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Home arrow newsitems arrow EU Commission vice-President Sefcovic to EuroFora: Citizens Initiative to revitalize Decision making

EU Commission vice-President Sefcovic to EuroFora: Citizens Initiative to revitalize Decision making

Written by ACM
Tuesday, 22 May 2012
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*Strasbourg/EU Parliament/Angelo Marcopolo/- Particularly after EU Parliament adopted, today, a brand new procedure for Public Hearings by the competent Committees on EU Citizens' Initiatives, the recent entry into force of this big innovation of EU Lisbon Treaty could bring Changes able to revitalize the EU Decision making process, replied in substance EU Commission's vice-President Sefcovic to "EuroFora's questions, welcoming the move, during and after a Press Conference organized by the prestigious French High-level Civil Servants' School of State and EU Governance "ENA", together with Strasbourg University and the German Federal School on Administrative Science from nearby Karlsrhue, gathered together in a grouping for "Public Administration in Europe" (PEAP), headed by the experienced long-time Manager of several Key, Big Public and Private Entities, Dr. Weber, invited in EU Parliament by mainstream ChristianDemocrat/EPP MEP Santiago Fisas Ayxelo.

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    - "EuroFora" observed that, "by a coincidence, today EU Parliament has just adopted an Essential Innovation in the New EU Mechanism of EU "Citizens' Initiative, as agreed with EU Commission, consisting in a possibility to add also a Public Hearing", of representatives of the People involved, "by an EU Parliament's Committee",  as it had been initially suggested by "EuroFora", particularly in an INTW with EU Rapporteur on Citizens' Rights, former Minister and current Budgets Commitee's Chairman, French ChristianDemocrat/EPP MEP, Alain Lamassoure, and already discussed earlier with EU Commission's vice-President Maros Sefcovic himself (Comp, f.ex., our Questions and Replies received at a previous, key Press Conference : See : therelevant "EuroFora"s NewsReport : ... ). + -"Do you think that it would be useful if Top European Governance Education bodies or Universities, as f.ex. the ENA, etc. were associated, in one way or another, to these new type of Hearings, which are due to become more and more Frequent, and eventually to hold most of them during EU Parliament's Plenary sesssions in Strasbourg ?", we suggested in addition..                                                          

- "Thank you for that Question, because EU Citizens Initiatives are something New which, I believe, can bring a Civic mobilization , but also Democratic movements, while we see, around us, also what can be done by mobilizing Citizens f.ex. through Social Media and can be actively motivated by the issues of Internet Liberty", started to reply to "EuroFora"s question Sefcovic, from a wider point of view.


=> "I think that all that is a proof that EU Citizens should be included in the Debates of Important Political Decisions from the start of Negotiations, as well as that we (EU) must better Explain our Policies, not only by the classical means, but also by using f.ex. Social Media (at the Internet), etc", EU Commission's vice-President went on to add, almost endorsing a main Idea suggested many times earlier by "EuroFora".

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    + "That's why I believe that EU Citizens' Initiative will Democratize the traditional way of Decision-making in Europe, and that New Level of Participative Democracy will ameliorate the way that the Representative Democracy works", he optimistically pointed out.


    => "I'm sure that, when we shall revise this new tool, in 2 or 3 Years, we shall need some Serious Studies, with profound Expertise on this issue, that f.ex. ENA, the Universites and other participants in the PEAP, as well as several other similar actors, will certainly have studied carefully", having a very useful role to play, Sefcovic positively reacted to a part of "EuroFora"s suggestion (Comp. supra).


    For the time being, "as you know, we (EU Commission) have already registed 6 or 7 such EU Citizens' Initiatives, up to now, and we have received more than 10. So, this has really started, and we shall see how it will evolve during the following years", he noted.

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+ Meanwhile, "I am  glad of the Agreement that we (EU Commission) made with EU Parliament on these Hearings by MEPs, because, even if the competent EU Commissioner, or his assistants, will Receive beforehand the organizers of such EU Citizens' Initiatives, nevertheless, it is important that they can be heard also by a collective, politically pluralist body destinated to work regularly with EU Citizens as the EU Parliament, observed later-on EU Commission's vice-President Sefcovic, speaking anew to "EuroFora" after the Press Conference.
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- The Questions raised are, in susbtance, whether the way that EU Citizens' Initiatives might develop in Future, could affect the way that European Governance and public administrations, Civil Servants, etc., are actually working, observed earlier on "EuroFora"s question also PEAP's President Dr. Weber, who underlined previously the relevant fact that PEAP's object of study and research is "the Public Administration which works at the interface between Political Decisions and Citizens".

+ Meanwhile, it's significant of progressively developing EU Integration that even ENA itself is evolving into a  MultiNational, European Governance School, with French, German, Spanish and other EU Countries components, observed mainstream MEP Ayxelo of Spain.                                                                 

 

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(NDLR : "DraftNews", as already sent earlier to "EuroFora"s Subscribers/Donors. A more accurate, full  Final Version is due asap).

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Swedish Foreign Minister, Carl Bildt, speaking  to "EuroFora", denied rumors on Turkey's attempts to avoid an EU check of its obligations on Cyprus on December 2009 by blackmailing Nicosia to either accept any deal with intransigeant Turkish claims contrary to EU values on the island's political issue, or face threats against the territorial integriy of the EU island, semi-occupied by Ankara's army.

