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Home arrow newsitems arrow CoE v.Chair, Croatia v.Prime Minister Buric to EF : for W.Balkans Integration, Minorities = Bridge

CoE v.Chair, Croatia v.Prime Minister Buric to EF : for W.Balkans Integration, Minorities = Bridge

Written by ACM
Tuesday, 19 June 2018

*Strasbourg/CoE/Eurofora/- Replying to an "Eurofora"s Question on Western Balkans at the incoming Austrian EU Presidency's Priorities (7-12/2018) and Croatia's PanEuropean CoE's Presidency's (5-11/2018) interest for Minorities' protection, the v.Prime Minister and Foreign/EU Affairs Minister of Croatia, Marija Pejčinović Burić, expressed her Belief that, with a Closer EU/CoE Cooperation, the European Integration of those Countries could be greatly Facilitated, inter alia, also by valorizing National Minorities' potential as key Links between Countries.EU Commission has notoriously adopted, recently in Strasbourg, an overall Strategy aimed to Boost Western Balkans Countries' European orientation.



Topically, the New CoE's vice-President-in-office spoke to "Eurofora" just after Opening, together with CoE's Secretary General, Thornbjorn Jagland, former Prime Minister of Norway and Key Member of Oslo's NOBEL Peace Prize Committee, an Exceptional, 2-Days Long, International Conference on the 20th Anniversary of the 47 Member States' strong PanEuropean Organisation's landmark Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities (FCNM), and its Charter for Regional and Minority Languages, with active Participation of 6 more Foreign Ministers, as well as Experts also from Russia, from the OSCE and UNO's Highest relevant Senior Officials, (See Infra).



On this occasion, the Croatian v.Prime Minister's Reply to our Question, came among several Other relevant Statements to "Eurofora", also by OSCE's High Commissioner on National Minorities, Ambassador Zannier, by CoE's Presidents of Committees on National Minorities and Regional or Minorities' Languages, respectively Edita Ziobene and Vesna Crnic-Grotig, by the CEO of CoE's Committee on Minorities, Marco Leidekker, of this International Convention's Rapporteur, former CoE's Legal/Human Rights issues Director, Philippe Boillat, and various Other Top Official and/or Experts d.ex., from Norway, Russia, etc, (See Infra).




- "Yes, we (i.e. CoE's Presidency by Croatia) shall strive, indeed, to Work closer Together with the Austrian EU Presidency (Comp. Supra), particularly on Western Balkan's Stability and Integration, she confirmed to "Eurofora", from the outset.

- And, as far as National "Minorities" are concerned, "I am really Convinced that they can be very Good Bridges" between various Countries, the Croatian v. Prime Minister characteristically  stressed in Substance, in her Reply.

+ Earlier, she had already observed, as a matter of General Principle, that, at least, National Minorities can "Contribute to Strengthen Bilateral Relations".

Interestingly, Pejčinović Burić, an EU - Experienced Croatian, had been Born at Nowadays Bosnia-Herzegovina, and has reportedly Worked, as an EU/WTC Affairs Consultant also with various Other Western Balkan Countries, as well as on EU Consulting for neighbouring Serbia.

- And, nowadays, her Country, "Croatia has the Greatest Number of permanent Minorities", as she had observed.



- "Measures to encourage TransFrontier Cooperation", as well as "Bilateral and Multilateral Agreements with Other States" (etc), are among the Measures supported by the above-mentioned CoE's Convention (FCNM), according to its Article 18, (and a recent CoE's Pamphlet, Resuming the FCNM places "International and Transfrontier Cooperation" among the 12 main "Commitments" undertaken by State Parties).



+ At the same time, in Parallel, CoE does "Not" like "Parallel Societies" inside any of its Member States, and the way that its Convention on National Minorities is applied in practice, should also  "facilitate their Integration" in the State whose Citizens the are, stressed to "Eurofora" the CEO of CoE's National Minorities' Convention, Marco Leidekker, in the margins of a relevant Press Conference, Earlier Today, (See also Infra).

All this may Facilitate Nowadays, inter alia, also some Geo-Politically Important Public Infrastructures, that EU Insiders had already Highlighted, at a special meeting at the CoE in Strasbourg, where "Eurofora" had participated, as Early as shortly after the Fall of Berlin' Wall, precisely, for that Western Balkans' "Corridor", between Europe's Central Franco-German area, near Strasbourg, (alias "Mittel-Europa"), Straight towards South-Eastern Mediterranean Sea's and/or Middle East Oils/Gas Energy Sources.



