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Home arrow newsitems arrow CoE SG Free Speech Envoy to Turkey, Stoudman, to EuroFora: All issues in 2 Visits 1 Report (Web incl

CoE SG Free Speech Envoy to Turkey, Stoudman, to EuroFora: All issues in 2 Visits 1 Report (Web incl

Автор ACM
Friday, 17 June 2011

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All issues related to Free Speech in Turkey are due to be checked  by the CoE at the Top, in 2 Visits and 1 Report, starting from the next few days, said CoE Secretary General, Thornbjorn Jagland's envoy on Freedom of Expression in Turkey, Gerard Stoudmann, speaking to "EuroFora" at the eve of his 1st Visit to Ankara, immediately after OSCE and CoE Assembly's delegations denounced "Worrying developments, especially regarding Freedom of Expression, including Media Freedom", just after observing the latest Turkish Elections, snatched for a 3rd time in a row by Tayip Erdogan, the leader of pro-Islamist Party AKP, reportedly even with More Votes than in the Past, despite a sharp 2009 Economic Drop, rising Unemployment, Inflation and public accounts' Deficit, at the same time with a notorious Deadlock in the controversial and unpopular EU - Turkey negociations.


Stoudman revealed to "EuroFora" that he's due to start visiting Turkey, for the 1st time, in the next few days, but without being able to anounce yet any particular date.
He intends to add, later on, also another, Second viisit to Ankara, eventually from September.


The aim of his mission is to gather enough first hand, original material for a Report due to be published by CoE's Secretary General, Jagland himself, "on Autumn", Stoudman told "EuroFora".


This probably means before a New Annual 2011 EU Report on Turkey's efforts to meet European Standards, including on Human Rights, is adopted, as usual, on October or November, by EU Commission, which was notoriously Critical on Freedom of Expression problems in Turkey last time (2010).

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The idea to send a Personal Envoy to check what is really going on now about Freedom of Expression, Media and Journalists in Turkey, was anounced by Jagland just after meeting with Erdogan, last April 2011 in Strasbourg, to CoE's Journalists including "EuroFora", when Turkey was close to end its CoE's rotating chair period (11/2010-5/2011).


+ CoE's Head is a well known supporter of Turkey's controversial and unpopular EU bid, and had pointed at his relations with Turkish Prime Ministe Erdogan before his 2009 Election. But, immediately after he took over the Responsibiliy to head the Strasbourg-based PanEuropean Organization for Human Rights, Democracy and Rule of Law,  he has also repeatedly declared his support to French, German and Russian Leaders, Presidents Sarkozy and Medvedev, as well as Chancellor Merkel's GeoPolitically Stategic Vision for a "Great Area" linking the EU with Countries such as Russia, Turkey, EFTA Group (Norway, Switzerland, Lichtenstein), etc., independently of any eventual EU aspirations, (See Jagland's replies to "EuroFora"s Questions on 2009, 2010, etc).

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Stoudman has just given a 1st important proof of both his close and trustful personal links to CoE's Head Jagland, as well as of having acquired a unique overall view of CoE's activities related to the Warsaw 2005 Summit strategy focusing on Human Rights, Democracy and Rule of Law, by concluding a delicate initial Mission in the ..."hottest" issue inside Strasbourg's PanEuropean Organization, as Jagland's Representative for an ambitious internal "Restructuring" of its more than 60 Years aged Secretariat, which has recently started to overcome the manifold consequences of a Past Division of Europe during the former "Cold War", due to serve now almost 1 Billion People and their relations with Neighbouring Countries (from 3rd Mediterranean up to Asian States) and the rest of the World, in the New GeoPolitical a.o. realities of 21st Century.
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     - "When you'll go to Turkey, please visit also our f. Collegue", (an Elected representative from the Kurdish areas of Turkey, member of CLRAE)" who is still in Prison" (since 2009), Stoudman was asked by Jean-Claude Frecon, experienced vice-President of CoE's PanEuropean watchdog on Local and Regional Democracy (CLRAE), and Chairman of its Chamber of Local Authorities, a Socialist French Senator.

