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Home arrow newsitems arrow CoE Legal+Human Rights Director Giakoumopoulos to EF: Europe may go Global on Data Protection

CoE Legal+Human Rights Director Giakoumopoulos to EF: Europe may go Global on Data Protection

Written by ACM
Thursday, 21 June 2018
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*Strasbourg/COE/Angelo Marcopolo/- The New CoE's Director General for Legal and Human Rights Affairs, Christos Giakoumopoulos from Greece, speaking to "Eurofora" after an International Conference, with key participants from all Continents of the World, on the Perspectives of the New EU and CoE Legal Tools for Personal Data Protection in the foreseable Future, that he Opened with an official speech at the PanEuropean COE's Headquarters in Strasbourg, pointed, in substance, to the Fact that Europe may, Nowadays, - thanks to EU-CoE close Cooperation, particularly in that area, and CoE's original Convention System,- develop also a much Wider, Global Impact in this Key Issue on Digital Technologies :


- EU and CoE have closely followed each other's recent efforts to Modernise their relevant Legal Tools, with EU's recent New Directive in that matter, which has just entered into force on May 2018, and CoE's New Version, adopted Earlier on 2018, of its Pioneer, Historic Convention "for the Protection of Individuals with regard to the Processing of Personal Data", with Experts striving to Coordinate their moves.


 - But EU's Legal System is, in principle, Focused mainly on its 28 Member States, (27 if the UK's BREXIT is soon realized), while the PanEuropean CoE, in Addition to its 47 Member States, (including Russia, etc), has also a Particular Characteristic in many among its Legal Conventions : They can (and Often are, as in the Presenrt Case) "Also Open to Any Other, 3rd Country, even Non-Member of this Organisation, and even Beyond Europe, from All over the World, Giakoumopoulos observed.


+ AnOther such relevant Case is, f.ex., also CoE's "Budapest" Convention for the Fight against "Cyber-Crime", where f.ex., in addition to Russia, it's also, often, several Key participants from the USA who take place in its widely attended Annual Conferences in Strasbourg, a Next one being, currently, Scheduled for July 2018.


=> Thus, f.ex., CoE's relevant Convention for Personal Data Protection has Already as many as 52 Member States, in its Classic Version. And, Today, during the above-mentioned Conference, several Key Participants, also from Other Continents of the World, confirmed the current Perspectives for many Important New Accessions to Both, Old and New, "Modernized" Version(s) of that landmark Legal Treaty, including, f.ex., Representatives from Mexico, Argentina, Morocco, Ghana, New Zealand, etc., (while Others, as Tunisia and Capo Verde, etc, have Already become recently Members), to which are also Added Nowadays probable Estimations even for South Korea, Japan, Chile, etc.


- Experienced CoE's Deputy Secretary General, Gabriella Battaini-Dragoni, from Italy, who gave a Concluding Speech at the Closing Session of Today's International Conference, significantly went as Far as to even, Characteristically  ...Play with Words and Express her Wish for COE's New, "Modernized" Version of its Landmark, Pioneer PanEuropean Convention for the protection of Individuals whenever their Personal Data are Processed, to Be Soon Named : "Global" Convention !...

 

- Nowadays, about "126 Countries", accross the World, already have some kind of "Data Protection Laws", more or less well developed, observed, meanwhile, Professor Graham Greenleaf, from Australia, before going down to more concrete Details about his Estimations on their most probable stance vis a vis Cooperation with Europe on this Topical Issue.

 

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- In fact, "what Counts most for the CoE, is that this Convention has Human Rights at its core, which currently, Face notorious Challenges in a "Connected" Environment of various Digital Communication Technologies, Giakoumopoulos went on to stress, as a matter of Principle.


+ Indeed, other Participants in this Conference, pointed also to the Fact that even the Modernized, New Version of the above-mentioned CoE's Convention makes an Explicit Reference to the Core Value of "Human Dignity".


CoE had, in fact, Already Drafted its main Text quite a Long Time Ago, but it had, Meanwhile, to Solve at least 2 Serious Problems : Find a workable Compromise mainly with Russia, (as far as it concerns Trans-Border Flow of Data and USA's role, as well as Security Issues, etc), and Discuss, moreover, how to Coordinate Efficiently with EU's parallel work on its Recent Directive, (Comp. Supra).


The Next Step for that CoE's "Convention 108", as it's Traditionaly nick-named, (Nowadays' New Version Adding a "Plus" after its Name, i.e. resulting in "Convention 108+"), is currently Scheduled for the forthcoming Autumn of 2018, when Dozens of Countries are Expected to Sign the "Modernized" Legal Document, whose Entry into Force has been Fixed by CoE's Highest Political Body, that of its Committee of Ministers, at the Threshhold of at least 37 Countries, a Number reportedly due to be reached in the next few years, if not even earlier.


The main point is that, Now, a Key Movement has Started, with a Political Will to Help it Spread World-wide, at the Greater possible Extend, in this particularly Global Issue.

 


(../..)


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(NDLR : "DraftNews", as already send to "Eurofora"s Subscribers/Donors, Earlier. A more accurate, full Final Version, might be Published asap).

