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Home arrow newsitems arrow Greek CoE Chair 2020 to Help Win Fight for Human Life v. Virus by People's Trust to Healthy Measures

Greek CoE Chair 2020 to Help Win Fight for Human Life v. Virus by People's Trust to Healthy Measures

Written by ACM
Friday, 15 May 2020
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*Strasbourg/Angelo Marcopolo/- At the 1st in History Hand-over of the Presidency of CoE's PanEuropean Organisation (47 Member States strong, including Russia)  by remote Video-Conference, Extending from Strasbourg to Athens up to Tbilisi in the Caucasus, Greece took over from Georgia the Chairmanship of the Committee of Ministers of the Oldest European Body from May to November 2020, at the Crucial Beginning of a Controversial and Risky De-Confinement gradual process, while the Deadly Virus COVID-19, even if apparently Defeated in China at least for the moment, on the Contrary, in Europe (and even the USA, etc) it Still provokes too Many Infections and Deaths, despite some Glimpse of Hope for the foreseable Future, (See Infra).

 

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Both Greek Prime Minister, Kyiakos Mitsotakis, and Alternate Foreign Minister for European (EU + CoE) affairs, Miltiades Varvitsiotis, speaking through Video-Links with CoE's new Secretary General Marija Pejcinovic-Buric, and the Heads of CoE's Parliamentary Assembly Rik Daems, of ECHR Linos Sicilianos, and CLRAE Anders Knape, as well as 47 Ambassadors/Permanent Representatives, stressed, in Substance, that the main Aim of this, 2020 CoE's Greek Presidency is to Help Win the Fight for Human Life by Stimulating People's Trust to Public Health-related Measures, thanks a Basic Respect of Principles of Human Rights and Rule of Law, as well as via Democratic Dialogue expanded thanks to Modern Digital Technologies, (See also, for More Concrete Details, at : http://www.eurofora.net/newsflashes/news/newgreekagendaforcoechair2020.html, etc).

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 -  We should "Strike a Fair Balance", ("between the Human Rights of the Individuals concerned, and Public Health"), "by using the Art of Persuasion !", characteristicaly proposed the Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis from the outset of this Ceremony, in his Video-Address to the CoE, Today. (Comp. various Topical Mitsotakis' statements published by "Eurofora, f.ex., at EPP's Summits in Brussels and in Austria: ... +..., at EU Parliament in Strasbourg : ..., etc). 

 - Thus, f.ex., "I am Proud for the Perseverance shown by the Greek People, and the High Degree of Compliance to the (Confinement) Measures, adopted Always with the Advise of Experts", Mitsotakis pointed out, (See Also Infra).

  He was Symbolicaly speaking in Front of Acropole's Historic Monument of Democracy and Civilisation, apparently Standing at the Pnyx Hill, symbol of Ancient Greece's Direct Democracy, where French President Macron had launched his 1st, landmark, September 2017 Speech for Citizens' Participation in Public Decision-Making, (See also Infra), Highlighted since October 2016 in Strasbourg, and Confirmed at "Eurofora" at Saint-Dié on 2018, (just After he Launched the "Citizens' EU Consultations", at nearby Epinal, in view also of EU's forthcoming "Conference on Europe's Future" 2020-2022).

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 + "When We (CoE's Countries) Shall Win the Fight for Human Life", "I Hope that We will Speak all Together in "Live", concluded afterwards, (withOut Illusions, but in Combative Mood), the Greek Minister for European affairs, Miltiades Varvitsiotes, a former Long-Time MEP at CoE's Assembly, where he was Recently elected vice-President of its Biggest Group, that of ChristianDemocrats/EPP, and Today took over the Chairmanship-in-office of CoE's Committee of Ministers, Presenting briefly the Greek Presidency's Program, (See also: http://www.eurofora.net/newsflashes/news/newgreekagendaforcoechair2020.html, and Varvitsiotes' Statements to "Eurofora" in Brussels, and in Strasbourg, at : http://www.eurofora.net/newsflashes/news/futurecoechairgreekministervarvitsiotisstrengthenvoice.html + http://www.eurofora.net/newsflashes/news/austrianeupresidencyonfrontexinaegean.html, as well as: http://www.eurofora.net/newsflashes/news/ministeroncoepresidencyandturkey.html, etc).

 - But, "in order to Win this Fight, we Need Citizens' TRUST !", Varvitsiotis stressed.

     He was speaking Aside Professor Stelios Perrakis, former Ambassador/PR to the CoE, and now Head of MFA's Task-Force for CoE's 2020 Greek Presidency, with the Heads of his Office's Legal and Politcal Staff, as well a certain Key Ambassadors.

