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Home arrow newsitems arrow CoE: Raise Awareness at Top Political level for Need of a Solution to key Political Crisis on Russia

CoE: Raise Awareness at Top Political level for Need of a Solution to key Political Crisis on Russia

Written by ACM
Wednesday, 07 November 2018

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*Strasbourg/CoE/Angelo Marcopolo/- PanEuropean, 47 Member Countries-strong, CoE's Highest Political body: its Committee of Ministers, replying, through its President-in-office, the Croatian vice-Prime Minister and Foreign Minister, Marija Pejcinovic-Buric, (comp. other Buric's + Croatian Prime Minister Ploenkovic's Statements to "Eurofora" f.ex. at: http://www.eurofora.net/newsflashes/news/coeminoritiesprotection20yearsafter.html + http://www.eurofora.net/newsflashes/news/primeministerplenkoviconeucoecoop.html, etc), to Questions raised by 2 MEPs at CLRAE's Plenary Session (6-8 November 2018), earlier Today in Strasbourg, stressed that the current Problem concerning Russian Delegation's prolonged Absence from CoE's Parliamentary Assembly, following Sanctions it took (paradoxically with a Minority of MEPs !) after the controversial Ukranian Conflict of 2014, (See, among many others, also, f.ex.: http://www.eurofora.net/newsflashes/news/coeminorityamendmentpushesrussianmepsout.html, etc), which resulted also in a recent Suspension of Moscow's annual Financial Contribution to the CoE, that might soon be exploited by those who seek to Push Russia Out of Strasbourg's PanEuropean Organisation, (Comp., among others, also : http://www.eurofora.net/newsflashes/news/coeandrussiaukrainerow.html, etc),

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=> stressed that this is an "Important Political Crisis", which "requires for a Political Solution", and Urged to "Raise Awareness at the Highest Political Level", during the Short period of Time currently available, (particularly before a Key meeting of CoE Assembly's Committee on Rules, scheduled for December 10, 2018, due to Finalise a relevant Report),

as she said, practically at the Eve of an exceptional International Summit in Paris, with about +80 Heads of  State/Government, next Sunday, at the Initiative of President Emmanuel Macron of France, (which takes soon CoE's Preidency, from May 2019), on the occasion of the Centenary Anniversary of the 1st World War's Armistice (1918 - 2018), placed under the overall Aim to create (in the presence of UNO's Secretary General, Antonio Guterres),  a Paris' "Forum pour la Paix".

 
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- The vice-President of CLRAE's biggest Political Group : that of ChristianDemocrats/EPP, Alexander Drozdenko, from Russia, noted that "a Legal Opinion", recently prepared "at the Initiative of (CoE's) Secretary General (Thornbjorn Jagland, a former Prime Minister of Norway), and the  Chairmanship (of COE's Committee of Ministers by Croatia), found that the "the Deprivation of Powers" of any MEPs, including the Russians, (f.ex. to Vote, Speak, Participate, etc), "Contradict CoE's Statute", the European Convention for Human Rights, and International Law in general".

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- But, in the Meantime, an "Institutional Crisis is Mounting within the COE" in this regard, he reminded, Denouncing, inter alia, also the Fact that Other COE's Bodies (including, f.ex., also the CLRAE, etc), have practically become "Hostage" of this Problem, which "Affects their Budgetary, Program and Staffing issues", while they remain as "Unique and efficient Platforms for Cooperation ... from 47 Member States at the COE", (including Russia, but also Ukraine, Turkey, etc, while USA a.o. have a Special Oberver Status).


=> Therefore, in a Question Tabled to the CoE's Highest Political body : its Committee of Ministers, (which is always in the Agenda of CLRAE's Plenary Sessions), he Asked "What further Measures" is taking "the Croatian Chairmanship", "before the end of its term", (May-November 2018), "in order to Overcome the Crisis ?"

 

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


+ In Addition, Brittish MEP Andrew Boff, (vice-President of the Conservative Group in CLRAE), reminded that the Latest CoE's Parliamentary Assembly's Plenary, on October 2018, "did Not produce any Solutions", in that Crisis, and, pointing at what he called "Contradicting Statements of Leading Russian Politicians, concerning the Role of their Country in the CoE", Asked whether it has "any Signals ...about Whether Russia Wants to Stay in the Organisation, ...or ...Wants to Leave ?"

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- In the 1st Case, Boff urged Russia "to honour its Commitments, in Time, (including the Financial ones)", and invited the COE's Committee of Ministers to take "Measures" "in order to Find a Way Out of this Major Political and Institutional Crisis".