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    CLRAE's latest Session in Strasbourg, debated and adopted a Resolution on Turkey during March 2011, which pactically denounces the "Destruction of Democracy" in Local/Regional level, by the "Disproportionate" decision, taken by the Turkish Authorities shorty after the 2009 Local/Regional Elections (largely won by pro-Kurdish Candidates, massively Elected in Turkey's mainly Kurdish areas at the South-East, to systematically prosecute, arrest and throw to Prison some 2 or 3 Thousand People just for statements that they allegedly made, (See relevant "EuroFora"s previous NewsReport).
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    + Meanwhile, "EuroFora" asked Stoudman if, in addition to classic "hard" problems on Press Freedom notoriously existing since long in Turkey, he intended, or not, to include in his New Mission also some controversial Draft Laws, recently denounced by various Popular Demonstrations, to reportedly submit Citizens' Access to Internet to preliminary checks of their Personal Data, (f.ex.. requiring an ID and a Password just to connect to the Web, etc.), that the Turkish AKP Government had reportedly prepared to start imposing from August or later-on.

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    Such new issues have recently become of growing importance, particularly after the still on-going Popular Uprisings, with large aspirations for Democracy and  Social Development, in all other 3rd Mediterranean Countries, from Morocco up to Syria, with various repercussions, from Government-agreed deep Reforms up to Revolts, etc, where the World Wide Web is notoriously used by most Actors among Citizens' various movements, as well as even in the recent, 2011 "G-8" Heads of State/Government Summit, chaired by French President Sarkozy, last May at Deauville, (See related "EuroFora"s NewsReports from Paris and Deauville).


    - "All issues related to the Freedom of Expression", (protected by Article 10 of the European Convention on Human Rights), are normally included in my Mission, replied Stoudman to "EuroFora"s question in a crystal-clear positive way, obviously confirming the inclusion also of Internet-related Article 10 Press/Speech Freedom cases.

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On the contrary, "EuroFora" didn't raise now with Stoudman the issue of Adali's Murder case, the dissident Turkish Cypriot Journalist who was killed with 5 Bullets at his Head out of his Family Home in the Territories of Cyprus Occupied by Ankara's Military, resulting in a 2005 Condemnation by ECHR of Turkey's failure to make any efficient Investigation to find and punish those Responsible, which was astonishingly "closed" on June 2010 inside CoE's Committee of Ministers immediately after the Turkish Government assumed the Responsibility of the Rotating Chair of its Secretariat, despite the fact that Turkey hadn't made any progress at all in that enquiry, contrary to its obligaion to implement ECHR's judgement. (See earlier "EuroFora"s NewsReports on Adali's case, compared with that of Gongadze, where, on the contrary, Ukranian Authorities show a will to accomplish their duty).

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     But CoE Head's envoy should certainly have the means to be easily informed of Relevant Press Articles on important issues concerning his new area of responsibilities, particularly when they are written in English and published among the few long-time EU/CoE Press Correspondents based in Strasbourg as "EuroFora"'s co-founder, (+ 17 Years : +9/1993-2011).
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    In fact, CoE's Head, Jagland's move on Freedom of Expression in Turkey can be based not only on the above mentioned agreement with Turkish Prime Minister Erdogan, after so many serious Concerns expressed on the matter by the EU, CoE, OSCE and other European, PanEuropean or International Organizations, but also, eventually, on the Powers that gives to CoE's Secretary General the Article No 52 of CoE's Statute, according to which, the S.G. of the PanEuropean Organization may ask any Member State (or States) to reply in questions concerning the way it intends to fulfill its obligations and commitments undertaken vis a vis CoE's principles. (An important institutional Power, which has already been used, in recent years, f.ex. for enquiries in all CoE's Member States, about rumours of CIA "Secret Flights", "redditions", "secret Prisons", etc., unofficially covered under "anti-terrorism" alleged suspicions, etc).


