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Home arrow newsitems arrow EUCommissioner Thyssen to EF on Dialogue with Citizens after Juncker call for better Decision-Making

EUCommissioner Thyssen to EF on Dialogue with Citizens after Juncker call for better Decision-Making

Written by ACM
Tuesday, 16 April 2019


*Strasbourg/EU Parliament/Angelo Marcopolo/- On the Occasion of an Exceptional EU Commission's meeting on Ameliorating the EU Decision-Making Process, particularly on Social affairs, followed by a Press Conference with Commission's Head Spokesman, Margarites Schinas, and Key Speaker EU Commissioner Marianne Thyssen, "Eurofora" raised a Question on EU Lisbon Treaty's provisions about prior "Dialogue" with Citizens on European Activities, which stands very Near to our Project.

 EU Commissioner on Social Affairs, Marianne Thyssen, who holds also a Long Experience as former MEP in EU Parliament and Head of Party from Belgium during almost 23 Years (1991-2014), had just reminded the fact that EU Commission's President Juncker announced, in his 2018 "State of the Union" Speech at EU Parliament, that, during this year (2018/2019), EU should take stock of efforts to Improve its Decision-Making process (See Infra), and she was describing how that is concretely translated f.ex. in Social Issues, (Other such Examples being Taxation, Foreign Policy issues, etc).

>>> In her Replies to "Eurofora"s Questions (See Infra), Thyssen was very Keen about "Consultations" of NGOs, Extended Both to EU Citizens, as well as to Various Other Areas of EU Activities, well Beyond Social matters only. But, she appeared a little-bit Tight-liped, as far as a Fully-fledged, real "Dialogue" is concerned (See Infra)...




 -"If things go as you wish" in relevant Votes inside EU Parliament, "in order to be Supported also by the Public Opinion, should EU Commission, according to your Experience, give an Opportunity, During the Decision-Making Process, as also (EU Commission's President) Juncker had Highlighted on 2018, (Comp. Supra), to Activate, some Articles of the (EU) Lisbon Treaty, which have not yet been used very much, f.ex., Article 8, which says that All EU Institutions - Commission included, but also Others : f.ex. Parliament, etc., should engage in "Regular Dialogue" with Civl Society/Citizens ?", "Eurofora" asked Thyssen




 - "The Best Moment, for that, obviously would be just Before Final Decisions are Taken, in order also to take the pulse, know what are the feelings of the People, and interact with them. How do you feel about that ?", we queried.  



 - In her Reply, EU Commissioner Thyssen started by going right to some relevant Facts : - "Thank you. President Juncker asked for that, and we are Delivering" : F.ex., "I can give you the Figures on how Many Consultations we do, as EU Commission", she suggested.

 - "And in my domain, of Social Affairs, we always have, Systematically, Consultations, over the Social Partners, also the NGOs, of the Civil Society... We do that also in a Structured way, and on a Bilateral Basis, when they want to see us, we'll receive them".  

 + "And we really pay Attention to that. We are convinced that it's very Important", Thyssen stressed, as a matter of Principle.

 - Indeed, "NGOs are Representing Peuple : they Feel and Know exactly what is going on on the Ground. And Social Partners, i.e. all the Representatives of the Employees and of the Businesses, small and big" (etc), she added, on that Line of thought.  



 + "Eurofora" went on to Query about a Wider Scope of such Moves : - "According to your Experience, (also as former MEP, Political Leader, etc), Do you think that this should be Extended to Other Areas also, or not ?"



- "Well, I think that you Have to do it in Every Area !", EU Commissioner Thyssen replied Positively, Welcoming "Eurofora"s suggestion as a matter of General Principle in contemporary EU Action

- "You have to look Which People Represent People (EU Citizens) for these Items", however, she Carefuly advised.

- "What we said also, and this is very Important, when we had a Conference for "a New Start of Social Dialogue", we promised also Partners to Consult them Broadly on all Social Items, where we have an Obligation to do it, according to the Treaty".

=> Indeed, "We Consult them on many Other Items : On Energy Policy, for instance, because they are representatives for Many Citizens, so it's Always Good to Listen to them".

- "But there are also various Other Areas, where the NGO Directive" plays,  "my Collegues do it, I can really Confirm that".

+ "And we have Also Public Consultations", Thyssen added.  

- "On the Web. I Know, this is what it is...", she Realistically Acknowledged, showing that there is certainly Room for Ameliorations...

- "But, at least, it gives to (EU) Citizens also the Possibility to Tell us (EU) what they Want, what they Think, or what their Reflexions are on our Propositions", she interestingly Concluded.


    Thyssen's latest Replies were, obviously, particularly Interesting.

    However, Both from "Eurofora"'s Project's point of view, and from that of EU's Lisbon Treaty's itself, (especially when it clearly speaks about "Dialogue" : Comp. Sypra), it's obviously of great Importance to include also :


 - Not just an Exceptional, or Precarious Consultation, depending on the "Good Will" of an EU Commissioner or another (etc), but an Ensured and Generalized Interaction, considered as Both Useful for the Public Administrations' involved, and a kind of "Right" for those EU Citizens who are due to be affected by the imminent Decisions ;

+ and, Furthermore, not only the simple Reception of EU Citizens' reactions, but Also (and, in many cases : the Most Interesting) the Replies of EU Institutions to Citizens' relevant and legitimate Questions, Claims and/or Arguments : I.e. a Real Exchange, a Real and serious "Dialogue".

