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Haupt arrow newsitems arrow CoE Assembly Secretary General Sawicki to EF: Rules UpDate may Facilitate Decisions on Russian MEPs+

CoE Assembly Secretary General Sawicki to EF: Rules UpDate may Facilitate Decisions on Russian MEPs+

Geschrieben von ACM
Friday, 19 January 2018
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*Strasbourg/CoE/Angelo Marcopolo/- Even a simple Change (or, rather, UpDate) of CoE's purely Procedural Rules may Facilitate a much-needed Agreement for a Compromise on Russian MEPs' participation to the PanEuropean Organisation's Parliamentary Assembly (PACE), as it results from the Reply given to an "Eurofora" Question by the Experienced PACE's Secretary General, Wojciech Sawicki.


Since the 2014 Ukraine Conflict, which risked to Divide Europe, a Controversial Vote in PACE, Rejecting a Compromise, striped Russian MEPs from so Many Rights, that they were pushed to Quit CoE's Assembly, until the Participation Rights of All PACE's MEPs might be equally Safeguarded in Future, (i.e. for 3 Years now: See: http://www.eurofora.net/newsflashes/news/coeminorityamendmentpushesrussianmepsout.html+http://www.eurofora.net/newsflashes/news/pacerussiasanctionscutcoeoffukrainepeaceprocess.html
), after what, Russia Recently Suspended its Annual Financial Contribution to the CoE, (while Turkey also Reduced its own, shortly afterwards), resulting in an UnPrecedented Crisis, that CoE's Governments, together with PACE's Majority, would like to Solve asap, and, at any case, Before a forthcoming New Summit of CoE's 47 Heads of State/Government, expected on 2019, (Comp., f.ex.: http://www.eurofora.net/newsflashes/news/newpacepresidentandrussiadebates.html).


Significantly, Today's move was made during the Press Briefing of  European Correspondents on a Crucial forthcoming PACE Plenary Session for the "Winter 2018", Next Week in Strasbourg, which is due, not only to Elect the body's New President, (normally for the next 2 Years : 2018-2019, during which a New CoE Summit is due), as well as CoE's New PanEuropean Commissioner on Human Rights for the Next 5 Years (4/2018 - 2023), but also to Host, for the 1st Time, a brand new body, including Both Governments' and Parliamentarians' Top representatives from COE's Ministerial Committee and its Parliamentary Assembly, Together with Russia's Duma and Federal Council's representatives, (according to a Deal brokered on Top Political Level last December 2017).


In Parallel, Heads of State from Countries which Traditionally play a particular Role also on EU - Russia relations, such as Austria and Armenia, as well as Denmark (including its Prime Minister), that is currentlly Chairing the CoE (for the period of 11/2017-5/2018 : See, f.ex. ...), will all Address this same PACE's Plenary.


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 - In "Eurofora"s Question to PACE's SG Sawicki, we Observed the Fact that CoE's Assembly, as things stand until now, is, curiously, Deprived of the Possibility to Decide on the Credentials of National Delegations send by CoE's Member States to Strasbourg, during any of its 4 Plenary Sessions traditionaly organized each Year, (on Winter, Spring, Summer and Autumn) : On the Contrary PACE is Hindered to take such a Decision at any Other Moment, except from Only Once per Year : Solely on January, (i.e. at the Beginning of its Winter Session), with Consequences durating for ...12 Months-Long, withOut Any Possibility to Decide Otherwise, f.ex., at its Spring, Summer or Autumn Sessions, Neither Between them. So that CoE's Leadership is, in fact, Deprived of a Necessary Freedom to Move Fast and whenever there is a Political Will, being Obliged, by too Old Rules of Procedure, to Limit its own Decision-making in Only 1 Occasion during a Whole Year : I.e., an obviously Too Long period of Time...


=> Therefore, "Eurofora" Asked Sawicki whether he found Better and Possible to Ensure, for CoE's Leadership, a Freedom to Decide, on PACE MEPs' National Delegations' Credentials, if necessary, during Each of its 4 Sessions of the Year, (WInter, Spring, Summer or Autumn), and/or at any Other Time, between them, (f.ex., perhaps during an "Exceptional Session", and/or a "Standing Committee", etc), if and when the PanEuropean Organisation's Leaders might feel a serious need to do so, for CoE's General Interest. I.e., in Practice, CoE could, thus, have, at least, 4 Chances per Year to Seek and Find a Solution on Problems as that of the Russian Delegation to the PACE, instead of Only 1... Wouldn't that be much More Efficient, from all points of view, for any such serious Political and Diplomatic Negotiations, (including, if necessary, reciprocal Pressure at/from all sides, but also Meaningful Dialogue, for Adequate Compromises), and Timely Action ?


