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Home arrow newsitems arrow CoE Top Spokesman Holtgen to Eurofora on Russia issue Solution effort: Don't lose Hope for June 2019

CoE Top Spokesman Holtgen to Eurofora on Russia issue Solution effort: Don't lose Hope for June 2019

Written by ACM
Monday, 29 April 2019

 holtgen_eurofora_400


*Strasbourg/Press Club/Angelo Marcopolo/- Questioned by "Eurofora" whether he Believed that a much needed Solution might be Found by the CoE, before an Important Time Deadline of June 2019 (See Infra), on the crucial Russia issue, (which notoriously risks to Divide Europe since the 2014 Ukranian Controversy, after CoE's Parliamentary Assembly [PACE] striped Russian MEPs of their Rights, followed by Moscow's Suspension of its Financial Contribution to the CoE), the PanEuropean Organisation's experienced Chief Spokesman, and Press/Communication Director, Daniel Holtgen, a Geo-Economics PhD holder from Cambridge, of German-British origin, after reflecting, Replied with a Crystal-clear : - "I don't want to lose Hope !"

He was speaking after a Lecture on main current European Issues, given at Strasbourg's "Press Club", earlier Today, following which, he also Replied to other relevant Questions by "Reuters", "Eurofora", German Web-Medias, and other participants.

The Point about the June 2019 Rendez-vous, is that a Timely Settlement would allow to the New CoE's Secretary General for the period of 2019-2024 to be Elected also with the Votes of Russian MEPs, as normally required, while also Moscow could Settle its Financial Obligations before eventual threats of Sanctions by CoE's Ministers (See Infra). And all this Could be realized during the forthcoming French Presidency of the CoE (May - November 2019), which is followed by the Rotating Chairmanship of Georgia (11/2019 - 5/2020) and Greece (5 - 11/2020), etc.

- Currently, "Finland's Presidency tries to Find a Consensus on a Draft Decision by CoE's Committee of Ministers, which would be Based on a (recent) PACE's Resolution, while adding also their contribution", at the forthcoming CoE Foreign Ministers' Summit at Helsinki, on May, Holtgen advanced.

He was referring to the Resolution on Challenges for PACE's Role and Mission, drafted by Experienced Dutch MEP Tiny Cox, President of the Euro-Left Group, which was Debated and Adopted Earlier this Month (on April 10), through an "Urgent" procedure, calling, inter alia, also to "Avoid creating new Dividing lines" among CoE's 47 Member States, but, on the Contrary, "Preserve the Pan-European mission of the CoE". While criticizing what it calls "illegal Annexation of Crimea" by Russia, (that Moscow views as a Popular Referendum for ReUnification, following an illegal violent "Putch" at Kiev), nevertheless, "asks to Avoid a situation in which the Biggest member State would be asked to, or chooses to, Leave the Organisation", provoking negative "Geopolitical implications" and "Consequences for Russian Citizens". Thus, the Resolution "calls" on Russia "to appoint a Delegation" to the PACE, "and to Resume" its Contribution to COE's Budget, in order to prevent an eventual demand by its Ministerial Committee to "Suspend" Moscow's overall participation, and "Welcomes the efforts made by the Finnish Presidency" to saveguard the "PanEuropean" role of the CoE (Comp. Supra).

- "The Big Question is whether that will be enough, also for the Russians : I think, Yes", he estimated. (In this regard, 2 or 3 recent Public Statements by Senior Russian Officials, also indicated that, contrary to the Past, Nowadays, a rather Positive and promissing process might have really Started, inside the CoE, added to the latest Political Developments in Ukraine too).

- But, "in which Time Deadline ?", Holtgen wondered.  

- Many point at "January 2020", he reminded.

- However, in that case, "Won't they be able to participate in the Election of CoE's New Secretary General (on June 2019) ?"

 - "This could be rather a Symbolic Question, since Both 2 finalist Candidates, are not particularly opposed to Russia, so that with, or without Russian MEPs, this wouldn't be a big Difference", while it's also "50% of EuroJudges who have been Elected withOut the Russians", since 2014, "the New CoE's Commmissioner for Human Rights, etc. So that, perhaps, it's not so much a Substantial Question".  

 - "But, it's necessary for their Financial Contribution to become anew possible, (normally also from June 2019).

 - At least, "they (Russian MEPs) should come back on January (2020). That should be Possible", he concluded.

