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Αρχική arrow newsitems arrow EU Commission V.President Katainen to EF for "closer" cooperation with China on Space High-Tech +

EU Commission V.President Katainen to EF for "closer" cooperation with China on Space High-Tech +

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Tuesday, 12 March 2019
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*Strasbourg/EU Parliament/Angelo Marcopolo/- EU Commission's vice-President, Jurki Katainen, former Prime Minister of Finland (current CoE President), speaking to "Eurofora" on the occasion of his presentation, at a Press Conference, of the Conclusions of EU Commission's Collective Meeting, Today in Strasbourg, on "Reviewing Relations with China", including a "proposal for 10 Actions", in the run up to the EU - China Summit of early April 2019, expressed his interest for a "Closer Cooperation with China on Space" High-Tech, particularly in "certain areas" of shared interests, as he told us, in a brief but topical and exclusive interview, (which evoked also CyberSecurity topical issues : See Infra).

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- Observing that EU Commission's relevant Anouncement, presented earlier by Katainen, included, inter alia, also a call to "Deepen" EU's "Engagement with China", also "to promote Common Interests at Global level", as well as the Fact that; notoriously, China has Recently, being Moving quite fast into Developing several High-Tech Capabilities in Space, (including, f.ex., Landing at the Other Side of the Moon, where Europe, after the USA, has also anounced its wish to take part, as well as the eventual creation of a New International Space Station at Orbit, etc), "Eurofora" asked the vice-President of EU Commission whether he thinks that "there might be Interesting Perspectives in the Future, for Cooperation between China and the EU on Space ?"

- "Certainly !", immediately Replied Katainen from the outset, on this key point, positively.

- Indeed, "We (EU) can imagine a Closer Cooperation with China on Space", he explicitated.

- "EU is Investing Heavily on Space", EU Commission's vice-President reminded.

- "Especially to Private Companies and to (Scientific) Research".

- "So, it's Fundamental for Developping Future Technologies, Communication Technologies, etc."

+ "And also it's Fundamental in terms of Security", he added.

=> "Thus we (EU) are Working very Strongly this."

+ "And this is, by the way, an Area where (EU) Member States have indicated, very Clearly, that European Added Value is the greatest, because No Country Alone can Address these Challenges without cooperation with Other (EU) Member States".

- "But, in Certain Areas in Space Policy, we could imagine to Cooperate also with China", EU Commission's vice-President confirmed.

- "Because it must be Carefully Selected", he advised, (See also Infra).

 

Already in the recent Past, China had announced its willingness to co-Fund and join EU's Satellite Navigation System "Galileo" for more than 200 Millions €uros, as Early as since a 2006 Visit of EU Parliament's competent Rapporteur, German ChristianDemocrat/EPP MEP Brigitte Langenhagen at a meeting co-organized by the "International Space University" and "Eurofora"'s co-Founder in Strasbourg. But, when "Galileo" was somewhat Delayed, Beijing was pushed to launch its own Satellite Navigation System, "Beidou", in parallel, (See, f.ex. : http://www.eurofora.net/newsflashes/news/shanghai.html, etc). When Antonio Tajani (currently EU Parliament's President) became the competent EU Commissioner for Space and re-Launched "Galileo" after 2010, (See: http://www.eurofora.net/newsflashes/news/tajaniindustrygalileo.html , etc), it was too late for that cooperation, since China had, meanwhile, moved ahead, alone...

On anOther concrete Point, Katainen did not specifically mention now China's recent succesfull landing at the Other side of the Moon, neither ESA's plan to reach Mars together with Russia, nor USA's new President Don Trump's landmark decision to give NASA a Huge Budget for Space Exploration (2019+), where ambitious Moon/Mars plans are at the focus, with Europe willing to participate (etc), as ESA has reportedly just declared its will to advance towards the Moon, etc. But this normaly is part and parcell of overall Space Policies.

