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Home arrow newsitems arrow EU Ombudsman O'Reilly on EF project (Citizens - EU Decision-Makers Debates Before Acts): BIG ISSUE !

EU Ombudsman O'Reilly on EF project (Citizens - EU Decision-Makers Debates Before Acts): BIG ISSUE !

Written by ACM
Friday, 01 June 2018
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*Strasbourg/EU-Parliament/Angelo Marcopolo/- A Key EU Personality : the EU Ombudswoman (alias : EU Defensor of Citizens' Rights), Emily O'Reilly, from Ireland, Replying to an "Eurofora" Question about Our Project for mainly Web-Based EU Citizens' Public Debates with EU Decision-Makers (as, f.ex. MEPs, etc) Before Taking Measures which Affect their Lives and/or Society at large, observed that it's, indeed, "a Huge Issue", but also "a Matter of Political Will", for which, Nowadays, the Doors "May be Open !", (See Infra).

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(Exceptionaly Long Queu waiting to Enter EU Parliament's Building in Strasbourg for 2018 EYE Event, after a RainStorm Hindered to use an initially prepared Campus)

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    O'Reilly was speaking in Strasbourg, between the conclusion of EU Parliament's May Plenary Session and the Beginning of "EYE" Annual Event, with the participation of Thousands of Young People from all over Europe, President Tajani and other MEPs, EU Experts, etc., in EU Parliament's Building here for 2 Days, Friday and Saturday, 1+2 June 2018, which is the last Big Event before the Electoral Campaign for the forthcoming May 2019 European Elections : I.e. amidst such an ambiant noise (given the Popular Success of this Event, as a relevant Photo clearly shows, that she had to Carefully concentrate her Attention in order to clearly hear what "Eurofora" had to say)...


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  - In "Eurofora"s Question to EU Ombudswoman, we observed that O'Reilly has "Recently spoken very much about the Transparency of the (EU) Decision-Making process, and, also, about the Participation of Citizens and Civil Society", (already since Early February 2018: See "Eurofora"s NewsReport at ...). But, as you know, onOther Aspect of Lisbon Treaty's Article 11, speaks about a Possibility for "Regular Dialogue", as well as about the "Expression" of EU Citizens' Views, and "Exchanges" on the "Acts" of the EU Authorities, including, f.ex., EU Parliament, and others.


=> - "Do you think that it would be Good, on this (Legal) Basisn to Initiate, (in the "Softest" and Easier posssible way for all), Public Debates between EU Citizens, Civil Society, etc., and, f.ex., EU Parliament's key MEPs, Before Decisions are taken, which may Affect their Lives, and/or All the Society ?", we queried.


 "In this way, f.ex. EU Parliament could have a View of EU Citizens' opinions on the Issues on which it might Debate and/or Vote. It could also give an Opportunity to EU Decision-Makers to Explain the Reasons for which they might take one or another Decision", "Eurofora" observed.


 - "F.ex., a Week Before the Plenary, EU Citizens might have a Chance, thanks also to Digital Technologies, to Express their Views and hold a Debate, eventually we practicaly observed.


- New French President Emanuel Macron has just Told Us that he would be in Favour of such a Development, extending even After the forthcoming EU Parliament's Elections of May 2019, as well as some Others. But You (as EU's Ombudswoman/Defensor of EU Citizens) are at a Key EU Position for that.


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- "Yeah", O'Reilly spontaneously reacted, particularly on the "Regular Dialogue" point of the above mentioned Lisbon Treaty's Article 11...


 - "I take the Overall Point, about People to be Able to Engage (in Dialogue with EU Decision-Makers), Before Decisions are made", the EU Ombudswoman told "Eurofora" at the Beginning of her Reply.


 - "That's a Huge Issue !", Emily O'Reilly observed from the outset, with a Serious look.


- "Obviously, there are All Sorts of Ways in which this could be Attempted to be done, f.ex., via Public Debates, Consultations, etc., she pointed out.


