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Home arrow newsitems arrow EU Parliament's Top Press Officers in Upbeat mood ahead of crucial 2019 European Elections...

EU Parliament's Top Press Officers in Upbeat mood ahead of crucial 2019 European Elections...

Written by ACM
Wednesday, 16 January 2019

 eu_parliaments_director_of_communications_duch_gives_a_thumbs_up_to_eurofora_on_jan._2019_400

*Strasbourg/EU Parliament/Angelo Marcopolo/- A Fast-Track look at the Annual Reception of accredited Journalists for the Crucial New Year of 2019 European Elections, by EU Parliament's Top Press Officers, as well as by its President, Antonio Tajani, yesterday (Tuesday) evening, on the sidelines of this January Plenary Session, clearly surprized by a quite UpBeat Mood witnessed by "Eurofora" at several Key persons, in various but converging ways, despite the awesome Challenge that notoriously represent for EU's present and foreseable Future the main conditions, turnout and results of this exceptionally important, forthcoming Vote of May 23-26 :

 

new_year_2019_invitation_by_eu_parliaments_director_general_on_communications_jaume_duch_eurofora_400

 

- Starting by the experienced new Director General of EU Parliament's Communications, and long-time Spokesman, Jaume Duch-Guillot, who, while Greeting "Eurofora", confirmed the well-known moto : "An Image worths 1.000 Words", by spectacularly resuming his mood with an expressive "Thumbs-Up" Bright Smile, in a superb Winston Churchil style, (See relevant Photo)...

 

- Among Jaume's probable motivations certainly is also the Fact that he had just succeeded to bring, together with him, EU Parliament's President, Antonio Tajani, (a very experienced, former Twice EU Commissioner, Top MEP, Foreign Minister, High-Tech Engineer, etc., who has even touched upon Journalism personaly the Past), despite an exceptional overload by many other meetings held in parallel that same day, to greet Journalists, in front of "Eurofora", with a Toast firmly dedicated to the "Freedom of Press" :

 

eu_parliaments_president_tajani_shares_a_toast_with_journalists_for_2019_on_press_freedom_eurofora_400 

 

 - Simply Because an efficient and Democratic Society needs Pluralist and Free Information by Medias regularly covering European Issues, sometimes even at the Risk of their own Lives, as it was shown in the Recent Tragic Examples of the Brutal Killings, in 2017-2018, of an experienced Maltese Journalist, who had dared dangerously expose herself in public by adding an Independent and Critical Web-News Site with Original NewsReports to her routine articles for a traditional weekly, followed even by that of a young Slovak Web-Journalist reportedly investigating some corruption affairs for Big Medias, (etc), evoked President Tajani, vowing to Resolutely Continue to Defend Press Freedom also after the May 2019 EU Elections.

+ Naturally, Jaume Duch, who is of Spanish origin, had also the rare pleasure, these days, to Welcome in EU Parliament both the Speaker of Spain's National Parliament, and the Prime Minister of the Country, respectively at an Exhibition opened on Tuesday Evening (together, inter alia, with the former EU Parliament's President Gil Robles), and on Wednesday, at a Plenary Debate with MEPs. Moreover, earlier ceremonies to celebrate the Anniversary of "20 Years" since the adoption of €uro Currency, were added on Tuesday.

But it's even his Spokesman Office's Head, and Deputy EU Parliament's Spokesperson, Marjory Van Den Broeke, who gave one of her rare Smiles, while Wishing a Happy New Year to "Eurofora", just after listening to our description of the beautiful spectacle of Huge Trees and/or even Gardens often preserved inside the Center of Buildings' Blocksa at several Hotels in Brussels, sometimes giving a Superb View of SunRise, at Early Morning's time, (f.ex. when returning from a Long EU Heads of State/Governments Summit's Night), as we highlighted, (See, f.ex., relevant Photo, taken from the latest, December 2018 EU Brussels' Summit nights, etc).

brussels_interior_garden_sunrise_during_eu_summit_eurofora_400 

Brussels' interior Garden Sunrise, during the latest EU Summit (Eurofora)

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>>> Much more Important, however, for the overall Mood of EU Parliament's Senior Press Officers Nowadays, obviously was the Exceptional Fact that, by a Timely Coincidence, the above mentioned Annual Reception for Journalists took place in Strasbourg almost ...at the Same Time that, at London's Westminster, Brittish MPs were engaged in a Decisive Vote on the latest UK - EU draft Deal on "BREXIT" !


