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Home 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

Pisac ACM
03. 04. 2019.
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*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).

 

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+ 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+).  

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+ 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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  imag0573_400

    An "Eugenic" loophole Amendment, which might expose to Dangers reminiscent of "3rd Reich's" notorious Genetic Abuses, hidden at the last minute inside an otherwise Good, larger Health policy Package scheduled to be voted on Thursday, was strongly denounced by a coalition of MEPs from various Political Groups and Countries, in a Press Conference held this afternoon at EU Parliament in Strasbourg.

    Mainly calling to "Select Human Embryos", via "Genetic Counselling" and "pre-implantation" Techniques including "Genetic Tests", in order to "Eradicate Hereditary rare Diseases", it might open ways to Dangerous Practices in Future, they denounced in substance.

    But they also made it clear that a much larger Report inside which this Controversial Amendment "No 15" was added in dubious circumstances, officialy destinated to struggle against "Rare Diseases", and drafted by Professor Antonios Trakatellis, was otherwise "an Excellent Report", aiming at a "completely Uncontroversial target" of Health policy on which "all MEPs and Experts are united, believing that Europe should act" to protect People's Health (See "EuroFora"'s earlier News).

    The controversy came at a particularly delicate moment for the EU in relation to Citizens, at the eve of June 2009 EU Elections, and shortly before Ireland re-votes for "Lisbon Treaty"..    

- Denouncing risks of "an Eugenic demand, very similar to what we had during the 3rd Reich in Germany, but now coming from some Scientisists themselves", German ChristianDemocrat/EPP MEP Dr. Peter Liese stressed that critical MEPs were against "Eugenic" engineering with "Selection of Human Embryos", and anything which might ultimately lead up to to a "Selection of Human Race". It doesn't help to "eradicate" Human Lives, he added.


    Several Experts and NGOs expressed "Deep Concern", as f;ex. DR M.C. Cornel of the "European Society of Human Genetics", which stressed, on this occasion, that "the importance of Non-Directiveness in Reproductive issues is a Central characteristic of Human Genetics, after the Atrocities committed in the name of Genetics in the first half or the 20th Century".

     - "This is completely Unacceptable", stressed Italian Liberal MEP Vittorio Prodi, on the Controversial Amendment, also because pushes to "eliminate early Human Life", as he noted.

     - "This opens a Dangerous Road, rather a Motorway", denounced Danish MEP Mrs Margrette Auken, from the "Greens", observing that various similar attempts were made in the Past "not only in Germany, but also in several other Countries, "even at the 1970ies", "f.ex. on forced Sterilisation of Roma" People, and other criticisable situations f.ex. in the UK, in Sweden, etc. as she said.

    + Other NGOs, as f.ex. "LebenHilfe" from Berlin, added that, among various other Risks, could also be that, by exploiting the pre-implantation Genetic Diagnostics and the Selection of "healthy" Embryos, some may "propagate" several "Eugenic" aims, starting f.ex. by pushing to eradicate Human Livies which might "Cost too much" to preserve, ultimately exposing to dangers reminiscent of the "3rd Reich"'s atrocious abuses.

    In consequence, ChristianDemocrats/EPP and "Green" MEPs "decided by Majority to vote against" this Controversial Amendment, anounced to Journalists the 5 MEPs who participated in the Press Conference, representing a wide spectrum, from Liberals to "Greens" and ChristianDemocrats, and from Hungary, Italy, Germany and Danemark up to Ireland (Gay Mitchell), etc.
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    Hungarian ChristianDemocrat MEP Laszlo Surjan said "that it was "Suddenly, at the End of the Procedure" in Committee, that "appeared this (Controversial) Amendment, which has nothing to do" with the main purpose of the Report, on which all agreed.

    He denounced an "Unhonest" move, and called to "avoid this kind of unacceptable situations". Nobody should "Select People", Surjan stressed.