Something that even ...Hitler had, in fact, desperately Tried to do, 1st by struggling to Cross that Direct and Shorter, "Western Balkan Corridor", all the way until down to Greece's Southern Island of Creta, (where he was notoriously Delayed by a surprizing "No" even from a Far Right Government of that of Authoritarian Nationalist Prime Minister Metaxas, until Anglo-American and French Allies blocked his route towards Egypt), but, even with Harder Alternatives, such as General Rommel's North-African Mediterranean Coast-line route, (succesfully faced by Allies' General Montgomery in several Battles in the Sahara), as well as in the German Attack of Russia, which had rectified Napoleon's Historic Error to Invade Moscow, by suddenly Turning Southwards, and seeking to cross the Caucasus area, in order to Reach Nowaday's Iraq/Syria's Oil/Gas Natural Resources, until Russia, supported by all Allies, notoriously succeeded to Stop Hitler at Stalingrad, then, (nowadays Volgograd). As a Result, whent the NAZI Tanks' attacked through France's Ardennes' Forests, later-on, even if they Initially Won some Battles, nevertheless, at the End, they were spectacularly Obliged to Stop any advance, precisely because of that Lack of Energy sources..., proving that the Strategic "Western Balkans' Route" was Instrumental, in Europe, even for the Final Outcome of the 2nd World War !




- Indeed, CoE's Convention on National Minorities was its "Only Treaty which was Drafted in Less than 8 Months' Time, in a context of Extreme Time Pressure, particularly "during the Last 3 Months, that I shall never forget, as Leading then a Legal Team which Prepared that Text", precisely "Because War had just Started in the former Yugoslavia's area", and there was an Urgent Need for such a Legal Text, as that Country (which Dominated then most of the Western Balkan's route) was Breaking Down into Several Independent Parts becoming New States, reminded to "Eurofora" the Experienced, until recently, Long-Time CoE's General Director of Legal and Human Rights issues, Philippe Boillat, (who served now as "Rapporteur" of this International Conference to CoE's Committee of Minisers, and afterwards Hailed, by Nowadays CoE's General Director of Democracy, Snezana Samardzi-Markovic, at the Closing Session, as "an Intellectual Father of this Convention".



- The Move had come just After CoE's Exceptional "Heads of State/Government's Summit in Vienna on 1993, which had Focused on Democratic Security", and the Convention on National Minorities' protection "Had to be Drafted just between 1993 and 1994", Boillat reminded earlier to "Eurofora", adding, Later-on, also that all that had, in Fact, started just After the "1989 Fall of Berlin's Wall" and the subsequent "Explosions of Yugoslavia and the URSS on 1991", which created many "New States" in those Areas, as he reminded in fine. The main Point was to try to establish "a PanEuropean Area of Democratic Security", "precious for Peace, which is a Condition for any Development, economic, scientific or cultural", as he stressed at the Closing Session.



- Indeed, too Often, "when you hear about Minorities, it's also about Conflict !", realistically reminded, speaking earlier to "Eurofora", the Experienced OSCE's High Commissioner on National Minorities, Ambassador Lamberto Zannier, who notoriously was, until recently, the Long-Time Secretary General of all OSCE's Euro-Atlantic Organisation, (where Both Russia and USA are Members : Comp. already, Zannier's previous Statements to "Eurofora", as early as since, already, the December 2014 OSCE's Annual Summit, then at nearby Basel, f.ex., at : ..., etc). Therefore an interesting link to Security and Peace-making/Keeping and/or various relevant operations, (whose General "Know-how" might even be usefully, later-on, Transmitted also to Other Areas of the World, including, f.ex. to the African Union, etc. as he Added Later-on, during a Debate with UNO's former Rapporteur on Minorities, and nowadays UN Rapporteur against Racial Discrimination, Rita Iszak-Ndiaye : See also Infra).

- However, even if Both CoE's relevant Legal Tools on the "Protection of National Minorities" and "Regional and Minorities' Languages" entered into Force since 1998, (i.e. completing their 20th Anniversary on 2018), nevertheless, they were Not Equaly WideSpread : Indeed, while National Minorities are covered thus throughout 39 among CoE's 47 Member Countries, (including Russia, but Excluding France, Turkey, Andorra, Greece, Belgium, Luxembourg and Iceland : the three first without even signing, and the other four because they didn't yet ratify, despite having signed), nevertheless, "Regional and Minority Languages" are Only covered in 25 CoE's Member Countries, (as another 8 have Only Signed, but Not Ratified yet : including France, Italy and Russia, Iceland,  Georgia, Azerbaijan, Moldova, FYROM, etc, while another 12 have Not even Signed : including Turkey, Greece, Belgium, Ireland, Bulgaria, Albania, Portugal, the Baltic States, etc).