    But, as even USA Media critically denounced this week, obviously, a CoE move on Freedom of Expression particularly in Turkey seems more and more necessary today, because various actors "raise alarms, complaining of Mr. Erdogan’s abrasive, confrontational style, Islamist roots and thin-skinned authoritarianism", while even "the OSCE says Turkey has the Highest Number of Imprisoned Journalists (57) in the World — more than Russia, China or Iran !"...  

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    Indeed, according to OSCE/PACE's official Conclusions, concerning "the 12 June 2011 Elections to the Turkish Grand National Assembly...  there were some Worrying developments, especially regarding Freedom of Expression, including Media freedom", (See earlier "EuroFora"s NewsReport).

- “To fully live up to its Democratic Commitments, Turkey must do More", pointed out the Head of OSCE's Delegation and OSCE Assembly's vice-President, Pia Christmas-Moeller (Denmark). -“Free expression and a Media Environment in which Reporters are Free from political Pressure and Intimidation, are Critical for Turkey", the Top MEP warned.

- In particular, "some elements of the Legal framework continue to Constrain activities of the Media and political Parties, by Limiting Freedom of Speech".

+ In addition, "the 10 percent threshold for political party representation in Parliament – the Highest in the OSCE region – remains one of the central issues that Limit the Representative nature of the legis-lature. "


- Moreover, Turkish "Government Control over influential Media groups allegedly resulted in Biased reporting and self-Censorship".

- The latter is an understandable consequence of the Fact that "Observers noted the Detention and ongoing Investigations of more than 50 Journalists in Turkey", OSCE and CoE criticized.


"Limiting freedom of the media is a violation of the 1990 Copenhagen Document and a host Council of Europe documents", they warned Turkish pro-Government MEPs.
    

CoE's Assembly has recently adopted texts making National Delegations of MEPs Responsible for their Government's failure to implement ECHR's Judgements, and this is due to be further discussed and voted also next week in Strasbourg at a Report drafted by the President of PACE's Legal/Human Rights Committee, Christos Purgurides from Cyprus (ChristianDemocrats/EPP) on Thursday.


"Putting journalists under the permanent Threat of Criminal lawsuits", resulted, according to "many observers, including the OSCE Representative on Freedom of the Media", by a "ruling" of "2 May 2011", by which, "the Turkish Constitutional Court amended the Press Law to extend .... filing Criminal cases against Journalists from 2 Months to 8 Years".


Turkish Prime Minister Erdogan astonished many CoE observers, last April in Strasbourg, when he replied to critical questions on Press Freedom Violations in Turkey, by merely boasting that he had been, himself, persecuted in Courts and Jailed (for 2 Months), but afterwards created a new Political Party, won elections, and got the top political job.. I.e. practically challenging Dissidents, many of whom are systematically submited to Harassing Attacks, Censorship, Criminal Prosecution, many Years of Imprisonment, and/or killed, without the instigators of their Murderers ever found until recently ! (Comp. f. ex. Turkey's condemnation by ECHR even in the famous Armenian Journalist Hrant Dink's cold-blood 2007 Murder, in a Judgement taking into account all developments in the investigation until it was published in Strasbourg at the Autumn of 2010, revealing several astonishing Facts on the behavior of Turkish Authorities vis a vis Murderers of Critical Journalists, obviously able to provoke a Chilling effect, Intimidation and/or Self-Censorship during the crucial following Months at the eve of June 2011 Election...


ECHR's Revelations on a scandalous treatment of the Hrant Dink Murder case by Turkish Authorities came shortly after Turkey managed to "close" CoE Committee of Ministers' examination of Ankara's duty to implement ECHR's Judgement which had condemned her for totaly failing to make any efficient Investigation on the cold blood Murder of Dissident Turkish Cypriot Journalist Kutlu Adali, shot with 5 Bullets at his Head in front of his Family Home in the Territories of Cyprus Occupied by Ankara's Army. (See earlier "EuroFora"s Publications on that case).
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 - "On 2 May 2011 the Turkish Constitutional Court amended the Press Law to extend the statute of limitations for filing criminal cases against journalists from two months to eight years. This ruling has been cited by many observers, including the OSCE Representative on Freedom of the Media, as put-ting journalists under the permanent threat of criminal lawsuits.


