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Home arrow newsitems arrow 2019 Election Watch: EUParliament Press Officers to EF on Political Changes + Issues Europe-wide

2019 Election Watch: EUParliament Press Officers to EF on Political Changes + Issues Europe-wide

Written by ACM
Wednesday, 13 February 2019
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*Strasbourg/EU Parliament/Angelo Marcopolo/- "100 Days" before the Crucial EU Election of May 2019, - i.e. the Time Napoleon had after escaping from Elba, while it's still unclear if it will be a Waterloo loss (Not probable in Times of BREXIT) or Austerlitz win - nevertheless, at the 1st Mega-Press Briefing to European Journalists, Today Morning, during Strasbourg's Plenary Session, EU Parliament's Senior Press Officers, replying to "Eurofora"s Questions, ensured that Medias covering the forthcoming developments, will be Accurately informed about exceptionaly numerous expected Political Groups' Changes, and on main Issues at Stake throughout EU's 27 Member Countries :

 

1979__2019__40_years_of_european_elections_eurofora_400
(1979 - 2019 : 40 Years of EU Elections)


- Everything will be done, before these, "Biggest in History", 2019 EU Elections, involving at least 273 Millions Citizens in 27 Countries, for the 9th Time in a row of 40 Years between 1979 - 2019, in order to provide Observers with a real-time overview of that spectacular Mega-Event, based on Hard Facts, stressed from the outset, the experienced EU Parliament's new Director General for Communications, and Spokesman, Jaume Duch-Guillot, (who has personaly followed 7 such Votes), speaking in a PressRoom fully packed with Journalists.

fully_packed_pressroom_for_eu_parliament_elections_briefing_eurofora_screenshot_400


 - Invited to speak by EU Parliament new Press Director, Neil Corlett, "Eurofora" started by pointing at the Fact that, "In these (2019) Elections there will probably be many Changes in the Political Orientations of Parties in several Countries. That means a Difficulty to know in which Group they might go, with Many Hypothesis. How could we Follow that ?"

 
aggs_1st_question_to_eu_parliaments_press_conference_on_2019_eu_elections_eurofora_400 


- "It would be Interesting if you have some input, at least with Question Marks", that there is a Trend for some Parties going in this Direction, or that, may be, we'll have anOther Group", etc.


 + "And, Concerning the Substance, it would be Interesting, even if it might be a Hard Work for you, if it could be possible, for the People who will be Following in the Press, and/or trying to Publish about that, in order to Augment the (Public's) Interest for these Elections, to have some kind of Press Review, (allowing) to know what are the Main Items, the main Issues that are raised in the various Countries".

 

aggs_2nd_question_to_eu_parliaments_press_conference_on_2019_eu_elections_eurofora_400
 
 - "This is not very well known. We have 27 or 28 Countries (according to "BREXIT", or not). What's going on ? At what Moment ? In which Countries ? This goes not only in the Small and Medium, but even in Big ones. For that, we'd need a kind of Press Review on the main European Issues, if possible".


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


 => Communication's Director General Duch, after Carefully hearing our Questions, indicated for Replies 2 differend EU Parliament's Senior Press Officers in his Team, each Specialized in areas concerning one among the two Issues raised by "Eurofora" : "Projections and Data on the Next Composition of the New Parliament" or "Information Tools" for the Campaign, respectively :


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

eu_parliaments_press_officer_schulmeister_replies_to_aggs_1st_question_eurofora_400


- "On the 1st ("Eurofora"'s) Question : Yes, indeed, this is one of the Most Interesting Questions, at least for Data fans, like me !", spontaneously Replied the competent Press Officer Philippe Schulmeister, (in charge of Projections and Data), smiling :  


- I.e., "Where (i.e. in which Group) the Political Parties, at the end, might go ? And What this could do on Majority options in the European Parliament ?"


  - "Well, it's not for us (EU Press Officers) to Speculate. What we give you (i.e. to Medias) is the complete opposite, and say :  These are the Parties which are currently not attributed (to a Group). I cannot, and will not do anything more".


=> - Thus, "it's up to You, then, to say, and/or to Play around with the data, if you like, and to see what Might happen, If", he suggested.

senior_eu_parliamenty_press_officer_schulmeister_replies_to_aggs_1st_question_eurofora_400


 - "But We canNot (do that), even if you think that it's easily well known. A simple Example : "la Republique en Marche" (French President Macron's new Party): Everyone thinks to know, where, after the elections, at which Political Group it might end up with", (the Liberals). However, as long as "I have No Confirmation, we won't put them there".