+ Meanwhile, "Eurofora" had already Spoken, about such an Idea, with Various Other experienced Top CoE's Officials, who had mostly said that they Found that Interesting, and had Encouraged us to Raise that Topical now Question to the Right Person : i.e. to PACE's Secretary General.


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

 - Sawicki, in his Reply to the above-mentioned "Eurofora"s Question, started by basically Agreeing on the Fact that, indeed, the Current System, of Only 1 Decision possible for the PACE on such Key Issues, during all the 12 Months of each Year, was "Too Long" and "Not Flexible" enough.

 - However, the Experienced PACE's Secretary General, went on to clearly add that, "If there is a Political Will", a Solution to that Problem was "Possible" !

=> For that purpose, "it's enough to make a Change (or, rather, UpDate : See Infra) inside iCoE's Statute", he told us, pointing at an Old, (and obviously Out-Dated), Article No 32, which still Says that CoE's Parliamentary "Assembly shall Meet in Ordinary Session Once a Year" only !


The Problem is that this is Combined with Article 25, alinea (b), which says that "The term of office of Representatives ... will Date from the opening of the Ordinary Session following their appointment", until that of "the Next ...or ... a Later Ordinary Session", (i.e., practically, until ... Next Year, the soonest)...


- Sawicki explained, in this rrgard, that the 4 Current PACE's Sessions (of Winter, Spring, Summer and Autumn), are considered, for such Technical Reasons, to be "Part-Sessions".


- Therefore, as long as COE's Statute remains unchanged, it's Only in case of New Elections, Death or Resignation, that MEPs' Credentials could be presented Also at  Any among those 4 "Part-Sessions" during the Year. On the Contrary, National Delegations' credentials, should, as he stressed, be presented Only at the Beginning of an "Ordinary Session", (i.e. Only on January, each Year : Comp. Supra).


- Nevertheless, even if somewhat "Not Easy", it is certainly "Possible" to Change that, by Modifying adequately those CoE Statute's Articles, mentioned above, (so that CoE would have 4 Occasions per Year to Decide on such matters, Instead of Only 1), PACE's Secretary General underlined in Conclusion.


>>> And, in Fact, such a Move could be quite "Simple", since, "if CoE's Committee of Ministers and its Parliamentary Assembly Agree, then, for this kind of Issues, there is No Need for (National) Ratifications !", Sawicki observed Positively, while Concluding his Reply to "Eurofora"s Question.


Already, CoE's Statute, which had been Initially adopted as Early as since 1949 (!), i.e. a very Long Time Ago, has been Amended (on specific points) Many Times, until Recently :


=> -, Indeed, at Least ... Thirty Three (33) Amendments have been already made to CoE's Statute, Between 1951 - 2015, as "Eurofora" found at the Official CoE's Texts !


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+ Meanwhile, Between October and December 2017, (under PACE's interim President Stella Kyriakides from Cyprus, a Center-Right EPP MEP. Comp. various Kyriakides' statements to "Eurofora", as f.ex.: http://www.eurofora.net/newsflashes/news/newpacepresidentkyriakidestoeurofora.html, etc), CoE's Committee of Ministers and its Parliamentary Assembly's Leaders have Already Started to Work Together, in even Closer Cooperation than before, precisely about Issues as that of Russian MEPs' participation and Vote Rights, as well as the Subsequent Financial Problems later provoked by that (Comp. Supra).


>>> An Important and Topical point, in this regard, is a main Conclusion of the Recent Report drafted by Italian MEP Michele Nicoletti (Chairman of the Socialist Group, and probable New PACE President for the 2 Next Years 2018-2019 : Comp. f.ex., some of Nicoletti's Statements to "Eurofora", at: http://www.eurofora.net/newsflashes/news/pacepresidentrow.html , etc) and adopted by PACE on October 2017, about a New CoE's Heads of State/Governments Summit, for the Unity of Europe and its Democratic Security (probably on 2019), which Calls for a Coordinated Approach between Governments and MEPs, particularly on delicate Issues which Affect the "Unity" of the PanEuropean Organisation, as also that of the Fate of Russian MEPs.