- It's true that, at least in the Particular Case of "Greece and Turkey, Minority Issues are covered by the (Older : 1923) Treaty of Lausane", as the CEO of CoE's National Minorities' Convention, Marco Leidekker, reminded to Strasbourg's Journalists, including "Eurofora", during a Press Conference, (Comp. also Supra + Infra).

- But the Présidents of Both CoE's Committees which Monitor the Implementation of those Legal Tools, and particularly Vesna Crniuc-Grotic, concerning the "Regional and Minority Languages", speaking also at the Closing Session of this 20th Anniversary International Conference, complained about the Fact that Many States' full Accession has been recently "Stuck".

- Indeed, f.ex., in cases as such of Russia, whose Languages may Total (including even those which are still spoken Nowadays by Only a Few People : f.ex. Dozens or 10, perhaps 5...) about 200 (sic !), while, if one added Also the Languages of Foreign-Origin Communities which have come and Settled in Russia, (as, f.ex., in some Villages populated mainly by Kurds, etc), Estimations might go even Further than ... 300, as Moscow "Lomonosov" University's Expert, Olga Kazakevich, told "Eurofora", (See also Infra).

 + There are also the cases of some Small Countries, as f.ex. FYROM, which have already Officialy Recognized the existence of Many "National Minorities", such as "the Albanian People, Turkish People, Vlach People, Serbian People, Roma People, and Bosniac People", according to COE's Official Documents, distributed this week in Strasbourg. (While, given a notorious History of Thousands of Years, since the Ancient Greek Civilisation, revived in the Byzantine Empire, etc, at least some Greeks, and afterwards Bulgarians should, normally, be included, at the South and Eastern Areas, respectively. Among others, considering also, both Sofia's influence for Many Decades, and that President Tito's Balkan Policies were quite Popular among Leftist Greeks who fought on the Balkan Mountains as Allies of the Yugoslavian side, during the Civil War of 1946-1949 in Greece, when FYROM's area had been born, at the Beginning of the Cold War, and, logically, stayed there, probably prolonging that for Generations, since it had become afterwards Impossible for them to move in nowadays Greece for Decades).

By a Coincidence, it's also when CoE's Convention on National Minorities had been Drafted and Adopted in a Hurry, Back on 1993-1994,  mainly Because of the Former Yugoslavia's War, (as a main Actor as Boillat reminded to "Eurofora" these Days : Comp. Supra), that Liberal/"Socialist" former USA President Bill Clinton chose to Appoint Mathew Nimitz as his Envoy for the Issue of the Future "Name" of Skopje's Region, (located approximatively at the Ancient "Paeonia", particularly the Kingdom of "Dardania", Northwards), later accepted as "FYROM" inside the UNO, in relation with the Ancient Greek Macedonian History and Culture, centered Southwards, and, particularly, Modern Greece (1821-2018).



- Regarding the "National Minorities" themselves, Rapporteur Philippe Boillat (Comp. Supra), reminded, at the Closing Session of CoE's International Conference, that, in order also to attract as much as possible among the concerned Member States to Sign and Ratify that "Framework Convention", it had been Drafted in a very "Soft" Way, f.ex., Leaving it up to the Contracting States a Free Choice on the Definition of What They Recognized (each one, in particular) as "National Minorities" inside their Territory. Moreover, States can also Choose most of the Commitments that they Decide to Undertake, or not, with "the Only Exception of the Article 6, about Tolerance", (but also "Protect(ion)" from eventual "Threats, or acts of Discrimination, Hostility, or Violence, as a result of ...Ethnic, Cultural, Linguistic or Religious Identity", as that Article adds). At the same time, "we stressed also the respect of States' Territorial Integrity and Sovereignity", he added, (pointing at CoE's Convention's Preambule).

But it's also a Fact that, there are at least Some "Delicate" Points in CoE's "National Minority" and/or "Regional/Minority Languages" Legal Tools, as, f.ex., among others, the Distinction between Allowed "Integration Policy" and "Practices aimed at Assimilation of persons ...Against their Will", (Article 5 of the FCNM) ; or Educational Measures which, sometimes, might even go as far as to Revendicate Special "University" level studies for one or another Minority, etc.; perhaps use of even some rare Languages in Exchanges with National Authorities, (etc), which might, at least partially, explain some CoE's Member States' reluctance to Engage too much in such Issues, and/or some's Hesitation to Fully Implement All their Commitments in this regard, (as several Critical Observers pointed out).

