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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 ?

Pisac ACM
26. 06. 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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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...

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+ 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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Speaking exclusively to "EuroFora", the New EU Parliament's President, former Polish Prime Minister, ChristianDemocrat/EPP MEP Jerzy Busek, welcomed proposals by EuroFora about innovative ways for EU Citizens to attend EU debates before important final decisions which affect people's lives.

- "We (EU Parliament) must be transparent", Buzek stressed from the outset.  "We must have clear answers also for delicate questions. If we don't touch a problem, you must know why, and when shall we decide in the nearest future".. "Because "we (EU) must think about Europeans, first of all : They don't understand well what is going on in the EU. So, it's our duty to inform them, to make discussions here more interesting".

"EuroFora" congratulated President Buzek for the anouncement he made, from the 1st day of his election in Strasbourg (on Tuesday, 14 July 2009), on his intention to make  transparent debates, exchanges of views, etc. before the final adoption of decisions in EU Parliament's Plenary, when issues are evolving inside Committees, (See earlier publication).

And we reminded, in this regard, that "EuroFora" has been advocating a project for EU Citizens' active involvement in pluralist EU debates before important EU decisions, since more than a Decade : 1997-2007+

- "Thank you. We (EU Parliament), indeed, have exciting debates", Buzek replied. But, in practice, "without a possibility for our Citizens to see them, not even by the Press, the Radio or TV, etc., because it is in Committees", he regreted.

- "But, they (i.e. Media, Citizens, etc) might interact with you, with MEPs, etc, May be we can imagine something", "EuroFora" proposed.

- "Yes, (but) it needs, a quite new idea", Buzed observed.

- "Why not through some innovations ?", "EuroFora" suggested.

- "Innovation ? That's it. Fantastic  New Information Technologies !", Buzek realized.

- "Precisely, "EuroFora" has such a project, since more than a Decade (1997-2009), to use new technologies for public debates before major EU decisions are taken", we reminded.

- "If you have such proposals, please come to us, come to us. We must" do something, agreed the new EU Parliamen's President.

buzek_chairing_400 

    This fits with Buzek's main stance, expressed at EU Parliament's plenary earlier this week in Strasbourg, that the European Union must succeed to overcome a "Crisis of Trust" vis a vis EU Citizens. (See previous EuroFora publication).

    For that purpose, obviously information and debates are valuable, but purely instrumental, procedural means which can help focus on, and highlight a substantial content, attractive to EU Citizens, which needs to be determined by other, political, and not mediatic factors.  

    Buzek spoke about the urgent need to overcome the Global Economic Crisis,  the struggle for Human and Civic Rights, Democracy, etc., the Eastern Partnership, links with Russia, strategic partnership with USA and emerging countries, etc.

    But he also used (while speaking both to "EuroFora" and other Media) the expression : "The Europeans", for EU Citizens. This points right towards what several important EU leaders (including French President Sarkozy, German Chancellor Merkel, etc) have started to highlight particularly during the recent years : That there is a vital need, and an historic opportunity, for the development of a European Conscience, to stimulate e renaissance of a European Identity able to attract Popular support, for the EU to become a strong player in a Multopolar World : In other words, the revitalisation of a project for a "Political Europe".

    By a coincidence, this was indirectly but surely reminded, earlier in Strasbourg, by another ... Busek (this time with a "s") : 

busekcoe_400

    Speaking to more than 650 participants from CoE's member countries, at the conclusion of the 2009 Summer University of its Political Schools, Erhard Busek, (with an "s"), former vice-Chancellor of Austria and EU Coordinator for South-Eastern Europe, pointed at the current need to revitalize Europe's "Identity", forged by Greek philosophy and Roman Law, Christian values and Enlightment's ideas, etc. through the ages.     

- "We have almost the same name with Jerzy Buzek (EU Parliament's new President, who is a former Polish Prime Minister), because both our Families come ...from  the same village, located at the Heart of Europe, which was often shared between Poland, Germany and the Czech Republic. But my family emmigrated a long time ago to Austria, while Jerzy Buzek's family remained in Poland", explained f. vice-Chancellor Erhard Busek to "EuroFora".   

 An astonishingly concrete and simple example of European Integration from the grassroots : Starting by EU Citizens, i.e. those "Europeans", that EU Parliament's new President, Jerzy Buzek (this time with a "z"), wants to bring alongside MEP's decision-making proces, (according to "EuroFora"'s main idea : Comp. supra)...

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