired by Europe's No 1 Plan", Sarkozy observed, largelly applauded by MEPs.

    And "Europe showed Solidarity" by mobilizing some 22 Billion credit for Hungary, 1,7 billion for Ukraine, as we do nowadays for Baltic States, etc., he added.

    The move on Economy was extended on December by an EU stimulus' plan totalling some 200 billion Euros, including 5 Billions released by EU Commission for big Projects, as well as various parallel National plans for Economic revival, (fex. 26 billions in France alone). They might appear limited, compared to USA President-elect Obama's reported plan to boost the American economy with 800 billion $, but at least succeded to overcome Europe's divisions for the first time on Economic governance, opening new horizons.

- The French President stressed even harder the unique role of an active EU Council's chairmanship, when he moved swiftly and efficiently, at the beginning of August, to succesfully stop War between Russia and Georgia, at the last minute, which threatened to bring Europe back to Cold War division.

"We (EU) also wanted to avoid a situation like in Bosnia, in the Past, when EU was absent, so that our American friends took their responsibilitues, and EU only followed", despite the fact that the conflict took place in Europe. Now, it was the EU who took its responsibilities".

A roadmap towards a new PanEuropean Security policy, before which all unilateral moves to place new Missiles (from USA or Russia) would be freezed, was proposed by Sarkozy after a meeting with Russian president Medvedev, at the eve of Washington DC's G-20 Summit.

Ukraine's "European" character was stressed at a Sarkozy - Jushenko Summit, September in Paris, while EU adopted on December an "Eastern policy", in which, "I'm convinced that our (EU's) future is to find with our Neighbours the conditions for Economic Development. Peace and Security, by explaining them that.. they must respect (Human Rights') Values, and adopt behaviors different from the Past", explained Sarkozy in Strasbourg.

Meanwhile, the "Union for the Mediterranean" was created, since July's Summit if 45 Heads of State and Government in Paris, as "an organisation for a permanent Dialogue, that we need", mainly in order to tackle the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, by bringing together, for the 1st time, Israelis and Arabs, where "Europe must be present, in order to avoid a frontal clash".

- "If Europe doesn't take its part for Peace in the Middle-East, nobody else will do that in our place", Sarkozy stressed.
    Meanwhile, other EU Agreements were brokered during the French EU Presidency on Immigration, (fex. common Asylum rules, etc), and Climat- Energy :

    - On Climat-Energy, the 2007 German EU Presidency had fixed a triple 20% aim for 2020 (20% renewable Energies, 20% reduction of CO2 emmission, 20% energy efficience/economies), and the 2008 French EU Presidecny realized that, making the necessary compromises in order to modernize EU's industry, but without throwing some former Central-Eastern European Countries into abrupt Economic break down risking "social explosion".

    - Defence-Security EU policy was mainly postponed for April 2009, since both German chancellor Merkel and French president Sarkozy want to strike a deal with the new American president Obama in Strasbourg's NATO Summit.

    However, with all these 4 unexpected Crisis diverting attention to other urgencies, People wil wonder now, what happened to the famous deal proposed by freshly-elected French President Sarkozy on Turkey's controversial EU bid, back on August 2007, to continue EU - Turkey negotiations, but on the double condition that core chapters, intrinsequally linked with EU Membership, will be excluded, and that a collective Reflexion and Debate on Europe's future would start before the end of 2008.

    It was meant to reply to the crucial question : What kind of Europe do we want in 10 or 20 Years from now : A large Market, or a Political Europe, with a popular identity ? In Sarkozy's thinking, presented in his 2 landmark speeches on Europe in Strasbourg, shortly before and after the 2007 Elections, (on February and July 2007), Turkey's controversial EU bid would be incompatible with the second choice.

    It's true that EU Commision's Chairman, Jose Barroso, (who had notoriously declared, as former Portuguese Prime Minister, that he found "nonsense" the idea that Europe might become equal to the US), had repeatedly tried to avoid that Sarkozy's criticism on Turkey might start winning a larger audience in Europe, preferring a discrete "wismens' committee" work. And that most of the personalities later chosen in order to participate in a Committee on Europe's Future, are too much linked with Socialist parties and/or American policies, to be really critical of USA's notorious wish to impose Turkey to the EU, as Sarkozy had noted himself since March 2007..

     - "It's on EU Council's presidency to take political initiatives. EU Commission has other competences", stressed Sarkozy. The "European Ideal" is to "build Europe with the States, not against them". "Ask Europeans to chose between their countries and Europe won't work. You don't choose between your two parents : We must add them together".

    "France and Germany have an Historic Duty to work together, precisely because of what happened to the Past. We have to work hand by hand. We cannot be separated.It goes beyond me and Mrs Merkel today, Mr Schroeder and Mr. Chirac yesterday. It's not a choice, it's a duty to Europe and to the World".  "We need Germany, as Germany needs Europe". Compromise is inevitable, here as everywhere, and each one made some steps towards eachother's positions.

    But "it's true that Mrs Merkel didn't chose her Socialist partners, while I chose mine", Sarkozy said, in an indirect hint that the Socialist Minister of Finance in Germany might be a cause of minor past disagreements in Economy, which were overcome in recent negotiations.

    "We (France and Germany) have particular duties in Europe", but "in a Europe of 27 Member States, it's not enough for France and Germany to agree between them.

    "I always thought that Great Britain has a special role to play in Europe. ... Now, everybody "saw what it cost payed the UK for having been too exclusively open towards the US (and) Financial services. Europe needs the UK, but also the UK needs Europe" :- "We were able to face the hardest moment of the Financial crisis because the UK clearly chose Europe", stressed Sarkozy, reminding Gordon Brown's exceptional participation to the Historic 1st Heads of State/Government Summit of EuroZone, October 12 in Paris (See EuroFora's Reportage from Elysee Palace then).

     - "Some look at Europe with old glasses aged 30 years ago. While we must look at her in relation to what it will be in 30 years" in the Future, Sarkozy concluded.


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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