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Accueil arrow newsitems arrow EU Parliament Maghreb Committee: Tunisian People deserve a Real Choice on Alternatives in 2019 Votes

EU Parliament Maghreb Committee: Tunisian People deserve a Real Choice on Alternatives in 2019 Votes

Ecrit par ACM
jueves, 14 junio 2018

 

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*Strasbourg/EU-Parliament/Angelo Marcopolo/- Stressing the Importance of the forthcoming Parliamentary and Presidential Elections in Tunisia on 2019, EU Parliament's competent Committee on Maghreb Countries launched a stern Warning, in substance, that the People of one among the  Countries which are Closest to Europe, (Both Historically, GeoPoliticaly and by Recent Policy Decisions),  have an Urgent and Serious Need to Prepare Well the Crucial, forthcoming, Presidential and Pariamentarian, Elections of 2019, Because, Otherwise, in Practice, they Risk to have No Real Choice between Alternative Policies, (See Infra), Contrary to what is an elementary Principle in any real Democracy.

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Tunisia notoriously is the Cradle of "Arab Spring", the Country with a "Model" Constitution since 2014 (See Infra), Proud to have an Ancient Civilisation since the 8th Century Before Christ, which Spread at Both Sides : North and South of the Mediterranean Sea during the 3rd and 2nd Centuries BC, (f.ex. also in Sicily, Corsica, Balear Islands, Sardaigne, Gibraltar, Spain, etc), while Hannibal notoriously crossed the Swiss Alps Mountains, reaching even Rome's surrounding area. After becoming the Precious "Grenary" of the Roman Empire, in a Strategic position Later Revendicated even by the Byzantine Empire, the Normands, France, and various others in the Past, and, following National Independence and Modernisation under President Bourguiba, Tunis Hosted UNO's World Internet Forum (after Geneva, and before Athens) at the Beginning of 2000ies, while Tunisia recently Compeets with Morocco for the Most Linked to EU/CoE among South Mediterranean Countries, and its NGOs were Recently Awarded the prestigious NOBEL Peace Prize on 2015.

 

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So that several MEPs' Denunciations of current Risks for a "Silent", Abstentionist 2/3 Majority of Tunisian People to be Obliged to have No real Choice soon, but to Fall in the Hands of one or another, more or less Radical, "Islamist" Party, pushed by Less of a 1/3 Minority, linked to Controversial "Muslim Brotherhood" (often accused even for Terrorism), and reportedly subordinated to the Foreign Influence of the (even more Controversial) ...Turkish President Tayip Erdogan's oppressive regime, (etc), as if Tunisia had Fallen Back in the Medieval Era of a mere Subordinate Local Part of the Former Othoman-Turk Empire, naturally provokes serious Concerns to European politicians, who Urged Today for EU Help (including, mainly Economic) to a Democratic Tunisia, (See Infra).

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 - It all Started with an Announcement, by the EU Chief Observer on Tunisia, and EU Parliament's vice-President, Italian MEP Fabio Massimo Castaldo, from the Biggest Political Party in the New Government in Rome, (the "5 Stars Movement", Member of the "Freedom and Direct Democracy" Group in EU Parliament),  who spoke about a "Strong Will" by the Tunisian Parliament to "Ensure" an "Operational and Independent" Institutional Framework, particularly "for the Presidential Elections of 2019", in order "not to Call in Question the Trust on the Constitution"" :

 

-"A Model Text", of "High Quality", since the Historic Reform of "2014", in the Country which is the Birthplace of the "Arab Spring", he topically reminded.((omp., inter alia, f.ex. : the Replies to "Eurofora"s Questions by the President of the Tunisian Constituent Assembly, Ben Jafaar, as early as since already 2012, at : http://www.eurofora.net/newsflashes/news/tunisianrevolutionideasondemocracy.html, but also : http://www.eurofora.net/newsflashes/news/sarkozymediterraneanrenaissance.html + http://www.eurofora.net/newsflashes/news/egyptetunisiangos.html, http://www.eurofora.net/newsflashes/news/laurenstunisiamoroccodemocracyforum.html, http://www.eurofora.net/newsflashes/news/tunisiaconsuloneufaireconomyandconstitution.html etc)

 

 

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 => - For that purpose, among others,  a "Constitutional Court" is due to "be Up and Running" Soon, in order "to Ensure full Compliance" with the Constitution, and help for any relevant "Crisis to be Resorbed", while EU Chief Observer, EU Parliament's vice-President Castaldo has already scheduled to personally "Go to Tunisia on July" 2018.