+ In addition, "Many stakeholders raised Questions about re-markable Changes in the Number of registered Voters in recent years, and the printing of a Dispro-portionally high number of Excess ballot Papers", OSCE/PACE critically observe, (obviously because all this might have been abused for any kind of Mass Fraud), apparently without getting any convincing Answer.. .


- "There was Heavy police presence and Tensions in parts of the South East, as well as isolated reports of physical Attacks".



+ Moreover, "there were initial Problems with the Registration of some Independent Candidates", merely notes the OSCE/PACE delegation's rapporteur, apparently ignoring the Fact that even a Child (Orenc) was reportedly killed by Bullets during an attack by Turkish State Agents against Demonstrators protesting for the Exclusion of 12 Independent Candidates in the Kurdish areas.



A Swedish and a Danish MEP from CoE and OSCE's Assemblies, Kerstin Lundgren and Pia Christmas-Moeller, headed the joint Delegations.


***

(NDLR : DraftNews, as already send earlier to "EuroFora"'s Subscribers/Donors. A complete and more accurate Final Public Version is due asap).

***
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3 EU Parliament votes to boost EuroGroup !

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After EuroZone Paris Summit's succes, Sarkozy calls to "think anew how to re-construct Europe !

"EuroZone and EU Institutional debates pave the way to 2009 discussions on EU Future, including Enlargment, Turkey etc. ?


23 October 2008

After EU Parliament strongly suppported in 3 successive Votes this week in Strasbourg French EU Chairmanship's move to boost Euro-Group at EU's core, while ideas on EU Institutional problems are awaited on December, "it's an open Question now" if this may lead to a debate on EU's Future, or not, told us French President, Nicolas Sarkozy''s Spokesman, Pierre-Jerome Henin.

MEPs voted on Thursday fresh Funds to support EuroGroup, after adopting on Wednesday a Resolution asking a "further Evolution" to "the 1st ever meeting of Heads of State and of Government of the Euro-Zone, taking decisions in that capacity", while earlier this week a Report asked "a stronger Institutional setting" for "EuroGroup", extended from "competitiveness/industry" to "environment, employment and education", with "increased powers for Political decision-making", according to a text drafted by French MEP Francoise Beres and German MEP Werner Langen, "10 Years after the creation of Euro" (1999 - 2009).

- Brussels' subsequent "EU Council ..(simply)..ratified the measures decided by EuroGroup on October 12" in Paris, which "were necessary to contain the current Financial Crisis", Resolution observes, expressing also support to the new process succesfully initiated by Sarkozy and due to be completed by agreements with USA and other countries at a Global level.

From now on, it's between two differend but parallel moves : EU's delay, and EuroZone's acceleration, that Enlargement and particularly Turkey's controversial EU bid, will have to search its way :

Indeed, EU's 27 expect a "Roadmap on how to deal with the Irish problem" on Lisbon Treaty ratification after December, risking to pass even 2009 Elections and next Commission with the old Nice Treaty of 2000, out-dated and unfit even for 2004's Enlargement...

On the contrary, EU's core launches a real "Economic Governance for EuroZone at the highest level of Heads of State/Government" of the 15, which started in Paris on October 12 and was strongly supported this week in Strasbourg by Sarkozy and EU Parliament.
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- "It's a good idea, to launch such a debate ("on EU's Future") in EU Parliament in view of 2009 Euro-Election : Perhaps some MEPs will seize an opportunity", told us mainstream French MEP Alain Lamassoure, former EU Minister and EU Spokesman for France's governing party UMP.

- "All MEPs' debates on such EU Councils are also part of the larger debate on Europe's future : Now with EuroZone, and even more when, on December, Irish Prime Minister is due to table proposals in Strasbourg on how to deal with EU Treaty's ratification", replied earlier to our question EU Parliament's Press Director and Spokesman, Jaume Duch.
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Sarkozy has formally anounced his intention to open EU Debates on Economy, Identity/Enlargement (i.e. mainly Turkey), etc. both linked to a popular Political view of Europe, since his Historic speeches on EU in Strasbourg, on February and July 2007, when he stressed that "Europe needs a New Renaissance". At the beginning of the French EU Presidency, on July 2008, replying to a MEP, he suggested that EU Parliament takes an active part in Debates on EU's Future.

