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Home arrow newsitems arrow EU Parliament locked in by Terrorist Attack in Strasbourg as Cyprus President arrives

EU Parliament locked in by Terrorist Attack in Strasbourg as Cyprus President arrives

Written by ACM
Tuesday, 11 December 2018
 
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*Strasbourg/EU Parliament/Angelo Marcopolo/- All People working in EU Parliament s Plenary Session this week in Strasbourg were suddenly locked in, as a Security precaution, after a Deadly Terrorist Attack reportedly killed 3 and wounded more than 9 civilian victims targetted by at least one gunman who apparently escaped downtown.

 

 The unprecedented incident occured just after Cyprus President Nicos Anastassiades arrived to Strasbourg in order to address EU Parliament early tomorrow morning, and while EU Commissioner Wolfgang Oettinger, earlier in charge of Energy, and nowadays of the Budget, was speaking in the Plenary.

 

Cyprus Ambassador to the CoE in Strasbourg; Mr Attias, speaking to "Eurofora" by phone, said that the President was well and safe, as several MEPs referred to the tragic incidents, while the 1st speaker, German ChristianDemocrat/EPP Monika Hollmayer, Rapporteur also for Security issues, was curiously absent, perhaps locked out of the Parliament, as the 2019 Budget debate was starting when the incidents were anounced, followed by the creation of a European Defence Fund (see infra).

  

 The recognized armed Terrorist reportedly attacked Civilian People at a well known pedestrian street, not far away from the Cathedral, crossing  Strasbourg's Central Square Kleber, from which pass most Public Transports, including some coming from, or going towards the Quarter of European Institutions' Headquarters. Shots and victims apparently continued also towards a touristic Square Gutemberg, where has now been set up a nice "village" from Finland, the current President of PanEuropean CoE for the periiod of November 2O18-May 2019. Afterwards, a gunman reportedly run into a traditional commercial street, at the older and more touristic area of the city.
 
Initially, Strasbourg had quite strong Security Measures during its Traditional "Christmas Market", each December, even Earlier than Other Cities, because of a Strange but anodynous Incident in the Past, at nearby Frankfurt, etc., when a Video had revealed that Islamist Extremists might seek to destroy Christian Historic Cathedrals in Europe. Often, the French JHA Minister was visiting to verify the Security Measures in Strasbourg, before the Christmas Market starts, and this was done, Recently, this year, also with the New JHA v.Minister Laurent Nunez, (Comp. his Replies to "Eurofora"s Questions, precisely about Terrorist Risks and European Cooperation, at : ...).
 
 But, some Days ago, we had been Surprized to find out that, soon After 8 p.m., almost all those Security Measures were routinely Lifted, everyday, except during the Week-End, (reportedly because the Christmas Market was closing then)...It's precisely that Lacuna that the Deadly Terrorist(s) of Today Exploited in order to Cowardly Target and kill innocent Civilian People, at the Time when they were Leaving to Return back Home... 
 
 
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+In the Meantime, inside EU Parliament, all the Locked in MEPs, Assistants, Civil Servants, Journalists, etc., had gathered at the Hemicycle in order to hear the President Antonio Tajani speak about the Practical Organisation of a Way out, in the best possible Security, as long as the Armed Terrorist(s) had Not yet been arrested by the French Police, which was still Searching to find at least 1 armed Suspect, Blocking, for that purpose, almost All the Center of DownTown (where many MEPs' Hotels were located), including most Transports. 
 
 Interestingly, from the point of view of Human Solidarity, several MEPs loudly Refused to Leave the First, with Cars and Drivers Protected by the French Police, as long as there wasn't yet found a Satisfactory Solution for their Assistants, the Civil Servants, and other EU Parliament's staff !  Curiously, Nobody hadn't yet spoken aloud for the numerous Journalists (including "Eurofora"), who were still working in the Press Room...
 
 
In Addition, a Call was Launched for the confined MEPs to Hold a Minute of Silence, in Memory and with Respect of the Victims of that Terrorist Attack, (See relevant "Eurofora"s Photo), while the Incoming News kept Augmenting the Total Number of persons Wounded or Killed...  
 