Inter alia, f.ex., Regional/Minority Languages is, in some Countries a very "Sensitive" Issue, (even in Big and Strong ones, as, f.ex., France). To the point that, f.ex., in FYROM, Demographic Census' Data and relevant Maps seem to have practically Disappeared since 2002, reportedly because the 2001 Ohrid Agreements had linked a 20% Minority Threshhold in each Municipality with a promised Right for a secondary Official Language vis a vis Local Authorities, (as also "Wikipedia" notes : https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Demographics_of_the_Republic_of_Macedonia). That's why, f.ex., relevant FYROM's Demographic Maps, (existing between 1961 and 2002) recently seem to Lack between 2002 and 2018. 



(Based on "Wikipedia" of 2018.

White Color reportedly means "Empty" or unclear Demography Municipalities)


- Moreover, as f.ex. a Spanish Representative critically Observed during the Debates of this CoE's International Conference, sometimes, Countries like Spain and others, simply "Don't dispose of sufficient (Financial and/or other) Means to have, at their Capital, enough Staff and other Tools in order to Translate all required Documents, Letters, Exchanges, etc., in All Regional or Minority Languages", (as far as CoE's relevant "Charter" is concerned : Comp. Supra and Infra).

>>> This is one among the Various current Problems which might be more or less Alleviated by the adequate Development and use of "Digitalisation" New Technologies, on which "Eurofora" had just Focused our main Question in CoE's Press Conference, Earlier Today, with the Presidents of the Paneuropean "National Minorities" and "Regional/Minority Languages"' Monitoring Committees, respectively Edita Ziobiene and Vesna Crnic-Grotic, (Comp. also Supra) :



- Their Replies to the above-mentioned "Eurofora"s Question were, in Substance, to point Both towards the New "Opportunities" and to the "Challenges" that Modern "Digitalisation Technologies" seem to Open also in relation with various Minorities-related Issues : F.ex., inter alia, also Better Community Interactions, Automatic Translations, etc., emergening "Social Medias" and other New Web Oulets at the Internet, advancing well Beyonf the "Traditional Medias", but also more Risks of "Hate Speach", and so on, as they Highlighted.

- Afterwards, Experienced Russian Expert Olga Kazakevich, (who is also Director of the Laboratory for Computational Lexicography, at Lomonosov University's Computing Center, in Moscow), one of CoE's Invited Speakers in a special Debate about "Digitalisation" (See Infra), Replying, Later-on, to an "Eurofora"s Question, Acknowledged, in principle, that an eventual Development of "Automatic, Machine Translations", including, f.ex., "On Line" at the Internet, etc., might, possibly, Help to overcome at least some among such Language Barriers vis a vis Minorities, in the foreseable Future, (Comp. Supra).



- However, Kazakevich also Warned "Eurofora" about the Current "Limits of Machine Translation", to the point that many find "Preferable to hold a Good Dictionary", instead, while, in Real Practice, Most People "use to simply Switch into the Wider-Spread Language in a Country", often, f.ex. "English or Russian", etc.



- So that, inter alia, particularly Small Minority Languages, some spoken by "Less than 50.000 People", until to even "Only some Dozens, eventually 10 or 5 People still alive", are "Dying", risking to be left with No Descendants Anymore, the Russian Expert told Earlier CoE's Conference. Therefore, "some Old People", Lone Survivants of such Dying Languages, often "Wish to be Video-Filmed in order to leave a Message which might Interest, if not even their own Kids, at least, perhaps, their Great-Children, and/or Other People, in the Future" : I.e. something "Interesting Also for Scientific Research by Linguistists", that New, Digital Technologies can Help Saveguard, she added also, Speaking Later with "Eurofora" (Comp. Supra).



+ But, in this regard, it's a Young Expert from Estonia, (an EU Member Country with notorious Advance in Internet Communications, but also quite Strict in Minority Languages' exchanges vis a vis the Public Administration, f.ex. Russian, as she observed herself), Ms Maimu Berezkina, who works for the Norwegian Directorate of Health, at Oslo, and was also Invited by the CoE to speak at that Special Debate on "Digitalisation", who appeared much More UpBeat about the Practical Possibilities to really Use Digital Technologies in order to Help People (including, naturally, various Minorities) Communicate, much more Easily than in the Past, Well Beyond Linguistic Barriers, as she Described by pointing, f.ex., at her own Experience as "Web Advisor" in Norway for "e-Health".