- Now, in 2008, "Crisis are an opportunity to re-think how to re-construct Europe", Sarkozy stressed. At any case, the Historic 1st EuroZone Summit of Heads of State/Government, which started replying to the Financial crisis,"is a Turning Point : After that, Europe cannot be governed as before, but differently" : People "like a Europe with Strong Will".

- "We must make the System move !", "Europe needs Innovation" and free political debates. EU "Elections are in a few Months", Sarkozy warned.

He invited EU Parliament to fully play its role as "the Democratic Heart of the Europe we want : United, Independent and Voluntarist, because the World needs Europe's voice".

- "It's no more possible for Euro-Zone to continue without an Economic Government" at the Highest Level of Heads of State/Government, who provide "Democratic Legitimity" and can take important decisions, he announced, strongly supported by EU Parliament's Economic Committee which just voted to boost the "Institutional" aspects of "EuroGroup".

Plasticity offered by the current absence of a special Treaty on EuroZone's Institutions "made it easy to adapt the organization of the 1st Summit with imagination, to efficiently meet urgent needs", he observed, on the occasion of Brittish Prime Minister's exceptionnal presence at the greatest part of EuroGroup's Paris Summit.

- "In EuroZone we have the same Bank, the same Money, and, thus, a same duty for Unity" : "By bringing together EuroGroup's 15 members States we suceeded to find a solution and prepare a Giant Plan of 1.800 Billion euros", Sarkozy reminded of Paris' 1st Historic EuroZone's Summit.

Afterwards, Brussels' EU Council followed the move, and USA's Paulson II Plan was inspired from that. "Europe must promote the idea of Global Economy's Refoundation", he stressed.

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- "I was frankly astonished when I found, at the EU, a rigid system, where any New Idea was seen from the outset as a sacrilege, while, on the contrary, Europe needs Innovation !", he described.

F.ex. ,"'When we first spoke about the "Union for the Mediterranean", it was misunderstood as something extraordinary.. When later we had the Russia -Georgia crisis, it seemed against EU's custom to act "in the middle of August", instead of staying a passive spectator ! And when, in front of the Financial ciris, we gathered the 1st EuroZone Summit of the "15", some thought of it as a lese-majesté", he denounced.
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On Geo-Political Principles :
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- But, by moving resolutely, "EU obtained the ...withdrawal of Occupation Troops in 2 Months !", reminded Sarkozy, observing that Russia "fulfilled its commitments", in the Georgian crisis, where a "disroportionate reaction" from Moscow followed a "totally inappropriate action" from Tbilisi's troops. "It would be crazy to reply by military means : EU should not become accomplice of another Cold War, imposed by lack of cool heads".. as he said.

In future, "the creation of a common European Economic Area with EU and Russia, would also obtain a raprochment on our Human Rights and Democratic Values", added Sarkozy, in a statement which should logically be applied, a fortiori, to controversial EU "candidate" Turkey..

Particularly when, the same week that EU Parliament voted 2009 EU Funds for Turkey's controversial EU bid, ECHR took a series of judgements condemning Turkey for grave Violations of Human Rights, such as : Torture, death of a political prisoner in unclear circumstances followed by failure to conduct a proper Investigation, "enforced Disappearance" of a youngster aged 17, Killing of a sepherd with Tank Shells, persecuting Journalists for articles on "Missing" People, even a former President of Human Rights' Association, (etc)

- "We (EU) can defend our ideas on respect of Sovereignity and territorial Integrity, on Human Rights and other differences ... without confrontation", Sarkozy stressed, on the occasion of Russian/Georgian conflict, reminding that : "we were only 2 steps from catastroph", when a Peace agreement brokered in Moscow prevented, at the last minute, Russian troops' advance towards Tbilisi.