    - "We (MEPs) had No Chance to Discuss" this last-minute Amendment earlier added at a Committee's level, said German MEP Peter Liese

    Speaking to "EuroFora", Dr. Liese, the Spokesman of the ChristianDemocrat/EPP Group in EU Parliament, said that MEPs didn't oppose other references of the Report f.ex. on "Genetic Tests", because they were "no proposals" to impose them, while, on the contrary, there was "a Problem" if anyone attempted to "impose" f.ex. this or that Genetic Technique and "Genetic Counselling", etc. to the People on human reproduction.
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The precise Text :
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    Controversial parts of Amendment No 15 ask mainly "to lead finally to the Eradication" of "Hereditary" "rare diseases", "through Genetic Counselling .., and ..pre-Implantation Selection of healthy Embryos".

    But  EU Rapporteur Professor Trakatellis, said to "EuroFora" that fears should be alleviated by Guarantees that all this should be done only "where appropriate", when it's "not contrary to existing National Law", and "always on a Voluntary basis", according to other Parts of the Amendment.

    He stressed that the main aim was to allow "a free and informed choice of persons involved", without imposing them anything :  - "It's not an obligatory, but advisary" text, he said.

    To make that point clear, he was ready, in agreement with many MEPs, to eventually drop at least that part of the controversial Amendment which initially called for "efforts to ..lead finally to the Eradication of those rare diseases" "which are Hereditary".

    But, until late Wednesday evening, reportedly together with many other MEPs, he stood by all the rest of the controversial Amendment, (fex. on the "Genetic Counselling" and the "pre-implantation Selection of healthy Embryos"), so that critical MEPs, going from ChristianDemocrats as Dr. Liese, to "Greens" or "Ind/Dem", observed to "EuroFora" that "this was not enough" to close the dangerous loophole.

    Particularly since, as Professor Trakatellis noted himself, "this is already allowed to the U.K.", and "other National Legislations would probably follow, sooner or later" in a similar direction. As for a general call to "Eradicate Hereditary rare Diseases", this "should happen, at any case, in practice, de facto", to protect public Health.

    On the contrary, "our goal should be to help patients suffering from rare diseases, not to eradicate the patients. In case of genetic disease risk, the decision should not be guided by scenarios" made by politicians. "Perents who may decide to accept a child, even if handicapped or with genetic disease, must be respected and supported with solidarity", critical MEPs stated.

    - "Any Pressure" to "a patient or couple (who "should be able to make an informed choice consistent with their own values"),"from health Professionals, Public Health Policies or Governemental Institutions, or Society at large, should be avoided", stresses the "European Society for Human Genetics".

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

Each MEP's vote will be registered !

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

The Socialist Group requested a "Split vote" on the Amendment 15, first without, and afterwards with the words "lead finally to the Eradication" etc.


    But the first "split vote" leaves intact all the other parts of the Controversial Amendment, (i.e. "Genetic Counselling", "Selection of healthy Embryos", etc).

    That's why, 3 Groups of MEPs : ChristianDemocrats/EPP, "Greens/EFA", and "Ind/Dem", have asked for "Roll Call Votes", on everything regarding the Controversial Amendment No 15, and on the final outcome of the resulting Report as amended, which will register all the individual positions to be taken by each MEP.   

Something which will obviously make each MEP think twice before voting for one or another choice, to be sure that he/she will make the right choice in front of EU Citizens, particularly at these pre-Election times...


    Crucial Votes were scheduled between 12 Noon and 1 p.m. local Strasbourg time, in the middle of a long series of various other Reports, and after a long Public Debate on the larger Health policy package, from 9 to 11.50 am.

    The specific Report inside which was hidden the controversial Amendment is due to be debated between 11 and 12 am.

    So that more last-minute Surprises may not be excluded a priori...

    Particularly at the present Historic moment, when even the Institutional Future of the EU depends on the result of a second Referendum on "Lisbon Treaty", later this year, in ...Ireland, a mainly Catholic country, where People are particularly sensitive in such kind of socio-cultural and values issues...
 

      ***     
 
     (Draft due to be updated).
 
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