 

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The Occasion to Open a Debate in EU Parliament on the forthcoming, Crucial Parliamentary and Presidential Tunisian Elections of 2019 in Tunisia, was given, Today, by a scheduled Discussion of a "Report on the Local Elections", recently held in Tunisia on May 2018, which served as a real-time Testbed to take the pulse of the Political Life in that Key Country nowadays, (Comp. Infra).


- Thus, inter alia, f.ex., MEPs Observed that, while 42% of the Population is Under - 34 Years Old, and Many Young Candidates had been among those Standing to be Elected in 2018, Nevertheless,  at a National Level, Country-Wide, the Turnout of Young People in order to Vote in these Elections was particularly Low. This could be due also to the Fact that 30% of Young People in Tunisia are Graduates, but Jobless, and this might impact also on the Next Elections, as a French MEP pointed out.


+ But, Moreover, it was Only about 1/3 (One Third) of the Registered Voters who actually Casted their Vote in the Ballot Box on 2018, while the Tunisian "People are Fed up with the Political Class" of the Establishment in general, as EU Parliament's vice-President Castaldo had already observed from the outset.


- Even if he Noted, as far as the Conditions in which those Local Elections were held, that, despite "some" secondary problems, in general, they were "a Real Step Forward" for Democracy in Tunisia, (especially Compared to the Past, and  considering also the Fact that the relevant Law on Local DeCentralisation had been Just Adopted, Shortly Before the Elections).


=> But their Outcome presents "2 Problems", Critically observed another MEP : First, it shows that "Democracy is still Fragile" in Tunisia, Because "2/3 of the People Abstained". Moreover, those who Snaped Most of the Votes were from an "Islamist Party close to (the Turkish President) Erdogan", he pointed out. And this even included "a Preacher who has been OutLawed in France, Banned even in Egypt : his own Country, and put at a "Wanted" List by InterPol. I.e. something which "gives you the Shivers !"


>>> Therefore, "Tunisia, which is, perhaps, the Only Country in that area that has a Chance to Activate Democracy, Must get Help from EU Parliament", he concluded.


+ AnOther (Lady) MEP denounced also the Fact that a "Leading" Candidate in a Major List on 2018 had been "Campaigning Against the Celibacy of Women", while, "in the HeadQuarters" of a Major Political Party, "Only Men were visible", while, on the Contrary, "All Women were Hidden Behind a Screen !". In consequence, "we (EU) must be Carefull against any hypocritical Double-Talk" and "Vigilant", she urged.


=> That's why in Tunisia, "the Fight Against Political Islam" is linked with Efforts to Help its "Economy", and calls for "a New Economic Development", and this should, normally, "Incite EU Commission" to act, stressed in substance anOther MEP. But, "is EU Commission really Playing the Game", or, perhaps, "Tunisia might be the Victim" of 1 or 2 Commissioners' Policy ?, he Questioned, while Urging to "Re-Balance" EU's policies, in this regard.


- Indeed, even "in Europe, Democracy wasn't Built in just 4 Years" (i.e. as, for Tunisia, between the New Constitution of 2014 and the Local Elections of 2018 : Comp. Supra), "but We too Needed even several Decades", pointed out anOther MEP, Concluding that "EU must Help Tunisia", "particularly in Financial terms", and "Be Present in the Tunisian Economy".


- "EU Must be Vigilant", because we Already shaw Abstention Grow in Morocco on 2016, and now "Fragilise Democracy in Tunisia" on 2018, observed anOther MEP, who Urged for "Europe to Help Tunisia" on Time, in the current run up to the "Important Parliamentarty and Presidential Elections of 2019".


