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Αρχική 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

Έχει γραφτεί από ACM
Wednesday, 03 June 2020

*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.



- 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.


- 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.



    * 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.


    => 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.



    * 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.



    * 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.



* 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.



    *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).



* 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").



* 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.  



* 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).



* 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.  (../..)



* 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".



* 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.



* 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.



* 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.



+ 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)...









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Recent developments proved that Europe can suceed to overcome challenges by aiming at great objectives, and this is needed also in 2009, said EU chairman, French President Nicolas Sarkozy.

    - "It's in the name of Great Ideas, Projects, Ambition and Ideals, that EU can overcome" challenges, stressed Sarkozy at EU Parliament in Strasbourg, in conclusion of a dense 7 months EU Chairmanship. "It's even easier for Europe to have Great projects, able to overcome national egoism, instead of limiting itself only to small projects" (unable to do alike), he observed.     

- "Europe must remain Ambitious and understand that the World needs her to take Decisions". "The World needs a Strong Europe", which "thinks on its own, has convictions, its own responses, its imagination" : "A Europe which does not limit itself into following" others, (as it did in the Past, when it followed USA, f.ex. on Bosnia). On the contrary, "Europe should undertake its own responsibilities", he said, after a series of succes in stopping the War between Russia and Georgia, and organizing the 1st EuroZone's Summit in Paris, which incited the Washington DC G-20 Summit to extend similar decisions World-wide.  

    - "When you sweep it all under the carpet, prepare yourself for hard tomorrows", he warned. "What hinders decisions is the lack of Courage and Will, the fading away of Ideals", he stressed before EU Parliament's 2008 debate on Human Rights and Sakharov prize on Freedom of thought attributed by MEPs to Chinese cyber-dissident Hu Jia, followed by an EU - Turkey meeting on Friday.

    - "I don't abandon my convictions" and "I will take initiatives" on EU level also in 2009, Sarkozy announced later. "France will not stop having convictions and taking initiatives" on Europe. + "It's an Error to wish to pass over the Heads of those who are elected in their Countries" : "It's an integrism I always fought against"', he warned.
French EU Presidency faced 4 unexpected Crisis :

- An institutional crisis, with the Irish "No" to EU Lisbon Treaty, just before it started. A geopolitical crisis, wth the threat of War between Russia and Georgia risking to throw Europe back to Cold-war divisions, on August. A World-wide Financial and Economic crisis, arriving at a bad moment before crucial 2009 EU elections. And even a Strasbourg's mini-crisis, with EU Parliament's roof curiously falling down, from unknown reasons, in a brand new building on August, provoking an unprecedented transfert of the 2 September Plenary Sessions...

But it wasn't enough to stop Sarkozy ! On the contrary, it stimulated him...

- "The better way to deal with the recent problems of EU institutions (as the "3 NO" by France, the Netherlands and Ireland) is to take them as a "Test" in order to find solutions closer to Citizens' concerns", said later in Strasbourg Sarkozy's new choice as Ministe for EU affairs, Bruno Le Maire.

- On the Institutional front, Sarkozy gave Time to the Irish to think about it, and stroke on December a deal including a New Referendum after the June 2009 EU Elections, in exchange of a promise to keep the rule of "one EU Commissioner for each EU Member Country", and some opt-outs on Defence and Fiscal EU policies, Abortion, etc. If the Irish get a "Yes" Majority, then the institutional package could be completed in 2010 or 2011 on the occasion of Croatia's probable EU accession.

He was accused in Strasbourg to upgrade EU Council and downgrade EU Commision, but he replied that "strong Political initiatives by EU Council reinforce also the more technical role of EU Commission, under the political-technical leadership of its President", all 3 "working together with EU Parliament".

- But, meanwhile, Sarkozy energetically spearheaded an Historic 1st Summit of EuroZone's 15 Heads of State and Government at EU's core, exceptionally enlarged to a partial participation of British Prime Minister Gordon Brown, on October 12 in Paris' Elysee palace, which started to tackle succesfully the growing world Financial crisis.

    It also paved the way for its endorsement by a subsequent Brussels' 27 EU Member States' gathering, before it all come to Washington's G-20 Summit. And "Europe was united, it asked for the 1st G-20 Summit, and it will also organise the next G-20 Summit on April in London", he observed.   

 But a Conference with EU, Russia, African and other Developing Countries, hosted in Strasbourg shortly after Washington G-20 Summit by the French EU Presidency, took a Resolution asking to enlarge participation to Global Economic Governance. Many found, indeed, illogic and unacceptable that f.ex. states as Turkey were given a seat at G-20 level, while all African Countries, and even the African Union itself, representing the greatest Continent on Earth, were excluded...

    Meanwhile, even USA''s "Paulson No 3" Plan, was, in fact, inspired by Europe's No 1 Plan", Sarkozy observed, largelly applauded by MEPs.

    And "Europe showed Solidarity" by mobilizing some 22 Billion credit for Hungary, 1,7 billion for Ukraine, as we do nowadays for Baltic States, etc., he added.

    The move on Economy was extended on December by an EU stimulus' plan totalling some 200 billion Euros, including 5 Billions released by EU Commission for big Projects, as well as various parallel National plans for Economic revival, (fex. 26 billions in France alone). They might appear limited, compared to USA President-elect Obama's reported plan to boost the American economy with 800 billion $, but at least succeded to overcome Europe's divisions for the first time on Economic governance, opening new horizons.