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- Before these Topical Questions, raised in Public Today Afternoon, Marija Pejcinovic-Buric had Simply mentioned, (by Reading the General, collective Report on behalf of CoE's Committee of Ministers), that among the various "Political Difficulties" that CoE currently Faces, are "also Russia"'s issues.


- "One of them is the decision by Russia to Suspend its Financial Contribution to the Budget" of the CoE, that we "Regret", But "Continue to Hope", particularly that Moscow "will Revise that Decision", finding a solution.


  - This is "Not Only in order to Safeguard all its (Russia's) Role inside the CoE, and for the Organisation to be able to function normaly". +"But also, and mainly, in order to enable Many Millions of (Russian a.o.) People to still be Protected", particularly by the ECHR (and other Rights provided by CoE's Legal Conventions : F.ex. against Torture, Corruption, Terrorism, and for Justice's Efficiency, Minorities' Protection, Cultural Heritage, etc).


 - "However, we (CoE), Must be Prepared for Any Eventual Outcome", she had Warned, then.


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+  Afterwards, Buric went Further Ahead, in her Replies to the above-mentioned MEPs' Questions, where the President in office of CoE's Committee of Ministers started by observing the Fact that "COE is very much Affected by that Political and Financial Crisis".


- But, even if it really has also "Important Financial implications", (since Russia was led to Suspend its Annual Financial Contribution to the CoE, after Years of Obstacles for its MEPs to participate in CoE's Parliamentary Assembly without too Hard Sanctions, (Comp. Supra), in fact, "it's First and foremost a Political problem, which Requires a Political Solution !", she stressed.


- However, despite several and various relevant Meetings, (with COE's Secretary General, its Parliamentary Assembly, its Committee of Ministers, etc), during which, the Croatian Presidency of he CoE, "Tried to Find a Way out of the current Impasse", and which had, Recently, created some positive "Expectations", as Buric reminded,
nevertheless, CoE's Parliamentary Assembly, last Month (October 2018), "Send the (relevant) Report Back to Committee", declining to adopt it now, (See: http://www.eurofora.net/newsflashes/news/coeandrussiaukrainerow.html, etc). Therefore, "the Process is Still On-Going".


>>> So that "Now, we have to see What it will Lead to", (particularly at a Key Next Meeting of CoE Assembly's Committee on Rules, scheduled for December 10, 2018 : I.e. just Before the Next CoE Assembly's Plenary : on January 2019, which will be Decisive for the Annual Participation of Russian MEPs during 2019, under the current rules, almost Immediately Followed by possible Threats against Russia in general, as long as it's pushed to maintain its decision to Suspend its Annual Financial Contribution to the CoE : Comp., f.ex. : ..., etc).


=> In the Present context, "from a Political point of view, I believe that it's Important to have a Greater Awareness of the current Crisis, ... at the Highest Political Level, also in the Capitals !", urged Today in Conclusion CoE's President-in-office.


+ At any case, as far as Russia's own Wish is concerned, nonobstant some previous "Contradictory" claims by one or another Politician, (as Brittish MEP Boff had pointed out, Comp. Supra),


-  "I Recently saw a Report from a Telephone conversation between CoE's Secretary General (Thornbjorn Jagland, from Norway) and the Russian Foreign Minister" (Sergei Lavrov), vice-Prime Minister Marija Buric revealed Today, on behalf of the Croatian Presidency of the COE.


>>> There "he (Lavrov) is reported as telling Jagland that Russia Wants to Stay in the CoE !", she stressed. I.e. Supporting also a Similar Information, earlier cited by Alexander Drozdenko, in his Oral presentation of his above-mentioned Question, (Comp. Supra), that Lavrov would have clearly "Confirmed that Russia Wants to Stay in the CoE", (also in Statements made during a Visit to Spain, yesterday).

 

As if in order to Mark that even better, Russian Ambassador/Permanent Representative to the CoE, Ivan Soltanovsky, has just Signed CoE's reNovated Convention for the Protection of Personal Data, of big importance in Modern Digital Technologies, (see: http://www.eurofora.net/newsflashes/news/coenewdataprotectionhasglobalaim.html), and is due to sign also, this week, CoE's Convention for the protection of the European Cultural Heritage, (Partly UPDATED)...


+ Thus, Russia "would Only Leave (from the CoE) IF Other Countries make a Move to Expell it", Buric added.


=> In consequence, "so, the CoE is (currently) Looking for a Solution to the Crisis", she concluded, Underlying the Fact that, Now, this is done "at the Highest Political Level", (Comp. Supra).


