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Accueil arrow newsitems arrow All CoE Leaders' 1st Debate on Human Rights in Pandemic, eyes Values, Fragile People, Digital+Future

All CoE Leaders' 1st Debate on Human Rights in Pandemic, eyes Values, Fragile People, Digital+Future

Ecrit par ACM
Wednesday, 03 June 2020
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*Strasbourg/Angelo Marcopolo/-
The 1st Ever Conference of All CoE Bodies' Heads, (representing Key Actors, such as Ministers, Parliamentarians, EudoJudges, Local/Regional Authorities and NGOs, as well as Norms on Human Rights, Constitutional Democracy, Children Protection, Anti-Torture, Anti-Discrimination, Social, etc), Organized on the Virus' Crisis and Human Rights/Democracy, by the 2020 Greek Presidency of the 47 Member-States' PanEuropean Instituton (May-November 2020), represented by Alt. Foreign Minister Miltiadis Varvisiotis, and Opened Together with COE' new Secretary General Marija Buric, (all via Video Web Links),

pointed Both on Stressing and Clarifying Basic Principles, Warning of the Need to Protect particularly DisAdvantaged/Fragile People, And, Also, on relevant Innovations, extended to a forthcoming Recovery period, and Future Pandemics.

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- Indeed, Varvitsiotis, (who represented CoE Member States' Governments through its Committee of Ministers, as its President-in-Office, but also an Experienced former LongTime MEP at COE's Assembly, recently elected vice-President of its Biggest Political Group, that of ChristianDemocrats/EPP - See various Varvitsiotis' Statements at "Eurofora", f.ex., at: http://www.eurofora.net/newsflashes/news/greekcoepresidency2020.html, http://www.eurofora.net/newsflashes/news/newgreekagendaforcoechair2020.html, http://www.eurofora.net/newsflashes/news/ministeroncoepresidencyandturkey.html, http://www.eurofora.net/newsflashes/news/futurecoechairgreekministervarvitsiotisstrengthenvoice.html, http://www.eurofora.net/newsflashes/news/austrianeupresidencyonfrontexinaegean.html, http://www.eurofora.net/newsflashes/irish/euidentity.html, etc), Stressed from the Outset that "Human Life is Above Everything", and observed that the "Extension of Life", Achieved in Modern Societies, "is Exactly what is mainly Threatened by the COVID-19" Virus, nowadays.

- But, at the same time, it would be "UnAcceptable", if some, "Driven by Fear", might, eventually, push to sacrifice "Human Rights and Democracy'"s principles, he Denounced, Warning, f.ex., that this would "Not Justify", particularly, to Curb "Free Expression !". While some Children can't even Access the Internet yet", he criticized.

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- Speaking near Acropolis' Cliff, he reminded that, 2,5 Thousands of Years Before, Athens had Lost about 1/3 of its Population by an Epidemic, but even this did not manage to destroy Democracy and Civilisation. And, after Pointing at "a Spring's Storm", as he said, at the Forest of that Historic Cliff, Varvitsiotis observed, Later-on, that "the Sun came back" at the Landscape, inciting several spontaneous Smiles, (starting by that of COE's SG)...  

- However, this Deadly Virus "has Not yet gone Away", he noted Soberly, as Europe still has the Biggest Total Number of Deaths in the World, (while, notoriously, Bill Gates and several Key Bio-Tech Scientists Claim that even More and Worse Virus' Pandemics might be Comming, somewhere in the Future). That's why Today's Discussion practicaly Opens the Preparations, inside COE, for a Comprehensive, Draft Official Declaration of its Committee of Ministers on Human Rights in periods of Pandemics, scheduled for the forthcoming Summit, foreseen on November 4, in Athens, if the Virus' situation would allow it, he observed.

- At any case, if Greece succeeded, until now, to have a Fairly Low, Comparatively, Number of Infections and Deaths by the Virus, its Not Only Because it Always hears what Scientists have to say, but Also, particulaly, Because the Public Authorities have managed to "Build the Trust of the People" on that issue, which "Helped Flatten (the Virus') Curve", Varvitsiotis anew stressed, (See also Infra).