- It's also from Norway, that came anOther interesting Expert, Bjorn Olav Megard, Director General at the Ministry of Modernisation and Local Government, in charge of Minority Affairs, who Participated, in this regard, to CoE's Conference Debates, and also afterwards Explained to "Eurofora", that a Team of Researchers is recently Developing a New, "Grammar-Based" Machine Translation Method, (which is, f.ex., Independent of the Number of Users, Unlike USA's "Google" Translations, whose "Reliability and Quality", on the Contrary, depend on Massive Use, as a UK Expert had just pointed out), that might be Helpful in these and other cases.



+ Giving a Wider Overview of also Various Other "New Developments" by "Digitalisation", during that CoE's Debate, Swedish Professor Jarmo Lainio, at the Department of Slavic and Baltic Languages, Finnish, Dutch and German, of Stockholm University, described, f.ex., a Recent Trend for "Traditional Medias to Merge with On-Line Medias" at the Internet, so that, inter alia, the Key References of COE's Conventions about Minorities to "TV Channels", "NewsPapers", "Radios", and other such "Classic" Medias, have Now become "Out-Dated", as he Warned, (and should, in consequence, be rather extended also to New, Internet Medias).

++ Moreover, thanks to the Internet, it has "become Easier", Nowadays, "to Establish Contacts, and Create Communities", etc., it was pointed out, in the context of various Minorities at various Countries.

+++ However, in Addition, at the same time, there is also an "Increasing" use of "Geo-Blocking", (i.e. Hindering the World Wide Web to be Accessed in Certain Countries (f.ex., often, currently, between EU and USA, etc), but, "perhaps, also Inside one Country, among its Various Regions", etc", so that all this, obviously, may create "a New Problem", as he critically Observed.

>>> Nevertheless, the Experienced Rapporteur of this COE's International Conferenxce, and former Director General on Legal and Human Rights, Philippe Boillat from Switzerland, Urged, at the Closing Session, to try to Benefit from the "Digitalisation", in order also to "Increase the Visibility" of CoE's Legal Tools, by Developing the "Use of the Immense Potential of New Communication Technologies", as he said.


+ But, Recent Developments appear to Add also some Other New Possibilities :



- Already, CoE's Secretary General, Thornbjorn Jagland, had observed from the outset, in his Official Speech at the Opening of CoE's International Conference, (Comp. Supra), the Fact that, f.ex., "Armenia has Recently set up Schools which Teach in 3 Minority Languages : Assyrian, Kurdish and Yazidi", as he observed, Welcoming such moves.

- As "Eurofora" found Confirmation also by the Armenian Ambassador/Permanent Representative to the CoE, Pamur Hovhannisyan (Comp. also: ...., etc), that Recent move was, indeed, Motivated by Yerevan's Political Will to show Solidarity and Help, by such Humanitarian Means, those genuine Political or War Refugees, mainly from Syria and/or Iraq, who have notoriously been Brutaly Persecuted and Oppressed particularly by Islamist Terrorists of ISIS' coward Killers Targetting innocent Civilian People, near the Borders of Turkey, that they naturally canNot Trust at all. This includes even a Landmark, Brand New Church Building for Yazidi Refugees, recently established at the Armenian Capital City, etc.

+ However, going even Further than such, obviously moraly necessary moves, OSCE's new High Commissioner on National Minorities, (who has served also as former Secretary General of that PanEuro-Atlantic Organisation : Comp. f.ex. his previous Statements to "Eurofora" at : ..., etc), speaking at a Joint, CoE-OSCE-UNO Debate on the "International Protection of Minority Rights" (Compr Supra), referred to the OSCE's "Guidelines for Integration in a Diverse Society", and Explored the Idea of Using CoE's a.o. "Legal Tools, initially made for Traditional Minorities", also for Nowadays "New (Mass) Migrants", i.e. for the "Integration of New Minorities", as he said, for which "our (Political) Leaders are Not Well Prepared" yet.



- CoE's Director General on Democracy, Snezana Samardzic-Marcovic, appeared to Agree, by adding that certain "CoE's Experts are also for Using these Tools vis a vis <<New Minorities>>, but, at least for the Time being, there are, among others, also severe "Budget Problems" inside the CoE :

I.e. after the Scheduled "Freezing" of Russia's Financial Contribution recently, following 4 Years of Obstacles to the Russian MEPs' Participation in CoE's Parliamenary Assembly since the 2014 Ukranian Conflict following the Violent and Deadly Clashes provoked in Kiev on February that year, which Brutally Cancelled a Political Compromise Agreement, signed between the then Président Yanukovitch and the Opposition Leaders (for Cease-Fire, Amnesty, New Goverment of National Unity, and New Presidential Elections before the end of that Year, etc. + But Also ...Turkey's UnWarned Unilateral Restriction of its Financial Contribution, thanks to a recent Augmentation of which, Ankara had Obtained More Seats for its MEPs in CoE's Assembly, that Turkey apparently still Keeps even after this Sudden Financial Cut, at least until very recently...