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+ Concerning, particularly, CyberSecurity Issues, the EU Commission's vice-President diplomatically eluded a straitforward answer to another "Eurofora"s Question, which Compared the current, 2019 situation, with that of October 2013's EU Summit in Brussels, (i.e. at the famous USA Whistleblower dissident "Snowden era", with revelations and concerns about a USA's Global Monitorig System), asking whether, Today, China's alleged position was considered to be Equivalent, or Not, and why, but Preferred to Carefully Focus on EU's General Policy in that area of growing importance, (which is also Part of EU's 10 Actions decided Today: See Infra):

- "It's very Difficult to Assess whether the Danger is Higher Now than before, (2019 compared to  : Comp. Supra), and Where the Potential Danger comes from. I doN't want to Blame any Country in particular", Katainen Carefully stressed from the outset, in his Reply to "Eurofora"s Question on CyberSecurity.

- "But, since what has being Happening during all those Leaks, and Cyber-Attacks against our (EU) Member States -for instance : Interferences of 3rd Parties to our Electoral processes or Referendas, etc.- We (EU) have Deepened our Cooperation in CyberSecurity".

- "This is again an area where European Added Value is Great, because Any Country, no matter how Big, how Strong it might be, (in fact) it's Too Small to Address such Issues : We've seen that to hape even in the USA", he referred. "So, both (EU) Member States and EU Commission have been trading for Better CyberSecurity Systems, and this is going to be a Priority also for the Next (EU) Commission too (2019-2024), he foresaw for the Future.

Concerning EU - China Strategic Cooperation, a Document released by EU Commission Today, during Katainen's Press Conference (Comp. Supra), notes, about "Cooperaion in the Cyber area", that, during "EU-China Cyber TaskForce"'s "Annual" meetings, the two sides "exchange views" in "Areas" such as "Government", "Norms", "Confidence-Building Measures", etc.

Concerning the Overall trend of Today's "Review of Relations with China" by EU Commission's meeting Today in Strasbourg, on the sidelines of EU Parliament's Plenary Session of March A, 2019, EU's High Representative for Foreign Relations, Federica Mogherini, reportedy stressed that "China is a Strategic Partner of the EU. We pursue Strong, Bilateral and Multilateral Cooperation, on Files Where we Share Interests... And we are Willing to keep Engaging robustly, Where our Policies Differ or Compete". Thus, "we propose to Strengthen our Relations with China, in a Spirit of Mutual Respect".

+ "EU and China have Committed to a Comprehensive Strategic Partnership", reminds a Document presented at Katainen's Press Conference Today, which advises to "ReFine Europe's Approach, to be More Realistic, Assertive and Multi-Faceted".

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 Last, but not least, concerning anOther, particular but very Important, Topical Development on a Key Issue of BioEthics : the Recent Heritable Genetic Editing of 2 newborn Babies' Germline, Transmissible to Future Generations, reportedly made by a Chinese Doctor, Educated by, and Linked to USA Networks from the Barack Hussein Obama's era (Dems' "Socialists/Liberals" : See http://www.eurofora.net/newsflashes/news/heritablegenemaniptrumpxihumanity.html, etc), that China and USA Presidents Xi and Trump might have an opportunity to eventualy deal with on the occasion of their imminent Bilateral Summit about Trade a.o. matters, expected for Later this Month (See: http://www.eurofora.net/newsflashes/news/usachinaontradeandbioethics.html), and on which EU Parliament prepares a draft Resolution, after also a Recent Debate in Strasbourg where MEPs, Questioning EU Commission, urged for a "Global Ban", (See: http://www.eurofora.net/newsflashes/news/eppvpresidentandmepsongermlinemanipban.html), considering also that the Chinese Government explicitly Condemned such acts, as also did several (but not all) People in the USA, Europe, etc, while, already, CoE's PanEuropean Convention on Human Rights and BioMedicine Prohibits any attempts to artificially Alter the Human Germline,