    Indeed, according to the Latest Polls, if the current "New Democracy" (ChristianDemocrat/E¨PP) Government reportedly has about 42,5% of Positive opinions among Citizens, Compared to 23% for the Opposition of "Syriza", and Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis attracts 50% of Citizens, compared to 24% by Opposition's Leader Alexis Tsipras, Followed by 54% of Positive Views for its Economic Policy, against Only 37%, Nevertheless, it's with a ... Spectacular 75%, (Versus Only 19% Unsatisfied), that Citizens Approve, until Now, its Measures Against the Virus, (while the relevant Scientific Committee's work, Presented by popular Professor Tsiodras Sky-Rockets with 79% against 16% ! -See "Eurofora"s Report on his Speech in a COE's New Series of Video-Conferences, at : http://www.eurofora.net/newsflashes/news/coedebatebackshcqversusvirus.html, etc).

Considering that, on the Contrary, in Most Other Countries in Europe and the World, People reportedly are rather Critical vis a vis various Governments' Policies on the Virus, Often Controversial, Obviously, those Facts in Greece would be Usefully Examined by the CoE, (on the occasion, f.ex., of the "Innovations" Caregorie : See Infra).

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

    The Issue of Pandemics and Human Rights/Democracy, is of Crucial Importance Nowadays, since, Obviously, if anyone might seek to slyly Impose a quasi-Dictatorial Regime for a period, he would Easily search a Pretext in the Scare provoked by a Deadly Virus and/or Other Life-Threatening Crisis, eventually even provoked and/or exagerated. But, at the same time, Whoever might seek to Delay, Disrupt, Deviate or Block Urgently Needed, Drastic Measures, Able to Rapidy and Efficiency Save Many Peuple's Lives in front of a Massively Life-Threatening Risk, then, it's also Obvious that he might find a way to Undermine that by Multiplying Fake and/or Exagerated Claims of so-called "Rights' Violations", Fakely alleged Rule of Law disruptions, etc., in order to provoke a awfull lot of precious Time and Energy consuming Diversions. So that, Naturally, a Well Balanced, Fearless and Intelligent, Delicate Approach is Needed here, in order to make sure to Find the Right Solutions.

_____________________

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    * CoE's new Secretary General, Marija Buric, former vice-Prime Minister and Foreign Minister of Croatia, (See various Buric Statements to "Eurofora", f.ex., at: http://www.eurofora.net/newsflashes/news/coesgburiconechrbioethicsinterpretation.html, http://www.eurofora.net/newsflashes/news/newcoesgonbioethics.html , http://www.eurofora.net/newsflashes/news/newcoechiefburicondialoguestatescitizens.html, http://www.eurofora.net/newsflashes/news/coeminoritiesprotection20yearsafter.html, etc), Focused, at First, mainly on the Legality of the Measues taken by the National Governments in the Fight against the Virus, (reminding, in this regard, also a set of "Guidelines" that she Published Earlier).

    - The Main point is, for those Measures, to Strike a Fair Balance, between the Legal Aim pursued, and any Restrictions of Human Rights/Democracy, she underlined. They should also "Respond to an Urgency", instead of legiferating for the long term. Moreover, each Measure should be "Proportionate" to its Legal Aim, she reminded.

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    => This leaves a Large Space for Manouver, Buric observed.

    - Among the various "Areas" of interest to the COE are, also : Health, Social Policy, Freedom of Expression, Data Protection, Disciminations, Children, Minority Languages, (etc), she Highlighted.

    >>> But, particularly "Under Stress", are Vulnerable Persons, who may Face InEqualities in Access to Health Care, such as the "Elderly People", "those who Fight for Liberty", (including Migrants), etc, CoE's Secretary General underlined.

    - For all those reasons, attention must be also paid to "Not Weaken those Democratic outlets where Human Rights Rely", she advised.

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

    + And, at this juncture, From Now on, "Learn from Experiences, (obtained until Now, during this Virus' Crisis) should Guide our Next Steps", urged CoE's Secretary General.

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

 pace_daems_400

    * In Fighting this Virus' Crisis, but Also to Build the "After-Crisis" era, Europe must Better be guided by "Multi-Lateralism", Instead of letting "Each Country act Alone", stressed from the outset the New President of CoE's Parliamentary Assembly (PACE), Rik Daems, Liberal MEP from Belgium.

    - And, there, "Parliaments are Needed, Both in order to Strengthen the Trust of Citizens, and for better Relations with the Executive", he pointed out.

    - Meanwhile, at least ..."5 (Specialized) Committees" of PACE are eager to Debate, prepare Reports and Vote Resolutions, in the run up to November's CoE Summit in Athens (Comp. Supra), on the Various aspects of this MultiFacet Crisis, i.e. its Political, Legal/Human Rights, Health and Social Affairs, Economy and Environment, as well as its "Standing" Committee, (of Equivalent Status to its Plenary), as he Announced.