 - Particularly since a "Worrying Division" surfaces when State "Power is at Stake", especially by a "Political Islam", "Historically Close to "Muslim Brothers", close to Erdogan, i.e. Turkey", that MEP too Warned.


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>>> Thus, "those currently in Power in Tunisia, should Not be Afraid to have Other, Democratic Interlocutors", and, instead of "Muzzling" several parts of the Country's "Civil Society", they'd Better enter in Dialogue with them, (f.ex., "Trade Unions", "NGOs", etc).

 

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- In this regard, the Head of EU Parliament's Election Observation Delegation for Tunisia, Experienced Spanish ChristianDemocrat/EPP MEP Santiago Fisas Ayxela, observed, However, that "about 1.000 Electoral Lists" were made by "Small Parties", and "the Biggest Group (of Candidates) were Independents". (Even if several were "Not Really Independents", but, in Fact, linked to "Big Political Parties", which attempted to "get around" the Law about ..."Women's Participation", as also Castaldo had observed, who had called them "Fake Civil Society Lists").


+ But it's also "Women (who) are an Important factor", he noted, Pointing at the potential "Role of Women" also "as a Guarantee of Democracy" : Particularly "Tunisian Women will Not let be Abused" by anyone !


 -  As for "the Army, it's pro-Democracy, and at the orders of the Government", Fisas Ayxela added.


- However, "the Problem is that Secular politicians are still Divided", while "some Personalities of the Ancient Regime re-surfaced' at the latest Vote, EU Parliament's Election Observation team's Head regretted.

 

- Meanwhile,  "the Situation is Not Easy at (Neighbouring) Libya", with more than "1 Million of Refugees", and "a List of Moderates, but also with Radicalized" politicians, in Addition to "Difficulties at the Borders of (the other Neighbouring Country) Algeria", including even Terrorism, he Warned.


=> Thus, we'd better see, in Tunisia, several "Real Independents", possibly, enter in some kind of "Coalitions", the Mainstream MEP concluded in substance.


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 - The President of EU Parliament's Delegation to Maghreb Countries, MEP Inés Ayala Sender, from the Governing Socialist Party in Portugal, observed, in fine, that "a Handicap" for the Latest, 2018 Local Elections was the Fact that too "Many People were Selected for numerous (Electoral) Lists", while, on the Contrary, they had "a Low Turnout".


>>> Moreover, "If Both the 2 Major Parties refer to a Religious Manifestos", then, in real practice, "there is No Alternative" for the People of Tunisia !", she Denounced.


=> Therefore, someone needs "to Give to the People a Real Choice" on 2019, ("if not, they would disengage" from mainstream Politics), President Ayala Sender urged.


- In this regard, she observed that, even if it had been proven in 2018 to be "Difficult for Young People to Mobilize" (Comp. Supra), Nevertheless, there was also an "Encouraging" Development, in the Fact that there were "Many Independent Lists" (Comp. Supra), and, therefore, "New Candidates may come in" on 2019, including "Many (former) Independents".


- Thus, in substance, "the Challenge is How We (i.e. the EU) can Support those People", she resumed.


>>> And, "Now, that we (EU) are currently Opening the Fight over the Multi-Annual Financial Perspectives", including with "New Aides extended during many Years", etc.,

 

=> in order to "Prepare for the (Tunisian, Presidential and Parliamentary) Elections of Next Year (2019), "it's Important for the EU to Give some Clear and Robust Signals to Tunisia !", the President of EU Parliament's competent Committee concluded.

 

 

(../..)



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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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    The incoming Swedish EU Presidency (July-December 2009) may still remain in favour of Turkey's controversial EU bid, despite June 2009 EU Elections' results, but it has "very strong demands on Turkey"'s obligation to respect EU Rules, said the Head of Swedish Foreign Ministry's Press Service, Cecilia Julin, to "EuroFora", reacting to critical Press reports.

    - "I know (that) the link is often made also to Sweden's position on Turkey"'s controversial EU bid. Indeed, "we (Swedish EU Presidency) are very much engaged in the future membership of Turkey, but not without fullfiling all the Criteria".

