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Home arrow newsitems arrow CoE Venice Commitee heads to EuroFora on Constitution Reform tabled by Ukranian President Poroshenko

CoE Venice Commitee heads to EuroFora on Constitution Reform tabled by Ukranian President Poroshenko

Written by ACM
Thursday, 26 June 2014

 

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*Strasbourg/CoE/Angelo Marcopolo/- It wasn't yet clear if Negociations can still take place, or not, on the - crucial for Peace- draft Ukranian Constitutional Reforms,  during the last Day of the Ceasefire Deadline, but also the 1st in which President Porochenko will speal with EU Leaders in Ypres/Brussels, while Dissidents' representatives from Eastern Ukranian areas of Donetsk-Luhansk accepted to start participating in Tripartite Consultations, since he officially revealed the main content of his proposals  on "DeCentralisation of Power" for the 1st time Today, after a meeting with the President and the Director of COE's "Venice" Commission in Strasbourg, following his Speech and relevant Questions/Replies with MEPs at CoE's Assembly.

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As "EuroFora" had reported earlier, it's a "preliminary" CoE Expert's estimation on Constitutional Reforms in Ukraine, crucial for Peace, that is due "around Mid-July", before a final Adoption by CoE's "Venice" Commission at its next Plenary Session on October 2014, which is scheduled exceptionaly in Rome, for the celebration of ... Years since the establishment of CoE's PanEuropean Watchdog on Constitutional Law, as the Director of its Secretarat, Thomas Markert confirmed us.


 - For the moment, COE "Venice" Commission's President, the experienced Gianni Bucquicchio from Italy, (who has served for many years in the past as former Director of "Venice" Commission's Secretariat in Strasbourg, and is also Husband of COE's former Deputy Secretary General, Maud de Boer - Bucquichio, from the Netherlands), confirmed to "EuroFora", together with the current "Venice" Commission's Director, Thomas Markert from Germany, that, in fact, Ukranian President Poroshenko had promissed "to send" them his Draft Amendments to the Constitution "when he will return back to Kiev", i.e., just after the Ypres/Brussels' contacts during Tonight's and Tomorrow's (26 - 27) EU Summit.  


- Meanwhile, "I am personay leaving for Italy now", added Bucquicchio, (i.e. there where is scheduled to take place a special October 2014 Plenary Sesssion of CoE's "Venice" Commission, due to celebrate its 100th "Jubilee" meeting, exceptionaly in Rome, where various CoE Top Officials and other European Political personalities have been already invited, and which could Officially and definitively Adopt the final Report on Ukraine's Constitutional Reforms, as "EuroFora" had predicted.


- Thus, wishing "Bon Courage" to Markert with a smile, Bucquicchio left immediately to Italy, which is taking over from Greece the rotating EU Presidency for the Semester of July - December 2014, starting right away with an exceptional series of 2 Plenary Sessions of EU Parliament in Strasbourg, as soon as since Next Week, from July 1 to 3, and followed by a longer weekly session of July 14 - 17, back here : The first since May's EU Elections.


 -Poroshenko's Draft Constitutional Amendments are mainly about DeCentralisation : that's a Priority for now, but also about balance of powers between the Government and the Parliament, Courts' Reforms, etc., Markert confirmed to "EuroFora", as expected, (Comp. : .....).

  >>> - "In fact",  as far as it concerns the most Crucial Political aspect for a possible Peace Deal in Ukraine, i.e. "on DeCentralisation" of Power, "the Constitutional" Amendments "are only One Aspect of it : It's a Start", as he characteristically stressed.


    +  Because much "has also to be done in Detail, in Legislation", Markert anounced. "So, it (DeCentralisation of Power) goes well Beyond the task of Venice Commission", he experienced CoE's Top Official anounced.


    - As "for the Constitution(al part), it's rather about Removing some (Legal) Obstacles to DeCentralisation", he explained.


    - Thus, now, "we ("Venice" Commission) have to Act very Quickly; because the Constitution is a Leading text, which has to be done" fast enough, he stressed.     -  And, at any case;  "I think that; the Constitution as such won't be (yet) the (Political) Solution" for Peace in Ukraine. Because such "a Solution has to be in the (subsequent) Laws", that the Ukranian Parliament is due to make immediately aftewards, in order to give a concrete reality to a DeCentralisation (Comp. Supra), he distinguished.


