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Home arrow newsitems arrow Sources: Anti-Corruption Inquiry on CoE Parliamentary Assembly may extend to Other Areas/Bodies

Sources: Anti-Corruption Inquiry on CoE Parliamentary Assembly may extend to Other Areas/Bodies

Written by ACM
Friday, 20 April 2018
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*Strasbourg/CoE/Angelo Marcopolo/- An Independent Experts' Inquiry on Corruption, exceptionally set up top check Allegations of wrongdoing in CoE's Parliamentary Assembly (PACE), might Extend its Findings and/or Conclusions also to various Other Areas of the 47 Member Countries-wide PanEuropean Organisation, as it results from Converging Sources which spoke to "Eurofora", before a Final Report might soon become Public.


Indeed, a very well informed Source, concerning that Independent External Committee, has Revealed to "Eurofora", already since the Beginning of 2018, that its Investigations had Found that, in fact, Corruption-related Problems go Deeper and would be much More Widely Spread than initially thought, Extending also in several Other among CoE's many Activities and/or Bodies, withOut being Limited Only to certain MEPs.


The initial Time-limit of that Exceptional Independent Investigation, Decided on April 2017 and Set up since June that same year, had been Scheduled for the End of 2017, but, later-on, its Mandate was Prolonged further, also into 2018, resulting nowadays in a Confidential Report that will be Discussed by PACE's Bureau on the forthcoming Sunday, which will Decide on any concrete Measures that might be necessary to be taken.


=> During the regular Press-Briefing of Strasbourg's permanent European Journalists, this Friday Morning, (April 19, 2018), "Eurofora" asked PACE's experienced Secretary General, Wojciech Sawicki, from Poland, whether, in Theory, as a matter of General Principle, it might be Possible for that Special Independent Committee to eventually Conclude that Anti-Corruption Measures should also Extend to several Other CoE's areas of activities, bodies and/or staff, (f.ex. Inter-Governemental or Independent, Secretariat, Ad Hoc Experts, Local/Regional Authorities' representatives, INGOS, etc).


- Given the Fact that both the Activities of that Independent Anti-Corruption Committee, as well as its Draft Report, are, at least until Sunday Evening, strictly Confidential, Sawicki naturally Replied that he canNot Say Anything Now about the Actual Content of that Report.


- But, from a purely "Theoretical" point of view, "Nothing is Impossible", he Carefully added to the amove-mentioned "Eurofora"s Question. The Members of that "Group of Investigation on Allegations of Corruption" (known as "GIAC") are the former President of ECHR, Sir Nicolas Bratza, from the UK, Top Judge Jean-Luis Bruguiere, formerly in charge of Anti-Terrorist Investigations in France during a Long Time, and Anti-Terrorist Expert for International Organisations, as well as for Other States, and Elisabet Fura, former ECHR's Swedish Euro-Judge and f. Parliamentary Head Ombudsperson in Sweden.


Whatever might, eventually, be the Outcome of GIAC's Report, it obviously seems almost certain that it will be Discussed, in one way or another, during PACE's Plenary Session for Spring 2018, Next Week in Strasbourg (from Monday to Friday, included, April 23-27, 2018).
Already, a "Side Event" on the "Follow-up of the Inquiry on Allegations of Corruption inside the Parliamentary Asszembly", is Organized by MEPs Franck Schwabe from Germany, and Pieter Omtzigt from the Netherlands, (a Socialist and a ChristianDemocrat/EPP, respectively), for Monday Afternoon.


Curiously, it was Scheduled at Exactly the Same Day, and even Hours and Minutes, with anOther "Side Event", on "the Turkish (Military) Invasion of (Syria's Kurdish Canton of) Afrin : an Urgent Humanitarian Crisis", organized by MEPs Tiny Cox and Nikolaj Villumsen, respectively from the Netherlands and Denmark, both from the "EuroLeft" Group, of which the First is its Long-Time President.


Thirty (30) various such "Side Events" are currently Scheduled during 4 Days, between Monday and Thursday (included), as usual, at Different Times, (on Various Hours in the Mornings, Noons, or Early Afternoons, even at the Evening).

 

(../..)


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    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.
----------------------------------
    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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