    - "It's very clear that we (Swedish EU Presidecny) have very Strong Demands on Turkey, in a sort of concept for Future membership of the Union, ...which will be a Long Process...", she stressed.

    This means, in particular, "the Copenhagen Criteria (on Human Rights, Democracy and Rule of Law), and also the adaptation to the Acquis of the European Union".

     - "If you listen to what Mr. Bildt (the Swedish Foreign Minister) says on Turkey at different occasions, it's very clear : We want Turkey to become part of the Union, in the Future. But we want it to fullfil all the Criteria : The Acquis of the European Union. That's very clear", she concluded.

    The Senior Official of the Swedish Foreign Ministry was reacting to critical Press Reports, from Brussels' Journalists invited by EU Commission's secretariat to Stockholm, who claimed that Bildt was abusing of a ..."Whip" (sic !) against Cyprus, by "threatening" the presence of UNO's Peace-keeping force at the "Green line" which separates the island's Government-controlled areas from the territories occupied by Ankara's army, if Nicosia didn't accept any political solution, regardless of Turkey's demands, before the end of 2009.

        Governing AKEL Party's new Secretary General, Andros Kyprianou, reacted by declaring that no-one can threat the People of Cyprus : -"We shall decide for our Future, and nobody else",  he reportedly said, asking to "keep calm". "In order to find a Solution soon, certain basic Principles must be respected", he stressed, calling those who feel an urgency to use their influence on Turkey. Other Political Parties were more critical.

    This was a reference to recently reported statements by Turkish Minister Bagis, Prime Minister Tayip Erdogan and Turkey's National Security Council (a Military-Political body), accused to push towards a partitionist "2 States" solution, contrary to UNO SC Resolutions for Cyprus' reunification.

    December 2009 is a crucial moment for EU's appraisal of Turkey's controversial EU bid, because EU Council has decided to review then Ankara's compliance with the European position on the recognition of Cyprus' Government, which was clearly set out by an EU reply of 21 September 2005 to Turkish Prime Minister Tayip Erdogan's claims, refusing to recognize even the existence of EU Member Cyprus, in controversial statements he made to London (former EU chair) on July 29, 2005.

    EU Parliament's latest Resolution on Turkey, adopted on March 2009 in Strasbourg, warned Ankara that "the non-fulfillment of Turkey's commitments... by December 2009, may further seriously affect the process of Negotiations" with the EU.

    In practice, the issue boils down to Ankara's "embargo" against Ships and Airplanes using Cyprus' seaports or airports at the strategic EU island, which traditionaly hosts one of the World's biggest Shipping flags. EU has already "freezed" 6 relevant Chapters in EU - Turkey Negotiations since December 2006, after Ankara refused to fullfil a commitment it had undertaken when EU had decided to open controversial "accession" negotiations with Turkey, back on December 2005.

    - "As far as EU - Turkey relations are concerned, it's clear that Turkey needs to fullfil its obligation of full, non-discriminatory implementation of the additional Protocol (to "EC-Turkey Association Agreement"),  This is an important issue....and should be addresseed as soon as possible as it clearly affects the pace of the accession negotiations.Issues covered by the Declaration of September 2005 will continue to be followed up, and progress is urgently awaited", warned earlier in Strasbourg the out-going Czech EU Presidency (former vice-Prime Minister Alexander Vodra).

    But the Head of the Swedish Foreign Ministry's Press Service, Cecilia Julin, dismissed "interpretations" by "some" that Foreign Minister Carl Bildt was reportedly "threatening" Cyprus with consequences on the UNFICYP, if it doesn't accept any solution until December 2009, while Turkey is reportedly delaying in an attempt to impose a partitionist "2 States" solution.

    On the contrary, Julin, stressed that "Sweden has strong demands on Turkey'"s respect of "Copenhagen Criteria and EU Acquis".

    Meanwhile, Sweden  is "concerned" about the risk of "Stalemate" in Cyprus' Talks, but is well aware that "the main responsibilities lie with the two leaders and the UNO", Europe playing only a role of "facilitator".