So that an Eventual Change (or UpDate) of the above-mentioned Points in CoE's Statute (Comp. Supra) with a possible Agreement between CoE's Committee of Ministers and PACE's MEPs, i.e. withOut Need for National Ratifications, could, normally, be Feasible and rather Simple, (particularly, given the Urgency of the matter, in practical terms, considering f.ex., its Budget, the preparation of the Summit, the quality of its PanEuropean Debates on "Hot" Political Issues concerning all its 47 Member States, etc).

 

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+ On the Substance of the Issue, it's well known that Russia has clearly Asked for All PACE's MEPs' Rights, as Parlementarians, to be Safeguarded, in the Future, in unequivocal terms, which would Not allow any Other eventual Repetition of So Harsh Sanctions, Depriving them for Too Many Rights of Participation/Vote, as in that Exceptional, Controversial Case which Provoked the Departure of Russian MEPs (Comp. Supra). 


Therefore, Moscow, notoriously finds Necessary also a Reform of PACE's "Rules of Procedure", in order for All MEPs' elementary Rights to be clearly Safeguarded in the Future. As long as this is not done, the Russian Delegation of MEPs does Not Accept to Return Back inside the PACE, in a Precarious Condition, and, after Years of provoked Absence, it has decided to Suspend all its Annual Financial Contribution to the COE, (effective from February 2018, i.e. in 2 Months Time, as another Experienced CoE's Official told us).


>>> In order to Facilitate the obviously Necessary "Dialogue" between Russia and PACE for a Solution on this thorny Issue, but also in the Wider, Topical Context of the Preparation of CoE's Summit, all being linked with a Debate on COE's Future Role at the PanEuropean area, (Comp. Supra), PACE's President Stella Kyriakides proposed, and PACE's Bureau Collectively Accepted, on December 2017, after a 1st Meeting with 5 Russian Parliamentary Leaders, (including Mrs Matvienko and Mr. Borodin, Presidents of the Federal Council and of Duma, respectively), to set up a New, "Ad Hoc" Committee, Strongly Built, with the Participation of All Heads of National Delegations, the Presidents of Political Groups, and the Chairs of PACE's Committees, as well as its Rapporteurs on PACE's Role and Procedures, explicitly charged to Focus on CoE Assembly's "Mission".


=> This, important New PACE's High-level "Ad Hoc" Committee on COE' Assembly's "Role and Mission", was Officially convoked by President Kyriakides (whose Mandate concludes on the 21st of January 2018) and the Bureau, to Meet in Strasbourg, on Next Tuesday, with the Participation of at least 2 Russian Top MEPs, (Konstantin Kosachev, Long-Time President of Senate's Foreign affairs Committee, and Pyotr Tolstoy, Duma's vice-President), as Sawicki confirmed.


 - "This is a Creaton of PACE's Bureau, and, therefore, If and when it might, eventually, Propose any Amendments to PACE's Rules of Procedure, then, normally, this should be Debated and Voted by the competent PACE Committee on Rules of Procedure, before a Final and Decisive, Public Debate and Vote at a Plenary Session, Sawicki concluded on this point.


I.e, something which, theoretically, could be done during a Week, i.e. in one Plenary Session, But, in Fact, might require a, more or less, Longer Time, ...thereby showing, in fact, again the Practical Interest for "Eurofora"s above-mentioned Suggestion to Simplify and Accelerate PACE's work, on this and other such cases, that its Secretary General appeared to find Practically Useful and Feasible, (Comp. concrete Detals Supra)...

 

(../..)

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  Ten Years of ECHR : 1998 - 2008 show need of Revival in 2009-2010 coinciding with 2009 EU Election
   

A threefold, coordinated move by new Top French Political actors in the 2009 EU Parliament Elections, expressed in Strasbourg a will to boost Europe's Political dimension close to Citizens' concerns, going from protection of Economy to defence of Human Rights.    

The move met an exceptional ECHR's call for a "revival" of Human Rights' protection mechanism', in a Mega-Conference, early 2010.   

Obviously focusing on June 2009 Elections to EU Parliament, it involved from the outset the recently nominated "dual" Head of French Governing Party (UMP)  Michel BARNIER and Rachida DATI :

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     - "As President Sarkozy has clearly said, we (France) are in favor of a Strong, Sovereign and Independent, Political Europe, which protects its Citizens, and not for a large Super-Market, nor for a Europe under influence",

    "This goes for everything, including Energy", added to "EuroFora" the experienced former EU Commissioner, Minister of Foreign affairs, currently of Agriculture and Sarkozy's new pick as Leader of the Governing party UMP to EU 2009 Election, Michel BARNIER                                              .                             

