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Home arrow newsitems arrow EU Ombudsman Diamandouros to EuroFora : Big Changes for EU Citizens' Rights after Lisbon Treaty

EU Ombudsman Diamandouros to EuroFora : Big Changes for EU Citizens' Rights after Lisbon Treaty

Written by ACM
Thursday, 21 January 2010
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*Strasbourg/EU Parliament/Angelo Marcopolo/- The recent entry into force of Lisbon Treaty introduces many changes in favor of EU Citizens' Rights, stressed EU Ombudsman, professor Nikiforos Diamandouros, to "EuroFora", in statements made after EU Parliament re-elected him for a new period of 5 Years (2010 - 2014) :

-   At first, new Rules, concerning EU Citizens' Fundamental Rights entered into force thanks to Lisbon Treaty, he observed.

- Moreover, our Monitoring extends now to all EU Decisions affecting Citizens, f.ex. all EU Council's decision-making, he added.

- It includes even EU Member States' activities when they are applying EU Law, he observed.

- Last, but not least, "I intend to largely use the EU Law clause which introduces Citizens' Right to a Good Administration", anounced Diamandouros. The move opens new possibilities for the creation of a kind of "Case Law" on EU Citizens' Rights, due to be progressively shaped by the practice and decisions taken by EU's Court of Justice and/or EU Ombudsman while monitoring EU institutions' acts, he acknowledged.

Another among Diamandouros' "Priorities" for the next 5 years is to strengthen evenmore the principle of "Transparency" in EU decisions, as well as to ameliorate the "Efficiency" in the way that his Office operates in real practice.

Diamandouros, a former University Professor from Greece, will soon complete a Decade as EU Ombudsman, since he was initially elected on 2003. His  2010 re-election was the result of a hard fought struggle vis a vis a strong competitor, Belgian professor at the Bruges College, Yves Monette, with 340 and 289 votes respectively, out of 648 valid votes (i.e. more than the absolute Majority).

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During his mandate, the EU Ombudsman is due to work closely together with EU Parliament's Petitions Committee, whose new President, Erminia Mazzoni from Italy (ChristianDemocrat/EPP), held earlier a joint Press Conference in Strasbourg with Diamandouros : The 1st since Lisbon Treaty gave EU Citizens also the power to introduce a Legislative proposal with 1 million signatures, as it was reminded recently by EU Parliament's President, Jerzy Buzek, speaking to Journalists including "EuroFora".

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    EU Rapporteur on Enlargment Strategy, maistream German MEP Elmar Brok, speaking to "EuroFora", welcomed the proposal made earlier this week by French President Nicolas Sarkozy for the EU to"start Now Talks with Turkey to create a common Economic and Security area", instead of full Accession, at a period when Ankara looks more and more unfit and/or unwilling to respect EU conditions.

    - "For Europe to have strong Political will, it must stop dilutiing itself in an endless Enlargement. It must have borders...Diversities enrich, on the condition that they don't undermine European Cohesion, and don't weaken EU Unity", Sarkozy stressed.
    
    - "Countries like Turkey share a part of common destiny with Europe, with which they have a vocation to build a Privileged Relation, to be closely associated, but not to become Member of the EU"  : "Noone respects his friends by telling them lies. Noone respects his friends by making them promises that will be never kept", he added.

    That's why "we'd better start, from now, negotiating with Turkey to create a common Economic and Security area", Sarkozy proposed.

Significantly, the French President was repeatedly and largely applauded by EU citizens, 3 times, when he made the Turkey point, (strategically placed between Europe's "Political Will" and its cultural heritage, historically open to mutually enriching dialogue with all the World, but never diluted).

    - "We could propose such a great ambition also to Russia, which must not be percieved as an Adversary of Europe, but as a Partner. Thus, we'd create a wide area, of more than 800 Million inhabitants, sharing the same Security, the same Prosperity", he concluded.

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    Sarkozy's move was anounced at the eve of a Franco-German Top meeting with Chancellor Angie Merkel in Berlin on Sunday, to jointly launch the EU Elections campain, after an EU Summit at nearby Prague, to launch a new kind of relations, called "Eastern Partnership", with neighboring countries such as Urkaine, Belarus, Moldova, Georgia, Armenia, Azerbaidjan, etc, (to which Russia, reportedly, is not - and does not want to be - included).

    As for Ukraine, which has already expressed her wish to join the EU in future, "Kiev will have a special place, and a very important role to play", replied earlier this week in Strasbourg, to an "EuroFora" question EU Chairman in office , Czech vice-Prime Minister Alexander Vodra.

    - "This direction is more Realistic for Turkey than Accession negotiations", reacted immediately EU Parliament's Rapporteur for Enlargment Strategy, mainstream German MEP Elmar Brok, commenting Sarkozy's idea for "EuroFora"

     Particularly "as far as it concerns the respect of EU Rules by both sides", he added, hinting at Turkey's now obvious inability and/or unwillingness to abide with EU Acquis, EU Commitments (fex. on Cyprus, etc), and European Democracy/Human Rights rules. (Comp. infra).

    Brok added that, in his view, a similar proposal might be made also to Ukraine and other neighbouring Countries, regardless if they have, or not, a "European vocation". This would not necessarily mean that there couldn't be any accession prospects at all." for all the countries that might be included in this area, according to Brok.  But it's preferable, particularly for Turkey, "because it's a more Realistic approach than full Membership".

    On this point, Sarkozy's proposal, (which he'll share with German Chancellor Merkel), seems more crystal-clear.

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    - "Turkey does not fullfil EU Criteria, and will never fullfil EU Criteria" on Human Rights, Democracy and Rule of Law. "Some have been lying to Ankara, but we must tell the Truth, and have honest and close relations with her", said meanwhile to "EuroFora" on the same issue also the President of EU Parliament's largest Group of MEPs (ChristianDemocrats/EPP), Joseph Daul.
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"Hot" Debate at EU Parliament reveals CHANGE of mood towards "Suspension" of EU - Tukey talks.
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    Earlier this week, many MEPs, and even some of those who were previously in favor of Turkey's controversial EU bid, strongly criticized the persistance and even aggravation of serious Human Rights violations in the country, that ECHR continues to "unanimously" condemn ":

      - "After winning a big victory in the latest Local Elections, the pro-Kurdish party DTP almost doubled its Elected Mayors from 52 to 98", but afterwards "more than 400 politicians were thrown to Prison and prosecuted" by the Turkish Authorities, denounced on behalf of the ChristianDemocrat/EPP Group, Belgian MEP Frieda Brepoels.

     At the same time, "more than 1.500 Children are closed in Turkish Prisons", she added. "What will the EU Commission do" against these facts ?

- "Turkey appears to be at greater Distance away from Copenhagen Criteria after 4 Years of accession Negotiations, than when they started !", denounced on behalf of the Liberal Group, German MEP Alexander Lambsdorf.    

"On the central issue of Press Freedom, Critical Journalists face obstacles for their accreditation, others are prosecuted, condemned, fined and/or jailed, Media blocked or closed", he denounced.   

 - "EU Made 2 grave Mistakes with Turkey : To start accession negotiations, and to continue them", despite everything, criticized Dutch MEP Bastian Belder, on behalf of the Ind/Dem group.

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