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Home arrow newsitems arrow EUParliament Head Sassoli to EF on EU Future: Yes Citizens WebFora. No United Forum+Full Dialogue ?

EUParliament Head Sassoli to EF on EU Future: Yes Citizens WebFora. No United Forum+Full Dialogue ?

Written by ACM
Wednesday, 15 January 2020

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*Strasbourg/EU Parliament/Angelo Marcopolo/- Speaking with "Eurofora" since Tuesday, at the Eve of MEPs' Vote for a landmark Resolution on Europe's Future Conference (2020-2021), EU Parliament's President, David Sassoli, clearly Highlighted, adding a Bright Smile, his acceptance of EU Citizens' Web Fora on Europe's Future, in view of the Forthcoming Conference of 2020-2022, according to Our Wider Project about Digital Public Debates with Politicians Before important Decisions are taken, (Comp., among others, also, f.ex.: ..., etc).

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+This Point was Confirmed also by the Experienced EU Parliament's Press/Communications' Director and Spokesman, Jaume Duch, referring later "Eurofora" also to a relevant Draft Text tabled by 5 Mainstream Political Groups, (EPP, Soc., ReNew, Greens, Left), which Adds quite a lot in this Direction, (See Infra).

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However, these Welcome Moves do Not Yet go as far as to create a United and Permanent EU Citizens' Forum for that purpose, (not even during this 2020-2022 Conference), Neither a fully-fledged Dialogue between EU Citizens and Politicians Before Decisions, as "Eurofora"s project has advised, (even if some Steps were made in this regard, particularly thanks to the Last-Minute Adoption, in Wednesday's Votes, of a relevant Amendment : See Infra)...

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- Indeed, the Adopted EU Parliament's Resolution stresses from the outset that, as a matter of Principle, "this Conference process Should be an Occasion to closely involve EU Citizens in a Bottom-Up exercise, in which they are Listened to, and their Voices contribute to the Debates on the Future of Europe".


Also Because "there is a Need for EU Institutions to ReConnect with the Citizens", by "Facilitating (such) a Debate", "as the EU has ... become ...Remote from the Citizens", criticized a Draft Resolution tabled by the Conservatives/Reformists.


=> For that Purpose, inter alia, it's, in Addition, "a Listening Phase" which "should be initiated" "Prior to the launch of the Conference process", in order  to enable Citizens, from Across the EU, to express their Ideas, make Suggestions and propose their own Vision of what Europe means for them", the Adopted Resolution asks.


+ In this regard, "the Conference is an Opportunity ...to engaging Directly with Citizens in a meaningful Dialogue", where "Consultations should be organised using the most efficient, Innovative and appropriate Platforms, including OnLine tools (f.ex. Web Fora, etc), and should reach All parts of the EU, in order to guarantee that Any citizen can have a Say".

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But How exactly it should be Organized in this Conference for Europe's Future and relevant Deliberations, ...that's anOther Story !


F.ex., the Rightist MEPs of "ID" Group claimed, in their Draft Resolution, that "the most Effective, Fair and Indisputable way of involving the Citizens ... is Direct Democracy" !,  ("in particular, the use of Referendums")...


Nevertheless, Despite Ancient Greek Civilisation's charm and that of Switzerland's Nowadays, French President Macron's landmark Speech at Acropolis' Historic "Pnyx" Rock since 9/2017, "Pirate" Parties' recent breakthrough, and/or Contemporary Internet's Facilitation capacities, (etc), Nobody seriously suggested to Skip from InDirect to Direct Democracy in Europe now...


The Focus obviously is on EU Citizens' participation to the Decision-Making Process, mainly via Public Debates before final Decisions, along "Eurofora" Project's lines.