 

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 - "In Greece, we Flatened the Curve of the Virus (Spread), as was our main Aim, but Not Alone : Together with the Courage and Discipline of the Greek People, who observed (applied) the Hard Measures imposed". In order to Succeed that, "During all the Crisis, we Created a Relation of TRUST with Citizens".

- This was done "by Informing them Constantly, and by Presenting the Challenges and Dillemas, as well as Asking for their Support", he explained, just after having widely spoken, Earlier this week, precisely in relation to the CoE, also about "Digital" "Dialogue" of European Decision-Makers with Citizens, (See: http://www.eurofora.net/newsflashes/news/newgreekagendaforcoechair2020.html, etc).

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-  A Fortiori, when, as Prime Minister Mitsotakis told CoE, "as All Crisis, the Pandemic created also Opportunities" :"

- F.ex., "In my Country, we Succeeded to Develop some Digital Technologias at an UnPrecedented Pace : Tasks, that, in Normal Times, would Require Months", Nowadays "they were Completed in 3 Weeks !"

    He said that, just a Few Days after an Exceptional, Landmark Video-Conference, bringing Together the Publc and Private Sector of the Country, which reportedly stressed, precisely, that Greece was Obliged to make a "Digital Leap", in order to Face the Consequences of the Virus, Including to ensure the "Continuity of the Public Administration", (f.ex., inter alia, also by Creating "VPN" Networks, Developing "Gov.Org" Web Portal, Automatic UpDates/Registrations in Files, Driving Licence obtained on-line, On-Line Creation of Private Companies, etc), But even in relation with the Private Sector, (f.ex. E-Prescriptions, Video-Consultations, E-Certificates, Developmet of Tele-Medicine Units, etc.)

    => Thus,, went-on Mitsotakis to add, "Due to the ExtraOrdinary Circumstances, this" CoE's 2020 "Greek Presidency will, Mainly, Turn Digital. And, eventually, it will be a "Digital Chairmanship", an "e-Chairmanship"...

    >>> Such an "e-Chairmanship will provide Access to Events and of the CoE to all Citizens", through "New Technologies". "This will Bring the CoE Closer to the People, and, especially the Young", the Greek Prime Minister Highlighted.

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    - Thus, f.ex., the 1st Big Event of COE's 2020 Greek Presidency, officialy Announced by Varvitsiotis, is that - "We aim to organize a High-Level Digital Debate, towards the Beginning of June, with all CoE's Top Officials, which will be Open to the People, on the Virus' Pandemic, and its Impact on Human Rights and Democratic Freedoms". (But the Exact Date, reportedly, still remains "TBC").

    Another relevant Web-Debate on such Issues, also "Open to the Public",  is due to be organized by CoE's 2020 Greek Presidency even Earlier, (according to the Draft Program), in the rest of May, on a Date still "To Be Confirmed".

    Many Citizens have Notoriously Complained, initially, for Not being Timely Protected from Virus' Infections Spreading though NW. Italy. But, Later, for some "Too Tight" Measures of Confinement at Home, (f.ex. Hindering even Married Couples to Walk Together, and/or with their Young Children in France, cross Parks or small Wooden Areas in Strasboug, etc). And/or Nowadays, for some, apparently Hasty De-Confinement moves, (f.ex. on Education Re-Opening from May, etc), as Europe still has Too Many Infections and Deaths, Contrary to China which has Almost Stoped both, (while Others Ask the Opposite, mainly on Socio-Economic Activities), promising Lively Debates...

    The Fact, f.ex., that Germany, reportedly may have Stoped the Virus if it had just Continued a little-bit the Confinement, until the Recently Obtained Lowering of its Infection Transmission's Rate Down to just 0,65, had made it Even Less : i.e. about 0,5 per Infected Person, (while Now it has Grown Up to 1,1), inevitably makes some People Wonder... Others, on the Contrary, are Satisfied because a Controversial Plan for Mobile Phones' Tracking, seems to have been apparently Droped by the French Government, after Many Reactions for the Protection of Private Life and Personal Data, (See, f.ex : http://www.eurofora.net/newsflashes/news/trackingeupeopleafterexposingthemtovirus.html), etc.

