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Home arrow newsitems arrow EU+CoE after Turkey Refusal to Cooperate on ECHR:"Unacceptable"(Austrian Amb to EF),Funds,Judges,MPs

EU+CoE after Turkey Refusal to Cooperate on ECHR:"Unacceptable"(Austrian Amb to EF),Funds,Judges,MPs

Written by ACM
Friday, 05 October 2018





*Strasbourg/EU Parliament+CoE/Thursday+Friday/Angelo Marcopolo/- After Turkey's unprecedented Refusal to Cooperate for the Implementation of ECHR's Judgements on manifold Human Rights Violations in Cyprus, (See : ...), a move that CoE's Highest Political Body : its Committee of Ministers, "Deplored", and that EU President Austria's Ambassador/Permanent Representative to the CoE, Gerhard Jandl, speaking to "Eurofora", also strongly Criticized as "UnAcceptable", (See Infra), EU Parliament's Plenary decided to definitively "Cancel" a Part of Funds initially earmarked for Ankara, while the competent CoE's body Rejected a List of Turkish Judges Candidates for the ECHR, and CoE's PanEuropean Parliamentary Assembly (PACE) is due to Check, Next Week in Strasbourg, the Credentials of Turkish MEPs, regarding Conditions which are defined widely enough in order to eventually put Sanctions also in such cases, as PACE's Secretary General, Wojciech Sawicki, told "Eurofora", inter alia, possibly Start-Kicking a Growing SnowBall of various Repercussions, that might Evolve much further in the foreseable Future.


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- EU Parliament expresed "Concern" for a "Continuing Deterioration", "and for "Turkey's Further Drifting Away from European Values", nowadays, particularly concerning "Fundamental Rights and Freedoms", as well as "the Rule of Law", as it was stressed in a Resolution Adopted by a Big Majority of 544 MEPs, against Only 28, Earlier this week in Strasbourg's Plenary Session.


=> As a 1st Step, MEPs Definitively, "Fully Cancelled" Now 105 Millions € from Turkey's "Pre-Accession Aid", which had been initially "Frozen", in the execution of EU's Budget for 2018. Instead, EU Parliament prefered to Transfert such Funds mainly towards Africa, but also Syria, etc., in order to Help Face more Serious Needs, (f.ex. "along the Central Mediterranean Migratory Route", etc), according to a Resolution on an "Amending Budget", Drafted by ChristianDemocrat/EPP's mainstream MEP Siegfried Mureşan from Romania.


EU Council and Parliament had previously Agreed that the initially Frozen Amounts ("put in a Reserve"), would have been only Released IF Turkey made "Measurable sufficient Improvements in the Fields of Rule of Law, Democracy, Human Rights and Press Freedom". But, already, EU Commission's Annual Report on Turkey, from April 2018, confirmed Unequivocally a Backsliding of the rule of law, democracy and human rights", clearly revealing that "the Conditions" had "Not been met" for that, on the Contrary... (Comp. Supra).


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+ While it remains, still, to be seen what exactly will happen, on this point, with EU's New Budget for the Year of 2019, (whose Draft will be Soon Debated and Voted in Strasboug, starting from Later this Month : End of October 2018+),


 it's, However, true, that the main Bulk of EU Money for Turkey now comes from a much Bigger Amount of + 3 Billions € in full Grants per Year, that Ankara had Obtained since 2015 after a notorious Blackmail exerted on the EU via that 2015-2016 UnPrecedented Big "Tsunami" of more than 1,5 Millions of Mass Asylum Seekers/Irregular Migrants, which was Suddenly thrown into the EU, through Turkey's Borders to EU Member Greece.


Even if consistent UNHCR and IMO Data clearly prove that, in fact, that "Tsunami" started to be Stoped by the Closure of Borders at Victor Orban's Hungary, which rapidly incited also Other European Countries accross the Western Balkans Route, to Close also their own Borders, in order not to be Trapped in the Middle of such Huge Population Movements, (See : ..., etc), nevertheless, EU continues to Pay Turkey, Despite the Fact that it does Not really meet its Commitments in full, not even there, since, Nowadays, even more Mass Irregular Migration towards EU Member Greece continues, and Returns are Not Really working well.

 

Moreover, an Interesting Amendment tabled by MEPs who asked for "a proper (EU) Monitoring mechanism" to be Established on Turkey "in order "to Identify the correct Allocation of Funds", just slightly missed, now, a Majority for only 13 out of 656 MEPs (sic !), Dividing EU Parliament in 2 almost Equal Parts... Already, EU's Court of Auditors and EU Parliament's Budget Control Comittee (COCOBU) had Earlier Criticized the Lack of Clarity and Transparency in the way that Turkish Officials were handling EU Funds in the Past.


As for Turkey's current Financial Needs, they apparently seem Growing recently, inter alia, given also the Latest Sharp Fall of the Turkish Lira, added to a High Inflation, several Downgradings of Ankara's Debt credit by International Rating Companies, and IMF's apparent Reluctance to continue Funding Turkey, (something that its Economy Minister has already Excluded since August), etc.