>>> But it still remains Restricted in Narrow margins, Not Yet Reaching its fully-fledged Dimension, at least as things stand until now :


- Thus, while EU Parliament's Resolution urges to create "a Plenary" Body for MEPs, Representatives of EU Council, EU Commission, National Parliaments, etc., due to work at EU-Level during All the process of the Conference for Europe's Future, Dealing with All its main aspects, taken Together, EU-Wide, (etc),


on the Contrary, Nothing Similar has been still foreseen for EU Citizens ! They are Divided, from the outset, into Various Thematic "Citizens' Agoras" with about 200-300 Different Members each, (a Wording Meaning "Speech" or ..."Market", in Ancient Greek ...), concerning only some Specific Issues, and being held at Various Locations.

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Since EU Citizens are Not considered, ipso facto, as Members of a Decision-making Body, (contrary to Direct Democracy etc.: Comp. Supra), Neither are they Elected to such a Collective Body, the remainining Question is how they are Otherwise "Selected", in order to eventually participate in any such Bodies :


- A very Large Majority in EU Parliament leaned towards "Pollster"-like Methods of ascertaining the "Representativity" of Selected EU Citizens, considering f.ex. their Age, Gender, Education, Job, Origin, etc., compared to the Average of the concerned Population, in relation to which they should be well "Balanced".


That "Selection" should be made by some (UnDefined) "Independent Institutions", and ..."Randomly", as it was Stressed by a Last-Minute Amendment, (Tabled by the "ReNew" and "Green" Groups), Adopted by EU Parliament on Wednesday.

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=> But the Most Important point obviously is what happens to the Outcome, i.e. the Conclusions of EU Citizens' verdict or views, inside a Public Decision-Making process.  


- It's naturally Good, from a Pluralist Democracy point of view, that "a Minority Opinion can be Voiced", (whenever the EU Citizens' Agoras canNot find an "Agreement by Concensus"), as the adopted Resolution says.


- However, Public Debate, Exchange of Arguments, and Vote by Majority being traditionaly the Cradle of Democratic Decision-Making, it's Difficult to Understand why that Resolution pushes aside Majority Decisions among EU Citizens, Obliging them to Focus, instead, Only on "Seeking to Find Agreement by Concensus" !


+ Moreover, it's Regrettable that a very Important Amendment, on the Key Issue of Democratic "Pluralism", Supported by 341 MEPs and almost 5 Political Groups, (in an Exceptional Unity of All the Right : mainstream "ChristianDemocrats/EPP", "Conservatives/Reformists", "ID" Rightists, as well as the "Left", and most "Independents", a few Socialists, etc), was finaly Droped, Only because of a Tiny Difference of just One (1) Vote : 341 to 342, (with 15 Abstentions)...


According to that Draft Amendment, "in all public Consultations related to the (Future of Europe) Conference process" ("Meetings", "Opinion Polling", "Social Media engagement initiatives", etc), Pluralism must be ensured" : I.e. "all Programmes, Speakers lists, Panels, Literature and Documents, etc. must be Balanced, and ensure that a great Variety of Differing Viewpoints is presented, reflecting the Diversity of Opinions in Europe, in order to Stimulate a profound Debate", as it stressed.


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>>> Now, concerning the Heart of the Matter : I.e. the Fate reserved to EU Citizens' Viewpoints inside the Future of Europe Conference, the adopted EU Parliament's Resolution simply speaks about a so-called "FeedBack Loup", where "the Conclusions" of "Thematic Agoras" (Comp. supra) of "Citizens and Youth", will be "Presented" to "the Conference Plenary" (Comp. Supra), by some "Representatives" of those "Agoras", "in order to ...Discuss" them with participating MEPs, EU Commissioners, Ministers, etc.


Nothing, or Few things were, Initially, said about What kind of "Discussion" this UnPrecedented collective Meeting, (obviously Crucial for the Future of Europe Conference's Success), might or should be...


EU Parliament's Draft Resolution had Only asked for "a Minimum of 2 Meetings of Each (Citizens or Youth) Thematic Agora, in order to Provide INPUT for the Conference Plenary, and Receive Global FEEDBACK (sic !) on the Deliberations" : This last point should be dealt with "in anOther Meeting, in DIALOGUE Format", it said, (using a potentialy Interesting, but still Vague expression).


