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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 !


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    The incoming Swedish EU Presidency (July-December 2009) may still remain in favour of Turkey's controversial EU bid, despite June 2009 EU Elections' results, but it has "very strong demands on Turkey"'s obligation to respect EU Rules, said the Head of Swedish Foreign Ministry's Press Service, Cecilia Julin, to "EuroFora", reacting to critical Press reports.

    - "I know (that) the link is often made also to Sweden's position on Turkey"'s controversial EU bid. Indeed, "we (Swedish EU Presidency) are very much engaged in the future membership of Turkey, but not without fullfiling all the Criteria".

    - "It's very clear that we (Swedish EU Presidecny) have very Strong Demands on Turkey, in a sort of concept for Future membership of the Union, ...which will be a Long Process...", she stressed.

    This means, in particular, "the Copenhagen Criteria (on Human Rights, Democracy and Rule of Law), and also the adaptation to the Acquis of the European Union".

     - "If you listen to what Mr. Bildt (the Swedish Foreign Minister) says on Turkey at different occasions, it's very clear : We want Turkey to become part of the Union, in the Future. But we want it to fullfil all the Criteria : The Acquis of the European Union. That's very clear", she concluded.

    The Senior Official of the Swedish Foreign Ministry was reacting to critical Press Reports, from Brussels' Journalists invited by EU Commission's secretariat to Stockholm, who claimed that Bildt was abusing of a ..."Whip" (sic !) against Cyprus, by "threatening" the presence of UNO's Peace-keeping force at the "Green line" which separates the island's Government-controlled areas from the territories occupied by Ankara's army, if Nicosia didn't accept any political solution, regardless of Turkey's demands, before the end of 2009.

        Governing AKEL Party's new Secretary General, Andros Kyprianou, reacted by declaring that no-one can threat the People of Cyprus : -"We shall decide for our Future, and nobody else",  he reportedly said, asking to "keep calm". "In order to find a Solution soon, certain basic Principles must be respected", he stressed, calling those who feel an urgency to use their influence on Turkey. Other Political Parties were more critical.

    This was a reference to recently reported statements by Turkish Minister Bagis, Prime Minister Tayip Erdogan and Turkey's National Security Council (a Military-Political body), accused to push towards a partitionist "2 States" solution, contrary to UNO SC Resolutions for Cyprus' reunification.

    December 2009 is a crucial moment for EU's appraisal of Turkey's controversial EU bid, because EU Council has decided to review then Ankara's compliance with the European position on the recognition of Cyprus' Government, which was clearly set out by an EU reply of 21 September 2005 to Turkish Prime Minister Tayip Erdogan's claims, refusing to recognize even the existence of EU Member Cyprus, in controversial statements he made to London (former EU chair) on July 29, 2005.

    EU Parliament's latest Resolution on Turkey, adopted on March 2009 in Strasbourg, warned Ankara that "the non-fulfillment of Turkey's commitments... by December 2009, may further seriously affect the process of Negotiations" with the EU.

    In practice, the issue boils down to Ankara's "embargo" against Ships and Airplanes using Cyprus' seaports or airports at the strategic EU island, which traditionaly hosts one of the World's biggest Shipping flags. EU has already "freezed" 6 relevant Chapters in EU - Turkey Negotiations since December 2006, after Ankara refused to fullfil a commitment it had undertaken when EU had decided to open controversial "accession" negotiations with Turkey, back on December 2005.

    - "As far as EU - Turkey relations are concerned, it's clear that Turkey needs to fullfil its obligation of full, non-discriminatory implementation of the additional Protocol (to "EC-Turkey Association Agreement"),  This is an important issue....and should be addresseed as soon as possible as it clearly affects the pace of the accession negotiations.Issues covered by the Declaration of September 2005 will continue to be followed up, and progress is urgently awaited", warned earlier in Strasbourg the out-going Czech EU Presidency (former vice-Prime Minister Alexander Vodra).

    But the Head of the Swedish Foreign Ministry's Press Service, Cecilia Julin, dismissed "interpretations" by "some" that Foreign Minister Carl Bildt was reportedly "threatening" Cyprus with consequences on the UNFICYP, if it doesn't accept any solution until December 2009, while Turkey is reportedly delaying in an attempt to impose a partitionist "2 States" solution.