    + Daems also launched a Call to Associate even "National Parliaments" in Topical "Debates" about this Virus' Crisis, throughout all CoE's PanEuropean space.

    ++ Last, but not leas, PACE's President also Welcomed the recent Agreement of 3 Successive CoE's Chairmanships (by Georgia, Greece and Germany) to support the Creation of a Human Right "to a Decent, Healthy Environment", (as he said, according to the Joint Communiqué, published on May 15, i.e, at the Beginning of the Current, Greek CoE's Presidency, and Extending up to 2021's End, i.e., Even After the Conclusion of the forthcoming, German Presidency of November 2020 - May 2021, (Comp., already : ..., + ..., and ..., etc). Something which, obviously, has to Start being Prepared from Nowadays.

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

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    * For the New ECHR President, Robert Spano, the present Crisis is a so "Great Challenge", Both for "Now and the Years to Come", that we had not seen "Never Before".

    => PanEuropean CoE's 47 Member Countries must act with "Unity" and in a "Collective" way, he urged. Our "Common Ground" around basic Values must "Galvanise" and "Create Trust" to the People. The current "UnPrecedented Threat" must  "Not serve as Pretexte to Abuse", he Warned.

    >>> For that purpose, the Key Word is "Balance", and, in this regard, there are "4 Principles" to respect, the New and Young ECHR's President stressed, (Flanked by his Predecessor, EuroJudge Linos Sicilianos, and the Experienced ECHR's Registrar, Rodderick Liddel, as he observed from the start).


 -(1)- The "Public Interest is Not an Absolute Trump Card !".

- Therefore, there must be a "Proportionality" with Human Rights/Democracy.


- (2)- "Legality", (i.e. "Rule of Law").

=> Measures must be, ultimately, "Based" on a Law, and, thus, be, more or less, "Foreseable".


- (3)- Measures must "Match Rules". I.e. be "withOut Excessive Discretion" to the Executive Power.


- (4)- Last, but not least, Measures must be "Adapted to the Duration", and "Tailored to meet the Gravity" of the situation.

=> In other words, such Exceptional Measures "Must Not Become a New Normality !", ECHR's President concluded.

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

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* The experienced PanEuropean Commissioner for Human Rights, (former OSCE Representative for Free Speech), Dunja Mijatovic, found that this Pandemic Virus' Crisis "is like 9/11" !...

- Indeed, already, it "takes a  Huge Toll on Human Rights", and it creates "New Constraints" also "for the Future", she Warned.

=> Ultimately, it all depends on "What Kind of Society we Want to live in", Mijatovic stressed.

>>> In fact, we should Develop the "Participation" of Citizens in Public Decision-Making, and "EmPower the People" : "Otherwise, we risk to have No Democracy !", she Urged, (Surprizingly moving along "Eurofora" Project's lines)...

She made 3 Particular Recommendations :


-(1)- First, "we Need more Equality !"

Because, Otherwise, the Situation of "Disadvantaged People" (including "the Elderly", etc), becomes "even Worse", she Denounced.


-(2)- We must also "Strengthen the place of Human Rights in Society", (including, f.ex., "in HealthCare", etc), she went on to urge.

For that purpose, we could "use CoE's political Strategy", in order "to Move Forward" and create "Hope", she advised.        


-(3)- Last, but not least, "Lessons" learnt by this Crisis (of the Virus) "should be Multi-Lateral", (and "Not" depend to any Country  Alone" - Comp. Also Supra).


=>  In Conclusion, we must "Not Betray the Expectations" of those who made "CoE emerge from the Ashes of the 2nd World War", But, on the Contrary, "Give New Impetus" to his main Missions, the PanEuropean Organisation's Human Rights Commissioner, Ambitiously called in fine.

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

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    *A Grass-Roots' approach by Experienced, Long-Tim CLRAE President Anders Knape, a ChristianDemocrat from Sweden, Focused, initially, on the Fact that, "whenever it's about Health Care, Schools, Public Transports, even Enterprises/Non-Profit Sector, etc.", as well as "about Elderly People or Children, etc", even "National Authorities almost Always seek to get in touch with Local and Regional Authorities", including in his own Country, (since they have a lot of Competences in such issues)...  