+ At this point, a useful Last-Minute Amendment, (tabled by MEPs Paulo Rangel, vice-President of the ChristianDemocrat/EPP Group, and Gabriele Bischof, Chair of the Workers' Group in CESE), Added that EU Citizens' (agoras') "conclusions" should "be TAKEN INTO ACCOUNT during the Deliberation in the Conference

Plenary", (Comp. Supra).


=> How Far can this go ? Could this Result into a Real "Dialogue" between EU Citizens and EU Institutions Before Decisions affecting People's Lives and/or Society at large, as "Eurofora"s Project (2006-2020) pleads for, (since it was Initially presented during an EU Parliament's Press Conference, together with the EU Commissioner and EU Parliament's vice-President in charge of Medias, as Early as already back on 2006 in Strasbourg) ?


In Fact, that "EuroFora"'s Project is Inspired by Both an Original, Pioneer Analysis of main points in Public Administrative Law, concerning developments on the Public Decision-Making Process, at Countries such as France, Germany, Italy, Greece, etc., (at First Published in a Legal Research of more than 1.000 pages, chosen by the University of Strasbourg for a Prize destinated to PhD. Thesis, after a written Proposal by Professor Paul Amselek, of Paris II University, already since the Beginning of the 1980ies), and a Collective Project by European Journalists, Universitarians, EU Media Officers, etc, (that we Coordinated): "EIW", which was officially Accepted by EU Commission in Brussels in order to be examined in the framework of the Program "ESPRIT", for the Utilisation of Modern Communication Technologies in Innovative Activities in nowadays Society (1997). After the Creation of "EuroFora", back on 2007 (Comp. Supra), it was Highlighted also on the sidelines of a landmark 3 Days Conference organized at the University of Strasbourg by Dean Florence Benoit-Rohmer on 2010, Discussed also in the City of Strasbourg's Collective Meetings on Citizens' Participation between 2017-2019, proposed to COE's "World Forum of Democracy" forthcoming "Labos", (under the name "4 G" Project, for "Digital Dialogue in Democratic Decision-Making"), since 2019, and is part and parcel of a "Doctorat d'Etat" Research prepared under the Direction of President Jean Waline for publication after 2020.


- In Practice, the Main points are Public Administration's Obligation to Timely Warn Citizens about its Forthcoming Decisions which affect their Lives and/or Society at large, Collect their eventual Observations on that, and Reply to them, with a Correct, Legal, and Sufficient Motivation, well Before they Decide, withOut showing any Abuse, (under Supervision by a Judge), while keeping its own, more or less, Discretionary Power to Decide on the Substance of the issues at stake.

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Even if French President Emmanuel Macron recently declared, in his Press Conference on the conclusions of the latest, December 2019 EU Summit in Brussels, (Comp. "Eurofora"s NewsReports from the spot, f.ex., at: ..., etc), that IF any EU Treaty Change might, eventually, be Needed, particularly for Citizens' role in Europe's Future, then, he would be "Ready" to Advance in this direction, nevertheless, the current "Lisbon Treaty", (which just celebrated its 10th Anniversary), has already Provided for the necessary Legal Tools, including f.ex. Article 11 for "Regular" "Dialogue", between EU "Citizens"/Civil Society and EU "Institutions"on the "Acts" they take, (etc).


As for MEPs - Citizens relations, in fact, in the current context of EU Lisbon Treaty, they are far Away from being in Competition between them, f.ex. about Direct or Representative Democracy, etc : On the Contrary, there is often an interesting Potential for Cooperation and Solidarity among them !


- F.ex., if "Eurofora" Project is systematically applied, with MEPs-Citizens Debates Before Decisions, (i.e. at the Eve of each Plenary Session), then, one among its Consequences, would naturaly be the Augmentation of Medias' Interest for EU Parliament's subsequent activities, during its Plenary Session which follows, whose Press impact would grow...


