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Home arrow newsitems arrow CoE Governance Head Mollari to EF:"e"-Democracy Ready to Boost Citizens Participation since Pandemic

CoE Governance Head Mollari to EF:"e"-Democracy Ready to Boost Citizens Participation since Pandemic

Written by ACM
Friday, 08 May 2020

 

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*Strasbourg/Angelo Marcopolo/- Replying to a relevant "Eurofora"s Question, the President a.i. of CoE's prestigious PanEuropean Committee on Democracy and Governance, Markku Mollari, from Finland, announced, in substance, that Digital "E"-Democracy is practically Ready, Nowadays, to Help Boost Citizens Participation to Public Decision-Making, (along the main lines of "Eurofora"s Project), particularly since the current Pandemic Virus' Crisis.

- And he did Not Exclude, a priori, that this may, "Later"-on, even "Lead" also to a "Hard Law", throughout CoE's 47 Member Countries, (See Infra).

Significantly, he said that in the Context of a landmark CoE's International Conference on civil Participation in Decision-Making, where "Eurofora" had been Invited to take an active part, by CoE's Presidency by Georgia, (November 2019-May 2020, shortly before Greece takes over, Later this Month, for the Period of May - November 2020, followed by Germany). Initially Scheduled for the Beginning of March in Strasbourg, this was the 1st CoE's International Conference obliged to be Postponed sine die, because of the Deadly Virus' Crisis, But it Resumed Nowadays, precisely in the Form of a Digital Web-Conference...

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- "Eurofora" had practically Asked President Markku Mollari :

(A) "WHEN" he expected that a Link between "e-Democracy" and "civil Participation" might be Developed by the CoE, as he had Highlighted Earlier (See Infra), and Whether he "could ... be ... Explicit about its Content".


(B) "IF" he thought that, even an eventually "Soft Law" (f.ex. in the Form of a CoE's "Recommendation"), might, eventually, Become, Later-on, "at least Partially, also "Hard Law", f.ex. via National Judges' Case-Law, Legislators, Administrative Practice, etc., perhaps Coordinated by ECHR".

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- (A) "Thank you. To Answer the 1st Part of Your Question, the Guidelines on E-Democracy  ...have Already been approved by the (CoE's) Committee on Democracy and Governance...", its President sharply replied to "Eurofora".

- But, at least for the Time being, this has been done "in the Form of a Toolkit", and just "in Substance",  Not Yet "in their Final Version", as he pointed out.

=> In Consequence, "they Will be (Definitively and Completely) Approved", once Finalized, "in the (CoE) Committee's Next Plenary meeting", which is due, "most Likely", to be organized around this "Summer" 2020, (i.e. during the InComing Greek CoE's Presidency of May-November 2020), he Carefully Announced.  

+ In Fact, these New (2020) CoE's "Guidelines" have a Solid "Base" "on Recommendation CM/Rec(2009)1 of the Committee of Ministers (CoE's Highest Political Body) to member States, on Electronic (e)-Democracy", Markku Mollari reminded. Which is  "the 1st International Legal Instrument to set Standards in the field of E-Democracy" in the World, already 15 Years Earlier...

+ Concerning their Content (Comp. Supra), "in Line with the Focus on Multi-Level governance of the (CoE's) Committee on Democracy and Governance" in general, these New (2020) "Guidelines seek to provide Authorities at All Levels, with concrete Examples of Policies, Measures and Mechanisms that can contribute to  EnRiching a Democratic Culture and Strengthening Democratic Practices and institutions, at National, Regional and Local level", he added.

++ Moreover, "these (New, 2020 CoE's) Guidelines are addressed to the Broad Range of Stakeholders, such as Public Authorities and their representatives, Political" organisations, "Individuals (Citizens), NGOs, and Civil Society at large, including Media, and the Business community", he specified. This is "In Line with the Consistent Approach Used by the CoE in the area of Democracy" in general.

+++ The, ("Currently Finalized"), "Documents include (also)  Mechanisms related to e-Participation, e-Petitions and e-Referendums", he revealed Earlier, (but withOut going into Concrete Details).

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(B) "With regards to Your 2nd Question, (Comp. Supra), these "Soft" Tools are meant to be Practical, and Helpful – they should be relatively Easy to apply... We intended for the many Examples in the document from various countries to act as an Inspiration - to apply them as Appropriate, share Ideas and get new ones", President Mollari Replied to "Eurofora".