    => - "So, what we (CoE's "Venice" Commission) have Now to do, is to Remove  some Obstacles to DeCentalisation in the Constitution", in order "to leave enough Room for a Solution".


    -  I.e. for an eventual Political Agreement, "which is not" so much "in the Constitution itself, but Needs much More (legal) Details", in subsequent Laws,  CoE's experienced "Venice" Commission's Director Highlighted.  
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    + For the remaining part, at any case, "COE is very Present in Ukraine, no just with the "Venice" Commission, but also with various other mechanisms : Such as; f.ex. certain Inter-Governemental CoE Programs which include Local/Regional Bodies' issues, (some with a quite long Experience of Ukraine, already), mainly "at the Directorate-General of Democracy"s, (headed by DG. Snezana Samardzic-Markovic, from Serbia), but also the Congress of Local and Regional Authorities of Europe (CLRAE), CoE's watchdog on Local/Regional Democracy, etc.


    => Indeed, CLRAE's current President,  Austrian ChristianDemocrat Herwig Van Staa, from Tirol, (an experienced former Head of CLRAE's Chamber of Regions), has just anounced to "EuroFora", earlier this week, that he intends to visit on July Ukraine, including, if possible, the Dissident Regions of Donetsk/Luhansk : - "Yes, I would really like to go there !",  as the mainstream Top COE's Official anounced to "EuroFora".


    + In addition, "there will be an Expert from the CLRAE, who will assist the "Venice" Commission (already now) on our assessment of the (Constitutional) Amendments on DeCentralisation", Markert added in this regard.
---------------------


    - The "Preliminary" Opinion of COE's "Venice" Commission's Expert could be ready "on Mid-July", its Director Thomas Markert anounced to "EuroFora", while Poroshenko earlier anounced that he hopes that the Ukranian Parliament will definitively adopt all the proposed Constitutional Reforms around "September", i.e. just in time before CoE's competent body convenes its next Plenary Session at Rome on October : Dates which seem to imply, eventually prolonged "Dialogue" between Kiev and Donetsk/Luhansk, etc. may be throughout all this Summer...
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Poroshenko, in his written Speech to CoE's Assembly, (where the Biggest National Delegation : that of all Russian MEPs, was for the 1st time in CoE's History, totaly Absent, since a last-minute Minority Amendment last April 2014,  pushed far beyond what Moscow would tolerate as "Sanction", by adding to a Suspension of the Right to Vote, even that of any Participation to PACE's Governing bodies ; See : .....). presented his own policy, in Conclusion, as that of "the Men of Peace", and declared that he agreed on the obvious fact that "there should be Dialogue and willingness to reach an Agreement", in order "to save people's lives",


as he said, after 2 Months of Kiev's Military Attacks against Dissident Regions, which notoriously provoked many Destructions and Killings, even of Civilian People, and even more everyday Sufferings to a large part of a Population of several Millions of People, already long before his May 25 Election and June 7 Inauguration, which was followed, recently, by the 1 Week Ceasefire since 22 o'clock at the 20th of June, leaving Now only 1 Day more, before the Friday Deadline that he fixed.
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 - Ukraine's, mainly South-Eastern "Regions and local communities strive for more authority at the local level and more Autonomy in Decision-making", the new Ukranian President observed. .


 - "They also want the Right to Speak and Sing songs in the Languages they choose, and to lay wreaths of Flowers on Monuments, as they see fit", he added in concreto, pointing at Cultural aspects. .


 - "All of that will be provided to them by the DeCentralisation of Power programme in my proposed Constitutional Amendments", due to be checked by CoE's "Venice" Commission of PanEuropean Top Legal Experts on Constitutional Law, Poroshenko confirmed, (Comp. Supra).


  - In this regard, he promissed to "Devolve Power to the Regions", f.ex. Contrary to what was done in Ukraine "before", when any "elected President.. had the authority ... to Nominate the Heads of Local districts and Regions", as he reminded, citting something obviously Incompatible with CLRAE's General Principles of Local and Regional Democracy, (as f.ex., strong CoE's Criticism against Member Countries such as Russia, the Netherlands, Turkey, etc, had already clearly Denounced, and even Sanctioned such discrepancies of the Past).