+ Moreover, the alleged "Lack of Legislative Initiative" for MEPs nowadays, (one among the Issues expected to be discussed during the Future of Europe's Conference), seems, in Fact, to be either a Myth, at least partially, or a Self-Inflicted Wound, which could be easily Dissipated, in real Practice, if MEPs Started to Systematically use (and, therefore, Simplify) Lisbon Treaty's EU "Citizens Initiative", in order to Oblige the EU Commission to table the Draft Bills that they want ! Indeed, even the Smallest Political Group inside EU Parliament, (f.ex. that of the "Left", or "Greens", "ECR", etc), can Easily find at least 1 Million of its Fans in order to Sign a Topical Bill of interest to their own Party, among more than 512 Millions of Europeans (i.e. less than 1 out of 510)... And things could become much more Easier if they were Methodically Organized, and Often Used.


So that EU Citizens and MEPs can Become Allies for More and Better Democracy in the foreseable Future.

 


(.../...)


("Draft-News")


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3 EU Parliament votes to boost EuroGroup !

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After EuroZone Paris Summit's succes, Sarkozy calls to "think anew how to re-construct Europe !

"EuroZone and EU Institutional debates pave the way to 2009 discussions on EU Future, including Enlargment, Turkey etc. ?


23 October 2008

After EU Parliament strongly suppported in 3 successive Votes this week in Strasbourg French EU Chairmanship's move to boost Euro-Group at EU's core, while ideas on EU Institutional problems are awaited on December, "it's an open Question now" if this may lead to a debate on EU's Future, or not, told us French President, Nicolas Sarkozy''s Spokesman, Pierre-Jerome Henin.

MEPs voted on Thursday fresh Funds to support EuroGroup, after adopting on Wednesday a Resolution asking a "further Evolution" to "the 1st ever meeting of Heads of State and of Government of the Euro-Zone, taking decisions in that capacity", while earlier this week a Report asked "a stronger Institutional setting" for "EuroGroup", extended from "competitiveness/industry" to "environment, employment and education", with "increased powers for Political decision-making", according to a text drafted by French MEP Francoise Beres and German MEP Werner Langen, "10 Years after the creation of Euro" (1999 - 2009).

- Brussels' subsequent "EU Council ..(simply)..ratified the measures decided by EuroGroup on October 12" in Paris, which "were necessary to contain the current Financial Crisis", Resolution observes, expressing also support to the new process succesfully initiated by Sarkozy and due to be completed by agreements with USA and other countries at a Global level.

From now on, it's between two differend but parallel moves : EU's delay, and EuroZone's acceleration, that Enlargement and particularly Turkey's controversial EU bid, will have to search its way :

Indeed, EU's 27 expect a "Roadmap on how to deal with the Irish problem" on Lisbon Treaty ratification after December, risking to pass even 2009 Elections and next Commission with the old Nice Treaty of 2000, out-dated and unfit even for 2004's Enlargement...

On the contrary, EU's core launches a real "Economic Governance for EuroZone at the highest level of Heads of State/Government" of the 15, which started in Paris on October 12 and was strongly supported this week in Strasbourg by Sarkozy and EU Parliament.
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- "It's a good idea, to launch such a debate ("on EU's Future") in EU Parliament in view of 2009 Euro-Election : Perhaps some MEPs will seize an opportunity", told us mainstream French MEP Alain Lamassoure, former EU Minister and EU Spokesman for France's governing party UMP.

- "All MEPs' debates on such EU Councils are also part of the larger debate on Europe's future : Now with EuroZone, and even more when, on December, Irish Prime Minister is due to table proposals in Strasbourg on how to deal with EU Treaty's ratification", replied earlier to our question EU Parliament's Press Director and Spokesman, Jaume Duch.
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Sarkozy has formally anounced his intention to open EU Debates on Economy, Identity/Enlargement (i.e. mainly Turkey), etc. both linked to a popular Political view of Europe, since his Historic speeches on EU in Strasbourg, on February and July 2007, when he stressed that "Europe needs a New Renaissance". At the beginning of the French EU Presidency, on July 2008, replying to a MEP, he suggested that EU Parliament takes an active part in Debates on EU's Future.