- "However, we are Ready and Willing, of course, to Share all the Information we have on the Political Parties, on their Ideology, where they might be standing", etc.


>>> "But the Conclusions, on this background, are Yours to make", he clearly distinguished.


> For that purpose, EU Parliament's Website is due to provide some relevant Web Tools, strikingly Similar to those which are often used by mainstream German Press in order to Test various possible Simulations of "Majority Building" at the Bundestag, with Different Political Parties each time, Press Officer Schulmeister promised to "Eurofora" later-on.


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

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+ To the 2nd "Eurofora"s Question, the Coordinator of Press Officers, Michaela Findeis, responsible for the Tools available in EU Parliament, replied Positively, by ensuring that, "on the Electoral Campaigns in the 27" Member States, "we shall try to give you an idea about what are the main Trends in the Political Parties", as she said.


- "But we shall Abstain from making any Comments on the campaigns themselves", Findeis warned.


++ Moreover, "there is, already in the <<Euro-Barometer>>, a Distinction for Each Country, where you can see which are the Issues Debated Nowadays", she added.

 

senior_eu_parliaments_coordinator_press_officer_findeis_replies_to_agg_question_eurofora_400 


-"And, on March (2019), the Euro-Barometer is due to Inform us much More about that", the Press Officers' Coordinator, promised in conclusion, at least for the time being.

 

All this is so more important, as it's not yet sure that all Top Leaders will be able to participate in EU Parliament's Top Debate, on May, but only those who would have already been chosen by an EU Party to be its Candidate for new EU Commission's President (See Infra), as it resulted from another question/reply by a Spanish journalist to Jaume Duch.

 

aggs_micro_used_by_spains_catalan_news_agency..._eurofora_400 


+ What Findeis could not yet tell "Eurofora" Now, is that this 2019 EU Election might be the Last in History with Separate Campaigns in Each one among the 27/28 Member States (depending on whether the UK will "BREXIT", or not, meanwhile), since many Expect from the Next, 2024 EU Election to have at least a partly Unique "Euro-List", with a number of identical Candidates for each Political Party, Europe--Wide.

eurtope_builds_its_parliament_19792019_exhibitions_item__eurofora_400
("Europe builds its Parliament" : from 1979-2019 Exhibition)

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


The Overall Schema and the General Principles announced Today in Strasbourg, during EU Parliamen's Plenary Session of February 2019, are due to Start being Applied already from Next Week in Brussels, where also will take place a Debate between main Top Candidates' Leaders on May, preceded and followed by 2 Plenary Sessions in Strasbourg on March and on July, (but none between April and June), for the Transition between the Current (2014-2019) and the New EU Parliament of 2019-2024.

 

(../..)


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People in Europe and the World expect from CoE to make a succes of its "Monitoring" for Human Rights and Democracy, despite difficulties, said Finland's President Tarja Halonen to "EuroFora" at a crucial moment for the mecanism built 15 years ago by the paneuropean organization which celebrates its 60th Anniversary in 2009.

Halonen, known as "Mother" of CoE's "Monitoring" mecanism, a long-time MEP and former Foreign Minister before becoming Finland's President, holds a long experience in the mattter, after also serving twice as CoE and EU Chairwoman in the past. That's why she is well placed to judge how CoE's "monitoring" should deal today with some crucial issues of importance both to CoE and to the EU.

The move came just a Month before a crucial, last visit to Turkey, scheduled for June, by the President of CoE''s "Monitoring" Committee, Ukranian MEP Serge Holovaty, to finalize his Report on Ankara, the CoE Member State with the longest Monitoring procedure. From its results depends its overall credibility.

This is a Test-case, because, in fact, it's in order to avoid Sanctions threatened against Turkey by a CoE's Assembly's April 1995 Resolution for grave Human Rights violations, Democracy gaps, the continuing Military Occupation in Cyprus, the unresolved Kurdish problem, Aegean differend with Greece, etc., that MEPs decided to create, for the 1st time on April 1996, a "Monitoring" proces, allegedly destinated to check, without excluding Countries who did not fulfill all CoE's standards.