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But, while EU's main Attention on Mass Irregular Migration is curently moving towards Africa, Turkey's recent Behavior at the CoE (Comp. Supra) has just Opened a New Front of UnPrecedented Problems for Europe :

 

- Thus, given also the Obvious Dangers for the PanEuropean Mechanism of Human Rights' Protection, if Other Countries started to more or less imitate Turkey in its Recent Blunt Refusal to Cooperate with CoE's Highest Political Body (its Committee of Ministers) for the Implementation of ECHR's Judgments on the numerous landmark cases of Human Rights massive and continuing Violations in Cyprus' Occupied Teritories by Ankara's Foreign Military Troops, the current Austrian Presidency of the EU (July - December 2018) Started to react :


- "This is UnAcceptable, of course !", clearly Denounced the EU Austrian Presidency's representative inside the CoE, (and, therefore, Head of the Majority Group of 28 EU Member Countries amonga Total of 47 Member States'  of the CoE), new Ambassador/Permanent Representative to the CoE, Gerhard Jandl, speaking to "Eurofora" Yesterday in EU Parliament, on the occasion of another Collective Meeting there.


- In fact, the Turkish Delegation had even ...Deserted its Desk, during CoE's Ministers recent Debate on Human Rights Violations in Cyprus by Turkey, condemned in several ECHR's Judgements, Refusing to Speak to anyone, Neither to Reply to Questions raised by CoE's Top Body...


- Exerting an obvious, blunt Blackmail, Ankara's Government, in fact, Refused to Cooperate with the CoE for the Implementation of ECHR's Judgements which have notoriously Condemned Turkey for Massive and Continuing Violations of Human Rights of Greek Cypriot Refugees/Displaced persons and "Missing" People, since the 1974 Military Invasion/Occupation of the Northern Territries of the Island, ...Demanding from the CoE to Definitively ...STOP its Efforts to Implement ECHR's Rulings on landmark Cases of Individual Applications by the Victims, (such as the World-Famous "Loizidou" case of a Woman Refugee/IDP, but even in Many Other Recent Individual Cases of ECHR's Judgements, such as "Xenides-Aresti", etc), even if ECHR's case-law has Not yet been fully respected in real practice !


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- Already, ECHR's President, Italian Judge Guido Raimondi, speaking Earlier to "Eurofora", regretted that, "indeed", all these Cyprus' Refugees/Displaced persons Cases "seem to be Blocked", as he had already Warned, while Turkey's explicit Threats had started to circulate in Strasboug after the Summer.
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=> It's in such an UnPrecedented Context, that, inter alia, Recently, CoE's Parliamentary Assembly's (PACE's) competent Commission Asked to Reject all 3 Turkish Candidates for a Job inside the ECHR in Strasbourg, in an Official Proposal due to be Debated and Voted by PACE's Plenary Session Next Week in Strasbourg.


+ Most Important : CoE's Assembly is due to Examine and Decide on the Ratification, or Not, of the Credentials of All the National Delegation of Turkish MEPs, here Next Week, following the recent Parliamentary Elections in Turkey, PACE's Officials told Strasbourg Journalists, including "Eurofora", Today, Friday, during a CoE's Press-Briefing.


=> Replying to a relevant "Eurofora"s Question evoking Turkey, the Experienced CoE Assembly's Secretary General, Wojciech Sawicki, clearly stressed that PACE's Rules of Procedure use a sufficiently "Wide Wording", concerning the Conditions for which a Delegation's Credentials may be contested, including, inter alia, also, f.ex., a CoE's Member State's Commitment to Cooperate with the PACE's "Monitoring" Committee, and/or its Legal/Human Rights and Political Committees, on the Verification of its main Obligations, (etc).


+ In such a Context, it's not really a Surprize  PACE's Legal and Human Rights' Committee's forthcoming Hearing (Next Tuesday in Strasbourg) of a Top CoE's Legal Expert on the Key Issue of "the Implementation of ECHR's Judgements" Nowadays, in view of the Preparation of an Official CoE Report on that matter by former Long-Time Greek Foreign Minister and vice Prime Minister, Evangelos Venizelos, will be finally held ...Behind Closed Doors ("in camera"), i.e. withOut any presence of Independent Press, (as "Eurofora" was told....

+++ Meanwhile, PACE's SG, Sawicki, speaking afterwards to "Eurofora", with an Interogative mood, told us that, "Personaly, I have Not yet Heard something of that kind on Turkey", (i.e. on its MEPs' Credentials' contestation).


But it wasn't excluded that something relevant might occur, either Now (i.e. during Next Monday's PACE Plenary), or on January 2019...

+ Otherwise, in the Meantime, Turkey, paradoxicaly intends to keep All the Augmented MEPs' Posts in the PACE, which had been awarded by the CoE to Ankara when it had Promised to Pay a Higher Annual Financial Contribution to CoE's Annual Budget  equal to those of "Big Payers" (such as Germany, Russia, France, Italy, etc), Regardless of the Fact that, soon Afterwards, suddenly, the Turkish Government had anounced its decision to Stop Short of Paying such a Contribution, and Return Back to a Lower, Less Expensive version...


Some claimed (in Reply to Other Journalists' Questions) that this Recent Exceptional Augmentation of the Number of Turkish MEPs in the PACE would have No Relation with Ankara's earlier promise (Now Bellied) to become a "Big Payer" for the CoE. But it's also a Fact that Both Moves had been Initially Announced by the CoE at the Same Time ...

 

(../..)

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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".

eiw_project_eu_program_esprit_ds_1997.._400

        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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