 

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Swedish Foreign Minister, Carl Bildt, speaking  to "EuroFora", denied rumors on Turkey's attempts to avoid an EU check of its obligations on Cyprus on December 2009 by blackmailing Nicosia to either accept any deal with intransigeant Turkish claims contrary to EU values on the island's political issue, or face threats against the territorial integriy of the EU island, semi-occupied by Ankara's army.

On the contrary, the incoming EU President-in-office, speaking exclusively to "EuroFora", promissed that he will act for EU Council's decisions on December 2009 assessment of Turkey's commitments on Cyprus to be kept.


    Bildt was asked to react to Cyprus' President Christofias' denunciation, earlier this week, that some want to exert "pressure" on Cyprus in order for Turkey to escape from its obligations.

    Avoiding to mention any precise Deadline, Bildt, however, warned about "Consequences" in case of "failure" to reunite Cyprus, but without saying whose responsibility an eventual deadlock might be.  

 Asked by "EuroFora" if there is a risk for "Turkey's commitments to "be forgotten or downgraded", "despite crystal-clear EU Council decisions and EU Parliament's latest Resolution on the assessment to make at the end of this year on Turkey's obligations", according to rumours that, instead of pressing Turkey, on the contrary, there might be "pressure on Cyprus", even "blackmail", as Media reported and President Christofias denounced this week, Bildt denied :

- "No ! ", he clearly replied.


- On the contrary, invited by "EuroFora", to "reassure that the Swedish EU Presidency (7-12/2009) will keep a fair stance, based on principles",  Bildt promised that "we (Swedish EU Presidency) will be very clear on all of the decisions taken by the (EU) Council".

He added, however, that "we have very numerous decisions that have been taken" by EU Council, as if he warned, also, on something else.

- "'I am not aware of any sort of statements coming out today''", Bildt started to say, on our reference to Cyprus' President Christofias" denunciation of Turkish lobby's manoeuvers this week, replying earlier to 'another"EuroFora"'s question during a Press Conference at EU Parliament in Strasbourg.


 - '"I know the issues that you' are concerned with'", he added, remembering  the statements he gave us when Sweden was chairing the PanEuropean CoE on 2008.

- "But, obviously, .. I think that Cyprus' Peace negotiations are extremenly important".

- And "'I think that we are at a unique moment in History, in the sens that both (Cyprus') President Christofias and Mr. Talat (the Turkish Cypriot leader), are personally convinced of the need to overcome the division".

 - "It's 20 Years since the fall of Berlin Wal, but we still have a Capital in Europe (Nicosia) that's divided". ,

- 'I don't that we should loose any time in overcoming that"..

 - ''We should be aware of the fact that success will bring great benefits, but failure, will also have major consequences. There will not be Status Quo' " It's a question of seeking a solution, or entering another situation, which is somewhat difficult to see exactly how that could evolve", he warned.

- "That being said, this is a negotiation for Cyprus itself", Bildt admitted.

 - ''We (EU) can support, the (EU) Commission primarily, be technically helpful, and then, of course, there is a specific role for the UN, when it comes to the Cyprus' situation".  

- "At least so far. It might not be for ever'. Certainly not for ever, but for this period of time", Bildt added, skiping now any reference to concrete threats on UNO's Peace keeping force in face of more than 40.000 Ankara's soldiers, contrary to some Press claims, (See previous NewsReports).


     Replying to another "EuroFora"'s Question,  if anyone might attempt to "impose a Deadline for the conclusion" of Cyprus' Talks on December 2009, Bildt avoided to speak of any precise Time-frame, and indirectly evoked the fact that  35 Years of Turkish Invasion/Occupation obviously durated too long :

'- "If I was from Cyprus, I would say that the Deadline was Yesterday ! '",
Bildt concluded.

Cyprus' Government Spokesman, Stephanou, reportedly pointed out that "a settlement is possible on December if Turkey changes its stance", accepting a solution for the reunification of the island based on UNO resolutiona and EU principles.

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Earlier, EU Chair, Swedish Prime Minister Fredrik Reinfeld, highlighted an "historic opportunity" to "re-Unite" Cyprus according to EU's "basic Values"' (i.e. Human Rights) and 'Rules'", in a last-minute change of his draft speech to EU Parliament in Strasbourg.

    The initial Draft spoke only about "healing" the island.

    Significantly, Reinfeldt linked Cyprus' reunification with Turkey's obligations to respect EU's "Values" and "follow" EU's "common Rules" :

    - What is "called Membership Negotiations" should lead, "at- the end of the day", into "sharing a set of common Basic Values (i.e. Human Rights, Democracy, etc), and following common Rules", stressed Reinfeld from the outset.
    
    - "This is something that those on the Outside (of the EU), are now  contemplating", up "to Ankara", for "a solution" on "Cyprus", observed the EU Chairman, immediately afterwards..  

    - "Both sides of Cyprus have been granted a historic opportunity to together reach an agreement on a solution to re-Unite the island, that has been divided for far too long", said Reinfeldt, modifying his draft text.


-  "The Swedish Presidency will act ...in accordance with Commitments EU has made, on the basis of Criteria that apply", "as a Honest Broker", he promised.    

- "To those on the inside (of the EU), allowing the membership process to become an opportunity to solve protracted disputes, can be tempting", he added.


    "In such cases, we must find solutions that can benefit both sides, and open up a way forward. Otherwise, it would jeopardize the progress we have made towards EU integration", Reinfeldt said.

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