- Katainen, Questioned Today by "Eurofora" about whether such a Serious and Dangerous Problem might be Discussed at the forthcoming EU - China Summit, scheduled for Early April 2019, after Carefully Hearing our Question,  Kindly excused himself for being de facto obliged to Decline to give a Reply Today, on this Exceptional point :


 - "I frankly don't know", and prefer "No to Comment" for the Time being, leaving that point "Open" for Now, as I "have not been informed" on that, "NOT YET !", concluded Carefully but Honestly, with a kind smile, EU Commission's vice-President, (who is personally in charge mainly of Economic Issues, but Not specifically BioEthics/Human Rights)...



eucom_vpresident_katainen__agg_in_fine_eurofora_400 

Nevertheless, that "Hot" and Topical BioEthical Issue, would, apparently, "Fit" Well with the Presentation made by Katainen at his above-mentioned Press Conference, at least on the level of "Principles", as also an Official EUCommisson's Document, distributed on this occasion, notes about EU's will, "Based on clearly defined ... Principles, (to) Deepen its Engagement with China to promote Common interests at Global level", and, particularly, to "Strengthen EU's Cooperation with China to meet Common Responsibilities accross the 3 Pillars of the United Nations: Human Rights, Peace and Security, and Development".

 

(../..)

 

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People in Europe and the World expect from CoE to make a succes of its "Monitoring" for Human Rights and Democracy, despite difficulties, said Finland's President Tarja Halonen to "EuroFora" at a crucial moment for the mecanism built 15 years ago by the paneuropean organization which celebrates its 60th Anniversary in 2009.

Halonen, known as "Mother" of CoE's "Monitoring" mecanism, a long-time MEP and former Foreign Minister before becoming Finland's President, holds a long experience in the mattter, after also serving twice as CoE and EU Chairwoman in the past. That's why she is well placed to judge how CoE's "monitoring" should deal today with some crucial issues of importance both to CoE and to the EU.

The move came just a Month before a crucial, last visit to Turkey, scheduled for June, by the President of CoE''s "Monitoring" Committee, Ukranian MEP Serge Holovaty, to finalize his Report on Ankara, the CoE Member State with the longest Monitoring procedure. From its results depends its overall credibility.

This is a Test-case, because, in fact, it's in order to avoid Sanctions threatened against Turkey by a CoE's Assembly's April 1995 Resolution for grave Human Rights violations, Democracy gaps, the continuing Military Occupation in Cyprus, the unresolved Kurdish problem, Aegean differend with Greece, etc., that MEPs decided to create, for the 1st time on April 1996, a "Monitoring" proces, allegedly destinated to check, without excluding Countries who did not fulfill all CoE's standards.

In the Past, the obliged withdrawal of Greece's Military regime and of its "Civil" cover-up out of the CoE had helped bring back Democracy in 1974. But, on the contrary, since April 1996, the idea was to "monitor" Human Rights' respect while keeping most concerned Countries inside the CoE. After Turkey's oldest example, this was extended also to several former "Eastern" European Countries, even if CoE's Assembly has imposed to some of them (fex. Ukraine, Russia, etc., after Belarus, Serbia, etc) various "Sanctions", that Ankara always avoided. Curiously more succesful even than .. USA itself, (a CoE "Observer" since 1995), which has been at least threatened with sanctions some years ago..

EU-effects of CoE's Monitoring process became obvious between 2001-2008, since the "closure" of this procedure, when CoE felt that a Country had met most of its Human Rights, Democracy and Rule of Law obligations, (i.e. the "Copenhagen Criteria" for the EU), helped trigger Negotiations with the EU for "Accession" or other closer relations : This occured already before the 2004 and 2007 EU Enlargements to former "Eastern" European Countries, as well as for the commencement of "accession" negotiations with Croatia, and of "open-ended" negotiations with Turkey in 2005.

    But a stricking new development are Holovaty's recent findings that on core Human Rights issues as Torture and Freedom of Expression, Turkey, even "5 Years after" CoE closed its "Monitoring", back in 2004, inciting EU to start accession Negotiations in 2005, still presents grave problems.

