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Inicio arrow newsitems arrow EUParliament Votes EU External Border-Guard:+Towards Endorsing Greece Neighbouring Countries Checks?

EUParliament Votes EU External Border-Guard:+Towards Endorsing Greece Neighbouring Countries Checks?

Escrito por ACM
06.07.16
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*Strasbourg/Angelo Marcopolo/- A First EU Parliament's Step towards fully Legitimising a similar kind of reaction as that of Greece's Neighbouring Countries at the Western Balkan Routes, who notoriously decided, Alll Together and Joined by the Visegrad Group, to establish Border Checks and even Blockades in 2016 as long as Athens' New Government persisted to abstain from Pushing Back mainly Turkish Smugglers' Ships illegaly crossing into EU + Shengen External Borders to Import a Massive Influx of 1,3 Million Asylum Seekers/irregular Migrants through Turkey in 2015/2016, (thereby Succeeding to Help consideraby Cut the Number of Mass-Tresspassers in Spectacular Proportions quite Fast, and even Before a Controversial, UnPopular and Costly EU - Turkey deal  entered into force, Later-on - See: http://www.eurofora.net/newsflashes/news/unpopulareuvisafreefor80millionsturksuseless.html ), seems well to have been made Today by a Strong Majority of MEPs after Adopting a series of Amendments on EU Commision's proposal for the Creation of an EU External Borders' Guard Agency.


Even if it could obviously become in Future a much-Needed Amelioration, (often Debated and Welcomed Recently both by EU Citisens and various Politicians, but also by EU Heads of States/Governments' Summits, etc), nevertheless, it's not so much the anounced Establishment of that Agency in itself, (which is Expected, after Official Endorsing by an EU Summit, to be set up from Autumn 2016), that represents The Most radicaly Ground-Breaking Point :


This New EU Tool, - obviously Indispensable for a Sovereign, Independent and Safe Europe which badly Needs to become Able to Control its own External Borders, as well as in order to Safeguard EU Citizens' Free Movement around Internal EU Borders particularly at the Shenghen Area,- nevertheless, is Not Yet a Really nor Sufficiently Big Move :


F.ex., inter alia, the projected Number of EU Border and Coast-Guards would gather, at the Horizon of 2020, Only One (1) such Guard per several Dozens of Kms of EU Coast-Line (sic !), EU won't have its own Agents, but will Depend on Mobilizing, Each Time, various Quotas of National Guards "Ready to Use", lended by EU Member States, and, if it Faces a Reluctant Member Country Obstinated into practicaly Leaving its Part of EU's External Borders UnProtected, even at the Detriment of the European General Interest, it could Only Act after a rather Heavy Procedure, including an EU Parliament's Information and Consultation, an EU Commission's Proposal, and an EU Council's Official Decision.


However, it's also true that the projected EU Border/Coast Guard will be a Mechanism Working with a "2 Levels" System, i.e. mainly by Organizing Europe-Wide Information Networks on Border Protection, and mainly by Intervening on the Spot, to Help any EU Member State facing an Emergency Situation at EU's External Borders, particularly by Adding a 1.600 - strong EU Force and relevant Equipment, whenever a National Government might, eventualy, Feel Necessary to Ask for its Support.


But, a more Important (and Hotly Debated) Innovation is that a Majority of European Countries could, from now on, take Action to Protect EU's General Interest vis a vis a Refusal to move eventualy opposed by a Recalcitrant Member State which Fails to Defend its Part of EU's External Borders, even when there is a Serious Threat to Disrupt EU Citizens' Freedom of Movement inside the Shengen Area and/or to Harm Europe as a whole, as has just Voted 483 MEPs, against Only 181 Today iN Strasbourg.

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Perhaps the Most Interesting and Topical Point is also that, (as EU Parliament's Rapporteur on the EU Border/Coast Guard, Artis Pabriks, a mainstream ChristianDemocrat MEP from Latvia, Repeatedly Stressed, Both by Writting, and through Press Spokespersons, as well as in a subsequent Press Conference in Strasbourg), several European Neighbouring Countries will be able to Trigger Action to Establish Checks, on a Temporary basis, and Take Full Control of their Internal EU Borders vis a vis such a Recalcitrant EU Member State which might Fail to protect its part of EU's External Borders, while also Refusing an efficient EU Direct Help on the spot, despite an External Danger Threatening also its European Neighbours.


I.e. Something which is strikingly Similar to what has just Happened, from February/Early March 2016, at the so-called "Western Balkan Route", when Serbia, FYROM, Croatia, Slovenia, Hungary and Austria, supported also by the rest of "Visegrad" Countries (Poland, Czech Republic and Slovakia : the Incoming New EU President for July-December 2016, Comp. Statement of the Prime Minister of Slovakia, Robert Fico, in Reply to an "Eurofora"'s Question at a Press Conference during the latest EU Heads of State/Government Summit in Brussels : http://www.eurofora.net/newsflashes/news/ficomigrationpolicymightpushbrexits.html), apparently with an Implicit Tolerance even from several Other Big EU Countries, finaly Had to Set up Internal EU Border Controls and even Closure in order to Start Stopping that Unprecedented 1,3 Million Massive Asylum Seekers/Irregular Migrants "Tsunami" comming through Turkey, as long as a New Government in Greece refused to Push Back the mainly Turkish Smugglers' Human Trafficking Ships (which have already provoked the Death of a Record-High Number of Refugees/Migrants by Drowning, particularly among the Poorest), at EU's External Borders in the Aegean Sea, while also using even Jet-Propulsed Tourist Luxury Big Ships, a well Organized Network of Busses and Trains in a Systematic Mass Public Transport (almost as Serbia also did by Rail, Croatia, etc), towards the Northern Borders of that Strategicaly Located EU and Shengen as well as €uroZone Member Country, (Comp. f.ex.: .....).


What is really at Stake, bypasses, indeed, even what EU Rapporteur Pebrics and the Text Adopted Today in Strasbourg by a Strong EU Parliament's Majority, with 483 Votes, against Only 181, have already Warned from the outset, (See f.ex. the 1st Article of the Official Proposal for an EU Directive), by Pointing out that its "Not Only" about "Monitoring Efficiently the Crossing of (EU's) External Borders, and multifacet "Migratory Challenges", but also about Various Other "Potential Future Threats at those borders", as well as in order to "Contribute to Address serious Crime with a cross-border Dimension, and to Ensure a High Level of Internal Security within the Union", while also "Safeguarding the Free Movement of persons therein". (I.e. obviously Including current "Terrorist threats", as the Recent Deadly Attacks by Extremist Islamic ISIL's atrocious HeHeaders even of Innocent and Defenseless Civilian People in Paris and Brussels, etc., proved, since Several among those Murderous Terrorists had, precisely, Arrived Hidden inside that Huge Refugees/Migrants' Infux through Turkey and via EU+Shenghen Member Greece, including 2 Turkish and Other origins' "Djihadists", 10 surviving Pals of whom, from Strasbourg's area, were just Condemned Today by a French Court to 6 or 8 Years in Jail, and a 2/3 Security Surveillance period, after their Trip and Active, Armed Stay in the Territories of Syria which remain still Occupied by ISIL's Terrorist Bands, despite the latest Advances by International Coalition Forces on the spot).

 

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("DraftNews", as already send to "Eurofora"s Subscribers/Donors, earlier. A more accurate, full Final Version might be Published asap).

 

 

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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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