    Because, Otherwise, there may be a Risk to Face the Paradox of an EU Administration ready to Hear you, ...but Not so much to Reply to what you've just said !  



    This Issue is Particularly Interesting as it was raised by "Eurofora" precisely on the occasion of an EU Commission's Meeting officially dedicated also on how to Ameliorate the "EU Decision-Making" process, (Comp. Supra), towards prior Dalogue with EU Citizens, in the Direction of what we had Earlier evoked with the President of EU Commission, Jean-Claude Juncker himself, at a meeting in nearby Germany (Offenbug), where had participated also Chancellor Angie Merkel and Wolfgang Schaüble, (who became, soon afterwards, the New President of the German Parliament [Bundestag] in Berlin : See, f.ex. http://www.eurofora.net/newsflashes/news/schaublejunckerandmerkel.html, etc).

    Schäuble, Previously, in a Joint Conference at the CoE in Strasbourg, on EU's Future, together with the President of the Biggest European Political Party, that of CristianDemocrats/EPP, Joseph Daul, had clearly Stressed that even the "Avant-Guard" of EU's Integration, inside the "€uroArea", could not really succeed to efficiently Strengthen Europe, unless it also "Democratized" further its way of functionning, (See: http://www.eurofora.net/newsflashes/news/schaubledauloneupoliticalunion.html, etc).






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The official presentation of a "Program" respecting People's choices voted in the June 7, 2009 EU Elections, to be debated in EU Council and EU Parliament during its 1st Session on July in Strasbourg, is the No 1 Priority, according to Democratic principles, for the Franco-German axis, said the main winners at the ballot box, French President Nicolas Sarkozy and German Chancellor Angie Merkel.

They stressed  that the New EU Commission's President must have a "Program" in favor of an EU which "protects" its Citizens, regulates financial markets and aims at a "Political" Europe" : a wording they have used as incompatible with Turkey's controversial EU bid.

They also declared ready for a "political" endorsment of "Mr. Barroso's candidacy" in June's EU Council, considering that an official decision would have to be made after EU Parliament's debates and votes, possibly from next month (July), with the legally necessary final acceptance shortly after Lisbon Treaty's entry into force, hoped for September or October.

- "A Program, and Mr. Barroso" : This resumes, in substance, the anouncements made by Sarkozy and Merkel, on the question of current EU Commission's President, Barroso's declared wish to succeed to himself for a second mandate, to be extended during the following 5 years.

 In their 1st meeting after EU Elections, they observed that "the Franco-German axis counted in European Elections' campaign... But, we both keep a realistic view : We saw the number of those who abstained, and we must absolutely give them an answer. We also see the disilusionment of an important number of Europeans vis a vis Europe, and we are aware of the responsibilities we have".


 - The "Duty" of the new EU Commission's President, after June 7, 2009 EU Elections' result, "is to act for a Europe which protects the Europeans, to commit himself into working for a better Regulation of Financial transactions, ... and to have a Political will for Europe", underlined Sarkozy.

Therefore, "we have asked M. Barroso... to clarify, to officialy present the intentions he has", he anounced.

- "We want to speak also about the Programme", explained Merkel.

- "It's important that for the next EU Parliament's mandate (2009-2014) we take the right Decisions for Europe.  Obviously on Persons, but mainly Decisions on Issues", she stressed.

- "It's not simply a question of a Person, it's also a question of a Programme". We are "really asking Mr. Barroso to commit himself on a Program, and on Principles, on Values", Sarkozy added.

EU President-in-office, Czech Prime Minister Jan Fischer, accepted the Franco-German stance :

- "Barroso must present his Programme. The Czech Presidency agrees with that", Fischer reportedly said later, after meeting Sarkozy.

But Press reports from Brussels claimed that Barroso had preferred to be officially appointed by EU Council since June, (i.e. next week), "because this was implied by the current Treaty of Nice, according to him", and considered any delay until the possible ratification of the new, Lisbon Treaty on September/October, as "undemocratic".

- "At any case, independently of what Germany and France ask, it's also EU Parliament's wish". "We shall propose Mr Barroso's candidacy... But even in the framework of Nice Treaty, EU Parliament has to be associated in this Decision", the French President observed.

If this is correctly done, then "we support Mr. Barroso's candidature", and "if the (EU) Parliament agrees, we might ratify this decision since July", (i.e. next month), they both said.


- "France and Germany support Baroso's candidacy, But we want to speak also on the Program. We believe that this Program should be established in close cooperation with EU Parliament, and that's why we have followed an appropriate way", said Merkel.  - If EU Parliament wants, this election can take place on July,  but this must be done in full agreement.

- "We shall support Mr. Barroso's candidacy, without doubt", said Sarkozy. "But we have asked from Mr. Barroso, as I told him yesterday, to put into detail.. his intentions, at the eve of his 2nd mandate, if the situation avails itself.