+ From what he has already anounced earlier this week, it reportedly results also that "a significant part of Taxes collected on the territory of the local government body, will remain there", (another elementary requirement of the CLRAE, as a matter of General Principle on any DeCentralisation), etc.


>>> But also amendments due to "eliminate Regional and District Administrations", and "establish...Executive committees of Local councils; to which the main functions of local power will be delegated"; as well as "introduce the posts of Presidential Representatives", (etc).


According to other, Press sources, Poroshenko's Drafts include also the power given to Presidential Representatives to Stop the Decisions of Local Councils, if they are in breach of Ukranian Laws, by taking the mater to the Court, (something that the current Heads of Regional/District Administrations can't yet do).


Local councils, will, reportedly, be empowered to Adopt regional Budgets, and authorize budget Spending, approve regional socioeconomic Development Programs, and regulate Law enforcement issues, according to Press sources.


++ In parallel, "Early Local Elections are to be held in Ukraine, in connection with the Amendments to the Constitution, so that the Elected Leaders of the Territorial Councils will receive New powers and Responsibilities", Poroshenko added now iN Strasbourg. For that purpose, the Future "Elected Representatives will establish Local Councils, which, in turn, will form Executive Committees", according to his proposed Plan.


>>> In fact, only "Some elements" of his overall Plan of Reforms, "are Not subject to Discussion : The "Parliamentary-Presidential" model", (as he called the relations between Executive and Legislative Powers), "the Unitary system", (i.e. the Exclusio of any Federalism), "European integration", (i.e., practically, the signature and later Ratification of EU's Trade Deal for Neighbouring, "Associated" Countries), "and the existing Language system, with 1 Official Language" (is a vis the National State), "plus Multiple Regional Languages", (apparently mainly, or even exclusively, vis a vis Local/Regional Authorities), "with a comprehensive guarantee of the Development and Use of every Minority Language", as he sketchily promissed.


=> On the Contrary, "Everything else, can be subject to wide Public Debate", Poroshenko declared, (without, however, going yet as far as to explicitly mention the opening of a Dialogue with the Dissident Regions), "and I can assure you that such debates are already under way", he added, rather vaguely, (i.e. without yet naming his interlocutors; even if it seems that, reportedly, even certain Dissidents would have acknowledged a recent Poroshenko's trend to start speaking with some "valuable" members of Civil Society, but, according to them, without having given yet to the Dissidents a real Chance for Negotiation.

poro_reply_to_ksse_400


- On this, obviously Crucial, point, President Poroshenko anounced, in Strasbourg, in an oral Reply to a Question raised by an Icelandish MEP, after his written Speech, that the Dissidents of Donetsk-Luhanslk Easter areas had just "confirmed... their Interest in Participating" at the "Meetings with the Trilateral Commission", composed of "a representative of the Russian Ambassador, the ex-President of Ukraine (Kuchma), and the Ambassador (Heidi Taglavini of Switzerland) from the OSCE", as he said.


 - But, as he reminded, "Tomorrow (on Friday, June 27) will be the End point", because of the Time Deadline that he had imposed for the 1 Week-long Suspension of Kiev's Military Attacks against the Dissident Regions. Therefore, the remaining Time for eventual Dialogue between the Parties in the conflict, is now "Less than 12 Hours before the End of the Ceasefire", Poroshenko acknowledged.


=> In consequence, "a Lot depends on Tomorrow's Negotiations", he warned from CoE Assembly's plenary in Strasbourg, before leaving, later-on, for Brussels :


 - "If the key Political elements of the Peaceful Plan are accepted by the Separatists", (as he called the also Federalists/Autonomists Dissidents of Donetsk and Luhansk areas, who had never asked for "Autonomy" before the February 21, 2014 non-elucidated Deadly "Snipers" provocation, which topled a Compromise Agreement signed by former President Yanukovich and the 3 former Opposition Leaders, under the auspices of 3 EU Foreign Ministers from Germany, France and Poland), "thet wil give us Strong Hopes".


- But, "if it's Rejected", then, "we wille have to make a very Important Decision Tomorrow", and, at least for the time being, "I canNot comment on what type of Decision we will make", Poroshenko warned.


