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Accueil arrow newsitems arrow CLRAE President Knape to EF on CoE Future: Russia, GGovern., Populism, Rural area, Web+Health Access

CLRAE President Knape to EF on CoE Future: Russia, GGovern., Populism, Rural area, Web+Health Access

Ecrit par ACM
Wednesday, 03 April 2019
clraes_president_knape_smile_at_coecity_hall_event_eurofora_400

*Strasbourg/CoE+City Hall/Angelo Marcopolo/- PanEuropean CoE's President for Local and Regional Authorities (CLRAE), Experienced ChristianDemocrat/EPP Swedish Delegate, Anders Knape, in a brief but Topical and Multifacet Interview to "Eurofora", Highlighted several Issues related to the current top level Reflexion on "CoE's Future", "70 Years after" it was created (1949 - 2019), due to be on Focus at the Forthcoming 47 Member States' Summit at Helsinki, on May 2019, at the conclusion of Finland's rotating Presidency, when it will be succeeded by France.

Knape was speaking shortly after a Public Debate by his CLRAE (Congress of Local and Regional Authorities of Europe), during its Plenary Session of Spring 2019 in Strasbourg (2-4 March 2019), specially dedicated to that "Helsinki Process" on CoE's Future, and CLRAE's contribution.

On that occasion, inter alia, Russia's Representatives had expressed their Gratefulness to the CLRAE's co-Rapporteurs : Xavier Cadoret and Gunn-Marit Helgessen, Presidents of the Chambers for Cities or Regions, respectively, because they accepted to take into account, and integrate inside the overall CLRAE's relevant Recommendation, also the suggestions that Russian Delegates had proposed recently.

In addition, President Knape had just chaired a special Ceremony in the CoE for the Award of CLRAE's "Medal of Honorary Member" to the well known, Long-Time former Head of the Russian Delegation and vice-President of the CLRAE, Miss Svetlana Orlova, (Comp. various Orlova's Replies to "Eurofora"'s Questions, f.ex., among others, also at : ..., etc).

This Contrasted with the notoriously Problematic and Harmful Division inside CoE's Parliamentary Assembly (PACE), where a Part of MEPs has managed to practicaly Exclude the Russian Delegation of MEPs from all PACE's activities, (by Depriving them from their Vote, Participatop, a.o. Rights, and Refusing to Guarantee them at least for the Future), already Since the 2014 Conflict provoked in Ukraine also by some Non-Elucidated yet factors, (See, f.ex., : ...,  ..., etc), as "Eurofora" reminded.

An Issue which has Recently pushed Russia to Suspend its Financial Contribution due to CoE's Budget by all its Member States, with Hard Economic Consequences on the PanEuropean Organisation's functionning, and a subsequent Risk for some to ask to Suspend Russia's CoE Membership, throwing Europe Back towards its "Cold War" Past, with UnKnown repercussions, particuarly Against Peace. Meanwhile, such a prolonged and wider series of various unprecedened "Sanctions", by EU and/or CoE, USA, etc, against Russia, on that same pretext, impacts Negatively Europe's Economic Growth, as the Experienced OCDE's CEO, Angel Guria, had already Warned in Statements to "Eurofora", earlier in Srasbourg, (See : ..., etc).

=> Some Consequences of such Hardships were also reflected Nowadays also in a Debate about Budget and Ressources of the CLRAE during the Next Biennium (2020-2021), where currently persisting Financial UnCertainties incited even the Experienced Head of France's Delegation, ChristianDemocrat/EPP Delegate Jean-Luis Testud, (former President of CLRAE's Committee on Governance), to launch a Call to Warn all CoE's Member States' Governments that CLRAE Delegates, recently facing more and more Pressing Demands to Limit even more their expenses, risk to be Obliged to Stop their Activities for Local and Regional Democracy, if they don't have, no more, the Necessary Funds enabling them to continue working properly...

- On this regard, "Eurofora" asked CLRAE's President Knape how he has succeeded to keep Relations with elected Russian delegates in Good terms vis a vis the CLRAE, despite the problems that the Ukranian issue has provoked inside PACE , (Comp. Supra).

clrae_president_knape__agg_eurofora_400 

- As far as the Ukranian Issue is concerned, we (CLRAE) have already made clear our position, with a special Statement, reminded Knape from the beginning of his Reply to our above-mentioned Question.

- Moreover, certain Committees' Meetings initially scheduled also in Russia, have been, in consequence, cancelled, he added.

- But, at the Same Time, we (CLRAE) do Not have so Heavy Sanctions as the PACE (Comp. Supra), President Knape observed.

