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Home arrow newsitems arrow CoE Director+Ministers' Chair to EF for a Common Legal Space on Mediterranean States:Areas+Exchanges

CoE Director+Ministers' Chair to EF for a Common Legal Space on Mediterranean States:Areas+Exchanges

Written by ACM
Tuesday, 18 September 2018

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*Strasbourg/CoE/Angelo Marcopolo/- Both the EU and CoE's PanEuropean Organisation marked a joint wish to deal with South Mediterranean Countries by sending 2 Political Heavy-Weights in Today's Conference at Strasbourg for the Launch of a 3rd Phase, for the Period of 2018-2020, of their Programme for sustainable Democratic Governance and Human Rights in Southern Mediterranean, (known as "South III". For the Previous Phase II, See "Eurofora"s NewsReport http://www.eurofora.net/newsflashes/news/eucoesouthmediterraneanprogram2.html) :

 

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- Experienced CoE's deputy Secretary General, Gabriella Battaini-Dragoni from Italy, (as CoE's SG Thornbjorn Jagland was Visiting Greece, another Mediterranean Country, which prepares to soon Host on October 2018 a "North/South Center" event, destinated to an even Larger Circle of 3rd Countries Neighbouring Europe), Focused, from the outset, on the Strategic Aim to Help "Build a Common Legal Space".


- Well known former EU Commissioner, f. vice-Prime Minister and Foreign Minister of Bulgaria (recently EU Chair for the 1st Half of 2018), Meglena Kuneva, revealed that this was her "1st Event" in her New role as EU (28 Member States' strong) Ambassador to the PanEuropean CoE (47 Member States strong, including Russia, etc), Confirmed EU's Will to "Continue" to "Support", in a "Sustainable" way, such "Cooperations" as a (Regional) "Bridge" towards a Better "Global Governance".


EU provides up to 90% of the Funding, (the rest 10% comming from the CoE), while CoE "Welcomes" the interested Southern Mediterranean Coutries to its extensive and manifold set of "Legal Conventions" in various fields, where, as CoE's Director for Information Society and Action against Crime, Jan Kleijssen from Austria (current EU Chair for the Period of July - December 2018) noted, in Addition to about 12 CoE's Legal Conventions already Signed by such Countries, anOther 12 Conventions are Open and Ready for Signature in the foreseable Future.

 

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It's a Fact that even CoE's and EU's Historic Enlargment towards Central-Eastern European Countries, (including Russia for the CoE, towards the End of the 20th Century, Followed by an Extension of the EU to 28 Member States from the Beginning of the 21st Century), had been notoriously Prepared through a Previous Signature, Ratification and Participation of those Countries to CoE's "Cultural" Convention, initially.


Such Moves allow to "Anchor" Better Relations/Cooperation, Now Heading mainly towards a more "Multilateral Cooperation", stressed Battaini-Dragoni, while also Inviting Representatives of Southern Meiterranean Countries to Express their own "Views for Future Cooperation", Ensuring them of an Open "Dialogue".

 

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(ECHR in Arab Language)


Thus, among others, f.ex., even if some really wished, inside CoE, to promote this time particularly a CoE's Convention known as "Istanbul" Treaty, against Violence on Women and inside Homes, (Hotly Supported by Out-Going former Turkish MEP Gülsün Bilgehan), nevertheless, other Participants observed also that more than 17 CoE's Member States have Not yet Ratified that particular Text, in Addition to the Fact that "Noone among the 3rd, Non-European Countries, hasn't even SIgned that".


Summing-up, in Conclusion, the Number 1 CoE's Senior Official in charge of these matters too, Verena Taylor, the PanEuropean Organisation's Director General of Programmes, pointed at a Will of "Flexibility" during "Sud III" (i.e. between 2018-2020), aiming mainly to "Reply to Calls" from the Willing Countries, preferably in a "Regional" Context.

 
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+ And, Speaking afterwards with "Eurofora", Verena Taylor Confirmed, as CoE's Programmes' competent Director, that, eve if there is, currently as wish to propose that Istanbul Convention, nevertheless, Strasbourg's PanEuropean Organisation would be Ready to Use Also a Great Variety of Manifold Other Key Legal Conventions, open to 3rd Countries, during the Period to come, (Comp. Supra). She didn't go as far as to explicitly suggest that they might also be "Tailor-made", but her Smile have an Impression that it might not be so far away from such an eventually "Flexible" approach, (Comp. Supra).


++ Furthermore, this Key point of overall Strategy was also Supported, and even Concretely ReInforced, with several Particular Mentions of Various Real Examples, by the President of CoE's Ministers' "EX" Group, in charge of External Relations, Ambassador Katrin Kivi, from Estonia, speaking, later-on, with "Eurofora" :

 

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- Among others, f.ex., it's also on Helping to Fight against "Cyber-Crime", on Protecting "Personal Data", (where CoE intends to Launch a ReNovated Legal Convention, in Agreement with the EU, during its Parliamentary Assembly's Plenary Session of October 2018 in Strasbourg), as well as in Preventing "Radicalisation", Fighting against Terrorism, but also Elections, Constitutions, Anti-Corruption Measures, Reform of the Judiciary, etc, Added also Ambassador Kivi to "Eurofora", in a purely Indicative, but suggesting way.