- This goes "Even in Difficult circumstances", he Stressed.

+ However, At the Moment, he felt that "it is Too Early (sic !) to say Whether these will Lead to any “Hard Law”", (But withOut Excluding Anything, a priori)...

=> "That should be Evaluated Later", he Wisely Concluded, Replying to Our Ultime Query (Comp. Supra), in a way which Left the Future Open !

Topicaly,, CoE's Democracy/Governance Committee's President Markku Mollari from Finland, said that to "Eurofora", Just 1 Month Before the next EU Heads of State/Government Summit, on Mid-June, which is due to Deal also with the Forthcoming Exceptional "Conference on Europe's Future" (2020-2021+), where EU Citizens' Participation to Public Decision-Making is Notoriously at the Focus...

- At any case, it's a Fact that, "in the Present Day – no less during our current Health Emergency –", "one canNot discuss civil Participation  withOut referring to anOther Theme, closely followed by the European (EU+CoE) community: e-Democracy", righfully Mollari Stressed Earlier.

- Because "Digital tools and Technologies can, and should, Support Democratic processes, by providing increased Access to political Decision-making, and enabling Citizens to Participate in the public Debate, in New Ways" he underlined.

=> That's why, "the good cooperation between New Tools (Internet) and Traditional tools of Participation, is the Key to building better Trust ...between different levels of Government and the wider civil Society", "Reflecting the Centrality of this topic for the present and future of Democratic practice".

At a Moment when the In-coming CoE's Greek Presidency, later this Month, (May-November 2020) seems reportedly due to Focus, precisely, on such Digital Tools, Both in order to ByPass Problems raised by the Virus' Crisis, and in order to Boost a Public Democratic Debate with Citizens on core Human Rights, Democracy and Rule of Law during Pandemics, while, at the Same Time, also the EU Leaders prepare an Exceptional 2020-2021 Conference on "Europe's Future", due to Focus also on EU Citizens' Participation to the Decision-making, the above-mentioned Key Observations of PanEuropean CoE's "Democracy and Governance" Committee's experienced President, are certainly of key Topical Interest.

 

(../..)

 

("Draft-News")

 

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3 EU Parliament votes to boost EuroGroup !

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After EuroZone Paris Summit's succes, Sarkozy calls to "think anew how to re-construct Europe !

"EuroZone and EU Institutional debates pave the way to 2009 discussions on EU Future, including Enlargment, Turkey etc. ?


23 October 2008

After EU Parliament strongly suppported in 3 successive Votes this week in Strasbourg French EU Chairmanship's move to boost Euro-Group at EU's core, while ideas on EU Institutional problems are awaited on December, "it's an open Question now" if this may lead to a debate on EU's Future, or not, told us French President, Nicolas Sarkozy''s Spokesman, Pierre-Jerome Henin.

MEPs voted on Thursday fresh Funds to support EuroGroup, after adopting on Wednesday a Resolution asking a "further Evolution" to "the 1st ever meeting of Heads of State and of Government of the Euro-Zone, taking decisions in that capacity", while earlier this week a Report asked "a stronger Institutional setting" for "EuroGroup", extended from "competitiveness/industry" to "environment, employment and education", with "increased powers for Political decision-making", according to a text drafted by French MEP Francoise Beres and German MEP Werner Langen, "10 Years after the creation of Euro" (1999 - 2009).

- Brussels' subsequent "EU Council ..(simply)..ratified the measures decided by EuroGroup on October 12" in Paris, which "were necessary to contain the current Financial Crisis", Resolution observes, expressing also support to the new process succesfully initiated by Sarkozy and due to be completed by agreements with USA and other countries at a Global level.

From now on, it's between two differend but parallel moves : EU's delay, and EuroZone's acceleration, that Enlargement and particularly Turkey's controversial EU bid, will have to search its way :

Indeed, EU's 27 expect a "Roadmap on how to deal with the Irish problem" on Lisbon Treaty ratification after December, risking to pass even 2009 Elections and next Commission with the old Nice Treaty of 2000, out-dated and unfit even for 2004's Enlargement...

On the contrary, EU's core launches a real "Economic Governance for EuroZone at the highest level of Heads of State/Government" of the 15, which started in Paris on October 12 and was strongly supported this week in Strasbourg by Sarkozy and EU Parliament.
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- "It's a good idea, to launch such a debate ("on EU's Future") in EU Parliament in view of 2009 Euro-Election : Perhaps some MEPs will seize an opportunity", told us mainstream French MEP Alain Lamassoure, former EU Minister and EU Spokesman for France's governing party UMP.

