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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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Speaking exclusively to "EuroFora", the New EU Parliament's President, former Polish Prime Minister, ChristianDemocrat/EPP MEP Jerzy Busek, welcomed proposals by EuroFora about innovative ways for EU Citizens to attend EU debates before important final decisions which affect people's lives.

- "We (EU Parliament) must be transparent", Buzek stressed from the outset.  "We must have clear answers also for delicate questions. If we don't touch a problem, you must know why, and when shall we decide in the nearest future".. "Because "we (EU) must think about Europeans, first of all : They don't understand well what is going on in the EU. So, it's our duty to inform them, to make discussions here more interesting".

"EuroFora" congratulated President Buzek for the anouncement he made, from the 1st day of his election in Strasbourg (on Tuesday, 14 July 2009), on his intention to make  transparent debates, exchanges of views, etc. before the final adoption of decisions in EU Parliament's Plenary, when issues are evolving inside Committees, (See earlier publication).

And we reminded, in this regard, that "EuroFora" has been advocating a project for EU Citizens' active involvement in pluralist EU debates before important EU decisions, since more than a Decade : 1997-2007+

- "Thank you. We (EU Parliament), indeed, have exciting debates", Buzek replied. But, in practice, "without a possibility for our Citizens to see them, not even by the Press, the Radio or TV, etc., because it is in Committees", he regreted.

- "But, they (i.e. Media, Citizens, etc) might interact with you, with MEPs, etc, May be we can imagine something", "EuroFora" proposed.

- "Yes, (but) it needs, a quite new idea", Buzed observed.

- "Why not through some innovations ?", "EuroFora" suggested.

- "Innovation ? That's it. Fantastic  New Information Technologies !", Buzek realized.

- "Precisely, "EuroFora" has such a project, since more than a Decade (1997-2009), to use new technologies for public debates before major EU decisions are taken", we reminded.

- "If you have such proposals, please come to us, come to us. We must" do something, agreed the new EU Parliamen's President.

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    This fits with Buzek's main stance, expressed at EU Parliament's plenary earlier this week in Strasbourg, that the European Union must succeed to overcome a "Crisis of Trust" vis a vis EU Citizens. (See previous EuroFora publication).

    For that purpose, obviously information and debates are valuable, but purely instrumental, procedural means which can help focus on, and highlight a substantial content, attractive to EU Citizens, which needs to be determined by other, political, and not mediatic factors.  

    Buzek spoke about the urgent need to overcome the Global Economic Crisis,  the struggle for Human and Civic Rights, Democracy, etc., the Eastern Partnership, links with Russia, strategic partnership with USA and emerging countries, etc.

    But he also used (while speaking both to "EuroFora" and other Media) the expression : "The Europeans", for EU Citizens. This points right towards what several important EU leaders (including French President Sarkozy, German Chancellor Merkel, etc) have started to highlight particularly during the recent years : That there is a vital need, and an historic opportunity, for the development of a European Conscience, to stimulate e renaissance of a European Identity able to attract Popular support, for the EU to become a strong player in a Multopolar World : In other words, the revitalisation of a project for a "Political Europe".

    By a coincidence, this was indirectly but surely reminded, earlier in Strasbourg, by another ... Busek (this time with a "s") : 

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    Speaking to more than 650 participants from CoE's member countries, at the conclusion of the 2009 Summer University of its Political Schools, Erhard Busek, (with an "s"), former vice-Chancellor of Austria and EU Coordinator for South-Eastern Europe, pointed at the current need to revitalize Europe's "Identity", forged by Greek philosophy and Roman Law, Christian values and Enlightment's ideas, etc. through the ages.     

- "We have almost the same name with Jerzy Buzek (EU Parliament's new President, who is a former Polish Prime Minister), because both our Families come ...from  the same village, located at the Heart of Europe, which was often shared between Poland, Germany and the Czech Republic. But my family emmigrated a long time ago to Austria, while Jerzy Buzek's family remained in Poland", explained f. vice-Chancellor Erhard Busek to "EuroFora".   

 An astonishingly concrete and simple example of European Integration from the grassroots : Starting by EU Citizens, i.e. those "Europeans", that EU Parliament's new President, Jerzy Buzek (this time with a "z"), wants to bring alongside MEP's decision-making proces, (according to "EuroFora"'s main idea : Comp. supra)...

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