- Thus, we can keep going Dialogue with, and Participation of Elected Representatives, as well as to Organise several other Committees' Meetings even in Russia, which allow us (CLRAE) also to Raise Questions, in addition, on what is going on inside that (CoE's Member) Country, (f.ex. on Local/Regional Democracy, etc), he observed.  

(He didn't yet go as far as to point to the fact that CLRAE might, eventually, play a Key Role for Peace in Ukraine, according to the Minsk Agreement, by helping to design a Compromise on the Future Status of pro-Autonomy Regions of Donetsk/Luhansk, as one of his predecessors, former President Jean-Claude Frecon, had agreed with "Eurofora": See, f.ex., http://www.eurofora.net/newsflashes/news/clraepresidentonukraine.html, etc).

 

 clrae_president_knape_speech_at_city_hall__coe_reception_eurofora_400

+ This naturally becomes even more Important in Nowadays' Wider Socio-Political Context, where the notorious Recent "DisTrust" of a Growing number of Citizens vis a vis all Public Authorities in general (i.e. National States included), trends to give to Local and/or Regional Authorities (as Closer to Citizens) a Bigger than before Responsibility and Role in order to Develop "Greater Dialogue and Involvement" (Participation) "of Citizens" in Public Decision/Policy Making procedures, as part of an "Open Government", (against also "Corruption", etc), or "Good Governance", (in a way which, at least Partly, matches "Eurofora" co-Founder's own 1997-2019 Project) :

- Since the Beginning of his CLRAE Presidency, from October 2018, (Comp., among others, also, f.ex. : ..., etc), Knape has, indeed, organised Debates and Votes on the Main "Principles" of "Good Governance" by such an "Open Government", through "Transparency", "Participation", and "Accountability" in "Public Action", resulting in the Official Adoption of a relevant CLRAE Resolution (435/2018) and Recommendation (424/2018).

clrae_booklet_on_good_governance_eurofora_400 

=>  So that, Starting from this Spring 2019 CLRAE Plenary Session, CoE's services have begun to Publish and Widely Distribute from Strasbourg a relevant handy Booklet on "Public Ethics", concerning particularly "Transparency and Open Government" according to its Headlines, which contains in full the above-mentioned Officialy Adopted Texts, as well as a comprehensive Explanatory Report, (See Photo+).  

----------------------------------

+ This touches upon anOther Key Issue for CoE's Role in the Current Situation and the foreseable Future, which is the Struggle against the Causes of "Populism" so-called Phenomena, which often provoque relevant "Problems" particularly in "Rural" Areas, as President Knape told further "Eurofora" :

 - Indeed, Questioned by "Eurofora" on the Main Reasons for which CLRAE has chosen, for its Spring 2019 Session, this April in Strasbourg, to add in its Agenda also the organisation of 2 Debates on "Rural" policy, (one in Plenary's Start, about "Mayors safeguarding Democray", with the paticipation also of Vanic Berberian, President of the Association of "Rural Mayors of France", and anOther on "Addressing the Urban/Rural Divide : Solutions for territrial renewal", with 3 specialists of Rural Areas), Knape gave a straightforward Reply :

- It's mainly because we have also a "Problem" with the Causes which provoque Growing phenomena of "Populism" particularly "in Rural areas" : After the problems earlier faced in Urban spaces, at present we have to address also the causes of such Populisms spreading in Rural space CLRAE's President told us.

+ And this is "Not at all" an eventual Reaction Only to the notorious Recent series of unusual social Events in France about the so-called "Yellow Vests" ("Gilets Jaunes"), Knape insisted, simply Because Similar Problems, mutatis-mutandis, are Currently Spreading not only in France, but Also, almost Everywhere in Many Other Countries in Europe, f.ex. in Germany with the "AfD", in Sweden with the "SD", in Austria with the "FPO", at the Netherlands, etc, and even in the USA (with the Famous "HeartLands" allegedly Dominated mainly by various Hard-Core "Conservative" Populations), etc., as he observed.

=> So, inter alia, we should Help those People to be able to "Live and Work in Rural Areas", f.ex., also by Extending there too those Modern Internet Networks which will allow them to do so, CLRAE's President stressed, in Reply to another relevant Question by "Eurofora" :

- Indeed, "Expand G4 and/or G5 Digital Networks throughout all such Rural Areas is now a Must !", Knape strongly underlined, in this regard.

- Already, f.ex., "in Sweden, the (National) Government is very Heavily Investing" in such Digital Networks' extension to Rural Territories, as he pointed out.

+ However, he Acknowledged also the Fact that, anOther practical Problem Often Denounced by many People Living (or who would Like to live) in Rural Areas, is that several among them are felt to be, more or less, a kind of "Medical Deserts", i.e. Under-Equiped in Medical Doctors and/or Infrastructure, at least in their close Neighborhood, as "Eurofora" reminded.