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    + Already, Varvitsiotis' Collegue, the Out-going CoE's Chairman-in-office, Georgia's Foreign Minister, Davit Zalkaliani, who summed up, Earlier Today, the Results of the Georgian Presidency (November 2019 - May 2020), had Mentioned, inter alia, also the Fact that CoE itself has been Obliged, Nowadays, to Work via "Video-Conferences", as well as, a Recent CoE's International Conference by Internet on "Civil Participation (of NGOs and Citizens) to (Public) Decision-Making", (initially Scheduled for Beginning of March, but Postponed, as the 1st "Victim" at the CoE of the Virus' Pandemic !), which was finally held just a Few Days Ago (on May 6 and 7, with Conclusions on May 11), and was opened by CoE's Secretary General Pejcinovic-Buric, who Stressed from the Outset that, Nowadays, "Democracies ... Need Trust" of the People, (that, precisely, might be Strenthened, among others, also by such Exchanges with Citizens).

    ++ Meanwhile, presenting, Earlier this Week, the "Conclusions" of that CoE's International Conference, the Georgian Ambassador/Permanent Representative to the CoE, Irakli Giviashvili, (an Experienced Diplomat, who has Even written a PhD Thesis on Consultations and Exchanges with Citizens on Environmental Issues concerning, f.ex, the Installation of a Controversial Pipeline in the recent Past), suggested (on Behalf of the Out-going CoE's Georgian Presidency) that "Civil Participation to (Public) Decision-Making" be included also at CoE's forthcoming "World Forum on Democracy", scheduled for November 16-18, (i.e. just Before Germany takes over the rotating CoE's Presidency), which is reportedly due to deal with "Democracy and Climate Change", and/or other "Social" matters

 +++ "Eurofora"'s co-Founder, (who was Invited to Participate in that Landmark CoE's International Conference of May 2020, on "Civil Participation to Decision-Making", and took part with a  Brief but Topical "Contribution" and "Questions" in the Debates - all by Writting), had Already Coordinated a relevant Collective Project (with Journalists, Universitarians, EU Parliament Officials, etc), examined by EU Commission in the framework of "ESPRIT" Program for Innovative Social Use of Modern Communication Technologies, as Early as since 1997, (i.e. almost when the Web Started !), nicknamed "EIW" (for "Europe in the World"). And, Recently (+ on 2019/2020), we briefly Presented at the CoE as well as to Strasbourg City, by Writting, the "4D" Project for "Digital Dialogue in modern Democratic Decision-Making", while, in Parallel we are Also Finalizing a PhD d'Etat Thesis on Legal Aspects of such trends, in France and Other Countries.

    In this Context, the President a.i. of CoE's "Democracy and Governance" Committee, Markku Mollari, one of the Key-Note Panelists at the above-mentioned International Conference on "Civil Participation in Decision-making" Pan-European dimension, has just provided a written Reply to one of Our Questions, on Citizens' Participation to Public Decisions and "e-Governance" (Electronic Governance, i.e. through the Internet), Earlier this Week, (See "Eurofora"'s NewsReports on that Landmark CoE's Conference, f.ex. at: ...+..., etc), which Highlights Both the Maturity and the Topicality of that Issue.

    However, Digital Tools are also, Sometimes, too "Fragile", in front of Eventual sly Blockades, Exclusions, Sabotage, or simple "Technical" Problems... F.ex., just for Next Week, an Initially Announced as "Accessible in the Web", Tele-Hearing of EU Commissioner for Health, Stella Kyriakides, and others, by CoE Assembly's Social and Health Committee, (that she had Chaired herself in the Past, as Former MEP), on "Lessons for Future Pandemics", learnt by the Experience of CoronaVirus, was Suddenly Declared as ... "Inaccessible" to interested Citizens, Journalists, Experts or Politicians at the Internet, allegedly, because it could "Not be Streamed On-Line", for UnKnown ..."Technical Reasons", (sic !).

    Contrary to what is, Nowadays, Routinely done at EU Parliament, whose Committees' Sessions are ALL, Systematicaly Broadcasted at the Web, (since its former President, Jerzy Buzek, still Top MEP Nowadays, had Initially Promised to do so, in a Reply that he Gave to a relevant Question by "Eurofora", the Same Day that he had been Elected in Strasbourg on 2009, about our Project for Digital Debates with Citizens BEFORE Public Decisions are taken. See that Historic "EF" NewsReport at: http://www.eurofora.net/newsflashes/irish/buzekeurofora.html, etc. For more Recent Buzek activities, f.ex. on 2019, see : http://www.eurofora.net/newsflashes/news/euchinaspaceandbioethics.html, as well as Other Buzek's Statements to "Eurofora" on 2017 as Chairman of ITRE, f.ex. at: http://www.eurofora.net/newsflashes/news/buzekoneucloud.html,  etc).