- Now, in 2008, "Crisis are an opportunity to re-think how to re-construct Europe", Sarkozy stressed. At any case, the Historic 1st EuroZone Summit of Heads of State/Government, which started replying to the Financial crisis,"is a Turning Point : After that, Europe cannot be governed as before, but differently" : People "like a Europe with Strong Will".

- "We must make the System move !", "Europe needs Innovation" and free political debates. EU "Elections are in a few Months", Sarkozy warned.

He invited EU Parliament to fully play its role as "the Democratic Heart of the Europe we want : United, Independent and Voluntarist, because the World needs Europe's voice".

- "It's no more possible for Euro-Zone to continue without an Economic Government" at the Highest Level of Heads of State/Government, who provide "Democratic Legitimity" and can take important decisions, he announced, strongly supported by EU Parliament's Economic Committee which just voted to boost the "Institutional" aspects of "EuroGroup".

Plasticity offered by the current absence of a special Treaty on EuroZone's Institutions "made it easy to adapt the organization of the 1st Summit with imagination, to efficiently meet urgent needs", he observed, on the occasion of Brittish Prime Minister's exceptionnal presence at the greatest part of EuroGroup's Paris Summit.

- "In EuroZone we have the same Bank, the same Money, and, thus, a same duty for Unity" : "By bringing together EuroGroup's 15 members States we suceeded to find a solution and prepare a Giant Plan of 1.800 Billion euros", Sarkozy reminded of Paris' 1st Historic EuroZone's Summit.

Afterwards, Brussels' EU Council followed the move, and USA's Paulson II Plan was inspired from that. "Europe must promote the idea of Global Economy's Refoundation", he stressed.

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- "I was frankly astonished when I found, at the EU, a rigid system, where any New Idea was seen from the outset as a sacrilege, while, on the contrary, Europe needs Innovation !", he described.

F.ex. ,"'When we first spoke about the "Union for the Mediterranean", it was misunderstood as something extraordinary.. When later we had the Russia -Georgia crisis, it seemed against EU's custom to act "in the middle of August", instead of staying a passive spectator ! And when, in front of the Financial ciris, we gathered the 1st EuroZone Summit of the "15", some thought of it as a lese-majesté", he denounced.
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On Geo-Political Principles :
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- But, by moving resolutely, "EU obtained the ...withdrawal of Occupation Troops in 2 Months !", reminded Sarkozy, observing that Russia "fulfilled its commitments", in the Georgian crisis, where a "disroportionate reaction" from Moscow followed a "totally inappropriate action" from Tbilisi's troops. "It would be crazy to reply by military means : EU should not become accomplice of another Cold War, imposed by lack of cool heads".. as he said.

In future, "the creation of a common European Economic Area with EU and Russia, would also obtain a raprochment on our Human Rights and Democratic Values", added Sarkozy, in a statement which should logically be applied, a fortiori, to controversial EU "candidate" Turkey..

Particularly when, the same week that EU Parliament voted 2009 EU Funds for Turkey's controversial EU bid, ECHR took a series of judgements condemning Turkey for grave Violations of Human Rights, such as : Torture, death of a political prisoner in unclear circumstances followed by failure to conduct a proper Investigation, "enforced Disappearance" of a youngster aged 17, Killing of a sepherd with Tank Shells, persecuting Journalists for articles on "Missing" People, even a former President of Human Rights' Association, (etc)

- "We (EU) can defend our ideas on respect of Sovereignity and territorial Integrity, on Human Rights and other differences ... without confrontation", Sarkozy stressed, on the occasion of Russian/Georgian conflict, reminding that : "we were only 2 steps from catastroph", when a Peace agreement brokered in Moscow prevented, at the last minute, Russian troops' advance towards Tbilisi.

An EU Parliament Resolution adopted Wednesday in Strasbourg on the occasion of Russia - Georgia conflict, outlines a set of Principle which apply elsewhere too, (particularly when EU Rapporteur for Russia and Turkey is one and same person ; Dutch MEP Ria Oomen-Ruijtanen !)

