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Home arrow newsitems arrow EUParliament Vote on Ombudsman backs EF project Key parts (1997-2019, incl. Historic Buzek 2009 act)

EUParliament Vote on Ombudsman backs EF project Key parts (1997-2019, incl. Historic Buzek 2009 act)

Written by ACM
Thursday, 17 January 2019

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*Strasbourg/EU Parliament/Angelo Marcopolo/- A strong Majority in EU Parliament's plenary backed a Key part of "Eurofora" project's (+1997-2019) Principles about Citizens' Participation, on which is based the Latest EU Ombudsman's, Emily O'Reilly's, Special Report (2017-2019), including an Historic move on Transparency of the Decision-Making process made by former President Buzek, just after -and according to- what we had discussed here, already as early as before a Decade now : since 2009 !

 

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Significantly, the overall EU Parliament's Resolution succesfully attracted 479 Votes in favor, against Only 18, (with 81 abstentions).

 

 

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On the Contrary, 225 MEPs (against 360 in favor) Contested (191 opposed + 34 abstaining) just a Part of a Paragraph, which Applied such General Principles also to a Specific, Controversial Issue, relevant to EU Member States' sovereignity, (about "Preparatory Bodies" linked to "€uroGroup" and other "Financial" organs), and/or to EU Council's rejected Demand for a 1,5 Month more Timeframe in order to Reply in what it considered as "Complex" Issues, requiring "in Depth Reflection", (until "Early July" 2018), that EU Ombudsman Refused, because it Exceeded the Standard 3 Months overall Deadline set by EU Parliament's Rules, while the matter was "Important ... to EU Citizens", as she stressed (on May 2018). 

 

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- But, concerning the above-mentioned General Principles, on which is Based both "Eurofora"s Project (+1997-2019) and this EU Parliament's 2019 Resolution on EU Ombudsman's latest Report (2017-2019), a Strong Majority of MEPs (Comp. Supra) stressed Today, in particular, that  "ensuring that (EU) Citizens are able to ... Participate in the Progress of Legislation is a Legal Requirement under the (EU) Treaties (See Infra), and a Basic requirement for a Modern Democracy".


- In this regard, MEPs point at the "Articles 1 and 10 (3) of EU Treaty, (which) establish that, at Union level, Decisions must be taken as Openly as possible, and as Close as possible to the (EU) Citizens".


+ In Addition, Lisbon Treaty's Article 11 speaks even for "Regular Dialogue", as well as the "Expression" of EU Citizens' Views, and "Exchanges", on the "Acts" of EU Authorities, including EU Parliament itself, EU Commission or Council, and others, as "Eurofora" has recently evoked both with EU Ombudsman, Emily O'Reilly herself, and her Director of Communication, etc, (See: http://www.eurofora.net/newsflashes/news/euombudsmanoneurofforaproject.html + http://www.eurofora.net/newsflashes/news/euombudsmandecisionandeuroforaproject.html , respectively).


=> That's one reason more, for which EU Ombudsman's latest Report "found that", as a matter of Principle, "the ... Lack of Transparency ...of (a) Decision-Making Process - specifically during the Preparatory Stage ...- constitute(s) Mal-Administration", MEPs pointed out.


I.e. practically endorsing, on 2019, former Twice EU Ombudsman, Professor Nikiforos Diamandouros' 2010 Anouncement to "Eurofora" of his Intention to use EU's "Charter of Fundamental Rights and Freedoms", (part of Lisbon Treaty package), and particularly the Principle of "Good Administration", (established by the Charters' Article 41), in a "Wide" way, including, in Addition to "Transparency" Issues, also f.ex. the Legal Principles of "Impartiality" and "Fairness", as well as of  "reasonably Timely" Public Administration's Decisions, added to Citizens' Rights to "be Heard", have "Access to ...Files" affecting their "affairs", as well as for a Motivation giving the "Reasons" of Decisions. With the Result to form a Coherent Series of Rules inciting for a kind of <<Dialogue>> between Citizens and Public Authorities, (since the "Reasons" of their Decisions should, normally, Reply to affected Citizens' previous "Hearing", as National Administrative Law often precsribes also in several EU Countries, etc), serving also as a Safeguard against eventual "Abuse of Discretionary Power", (See: http://www.eurofora.net/newsflashes/news/euombudsman.html), which are becoming, Taken Together also with PanEuroepan CoE's recent similar Legal Tools for  National Administration, (See : http://www.eurofora.net/newsflashes/news/coeruleoflawchecklistandeuroforaproject.html), Key Building Blocks applying"Eurofora"s Project's main Idea.


>>> Now, "especially in the run-up to the European Elections in May 2019", EU Parliament "is deeply convinced that Truly Democratic and highly Transparent Decision-Making ... is indispensable to increase Citizens' Trust, ...and is, therefore, determined to Enhance the Democratic Accountability of all EU Institutions", as the new Resolution stresses.