- Recently, "what I've been Trying to do is to make EU Council more accountable for Transparency, because People doN't yet known what Positions the EU Member States are Taking", she reminded, (Comp. : ..., etc).


 - On what you ("Eurofora") said, "sometimes, the Responsibility is, of course, also on Brussels (i.e., f.ex., EU Commission, etc) to Engage" (in Dialogue with EU Citizens on forthcoming Decisions), she Acknowledged.


-  "But it's also on (EU) Member States (i.e. EU Council, etc), as well, in relation to Their Citizens, their Parliaments, etc", she observed, in Reply to "Eurofora"s Question, i.e Interestingly pointing at a Wider Dimension of this matter, including also the National Public Administrations' relations with Citizens, (a Topical aspect on which "Eurofora"' co-Founder has been notoriously working in the framework of an original Legal Research at a "Doctorat d'Etat" level in the French University, since a Long Time ago, but also Nowadays).


 - "They (People) very Often Don't even Know what really Europe has done, (by Radio, TV, Newspapers, etc), while they know about EveryDay Life Politics", and so on, she observed, (also as a former Experienced, Long-Time Journalist).


 - Usually, "It Seems that it's Very Hard" for EU News to reach out to the People. "But, actually, one of the Good points about it, (i.e. Dialogue between EU Authorities and Citizens : Comp. Supra), is that", even without being "Dramatic", "I think that (EU) "Citizens are going to Consider this, (i.e.) to Learn something (in Reply) from the Politicians who are Making important (EU) Decisions here", O'Reilly observed Positively. speaking about EU Parliament's Building.


- Otherwise, in the Past, Statistics indicate that, in some Countries, only a Small Percentage of Young People Voted in EU Elections. And, in general, Often these People "do Not Relaize the Power that EU Organisations have got in recent years, Not even the Power that they have themselves, as Voters, to collectively choose this or that Political Majority, of the Right, the Left, or Center, etc, by Voting in EU Elections.


Obviously, as a matter of normal Democratic way of functioning, EU Citizens' Votes could, afterwards, logically Reward or Sanction, this or that Political Group, according to the Outcome of a previous Dialogue with them on EU Decisions affecting their Life and/or Society at large, as "Eurofora" suggested (Comp. Supra).


- But, the concrete Developpement, or not, of such Exchanges between EU Decision-Makers and EU Citizens, according also to Liisbon Treaty's Article 11, as "Eurofora" had hinted (Comp. Supra), in fact, it's a Matter of Political Will !", O'Reilly stressed in Reply.


+ However, Questioned, subsequently, by "Eurofora", if she Felt that, "Nowadays, the Door is Open, or Closed", in this regard, the EU Ombudswoman, after a Thoughtful moment, chose to Enigmatically, but quite Optimistically, Reply, with a Smile : - "I think that it May be Open !"...



(../..)



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(NDLR : "DraftNews", as already send, Earlier, to "Eurofora" Subscribers/Donors. A more accurate, full Final Version, might be published asap)

 

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They voted to "freeze" UK Government's draft to put People in jail for 42 Days on "anti-terrorist" suspicion without charge, or they abstained. Don't they look suspect ?
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CoE's debate on UK controversy stirs PanEuropean check of anti-terror suspects' imprisonment

Former Leftists of the Sixties would boil in hot water if they heard PACE's debate on the controversial 42 days detention without charge, currently drafted by the British Government :

A "Socialist" Government, a Socialist PACE Rapporteur and a Socialist Chair of PACE's Legal Committee, opposed a .. "Conservative" amendment (supported by .. Liberals, Democrats, etc), to freeze the measure, in order to protect Citizens' Freedom, by "waiting" until CoE's Venice Committee checks its conformity with Human Rights' principles.

"Left"'s support to Conservative-Lib.Dem's criticism, wasn't enough to obtain a majority, nor to make things as they were back in the good old days, when "Left" and "Right" had a clear meaning, as "liberty" and "restrictions"...

