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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

 coe_cm_in_clrae_on_russia_wants_to_stay_eurofora_400

*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".

clrae_russian_mep_question_to_cm_president_eurofora_screenshot_400


- 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".


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


- 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.


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


+  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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 slovenian__croatian_presidents_at_coe_400

    The recent paradox of freezing EU Talks with front-runner Croatia, while continuing controversial EU - Turkey talks, despite Zagreb's acceptance of Refugees' Human Rights to return, that Ankara refuses fex. in Cyprus, while both have "Good Neighborhood" problems vis a vis Slovenia, or Greece, Cyprus and Armenia respectively, can it be justified by the non-fullfilment of EU criteria, as Slovenia says, or, is it "Double Standards" ?    

The question became unavoidable after statements by Presidents of Slovenia and Croatia, Tuerk and Mesic, respectively, to "EuroFora", exclusively or among Strasbourg's journalists this week at the CoE, on the sidelines of its 2009 Summer University for Political Schools, which topically brought them together as successive key-note speakers.


    Comming only a few Months before EU checks Turkey's compliance to its commitments on Cyprus, etc., scheduled for December 2009, this obviously has a special importance for the coherence of EU Enlargement's principles.

     Suspension of EU Negotiations is a normal consequence in case of a Candidate Country's failure to fullfil EU Conditions, such as "Good Neighborhood relations", stressed at first Slovenian President Danilo Tuerk, current CoE's chair.

    But, regarding EU's Criteria,  there shouldn't be any "Double Standards",  reacted Croatian President Stjepan Mesic, commenting the fact that Turkey's controversial EU negotiations continue, while they were recently "freezed" in the case of Croatia, an "unquestionably European Country", which oficially accepts to respect Refugees Human Rights, contrary to Ankara's notorious refusals or reluctance.                                       

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                           - "EU itself has set as a Criterium (for EU Enlargement) the "Good Neighborhood relations",  and their absence justifies the "Suspension" EU Negotiations, (f.ex. with Croatia), because of a Border dispute affecting the territorial integrity of an EU Member Country, stressed Slovenian President, Danilo Tuerk, CoE's Chairman in office (May - November 2009), speaking to Journalists in Strasbourg including "EuroFora".    

Questioned earlier what "consequences on EU's Enlargement policy" can have the "Ban on EU Membership Negotiations", imposed to Croatia, Tuerk replied that "this question comes down to the fulfillement of (EU) Criteria for membership. One has to look at each Candidate Country ., from the point of view whether it fullfils the Criteria that EU has set. One of them are Good Neighborhood Relations, I'd like to remind. And also, there are other factors, such as Justice, Home affairs, Rule of Law, and others".


    - "Now, ..Candidate Countries are at Different Levels of fulfillement of Criteria", he observed.

    - " Croatia is obviously the closest to that. I'm rather optimistic : I think that in the coming Months we'll have an opportunity to look at all these issues constructively and hopefully we'll be able to make progress". "My main concern, at this point, is the situation in Bosnia : We haven't seen enough progres domesticaly. We haven't seen enough during ..political parties within their country.We need a New Energy, a new energetic move towards the Candidature for EU membership. "Other (Western Balkan) Countries (Serbia, Montenegro, FYROM, Albania) have been making soaring Progress, and I think that they should be ready, in a few Years, for the Candidate status".

    - "As far as the Western Balkans are concerned, .. nobody should be left outside" the EU, Slovenian's President concluded, ommitting to mention Turkey's controversial EU bid.

    - "This process may be seen as Slow, but..  Slovenia has also has also been exposed to various "Booms of Slowness" in our accession period. But now we can say that the process was relatively quick, because changes which occur after becoming EU member, are quite large, and they require proper Preparations before the (EU) membership becomes a new factor, an impacting line for a new (EU) member country".
----------------------------

EU "Solidarity" ?
------------------------------   

Slovenian statements made some participants from certain 3rd Countries as FYROM, etc. claim that "the Principle of EU Solidarity" would "produce a.. rising European Union Nationalism (sic !), against Non-EU Countries", as they said, asking unhappy foreign countries to form a "bloc" to exert pressure on the EU...    

But Croatian President Stjepan Mesic dismissed that, supporting "EU Integration", "after the Economy also in Political" issues, as "the achievement" of our times. In EU there is "diversity, but it's United", he stressed, "EU has to be United so that it can become a central factor of Peace" also at the surrounding areas, he replied.

croatian_president_mesic_ 

Speaking later exclusively to "EuroFora", the experienced twice President of Croatia, former President of the International "Non-Aligned" movement, denounced "Double Standards" in the way EU treats recently Croatia compared to Turkey :   

 - "I think that there shouldn't be Double Standards", stressed the Croatian President, in reply to a Question comparing the freeze of EU - Croatia talks, with the continuation of EU - Turkey talks, despite the fact that Croatia is an "unquestionably European country", while Turkey's EU bid is notoriously controversial.


    Mesic was reacting to the observation that, even if he confirmed his "respect of Refugees' Human Rights to return, etc. (See infra), nevertheless, EU talks are suspended with Croatia.. While for oher, controversial candidates, who refuse to respect Refugees' Rights to return, etc., as fex. Turkey does in occupied Cyprus and elsewhere, EU negotiations continue".

    - "I believe that Croatia's accession will confirm that all European Countries who fulfill all of the Conditions and achieve European Standards, have to join the EU. There shouldn't be any Double Standards", went on to add in reply President Mesic.

    In this relation, Croatia's President found "of paramount importance", CoE's "mechanisms enforcing ECHR's judgements"
    
    - "On Refugees and Displaced persons, the process will be completed only after the last person demanding to return will be allowed to do so !", President Mesic Croatia stressed earlier, setting a general standard of obvious importance also for otherr candidates, as f.ex. Turkey, often accused to exclude or heavily restrict Greek Cypriot Displaced persons' return to their Family Homes and ancestral land, provoke difficulties to Turkish-Kurd IDPs return to their home regions at the South-East, etc.

    Some "2.000 People are still reported Missing" in former Yugoslavia, for some Years, (as in Cyprus, modern Europe's oldest case, for 3 Decades. Nagorno-Karabach, Tcecnya in Russia, etc, more recently), and Investigations "will only be completed after establishing the fate of the last one of them", he added.
    
    Speaking earlier on "War Crimes", President Mesic stressed that "Leaders are responsible for (the) Wars (of the Past), not the People", and called against Impunity :  "Individuals have to be held Responsible for Crimes. International Penal Tribunals have to persecute those individuals", perpetrators of War Crimes, he underlined.

    Such statements naturally made Mesic rather popular at ECHR, whose President, French EuroJudge, Professor Jean-Paul Costa, looked particularly smiling when he welcomed him later on Wednesday afternoon, after Slovenian President Daniko Tuerk earlier this week.
           

***

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