    France and Germany "don't want to take an Official Legal Decision by writting" during "the next (EU) Council" (on June 18-19), declared Sarkozy.  Because they prefer, at this stage, only "a Political decision" on June, "so that we (EU Council) can work together with EU Parliament", which starts to meet only Next Month, since July in Srasbourg, "leaving a Legal decision by writting for later".

    - "If the Conditions are fuillfiled in EU Parliament, we (EU Council) are ready to give the agreement and make it offficial", said Merkel

    - "But, now we are working in the base of Nice Treaty. If tommorow we want to work in the spirit of Lisbon Treaty, we have to find a proper way", she added.

    - "Of course it's Legally complicated, because we are going to make a Political proposal to the forthcoming Council, for an EU Commission's President, on the basis of Nice Treaty : So, we (EU Council) will not appoint the Commissioners. Only the President.  If EU Parliament agrees, it could endorse this position on July", explained Sarkozy.

    But, on Autumn, "if Ireland ratifies Lisbon Treaty, there will be, at any case, a 2nd Decision, to appoint the Commission's President, this time on the basis of Lisbon treaty, and then, we, the EU Member States, would have to appoint (also) the EU Commissioners", he added.

    As for the precise Timing :  - "Everything is suspended until the Irish vote... Now, we must all make everything possible to help Ireland to say "Yes"" to Lisbon Treaty... The Irish Referendum, ..will take place either on September or on October. It's a Question which depends on the Irish. And,  then, we shall have the Choice of the Candidates for the permanent Institutions of Europe".

    However, "if Ireland says No, we, French and Germans, have to assume our responsibilities, and we'll do so", he concluded.

    But British and Swedish governments were reportedly eager to have a final EU Council decision on Barroso since this month, on June's European Council. While the other EU Member Countries are divided, several of them preferring to wait until EU Parliament pronounces itself, on July, and/or until Lisbon Treaty might be ratified by Ireland at the beginning of the Autumn. Barroso's current mandate ends on November.

    There are also various, contradictory and/or unpredictable reactions inside EU Parliament vis a vis Barroso's wish to continue a 2nd mandate, because many MEPs are openly or secretly opposed, reluctant, or hesitating.

    In the biggest EU Countries, as France and Germany, EU Citizens voted on June 2009 EU Elections for a renovated, non-technocratic but Political Europe which cares for its Citizens, with an Identity, Values and Borders, declared incompatible with Turkey's controversial EU bid, by mainstream, pro-European Governing Parties. Similar choices were also supported in several other small or medium EU Countries.

    On the contrary, whenever, in other Countries, Governing and other mainstream Parties didn't make these choices or eluded them, EU Citizens massively voted for euro-Sceptics whenever they were the only ones to to promise anti-bureacratic change and oppose Turkey's demand to enter into the EU, (f.ex. in the UK, Netherlands, etc).

    It's seems to be an Open Question whether Sarkozy and Merkel's conditions will be really accepted by Barroso, who was appointed on 2004 in a different political context, (with Socialist Prime Ministers in Germany, France, etc), had rejected in the Past the idea of EU becoming "equal to the USA" as "ridiculous", and pushed for Turkey's contoversial EU bid, trying to "soften" or contain the changes desired by the People who voted for Merkel and Sarkozy with another policy vis a vis Turkey on 2005 in Germany and on 2007 in France, as they did all over Europe on 2009.

    In addition to many EPP Governments, it's 3 remaining Socialist Prime Ministers : Gordon Brown in the UK, Zapatero in Spain, and Socrates in Prortugal, who support Barroso, as well as Liberal Swedish Prime Minister Reinfeldt. But their Parties lost the June 2009 EU Elections.

    Questioned whether there was still "Time" for "other" possible "Candidates", Sarkozy and Merkel did not deny, nor made any comment on that, but simply said that "it's not for us to make publicity for any candidates. We anounced our choice ("A Program, and Mr. Barroso"). But we respect any other candidate".

    Among various other names cited are former Belgian Prime Minister Verhofstadt, former UNO's Human Rights Commissioner Mary Robinson of Ireland, Italian former EU Commission's vice-President Monti, etc. Meanwhile, Luxembourg's PM Juncker, (who had been unanimously accepted by EU Council for EU Commission's Presidency on 2004, but refused), announced his intention to resign from "EuroGroup"'s Chair. Thus, he might be available for another Top EU job.

    As "EuroFora"'s "opinion" said (See publication dated 9/6/09) : - "If the current candidates (i.e. Barroso, etc) to the Top EU jobs promise and guarantee to respect People's democratic choices, then, it's OK".

"Otherwise, Europe must find new candidates, really motivated and able to implement these democratic choices of the People."

    Because, "in Democracy, the forthcoming choices for EU's Top Jobs,...should be made according to EU Citizens' Votes in June 7, 2009 European Elections, and main EU Governments' strategic policies".



2009 EU Elections were won by Parties against Technocracy and Turkey's controversial EU bid, while the 1999-2004 Majority Abstention trend decelerated. What should be done in 2009-2014 ?


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