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Haupt 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 ?

Geschrieben von 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.

 

duma_fac_president_slutsky_press_point_eurofora_400 


- 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.


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

duma_international_committee_president_slutskky__agg_eurofora_400 


 - "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.


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    + "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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  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.
----------------------------------
    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.
-------------
The precise Text :
-----------------
    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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