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- At this pont, in a Question raised by "Eurofora", we observed that, according to Senior CoE Officials' analysis, including prominent PACE Top Officers (as, f.ex., the exerienced PACE Secretary General, Wojciech Sawicki's relevant Replies to "Eurofora"s earlier Questions : See: http://www.eurofora.net/newsflashes/news/coeandrussiain2019.html, etc),

it would be Technically and Legally Possible, to act even Earlier, (almost at any moment of the Year), if there is enough Political Will in the Committee of Ministers, and a Majority in PACE.

 

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- Indeed, "in order to accredit National Delegations (of MEPs) DURING the Year (and not only on January, i.e. at the Beginning), a Change of Rules is Necessary, and, for this Change (to be done smoothly) a 2/3 Majority must exist in the Committee of Ministers, as well as a Positive Decision of the PACE too", Holtgen agreed in reply.  

+ "This practically means an Additional (PACE) Meeting, between May 17 (Ministerial Summit in Finland : Comp. Supra), and June 24" (i.e. PACE's Plenary Session for the Summer 2019, due to Elect also CoE's New Secretary General, etc), he pointed out, with accurate precision.

 

By the way, PACE's powerful "Standing Committee" (almost equivalent to a Plenary session) and other Important CoE's Meetings, are currently Scheduled for the End of May/Beginning of June, in Paris.

 

- It would be "Good also from the point of view of Financial Regularity", (i.e. the settlement of Russia's Annual Financial Contribution to the CoE : Otherwise, CoE's Ministers might Suspend all Russia's participation, after June 2019, until Payement : Comp. Supra).

-  "But it's not obvious whether all involved might be ready to move fast enough", he added as a Cautious reserve.                                                                                       

On the Contrary, Holtgen did not find absolutely necessary, at this juncture, that PACE also Changes its Rules of Procedure, as far as some Controversial "Sanctions" are concerned, (including, f.ex., MEPs' Right to Vote, Participation, etc), as a Collegue Journalist suggested at this point  :

- "I don't think that there might be a problem there for now,  since PACE has Recently Adopted the above mentioned, relevant New Resolution (Comp. Supra), CoE's Spokesman reminded, and, moreover, the Russian MEPs would rather prefer to Debate and Vote that (subsequent) Change of PACE's Rules just after they would have already returned inside the Assembly, in order to avoid, f.ex., that what they call as "Russophobe forces", might, eventually, hijack this move, he guessed.

+ Nevertheless, independently of that, there is also the fact that any CoE's Member States should, in principle, be Careful about issues concerning their Annual Financial Contribution, since, among others, f.ex., at least in certain CoE's Partial Agreements, as that of "GRECO" (against Corruption), there are some Rules which imply that if a Member does Not Pay its Contribution, then, it's quasi-automatically Out, he Warned, (given, in addition, that June is, normally, a Crucial Time Deadline for Regular Financial Settlements inside the CoE).

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Almost at the same time, However, CoE's chief Spokesman, observed, in his speech, that while Russia has been considerably Changed by several CoE's Activities for Human Rights, Rule of Law and Democracy, on the Contrary, developments in Turkey have Deceived me, criticized the experienced Top Officer, who has worked also Together with the former EU Commission's vice-President, Gunter Verheugen, initially in charge of EU Enlargement, when he too used to support Turkey's controversial and unopular EU bid in the Past. (I.e. Before even the former EU Parliament's President and German Socialist Party's Candidate for Chancellor, Martin Schultz, more recently, notoriously Changed his stance on 2017, declaring his Opposition to Turkey's EU entry claims).


But, at another topical point, Holtgen (who spoke Both of CoE and the EU) regretted also those Eras of the Past, during which European Debates used to Focus on Big "Projects", such as the creation of the Common Market, Shengen area, Trans-Border High-Speed Train Networks, etc.

Something similar still lacks Today, at least for the moment, he rightfully criticized, shortly after showing Recent Polls where all European People's number 1 Concern currently is Security and Terrorism, followed by Natural Environment and Climate for South-Western Countries, or Mass Irregular Migration, for former Central-Eastern Countries, as Number 2 Concerns Nowadays...

 

 

(../..)

 

 

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(NDLR : "DraftNews", as already send to "Eurofora"s Donors/Subscribers, earlier. +Fast Translation from the Original in French. A more accurate, full Final Version, might be published asap)

 

 

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Sarkozy and Merkel want deals with Obama on European Security at Strasbourg's NATO 2009 Summit

oscenato
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In parallel but concording moves, EU Chair, French President Nicolas Sarkozy and German Chancellor Angie Merkel both invited this week US-President elect, Barack Obama, to discuss important deals breaking new ground on European Security during the NATO's 60 Years Anniversary Summit of Heads of State in Strasbourg, where Obama is expected to make his 1st visit to Europe as a President on April 2009.

