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Inicio arrow newsitems arrow PACE Talks on Russian MEPs and CoE's Future Started + Continue on March 2018 in Paris

PACE Talks on Russian MEPs and CoE's Future Started + Continue on March 2018 in Paris

Escrito por ACM
23.01.18
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*Strasbourg/CoE/Angelo Marcopolo/- Will Spring 2018 bring a Thaw in the Controversy on CoE Assembly and Russian MEPs, "Frozen" since 2014, when a Minority droped an Initial Deal and put Heavier Sanctions on pretext of the Conflict provoked in Ukraine, pushing all Moscow's Elected Parliamentarians to quit the PanEuropean body, for the 1st Time in CoE's Post-Cold War History, until Moscow Government anounced on 2017 its intention to Suspend all its Annual Financial Contribution from February 2018, unless all MEPs' Equal Rights are Guaranteed ?

Not Sure at all, But Something has Started in Dialogue : That seems to be the Wider Impression left to various Participants in an Exceptional Meeting of a brand New "Ad Hoc" Committee on the Mission of COE's Parliamentary Assembly (PACE) and its Future, which was just Created by PACE's Bureau on December 2017, and brought Together, in a 1st Session, all National Delegations' Heads, Presidents of Political Groups of MEPs, and Chairmen of Commissions, with the participation of Russian Delegates as Duma's new vice-President Pyotr Tolstoy, experienced Senate's Foreign Affairs' Committee President Kostantin Kosacev, etc, after an Exceptionally Long Absence from Strasbourg, (where, on the Contrary, the Inter-Governemental cooperation continues, with the Russian Ambassador/Permanent Representative, Ivan Soltanovsky in CoE's Committee of Ministers and various other Sectorial bodies).
 
 
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Held behind Closed Doors, at CoE's "Room 9", at the Eve of the Year 2019 during which the PanEuropean Organisation notoriously Hopes to Organize a New Summit of Heads of State/Government bringing Together All its 47 Member Countries, to Mark the "Unity" of all Europe and its role for "Democratic Security", this Exceptional Meeting of CoE' Assembly's "Role and Mission" New Committee (Comp. Supra), concluded this Evening withOut any official Public Anouncement.
 

- However, "Eurofora" learned, after briefly meeting Ambassador Ivan Soltanovsky with Duma's new vice-President Pyotr Tolstoy and other Diplomats on their way out of CoE's main Building, that, at least, a 2nd, Follow-up Meeting of that brand New "Ad Hoc", High-Level PACE Committee was due "on March 2018, in Paris".

+ This was Confirmed, shortly Afterwards, also by the New President of PACE's Biggest Political Group, that of ChristianDemocrats/EPP, Cezar Florin Preda, from Romania :
 
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 - Indeed, "We (PACE) Need some Time, in order to seriously Exemine the overall Situation, instead of Taking any Hasty Decisions on such a Serious matter". And "I spoke about that with the New President of the PACE, Michele Nicoletti", Preda told "Eurofora".

 - From an Ukranian source, "Eurofora" heard that the Chair of the Country's National Delegation, President of PACE's Committee on Culture, Volodymyr Ariev, "made a Statement" during Today's Meeting, as well as "2 or 3 Presidents of Political Groups", and they agreed to Postpone their work for Later-on.

- Another Experienced Collegue Journalist, from a 3rd European Country, told "Eurofora" that he met Briefly, by chance, with the President of the Russian Senate's Foreign Affairs Committee, Konstantin Kosacev, who would have qualified the Meeting as "Constructive", and "a Beginning", but without revealing now any concrete point.

- Previously, a CoE's Experienced Officer had confirmed to "Eurofora" that, in Practical Terms, the most Crucial Time Deadline for an eventual Deal which might, perhaps, incite Russia to pay, as usual, its full Annual Financial Contribution to CoE's Budget, (recenly "Freezed" because of the +3 Years-Long provoked Non-Participation of Russian MEPs in CoE's Parliamentarry Assembly, would be "towards the End of February" 2018.

=> I.e., very Close to the March 2018 Date, reportedly Chose for the Next Meeting of PACE's "Role and Mission", High-Level "Ad Hoc" Committee (Comp. Supra), which stands Also almost at the Eve of the Next Plenary Session for the Spring 2018, scheduled on April...

>>> Obviously, this Fact might, eventually, also Facilitate a possible Agreement for an adequate Change in PACE's Rules of Procedure, (as Russia notoriously asks, and EPP's Chairman, Preda, Confirmed Today : Comp. Supra), perhaps at the Next PACE's Plenary Session, (almost as "Eurofora had recently suggested... Comp.: + http://www.eurofora.net/newsflashes/news/coereformtoeaserussiasolution.html).

+ Meanwhile, the New President of CoE's Assembly, Italian MEP Michele Nicoletti, in his Official Inauguration Speech, Yesterday (Monday, January 22, 2018), Symbolically stressed that the CoE "Must Not Cease openly Denouncing any Violation of Human Rights, committed in Any Part of our Continent". "However, this Defense of Human Rights will be even Stronger if we (CoE) are able to Combine it with an ever Increasing Unity, between our Peoples : .. No Wall has been Able to Divide European Humanism, which canNot Thrive withOut All its .. Different Strands", he concluded, right after citting Both "Dante", "Shakespeare", "Beethoven", and "Dostoyevsky" as well as "Tolstoy".
 
 
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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.
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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...
 

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     (Draft due to be updated).
 
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