    - Knape, meanwhile, Denounced 2 ..."Colateral Victims" of this Virus' Crisis, consisting in "Hot" Cases of Violations of Human Rights and Democratic Principles elsewhere, that the CLRAE had a Duty to Check and Urgently Rectify, or, Otherwise, Punish with Sanctions, But was Hindered to do so, Because of the "Confinement" Measures, which Excluded Collective Meetings, Travels for on the Spot Investigations, etc.:

    The 1st concerned the abusive Dismissal of many Elected Mayors and/or Heads of Regions in Turkey, (while others had been even Jailed), and their Replacement by Ankara Government-apointed Cronies, which obviously Smashed, there, any notion of Local/Regional Democracy... And the 2nd, was about a Controversial Draft Reform in Latvia, which, according to CLRAE's Experts, should be Urgently "Suspended", and Rectified. Meanwhile, in some Other Countries, Local/Regional Elections had been Postponed. But CLRAE had (Because of the Virus) been Obliged to Suspend its own Activities, including a whole Plenary Session, Initialy Scheduled for this Spring, which they "Hoped", Now, to become able to hold, at least, as Late as on... October (sic !), having Even "Postponed" some of its own, internal Elections, until then !

    Significantly, the Experienced CLRAE's Chief Denounced that Today while being Exceptionaly Filmed right in Front of a Surprizing, huge Image of an ...OSTRICH (sic ! - See relevant PHOTO), as if he wanted to, indirectly but clearly,  Remind and Criticize the Notorious Tactics of some inside the CoE in the Past, who had prefered even to Risk to Damage the Reputation and the Credibility of the PanEuropean Organisation for Human Rights and Democracy, Instead of letting it simply do its Duty, to clearly Condemn and Sanction various Grave Violations of Human Rights and/or Democratic Principles by Turkey, that they had Notoriously Avoided, at Any Pretext, already Several Times, in Previous Years, Long Before that...

 
-------------------------

    + Meanwhile, Both During and "After" the current Virus' Crisis, CLRAE would have to Deal with a Nowadays Growing Problem of "People (left) withOut the necessary Means" for their Livelihood, (a Task that even French President Macron had, initialy, entrusted to ...Local Authorities and Humanitarian NGOs, Before starting to add, Later-on, also some first, but rather Incomplete yet, State Measures), as well as with Reaching substantial Conclusions on the "Lessons Learned" by that Crisis, (particularly about "Saveguarding Local/Regional Self-Government even in periods of Exceptional Crisis"), as he Stressed in fine, (Comp. Also Supra).

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

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* International NGOs' President, Professor Anna Rurka, from Poland, Focused mainly on "DisAdvantaged People" but also "Participation" in Public "Decision-Making" process, including "Digital" tools, etc., (in the Latter Moving, approximatively, Between CoE's Human Rights Commissioner's and "Eurofora" Project's lines : Comp Supra) :

=> -"What Changes to our Societies", related to the Present Crisis ?, she Wondered, from the outset.

- "The (Pandemic) Crisis Amplified the Situation of DisAdvantaged People, which Became even Worse" Nowadays, Rurka Denounced.

- This Concerns, in particular, f.ex.: "the Elderly, People with DisAbilities, Minorities, Refugees, and even Human Rights Defenders" (etc), she added, (withOut Excluding that Many among those Characteristics might, in some Exceptional times, be found United at 1 Person, all Together)...

+ But, almost in Parallel, "New Dynamics" are emerging "in Representative and Participatory Democracy", she found.

- Inter alia, in particular, "Evidence-proving (Public) Decision-Making, and Tranparency, are Crucial" Nowadays, INGO's President stressed.

- However, "the Lock-Down Restricted the Public", which "Rarely Participated" during this Exceptional Period, Rurka Criticized.

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

=> Nevertheless, "Some Good Practices" emerged in "Participatory Decision-Making", she observed :

- F.ex., NGOS and Citizens "Quickly started to be Using the Digital Space, for Monitoring and Action".

+ And there is, currently, a perceived "Need to Create (Web) Platforms for 2 Ways' Communication, between Individuals (Citizens) and Governments", she proposed, (Staying just 1 Step Before "Eurofora"'s "Digital Dialogue")...

>>> And, in order to "EmPower the People" in such a Direction, (Comp. Expression Today used Also by CoE's Human Rights' Commissioner : Supra), moreover, "ACCESS TO THE INTERNET should be Declared, by All (CoE's 47 Member) States, as a Fundamental Human Right !", Rurka concluded.

