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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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Fillon invites EU to invent "New Horizons" behind Oil crisis

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geothermal_plant_400_01Soultz-under-Forests, June 13, 2008

A pioneer Franco-German research project on GeoThermy, near Strasbourg, served as "Symbol" of EU's will to become Independent on Energy by developing innovative Technologies, while imported Oil prices threaten to provoke a World-wide crisis.

It's essential to demonstrate Europe's will to "invent New Horizons", by creating Environment-friendly, Independent and Renewable Energy sources, while price rises continue for Oil, a polluting old ressource with insufficient stocks, stressed French Prime Minister Francois Fillon, anouncing that this will be a focus during the forthcoming French EU Presidency (July - December 2008).

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Fillon symbolically injected a 1st KWh produced by GeoThermy into Strasbourg's Electricity grid, during a special gathering of German and French officials at Soultz-under-Forests ("Soultz-sous-Forêts"), using a geothermal innovation which is "the most advanced in the World" :

The innovation uses Strasbourg's underground water richness to capture Heat, by injecting liquid among Rocks 5 km deep, where temperature is 200 c. Thus, it can be activated at any moment and location, even without natural warm water springs : A big advantage compared to old biothermal tools.

Engineers, Scientists and the Industry will have 2 Years to invent practical ways for this innovation to become productive and cost-efficient in real Economy, said Fillon.

115 Millions of Euros invested, 15 Research Labos, 430 Scientific Publications including 34 Doctoral PhD, and a systematic cooperation between French and German Governments and Public Agencies on Research, succeeded to prove that the new method works.

Already able to serve Electricity to a village with 1.500 inhabitants, the pioneer project intends to reach a capacity to serve 20.000 inhabitants before 2015, as part of a larger Plan to make all Renewable Energy Resources (together with Wind, Solar, etc) able to cover more than 23% of all Electricity needs before 2020.

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- In fact, "behind the challenge" faced with the current Oil crisis, there "is a New Horizon that we can shape all together", by "creating New Tools for the Future", Fillon launched towards EU Member States.

Meanwhile, we should intensify Energy Savings, simplify Transports, and help the Poorest cope with growing Oil prices, until EU joins a World-wide lead into inventing reliable and sufficient Renewable Energy Sources, he added.

Many, technologic and other Challenges exist, but they can be overcome : F. ex. the new GeoThermic method tested at Shoultz since 1987, had provoked an Earthquake at a nearby site, close to Bale, by injecting big volumes of pressurized Water in underground broken Rocks near a Seismic Faultline in 2003. But the move was rectified later-on, by diminishing the amount and pressure of the water injected in underground rocks, so that no Earthquake is provoked.

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geothermy_map heat_data

More than 1 Billion Euros are invested by France on Scientific and Technologic Research about Sustainable Development until 2012, aiming to take a 10 years advance, there where innovation can become source of Growth, Competitivity and Jobs, which, according to some evaluations could reach more than 220.000 before 2020, Fillon observed.

During the forthcoming French EU Presidency, together with our German friends, we shall do all necessary efforts for Europe's World-wide lead against Global Warming, thanks to Energy tools able to ensure its Independence, Growth, and Citizens' well-being, he concluded.

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The "Enhanced Geothermal System" (EGS) stems from pioneer research initiated by teams from France, Germany and Italy, joined also by Swiss, the U.K., and Sweden, even U.S. and Japan, since the 90ies.

In 1996, a European Economic Interest Group (GEIE) was founded, in order to exploit Electricity-produsing Heat from deep underground Rocks, including France's EDF and Germany's PfalzWerke.

In 2002, a Pilot scientific project started to be tested in Soultz-under-Forests, 50 kms north of Strasbourg.

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