    After carefully verifying, the Head of Swedish Foreign Ministry's Press Service, stressed to "EuroFora" that Bildt's reference to UNFICYP "was not linked to a Threat", and dismissed those who "interpreted" it so.

    On the contrary, the Swedish EU Presidency acknowledged the fact that Peace Talks are mainly for the UN and the leaders of the Cypriot communities, EU's role being limited into that of a "facilitator".

    As for Turkey's reported attempts to impose a "2 States' solution", the Head of the Swedish Foreign Ministry's Press Service sharply replied by stressing that Turkey must respect the "EU Acquis" rules.

    In particular :

    - "Basically he (Bildt) underlined that it's the leaders of the two communities in Cyprus and the UN that have the main responsibilities for solving the problem", started to say the Swedish Senior Official to "EuroFora", referring to the above-mentioned "briefing".

    - "But the EU had a role in sort of pointing out the benefits and facilitating a little bit the outcome for the settlement of the whole Cyprus' issue", she added.

    - "And he did state the Fact, that the rest of the World (i.e. USA, etc) will, of course, look at the differend issues which are at the table, and the future of the UN Peace keeping force is part of what is at the table", she admitted.

    - "I understand that some have interpreted that as a Threat, by the Swedish Minister" "But", in reality, "it's a statement of a Fact, that, when we'll look at the differend issues, one of the issues on which we shall have to take a stand on, is the future of the UN Peace keeping force in Cyprus".

    Indeed, one of the questions usually raised for a Solution of Cyprus' issue is what International and/or European or other Guarantees, by a Peace-keeping force, might be needed afterwards, eventually for a transitory period.

    Questioned anew by "EuroFora" whether (according to critical Press Reports) this could be taken as a veiled warning that, if Cyprus didn't accept any Turkish demand for any solution whatever, it might be left alone to face Ankara's Military Invasion/Occupation, she denied :

    - "He (Bildt) didn't say it in that way"... "It was not linked to a threat, or anything like that", the Head of the Swedish Foreign Ministry's Press Service stressed.

    On the contrary, "he (Bildt) underlined that the main responsibility lies with the parties concerned on the island". "The EU can try to facilitate and show the benefits of reaching a settlement. But also, when the EU and the rest of the World (i.e. USA) will have to look at it, they will look at all the Facts on the table, and the presence of the UN Peace-keeping force is one".

    And "he (Bildt) didn't speak about that at all", she replied to "EuroFora" question on Turkey's reported attemps to impose, in one way of another, a partitionist "2 States solution".

    Asked whether Bildt's aim was to incite both parties to move forward efficiently, she agreed :

    - In fact, "the EU is really very concerned with the Stalemate in the situation. Yes !", the Head of Sweden's Foreign Ministry's Press Service anounced. That's why Bildt "was hoping for the two parties (i.e. for Turkey's also) to engage and break, a little-bit, the present stalemate, come to a solution of the issue" of Cyprus.

    But, replying  to a "EuroFora"s question on the risk, denounced by several politicians in case of strict Time Deadlines, for Turkey to provoke a stalemate and wait for the time to come to impose a partitionist "2 States' solution", she reacted by pointing at Turkey's obligation to respect "EU Acquis" :

    - "Turkey must fullfil the EU Acquis : That's clear !", the Swedish Senior Official stressed.

    More details are expected when Swedish Prime Minister Reinfeldt will debate his Programme with new MEPs at EU Parliament's plenary mid-July in Strasbourg, that he has visited already in 2008.

    Foreign Minister Carl Bildt became familiar with Strasbourg's CoE last year, when Sweden chaired the PanEuropean organization of Human Rights. As EU chairman-in-office, he will also chair the 27-member States strong EU Group inside the 47-member States strong CoE.

    Minister for EU affairs, Cecilia Malmstrom is well known at EU Parliament, where she has been an active MEP of the Liberal Group for many years, following also Press Freedom issues.

    Both have already made various statements at "EuroFora", on differend topical matters.

    ***

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