=> But, at the Official "Closing Session", CoE's Democracy Director-General Focused much More on How to "Help States to meet their Obligations", not jus by Criticizing them, and/or via "Name and Shame", but rather "by Assisting them" to accomplish their Duty, as she characteristically stressed.




- Her move met that of Hungary's Foreign Minister, Peter Szijjarto, who had already Launched a Vibrant Call to Better use all available "Instruments to Force Implementation" of CoE's relevant Conventions, as he had Urged since the Opening Session of this CoE's International Conference, Speaking First among a Group of 6 Foreign and/or EU Ministers/Secretaries of State, also from Other Countries, such as : Albania, Armenia, Montenegro, Romania, and Serbia, in Addition to Croatia's vice-Prime Minister (Comp. Supra), i.e. from 7 CoE Member States. Szijjarto, indeed, pointed at the Fact that "Hungary, because of History, has Minorities in All its Neighbouring States", (i.e. from Ukraine, and Romania, down to Serbia, etc).


=> - Echoing such Calls, at the Closing Session, the new President-in-office of COE's Committee of Ministers, Croatian Ambassador/Permanent Representative Miroslav Papa, (Comp. his Recent Statements to "Eurofora" on Other Big Challenges of Zagreb's CoE's Presidency nowadays, between May - November 2018, at: ...), Vowed to Support inside CoE's Committee of Ministers this International Conference's Rapporteur, Philippe Boillat's main Coclusions, for a Series of Practical Measures (f.ex., Publication of Monitoring Reports after Dialogue with the concerned State, more Frequent Actions, Contacts even Before Reporting Visits, etc), in order to Strengthen the "Multilateral" (and Not Bilateral) character of COE's role in this field, and Meet the "Need to Revigorate and Strengthen the Monitoring" of Member States' Compliance to their above mentioned Legal Obligations :



- Indeed, "Monitoring lies at CoE's Heart", in general, as he Concluded.






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Benedict's "Source" to revitalize Europe : - "The World needs Hope", Pope says, calling to relaunch E.U. via Human Rights !

Paris - Lourdes - Strasbourg : 12 - 17 September 2008.

The vital need to re-launch Europe can be succesfully met by defending fundamental Human Rights of the People, said Pope Benedict XVI in his 1st speech in France, at his meeting with President Nicolas Sarkozy, who currently chairs the EU.

Sarkozy replied by welcoming Christian and other religions' contribution to indispensable Public Debates on crucial issues which affect Human Dignity, Europe, even Humankind, as BioGenetics.

- "When Europeans will see and personally experience that the inalienable Rights of the Human Person .., those of their free Education, their Family life, their Work, ..their Religious Rights, ..are respected and promoted, then, these Europeans will fully understand the greatness of the European construction and will be actively involved in it", Benedict XVI stressed.

pope_benedict_salutes_with_sarkozy_elysee_400 pope_benedict_speaks_at_elysee_palace__sarkoy_hears_400

- "It's important that during France's EU Presidency, there is, indeed, a desire for the Church to contribute to protect Human Person's integrity, and I think that there is also a growing Conscience, beyond any polemics, to defend Human Rights, and, thus, contribute to ensure respect for Human Dignity", added to "EuroFora" the Pope's Spokesman, Vatican's Press Director Federico Lombardi.

- "Nobody really told us here that Lisbon Treaty was good for this or that reason to the People. They only told us that we "had" to ratify it, and tried to scare us, but failed", said 2 Irish pilgrims to "EuroFora", after 2 Majority Abstentions in 1999 and 2004 EU Elections and 3 "NO" to Referenda in France and the Netherlands in 2005, followed by the Irish "No" in 2008, during a Decade of EU Crisis since the controversial Turkey EU- bid (1999-2008).

More than .."224 cases of Murders, Torture, "Disappearancies" or Destructions" by "agents of Turkish Security forces", where all those responsible for so heavy Crimes still remain scandalously unpunished, despite regular condemnations of Ankara by Strasbourg''s European Court of Human Rights from 1996 to 2008, were examined the same week by CoE's Ministers, who decided to launch a fresh call "urging" the Turkish Authorities to end this dangerous "virtual Impunity" of criminals, without comparison to European countries.