In the Past, the obliged withdrawal of Greece's Military regime and of its "Civil" cover-up out of the CoE had helped bring back Democracy in 1974. But, on the contrary, since April 1996, the idea was to "monitor" Human Rights' respect while keeping most concerned Countries inside the CoE. After Turkey's oldest example, this was extended also to several former "Eastern" European Countries, even if CoE's Assembly has imposed to some of them (fex. Ukraine, Russia, etc., after Belarus, Serbia, etc) various "Sanctions", that Ankara always avoided. Curiously more succesful even than .. USA itself, (a CoE "Observer" since 1995), which has been at least threatened with sanctions some years ago..

EU-effects of CoE's Monitoring process became obvious between 2001-2008, since the "closure" of this procedure, when CoE felt that a Country had met most of its Human Rights, Democracy and Rule of Law obligations, (i.e. the "Copenhagen Criteria" for the EU), helped trigger Negotiations with the EU for "Accession" or other closer relations : This occured already before the 2004 and 2007 EU Enlargements to former "Eastern" European Countries, as well as for the commencement of "accession" negotiations with Croatia, and of "open-ended" negotiations with Turkey in 2005.

    But a stricking new development are Holovaty's recent findings that on core Human Rights issues as Torture and Freedom of Expression, Turkey, even "5 Years after" CoE closed its "Monitoring", back in 2004, inciting EU to start accession Negotiations in 2005, still presents grave problems.

    His findings are of crucial importance after a 2008 CoE Resolution called, "if need be", to "seriously consider the possibility of Re-Opening the Monitoring procedure for Turkey" : A move which might affect Ankara's controversial EU bid, since EU Accession Negotiations are based on the Hypothesis that the Candidate fullfils the "Copenhagen Criteria" (See above)..
-------------------------
    Holovaty expressed his will to check  "Matters still Outstanding" and  those that he "didn't have an opportunity to discuss" at an earlier visit this year, "in order to discuss the more complex issues in greater depth", at his forthcoming New Visit to Ankara, before the December 2009 EU Summit.  This is all based on the 2004 CoE Resolution which stresses that, CoE "will continue.. post-monitoring Dialogue with the Turkish authorities,...in addition to a 12-points list,..and on any Other Matter that might arise in connection with Turkey’s Obligations as a CoE member state".

    CoE's Resolution also asks  from Turkey "to secure the proper Implementation of Judgements, particularly in the Cyprus v. Turkey InterState case", of 2001, which concerns also the plight of many Hundreds of MISSING People. It adds Turkey's obligations to "execute" ECHR's Judgements in the Loizidou case,..and in particular adopt General Measures to avoid repetition or continuation of Violations found by the Court" to the detriment of Refugees.

    Nevertheless, Holovaty said to "EuroFora" that "MISSING" persons,"might be included" and cannot be excluded, but he has yet to examine the situation "to find out  which issues will be raised" to the Turkish Government.

    Therefore, "EuroFora" asked Halonen, as the Historic "Mother" of CoE's Monitoring mecanism, if she thought that, "whenever there are grave Human Rights Violations, as fex. "MISSING" persons, attested even by ECHR's judgements, they should be always checked by a Monitoring process. Or could they be forgotten ?"
    
     - "We (CoE) must be, at the same time, Fair, Realistic, but not in the mind that "now we have Forgotten", etc., replied to "EuroFora"'s question Halonen, speaking as a matter of general principle.

    - "When we think of those People that are suffering from the lack of Democracy, of Human Rights, and of the Rule of Law", "we should find a base on how to deal with the (Monitoring) system more rapidly"', she stressed.

    - "Sometimes it's very difficult to combine Transparency and Effectivenes together, particularly in this specific case", she went on to say. But, "I have not found a (CoE Member) Country who could be insensitive in this sens", Halonen answered concerning grave Human Rights violations attested by the ECHR.

    - "I have no ready-made answer. I have the expectations that you, in the CoE, will, step by step, find the different types of the monitoring systems."

    Also "because this is a part of the UN's Post-Conflict system, (fex. when it comes to Cyprus' MISSING persons), and it's a more Global system". So that, "If we make a succes in Europe, the others will follow", throughout the World.  "But they expect that we (Europe) are this opportunity, this Opportunity to make a Succes", Halonen concluded.

    In addition, she advised to extend CoE's Monitoring to all its 47 Member States, "because, as long as we hear that, all these monitoring systems are "OK for the neighbor, but not for me", "it's very difficult" to understand. Something which could make easier to Compare...

    Finnish MEP Jaako Laakso, former CoE Rapporteur on the Occupied Territories of Cyprus and one of the 5 Signatories of the Historic CoE's call to create the "MONITORING" mecanism since 1996, was more specific :  - "We (CoE Assembly) have to find a way for the issue of Cyprus' MISSING People to be better followed", he stressed, anouncing his intention to "speak to Mr. Holovaty" about that. "There might be also other ways", added Laakso.