- A Big and Topical Issue, scheduled to be Debated by MEPs' the Next Morning (Wednesday), which inevitably Dominated also various Discussions among Journalists and EU Parliament's Press Officers, etc., during that Annual Reception of Tuesday Evening :  - Despite a spontaneous ... "What a Mess !", reaction by another Press Staff Member, speaking to "Eurofora", when it became clear that a Big Majority with a Difference of more than 200 Brittish MPs were, indeed, Opposed to that Draft Deal, as it stood, on the contrary, Most Interlocutors looked rather ...Happy about it, apparently Hoping that the UK may finally Stay inside the EU...


Some, inside EU Parliament, might, perhaps, have been Glad for the prospect of certain Other EU Member States to Gain More MEPs than before in the May 2019 Elections, due to a probable "BREXIT", meanwhile, on March, (as, f.ex., +5 for France and Spain, +3 for Italy and the Netherlands, +2 for Ireland, +1 for Poland, Sweden, Finland, Denmark, Austria, Croatia, Romania, etc, but +O for Other Countries, so that the Total Number of MEPs would go from 751 down to 705, after the Departure of the UK, while 46 Seats would be Reserved for eventual "TransNational" Lists in the Future, and/or for Enlargement). Nevertheless, Others notoriously prefered for the UK to Remain inside the EU.


- The Best Example was that of EU Parliament's new Press Director, Neil Corlett, a serious and experienced former Long-Time Head of Medias/Communication for the Liberal Group of MEPs, and Brittish himself, who Laughed wholeheartedly, together with some Friends, when he heard "Eurofora" suggest that a Key reason for an eventual "NO" to "BREXIT" could be People like Corlett himself !


- Indeed, obviously he was, personally, Against "BREXIT", and had been, surprisingly, Selected by EU Parliament in order to become its Press Director Recently, when "Hot" EU - UK Negotiations had been engaged, Despite the Fact that he was Brittish, without clearly knowing what might happen to him (and other UK Citizens employed by the EU) if and when the UK might Leave the EU, (as he had already told "Eurofora" since then). By a strange Coincidence, Neil Corlett had assumed the role of EU Parliament's new Press Director during that Same Plenary Session of Autumn 2017 in Strasbourg in which EU Council's President, Donald Tusk, a former Prime Minister of Poland, had Surprized Observers during a key MEPs' Debate, by Evoking a Possibility for the UK to Finally Stay inside the EU, if it wished so...


>>> However, the most Interesting was what the experienced Corlett had to say nowadays on the Crucial Issue of the estimated overall "Turnout" in the forthcoming 2019 EU Elections, (which had Previously been Discussed several times in the Past, mainly between "Eurofora" and Jaume Duch : See Infra) :


- I think that there is, now, a real chance for EU Citizens' Turnout in the 2019 European Elections to be Higher than the Last Times. Not just Because of our (EU Parliament's Press Service) more or less "ProActive" Strategy, but, much More due to "the Political Context" of nowadays, Neil Corlett told us.


=> Indeed, from the one side, so-called "Populists, and/or various "EuroSceptics", Far Leftists or Rightists, may feel Recently that they could have a Chance to get a Bigger Say inside EU Parliament, than they ever had in the Past. But, at the Same Time, alleged "Pro-Europeans", and/or several Traditional, mainstream Political Parties' fans, may Feel that their Ideas about Europe would Risk to be seriously Heart and Damaged or Replaced by some reportedly "Anti-European" Views. So that Both Sides of this Political Spectrum would be Incited to Participate in the May 2019 Votes, More than in the Past, increasing the Turnout, EU Parliament's new Press Director, agreed with "Eurofora", in substance.