  - Human Rights are important because they are at the Heart of the Political Europe that we aspire for : I.e. a Europe able to act and protect its Citizens, stressed also the New French Minister for European affairs, Bruno LE MAIRE, while meeting Strasbourg's Journalists at his first visit to the CoE.   

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This is one of the main interests for CoE, which is also a natural place for cooperation between EU countries and Russia or Turkey, which was recently helpful at the Middle East crisis, he added.

The move gained momentum with French Minister of Justice, Rachida Dati's main observations at ECHR's 5Oth Anniversary :   

- "While we are seeking Europe's Borders and Identity, you (ECHR) remind us also of its Values", Human Rights, Dati noted.   

Citizens seek more and more often ECHR's help, and the tempo accelerates, Europa awaits a symbol, while national legal orders are not freezed   

And she expressed "support" to ECHR President Jean-Paul Costa's call to satisfy the vital need to revigorate the PanEuropean Court by deciding big changes at a High-Level Conference open to a large audience, a kind of "Etats Generaux" of Human Rights, at the beginning of 2010.       

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It's not so much the recently growing number of applications for Russia or Ukraine etc, which seems to be Costa's main concern : In fact, the cases declared "admissible" are much fewer...    

But rather the persistent violations of Human Rights, sometimes very grave (ie. murders, torture, abritrary deprivation of liberty, oppression of freedom of speech, destructions of homes/properties, etc), despite numerous, repeated condemnations by ECHR. So that CoE's Ministers, due to "supervise execution" of ECHR's judgements, are overloaded.   

F.ex. most Media noted that Turkey still remains, even in 2008, the 1st among 47 CoE member States in the number of condemnations by ECHR :  257, compared to 233 for Russia, with a population more than the double..    

The problem is that it's not the 1st time at all : During all the last Decade 1998-2008, Turkey was condemned by ECHR much more than any other State, and for particularly grave violations :   

- 1.652 condemnations, compared to 605 for Russia, 548 for Poland, 494 for France, 476 for Ukraine, etc.   

Italy's second place with 1.394 condemnations is a misleading false appearance : In fact, most of them (999) concern mere "procedural delays" in national courts. Same for France.   

On the contrary, Turkey was condemned 180 times for Killings, 192 times for Torture or Inhuman/Degrading treatments, 340 times for arbitrary deprivation of Liberty, 528 times for "Unfair trial", and 169 times for oppression of Freedom of speech, (etc). And the latest, 2008 numbers, indicate no change in this trend, (See supra).   

The current Spanish CoE Presidency (November 2008 - May 2009) has made of the implementation of ECHR's judgements its 1st Priority.   

ECHR's President, Jean-Paul Costa, stressed in its 2009 Annual Press Conference, CoE Member States' obligation to implement the judgements, according to Article 46 of the European Convention on Human Rights.   

Moreover, if CoE's Committee of Ministers delays to ensure implementation, then, the repetition of violations in similar cases provokes a multiplication of complaints tabled to the Court, which overload the mecanism for the protection of Human Rights, denounced Costa.          

A series of Debates on "the situation of Human Rights in Europe", focusing on the "need to fight against Impunity" of perpetrators of grave crimes, is  currently prepared by CoE's Parliamentary Assembly for the session of June 2009.  

The final Timing comes shortly AFTER the EU Elections, but the main Reports should have been adopted before.

Meanwhile, French President Sarkozy and German Chancelor Merkel's recent call "for a Political Europe" in 2009 EU Elections (See earlier "correspondence from Paris, Elysee Palace), seems more and more endorsed also by other EU Countries' Top MEPs :

Thus, f.ex., EU Parliament's 1st vice-President, Greek MEP Mrs Rodi KRATSA, speaking to "EuroFora", agreed that 2009 EU Election would be a "naturally good" opportunity to debate what really interests EU Citizens : "The Future of a Political Europe, able to face the Economic Crisis, with a Culture and identity which attracts the People"

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(Photo taken earlier during Sarkozy's 1st visit at EU Parliament, in 2007 : Sarkozy and Merkel's Ideas for a Political Europe inspire also other EU politicians accross the continent)..
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