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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

Автор 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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    EU Rapporteur on Enlargment Strategy, maistream German MEP Elmar Brok, speaking to "EuroFora", welcomed the proposal made earlier this week by French President Nicolas Sarkozy for the EU to"start Now Talks with Turkey to create a common Economic and Security area", instead of full Accession, at a period when Ankara looks more and more unfit and/or unwilling to respect EU conditions.

    - "For Europe to have strong Political will, it must stop dilutiing itself in an endless Enlargement. It must have borders...Diversities enrich, on the condition that they don't undermine European Cohesion, and don't weaken EU Unity", Sarkozy stressed.
    
    - "Countries like Turkey share a part of common destiny with Europe, with which they have a vocation to build a Privileged Relation, to be closely associated, but not to become Member of the EU"  : "Noone respects his friends by telling them lies. Noone respects his friends by making them promises that will be never kept", he added.

    That's why "we'd better start, from now, negotiating with Turkey to create a common Economic and Security area", Sarkozy proposed.

Significantly, the French President was repeatedly and largely applauded by EU citizens, 3 times, when he made the Turkey point, (strategically placed between Europe's "Political Will" and its cultural heritage, historically open to mutually enriching dialogue with all the World, but never diluted).

    - "We could propose such a great ambition also to Russia, which must not be percieved as an Adversary of Europe, but as a Partner. Thus, we'd create a wide area, of more than 800 Million inhabitants, sharing the same Security, the same Prosperity", he concluded.

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    Sarkozy's move was anounced at the eve of a Franco-German Top meeting with Chancellor Angie Merkel in Berlin on Sunday, to jointly launch the EU Elections campain, after an EU Summit at nearby Prague, to launch a new kind of relations, called "Eastern Partnership", with neighboring countries such as Urkaine, Belarus, Moldova, Georgia, Armenia, Azerbaidjan, etc, (to which Russia, reportedly, is not - and does not want to be - included).

    As for Ukraine, which has already expressed her wish to join the EU in future, "Kiev will have a special place, and a very important role to play", replied earlier this week in Strasbourg, to an "EuroFora" question EU Chairman in office , Czech vice-Prime Minister Alexander Vodra.

    - "This direction is more Realistic for Turkey than Accession negotiations", reacted immediately EU Parliament's Rapporteur for Enlargment Strategy, mainstream German MEP Elmar Brok, commenting Sarkozy's idea for "EuroFora"

     Particularly "as far as it concerns the respect of EU Rules by both sides", he added, hinting at Turkey's now obvious inability and/or unwillingness to abide with EU Acquis, EU Commitments (fex. on Cyprus, etc), and European Democracy/Human Rights rules. (Comp. infra).

    Brok added that, in his view, a similar proposal might be made also to Ukraine and other neighbouring Countries, regardless if they have, or not, a "European vocation". This would not necessarily mean that there couldn't be any accession prospects at all." for all the countries that might be included in this area, according to Brok.  But it's preferable, particularly for Turkey, "because it's a more Realistic approach than full Membership".

    On this point, Sarkozy's proposal, (which he'll share with German Chancellor Merkel), seems more crystal-clear.

daul_in_press_file_400

    - "Turkey does not fullfil EU Criteria, and will never fullfil EU Criteria" on Human Rights, Democracy and Rule of Law. "Some have been lying to Ankara, but we must tell the Truth, and have honest and close relations with her", said meanwhile to "EuroFora" on the same issue also the President of EU Parliament's largest Group of MEPs (ChristianDemocrats/EPP), Joseph Daul.
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"Hot" Debate at EU Parliament reveals CHANGE of mood towards "Suspension" of EU - Tukey talks.
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    Earlier this week, many MEPs, and even some of those who were previously in favor of Turkey's controversial EU bid, strongly criticized the persistance and even aggravation of serious Human Rights violations in the country, that ECHR continues to "unanimously" condemn ":

      - "After winning a big victory in the latest Local Elections, the pro-Kurdish party DTP almost doubled its Elected Mayors from 52 to 98", but afterwards "more than 400 politicians were thrown to Prison and prosecuted" by the Turkish Authorities, denounced on behalf of the ChristianDemocrat/EPP Group, Belgian MEP Frieda Brepoels.

     At the same time, "more than 1.500 Children are closed in Turkish Prisons", she added. "What will the EU Commission do" against these facts ?

- "Turkey appears to be at greater Distance away from Copenhagen Criteria after 4 Years of accession Negotiations, than when they started !", denounced on behalf of the Liberal Group, German MEP Alexander Lambsdorf.    

"On the central issue of Press Freedom, Critical Journalists face obstacles for their accreditation, others are prosecuted, condemned, fined and/or jailed, Media blocked or closed", he denounced.   

 - "EU Made 2 grave Mistakes with Turkey : To start accession negotiations, and to continue them", despite everything, criticized Dutch MEP Bastian Belder, on behalf of the Ind/Dem group.

(../..)

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