=> An interesting point, however, is the fact that the New Ukranian President, replying to another, relevant Question by German MEP Hunko, speaking in the name of the European Left, didn't explicity exclude "ro Extend the Cease-Fire Tomorrow", as he had asked him, in order to "pave the way for Negotiations", as Hunko highlighted, given the "Hopes attached to the Cease-Fire", particularly since now it was confirmed that the Dissidents "are prepared to engage in Talks with you" :


- Indeed, "after Yesterday's Phone Conversation with the Russian President", (by Chancellor Merkel, Poroshenko, and President Hollande, etc), "their position changed", towards "recognizing the Cease-Fire", as the Ukranian President said, (while Both Sides have, in fact, been accusing eachother, since the beginning  Stopof this week, to violate the 7 Days-long cease-fire, Dissidents' appeals to Stop Military Attacks, pull the Army out of inhabited areas, and open Negociations, having also been a leitmotiv for long).  


=> - So, "we will see Tomorrow", Poroshenko simply replied, apparently Not Excluding an obviously Necessary Extension...
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A preliminary contact has treportedly taken place shortly after the Dissidents/Federalists declared a parallel Ceasefire, as long as Kiev's Military is due to suspend its 2  Months-long Attacks against Donetsk/Luhansk areas, as early as since Monday, June 23, at Donetsk, with the participation of OSCE Swiss Presidency's representative for Ukraine, Heidi Tagliavini, former Ukranian President Kuchma, Russian Ambassador to Kiev Mikhail Zurabov, Mediator Viktor Medvedchuk (leader of "Ukranian Choice"), self-proclamed "Donetsk Respublica"'s head Alexander Borodai, and "Luhansk Respublica"'s officials, as well as Oleg Tsaryov, leader of the "South-East" public movement, who recently became Speaker of the Assembly of the so-called "Union of People's Republics" bringing recently  Donetsk and Luhansk areas Together.


---------
Dissidents reportedly said that for fully-fledged and succesful Peace Talks, Kiev's Militay must really Stop Fire and withdraw its Military troops from Donetsk-Luhansk areas, Compensate inhabitants for the Destructions of Family Homes by Army Bombs and Shelling, guarantee Amnesty for Militants and politcal Prisoners : I.e., in fact, points which are already included, more or less, in one way or another, among Persident Proshenko's Plan.


But they also asked for coordination between Poroshenko and the Dissident areas on Constitutional Reforms concerning their status, i.e. for Dialogue on the most important matter for them, as it was expected, and as both the April 17, Geneva Agreement by EU-USA-Russia and Ukraine Foreign Ministers, as well as President Poroshenko's own Plan's 1st point (about "Negotiation") have predicted.


-----------------------
 -  Now, either this can be done in the Short Time available of  just 1 (one) Day (June 27) before the 1 Week Ceasefire Time Deadine expires, tomorrow Evening at 10 p.m., or it might, eventualy, have anew a smaller but possibly useful chance to be made later-on, i.e. during the subsequent preparation of the Draft Laws which will be afterwards necessary for the concretisation of the Decentralisation Reforms, as it results from what COE's "Venice" Commission's Director told "EuroFora", (Comp. Supra).  
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+ But if a serious Negotiation might not be really possible, or would be Insufficient after the main Constitutional Reforms, then, the only possibility in order to gine Peace a Chance, obviously, cannot be other than a ProLongation of the CeaseFire, for a period as long as it might be necessary for all the parties to this Ukranian Conflict to hold between them a sbstantial, and hopefuly fruitful Dialogue.
Consultations of trilateral contact group held in Donetsk are the 1st step towards peaceful dialogue on the settlement of the situation in the East of Ukraine, a Poroshenko's Press Release earlier noted, prefering to speak about "representatives of Local government and the State government".


- "I know that the fact of such consultations has been perceived Controversially by the public. The so-called "hawks" demand rapid and severe Military actions. Others demand large-scale Compromises to avoid war. I will answer both parties: Our goal is Not War. It is not Ukraine who started it. Our goal is Peace. But I would like to emphasize: peace Not for Any price and under any conditions".
-----------------------


However, it's also the German Foreign Minister, Frank-Walter Steinmeier who reportedly welcomed, earlier this week on Tuesday, Monday's preparatory move of Talks between all the parties in the Ukranian Conflict, speaking precisely of that second meeting of the Trilateral Contact Group in Donetsk, and welcoming the work done in this regard by new Ukranian Foreign Minister Pavlo Klimkin (former Ambassador to Germany), Leonid Kuchma, former Ukranian President, Russian Ambassador Michail Zurabov and OSCE Swiss Presidency's Envoy Heidi Taglavini, etc :
- "The Discussion on conditions under which a Truce might be proclaimed and the militants might lay down arms and agree to the operation of the OSCE expanded Monitoring mission, is itself a considerable Step forward," the German Minister emphasized, according to Poroshenko's Press Office.


