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Inicio arrow newsitems arrow ECHR President Raimondi to EF on Discretionary Power: Decision-Making proces(Dialogue State-Citizen?

ECHR President Raimondi to EF on Discretionary Power: Decision-Making proces(Dialogue State-Citizen?

Escrito por ACM
25.01.18

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*Strasbourg/ECHR/Angelo Marcopolo/- Replying to an "Eurofora"s Question at the Annual Press Conference of ECHR, its experienced President, Guido Raimondi from Italy, explained that the PanEuropean Court of Strasbourg "is Developing" quite wide possibilities for Judicial Control of Public Authorities' Discretionary Power, in order to Prevent eventual Abuse vis a vis Citizens, inter alia, also by imposign the Respect of a Number of Rules, concerning the Decision-Making process of any Public Administration, (f.ex., Prior Information of affected Citizens, Contradictory Procedure, Sufficient and Correct Motivation of Decisions, etc), i.e. in a way quite similar to an elementary Dialogue between States and Citizens Before Taking Important Decisions which Affect their Lives and/or Society at large, as "Eurofora"s Wider Project and Views support since a long time.


Such ECHR's moves (that President Raimondi analyzed here in a Crystal-clear way) coincide also with Both relevant EU Developments, particularly since Lisbon Treaty, as well as with even more Recent COE's PanEuropean Legal Space's own developments, as "Eurofora" has already Highlighted recently, (See, f.ex.: http://www.eurofora.net/newsflashes/news/coeruleoflawchecklistandeuroforaproject.html, etc).


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- In our Question, "Eurofora" started by pointing at the Fact that : -"A Few Months ago, in Strasbourg, CoE's Parliamentary Assembly endorsed a Measure adopted by the Venice Commission, (supported also by the Congress of Local/Regional Authorities of Europe : CLRAE), which concerns a General Mechanism, for All (COE's 47) Member Countries, about the relations between Citizens and Public Authorities, in order to Prevent Risks of Abuse of Discretionary Power."


- "I.e. when a State can Decide Whatever they like, in the Substance of the matter, But has to Respect a Series of (Decision-Making Process') Rules, that we know also in Adminstrative Law : As, f.ex., to Inform the Persons involved, to Hear them Before it Decides, to present a Motivation that is Sufficient, (Legally and Factaully) Correct, etc", we explained in this regard.  

 

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 - "Obviously, it's Not Directly and Explicitly Linked with some ECHR Articles. But, according to your Experience, is there Something - or there Might be Something, Hopefully - inside the PanEuropean Mechanism for Human Rights, - as there are some Similar things in EU Law, after Lisbon Treaty (EIF : 2010) - which Could Develop, in the foreseable Future, a kind of Guarantee against Abuse of Discretionary Power ?", "Eurofora" asked ECHR President Raimondi.


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- ECHR's President reacted Positively, as he said, - "On your Interesting Question, concerning (Public Authorities') Discretionary Power, and possible Control by our (PanEuropean) Court :"


- "This is an Interesting Question, especialy Because the Range of (Public) Administrative activities, and the Role of the State in the Social Life, Developed and Increased, across the board, in CoE's 47 Member States, in Recent Years", Raimondi observed from the outset.


 - "But we (ECHR) have Developed a quite Rich Jurisprudence on that Issue : "


 - Even if, as "You Know, UnLike of Article 47 of (EU's) Charter of Fundamental Rights, which Covers All sorts of Jurisdiction (i.e. also Administrators, and Not only Judges), Our (CoE's) corresponding Provision in the (PanEuropean) Convention (on Human Rights), i.e. Article 6, (which is) Providing Guarantees of "Fair Trial", does Not Apply to All Forms of Jurisdictional Proceedings".


 - "So, in order to Trigger the Protection of Article 6, you Need Either a writer Obligation of a Civil Rights, or an Accusation in Criminal matters. Of course, these 2 Noions are developed Autonomously by the Case-Law of ECHR",  (which, therefore, can have a Wider Scope of Action, if it wishes so : See Infra).


=> "In this connection, the activity of the Public Administration may Fall Within he Scope of Application of Article 6 : Either Because a Civil Right is at Stake , either because what is considered as an Administrative Action in the National Law, is considered, in the Autonomous Evaluation of ECHR, (Comp. Supra), as a <<Criminal Sanction>>, which Triggers the Protection of Article 6".


 - "Of course, it's a Delicate Question, Because we are confronted with the Theory of Separation of Powers. So, we (ECHR) Require that, when Article 6 Applies, the Judge has to have what we call "Full Jurisdiction". But this has to be understood with Caution, when it comes to the Control of Activities of the Public Administration", he warned. "Because of the (Constitutional) Principle of Separation of Powers".


 - "We (ECHR) have developed a Rich Jurisprudence on this : I'd say, the Most Important Case in this direction is "Sigma TV against Cyprus", that you may know", President Raimondi indicated.


 - "And there are a Number of Principles, which have been developed, in this connection : One of them, is, for instance, that, if the Judicial Body, which is called upon to Review judicially the Behavior of the Public Administration, has Not the Power to Assess the Facts, and canNot Rely on an Independent Assessment of the Facts, that is, for instance, a Problem, in the context of Article 6 !", he pointed out. "And this is one the Examples".


 - "So, the (ECHR's relevant) Jurisprudence is, Already, Rich, and it is Developing".