    - The 2008 "Year had been a very Bad one for Turkey with regard to Human Rights in general, and Freedom of Expression in particular", denounced, meanwhile, Holovaty's preliminary Post-Monitoringh Draft Report by Holovaty, published by the CoE on April 2009.

    "Amnesty International believes that freedom of expression is not guaranteed given the various articles of the Criminal Code that restrict it. .. "For example, 1,300 Websites are said to have been closed down by the (Turkish) authorities in 2008" ! While "the new Turkish Criminal Code was used to bring a total of 1,072 proceedings between June 2005 and April 2008, and led to the conviction of 192 people", for expressing views. "Representatives of the Özgür Gündem newspaper, which specialises in Kurdish affairs, ..complained about Numerous Attacks on their Freedom of Expression ...as was everyone who advocated a settlement to the question by means other than the intervention of the army" "According to their figures, 19 Newspapers had been suspended 43 times between 4 August 2006 and 4 November 2008" !...

    Moreover, on 2008,  CoE's "Ministers adopted its 4rth Resolution on the execution of the judgments of the ECHR, ...and outstanding issues regarding 175 Judgements and decisions relating to Turkey delivered between 1996 and 2008...  concerning Deaths resulting from the excessive use of force by members of the Security forces, the failure to protect the right to life, the DIisappearance and/or death of individuals, Ill-Treatment and the Destruction of property". CoE's " Ministers urged the Turkish authorities ...to ensure that members of Security forces of all ranks can be prosecuted without administrative
authorisation" for "serious crimes". Holovaty reminded.

"Nonetheless", Holovaty heard anew of "Several cases of Violence committed last year (2008) by the (Turkish) security forces". Amnesty International speaks of Many Cases of ill-treatment and Torture in the prisons and by the police". "Including, fex."'the death of Engin Ceber, a young man of 29 who died on October 2008 as a result of the TORTURE allegedly inflicted on him by police officers, prison staff and members of the gendarmerie. He was part of a group of people arrested on September 2008 during a demonstration and Press Conference in Istanbul'. Proceedings against suspects are "on-going" in this case.

- " I therefore noted an Obvious Contradiction between the Government’s stated “zero tolerance” policy.... of Torture and other forms of ill-treatment, and the different testimonies given", denounced CoE's Rapporteur.  Turkish "authorities must make considerable efforts to guarantee that proper investigations are carried out into allegations of abuses by members of the security forces and that perpetrators are effectively punished" "In this respect, I have requested detailed Statistics on the number of Investigations, acquittals and convictions in cases involving allegations of abuse in order to show the positive impact of the measures taken to date", Holovaty said, repeating a permanently unsatisfied CoE's demand to Turkey since a Decade...

    - "The Political Crisis that shook the country in the spring of 2008 highlighted the Weaknesses of the (Turkish) Constitution", which comes from the Military regime of 1982, "and the Urgent Need of Reforms", stressed from the outset CoE's Rapporteur in 2009. In particular, "the ...Democratic functioning of state institutions, including the independence of the judicial system, are crucial", he observes.

    But, "the Electoral  system and the ways in which it is circumvented do not appear to give those elected complete Legitimacy, and tend to pervert the course of direct universal suffrage", denounces Holovaty, observing that, even 5 Years later, Turkey did not yet change the 10% nationwide Threshold for a party to take any seat, which is "far higher" than the "3%" maximum in Europe and already condemned as contrary to European Standards by the CoE.

    + Moreover, EU Parliament's 2009 Report on Turkey, drafted by Dutch MEP Ria Oomen-Ruijten and adopted in Strasbourg on March, expresses "Concern over the Failure of the (Turkish) Judiciary to prosecute cases of Torture and Ill-treatment, the Number of which is Growing". EU also "is concerned about continuing Hostility and Violence against Minorities" in Turkey. It also "calls on the Turkish Government to launch, as a matter of Priority, a Political Initiatve favouring a lasting Settlement of the Kurdish issue, (while "condemning violence.. and terrorist groups"). EU "regrets that No progress has been made on establishing full, systematic Civilian suprevisory functions over the (Turkish) Military".

    The final results of Holovaty's 2nd and last visit to Turkley will be known later this year, and, at any case, before EU's December 2009 Summit.

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