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* Concerning the Prestigious "Venice Commission", CoE's Top Legal Experts' body for Democracy and Human Rights through mainly Constitutional Law, its Experienced Director, Thomas Markert from Germany, speaking to "Eurofora", observed, f.ex., the Interesting Fact that, particularly with Tunisia, Morocco and Jordany, but also Other South Mediterranean Countries, CoE has Efficiently Cooperated, inter alia, also in the Creation of several "Independent Authorities" in various Key Sectors, probably because, inter alia, they did not wish for an Instable Parliament to eventually Dominate all Social Life in their Countries, but Preferred to have a More Resilient Civil Society build around Stable Values and elementary Democratic Pluralism, Markert practically highlighted.

 

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Moreover, a Young Morocco Expert on Audio-Visual affairs, Amine Elbouazzaoui Haca, told "Eurofora" that Rabat was already Participating inside Strasbourg-based CoE's PanEuropean Audio-Visual Observatory, (a "Hit" nowadays particularly for V.O.D. in its Annual Press Conference at Cannes' International Festival). Indeed, how could it be Otherwise for the Country of World-Famous "Casablanca" Hollywood Film, starring the Historic legends of Humphrey Bogart with Lawren Bacall ?...


But Verena Taylor's "Dialogue" (Comp. Supra) went sometimes "Spicy", particularly when a Tunisian Expert Imed Hazgui, President of the (Independent) Authority for Access to Information, launched a Friendly Challenge to the Experienced President of CoE's "Venice Commission" (Comp. Supra), Gianni Buquicchio, by Claiming that the Tunisian Constitution of 2014 and subsequent Legislation would have Developed "Better Legal Standards" Citizens' "Access to Information" and/or "Participation" to Public Authorities Decisions-Making !


Surprizingly, President Buquicchio did Not Deny that, and, on the Contrary, spoke, as a matter of General Principle, in favor of "Sharing" the Best Legal Standards accross North and South Mediterranean Countries...

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"Eurofora" subsequently Spoke with President Hazgui on that Key Point for Citizens nowadays, and we reminded him, inter alia, also the Fact that, when that New Tunisian Constitution of 2014 was still being Prepared on 2012, We had raised a relevant Question, in a Press Conference at the CoE in Strasbourg, to the Head of Tunisia's Constituent Assembly, Ben Jafaar, precisely about eventual Innovations concerning Citizens' Participation to the Decision-Making process by Pubic Authorities, and Jafaar had, indeed, Replied Carefuly but Positively, at least in principle, without Excluding that "the Genius of the (Tunisian) Revolution might", perhaps, succeed to Deal also with that, (See : http://www.eurofora.net/newsflashes/news/tunisianrevolutionideasondemocracy.html).


Indeed, the Article of the 2014 Tunisian Constition which enshrines a Citizens' Right to Acces to Information, Transparency, etc, makes it clear that this aims to Help Develop Citizens' Participation to the Decision-making process, more Widely observed President Hazgui, among others, replying to "Eurofora" on that point. [NDLR : The Rest is a Legal Analysis' Comparison Study].  


- "Knowledge Transfert" between the Northern and Southern Mediterranean Countries "is Not Uni-Directional", indeed, pointed, in this and various other similar regards, the Head and an Expert of EU Commission's DG NEAR, Ingrid Schwaiger and Anne Tuna, (both from Austria, the current EU President for 7-12/2018), as a matter of General Principle.


Amin Haca (Comp. Supra) told "Eurofora" that a Web Network of various Legal "Regulations" accross the Mediterranean Sea Countries contains, in principle, various such Legal Standards used at the North and/or South, (as one of the remnants, probably, of the 2008 Attempt to create a "Mediterranean Union", on the occasion of the French Presidency of the EU, then : Comp. relevant "Eurofora"s NewsReports from the relevant Heads of State/Summit, then, in Paris' "Grand Palais", f.ex., at: .., etc).  

 
Concerning Today's EU/CoE Programme of "SUD III" for 2018-2020, such a GeoPolitical Area is due to Bring Together around Nine (9) Entities from the "Southern" side, such as : Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia, Lybia, Egypt, Israel, Palestinian Authority, Lebanon and Jordan, said earlier to "Eurofora" CoE's Head of Programming Department, Pilar Morales Fernandez-Shaw.


In this Wider Framework, it's, f.ex., also the Interesting Experience and "Know-How" of Morocco in the Figght against Radicalisation, which could be Usefull for most Other Participants, she pointed out. And the Interests but also the Ingenuity of various Southern Mediterranean Countries, as well as the "Flexibility" of EU/CoE's "SUD" Programs have f.ex. Created even a "Cyber-SUD" specifique Project, etc., Pilar Morales -Shaw told "Eurofora". 

Meanwhile, inter alia, it was announced that the Foreign Minister of Tunisia will visit CoE's Assembly in Strasbourg at the beginning of October 2018. 

This coincides with the Opening for Signature of CoE's new, Revised Convention for the Protection of Personal Data, (Agreed with the EU), mainly throughout Digital Technologies, (Comp. Supra).

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                   

(../..)


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3 EU Parliament votes to boost EuroGroup !

---------------------------------

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 ?

-------------------

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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