    On the contrary, Julin, stressed that "Sweden has strong demands on Turkey'"s respect of "Copenhagen Criteria and EU Acquis".

    Meanwhile, Sweden  is "concerned" about the risk of "Stalemate" in Cyprus' Talks, but is well aware that "the main responsibilities lie with the two leaders and the UNO", Europe playing only a role of "facilitator".

    After carefully verifying, the Head of Swedish Foreign Ministry's Press Service, stressed to "EuroFora" that Bildt's reference to UNFICYP "was not linked to a Threat", and dismissed those who "interpreted" it so.

    On the contrary, the Swedish EU Presidency acknowledged the fact that Peace Talks are mainly for the UN and the leaders of the Cypriot communities, EU's role being limited into that of a "facilitator".

    As for Turkey's reported attempts to impose a "2 States' solution", the Head of the Swedish Foreign Ministry's Press Service sharply replied by stressing that Turkey must respect the "EU Acquis" rules.

    In particular :

    - "Basically he (Bildt) underlined that it's the leaders of the two communities in Cyprus and the UN that have the main responsibilities for solving the problem", started to say the Swedish Senior Official to "EuroFora", referring to the above-mentioned "briefing".

    - "But the EU had a role in sort of pointing out the benefits and facilitating a little bit the outcome for the settlement of the whole Cyprus' issue", she added.

    - "And he did state the Fact, that the rest of the World (i.e. USA, etc) will, of course, look at the differend issues which are at the table, and the future of the UN Peace keeping force is part of what is at the table", she admitted.

    - "I understand that some have interpreted that as a Threat, by the Swedish Minister" "But", in reality, "it's a statement of a Fact, that, when we'll look at the differend issues, one of the issues on which we shall have to take a stand on, is the future of the UN Peace keeping force in Cyprus".

    Indeed, one of the questions usually raised for a Solution of Cyprus' issue is what International and/or European or other Guarantees, by a Peace-keeping force, might be needed afterwards, eventually for a transitory period.

    Questioned anew by "EuroFora" whether (according to critical Press Reports) this could be taken as a veiled warning that, if Cyprus didn't accept any Turkish demand for any solution whatever, it might be left alone to face Ankara's Military Invasion/Occupation, she denied :

    - "He (Bildt) didn't say it in that way"... "It was not linked to a threat, or anything like that", the Head of the Swedish Foreign Ministry's Press Service stressed.

    On the contrary, "he (Bildt) underlined that the main responsibility lies with the parties concerned on the island". "The EU can try to facilitate and show the benefits of reaching a settlement. But also, when the EU and the rest of the World (i.e. USA) will have to look at it, they will look at all the Facts on the table, and the presence of the UN Peace-keeping force is one".

    And "he (Bildt) didn't speak about that at all", she replied to "EuroFora" question on Turkey's reported attemps to impose, in one way of another, a partitionist "2 States solution".

    Asked whether Bildt's aim was to incite both parties to move forward efficiently, she agreed :

    - In fact, "the EU is really very concerned with the Stalemate in the situation. Yes !", the Head of Sweden's Foreign Ministry's Press Service anounced. That's why Bildt "was hoping for the two parties (i.e. for Turkey's also) to engage and break, a little-bit, the present stalemate, come to a solution of the issue" of Cyprus.

    But, replying  to a "EuroFora"s question on the risk, denounced by several politicians in case of strict Time Deadlines, for Turkey to provoke a stalemate and wait for the time to come to impose a partitionist "2 States' solution", she reacted by pointing at Turkey's obligation to respect "EU Acquis" :

    - "Turkey must fullfil the EU Acquis : That's clear !", the Swedish Senior Official stressed.

    More details are expected when Swedish Prime Minister Reinfeldt will debate his Programme with new MEPs at EU Parliament's plenary mid-July in Strasbourg, that he has visited already in 2008.

    Foreign Minister Carl Bildt became familiar with Strasbourg's CoE last year, when Sweden chaired the PanEuropean organization of Human Rights. As EU chairman-in-office, he will also chair the 27-member States strong EU Group inside the 47-member States strong CoE.

    Minister for EU affairs, Cecilia Malmstrom is well known at EU Parliament, where she has been an active MEP of the Liberal Group for many years, following also Press Freedom issues.

    Both have already made various statements at "EuroFora", on differend topical matters.

    ***

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