- "Why not Ukraine, instead of Turkey ?", asked EuroFora a Journalist from "Kiev : the city where it's enough to cross the streets in order to realize that it's a European town", as Sarkozy recently said, before solemnly declaring this week, together with Ukranian President Jushenko and EU Commission's chair Baroso, EU's "recognition that Ukraine is a fully European Country, linked to Europe by culture and History".


Europe's "Christian roots" and Values, with "openess and mutual respect" to other cultures and beliefs, were highlighted by Sarkozy in harmony with Benedict XVI.

The Human person should be protected "from his inception until his natural death", added the Pope, faithful to BioEthic principles defended by his predecessor and collaborator, John Paul II, of topical importance in France, Europe and the World today, as Sarkozy announced :

- "Fast and important progres in Genetic Science and procreation raise delicate BioEthical Questions to our Democracies", which "involve our view of Humans and Life, and can lead to Social Mutations. That's why they cannot remain only a business of experts", hestressed.

- "It's Politician's responsibility to set a proper framework for such Public Debates", as "France will do on BioEthics in 2009". "Religious and Philosophic traditions must take part, with their ideas and centuries' long experience : A positive Laicity is an open invitation to Dialogue", he said.

- "France engaged in Europe at another Debate on how to make Financial Capitalism more moral", and the "Social doctrine of the Church fits well what is at stake in modern Globalized Economy"

- "But, a "Real Dialogue is not for an elite of a Globalized world : It penetrates deep into the People : That's why Churches should actively participate : .. It's bringing New Oxygen to Public Debates", stressed Sarkozy.

- "Democracy must not be cut off Reason", which is "compatible with Faith", thanks to "the meeting between Christianism and Greek philosophy ", he added, referring to Pope's views. "It means to advance with logic arguments, search what's best and respect common principles of thinking :... It's an everyday need for Public Administration and the Political Debate", he added.
Pope Benedict's 1st visit to France looked like the start of a brillant, manifold demonstration that this was well-founded and could become true in the lives of the People : After its Theoretical foundations unfolded at a "speech to the world of Culture", inaugurating Bernadins' cultural centre, and its dogmatic instrument shaped at an address to the Clergy in the Historic Notre Dame' Cathedral, he started to resolutely reach out to the People :


The move went upwards like Bach's music : Begining with a call to more than fifteen thousand enthousiastic Youngsters gathered at Notre Dame's parvis with overnight celebrations, it gained strength in an impressive open-air Mass at Paris'central Invalides'area facing Alexander III's bridge, attended by more than 150.000 people, French Prime Minister Fillon, many Ministers, Foreign Ambassadors, etc, and culminated in a series of pan-European Mega-meetings at Lourdes 150th anniversary, together with all French Bishops, EU Commission's vice-Chairman Barrot, and some 200.000 enthousiastic People from all over Europe and beyond : After a Sea of Lights astonishingly braved Saturday Night's rain, an open-air mass at riverside fields among Pyrenees' Mountains Sunday Morning, was followed on Monday by a Sea of "Compassion" to those facing Health or Life threats, surrounded by an endless gathering of People, whose gigantic dimensions obviously surprised the organisers..

Meanwhile, Benedict had the occasion to speak to the French Priests at Notre Dame of Paris, and with the Bishops at Lourdes, where they prepare a crucial November plenary meeting, due to take important decisions on imminent EU debates and choices about Europe's identity, BioEthics, etc.
- "A new way of thinking about Laicity has become necessary", agreed the Pope with President Sarkozy at Elysee. While keeping the "distinction between Politics and Religion, to guarantee Citizens' Liberty", "religion is important for shaping Consciousness and contributing, together with others, to create a basic Ethical Consensus in society".

- "Searching Essential realities", (as "God" for christians), needs "Speech : "Logos" in greek, i.e. Reason", "able to shape a Community","with creative work transforming Human History". But "Dialogue" is instrumental for "Reason", because it's the way to "search" for Truth", in "Liberty", according to Greek Platonic Philosophy, with Socrates' dialectics. "Reason" implies "Spirit and Liberty", hence the polyphonic "Music" of "Dialogue", in a responsible, "well balanced" way, to avoid "destruction".

Starting with a "Dialogue between christians and intellectual or artistic movements" highlighted at Bernardins' Cultural Center. with former Presidents Chirac and Giscard d'Estain, UNESCO's chair Anastassopoulos, etc., as well as representatives of Muslim Communities, (including a separate Turkish), after contacts with Jews at Vatican's Embassy, the Pope turned towards the People :

To French Priests : "Church built on the rock" !