 - F.ex., "there is a Case which is Pending : Ramos Nunas v. Portugal", which will be Delivered in the Forhcoming Months, by the Court, and may provide some Further Clarification on that Issue", he Announced in fine.

 

+ As for a Comparison with the relevant EU Law, the presence of ECJ's President, Tomorrow in Strasbourg, at the Official Opening of the New Judicial Year of 2018, (on the occasion of which, is organized a Timely Seminaire focused on "the Authority of Judicial Power" : Comp. Supra), might be very Interesting, potentially, in this regard too. ECHR and ECJ have indeed, Recenly developed a very close Cooperation, President Raimondi stressed earlier Today.

 

 

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Facing a 70% Abstention threat in 2009 Election, EU endorses EuroFora's idea for Citizens' debates on crucial EU decisions !

- Different views on "Europe's Future", should be debated among Citizens at June 2009 EU Elections, thanks to political Parties' "Manifestos", says EU Parliament's Report


                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                               
A main idea, initiated and promoted by EuroFora's founders since 1997: the vital need to develop European Citizens' democratic right to actively participate in multilingual debates on EU decisions, is formally endorsed by the EU from 2009 !

The move is a key attempt to overcome "catastrophic" Polls which warn that only ...30% of Citizens are ready to vote in the forthcoming June 2009 EU Election !  This was revealed by EU Commission's vice-president, in charge of Communication policy, Margot Wallstrom, during a "hot" meeting of EU Parliament's Committee on Culture and Education, during the December 2008 Strasbourg session.

Wallstrom faced criticism, but also suggestions from various MEPs, naturally worried by Abstention threats which herself found even "worse" than in 1999 or 2004...

A Report on "Active Dialogue with Citizens",examined at the same time, presented some useful practical tips, on "facilitating Interviews"; etc., but also a  potentialy important call to "incorporate the conclusions of ...debates...into (EU) policies, and take into consideration the expectations that Citizens have of the EU when deciding". An amendment even implies that Citizens' participation in debates on EU decisions is a democratic "Right".

More importantly, it finds that  a Debate "on the Future of Europe", (as French President Nicolas Sarkozy has asked since 2007), would be a good idea " for the 2009 European parliamentary Elections", because "clarifying the political differences between the EU political parties would help citizens to identify themselves with, and choose between various concepts", for which "all parties (should) present their Manifesto".

A "Joint political declaration on Communicating Europe in Partnership", co-signed by "the European Parliament, Council and ... Commission", confirms that they "attach the utmost importance to improving communication on EU issues", by "enabling European citizens to exercise their right to participate in the democratic life of the Union, in which decisions are taken as openly as possible and as closely as possible to the citizens, observing the principles of pluralism, participation, openness and transparency".

This should "enable Citizens to exercise their right to express their views and to participate actively in the public Debate on European Union issues", while also "promoting the respect of multilingualism". In this regard, EU confirms its "wish to develop synergies with national, regional and local authorities as well as with representatives of Civil Society".

    It's since 1997 that a group of EuroFora's founders have officially presented a pioneer Project (then called "EIW", for "Europe in the World"), which aimed to develop Strasbourg's "Polyphonic music", by providing "Interactive information", on "main issues ... during the Decision-making process of European Organizations which engage in Transparent and Public Democratic Debates"

    This should be done, inter alia, by "exploring the potential of New Communication Tools (mainly Internet)", as well as classic-form debates, the 1997 EIW pioneer project's anounced in its "Synopsis". It was formally "accepted for evaluation" by EU Commission in Brussels in order to be examined for a grant in the framework of the "Research/Technology/Development (RTD) Programme in the field of Information Technologies", then called "ESPRIT", as a "Best Practice Pilot Project".

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        But the vital, urgent Political need for EU to search new, efficient ways to reach the People and interact with European Citizens, was really felt in Brussels and elsewhere only after the unprecedented in History 1999 and 2004 Majority Abstention in EU Elections, followed by 3 "NO" in Referenda in France, the Netherlands and Ireland, on 2005 and 2008...
    In this New Political Landscape, we prepared a new, actualised and more developed version of our initial idea, in a simplified and more efficient form, thanks also to a large Experience accumulated during many years of EU/CoE/UNO Press work and Multi-lingual debates, with the New project "EuroFora" :

    On 2006 we presented in Public its main lines during Questions/Replies that we raised at two Press Conferences by EU Commission President, Jose Baroso, and mainly EU Commission's vice-President, in charge of Communication policy, Margot Wallstrom, together with EU Parliament's vice-president, Alejo Vidal-Quadras, in Strasbourg, (Videos available), and we reminded it at various brief contacts with Commissioner Wallstrom in 2007 and 2008.

    Meanwhile, a new Text was also presented for "EuroFora" Project mainly to certain Political and other personalities, at European, National or Regional/Local level, mainly in 2007, but also in 2008..

    Now, after the unexpected 2008 Irish "NO", and before the 2009 EU Elections, which are due to be of exceptionally crucial importance for Europe's Future, the moment has obviously come to launch that project, progressively, but in real practice.

    Whoever really cares for Europe and its Citizens is welcome to join, in one way or another. Only anti-European, anti-democratic, obscure or ignorant groups might oppose or attempt to "steal" and deviate the main idea.

    But European Citizens, incited by enlightened political leaders, are those who will finally write the real History.

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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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