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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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Recent developments proved that Europe can suceed to overcome challenges by aiming at great objectives, and this is needed also in 2009, said EU chairman, French President Nicolas Sarkozy.

    - "It's in the name of Great Ideas, Projects, Ambition and Ideals, that EU can overcome" challenges, stressed Sarkozy at EU Parliament in Strasbourg, in conclusion of a dense 7 months EU Chairmanship. "It's even easier for Europe to have Great projects, able to overcome national egoism, instead of limiting itself only to small projects" (unable to do alike), he observed.     

- "Europe must remain Ambitious and understand that the World needs her to take Decisions". "The World needs a Strong Europe", which "thinks on its own, has convictions, its own responses, its imagination" : "A Europe which does not limit itself into following" others, (as it did in the Past, when it followed USA, f.ex. on Bosnia). On the contrary, "Europe should undertake its own responsibilities", he said, after a series of succes in stopping the War between Russia and Georgia, and organizing the 1st EuroZone's Summit in Paris, which incited the Washington DC G-20 Summit to extend similar decisions World-wide.  

    - "When you sweep it all under the carpet, prepare yourself for hard tomorrows", he warned. "What hinders decisions is the lack of Courage and Will, the fading away of Ideals", he stressed before EU Parliament's 2008 debate on Human Rights and Sakharov prize on Freedom of thought attributed by MEPs to Chinese cyber-dissident Hu Jia, followed by an EU - Turkey meeting on Friday.

    - "I don't abandon my convictions" and "I will take initiatives" on EU level also in 2009, Sarkozy announced later. "France will not stop having convictions and taking initiatives" on Europe. + "It's an Error to wish to pass over the Heads of those who are elected in their Countries" : "It's an integrism I always fought against"', he warned.
French EU Presidency faced 4 unexpected Crisis :

- An institutional crisis, with the Irish "No" to EU Lisbon Treaty, just before it started. A geopolitical crisis, wth the threat of War between Russia and Georgia risking to throw Europe back to Cold-war divisions, on August. A World-wide Financial and Economic crisis, arriving at a bad moment before crucial 2009 EU elections. And even a Strasbourg's mini-crisis, with EU Parliament's roof curiously falling down, from unknown reasons, in a brand new building on August, provoking an unprecedented transfert of the 2 September Plenary Sessions...

But it wasn't enough to stop Sarkozy ! On the contrary, it stimulated him...

- "The better way to deal with the recent problems of EU institutions (as the "3 NO" by France, the Netherlands and Ireland) is to take them as a "Test" in order to find solutions closer to Citizens' concerns", said later in Strasbourg Sarkozy's new choice as Ministe for EU affairs, Bruno Le Maire.

- On the Institutional front, Sarkozy gave Time to the Irish to think about it, and stroke on December a deal including a New Referendum after the June 2009 EU Elections, in exchange of a promise to keep the rule of "one EU Commissioner for each EU Member Country", and some opt-outs on Defence and Fiscal EU policies, Abortion, etc. If the Irish get a "Yes" Majority, then the institutional package could be completed in 2010 or 2011 on the occasion of Croatia's probable EU accession.

He was accused in Strasbourg to upgrade EU Council and downgrade EU Commision, but he replied that "strong Political initiatives by EU Council reinforce also the more technical role of EU Commission, under the political-technical leadership of its President", all 3 "working together with EU Parliament".

- But, meanwhile, Sarkozy energetically spearheaded an Historic 1st Summit of EuroZone's 15 Heads of State and Government at EU's core, exceptionally enlarged to a partial participation of British Prime Minister Gordon Brown, on October 12 in Paris' Elysee palace, which started to tackle succesfully the growing world Financial crisis.

    It also paved the way for its endorsement by a subsequent Brussels' 27 EU Member States' gathering, before it all come to Washington's G-20 Summit. And "Europe was united, it asked for the 1st G-20 Summit, and it will also organise the next G-20 Summit on April in London", he observed.   

 But a Conference with EU, Russia, African and other Developing Countries, hosted in Strasbourg shortly after Washington G-20 Summit by the French EU Presidency, took a Resolution asking to enlarge participation to Global Economic Governance. Many found, indeed, illogic and unacceptable that f.ex. states as Turkey were given a seat at G-20 level, while all African Countries, and even the African Union itself, representing the greatest Continent on Earth, were excluded...

    Meanwhile, even USA''s "Paulson No 3" Plan, was, in fact, inspired by Europe's No 1 Plan", Sarkozy observed, largelly applauded by MEPs.

    And "Europe showed Solidarity" by mobilizing some 22 Billion credit for Hungary, 1,7 billion for Ukraine, as we do nowadays for Baltic States, etc., he added.

    The move on Economy was extended on December by an EU stimulus' plan totalling some 200 billion Euros, including 5 Billions released by EU Commission for big Projects, as well as various parallel National plans for Economic revival, (fex. 26 billions in France alone). They might appear limited, compared to USA President-elect Obama's reported plan to boost the American economy with 800 billion $, but at least succeded to overcome Europe's divisions for the first time on Economic governance, opening new horizons.