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

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+ But, on this Thursday, (June 26), after Poroshenko declared at CoE's PanEuropean Assembly in Strasbourg that the Ukranian "Parliament Today, registered (his) Draft Amendments to the Constitution", (Comp. Supra), expressing the Hope that his "idea" on the proposed De-Centralisation "will be supported by the Ukranian Parliament now", the Question is if the Ukranian President really has, anymore, as thing stand now, any more Legal possibility to Negociate with the Dissidents on this Crucial issue, or not...


- Informed Diplomatic sources from the Ukranian Permanent Representation to the CoE in Strasbourg, told "EuroFora" that, in principle, since Poroshenko's Draft Amendments to the Constitution for DeCentralisation had already been "Registered", earlier Today, by the "Rada" (the National Parliament) in Kiev, then, the Content of the proposed Changes had ipso-fato become cystal-clear and legaly fixed in their present version. So that things would, from now on, depend on what would the Rada do.


But, the strange fact that Poroshenko, (as "EuroFora" found on the spot), had not yet given to CoE's "Venice" Commission in Strasbourg the full Text of his Constitutional Amendments, but simply promissed to do so only after his return from Brussels to Kiev, (Comp. Supra), fuelled speculations that this might be an interesting manouver in order to still keep a real Chance to Negociate with the Dissidents, and/or to discuss with EU Leaders, some more or less important Modifications, in an attempt to Find an Agreement between all the Parties involved in the Conflict.


-However, to the simple Question by "EuroFora", to a Press Officer of the Ukranian Presidency accompagnying Poroshenko from Strasbourg to Brussels, later this Afternoon, (June 26), on whether he still had, or not, at this moment, (i.e. after the anounced registration of his proposed Constittional Amendments to the Rada), the (Legal) "Possibility to Negociate" on the Content of that Crucial De-Centralisation Reform, (on the occasion of his imminent, last-minute, contacts with EU Leaders and/or the representatives of the Dissidents), the immediate Reaction was merely a : - "No Information on that point !".


At least, this didn't seem to exclude, a priori, the only remaining Hope, Today : that of a last-minute Beginning, at last, of a, long overdue, inclusive, substantial and transparent Dialogue between Kiev and the Dissident areas, in the common quest of an Agreement on the necessary Reforms for a Peaceful Future of the Country, obviously urgently needed now, both for Ukraine and for all Europe...


But; naturally, in order really have a Chance to Succeed, such an indispensable attempt, certainly Needs, at least, a real Ceasefire, or even a Truce Agreement, and enough Time ahead, (in addition to the obviously necessary also, positive Political Will, by a sincere desire, interest, and/or objective necessity), ... while only a Few Hours are still left until the Expiration of a Too Tight Time Deadline.

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A fortiori when, as experienced CoE's Secretary General Thornbjorn Jagland stressed earlier Today in Strasbourg, during a CoE's PanEuropean Parliamentary Assembly's Debateon Political and Humanitarian developments in Ukraine, "the way to Unite a Divided Country is to get .....a Constitution that Everybody can embrace"...

- "Obviously, the Constitution Needs to be the outcome of Consensus", strongly stressed also,  CoE PanEuropean Parliamentary Assembly's 1st Speaker, who had been collectively  chosen by PACE's Bureau in order to Open this Summer's Plenary Session's Debate on Ukraine, President of the Liberal Group of MEPs,  Jordi Xuclà from Spain.


     => - Therefore,  "we need a Dialogue and Agreement between Majorities and minorities. We canNot have toing and froing, and a substitution of one by the other; time and again. Indeed, we cannot have Changes to the national Identity, depending on Who is in Power", he denounced.