- The French President stressed even harder the unique role of an active EU Council's chairmanship, when he moved swiftly and efficiently, at the beginning of August, to succesfully stop War between Russia and Georgia, at the last minute, which threatened to bring Europe back to Cold War division.

"We (EU) also wanted to avoid a situation like in Bosnia, in the Past, when EU was absent, so that our American friends took their responsibilitues, and EU only followed", despite the fact that the conflict took place in Europe. Now, it was the EU who took its responsibilities".

A roadmap towards a new PanEuropean Security policy, before which all unilateral moves to place new Missiles (from USA or Russia) would be freezed, was proposed by Sarkozy after a meeting with Russian president Medvedev, at the eve of Washington DC's G-20 Summit.

Ukraine's "European" character was stressed at a Sarkozy - Jushenko Summit, September in Paris, while EU adopted on December an "Eastern policy", in which, "I'm convinced that our (EU's) future is to find with our Neighbours the conditions for Economic Development. Peace and Security, by explaining them that.. they must respect (Human Rights') Values, and adopt behaviors different from the Past", explained Sarkozy in Strasbourg.

Meanwhile, the "Union for the Mediterranean" was created, since July's Summit if 45 Heads of State and Government in Paris, as "an organisation for a permanent Dialogue, that we need", mainly in order to tackle the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, by bringing together, for the 1st time, Israelis and Arabs, where "Europe must be present, in order to avoid a frontal clash".

- "If Europe doesn't take its part for Peace in the Middle-East, nobody else will do that in our place", Sarkozy stressed.
    Meanwhile, other EU Agreements were brokered during the French EU Presidency on Immigration, (fex. common Asylum rules, etc), and Climat- Energy :

    - On Climat-Energy, the 2007 German EU Presidency had fixed a triple 20% aim for 2020 (20% renewable Energies, 20% reduction of CO2 emmission, 20% energy efficience/economies), and the 2008 French EU Presidecny realized that, making the necessary compromises in order to modernize EU's industry, but without throwing some former Central-Eastern European Countries into abrupt Economic break down risking "social explosion".

    - Defence-Security EU policy was mainly postponed for April 2009, since both German chancellor Merkel and French president Sarkozy want to strike a deal with the new American president Obama in Strasbourg's NATO Summit.

    However, with all these 4 unexpected Crisis diverting attention to other urgencies, People wil wonder now, what happened to the famous deal proposed by freshly-elected French President Sarkozy on Turkey's controversial EU bid, back on August 2007, to continue EU - Turkey negotiations, but on the double condition that core chapters, intrinsequally linked with EU Membership, will be excluded, and that a collective Reflexion and Debate on Europe's future would start before the end of 2008.

    It was meant to reply to the crucial question : What kind of Europe do we want in 10 or 20 Years from now : A large Market, or a Political Europe, with a popular identity ? In Sarkozy's thinking, presented in his 2 landmark speeches on Europe in Strasbourg, shortly before and after the 2007 Elections, (on February and July 2007), Turkey's controversial EU bid would be incompatible with the second choice.

    It's true that EU Commision's Chairman, Jose Barroso, (who had notoriously declared, as former Portuguese Prime Minister, that he found "nonsense" the idea that Europe might become equal to the US), had repeatedly tried to avoid that Sarkozy's criticism on Turkey might start winning a larger audience in Europe, preferring a discrete "wismens' committee" work. And that most of the personalities later chosen in order to participate in a Committee on Europe's Future, are too much linked with Socialist parties and/or American policies, to be really critical of USA's notorious wish to impose Turkey to the EU, as Sarkozy had noted himself since March 2007..

     - "It's on EU Council's presidency to take political initiatives. EU Commission has other competences", stressed Sarkozy. The "European Ideal" is to "build Europe with the States, not against them". "Ask Europeans to chose between their countries and Europe won't work. You don't choose between your two parents : We must add them together".

    "France and Germany have an Historic Duty to work together, precisely because of what happened to the Past. We have to work hand by hand. We cannot be separated.It goes beyond me and Mrs Merkel today, Mr Schroeder and Mr. Chirac yesterday. It's not a choice, it's a duty to Europe and to the World".  "We need Germany, as Germany needs Europe". Compromise is inevitable, here as everywhere, and each one made some steps towards eachother's positions.

    But "it's true that Mrs Merkel didn't chose her Socialist partners, while I chose mine", Sarkozy said, in an indirect hint that the Socialist Minister of Finance in Germany might be a cause of minor past disagreements in Economy, which were overcome in recent negotiations.

    "We (France and Germany) have particular duties in Europe", but "in a Europe of 27 Member States, it's not enough for France and Germany to agree between them.

    "I always thought that Great Britain has a special role to play in Europe. ... Now, everybody "saw what it cost payed the UK for having been too exclusively open towards the US (and) Financial services. Europe needs the UK, but also the UK needs Europe" :- "We were able to face the hardest moment of the Financial crisis because the UK clearly chose Europe", stressed Sarkozy, reminding Gordon Brown's exceptional participation to the Historic 1st Heads of State/Government Summit of EuroZone, October 12 in Paris (See EuroFora's Reportage from Elysee Palace then).

     - "Some look at Europe with old glasses aged 30 years ago. While we must look at her in relation to what it will be in 30 years" in the Future, Sarkozy concluded.


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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