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Home arrow newsitems arrow CoE Historic Votes for New Senior Officials seeking PanEuropean Visibility to 850 Millions People+

CoE Historic Votes for New Senior Officials seeking PanEuropean Visibility to 850 Millions People+

Written by ACM
Tuesday, 26 January 2021
coe_historic_votes_for_leaders_vowing_visibility_bjorn_berge_despina_chatzetsovilis_eurofora_patchwork_400

*Strasbourg/Angelo Marcopolo/- An Historic Record High of MEPs' Votes were given Today to New Candidate Leaders, Both Vowing to Enhance "Visibility" and "Impact" of the PanEuropean Organisation for Human Rights, Democracy and Rule of Law : the CoE, HeadQuartered in Strasbourg,  throughout all the 850 Millions Citizens of the Oldest International Body in Europe, with 47 Member Countries, (Russia Included, in Addition to Closer Links with Neighbouring Southern and Eastern States, as well as "Special" Status to USA, Canada, Mexico and Japan), Moreover Often Ambitioning to Reach Even ...a "Global" Area of Influence at Certain "Key" Domains in Modern Societies, (such as, f.ex., the Fight against Cyber-Crime, Terrorism and/or Human Trafficking, Protection of Personal Data, Bio-Ethics and/or Children, etc.), through Legal Treaties Open for Signature to Any Country in the World.

+ At the Same Time, the Votes casted by CoE's MEPs Today Also Completed a Geopolitical Equilibrium among its main Leaders, Following a New Secretary General from a former "Central-Eastern" EU Country : Marija Buric-Pejčinović from Croatia, elected on 2019, Now with a Non-EU Norwegian new Deputy Secretary General : Bjorn Berge, Together with a Parliamentary Assembly's (PACE) new Secretary General  from a Traditional "Western"-oriented EU Country as Greece : Despina Chatzevassiliou-Tsovilis, Both elected this January 2021, (who are Added to an ECHR President from Non-EU Iceland, Robert Spano, and PACE's President, Rik Daems, from anOther Traditional Western EU Country as Belgium, Both Elected, Meanwhile, on 2020). =>                                                                                rmer "Central-Eastern" EU, but on the Top of All...

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+ On the Methods, Both declared Willing to "Increase and Improve Contacts and Relations between the (CoE's) Committee of Ministers, its Parliamentary Assembly, the Office of Deputy SG, and the Office of the SG", all Together, as Berge stressed, soon echoed by Despina too, on that Common Point, who spoke about "Working Together",  "in Close Co-Operation", between those Key Actors.

=> The New CoE Assembly's SG also said to Feel the Need to "Enhance the Impact" of its work ", "within our 47 member-States and Beyond", (Comp. Supra).

>>> So that CoE would be "Able to Send Strong Messages, and take Concrete Action, in Defense of Human Rights, the Rule of Law, and Democracy, throughout the Continent of Europe", as Berge stressed.

- For that purpose, "It's Vital" to have "a CoE More Visible than Today", Because, "Unfortunately, the Visibility of the CoE is Astonishingly Low in Europe, amongst Our Citizens, and through All our 47 Member States", he Rightfuly Denounced. Nevertheless, "I Believe that We Can Find a Sustainable Way of Vastly Improving the Visibility, and Respect for the OutStanding Work that Our Institution does".                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      

 - "That's  Certainly True : CoE Needs a much Better Communication. That's for Sure !", Despina also stressed, Speaking Afterwards to "Eurofora". Particularly since "I'm immensely Grateful for the Trust that MEPs Gave us with their Votes , Because there was an Historic Participation of 97%", she added, Concious of the "Big Responsibility that gave us".

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>>> Indeed, among the 300 MEPs' Votes Casted Today, while there were, f.ex., 24 and 22 "Spoilt or Blank Ballots" for the Selection of 1 out of 3 Candidates New ECHR Judges for Greece and Switzerland, (Ioannis Ktistakis and Andreas Zünd, with 145 and 167 votes respectively),

on the Contrary, for Berge's Election as CoE's New DSG, there were Only ...3 "Spoit or Blank Ballots", so that he Won with a Super-Majority of 185 Votes, against Only 112 for his Turkish Competitor, Ms Leyla Kayasik, (i.e.with a Big Distance of +73 Votes More)...

+ In Addition, Berge's Candidacy as New CoE's Deputy Secretary General, was one of 2, Earlier Selected by CoE's Committee of Ministers,  among ...Eight (8) Member States' Initial Candidates, from Italy, Austria, Finland, the Netherlands, Turkey, Norway, Germany and the UK, i.e. Winning among Harsh Competition !