An EU Parliament Resolution adopted Wednesday in Strasbourg on the occasion of Russia - Georgia conflict, outlines a set of Principle which apply elsewhere too, (particularly when EU Rapporteur for Russia and Turkey is one and same person ; Dutch MEP Ria Oomen-Ruijtanen !)

Clearly rejecting any "military solution to the conflicts", MEPs "condemn ..all those who resorted to force and violence". They denounce a "disproportionate military action", "as well as (an) unilateral decision to recognise the independence" of brekaway regions, "calling.. to respect the sovereignty and territorial integrity" of the concerned country, "and the inviolability of its borders recognised by all EU Member States". They warn that "EU must review its policy towards" a 3rd Country, "should .(it)...not comply with its commitments", and "stress that the withdrawal of.... troops from the areas ....is an essential additional step".

EU Parliament "calls for the safe and quick return of refugees, (accepted by Russian President Medvedev) accompanied by the deployment of EU observers on the ground", and "regrets ...that ..EU Monitoring Mission (EUMM) is not allowed to enter the ...breakaway regions". Moreover, "It's important to ensure that persons and NGOs ..engaged in defending human and civil rights can operate". "Until ...all remaining issues (are) resolved..., and notably the continuing ...Military presence", "relations with the EU ..cannot be fully normalised", MEPS warned.

As nobody likes to be accused to practice "Double Standards", this should be regarded as "Principles" applicable to any Third Country at EU's Neighborhood.. No ?

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On Economy :

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- "When Financial crisis shook US and EU's Banks, without result from the 1st (American) Paulsen plan, it was the common reply of the 1st EuroZone's Summit, involving some 1800 Billion euros, which started a positive move in the markets, soon strengthened by the follow-up of the US Paulson 2 Plan, noted Sarkozy.

- "Europe should not be only on the defensive, but, if necessary, know also how to take an offensive", he said, brushing away hesitationsto act on Economy: - "I'm for a refondation of Capitaliism, but against Speculators, who betray its values" : "Lack of Rules was profitable to speculators, Not to businessmen !" We must make sure to prevent any such crisis in future". "We, the rest of the World, cannot continue to bear the deficits of the 1st World power without saying anything !", the French President said, applauded by EU Parliament. All this needs "a New Global Governance", on which EU Parliament must debate. That's why "we proposed together with USA, several Summits from mid-November", to which G-8, enlarged to China, India a.o. countries, should participate. UNO's SG; Ban Ki Moon, the IMF, etc.

Financial crisis lowered shares' prices even for healthy companies, sometimes to 1/3 of their initial price, so that strangers might buy EU industries for only a portion of their real value, and Europeans may wake up one day with their main industries sold out to foreigners !

That's one of the reasons for which EU should debate about creating "Golden Shares" for States to jointly take Strategic participations to help European Industries until the end of the Crisis, particularly against distording competition, he suggested, pointing at USA's 35 billion $ plan for American Car Industry."We shall struggle for Europe to be able to build Airplanes, Ships, Trains, Cars, because we need a strong Industry", he concluded.

"F.ex. as we did back in 2004, when as Finance Minister, we bought Alsthom's shares for 800.000 euros, and, after restructuring, we sold them for 2 Millions : Help a company and make money is not so bad"...

As for the UK, "when Ireland announced that it would guarantee only Irish Banks, London City emptied from liquidities in 24 hours : It's the EU which helped to restore the situation, Not the UK alone !", reminded Sarkozy to nationalist British MEP Nigel Farage.

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On the contrary, in a last-minute attempt for the EU to catch-up with its Institutional delay "before the European Elections" of June 2009, MEPs simply voted a call for a "set of proposals" to be made for the "Irish public opinion" at the end of the year...

- "As long as Lisbon Treaty is not ratified by all 27 EU Member States, there is an unanimous decision to stop Enlargement, reminded Wednesday in Strasbourg the French Minister for EU affairs, Jean-Pierre Jouyet..

Added to an indirect but clear warning that, without Lisbon Treaty, all 27 EU Member Countries may not have a Commissioner in the 2009 resuffle, MEPS in the Constitutional/Foreign affairs Committees applauded hoping that this might motivate their Irish friends..

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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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