I.e., a Trend which has Already Started, f.ex. in Italy (particularly Rome City, as "Eurofora" witnessed during the "G7" Summit of 2017) and some Other Countries, while Also Supported by Various Political Movements Recently accross Europe, But Even Originaly Highlighted, for the 1st Time, at an Official CoE's Ministerial Summit in ...Greece (Thessaloniki), as Early as Since 1998, (i.e. during its Previous Presidency of the CoE, and almost at the Begining of the Web !), in a Landmark Resolution of the PanEuropean Organisation on Modern Tele-Communication Technologies, Drafted in Strasbourg under the supervision of CoE's Top Officer, Philippe Poirel, from France, currently Director for Human Rights, (See his INTW to "Eurofora"'s Co-Founder, Published, then, at "MPAgency"), and Nowadays Managed by CoE's Director of Standards in Democracy/Human Rights, including Internet, the Experienced Jans Kleisjen from Austria, (Comp. Many Kleisjen's Statements that we Published, initially,mainly at "TCWeekly" + MPAgency, and Afterwards in "Eurofora").

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

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* The very Experienced Gianni Buquicchio, from Italy, President of the prestigious PanEuropean Commission for Democracy through (Constitutional) Law, 62-Member Countries-Strong, alias "Venice Committee", (and Former Long-Time Director of its Secretariat in Strasbourg : See Many Buquicchio Statements to "Eurofora"s Co-Founder, already Published at "TCWeekly", "MPAgency", and Later "Eurofora"), observed that, even if "Pandemics Always Existed", at Rare Moments in History, nevertheless, this "COVID-19" Virus' Crisis "is Specific, and Not as Before".

- However, CoE's Assembly had already drafted a Report on State of Urgency, at 1995, he reminded.

- At any case, "the Measures" taken by a State have to be "Proportional to their Legal Aim", and "Temporary", i.e. taken "Only as Long as it still goes on,  Buquicchio reminded, as a matter of Principle.

- On the Contrary, such "Measures" should "Never Become the Norm", i.e. Never "Permanent", at all. Otherwise, the Parliament might Control them "a posteriori", i.e. "retrospectively".

- Moreover, this concerns "Only those Measures which are Strictly Necessary" for the above-mentioned Aim, (i.e. in order to Face a concrete Urgency), he stressed.

=> In Consequence, "any Other Measures are Excluded", particularly if they are Not even related with that State of Urgency/Emergency, President Buquicchio made it clear.

In other words, f.ex., to take a concrete Topical Issue, Contrary to some Lobbies' Claims, the French Government, normaly, could Not Exploit the Current State of Emergency due to the Virus, in order to, Eventually, take some Measures Affecting the Society and even Humanity at large, as to Authorize, for the 1st Time in History, Controversial Artificial Births of Children Ordered by Lesbians, (in Fact Pushed by some Technocrats Eager to Seize Control over Massive IVFs, giving them uncontrolled Access to Thousands of possible Genetic Manipulations on Human Embryos, which can be Obviously Dangerous, not only to Health, but Even to the Future of Humankind)... So that the Notorious Pressure Exerted by some Parts of LGBTI Lobbies, pushed by some Shady Technocrats (Comp. Supra), normally, should NOT make the Government of France Yield at all to any such eventual Socio-Political Blackmails Nowadays...

    + Last, but not least, Even if Most of such Anti-Virus' Crisis Measures might be mainly Motivated by Public "Health" reasons, Nevertheless, in Fact, many Include Also Various Socio-Economic and/or Other "Multilateral" Considerations, so that they are, in Consequence, real "Political Decisions", which Can and Must be subjected to "Control for Human Rights and Democracy" Issues, "Venice" Commission's President clearly Stressed, in Conclusion.  

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

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* Professor Giuseppe Palmisano, Social Rights' PanEuropean Committee's President, (Comp. various Palmisano's Statements to "Eurofora" f.ex. at : ... + ... + ..., etc), made a Short, but Interesting Intervention, that he had Structured accross "3 (main) Points" :

- (1)- First of all, this Virus' Pandemic Affects Most, or even almost "All" Social Rights enshrined at CoE's "Social Charter", as he pointed out, from the outset :

- I.e., f.ex., "Universal Health Care", "Safety at Work", "Elder People", Children's Education, "Housing rights", (etc), he reminded.

+ Virus also Affects "All Persons to its (Social Charter's) Jurisdiction", Palmisano added.