On the contrary, the incoming EU President-in-office, speaking exclusively to "EuroFora", promissed that he will act for EU Council's decisions on December 2009 assessment of Turkey's commitments on Cyprus to be kept.


    Bildt was asked to react to Cyprus' President Christofias' denunciation, earlier this week, that some want to exert "pressure" on Cyprus in order for Turkey to escape from its obligations.

    Avoiding to mention any precise Deadline, Bildt, however, warned about "Consequences" in case of "failure" to reunite Cyprus, but without saying whose responsibility an eventual deadlock might be.  

 Asked by "EuroFora" if there is a risk for "Turkey's commitments to "be forgotten or downgraded", "despite crystal-clear EU Council decisions and EU Parliament's latest Resolution on the assessment to make at the end of this year on Turkey's obligations", according to rumours that, instead of pressing Turkey, on the contrary, there might be "pressure on Cyprus", even "blackmail", as Media reported and President Christofias denounced this week, Bildt denied :

- "No ! ", he clearly replied.


- On the contrary, invited by "EuroFora", to "reassure that the Swedish EU Presidency (7-12/2009) will keep a fair stance, based on principles",  Bildt promised that "we (Swedish EU Presidency) will be very clear on all of the decisions taken by the (EU) Council".

He added, however, that "we have very numerous decisions that have been taken" by EU Council, as if he warned, also, on something else.

- "'I am not aware of any sort of statements coming out today''", Bildt started to say, on our reference to Cyprus' President Christofias" denunciation of Turkish lobby's manoeuvers this week, replying earlier to 'another"EuroFora"'s question during a Press Conference at EU Parliament in Strasbourg.


 - '"I know the issues that you' are concerned with'", he added, remembering  the statements he gave us when Sweden was chairing the PanEuropean CoE on 2008.

- "But, obviously, .. I think that Cyprus' Peace negotiations are extremenly important".

- And "'I think that we are at a unique moment in History, in the sens that both (Cyprus') President Christofias and Mr. Talat (the Turkish Cypriot leader), are personally convinced of the need to overcome the division".

 - "It's 20 Years since the fall of Berlin Wal, but we still have a Capital in Europe (Nicosia) that's divided". ,

- 'I don't that we should loose any time in overcoming that"..

 - ''We should be aware of the fact that success will bring great benefits, but failure, will also have major consequences. There will not be Status Quo' " It's a question of seeking a solution, or entering another situation, which is somewhat difficult to see exactly how that could evolve", he warned.

- "That being said, this is a negotiation for Cyprus itself", Bildt admitted.

 - ''We (EU) can support, the (EU) Commission primarily, be technically helpful, and then, of course, there is a specific role for the UN, when it comes to the Cyprus' situation".  

- "At least so far. It might not be for ever'. Certainly not for ever, but for this period of time", Bildt added, skiping now any reference to concrete threats on UNO's Peace keeping force in face of more than 40.000 Ankara's soldiers, contrary to some Press claims, (See previous NewsReports).


     Replying to another "EuroFora"'s Question,  if anyone might attempt to "impose a Deadline for the conclusion" of Cyprus' Talks on December 2009, Bildt avoided to speak of any precise Time-frame, and indirectly evoked the fact that  35 Years of Turkish Invasion/Occupation obviously durated too long :

'- "If I was from Cyprus, I would say that the Deadline was Yesterday ! '",
Bildt concluded.

Cyprus' Government Spokesman, Stephanou, reportedly pointed out that "a settlement is possible on December if Turkey changes its stance", accepting a solution for the reunification of the island based on UNO resolutiona and EU principles.

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Earlier, EU Chair, Swedish Prime Minister Fredrik Reinfeld, highlighted an "historic opportunity" to "re-Unite" Cyprus according to EU's "basic Values"' (i.e. Human Rights) and 'Rules'", in a last-minute change of his draft speech to EU Parliament in Strasbourg.

    The initial Draft spoke only about "healing" the island.

    Significantly, Reinfeldt linked Cyprus' reunification with Turkey's obligations to respect EU's "Values" and "follow" EU's "common Rules" :

    - What is "called Membership Negotiations" should lead, "at- the end of the day", into "sharing a set of common Basic Values (i.e. Human Rights, Democracy, etc), and following common Rules", stressed Reinfeld from the outset.
    
    - "This is something that those on the Outside (of the EU), are now  contemplating", up "to Ankara", for "a solution" on "Cyprus", observed the EU Chairman, immediately afterwards..  

    - "Both sides of Cyprus have been granted a historic opportunity to together reach an agreement on a solution to re-Unite the island, that has been divided for far too long", said Reinfeldt, modifying his draft text.


-  "The Swedish Presidency will act ...in accordance with Commitments EU has made, on the basis of Criteria that apply", "as a Honest Broker", he promised.    

- "To those on the inside (of the EU), allowing the membership process to become an opportunity to solve protracted disputes, can be tempting", he added.


    "In such cases, we must find solutions that can benefit both sides, and open up a way forward. Otherwise, it would jeopardize the progress we have made towards EU integration", Reinfeldt said.

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