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Home arrow newsitems arrow Duma International Committee Chair Slutsky to EF on Russia-CoE Assembly row: A Chance for Deal ?

Duma International Committee Chair Slutsky to EF on Russia-CoE Assembly row: A Chance for Deal ?

Written by ACM
Tuesday, 26 June 2018
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*Strasbourg/CoE/Angelo Marcopolo/-
"Alea Jacta Est", and Time for Decisions has come, in the 4 Years-Long Russia - CoE Assembly Row, which has left the PanEuropean Organisation wihOut any Russian MEP, and now even Threatens its Budget, since Moscow has notoriously Suspended its Annual Financial Contributions to Strasbourg, (while a traditional Deadline looms for that Payment already on June 30) :

 

In a Brief but Topical, Substantial and Exclusive Interview given to "Eurofora" by the Experienced President of Russian Duma's International relations Committee, Leonid Slutsky, (who, together with his Collegue of the Federal Council/Senate, Konstantin Kosachev, himself President of Foreign Affairs Committee there, have an Extensive Knowledge of CoE's Assembly), he appears rather Optimist on the Decision taken Today, as an important Step in a longer and complex process, but also Realist enough about the Big Challenges still remaining to face, ahead, while also strongly Focusing on the Number 1 Priority for the Russian MEPs, (even if he seems also Ready to Consider, at least, a priori, an eventual Compromise suggested by "Eurofora" : See Infra).

 

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A Crucial Report was Adopted, this Evening in Strasbourg, by an Exceptional, High-Level "Ad Hoc" Committee, with the Participation of Duma's Foreign Affairs Committee President Leonid Slutsky, who Replied  to "Eurofora"s Questions, (after a Press-point for Russian-speaking Journalists), just before rushing for an Airplane to Moscow.

 

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- Meanwhile, a French and a Dutch MEPs had told "Eurofora" that this Report, (in fact a Series of Proposals, with Various Alternatives, that its Authors reportedly Tried to Narrow down in order to Focus, as much as possible, to a Handfull of Main Trends), was due to be Transmitted to CoE Assembly's "Bureau", for Decision expected on Friday Morning.


An Earlier Version, which included also a Previous Transmission and Debate between MEPs and CoE Member States' Governments' Representatives (mainly Ambassadors) at a "Mixte" Comittee, due to Coordinate Parliamentarian (where Russia was Pushed to leave, with all its MEPs Out, since 2014), and InterGovernemental Activities of the CoE, (where Russia remains present), Scheduled for Wednesday early Afternoon, suddenly appeared, however, UnCertain, as even a mainstream French MEP told "Eurofora" that he wasN't Aware of such a move :


In fact, the Inter-Governemental part of the overall Process is as much Necessary, as the Reform of COE's Rules might be more Ambitious, in order to Ensure Russian and Other MEPs that they would Not Risk again to be Striped from their Voting and Participation Rights, (as Moscow and others notoriously ask). But this might, eventualy, be achieved even Simply with a Transmission of COE Assembly Bureau's subsequent Decision (on Friday Morning) to the COE's Committee of Ministers, immediately afterwards.


Meanwhile, the "Report" debated and just Adopted by the "Ad Hoc", High Level Committee, as expected, reportedly keeps an equivalent Structure to that of an earlier "Memorandum", (several Times Re-Drafted), which Simply Noted a Series of concrete Possibilities, proposed by various Sides, but Leaving the Choices to be made, Later-on, "by the Bureau" of CoE's Asssembly, (i.e. on Friday morning).


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According to other, Well Informed Sources, it is Expected that CoE Assembly's Bureau would confirm a demand for 2 Reports to be prepared asap : One, from the body's Political affairs Committee, around COE's main Role, Mission, Identity or Physionomy, due to be Drafted by Experienced, Dutch Senator Tiny Cox, Long-Time President of the Group of MEPs of the Left, and anOther, focusing on the desirable, relevant Reforms, by the Committee on Rules.


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

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 - "The Main point, for me, is that this Special "Ad Hoc" Committee, set up by COE Assembly's Bureau, from its Previous President Michele Nicolletti from Italy, (currently Vice-President), did a very Good Job !", Optimistically estimated the Experienced President of Russian Duma's Foreign Affairs Committee, Leonid Slutsky, speaking to "Eurofora", shortly after the Conclusion of that important meeting.


 - "I Think that we may Plan, for the Conclusions, Recommendations and Analysis made by that "Ad Hoc" Committee, to be used as the Basis for the (2) Next Reports of PACE's Committees on Political Affairs and on the Rules" (Comp. Supra), he speculated.