    His findings are of crucial importance after a 2008 CoE Resolution called, "if need be", to "seriously consider the possibility of Re-Opening the Monitoring procedure for Turkey" : A move which might affect Ankara's controversial EU bid, since EU Accession Negotiations are based on the Hypothesis that the Candidate fullfils the "Copenhagen Criteria" (See above)..
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    Holovaty expressed his will to check  "Matters still Outstanding" and  those that he "didn't have an opportunity to discuss" at an earlier visit this year, "in order to discuss the more complex issues in greater depth", at his forthcoming New Visit to Ankara, before the December 2009 EU Summit.  This is all based on the 2004 CoE Resolution which stresses that, CoE "will continue.. post-monitoring Dialogue with the Turkish authorities,...in addition to a 12-points list,..and on any Other Matter that might arise in connection with Turkey’s Obligations as a CoE member state".

    CoE's Resolution also asks  from Turkey "to secure the proper Implementation of Judgements, particularly in the Cyprus v. Turkey InterState case", of 2001, which concerns also the plight of many Hundreds of MISSING People. It adds Turkey's obligations to "execute" ECHR's Judgements in the Loizidou case,..and in particular adopt General Measures to avoid repetition or continuation of Violations found by the Court" to the detriment of Refugees.

    Nevertheless, Holovaty said to "EuroFora" that "MISSING" persons,"might be included" and cannot be excluded, but he has yet to examine the situation "to find out  which issues will be raised" to the Turkish Government.

    Therefore, "EuroFora" asked Halonen, as the Historic "Mother" of CoE's Monitoring mecanism, if she thought that, "whenever there are grave Human Rights Violations, as fex. "MISSING" persons, attested even by ECHR's judgements, they should be always checked by a Monitoring process. Or could they be forgotten ?"
    
     - "We (CoE) must be, at the same time, Fair, Realistic, but not in the mind that "now we have Forgotten", etc., replied to "EuroFora"'s question Halonen, speaking as a matter of general principle.

    - "When we think of those People that are suffering from the lack of Democracy, of Human Rights, and of the Rule of Law", "we should find a base on how to deal with the (Monitoring) system more rapidly"', she stressed.

    - "Sometimes it's very difficult to combine Transparency and Effectivenes together, particularly in this specific case", she went on to say. But, "I have not found a (CoE Member) Country who could be insensitive in this sens", Halonen answered concerning grave Human Rights violations attested by the ECHR.

    - "I have no ready-made answer. I have the expectations that you, in the CoE, will, step by step, find the different types of the monitoring systems."

    Also "because this is a part of the UN's Post-Conflict system, (fex. when it comes to Cyprus' MISSING persons), and it's a more Global system". So that, "If we make a succes in Europe, the others will follow", throughout the World.  "But they expect that we (Europe) are this opportunity, this Opportunity to make a Succes", Halonen concluded.

    In addition, she advised to extend CoE's Monitoring to all its 47 Member States, "because, as long as we hear that, all these monitoring systems are "OK for the neighbor, but not for me", "it's very difficult" to understand. Something which could make easier to Compare...

    Finnish MEP Jaako Laakso, former CoE Rapporteur on the Occupied Territories of Cyprus and one of the 5 Signatories of the Historic CoE's call to create the "MONITORING" mecanism since 1996, was more specific :  - "We (CoE Assembly) have to find a way for the issue of Cyprus' MISSING People to be better followed", he stressed, anouncing his intention to "speak to Mr. Holovaty" about that. "There might be also other ways", added Laakso.

    - The 2008 "Year had been a very Bad one for Turkey with regard to Human Rights in general, and Freedom of Expression in particular", denounced, meanwhile, Holovaty's preliminary Post-Monitoringh Draft Report by Holovaty, published by the CoE on April 2009.