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Indeed, in this regard, it's Interesting to note also the Fact that, already, at the Beginning of this Week, the Future CoE's President for May - November 2019, French President Emmanuel Macron, during his Recent Visit to Strasbourg, together with the German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier, Last Sunday, 4 November 2018, (See f.ex., "Eurofora"s NewsReports from the spot, at : http://www.eurofora.net/newsflashes/news/eupeacemoveatstakeinuselection.html + ..., etc), had an occasion to Meet and Exchange here also with COE's Secretary General, Thornbjorn Jagland, (former Norway Prime Minister, and Top Member of Oslo Committee for NOBEL "Peace" Prize), as well as with the New President of CoE's Parliamentary Assembly, Mrs Liliane Maury-Pasquier, a mainstream Swiss MEP former Head of the Socialist Group, (Comp. Pasquier's Replies to various "Eurofora"'s Questions, f.ex., at : http://www.eurofora.net/newsflashes/news/newpacepresidentpasquier.html + ..., etc), as well as Other CoE's Top Officials, including ECHR's President, Guido Raimondi, from Italy, particularly during an Evening Reception at Rohan's Castle.   


+ Moreover, before the End of this Week, next Saturday and Sunday around Paris (10 + 11 November 28), several Top Key Protagonists of this COE's Affair between Moscow and Strasbourg, are due to Meet during the forthcoming Summit for the 100th Anniversary since the End of the 1st World War and a New "Paris Forum for Peace", organized by French President Emmanuel Macron, including, f.ex. among others also the Russian President Vladimir Putin, USA's President Don Trump, German Chancellor Angie Merkel, Ukranian President Pedro Poroshenko, and much more, (f.ex. from EU's point of view). Will be added, at least Next Monday, November 12, also CoE's Secretary General, Thornbjorn Jagland, invited to Speak also at an International Forum on the Web, (while the "Forum for Peace" would Continue, in parallel, during 2 more Days), etc.


So that, even if the Main USA - Russia Top Meeting, between Trump and Putin, may take place particularly, Later-on, during the forthcoming "G20" Summi in Argentina, on November 30 - December 1st, nevertheless, almost All the Other potentially influential Top Meetings around the CoE- Russia Issue, could, at least in Theory, start already Nowadays in Paris.


I.e. in Time for the Key CoE Assembly's (PACE) Rules Committee meeting of December 10, (due to Review a Crucial Report, affecting also Russian MEP's Future Participation), which is one of the Last collective relevant PanEuropean Gatherings (besides PACE's Standing Committee's meeting at Helsinki, on November 23, under Finland's rotating Chairmnship of the CoE, for 11/2018 - 5/2019), before a Decisive Yearly Rendez-vous at PACE's next Plenary in Strasbourg, on January 2019, (Comp.: ..., etc).


After that, in Fact, "Time becomes too Short", as various Experienced CoE's observers have recently noted, in this PanEuropean affair..., (Even if, "Nothing is Impossible", as some Others, mysteriously claimed, howeever always Adding a big "IF" !).


+ Meanwhile, it's also Imporant to note also the Fact that such Developments around Russia, Obviously of Crucial Importance for the Present and Future of CoE's "PanEuropean" GeoPolitical and Legal role, unfold almost at the Same Period that the Latest COE's Top Foreign Ministerial Summit, of last May 2018 in Denmark, decided to Launch a Series of Reforms, aiming also to reach a Joint Vision of CoE's Future, and Reflect on its main Mission and the "Essentials" of its "New Horizon", (concerning Policies, Governance, Relations to Other Intenational Organisations, f.ex. EU, etc), as Buric has just Highlighted in her Report to the CLRAE, (Comp. Supra)


So that it may not just be a simple "Coincidence", for the PanEuropean dimension of Strasbourg's Organisation, the fact that the above-mentioned, latest Annual CoE's Foreign Ministerial Summit, symbolically took place at the World Famous "Elsinor" Castle, where Shakespeare's Hamlet notoriously pronounced this Key Dillema : - "To be, or Not to be : That's the Question !"...

 

(../..)

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    EU Rapporteur on Enlargment Strategy, maistream German MEP Elmar Brok, speaking to "EuroFora", welcomed the proposal made earlier this week by French President Nicolas Sarkozy for the EU to"start Now Talks with Turkey to create a common Economic and Security area", instead of full Accession, at a period when Ankara looks more and more unfit and/or unwilling to respect EU conditions.