  + "And I Hope that we can Continue our Work", in this regard, in one way or another, Slutsky added.


 >>> "But, we (Russian MEPs) can Return Back to the (CoE's) Assembly, Only After the Adoption of Regulatory Changes which Can Ensure that Nobody among the National Delegations (of MEPs) would ever be Striped of its Rights, which are "Sacred", and canNot be Altered or Sanctioned here, inside the Assembly", the President of Duma's Political Affairs Committee told us.


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    At this point, "Eurofora" reminded to Slutsky our earlier Finding, that, in Fact, it was Not a Majority of MEPs, but Only a Minority (of Registered MEPs), who had provoked that Controversial Row, Back on 2014, by Voting More and Harsher Sanctions than a Compromise Previously Agreed among the Presidents of PACE's Political + Monitoring Committees and the Russian MEPs, pushing them to Quit the Assembly, (See : http://www.eurofora.net/newsflashes/news/coeminorityamendmentpushesrussianmepsout.html).


    So that, the current proposals, made by Many inside this "Ad Hoc" Committee in CoE's Assembly, to Ask for More Strict Conditions to eventual Sanctions against MEPs, (f.ex., in Quorum, Quaified -even 2/3- Majority, etc), should Normally be Enough in order to Safeguard Russian MEPs' Rights, in practice, (See : http://www.eurofora.net/newsflashes/news/russiaandpacecrisismayberesolved.html ).


    => And asked him if he thinks that these Facts could Facilitate an Agreement Today, (i.e. even if Sanctions remained theoreticaly possible, but Only on Conditions normally Impossible or, at least, extremely improbable for anyone to meet nowadays in the case of Russian MEPs).


    - "We shall See that", President Slutsky replied to the above-mentioned "Eurofora"s suggestion, i.e., a priori, Not Excluding such moves for a workable Compromise, as those that "Eurofora" Highlighted.


     - However, at any case, at least as things stand, "For the Moment, We have a Majority in the Joint Committee, But that's Not yet in the Bureau, or in the Plenary. So that we shall Examine the Situation", he added Carefully.


    - "Personally, I Think that there are Good Chances (for Russian MEPs) to Return" in CoE's Assembly, Slutsky, indeed, found.


    - "But, this could only be done After the Adoption of Amendments to the Regulations, which would be Able to Stop, even Theoretical Possibilities, to impose Sanctions or Cut the Rights of National Delegations, be it Russian, or of Other Countries", he stressed.


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


    + "Moreover, all those Articifial "Red Lines", that some abuse inside the CoE, which do Not Mind about the Countries, but, rather, to Divide and Separate the Countries among them, are realy very Negative factors, against the Future of the CoE and its Parliamentary Assembly, Hindering the further Development of European Structures", he Denounced, in conclusion


    - Indeed, "Both for Big and Small Countries, it should Not be possible to Cut and Stop their Rights. If a Country's National Parliament has send a Delegation (of Democratically Elected MEPs) to Strasbourg, then, this is Sacred !  Nobody can Stop, Alter or Sanction these Rights", which "must be Respected".  The Contrary, would be "a very Negative factor against CoE's Future", he Warned.


    - "Nevertheless, we (Russia and the CoE) can Debate, and hold even very Hard Discussions, on certain Problems, f.ex. Institutional, and/or the Ukranian Issue, etc.", the Top Russian MEP Accepted.


     >>>"But with the Delegation" of Russian MEPs "in Strasbourg : Not only the Discussion in Strasbourg, while the MEPs' are obliged to stay in Moscow !", President Slutsky concluded ad absurdum...

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

 

+ Meanwhile, in Addition to those, inside the CoE, who have recently expressed their support to its role as a PanEuropean Forum for Dialogue, (Comp., f.ex. : ..., etc),

the Experienced, twice CoE's Secretary General, Thornbjorn Jagland, clearly reiterated his Vision for Strasbourg's Organisation of Human Rights, Democracy and Rule of Law, to serve also as "a PanEuropean Legal Space, from Lisbon to Vladivostoc",

as he stressed Both at a Press-point together with CoE's President, Croatian Prime Minister Plenkovic (Comp. his Reply to an "Eurofora"'s Question at: http://www.eurofora.net/newsflashes/news/primeministerplenkoviconeucoecoop.html, etc), and in CoE Assembly's Plenary. 

 

(../..)

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Facing a 70% Abstention threat in 2009 Election, EU endorses EuroFora's idea for Citizens' debates on crucial EU decisions !