    "Amnesty International believes that freedom of expression is not guaranteed given the various articles of the Criminal Code that restrict it. .. "For example, 1,300 Websites are said to have been closed down by the (Turkish) authorities in 2008" ! While "the new Turkish Criminal Code was used to bring a total of 1,072 proceedings between June 2005 and April 2008, and led to the conviction of 192 people", for expressing views. "Representatives of the Özgür Gündem newspaper, which specialises in Kurdish affairs, ..complained about Numerous Attacks on their Freedom of Expression ...as was everyone who advocated a settlement to the question by means other than the intervention of the army" "According to their figures, 19 Newspapers had been suspended 43 times between 4 August 2006 and 4 November 2008" !...

    Moreover, on 2008,  CoE's "Ministers adopted its 4rth Resolution on the execution of the judgments of the ECHR, ...and outstanding issues regarding 175 Judgements and decisions relating to Turkey delivered between 1996 and 2008...  concerning Deaths resulting from the excessive use of force by members of the Security forces, the failure to protect the right to life, the DIisappearance and/or death of individuals, Ill-Treatment and the Destruction of property". CoE's " Ministers urged the Turkish authorities ...to ensure that members of Security forces of all ranks can be prosecuted without administrative
authorisation" for "serious crimes". Holovaty reminded.

"Nonetheless", Holovaty heard anew of "Several cases of Violence committed last year (2008) by the (Turkish) security forces". Amnesty International speaks of Many Cases of ill-treatment and Torture in the prisons and by the police". "Including, fex."'the death of Engin Ceber, a young man of 29 who died on October 2008 as a result of the TORTURE allegedly inflicted on him by police officers, prison staff and members of the gendarmerie. He was part of a group of people arrested on September 2008 during a demonstration and Press Conference in Istanbul'. Proceedings against suspects are "on-going" in this case.

- " I therefore noted an Obvious Contradiction between the Government’s stated “zero tolerance” policy.... of Torture and other forms of ill-treatment, and the different testimonies given", denounced CoE's Rapporteur.  Turkish "authorities must make considerable efforts to guarantee that proper investigations are carried out into allegations of abuses by members of the security forces and that perpetrators are effectively punished" "In this respect, I have requested detailed Statistics on the number of Investigations, acquittals and convictions in cases involving allegations of abuse in order to show the positive impact of the measures taken to date", Holovaty said, repeating a permanently unsatisfied CoE's demand to Turkey since a Decade...

    - "The Political Crisis that shook the country in the spring of 2008 highlighted the Weaknesses of the (Turkish) Constitution", which comes from the Military regime of 1982, "and the Urgent Need of Reforms", stressed from the outset CoE's Rapporteur in 2009. In particular, "the ...Democratic functioning of state institutions, including the independence of the judicial system, are crucial", he observes.

    But, "the Electoral  system and the ways in which it is circumvented do not appear to give those elected complete Legitimacy, and tend to pervert the course of direct universal suffrage", denounces Holovaty, observing that, even 5 Years later, Turkey did not yet change the 10% nationwide Threshold for a party to take any seat, which is "far higher" than the "3%" maximum in Europe and already condemned as contrary to European Standards by the CoE.

    + Moreover, EU Parliament's 2009 Report on Turkey, drafted by Dutch MEP Ria Oomen-Ruijten and adopted in Strasbourg on March, expresses "Concern over the Failure of the (Turkish) Judiciary to prosecute cases of Torture and Ill-treatment, the Number of which is Growing". EU also "is concerned about continuing Hostility and Violence against Minorities" in Turkey. It also "calls on the Turkish Government to launch, as a matter of Priority, a Political Initiatve favouring a lasting Settlement of the Kurdish issue, (while "condemning violence.. and terrorist groups"). EU "regrets that No progress has been made on establishing full, systematic Civilian suprevisory functions over the (Turkish) Military".

    The final results of Holovaty's 2nd and last visit to Turkley will be known later this year, and, at any case, before EU's December 2009 Summit.

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