- "All MEPs' debates on such EU Councils are also part of the larger debate on Europe's future : Now with EuroZone, and even more when, on December, Irish Prime Minister is due to table proposals in Strasbourg on how to deal with EU Treaty's ratification", replied earlier to our question EU Parliament's Press Director and Spokesman, Jaume Duch.
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Sarkozy has formally anounced his intention to open EU Debates on Economy, Identity/Enlargement (i.e. mainly Turkey), etc. both linked to a popular Political view of Europe, since his Historic speeches on EU in Strasbourg, on February and July 2007, when he stressed that "Europe needs a New Renaissance". At the beginning of the French EU Presidency, on July 2008, replying to a MEP, he suggested that EU Parliament takes an active part in Debates on EU's Future.

- Now, in 2008, "Crisis are an opportunity to re-think how to re-construct Europe", Sarkozy stressed. At any case, the Historic 1st EuroZone Summit of Heads of State/Government, which started replying to the Financial crisis,"is a Turning Point : After that, Europe cannot be governed as before, but differently" : People "like a Europe with Strong Will".

- "We must make the System move !", "Europe needs Innovation" and free political debates. EU "Elections are in a few Months", Sarkozy warned.

He invited EU Parliament to fully play its role as "the Democratic Heart of the Europe we want : United, Independent and Voluntarist, because the World needs Europe's voice".

- "It's no more possible for Euro-Zone to continue without an Economic Government" at the Highest Level of Heads of State/Government, who provide "Democratic Legitimity" and can take important decisions, he announced, strongly supported by EU Parliament's Economic Committee which just voted to boost the "Institutional" aspects of "EuroGroup".

Plasticity offered by the current absence of a special Treaty on EuroZone's Institutions "made it easy to adapt the organization of the 1st Summit with imagination, to efficiently meet urgent needs", he observed, on the occasion of Brittish Prime Minister's exceptionnal presence at the greatest part of EuroGroup's Paris Summit.

- "In EuroZone we have the same Bank, the same Money, and, thus, a same duty for Unity" : "By bringing together EuroGroup's 15 members States we suceeded to find a solution and prepare a Giant Plan of 1.800 Billion euros", Sarkozy reminded of Paris' 1st Historic EuroZone's Summit.

Afterwards, Brussels' EU Council followed the move, and USA's Paulson II Plan was inspired from that. "Europe must promote the idea of Global Economy's Refoundation", he stressed.

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- "I was frankly astonished when I found, at the EU, a rigid system, where any New Idea was seen from the outset as a sacrilege, while, on the contrary, Europe needs Innovation !", he described.

F.ex. ,"'When we first spoke about the "Union for the Mediterranean", it was misunderstood as something extraordinary.. When later we had the Russia -Georgia crisis, it seemed against EU's custom to act "in the middle of August", instead of staying a passive spectator ! And when, in front of the Financial ciris, we gathered the 1st EuroZone Summit of the "15", some thought of it as a lese-majesté", he denounced.
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On Geo-Political Principles :
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- But, by moving resolutely, "EU obtained the ...withdrawal of Occupation Troops in 2 Months !", reminded Sarkozy, observing that Russia "fulfilled its commitments", in the Georgian crisis, where a "disroportionate reaction" from Moscow followed a "totally inappropriate action" from Tbilisi's troops. "It would be crazy to reply by military means : EU should not become accomplice of another Cold War, imposed by lack of cool heads".. as he said.

In future, "the creation of a common European Economic Area with EU and Russia, would also obtain a raprochment on our Human Rights and Democratic Values", added Sarkozy, in a statement which should logically be applied, a fortiori, to controversial EU "candidate" Turkey..

Particularly when, the same week that EU Parliament voted 2009 EU Funds for Turkey's controversial EU bid, ECHR took a series of judgements condemning Turkey for grave Violations of Human Rights, such as : Torture, death of a political prisoner in unclear circumstances followed by failure to conduct a proper Investigation, "enforced Disappearance" of a youngster aged 17, Killing of a sepherd with Tank Shells, persecuting Journalists for articles on "Missing" People, even a former President of Human Rights' Association, (etc)

- "We (EU) can defend our ideas on respect of Sovereignity and territorial Integrity, on Human Rights and other differences ... without confrontation", Sarkozy stressed, on the occasion of Russian/Georgian conflict, reminding that : "we were only 2 steps from catastroph", when a Peace agreement brokered in Moscow prevented, at the last minute, Russian troops' advance towards Tbilisi.