Conservatives and most Democrats were joined by the Left in voting for the "freeze", as well as Liberal Paul Rowen, while Socialist MEP Ivan Popescu, an experienced MEP from Ukraine (PACE Member since 1996-2008) abstained. But most Socialists, added to a few Liberals and EPP's Right, voted against.

Fortunately, someone inside PACE had the wise idea to shorten the Debate for less than 1 Hour, and put it on the Agenda only at the end of an exceptionally busy day, towards the end of the Evening, when most MEPs had already gone to taste wins and foods at various Receptions all around Strasbourg's "European" area : As a result, not even 42 MEPs weren't present..

Socialist Lord Tomlinson accused the leaders of the PanEuropean Assembly, in its highest body : the "Bureau", to "lack wisdom" by deciding to hold a Debate on an issue that neither the Socialist Chair of the Legal Committee, nor its Socialist "reluctant Rapporteur", did "not want to do", ...

tomllinson

Finally, everybody (critics and supporters alike) was happy to agree, in substance, that the controversial measure "may" gravely violate Human Rights, and therefore, PACE asked Legal Experts of Venice Commission to check UK Government''s plans.

But this might take more than .. 42 Days to do, since PACE's Rapporteur asked the Experts to enlarge their study in a PanEuropean comparison of all that is happening on "anti-terrorism" legislation in 47 CoE Member Countries, including Russia, Turkey and Azerbaidjan..

Bad lack : "The existing 28 days’ detention without charge in the UK is, in comparison with other CoE member countries, one of the most extreme : In Turkey, the period is 7,5 days, in France 6 days, in Russia 5 days, and in .. the U.S. and Canada just 2 and 1 days respectively", denounced Democrat MEP Ms WOLDSETH from Norway..

woldsteth

"Numerous respected human rights organisations, including Liberty and Human Rights Watch, have expressed serious concern" "The proposed legislation ...could easily lead to extensive abuses. ...Detention for 42 days means six weeks in which one is taken away from one’s family, friends, home and livelihood only to be let off without being charged. That will destroy lives and isolate communities", she added.

- "3 years ago, the UK Government sought to increase the period of pre-charge detention from 14 days to 90 days. Not long before that, it had been only 7 days. There was a vigorous debate ...and a ...compromise was reached of 28 days. We have to ask whether there are proper safeguards in place to extend the period to 42 days. I suggest that there are fatal flaws", reminded British Conservative Clappison.

- "What sort of society holds someone in detention for 42 days and does not have to tell the person who is in prison why they are there, or explain the suspicions that arose and led to their detention? What sort of society believes that that is the way to treat its citizens? That is an appalling injustice, ...A 42-day detention period will not make the UK safer. Instead, it will be the first step to giving in to terrorists; it is saying that we are prepared to sacrifice our democratic rights and the principles for which we have stood for centuries", criticized British Liberal Michael Hanckock

hancock

"Comments made ...by Norwegian delegates are unfortunate", replied British Socialist MEP Ms.Curtis-Thomas, accusing them to "besmirch the reputation of our police force, which is one of the Best in the World", as she said, believing that "there are significant safeguards ...to ensure that individuals are not subjected to unlawful detention"

curtis

PACE "has serious doubts whether ...the draft legislation are in conformity with the ...case-law of the European Court of Human Rights. A lack of ..safeguards may lead to arbitrariness, resulting in breaches of ... liberty and ...right to a fair trial". PACE "is particularly concerned that: ..the judge ..may not be in a position to examine whether there exist reasonable grounds for suspecting that the arrested person has committed an offence;"; that "... representation by a lawyer may be inappropriately restricted or delayed;" that "information on the grounds for suspicion of a person ...may be unduly withheld.. ;" that this "may give rise to arrests without the intention to charge;", and; in general, that "prolonged detention without proper information on the grounds for arrest may constitute inhuman treatment", says Klaus De Vries' Report, adopted with 29 votes against zero.

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Records don't say if it took him 42 Days to draft his Report, but, at least, he knew why...

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