      -Because, "in the Past, various constitutional Reforms have Failed in Ukraine". Since those "Reforms have meant Alternation in Power, such as Changes in Majorities and Minorities, and were Not made in a context of Democratic Standards..... Depending on Who is in Power, and Who is in Opposition, has also meant a Change in the perception of the Country’s national Identity", he reminded.


    - But, now, "the Time has come", "to look at Constitutional Reforms", and "this is ... the right Moment for us" (CoE), to "be Concerned about the Way in which Constitutional Reforms are panning out in practice", urged the 1st Speaker of the Assembly of the PanEuropean Organisation for Human Rights, Democracy and Rule of Law.


       -  "We (CoE's Assembly) talked about Solutions, and the fact that there was a window of opportunity for Constitutional Reforms. ...We must Ensure that the Window of Opportunity .... does Not Close", he Warned in conclusion.


(../..)

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  imag0573_400

    An "Eugenic" loophole Amendment, which might expose to Dangers reminiscent of "3rd Reich's" notorious Genetic Abuses, hidden at the last minute inside an otherwise Good, larger Health policy Package scheduled to be voted on Thursday, was strongly denounced by a coalition of MEPs from various Political Groups and Countries, in a Press Conference held this afternoon at EU Parliament in Strasbourg.

    Mainly calling to "Select Human Embryos", via "Genetic Counselling" and "pre-implantation" Techniques including "Genetic Tests", in order to "Eradicate Hereditary rare Diseases", it might open ways to Dangerous Practices in Future, they denounced in substance.

    But they also made it clear that a much larger Report inside which this Controversial Amendment "No 15" was added in dubious circumstances, officialy destinated to struggle against "Rare Diseases", and drafted by Professor Antonios Trakatellis, was otherwise "an Excellent Report", aiming at a "completely Uncontroversial target" of Health policy on which "all MEPs and Experts are united, believing that Europe should act" to protect People's Health (See "EuroFora"'s earlier News).

    The controversy came at a particularly delicate moment for the EU in relation to Citizens, at the eve of June 2009 EU Elections, and shortly before Ireland re-votes for "Lisbon Treaty"..    

- Denouncing risks of "an Eugenic demand, very similar to what we had during the 3rd Reich in Germany, but now coming from some Scientisists themselves", German ChristianDemocrat/EPP MEP Dr. Peter Liese stressed that critical MEPs were against "Eugenic" engineering with "Selection of Human Embryos", and anything which might ultimately lead up to to a "Selection of Human Race". It doesn't help to "eradicate" Human Lives, he added.


    Several Experts and NGOs expressed "Deep Concern", as f;ex. DR M.C. Cornel of the "European Society of Human Genetics", which stressed, on this occasion, that "the importance of Non-Directiveness in Reproductive issues is a Central characteristic of Human Genetics, after the Atrocities committed in the name of Genetics in the first half or the 20th Century".

     - "This is completely Unacceptable", stressed Italian Liberal MEP Vittorio Prodi, on the Controversial Amendment, also because pushes to "eliminate early Human Life", as he noted.

     - "This opens a Dangerous Road, rather a Motorway", denounced Danish MEP Mrs Margrette Auken, from the "Greens", observing that various similar attempts were made in the Past "not only in Germany, but also in several other Countries, "even at the 1970ies", "f.ex. on forced Sterilisation of Roma" People, and other criticisable situations f.ex. in the UK, in Sweden, etc. as she said.

    + Other NGOs, as f.ex. "LebenHilfe" from Berlin, added that, among various other Risks, could also be that, by exploiting the pre-implantation Genetic Diagnostics and the Selection of "healthy" Embryos, some may "propagate" several "Eugenic" aims, starting f.ex. by pushing to eradicate Human Livies which might "Cost too much" to preserve, ultimately exposing to dangers reminiscent of the "3rd Reich"'s atrocious abuses.

    In consequence, ChristianDemocrats/EPP and "Green" MEPs "decided by Majority to vote against" this Controversial Amendment, anounced to Journalists the 5 MEPs who participated in the Press Conference, representing a wide spectrum, from Liberals to "Greens" and ChristianDemocrats, and from Hungary, Italy, Germany and Danemark up to Ireland (Gay Mitchell), etc.
----------------------------------
    Hungarian ChristianDemocrat MEP Laszlo Surjan said "that it was "Suddenly, at the End of the Procedure" in Committee, that "appeared this (Controversial) Amendment, which has nothing to do" with the main purpose of the Report, on which all agreed.