+ Turnout's Numbers in EU Elections has become a very "Hot" Issue of Crucial Importance, particularly since the 1979 - 1994 Majority of Registered EU Citizens, suddenly Ceased to appear, after a Sharp Fall of Participation from 62 - 57% down to Only a Minority of 49 or 45%  of Voters between 1999 - 2004, before a Stabilisation around 43% twice, on 2009-2014.


The Fact that a Long Trend to always Fall towards a Lower Turnout, already since 1979-1994, suddenly Agravated on 1999-2004, was apparently Diminished, before being Stopped (if not reversed) on 2009-2014, (Comp. Supra), has been often Discussed, earlier, by "Eurofora" with EU Parliament's Spokesman and former Long-Time Press Director, Jaume Duch, currently Director-General of Communications, as, f.ex., inter alia, also back on July 2014, (See: http://www.eurofora.net/newsflashes/news/whatstopedabstentiontrendandstartedparticipationgrowthineuelections.html , etc). According to that latest discussion in public, (during the regular Press Briefing of Monday Afternoon, at the Beginning of a Plenary Session), Duch had already announced that EU Parliament was, normaly, expected to Examine the way in which it had Succeeded to achieve that Stabilisation, of a previously Falling Turnout, (as mentioned above), in order to reach Practical Conclusions for the Next EU Elections of 2019, (Comp. Supra). Something which, precisely, remains to be seen Nowadays, (Hoping, also, for an eventual Reversal of that previous Trend, now, towards a Stronger Electoral Participation by EU Citizens, much needed for Europe's present and Future)...


At any case, an Unforgettable Fact, in this regard, naturally is what had told "Eurofora" the Famous 1st President of EU Parliament in History, former Minister and afterwards Academician, Simone Veil, back during a Conference in Paris' prestigious University of Sorbonne, already as early as since 2010, (precisely when Polls had shown that she was, then, the Most Popular Figure in France) :


- When "Eurofora" had asked Veil to explain the "Paradox", for EU Citizens to have been regularly Voting, with Big Majorities, at EU Parliaments' Elections back on 1979-1994, when MEPs had Only a Few Competences, while, on the Contrary, they suddenly Started to Abstain in Majority, more Recently (since 1999-2004), Despite the Fact that MEPs have got, meanwhile, much More and Important Competences than in the Past, that Historic and Popular European Personality had not hesitated to Reply, realistically but Optimistically, (with a Bitter Smile, after a Thoughtfull moment), that, in her view, "Europe is still in a Transitional" Stage, between a Past and a Future Level of Development, (See : http://www.eurofora.net/newsflashes/news/simoneveileuropeintransition.html).


=> Shall we Start to see, at least Now, in the forthcoming, crucial May 2019 EU Elections, something like a Prelude or Beginning of such a New Stage for Europe, or shall we have to Wait, even Longer, perhaps until the Next, 2024 EU Elections, if not even Further Away in the Future ?


+ It's also a Fact that even the Experienced, current EU Commission's President, former Long-Time Prime Minister of Luxembourg and €uroGroup's Head, Jean-Claude Juncker, has concluded a landmark Conference, in Strasbourg University's Political Science Institute, more recently on Autumn 2017, (See: ...), by the Surprizing Observation that, Contrary to what Most People Think, the European Construction is Not "Too Old", but, rather, "it's Just Beginning !"...


Juncker has certainly said that in order to Encourage, but Not to Delay.
But, has Nowadays Europe, and its People, the "luxe" to Wait even much Longer, or No more ?...


Aren't Real Europeans obliged to, at least, help Start Something New, in the few Time still available, around these crucial May 2019 EU Elections ?

 

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  imag0573_400

    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.
----------------------------------
    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".

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

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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