- Indeed, there is often also a Problem of "Access to Health" there, President Knape observed. But this is Not always Specific to the Rural Areas, because, in Fact, some Similar Problems of current Lack of "Sufficient Doctors" are, Today, found "also inside certain Urban Areas, sometimes even in Big Cities", he denounced, (apparently pointing at an even more Fundamental Issue of nowadays Societies).

- At any case, if such, and some other (f.ex. Public Transports in certain Rural spots), current practical problems are Solved, then, as various Examples in Europe, USA and elsewhere, recently show, at least the "Quality of Life" at a Natural Countryside, etc, to which Many People are Attached, may really Find Practical Ways for a Territorial "ReVival" in Rural areas, Anders Knape agreed in fine.

 

(../..)

 

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    The incoming Swedish EU Presidency (July-December 2009) may still remain in favour of Turkey's controversial EU bid, despite June 2009 EU Elections' results, but it has "very strong demands on Turkey"'s obligation to respect EU Rules, said the Head of Swedish Foreign Ministry's Press Service, Cecilia Julin, to "EuroFora", reacting to critical Press reports.

    - "I know (that) the link is often made also to Sweden's position on Turkey"'s controversial EU bid. Indeed, "we (Swedish EU Presidency) are very much engaged in the future membership of Turkey, but not without fullfiling all the Criteria".

    - "It's very clear that we (Swedish EU Presidecny) have very Strong Demands on Turkey, in a sort of concept for Future membership of the Union, ...which will be a Long Process...", she stressed.

    This means, in particular, "the Copenhagen Criteria (on Human Rights, Democracy and Rule of Law), and also the adaptation to the Acquis of the European Union".

     - "If you listen to what Mr. Bildt (the Swedish Foreign Minister) says on Turkey at different occasions, it's very clear : We want Turkey to become part of the Union, in the Future. But we want it to fullfil all the Criteria : The Acquis of the European Union. That's very clear", she concluded.

    The Senior Official of the Swedish Foreign Ministry was reacting to critical Press Reports, from Brussels' Journalists invited by EU Commission's secretariat to Stockholm, who claimed that Bildt was abusing of a ..."Whip" (sic !) against Cyprus, by "threatening" the presence of UNO's Peace-keeping force at the "Green line" which separates the island's Government-controlled areas from the territories occupied by Ankara's army, if Nicosia didn't accept any political solution, regardless of Turkey's demands, before the end of 2009.

        Governing AKEL Party's new Secretary General, Andros Kyprianou, reacted by declaring that no-one can threat the People of Cyprus : -"We shall decide for our Future, and nobody else",  he reportedly said, asking to "keep calm". "In order to find a Solution soon, certain basic Principles must be respected", he stressed, calling those who feel an urgency to use their influence on Turkey. Other Political Parties were more critical.

    This was a reference to recently reported statements by Turkish Minister Bagis, Prime Minister Tayip Erdogan and Turkey's National Security Council (a Military-Political body), accused to push towards a partitionist "2 States" solution, contrary to UNO SC Resolutions for Cyprus' reunification.

    December 2009 is a crucial moment for EU's appraisal of Turkey's controversial EU bid, because EU Council has decided to review then Ankara's compliance with the European position on the recognition of Cyprus' Government, which was clearly set out by an EU reply of 21 September 2005 to Turkish Prime Minister Tayip Erdogan's claims, refusing to recognize even the existence of EU Member Cyprus, in controversial statements he made to London (former EU chair) on July 29, 2005.

    EU Parliament's latest Resolution on Turkey, adopted on March 2009 in Strasbourg, warned Ankara that "the non-fulfillment of Turkey's commitments... by December 2009, may further seriously affect the process of Negotiations" with the EU.

    In practice, the issue boils down to Ankara's "embargo" against Ships and Airplanes using Cyprus' seaports or airports at the strategic EU island, which traditionaly hosts one of the World's biggest Shipping flags. EU has already "freezed" 6 relevant Chapters in EU - Turkey Negotiations since December 2006, after Ankara refused to fullfil a commitment it had undertaken when EU had decided to open controversial "accession" negotiations with Turkey, back on December 2005.

    - "As far as EU - Turkey relations are concerned, it's clear that Turkey needs to fullfil its obligation of full, non-discriminatory implementation of the additional Protocol (to "EC-Turkey Association Agreement"),  This is an important issue....and should be addresseed as soon as possible as it clearly affects the pace of the accession negotiations.Issues covered by the Declaration of September 2005 will continue to be followed up, and progress is urgently awaited", warned earlier in Strasbourg the out-going Czech EU Presidency (former vice-Prime Minister Alexander Vodra).