 
 But, Most of the Time sped in Plenary, overNight, until more than 4 a.m. in the Early Morning, (and withOut Any Translation, while some spoke French, other English, or German, even Italian, etc), seeking to organize a Safe Return back to MEPs' a.o. Hotels, Homes, etc, while, a the same Time Down Town reportedly several Hundreds of Policemen were sreportedly Searching to Find and arrest one or more Armed Terrorist(s) who still circulating free, so that Noone was Safe, unless protected by special Police Cars.... 
 
Finaly, "Eurofora" (with a Wounded Leg, etc), was obliged to leave almost the Last from EU Parliament's PressRoom, Later than 4 a.m...
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    An "Eugenic" loophole Amendment, which might expose to Dangers reminiscent of "3rd Reich's" notorious Genetic Abuses, hidden at the last minute inside an otherwise Good, larger Health policy Package scheduled to be voted on Thursday, was strongly denounced by a coalition of MEPs from various Political Groups and Countries, in a Press Conference held this afternoon at EU Parliament in Strasbourg.

    Mainly calling to "Select Human Embryos", via "Genetic Counselling" and "pre-implantation" Techniques including "Genetic Tests", in order to "Eradicate Hereditary rare Diseases", it might open ways to Dangerous Practices in Future, they denounced in substance.

    But they also made it clear that a much larger Report inside which this Controversial Amendment "No 15" was added in dubious circumstances, officialy destinated to struggle against "Rare Diseases", and drafted by Professor Antonios Trakatellis, was otherwise "an Excellent Report", aiming at a "completely Uncontroversial target" of Health policy on which "all MEPs and Experts are united, believing that Europe should act" to protect People's Health (See "EuroFora"'s earlier News).

    The controversy came at a particularly delicate moment for the EU in relation to Citizens, at the eve of June 2009 EU Elections, and shortly before Ireland re-votes for "Lisbon Treaty"..    

- Denouncing risks of "an Eugenic demand, very similar to what we had during the 3rd Reich in Germany, but now coming from some Scientisists themselves", German ChristianDemocrat/EPP MEP Dr. Peter Liese stressed that critical MEPs were against "Eugenic" engineering with "Selection of Human Embryos", and anything which might ultimately lead up to to a "Selection of Human Race". It doesn't help to "eradicate" Human Lives, he added.


    Several Experts and NGOs expressed "Deep Concern", as f;ex. DR M.C. Cornel of the "European Society of Human Genetics", which stressed, on this occasion, that "the importance of Non-Directiveness in Reproductive issues is a Central characteristic of Human Genetics, after the Atrocities committed in the name of Genetics in the first half or the 20th Century".

     - "This is completely Unacceptable", stressed Italian Liberal MEP Vittorio Prodi, on the Controversial Amendment, also because pushes to "eliminate early Human Life", as he noted.

     - "This opens a Dangerous Road, rather a Motorway", denounced Danish MEP Mrs Margrette Auken, from the "Greens", observing that various similar attempts were made in the Past "not only in Germany, but also in several other Countries, "even at the 1970ies", "f.ex. on forced Sterilisation of Roma" People, and other criticisable situations f.ex. in the UK, in Sweden, etc. as she said.

    + Other NGOs, as f.ex. "LebenHilfe" from Berlin, added that, among various other Risks, could also be that, by exploiting the pre-implantation Genetic Diagnostics and the Selection of "healthy" Embryos, some may "propagate" several "Eugenic" aims, starting f.ex. by pushing to eradicate Human Livies which might "Cost too much" to preserve, ultimately exposing to dangers reminiscent of the "3rd Reich"'s atrocious abuses.

    In consequence, ChristianDemocrats/EPP and "Green" MEPs "decided by Majority to vote against" this Controversial Amendment, anounced to Journalists the 5 MEPs who participated in the Press Conference, representing a wide spectrum, from Liberals to "Greens" and ChristianDemocrats, and from Hungary, Italy, Germany and Danemark up to Ireland (Gay Mitchell), etc.
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    Hungarian ChristianDemocrat MEP Laszlo Surjan said "that it was "Suddenly, at the End of the Procedure" in Committee, that "appeared this (Controversial) Amendment, which has nothing to do" with the main purpose of the Report, on which all agreed.

