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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.

 

holtgen_reply_to_aggs_quest_s_eurofora_400

- 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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Speaking exclusively to "EuroFora", the New EU Parliament's President, former Polish Prime Minister, ChristianDemocrat/EPP MEP Jerzy Busek, welcomed proposals by EuroFora about innovative ways for EU Citizens to attend EU debates before important final decisions which affect people's lives.

- "We (EU Parliament) must be transparent", Buzek stressed from the outset.  "We must have clear answers also for delicate questions. If we don't touch a problem, you must know why, and when shall we decide in the nearest future".. "Because "we (EU) must think about Europeans, first of all : They don't understand well what is going on in the EU. So, it's our duty to inform them, to make discussions here more interesting".

"EuroFora" congratulated President Buzek for the anouncement he made, from the 1st day of his election in Strasbourg (on Tuesday, 14 July 2009), on his intention to make  transparent debates, exchanges of views, etc. before the final adoption of decisions in EU Parliament's Plenary, when issues are evolving inside Committees, (See earlier publication).

And we reminded, in this regard, that "EuroFora" has been advocating a project for EU Citizens' active involvement in pluralist EU debates before important EU decisions, since more than a Decade : 1997-2007+

- "Thank you. We (EU Parliament), indeed, have exciting debates", Buzek replied. But, in practice, "without a possibility for our Citizens to see them, not even by the Press, the Radio or TV, etc., because it is in Committees", he regreted.

- "But, they (i.e. Media, Citizens, etc) might interact with you, with MEPs, etc, May be we can imagine something", "EuroFora" proposed.

- "Yes, (but) it needs, a quite new idea", Buzed observed.

- "Why not through some innovations ?", "EuroFora" suggested.

- "Innovation ? That's it. Fantastic  New Information Technologies !", Buzek realized.

- "Precisely, "EuroFora" has such a project, since more than a Decade (1997-2009), to use new technologies for public debates before major EU decisions are taken", we reminded.

- "If you have such proposals, please come to us, come to us. We must" do something, agreed the new EU Parliamen's President.

buzek_chairing_400 

    This fits with Buzek's main stance, expressed at EU Parliament's plenary earlier this week in Strasbourg, that the European Union must succeed to overcome a "Crisis of Trust" vis a vis EU Citizens. (See previous EuroFora publication).

    For that purpose, obviously information and debates are valuable, but purely instrumental, procedural means which can help focus on, and highlight a substantial content, attractive to EU Citizens, which needs to be determined by other, political, and not mediatic factors.  

    Buzek spoke about the urgent need to overcome the Global Economic Crisis,  the struggle for Human and Civic Rights, Democracy, etc., the Eastern Partnership, links with Russia, strategic partnership with USA and emerging countries, etc.

    But he also used (while speaking both to "EuroFora" and other Media) the expression : "The Europeans", for EU Citizens. This points right towards what several important EU leaders (including French President Sarkozy, German Chancellor Merkel, etc) have started to highlight particularly during the recent years : That there is a vital need, and an historic opportunity, for the development of a European Conscience, to stimulate e renaissance of a European Identity able to attract Popular support, for the EU to become a strong player in a Multopolar World : In other words, the revitalisation of a project for a "Political Europe".

    By a coincidence, this was indirectly but surely reminded, earlier in Strasbourg, by another ... Busek (this time with a "s") : 

busekcoe_400

    Speaking to more than 650 participants from CoE's member countries, at the conclusion of the 2009 Summer University of its Political Schools, Erhard Busek, (with an "s"), former vice-Chancellor of Austria and EU Coordinator for South-Eastern Europe, pointed at the current need to revitalize Europe's "Identity", forged by Greek philosophy and Roman Law, Christian values and Enlightment's ideas, etc. through the ages.     

- "We have almost the same name with Jerzy Buzek (EU Parliament's new President, who is a former Polish Prime Minister), because both our Families come ...from  the same village, located at the Heart of Europe, which was often shared between Poland, Germany and the Czech Republic. But my family emmigrated a long time ago to Austria, while Jerzy Buzek's family remained in Poland", explained f. vice-Chancellor Erhard Busek to "EuroFora".   

 An astonishingly concrete and simple example of European Integration from the grassroots : Starting by EU Citizens, i.e. those "Europeans", that EU Parliament's new President, Jerzy Buzek (this time with a "z"), wants to bring alongside MEP's decision-making proces, (according to "EuroFora"'s main idea : Comp. supra)...

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