- Otherwise, nowadays' "common Criticism", "of the EU" (and/or National States) as being "Democratically Deficient", can become "Detrimental" to any "Ambitious ... European (and/or National) Project", EU Parliament warns, expressing "Deep Concern".


=> Therefore, the Resolution adopted Today, formally "Demands" that EU Institutions, including the Council, "Align (their) Working Methods with the Standards of a ... Participatory Democracy, as required under the Treaties", (Comp. Supra).


- During Today's Debates, Dutch former Minister and currently vice-President of EU Parliament's Delegation to Palestine,, "Green" MEP Margrete Auken, rightfully pointed at the fact that "We are here with the very Core of what is called the <<Democratic Deficit>> in the EU", which appears as "a kind of Ghost (sic !) story", that "is too Far Away"...


- She referred to an expression used by experienced EU Parliament's co-Rapporteur for Ombudsman's work, German SD MEP Jo Leinen, who had just Warned that "Citizens" have important "Expectations" on "the whole Decicion-Making Process" of Public Authorities, and what "they expect at Home, inside the Nation States, they expect it, all the More, from the EU, because, (otherwise), Brussels is bound to be (perceived as) More and More Away from the People ! That is why we need (f.ex.) More Transparency at the European level, than perhaps at National level" : Here, the Decision Making Process must Not look as "a Black-Box", where "Much is happening Behind Closed Doors", he Warned.


- But, both EU Ombudsman's and EU Parliament's relevant Reports clearly show that "we have some very Good Tools" in order "to Deal with that Problem", optimistically stressed MEP Auken. A key part of "the Problem is", in fact, that various Obstacles to Transparency and/or Participation in EU Decision-Making Process "have Kept entire important National Layers Out of (the European) Democracy", as she characteristically Denounced, instead of inter-Linking them, (f.ex. via Citizens', Medias', and/or Political Parties' Access to what is happening at EU Level, so that they could Act also through the National Level, by Holding their Representatives Accountable of what they are doing here).


=> It's Interesting to note that the Most Important such "Tool", in order to Find a Solution to those Problems, according to Both relevant EU Ombudsman's Report and EU Parliament's Resolution of 2019, (Comp. Supra), Focus mainly on "Transparency" at the "Preparatory Stage" of EU's Decision-Making Process, i.e. for Information of Citizens a.o. Before Measures are taken, f.ex. by Opening Access to what is happening inside EU Parliament's Committees which Prepare the Final Decisions due to be taken, Sooner or Later, by the Plenary.


>>> That's precisely a Key Point of "Eurofora"s wider Project (+1997-2019), with which We have Helped to Deal, in real Practice, by Inciting the former President of EU Parliament, ex-Prime Minister of Poland, Professor Jerzy Buzek, (current Chair of Industry-Transports-Research-Energy Committee), to be Insprired by a Discussion that we held, the same Day of his Election as EU Parliament's Head, as Early as since 2009, in order to take the Historic Decision to "Innovate" then, by Starting to Open all the MEPS' Committees' Meetings' Events and Documents for "Live" Transmission, Registration and Permanent Access through the New Communication Technologies of Digital Tools and the Internet, already before a Decade (2009 - 2019) !


- The Crystal-Clear and Locacious Dialogue between "Eurofora" and President Buzek, in an Exclusive Interview that we had the chance to take then, just after his Election and Press Conference, in EU Parliament in Strasbourg, back on July 2009, speaks itself about the Importance of that Exceptionaly Important Event, which obviously Triggered the Web-Transmission and Publication of EU Parliament Committees' Events and Documents, for the 1st Time in History, systematically, until now (2009-2019) : See the Original NewsReport at  http://www.eurofora.net/newsflashes/irish/buzekeurofora.html.


- It also Reveals the Fact that, by doing so, President Buzek was initially Motivated mainly by "Eurofora" Project's central Idea to Help Debates between EU Citizens and MEPs Before Decisions which affect their Lives and/or Society at large, i.e. a kind of "Dialogue" with concerned Citizens in the EU Decision-Making Process, by using Modern Communication Technologies.


+ In consequence, Nowadays, since this 1st Part of "Eurofora"s Project has been almost Realized in Practice, (i.e. as far as Prior Information and Transparency Before Decisions is concerned, mainly in EU Parliament, mostly in EU Commission, and at a Lesser degree, Partly even in EU Council, where it seems on its way, mutatis-mutandis : Comp. Supra), then, from now on, the main Focus should, normally, be placed on the 2nd -and Most Important- Part of our Idea of +1997-2019, which notoriously was from the Start, and still is Today, to Help Develop Citizens' Debates and Dialogue with EU Politicians/Deciders Before they take impotant Measures affecting People's Lives and/or Society.


As also various converging Recent Events clearly indicate, (f.ex. in France and several Other European Countries, as well as at an overall EU Level), a Complete Application of that "Eurofora"s main Project (+1997-2019) - i.e. Also of its 2nd (and Crucial) Pilar - could Help Face, Alleviate and/or Solve most of current notorious Problems faced by the EU in its relation to Citizens, while also contributing to Open some New Horizons for a really Modern, Developed, Popular and more Democratic Europe.