- Speaking to thousands of French Priests at Notre Dame's Cathedral, Benedict highlighted a solid "Church built on the Rock" of conscious and active persons, transmitting "a lively, energetic and sharp" "God's Speech, actively working on Human History".


"Praying together" with "representatives of Christian Churches and ecclesiastic communities", (as Orthodoxes, Armenians, Protestants, etc), he called "to reinforce the Unity of the church", against "any form of Division", around Holy Spirit', "the Word","Christ's Justice", and "Love" to fellow- humans : Essentials which "resume all holy scripts", as he said.

To Young People : "New Horizons"
To some 15.000 enthousiastic Young People at Notre Dame's parvis, along Seine's river, Benedict spoke about "the Energy of the Holy Spirit" and "the Mystery of the Cross" : - "The Holy Spirit opens New Horizons to Human Intelligence .. and makes it conscious of the real greatness of Christ's sacrifice, dying and resurecting for World's life".

Some "may slander you as crazy, laugh at you, or even persecute you. But, "the Holy Cross is a symbol of God's love", and "givesmoral strength" : "Witness of People's pains, it's at the same time, a precious, unique expression of their Hopes", he told them at Paris' dawn.

Invalides' plateau : "People chosen to become God's friends"
At the 1st open-air Mass in Paris' center area of Invalides, facing the Grand Palais, along the river Seine, during an impressive gathering of more than 150.000, French Prime Minister Fillon, Ministers Alliot-Marie, Bachelot, Dati, Jouyet, Assembly's President Accoyer, Senate's Chair Poncelet, former 1st Lady Bernadette Chirac, former Prime Minister Raffarin, many foreign Ambassadors, and other political personalities were present. (While earlier, from the Socialist opposition, Paris' Mayor Delanoye, artist Robert Hussein a.o. assisted at the Elysee meeting).





But the "Entry Song" focused on the "People chosen to become God's Friends". The September 11 mass was Dedicated to "Saint Chrysostomus, that great priest of Constantinople", with his "wonderful eloquence and great courage to face challenges", who "made out of despaired and godless people, a people of brothers", opening a possibility to "become all one complete entity", as Pope Benedict reminded.

- "Reason never enters in real contradiction with Faith", stressed Pope Benedict, who prepared his speeches for France during a short Summer rest at Brixen/Bressanone's Seminar, whose Library honors both "Faith and Science".. - "We must use not only our Reason, but also our Faith" : "Get away from Idolatry", "cupidity", "avidity for money, power or even knowledge deviating from essential aims", and other "falses appearances". and "build your Home on the Rock", "with the force that Holy Spirit gives to those who let it act in them", he said to the People of Paris.

Benedict at Lourdes : - "Become Light (even) in the Dark !"
- "Our World needs Hope", stressed Pope Benedict, addressing an impressive TorchLight procession at Lourdes' sanctuaries, where a Sea of Lights held by Hundreds of Thousands of People gathered at Pyrenee's Mountains from all over Europe astonishingly kept their flames despite a heavy Rain at a windy Dark Night...

- "150 years earlier (1858 - 2008), ..here, in the cave, ... a simple young girl, Bernadette .. saw a Light". "The everyday life of her Family was, however, made of Misery, Sadness, Sickness, Misunderstandings, Rejection and Poverty... It was hard to live in Jail". Today, "we think to all Human Beings who suffer : The innocent Victims who face Violence, War, Terrorism, Hunger, Injustices, Catastrophes, Hate and Oppression, Violations of Human Dignity and of their fundamental Rights, of their Liberty to act and think. We also think to those who face Familial problems, sufferings from Unemployment, Sickness, Infirmity, Isolation, or their situation as Immigrants, without forgetting those who suffer and die for the name of Christ", he said.

- "But the Shadows of the Earth, did not hinder Sky's Light to shine : <<The Light shines in the Dark>>" ..."A Way full of Light opens in Human History even in its Darkest moments" : ..."As Night falls, Christ tels us : <<- Keep your Lamps alight !>>."Hold a Light while walking in the Night .. sums up our condition as Christians on their way : "We need light, and we are called to become Light !", Benedict stressed to People setting in motion Lights, Flags and Songs with enthousiasm.


"<<- She looked at me as a Person, who speaks to another Person>>, the poor girl had noted."Light emerges from such a Dialogue", stressed the Pope : "A small Flame called Hope, Compassion and Tenderness dwells inside those who return after being moved by Lourdes' experience". "Christ .. entrusts us with the Mission to let the Light of Charity shine : To make of our Prayers an Act of Love to our brothers and to Fraternal Charity", he 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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