- The French President stressed even harder the unique role of an active EU Council's chairmanship, when he moved swiftly and efficiently, at the beginning of August, to succesfully stop War between Russia and Georgia, at the last minute, which threatened to bring Europe back to Cold War division.

"We (EU) also wanted to avoid a situation like in Bosnia, in the Past, when EU was absent, so that our American friends took their responsibilitues, and EU only followed", despite the fact that the conflict took place in Europe. Now, it was the EU who took its responsibilities".

A roadmap towards a new PanEuropean Security policy, before which all unilateral moves to place new Missiles (from USA or Russia) would be freezed, was proposed by Sarkozy after a meeting with Russian president Medvedev, at the eve of Washington DC's G-20 Summit.

Ukraine's "European" character was stressed at a Sarkozy - Jushenko Summit, September in Paris, while EU adopted on December an "Eastern policy", in which, "I'm convinced that our (EU's) future is to find with our Neighbours the conditions for Economic Development. Peace and Security, by explaining them that.. they must respect (Human Rights') Values, and adopt behaviors different from the Past", explained Sarkozy in Strasbourg.

Meanwhile, the "Union for the Mediterranean" was created, since July's Summit if 45 Heads of State and Government in Paris, as "an organisation for a permanent Dialogue, that we need", mainly in order to tackle the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, by bringing together, for the 1st time, Israelis and Arabs, where "Europe must be present, in order to avoid a frontal clash".

- "If Europe doesn't take its part for Peace in the Middle-East, nobody else will do that in our place", Sarkozy stressed.
    Meanwhile, other EU Agreements were brokered during the French EU Presidency on Immigration, (fex. common Asylum rules, etc), and Climat- Energy :

    - On Climat-Energy, the 2007 German EU Presidency had fixed a triple 20% aim for 2020 (20% renewable Energies, 20% reduction of CO2 emmission, 20% energy efficience/economies), and the 2008 French EU Presidecny realized that, making the necessary compromises in order to modernize EU's industry, but without throwing some former Central-Eastern European Countries into abrupt Economic break down risking "social explosion".

    - Defence-Security EU policy was mainly postponed for April 2009, since both German chancellor Merkel and French president Sarkozy want to strike a deal with the new American president Obama in Strasbourg's NATO Summit.

    However, with all these 4 unexpected Crisis diverting attention to other urgencies, People wil wonder now, what happened to the famous deal proposed by freshly-elected French President Sarkozy on Turkey's controversial EU bid, back on August 2007, to continue EU - Turkey negotiations, but on the double condition that core chapters, intrinsequally linked with EU Membership, will be excluded, and that a collective Reflexion and Debate on Europe's future would start before the end of 2008.

    It was meant to reply to the crucial question : What kind of Europe do we want in 10 or 20 Years from now : A large Market, or a Political Europe, with a popular identity ? In Sarkozy's thinking, presented in his 2 landmark speeches on Europe in Strasbourg, shortly before and after the 2007 Elections, (on February and July 2007), Turkey's controversial EU bid would be incompatible with the second choice.

    It's true that EU Commision's Chairman, Jose Barroso, (who had notoriously declared, as former Portuguese Prime Minister, that he found "nonsense" the idea that Europe might become equal to the US), had repeatedly tried to avoid that Sarkozy's criticism on Turkey might start winning a larger audience in Europe, preferring a discrete "wismens' committee" work. And that most of the personalities later chosen in order to participate in a Committee on Europe's Future, are too much linked with Socialist parties and/or American policies, to be really critical of USA's notorious wish to impose Turkey to the EU, as Sarkozy had noted himself since March 2007..

     - "It's on EU Council's presidency to take political initiatives. EU Commission has other competences", stressed Sarkozy. The "European Ideal" is to "build Europe with the States, not against them". "Ask Europeans to chose between their countries and Europe won't work. You don't choose between your two parents : We must add them together".

    "France and Germany have an Historic Duty to work together, precisely because of what happened to the Past. We have to work hand by hand. We cannot be separated.It goes beyond me and Mrs Merkel today, Mr Schroeder and Mr. Chirac yesterday. It's not a choice, it's a duty to Europe and to the World".  "We need Germany, as Germany needs Europe". Compromise is inevitable, here as everywhere, and each one made some steps towards eachother's positions.

    But "it's true that Mrs Merkel didn't chose her Socialist partners, while I chose mine", Sarkozy said, in an indirect hint that the Socialist Minister of Finance in Germany might be a cause of minor past disagreements in Economy, which were overcome in recent negotiations.

    "We (France and Germany) have particular duties in Europe", but "in a Europe of 27 Member States, it's not enough for France and Germany to agree between them.

    "I always thought that Great Britain has a special role to play in Europe. ... Now, everybody "saw what it cost payed the UK for having been too exclusively open towards the US (and) Financial services. Europe needs the UK, but also the UK needs Europe" :- "We were able to face the hardest moment of the Financial crisis because the UK clearly chose Europe", stressed Sarkozy, reminding Gordon Brown's exceptional participation to the Historic 1st Heads of State/Government Summit of EuroZone, October 12 in Paris (See EuroFora's Reportage from Elysee Palace then).

     - "Some look at Europe with old glasses aged 30 years ago. While we must look at her in relation to what it will be in 30 years" in the Future, Sarkozy concluded.


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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