    He denounced an "Unhonest" move, and called to "avoid this kind of unacceptable situations". Nobody should "Select People", Surjan stressed.

    - "We (MEPs) had No Chance to Discuss" this last-minute Amendment earlier added at a Committee's level, said German MEP Peter Liese

    Speaking to "EuroFora", Dr. Liese, the Spokesman of the ChristianDemocrat/EPP Group in EU Parliament, said that MEPs didn't oppose other references of the Report f.ex. on "Genetic Tests", because they were "no proposals" to impose them, while, on the contrary, there was "a Problem" if anyone attempted to "impose" f.ex. this or that Genetic Technique and "Genetic Counselling", etc. to the People on human reproduction.
-------------
The precise Text :
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    Controversial parts of Amendment No 15 ask mainly "to lead finally to the Eradication" of "Hereditary" "rare diseases", "through Genetic Counselling .., and ..pre-Implantation Selection of healthy Embryos".

    But  EU Rapporteur Professor Trakatellis, said to "EuroFora" that fears should be alleviated by Guarantees that all this should be done only "where appropriate", when it's "not contrary to existing National Law", and "always on a Voluntary basis", according to other Parts of the Amendment.

    He stressed that the main aim was to allow "a free and informed choice of persons involved", without imposing them anything :  - "It's not an obligatory, but advisary" text, he said.

    To make that point clear, he was ready, in agreement with many MEPs, to eventually drop at least that part of the controversial Amendment which initially called for "efforts to ..lead finally to the Eradication of those rare diseases" "which are Hereditary".

    But, until late Wednesday evening, reportedly together with many other MEPs, he stood by all the rest of the controversial Amendment, (fex. on the "Genetic Counselling" and the "pre-implantation Selection of healthy Embryos"), so that critical MEPs, going from ChristianDemocrats as Dr. Liese, to "Greens" or "Ind/Dem", observed to "EuroFora" that "this was not enough" to close the dangerous loophole.

    Particularly since, as Professor Trakatellis noted himself, "this is already allowed to the U.K.", and "other National Legislations would probably follow, sooner or later" in a similar direction. As for a general call to "Eradicate Hereditary rare Diseases", this "should happen, at any case, in practice, de facto", to protect public Health.

    On the contrary, "our goal should be to help patients suffering from rare diseases, not to eradicate the patients. In case of genetic disease risk, the decision should not be guided by scenarios" made by politicians. "Perents who may decide to accept a child, even if handicapped or with genetic disease, must be respected and supported with solidarity", critical MEPs stated.

    - "Any Pressure" to "a patient or couple (who "should be able to make an informed choice consistent with their own values"),"from health Professionals, Public Health Policies or Governemental Institutions, or Society at large, should be avoided", stresses the "European Society for Human Genetics".

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

Each MEP's vote will be registered !

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

The Socialist Group requested a "Split vote" on the Amendment 15, first without, and afterwards with the words "lead finally to the Eradication" etc.


    But the first "split vote" leaves intact all the other parts of the Controversial Amendment, (i.e. "Genetic Counselling", "Selection of healthy Embryos", etc).

    That's why, 3 Groups of MEPs : ChristianDemocrats/EPP, "Greens/EFA", and "Ind/Dem", have asked for "Roll Call Votes", on everything regarding the Controversial Amendment No 15, and on the final outcome of the resulting Report as amended, which will register all the individual positions to be taken by each MEP.   

Something which will obviously make each MEP think twice before voting for one or another choice, to be sure that he/she will make the right choice in front of EU Citizens, particularly at these pre-Election times...


    Crucial Votes were scheduled between 12 Noon and 1 p.m. local Strasbourg time, in the middle of a long series of various other Reports, and after a long Public Debate on the larger Health policy package, from 9 to 11.50 am.

    The specific Report inside which was hidden the controversial Amendment is due to be debated between 11 and 12 am.

    So that more last-minute Surprises may not be excluded a priori...

    Particularly at the present Historic moment, when even the Institutional Future of the EU depends on the result of a second Referendum on "Lisbon Treaty", later this year, in ...Ireland, a mainly Catholic country, where People are particularly sensitive in such kind of socio-cultural and values issues...
 

      ***     
 
     (Draft due to be updated).
 
***

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