    But the Head of the Swedish Foreign Ministry's Press Service, Cecilia Julin, dismissed "interpretations" by "some" that Foreign Minister Carl Bildt was reportedly "threatening" Cyprus with consequences on the UNFICYP, if it doesn't accept any solution until December 2009, while Turkey is reportedly delaying in an attempt to impose a partitionist "2 States" solution.

    On the contrary, Julin, stressed that "Sweden has strong demands on Turkey'"s respect of "Copenhagen Criteria and EU Acquis".

    Meanwhile, Sweden  is "concerned" about the risk of "Stalemate" in Cyprus' Talks, but is well aware that "the main responsibilities lie with the two leaders and the UNO", Europe playing only a role of "facilitator".

    After carefully verifying, the Head of Swedish Foreign Ministry's Press Service, stressed to "EuroFora" that Bildt's reference to UNFICYP "was not linked to a Threat", and dismissed those who "interpreted" it so.

    On the contrary, the Swedish EU Presidency acknowledged the fact that Peace Talks are mainly for the UN and the leaders of the Cypriot communities, EU's role being limited into that of a "facilitator".

    As for Turkey's reported attempts to impose a "2 States' solution", the Head of the Swedish Foreign Ministry's Press Service sharply replied by stressing that Turkey must respect the "EU Acquis" rules.

    In particular :

    - "Basically he (Bildt) underlined that it's the leaders of the two communities in Cyprus and the UN that have the main responsibilities for solving the problem", started to say the Swedish Senior Official to "EuroFora", referring to the above-mentioned "briefing".

    - "But the EU had a role in sort of pointing out the benefits and facilitating a little bit the outcome for the settlement of the whole Cyprus' issue", she added.

    - "And he did state the Fact, that the rest of the World (i.e. USA, etc) will, of course, look at the differend issues which are at the table, and the future of the UN Peace keeping force is part of what is at the table", she admitted.

    - "I understand that some have interpreted that as a Threat, by the Swedish Minister" "But", in reality, "it's a statement of a Fact, that, when we'll look at the differend issues, one of the issues on which we shall have to take a stand on, is the future of the UN Peace keeping force in Cyprus".

    Indeed, one of the questions usually raised for a Solution of Cyprus' issue is what International and/or European or other Guarantees, by a Peace-keeping force, might be needed afterwards, eventually for a transitory period.

    Questioned anew by "EuroFora" whether (according to critical Press Reports) this could be taken as a veiled warning that, if Cyprus didn't accept any Turkish demand for any solution whatever, it might be left alone to face Ankara's Military Invasion/Occupation, she denied :

    - "He (Bildt) didn't say it in that way"... "It was not linked to a threat, or anything like that", the Head of the Swedish Foreign Ministry's Press Service stressed.

    On the contrary, "he (Bildt) underlined that the main responsibility lies with the parties concerned on the island". "The EU can try to facilitate and show the benefits of reaching a settlement. But also, when the EU and the rest of the World (i.e. USA) will have to look at it, they will look at all the Facts on the table, and the presence of the UN Peace-keeping force is one".

    And "he (Bildt) didn't speak about that at all", she replied to "EuroFora" question on Turkey's reported attemps to impose, in one way of another, a partitionist "2 States solution".

    Asked whether Bildt's aim was to incite both parties to move forward efficiently, she agreed :

    - In fact, "the EU is really very concerned with the Stalemate in the situation. Yes !", the Head of Sweden's Foreign Ministry's Press Service anounced. That's why Bildt "was hoping for the two parties (i.e. for Turkey's also) to engage and break, a little-bit, the present stalemate, come to a solution of the issue" of Cyprus.

    But, replying  to a "EuroFora"s question on the risk, denounced by several politicians in case of strict Time Deadlines, for Turkey to provoke a stalemate and wait for the time to come to impose a partitionist "2 States' solution", she reacted by pointing at Turkey's obligation to respect "EU Acquis" :

    - "Turkey must fullfil the EU Acquis : That's clear !", the Swedish Senior Official stressed.

    More details are expected when Swedish Prime Minister Reinfeldt will debate his Programme with new MEPs at EU Parliament's plenary mid-July in Strasbourg, that he has visited already in 2008.

    Foreign Minister Carl Bildt became familiar with Strasbourg's CoE last year, when Sweden chaired the PanEuropean organization of Human Rights. As EU chairman-in-office, he will also chair the 27-member States strong EU Group inside the 47-member States strong CoE.

    Minister for EU affairs, Cecilia Malmstrom is well known at EU Parliament, where she has been an active MEP of the Liberal Group for many years, following also Press Freedom issues.

    Both have already made various statements at "EuroFora", on differend topical matters.

    ***

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