    He denounced an "Unhonest" move, and called to "avoid this kind of unacceptable situations". Nobody should "Select People", Surjan stressed.

    - "We (MEPs) had No Chance to Discuss" this last-minute Amendment earlier added at a Committee's level, said German MEP Peter Liese

    Speaking to "EuroFora", Dr. Liese, the Spokesman of the ChristianDemocrat/EPP Group in EU Parliament, said that MEPs didn't oppose other references of the Report f.ex. on "Genetic Tests", because they were "no proposals" to impose them, while, on the contrary, there was "a Problem" if anyone attempted to "impose" f.ex. this or that Genetic Technique and "Genetic Counselling", etc. to the People on human reproduction.
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The precise Text :
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    Controversial parts of Amendment No 15 ask mainly "to lead finally to the Eradication" of "Hereditary" "rare diseases", "through Genetic Counselling .., and ..pre-Implantation Selection of healthy Embryos".

    But  EU Rapporteur Professor Trakatellis, said to "EuroFora" that fears should be alleviated by Guarantees that all this should be done only "where appropriate", when it's "not contrary to existing National Law", and "always on a Voluntary basis", according to other Parts of the Amendment.

    He stressed that the main aim was to allow "a free and informed choice of persons involved", without imposing them anything :  - "It's not an obligatory, but advisary" text, he said.

    To make that point clear, he was ready, in agreement with many MEPs, to eventually drop at least that part of the controversial Amendment which initially called for "efforts to ..lead finally to the Eradication of those rare diseases" "which are Hereditary".

    But, until late Wednesday evening, reportedly together with many other MEPs, he stood by all the rest of the controversial Amendment, (fex. on the "Genetic Counselling" and the "pre-implantation Selection of healthy Embryos"), so that critical MEPs, going from ChristianDemocrats as Dr. Liese, to "Greens" or "Ind/Dem", observed to "EuroFora" that "this was not enough" to close the dangerous loophole.

    Particularly since, as Professor Trakatellis noted himself, "this is already allowed to the U.K.", and "other National Legislations would probably follow, sooner or later" in a similar direction. As for a general call to "Eradicate Hereditary rare Diseases", this "should happen, at any case, in practice, de facto", to protect public Health.

    On the contrary, "our goal should be to help patients suffering from rare diseases, not to eradicate the patients. In case of genetic disease risk, the decision should not be guided by scenarios" made by politicians. "Perents who may decide to accept a child, even if handicapped or with genetic disease, must be respected and supported with solidarity", critical MEPs stated.

    - "Any Pressure" to "a patient or couple (who "should be able to make an informed choice consistent with their own values"),"from health Professionals, Public Health Policies or Governemental Institutions, or Society at large, should be avoided", stresses the "European Society for Human Genetics".

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Each MEP's vote will be registered !

-----------------------------------   

The Socialist Group requested a "Split vote" on the Amendment 15, first without, and afterwards with the words "lead finally to the Eradication" etc.


    But the first "split vote" leaves intact all the other parts of the Controversial Amendment, (i.e. "Genetic Counselling", "Selection of healthy Embryos", etc).

    That's why, 3 Groups of MEPs : ChristianDemocrats/EPP, "Greens/EFA", and "Ind/Dem", have asked for "Roll Call Votes", on everything regarding the Controversial Amendment No 15, and on the final outcome of the resulting Report as amended, which will register all the individual positions to be taken by each MEP.   

Something which will obviously make each MEP think twice before voting for one or another choice, to be sure that he/she will make the right choice in front of EU Citizens, particularly at these pre-Election times...


    Crucial Votes were scheduled between 12 Noon and 1 p.m. local Strasbourg time, in the middle of a long series of various other Reports, and after a long Public Debate on the larger Health policy package, from 9 to 11.50 am.

    The specific Report inside which was hidden the controversial Amendment is due to be debated between 11 and 12 am.

    So that more last-minute Surprises may not be excluded a priori...

    Particularly at the present Historic moment, when even the Institutional Future of the EU depends on the result of a second Referendum on "Lisbon Treaty", later this year, in ...Ireland, a mainly Catholic country, where People are particularly sensitive in such kind of socio-cultural and values issues...
 

      ***     
 
     (Draft due to be updated).
 
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