-(2)-  In order to Strengthen CoE's protection of Basic Social Rights Nowadays, it's "All" its 47 Member States which should "Sign" its Latest, UpDated and "Fully Fledged" Version, i.e. the so-called "Revised Charter", as well as "Accept the Collective Procedures" against eventual Violations, he went on to stress.


-(3)- Perhaps the Most Important, Nowadays : Professor Palmisano seized the Opportunity of this Exceptional Video-Conference, with the Participation of almost All CoE's Leadership, in order to Make an Interesting, Original, and Timely "Suggestion" :

- This Deadly Virus' Crisis has a Big "Impact on many People", who are "Suffering Loss", have serious "Griefs", and "Need to Come to Terms", particularly "if Damages Persist" even Further, he observed.

=> Therefore, CoE could create an adequate "PLATFORM" for "a kind of SOCIAL DIALOGUE", "and ReConciliation", around November 2020, Palmisano concretely suggested. (Something that CoE's Chairman-in-office, Greek Minister Varvitsiotis, apparently Noted wth Interest).

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

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* Anti-Torture CoE's Watchdog, CPT's President, Mykola Gnatofskyy from Ukraine, appeared Focused mainly on "Alternatives to Deprivation of Liberty", in order to Reduce Detentions and Prisons' "OverCrowding", Ameliorate Health-Care.  (../..)

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* Anti-Racism and Intolerance PanEuropean Commission (ECRI) Chair, Maria Daniella Marouda, from Greece, eyeing CoE's "Cooperation" with Both the OSCE and the EU, Focused mainly on Calling, Nowadays, for "an Inclusive Recovery", as she stressed, taking into account the full "COVID-19 Pandemy's Impact".

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

lanzarote_nicolaidis__400 

* Children Protection, against Sexual Abuse and/or Exploitation, Committee's (known as "Lanzarote Convention") Chairman, George Nicolaidis, also from Greece, Warned against Topical Risks by the "Lock-Down" during the Virus' Crisis, such as "Domestic Abuse", and/or to be "Sexualy Exploited" while "Relying on the Web", f.ex. even "for (On-Line) Education", etc. Provide adequate "Information", and/or "Help", including for/from "the Elderly", "Filter", etc., are some among the Practical Means to Prevent or Face such Risks.

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 exechr_sicilianos_400_01

* Former ECHR President Linos-Alexander Sicilianos, who has Just Left his post the Day that the Incoming CoE's 2020 Greek Chairmanship started (15/5/2020), as Minister Varvitsiotis reminded, Urged, in particular, to Fight Against "InEqualities", which are "Augmenting" during this Virus' Crisis, and Affect "the Most Vulnerables", such as "Disabled People, UnEmployed, etc", (a Concern Largely Shared by several Participants Today : Comp. Supra).

+ At the Same Time, in Parallel, ECHR should Help at the "Modernisation of the system of Justice", mainly via "Digital" Technologies, (an Issue on which a Specific Video-Conference is prepared for this Month at the CoE), as well as Develop adequate "Synergies" with Top National Courts, (f.ex. "Constitutional Council" in France, "State Council" in Greece, "Federal Constitutional Court" in Germany, etc), but Also "the UNO", he added.

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

coe_dora_bakoyani_400 

* Experienced Top MEP Dora Bakoyanis, Head of the Greek Delegation to CoE's Assembly (PACE), and former President of its Political Committee, as well as f. Foreign Minister and Athens' Mayor, closed this Round of High-Level PanEuropean  Interventions, mainly by Inviting the CoE to Also "Seize the Opportunities" Currently Emerging amidst the Crisis :

- This Pandemic Crisis presents "Challenges", but Also "Opportunities", she stressed from the outset.

- F.ex., we "Change Ways to Communicate, interact", etc.: Among Others, Nowadays,"Video-Conferences go Non-Stop !", Bakoyanis observed, adding also "Tele-Work", etc.

=> -"This is an UnKnown (yet) Territory, to Discover !", she Characteristicaly Urged.

- Indeed, "the World is Changing", at the same time that "it's Defying us"...

>>> Let's "Use this Opportunity", "Today !", she Called.

- F.ex. by "Building a <<Tool-Box>>, both for Now, and "for the Years to Comme !", Dora Bakoyanis suggested, inter alia.