    - "For Europe to have strong Political will, it must stop dilutiing itself in an endless Enlargement. It must have borders...Diversities enrich, on the condition that they don't undermine European Cohesion, and don't weaken EU Unity", Sarkozy stressed.
    
    - "Countries like Turkey share a part of common destiny with Europe, with which they have a vocation to build a Privileged Relation, to be closely associated, but not to become Member of the EU"  : "Noone respects his friends by telling them lies. Noone respects his friends by making them promises that will be never kept", he added.

    That's why "we'd better start, from now, negotiating with Turkey to create a common Economic and Security area", Sarkozy proposed.

Significantly, the French President was repeatedly and largely applauded by EU citizens, 3 times, when he made the Turkey point, (strategically placed between Europe's "Political Will" and its cultural heritage, historically open to mutually enriching dialogue with all the World, but never diluted).

    - "We could propose such a great ambition also to Russia, which must not be percieved as an Adversary of Europe, but as a Partner. Thus, we'd create a wide area, of more than 800 Million inhabitants, sharing the same Security, the same Prosperity", he concluded.

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    Sarkozy's move was anounced at the eve of a Franco-German Top meeting with Chancellor Angie Merkel in Berlin on Sunday, to jointly launch the EU Elections campain, after an EU Summit at nearby Prague, to launch a new kind of relations, called "Eastern Partnership", with neighboring countries such as Urkaine, Belarus, Moldova, Georgia, Armenia, Azerbaidjan, etc, (to which Russia, reportedly, is not - and does not want to be - included).

    As for Ukraine, which has already expressed her wish to join the EU in future, "Kiev will have a special place, and a very important role to play", replied earlier this week in Strasbourg, to an "EuroFora" question EU Chairman in office , Czech vice-Prime Minister Alexander Vodra.

    - "This direction is more Realistic for Turkey than Accession negotiations", reacted immediately EU Parliament's Rapporteur for Enlargment Strategy, mainstream German MEP Elmar Brok, commenting Sarkozy's idea for "EuroFora"

     Particularly "as far as it concerns the respect of EU Rules by both sides", he added, hinting at Turkey's now obvious inability and/or unwillingness to abide with EU Acquis, EU Commitments (fex. on Cyprus, etc), and European Democracy/Human Rights rules. (Comp. infra).

    Brok added that, in his view, a similar proposal might be made also to Ukraine and other neighbouring Countries, regardless if they have, or not, a "European vocation". This would not necessarily mean that there couldn't be any accession prospects at all." for all the countries that might be included in this area, according to Brok.  But it's preferable, particularly for Turkey, "because it's a more Realistic approach than full Membership".

    On this point, Sarkozy's proposal, (which he'll share with German Chancellor Merkel), seems more crystal-clear.

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    - "Turkey does not fullfil EU Criteria, and will never fullfil EU Criteria" on Human Rights, Democracy and Rule of Law. "Some have been lying to Ankara, but we must tell the Truth, and have honest and close relations with her", said meanwhile to "EuroFora" on the same issue also the President of EU Parliament's largest Group of MEPs (ChristianDemocrats/EPP), Joseph Daul.
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"Hot" Debate at EU Parliament reveals CHANGE of mood towards "Suspension" of EU - Tukey talks.
------------------------------
    Earlier this week, many MEPs, and even some of those who were previously in favor of Turkey's controversial EU bid, strongly criticized the persistance and even aggravation of serious Human Rights violations in the country, that ECHR continues to "unanimously" condemn ":

      - "After winning a big victory in the latest Local Elections, the pro-Kurdish party DTP almost doubled its Elected Mayors from 52 to 98", but afterwards "more than 400 politicians were thrown to Prison and prosecuted" by the Turkish Authorities, denounced on behalf of the ChristianDemocrat/EPP Group, Belgian MEP Frieda Brepoels.

     At the same time, "more than 1.500 Children are closed in Turkish Prisons", she added. "What will the EU Commission do" against these facts ?

- "Turkey appears to be at greater Distance away from Copenhagen Criteria after 4 Years of accession Negotiations, than when they started !", denounced on behalf of the Liberal Group, German MEP Alexander Lambsdorf.    

"On the central issue of Press Freedom, Critical Journalists face obstacles for their accreditation, others are prosecuted, condemned, fined and/or jailed, Media blocked or closed", he denounced.   

 - "EU Made 2 grave Mistakes with Turkey : To start accession negotiations, and to continue them", despite everything, criticized Dutch MEP Bastian Belder, on behalf of the Ind/Dem group.

(../..)

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