Clearly rejecting any "military solution to the conflicts", MEPs "condemn ..all those who resorted to force and violence". They denounce a "disproportionate military action", "as well as (an) unilateral decision to recognise the independence" of brekaway regions, "calling.. to respect the sovereignty and territorial integrity" of the concerned country, "and the inviolability of its borders recognised by all EU Member States". They warn that "EU must review its policy towards" a 3rd Country, "should .(it)...not comply with its commitments", and "stress that the withdrawal of.... troops from the areas ....is an essential additional step".

EU Parliament "calls for the safe and quick return of refugees, (accepted by Russian President Medvedev) accompanied by the deployment of EU observers on the ground", and "regrets ...that ..EU Monitoring Mission (EUMM) is not allowed to enter the ...breakaway regions". Moreover, "It's important to ensure that persons and NGOs ..engaged in defending human and civil rights can operate". "Until ...all remaining issues (are) resolved..., and notably the continuing ...Military presence", "relations with the EU ..cannot be fully normalised", MEPS warned.

As nobody likes to be accused to practice "Double Standards", this should be regarded as "Principles" applicable to any Third Country at EU's Neighborhood.. No ?

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On Economy :

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- "When Financial crisis shook US and EU's Banks, without result from the 1st (American) Paulsen plan, it was the common reply of the 1st EuroZone's Summit, involving some 1800 Billion euros, which started a positive move in the markets, soon strengthened by the follow-up of the US Paulson 2 Plan, noted Sarkozy.

- "Europe should not be only on the defensive, but, if necessary, know also how to take an offensive", he said, brushing away hesitationsto act on Economy: - "I'm for a refondation of Capitaliism, but against Speculators, who betray its values" : "Lack of Rules was profitable to speculators, Not to businessmen !" We must make sure to prevent any such crisis in future". "We, the rest of the World, cannot continue to bear the deficits of the 1st World power without saying anything !", the French President said, applauded by EU Parliament. All this needs "a New Global Governance", on which EU Parliament must debate. That's why "we proposed together with USA, several Summits from mid-November", to which G-8, enlarged to China, India a.o. countries, should participate. UNO's SG; Ban Ki Moon, the IMF, etc.

Financial crisis lowered shares' prices even for healthy companies, sometimes to 1/3 of their initial price, so that strangers might buy EU industries for only a portion of their real value, and Europeans may wake up one day with their main industries sold out to foreigners !

That's one of the reasons for which EU should debate about creating "Golden Shares" for States to jointly take Strategic participations to help European Industries until the end of the Crisis, particularly against distording competition, he suggested, pointing at USA's 35 billion $ plan for American Car Industry."We shall struggle for Europe to be able to build Airplanes, Ships, Trains, Cars, because we need a strong Industry", he concluded.

"F.ex. as we did back in 2004, when as Finance Minister, we bought Alsthom's shares for 800.000 euros, and, after restructuring, we sold them for 2 Millions : Help a company and make money is not so bad"...

As for the UK, "when Ireland announced that it would guarantee only Irish Banks, London City emptied from liquidities in 24 hours : It's the EU which helped to restore the situation, Not the UK alone !", reminded Sarkozy to nationalist British MEP Nigel Farage.

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On the contrary, in a last-minute attempt for the EU to catch-up with its Institutional delay "before the European Elections" of June 2009, MEPs simply voted a call for a "set of proposals" to be made for the "Irish public opinion" at the end of the year...

- "As long as Lisbon Treaty is not ratified by all 27 EU Member States, there is an unanimous decision to stop Enlargement, reminded Wednesday in Strasbourg the French Minister for EU affairs, Jean-Pierre Jouyet..

Added to an indirect but clear warning that, without Lisbon Treaty, all 27 EU Member Countries may not have a Commissioner in the 2009 resuffle, MEPS in the Constitutional/Foreign affairs Committees applauded hoping that this might motivate their Irish friends..

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