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

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+ Meanwhile, CoE's new Chairman-in-office, Varvitsiotis, Announced a Follow-up Video-Conference, Later this Month, with Specialized CoE's Top Officers, as well as a relevant PanEuropean "Scientific Forum" for September, (as CoE's new Secretary General, Marija Buric was spontaneously Applauding the Conclusion of this 1st Ever Conference with All the Main Leaders of Strasbourg's Organisation)...

 

 

(../..)

 

("Draft-News")

 

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 sarko_merkel_mieux

The official presentation of a "Program" respecting People's choices voted in the June 7, 2009 EU Elections, to be debated in EU Council and EU Parliament during its 1st Session on July in Strasbourg, is the No 1 Priority, according to Democratic principles, for the Franco-German axis, said the main winners at the ballot box, French President Nicolas Sarkozy and German Chancellor Angie Merkel.

They stressed  that the New EU Commission's President must have a "Program" in favor of an EU which "protects" its Citizens, regulates financial markets and aims at a "Political" Europe" : a wording they have used as incompatible with Turkey's controversial EU bid.

They also declared ready for a "political" endorsment of "Mr. Barroso's candidacy" in June's EU Council, considering that an official decision would have to be made after EU Parliament's debates and votes, possibly from next month (July), with the legally necessary final acceptance shortly after Lisbon Treaty's entry into force, hoped for September or October.


- "A Program, and Mr. Barroso" : This resumes, in substance, the anouncements made by Sarkozy and Merkel, on the question of current EU Commission's President, Barroso's declared wish to succeed to himself for a second mandate, to be extended during the following 5 years.

 In their 1st meeting after EU Elections, they observed that "the Franco-German axis counted in European Elections' campaign... But, we both keep a realistic view : We saw the number of those who abstained, and we must absolutely give them an answer. We also see the disilusionment of an important number of Europeans vis a vis Europe, and we are aware of the responsibilities we have".

sarko

 - The "Duty" of the new EU Commission's President, after June 7, 2009 EU Elections' result, "is to act for a Europe which protects the Europeans, to commit himself into working for a better Regulation of Financial transactions, ... and to have a Political will for Europe", underlined Sarkozy.

Therefore, "we have asked M. Barroso... to clarify, to officialy present the intentions he has", he anounced.

- "We want to speak also about the Programme", explained Merkel.

- "It's important that for the next EU Parliament's mandate (2009-2014) we take the right Decisions for Europe.  Obviously on Persons, but mainly Decisions on Issues", she stressed.

- "It's not simply a question of a Person, it's also a question of a Programme". We are "really asking Mr. Barroso to commit himself on a Program, and on Principles, on Values", Sarkozy added.

EU President-in-office, Czech Prime Minister Jan Fischer, accepted the Franco-German stance :

- "Barroso must present his Programme. The Czech Presidency agrees with that", Fischer reportedly said later, after meeting Sarkozy.

But Press reports from Brussels claimed that Barroso had preferred to be officially appointed by EU Council since June, (i.e. next week), "because this was implied by the current Treaty of Nice, according to him", and considered any delay until the possible ratification of the new, Lisbon Treaty on September/October, as "undemocratic".

- "At any case, independently of what Germany and France ask, it's also EU Parliament's wish". "We shall propose Mr Barroso's candidacy... But even in the framework of Nice Treaty, EU Parliament has to be associated in this Decision", the French President observed.

If this is correctly done, then "we support Mr. Barroso's candidature", and "if the (EU) Parliament agrees, we might ratify this decision since July", (i.e. next month), they both said.

smerkem_400

- "France and Germany support Baroso's candidacy, But we want to speak also on the Program. We believe that this Program should be established in close cooperation with EU Parliament, and that's why we have followed an appropriate way", said Merkel.  - If EU Parliament wants, this election can take place on July,  but this must be done in full agreement.

- "We shall support Mr. Barroso's candidacy, without doubt", said Sarkozy. "But we have asked from Mr. Barroso, as I told him yesterday, to put into detail.. his intentions, at the eve of his 2nd mandate, if the situation avails itself.


    France and Germany "don't want to take an Official Legal Decision by writting" during "the next (EU) Council" (on June 18-19), declared Sarkozy.  Because they prefer, at this stage, only "a Political decision" on June, "so that we (EU Council) can work together with EU Parliament", which starts to meet only Next Month, since July in Srasbourg, "leaving a Legal decision by writting for later".