- Different views on "Europe's Future", should be debated among Citizens at June 2009 EU Elections, thanks to political Parties' "Manifestos", says EU Parliament's Report


                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                               
A main idea, initiated and promoted by EuroFora's founders since 1997: the vital need to develop European Citizens' democratic right to actively participate in multilingual debates on EU decisions, is formally endorsed by the EU from 2009 !

The move is a key attempt to overcome "catastrophic" Polls which warn that only ...30% of Citizens are ready to vote in the forthcoming June 2009 EU Election !  This was revealed by EU Commission's vice-president, in charge of Communication policy, Margot Wallstrom, during a "hot" meeting of EU Parliament's Committee on Culture and Education, during the December 2008 Strasbourg session.

Wallstrom faced criticism, but also suggestions from various MEPs, naturally worried by Abstention threats which herself found even "worse" than in 1999 or 2004...

A Report on "Active Dialogue with Citizens",examined at the same time, presented some useful practical tips, on "facilitating Interviews"; etc., but also a  potentialy important call to "incorporate the conclusions of ...debates...into (EU) policies, and take into consideration the expectations that Citizens have of the EU when deciding". An amendment even implies that Citizens' participation in debates on EU decisions is a democratic "Right".

More importantly, it finds that  a Debate "on the Future of Europe", (as French President Nicolas Sarkozy has asked since 2007), would be a good idea " for the 2009 European parliamentary Elections", because "clarifying the political differences between the EU political parties would help citizens to identify themselves with, and choose between various concepts", for which "all parties (should) present their Manifesto".

A "Joint political declaration on Communicating Europe in Partnership", co-signed by "the European Parliament, Council and ... Commission", confirms that they "attach the utmost importance to improving communication on EU issues", by "enabling European citizens to exercise their right to participate in the democratic life of the Union, in which decisions are taken as openly as possible and as closely as possible to the citizens, observing the principles of pluralism, participation, openness and transparency".

This should "enable Citizens to exercise their right to express their views and to participate actively in the public Debate on European Union issues", while also "promoting the respect of multilingualism". In this regard, EU confirms its "wish to develop synergies with national, regional and local authorities as well as with representatives of Civil Society".

    It's since 1997 that a group of EuroFora's founders have officially presented a pioneer Project (then called "EIW", for "Europe in the World"), which aimed to develop Strasbourg's "Polyphonic music", by providing "Interactive information", on "main issues ... during the Decision-making process of European Organizations which engage in Transparent and Public Democratic Debates"

    This should be done, inter alia, by "exploring the potential of New Communication Tools (mainly Internet)", as well as classic-form debates, the 1997 EIW pioneer project's anounced in its "Synopsis". It was formally "accepted for evaluation" by EU Commission in Brussels in order to be examined for a grant in the framework of the "Research/Technology/Development (RTD) Programme in the field of Information Technologies", then called "ESPRIT", as a "Best Practice Pilot Project".

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        But the vital, urgent Political need for EU to search new, efficient ways to reach the People and interact with European Citizens, was really felt in Brussels and elsewhere only after the unprecedented in History 1999 and 2004 Majority Abstention in EU Elections, followed by 3 "NO" in Referenda in France, the Netherlands and Ireland, on 2005 and 2008...
    In this New Political Landscape, we prepared a new, actualised and more developed version of our initial idea, in a simplified and more efficient form, thanks also to a large Experience accumulated during many years of EU/CoE/UNO Press work and Multi-lingual debates, with the New project "EuroFora" :

    On 2006 we presented in Public its main lines during Questions/Replies that we raised at two Press Conferences by EU Commission President, Jose Baroso, and mainly EU Commission's vice-President, in charge of Communication policy, Margot Wallstrom, together with EU Parliament's vice-president, Alejo Vidal-Quadras, in Strasbourg, (Videos available), and we reminded it at various brief contacts with Commissioner Wallstrom in 2007 and 2008.

    Meanwhile, a new Text was also presented for "EuroFora" Project mainly to certain Political and other personalities, at European, National or Regional/Local level, mainly in 2007, but also in 2008..

    Now, after the unexpected 2008 Irish "NO", and before the 2009 EU Elections, which are due to be of exceptionally crucial importance for Europe's Future, the moment has obviously come to launch that project, progressively, but in real practice.

    Whoever really cares for Europe and its Citizens is welcome to join, in one way or another. Only anti-European, anti-democratic, obscure or ignorant groups might oppose or attempt to "steal" and deviate the main idea.

    But European Citizens, incited by enlightened political leaders, are those who will finally write the real History.

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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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