An EU Parliament Resolution adopted Wednesday in Strasbourg on the occasion of Russia - Georgia conflict, outlines a set of Principle which apply elsewhere too, (particularly when EU Rapporteur for Russia and Turkey is one and same person ; Dutch MEP Ria Oomen-Ruijtanen !)

Clearly rejecting any "military solution to the conflicts", MEPs "condemn ..all those who resorted to force and violence". They denounce a "disproportionate military action", "as well as (an) unilateral decision to recognise the independence" of brekaway regions, "calling.. to respect the sovereignty and territorial integrity" of the concerned country, "and the inviolability of its borders recognised by all EU Member States". They warn that "EU must review its policy towards" a 3rd Country, "should .(it)...not comply with its commitments", and "stress that the withdrawal of.... troops from the areas ....is an essential additional step".

EU Parliament "calls for the safe and quick return of refugees, (accepted by Russian President Medvedev) accompanied by the deployment of EU observers on the ground", and "regrets ...that ..EU Monitoring Mission (EUMM) is not allowed to enter the ...breakaway regions". Moreover, "It's important to ensure that persons and NGOs ..engaged in defending human and civil rights can operate". "Until ...all remaining issues (are) resolved..., and notably the continuing ...Military presence", "relations with the EU ..cannot be fully normalised", MEPS warned.

As nobody likes to be accused to practice "Double Standards", this should be regarded as "Principles" applicable to any Third Country at EU's Neighborhood.. No ?

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On Economy :

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- "When Financial crisis shook US and EU's Banks, without result from the 1st (American) Paulsen plan, it was the common reply of the 1st EuroZone's Summit, involving some 1800 Billion euros, which started a positive move in the markets, soon strengthened by the follow-up of the US Paulson 2 Plan, noted Sarkozy.

- "Europe should not be only on the defensive, but, if necessary, know also how to take an offensive", he said, brushing away hesitationsto act on Economy: - "I'm for a refondation of Capitaliism, but against Speculators, who betray its values" : "Lack of Rules was profitable to speculators, Not to businessmen !" We must make sure to prevent any such crisis in future". "We, the rest of the World, cannot continue to bear the deficits of the 1st World power without saying anything !", the French President said, applauded by EU Parliament. All this needs "a New Global Governance", on which EU Parliament must debate. That's why "we proposed together with USA, several Summits from mid-November", to which G-8, enlarged to China, India a.o. countries, should participate. UNO's SG; Ban Ki Moon, the IMF, etc.

Financial crisis lowered shares' prices even for healthy companies, sometimes to 1/3 of their initial price, so that strangers might buy EU industries for only a portion of their real value, and Europeans may wake up one day with their main industries sold out to foreigners !

That's one of the reasons for which EU should debate about creating "Golden Shares" for States to jointly take Strategic participations to help European Industries until the end of the Crisis, particularly against distording competition, he suggested, pointing at USA's 35 billion $ plan for American Car Industry."We shall struggle for Europe to be able to build Airplanes, Ships, Trains, Cars, because we need a strong Industry", he concluded.

"F.ex. as we did back in 2004, when as Finance Minister, we bought Alsthom's shares for 800.000 euros, and, after restructuring, we sold them for 2 Millions : Help a company and make money is not so bad"...

As for the UK, "when Ireland announced that it would guarantee only Irish Banks, London City emptied from liquidities in 24 hours : It's the EU which helped to restore the situation, Not the UK alone !", reminded Sarkozy to nationalist British MEP Nigel Farage.

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On the contrary, in a last-minute attempt for the EU to catch-up with its Institutional delay "before the European Elections" of June 2009, MEPs simply voted a call for a "set of proposals" to be made for the "Irish public opinion" at the end of the year...

- "As long as Lisbon Treaty is not ratified by all 27 EU Member States, there is an unanimous decision to stop Enlargement, reminded Wednesday in Strasbourg the French Minister for EU affairs, Jean-Pierre Jouyet..

Added to an indirect but clear warning that, without Lisbon Treaty, all 27 EU Member Countries may not have a Commissioner in the 2009 resuffle, MEPS in the Constitutional/Foreign affairs Committees applauded hoping that this might motivate their Irish friends..

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