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++ Even Greater Surprize for Despina Chatzivassiliou-Tsovilis' Win as New CoE Assembly's Secretary General : Among 300 Votes Casted, ...Not even One (i.e. Zero = 0) wasn't a "Spoilt or Blanc Ballot"....

=> Moreover, Despina Won with an Incredibly Big Amount of ... 240 Votes casted in her Favor, Against Only ...60 to Wojciech Sawicki, the Out-Going Long-Time PACE-SG, (an Experienced Polish diplomat, who was, Apparently, Not Expecting such an Exceptionaly Strong Push now)...

It's not yet clear what might have been the real cause of a so Big Change. Despina herself told Afterwards "Eurofora" that she had some "Indications" Before the Vote, But withOut going yet as far as to Foresee what exactly happened... At the Usual "Press Briefing" with Strasbourg's European Journalists, Before this Session, where "Eurofora" had been Invited and participated by Video-Conference (See, f.ex.  ), Sawicki had appeared a little-bit more Nervous than usual, with Less Staff around him, and this might, Perhaps, had been perceived by some External Observers as Controversial. But Nothing really Surfaced then.

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At any case, the 2 New CoE's Senior Officials are due to take over their Duties from March 2021, for the Next 5 Years, up to 2026.     

- The New CoE's Deputy Secretary General, Bjorn Berge, from Norway, is a Long-Time Diplomat, who has served also at the OSCE in Wien, and had Helped former Prime Minister Thornbjorn Jagland to be twice Elected as CoE's Chief (SG), before Serving himself as Director of his Private Office, as well as Head of CoE's Committee of Ministers' Secretariat.

He was a Graduate of "John Hopkins" University at Washington DC, Fulbright Scholar on International Relations, as well as of the Science and Technology University at SeChouan, (Mythic Location of Bertol Brecht's "the Good Sowl of Sechouan" Famous Novel on Intellectuals...), for Chinese Language and Culture, (China remaining the Only UN SC Permanent Member withOut Any Status at the CoE yet, since France, UK, and Rusia are Full Members, and USA Observer, as also Japan, etc, while President Xi has repeatedly Claimed to progressively Introduce various "Rule of Law"-like Mechanisms in China Nowadays, and French Gaullist former CoE Parliamentary Assembly's President, Jean-Claude Mignon, has Officialy proposed to give to Beijing a "Special Status" for Cooperation withIN Strasbourg's PanEuropean Organisation).

 - The New CoE Parliamentary Assembly's Secretary General, Despina Chatzivassiliou - Tsovilis, from Greece, Married, with 2 Kids, is a Graduate of "Scuola Italia", Major in promotion at the Faculty of Law in Athens, former Lawyer, Research Assistant at Florence University, a PhD. Holder in Law from there, and Writer of Articles on CoE's Enlargement to Central-Eastern European Countries and Russia, as well as on ECHR Judgements Efficacy, etc.

    Having started a Long Career at the CoE from the prestigious former European Commission on Human Rights, (precursor of the unique Court, established after 1998), she accumulated a rich Experience of work in Various Key Departments of CoE's Parliamentary Assembly, including, inter alia, f.ex., its "Monitoring" Committee on Member States' Commitments, and in its Political affairs and Democracy Committee, whose Secretariat she Headed until now. During that time, she undertook Various kinds of Collective Initiatives, including on ReOrganisation and International Relations, f.ex. with the OSCE and particularly the EU, etc.

But, a Different Fact, that Nobody noticed yet, is that Despina had also had an Experience of ...Music Professor of Classical Guitar at the "Apollonion" School, while even Bjorn Berger has a perfectly Homonymous Compatriot (and almost of a Similar Age), as a Famous Rock Guitar Singer from Norway, Popular even in France, etc., so that, Added to our New ECHR President, Robert Spano from Iceland, a Notorious ...award-winning Singer (sic !), taken All Together, (and, Perhaps, may be also with some Other Music-lovers inside the CoE : f.ex., its Austere Committee of Ministers used to have some Good Elements at its Secretariat, in the Past), they might, who knows, may be form a kind of "Trio" able to add some Extra Dimension to CoE's manifold Visibiity (Comp. Supra), and/or Popularity...

 

(../..)


("Draft-News")


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F.ex., -"Hush !" Song, by (the Other) "Bjorn Berge" : Enjoy !


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KlRL9uPQNUE

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        

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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.
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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...
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- "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.
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    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.

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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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