Merkel focused mainly on smoother NATO - EU Defence and Security policy cooperation, while Sarkozy spoke about PanEuropean Security, associating both Russia and the USA, proposing to freeze missile and shields' deployement until an agreement is reached.

But both tackled some hard nuts to crack : Turkey's VETO against the participation of EU Member Cyprus to EU-NATO cooperation, and Russia's anouncement on deployment of missiles up to Kaliningrad, at EU's belly, in reply to USA's wish to set up missile shields in EU States such as Poland or Czech Republic, etc.


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- "Certainly...one of the points that we'll dicuss with the New US President", Barak OBAMA, "who will come f'or the 1st time in Europe as president, at the NATO Summit", co-hosted by France and Germany in Strasbourg, ""concerns, above all, the European Security and Defence Policy" (ESDP), and "the relations between NATO and its partners", with whom it should "work together", anounced earlier this week Merkel.

We must find "a reasonable and adequate concept to articulate NATO and European Security and Defense policy", because of a "series of practical issues, sometimes difficult to understand", but that "we must discuss".

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- "An example" of that is "the issue of Cyprus and Turkey", said Merkel, where Ankara raises problems "from Kosovo up to Afghanistan", as also CoE's chair, Swedish Foreign Minister Carl Bildt recently observed in Strasbourg replying to EuroFora's questions.

- "We must do something to smoothen this problem for good, and not only on a case-by-case basis, laboriously negotiated each time". Here, we must find "a reasonable and adequate concept to articulate NATO and European Security and Defense policy", Merkel stressed.

- "With good will from all sides, it could and should be posible. Germany wants also to help on that". Otherwise, "the coming generations will not understand why it took Decades to do so". But, if we "don't even achieve that for Decades, this would be an Historic Failure !", the German Chancellor warned

- "I think that our American partners are increasingly realizing that", Merkel said, pleading for "a stronger European Security and Defence policy, with which, I believe, the Atlantic Security Partnership can also strengthen and solidify".

Meanwhile, USA is also due to take in 2009 a special status inside EU-led EUROCORPS, the European Army HeadQuarters, based in Strasbourg.

Merkel said that after meeting in Berlin with NATO's Secretary General, Jaap de Hoop Scheffer, earlier this week, precisely in order to "prepare NATO's Summit", scheduled for the beginning of April 2009 in Strasbourg.

Scheffe, knows well Strasbourg, since he chaired the CoE, as Holland's Foreign Minister, when he brokered a controversial deal precisely on Turkey and Cyprus about the implementation of ECHR judgements on Greek Cypriot displaced persons' houses and properties in 2003. He returned later at least once, for a WEO meeting at the CoE, where he precisely had highlighted such EU - NATO issues.

EU Commission's 2008 Report on Turkey has just observed that, on European Defense - Security policy, "Turkey continues to object to EU-NATO Cooperation which would involve all EU Member States". "This created Problems for EU-NATO co-operation in the context of Civilian ESDP missions, in particular in Kosovo and Afghanistan".
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 French EU Chair, President Sarkozy and Merkel are visiting Washington on Friday and Saturday for a Global G-20 Summit with current US President George Bush, on the sidelines of which are expected preparatory contacts with US President-elect Obama's entourage, even if himself might stay in Chicago until he takes over on January 21.

Before going to Washington, Sarkozy concluded today an UE - Russia Summit with Dmitry Medvedev, where they "spoke in length on PanEuropean Security" :

- As EU President, I proposed that we meet on mid-2009 in a framework such as OSCE's in order to set the foundations of a Future Pan-European Security, which would associate Russia and USA, and that, meanwhile, nobody speaks about deploying missiles or shields, which complicate the situation".

- NATO's Summit in Strasbourg-Kehl, on April 2009 is a perfect occasion to discuss with our American friends and to prepare a possible OSCE Summit for these issues f.ex. for June or July", Sarkozy concluded.

- We must all abstain from Unilateral measures" dangerous for Europe's security. "Russia only reacted to decisions taken by some other countries. But if they are ready to cooperate, we are ready to discuss. EU could be an intermediary", added Russian President Dmitry Medvedev, before going himself too at the Washington G-20 Economic Summit.

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