    - "If the Conditions are fuillfiled in EU Parliament, we (EU Council) are ready to give the agreement and make it offficial", said Merkel

    - "But, now we are working in the base of Nice Treaty. If tommorow we want to work in the spirit of Lisbon Treaty, we have to find a proper way", she added.

    - "Of course it's Legally complicated, because we are going to make a Political proposal to the forthcoming Council, for an EU Commission's President, on the basis of Nice Treaty : So, we (EU Council) will not appoint the Commissioners. Only the President.  If EU Parliament agrees, it could endorse this position on July", explained Sarkozy.

    But, on Autumn, "if Ireland ratifies Lisbon Treaty, there will be, at any case, a 2nd Decision, to appoint the Commission's President, this time on the basis of Lisbon treaty, and then, we, the EU Member States, would have to appoint (also) the EU Commissioners", he added.

    As for the precise Timing :  - "Everything is suspended until the Irish vote... Now, we must all make everything possible to help Ireland to say "Yes"" to Lisbon Treaty... The Irish Referendum, ..will take place either on September or on October. It's a Question which depends on the Irish. And,  then, we shall have the Choice of the Candidates for the permanent Institutions of Europe".

    However, "if Ireland says No, we, French and Germans, have to assume our responsibilities, and we'll do so", he concluded.

    But British and Swedish governments were reportedly eager to have a final EU Council decision on Barroso since this month, on June's European Council. While the other EU Member Countries are divided, several of them preferring to wait until EU Parliament pronounces itself, on July, and/or until Lisbon Treaty might be ratified by Ireland at the beginning of the Autumn. Barroso's current mandate ends on November.

    There are also various, contradictory and/or unpredictable reactions inside EU Parliament vis a vis Barroso's wish to continue a 2nd mandate, because many MEPs are openly or secretly opposed, reluctant, or hesitating.

    In the biggest EU Countries, as France and Germany, EU Citizens voted on June 2009 EU Elections for a renovated, non-technocratic but Political Europe which cares for its Citizens, with an Identity, Values and Borders, declared incompatible with Turkey's controversial EU bid, by mainstream, pro-European Governing Parties. Similar choices were also supported in several other small or medium EU Countries.

    On the contrary, whenever, in other Countries, Governing and other mainstream Parties didn't make these choices or eluded them, EU Citizens massively voted for euro-Sceptics whenever they were the only ones to to promise anti-bureacratic change and oppose Turkey's demand to enter into the EU, (f.ex. in the UK, Netherlands, etc).

    It's seems to be an Open Question whether Sarkozy and Merkel's conditions will be really accepted by Barroso, who was appointed on 2004 in a different political context, (with Socialist Prime Ministers in Germany, France, etc), had rejected in the Past the idea of EU becoming "equal to the USA" as "ridiculous", and pushed for Turkey's contoversial EU bid, trying to "soften" or contain the changes desired by the People who voted for Merkel and Sarkozy with another policy vis a vis Turkey on 2005 in Germany and on 2007 in France, as they did all over Europe on 2009.

    In addition to many EPP Governments, it's 3 remaining Socialist Prime Ministers : Gordon Brown in the UK, Zapatero in Spain, and Socrates in Prortugal, who support Barroso, as well as Liberal Swedish Prime Minister Reinfeldt. But their Parties lost the June 2009 EU Elections.

    Questioned whether there was still "Time" for "other" possible "Candidates", Sarkozy and Merkel did not deny, nor made any comment on that, but simply said that "it's not for us to make publicity for any candidates. We anounced our choice ("A Program, and Mr. Barroso"). But we respect any other candidate".

    Among various other names cited are former Belgian Prime Minister Verhofstadt, former UNO's Human Rights Commissioner Mary Robinson of Ireland, Italian former EU Commission's vice-President Monti, etc. Meanwhile, Luxembourg's PM Juncker, (who had been unanimously accepted by EU Council for EU Commission's Presidency on 2004, but refused), announced his intention to resign from "EuroGroup"'s Chair. Thus, he might be available for another Top EU job.

    As "EuroFora"'s "opinion" said (See publication dated 9/6/09) : - "If the current candidates (i.e. Barroso, etc) to the Top EU jobs promise and guarantee to respect People's democratic choices, then, it's OK".

"Otherwise, Europe must find new candidates, really motivated and able to implement these democratic choices of the People."

    Because, "in Democracy, the forthcoming choices for EU's Top Jobs,...should be made according to EU Citizens' Votes in June 7, 2009 European Elections, and main EU Governments' strategic policies".
        

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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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