 

(../..)

 

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Facing a 70% Abstention threat in 2009 Election, EU endorses EuroFora's idea for Citizens' debates on crucial EU decisions !

- Different views on "Europe's Future", should be debated among Citizens at June 2009 EU Elections, thanks to political Parties' "Manifestos", says EU Parliament's Report


                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                               
A main idea, initiated and promoted by EuroFora's founders since 1997: the vital need to develop European Citizens' democratic right to actively participate in multilingual debates on EU decisions, is formally endorsed by the EU from 2009 !

The move is a key attempt to overcome "catastrophic" Polls which warn that only ...30% of Citizens are ready to vote in the forthcoming June 2009 EU Election !  This was revealed by EU Commission's vice-president, in charge of Communication policy, Margot Wallstrom, during a "hot" meeting of EU Parliament's Committee on Culture and Education, during the December 2008 Strasbourg session.

Wallstrom faced criticism, but also suggestions from various MEPs, naturally worried by Abstention threats which herself found even "worse" than in 1999 or 2004...

A Report on "Active Dialogue with Citizens",examined at the same time, presented some useful practical tips, on "facilitating Interviews"; etc., but also a  potentialy important call to "incorporate the conclusions of ...debates...into (EU) policies, and take into consideration the expectations that Citizens have of the EU when deciding". An amendment even implies that Citizens' participation in debates on EU decisions is a democratic "Right".

More importantly, it finds that  a Debate "on the Future of Europe", (as French President Nicolas Sarkozy has asked since 2007), would be a good idea " for the 2009 European parliamentary Elections", because "clarifying the political differences between the EU political parties would help citizens to identify themselves with, and choose between various concepts", for which "all parties (should) present their Manifesto".

A "Joint political declaration on Communicating Europe in Partnership", co-signed by "the European Parliament, Council and ... Commission", confirms that they "attach the utmost importance to improving communication on EU issues", by "enabling European citizens to exercise their right to participate in the democratic life of the Union, in which decisions are taken as openly as possible and as closely as possible to the citizens, observing the principles of pluralism, participation, openness and transparency".

This should "enable Citizens to exercise their right to express their views and to participate actively in the public Debate on European Union issues", while also "promoting the respect of multilingualism". In this regard, EU confirms its "wish to develop synergies with national, regional and local authorities as well as with representatives of Civil Society".

    It's since 1997 that a group of EuroFora's founders have officially presented a pioneer Project (then called "EIW", for "Europe in the World"), which aimed to develop Strasbourg's "Polyphonic music", by providing "Interactive information", on "main issues ... during the Decision-making process of European Organizations which engage in Transparent and Public Democratic Debates"

    This should be done, inter alia, by "exploring the potential of New Communication Tools (mainly Internet)", as well as classic-form debates, the 1997 EIW pioneer project's anounced in its "Synopsis". It was formally "accepted for evaluation" by EU Commission in Brussels in order to be examined for a grant in the framework of the "Research/Technology/Development (RTD) Programme in the field of Information Technologies", then called "ESPRIT", as a "Best Practice Pilot Project".

eiw_project_eu_program_esprit_ds_1997.._400

        But the vital, urgent Political need for EU to search new, efficient ways to reach the People and interact with European Citizens, was really felt in Brussels and elsewhere only after the unprecedented in History 1999 and 2004 Majority Abstention in EU Elections, followed by 3 "NO" in Referenda in France, the Netherlands and Ireland, on 2005 and 2008...
    In this New Political Landscape, we prepared a new, actualised and more developed version of our initial idea, in a simplified and more efficient form, thanks also to a large Experience accumulated during many years of EU/CoE/UNO Press work and Multi-lingual debates, with the New project "EuroFora" :

    On 2006 we presented in Public its main lines during Questions/Replies that we raised at two Press Conferences by EU Commission President, Jose Baroso, and mainly EU Commission's vice-President, in charge of Communication policy, Margot Wallstrom, together with EU Parliament's vice-president, Alejo Vidal-Quadras, in Strasbourg, (Videos available), and we reminded it at various brief contacts with Commissioner Wallstrom in 2007 and 2008.

    Meanwhile, a new Text was also presented for "EuroFora" Project mainly to certain Political and other personalities, at European, National or Regional/Local level, mainly in 2007, but also in 2008..

    Now, after the unexpected 2008 Irish "NO", and before the 2009 EU Elections, which are due to be of exceptionally crucial importance for Europe's Future, the moment has obviously come to launch that project, progressively, but in real practice.

    Whoever really cares for Europe and its Citizens is welcome to join, in one way or another. Only anti-European, anti-democratic, obscure or ignorant groups might oppose or attempt to "steal" and deviate the main idea.

    But European Citizens, incited by enlightened political leaders, are those who will finally write the real History.

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2009 EU Elections were won by Parties against Technocracy and Turkey's controversial EU bid, while the 1999-2004 Majority Abstention trend decelerated. What should be done in 2009-2014 ?

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