    However, Sometimes, Even inside EU Parliament, and at its ...Press-Room, Accredited Journalists may be Hindered from Watching an Important Committee's Meeting, normaly Broadcasted "Live" on the Web (Accessible even to Latin America !), as it Really Happened, to "Eurofora", several Months Ago, on 2019, who was, Curiously, Blocked from Following the 1st Debate of the Constitutional Committee on the Preparation of EU's forthcoming "Conference for Europe's Future" (2020-2022), which was Taking Place in a Remote Room Located Too Far Away from where we were Obliged to Work, as Handicaped with 2 Crunches... To the point that, Even EU Parliament's competent Technician, After Vainly Attempting to Reach that Committee's Website Page from Our Desk in the Press-Room, or another, located Aside, Finally he gave us his Name and Mobile Number, in order to Try, Later-on, to eventualy Find out What and/or Who may have Provoked such a Counter-Productive Incident...

    So that, in order to be Efficient in Real Practice, any such "Digital Tools", (particularly when it comes about Politicaly Topical, "Hot" Issues), should, normaly, be Always Protected by Competent and Motivated Technical and Security Staff, Able to Act Swiftly, (on the Spot, and/or by TeleCom. Networks), and easily Accessible to the People supposed free to Follow such Public "e-Events".

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    * But the Greek CoE's Presidency (May-November 2020) has just Started to Cooperate, these same Days, also on Other Topical Issues with the Out-going Georgian (November 2019 - May 2020) and even the Forthcoming German (November 2020 - May 2021) rotating CoE Presidencies :

    - Indeed, as Both Ministers of Georgia and Greece Announced Today, their Countries, Together with Germany, (who Form a kind of ... "3G" CoE's Successive rotating Presidencies, from 2019 up to 2021 included), have just Signed and Published, on this May 15, a "Joint Declaration" on "Human Rights and (Natural) Environment".

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    Interestingly, the move refers to a relevant CoE's Conference, organized in Strasbourg on February 2020, (i.e. under Georgian Chairmanship),  which had, Initialy, been Prepared and Started, particularly with Questions Raised, and/or Calls Launched for the Recognition of a Human Right to a ... "Healthy Environment".  But, Later-on, its Debates and Conclusions - which Coincided with the Virus "COVID-19" Extensions also towards Europe - apparently Skiped Any explicit Reference to that ! (See : http://www.eurofora.net/newsflashes/news/viruskillsrighttohealthyenvironment.html, etc). However, Nowadays, this Formula appears to rather make its "Come Back", since the Above-Mentioned "Joint Declaration" by the 3 Successive CoE's Presidencies (Comp. Supra) Explicitly Refers to ..."Healthy Environment" Twice (and Sets a Deadline for the preparation of a relevant New CoE's Instrument up to 2021) !

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    + However, Meanwhile, Practicaly at the Eve of CoE's 2020 Greek Presidency, this Week, Europe (including Russia, etc) still was the Worst Hit Continent in the World, Followed by Americas (including Both USA, Canada, and Latin America) ! Indeed, it had Much More Deaths by the Virus : about 158.000, instead of just 104.550... And still More confirmed Infections : about 1.756.000 instead of 1.744.000.

    Nevertheless, Greece's Latest Numbers on the Virus were 2.760 Infections and 155 Dead, (i.e. Less than 1,5 per 100.000 of its Population : one of the Lowest Rates in the EU).

    In WHO's Listing, Greece figures currently After 31 Other European States, which face a Worse Situation, (particularly on the Number of Infections, but Often also on Deaths by the Virus), and Just 20 which do, more or less Better. However, they are mostly Smaller or even Tiny (Andora, San Marino, Lichtenstein, Cyprus and Malta, Holy See,...), and, at any case, they are Not Cornered Between 2 Big "Hotspots" of Virus, as Italy and Turkey, which Surround Greece. Neither do they have to Struggle to Survive, just After an exceptionaly Big Financial Crisis, while Also Facing a DisProportionate Number of Mass Asylum Seekers/Irregular Migrants, practicaly Chosen and Smuggled by Turkey, (Comp. Supra), who Already have notoriously Exhausted Greece's Limited Resources...

    So that, in such a particular Context, manage to keep a Medium-Positive situation vis a vis that Deadly Virus, Between Luxembourg and Iceland (sic !), while Avoiding a Tragic situation as, f.ex., that of Belgium, Even if there are, naturally, also Better cases, as, f.ex. those of Slovakia, Latvia or Georgia, (etc), in very  Different Contexts, nevertheless, Greece's example is not so bad at all, and even, rather good..., (having attracted from abroad, until Recently, not only some Criticisms in certain points, but also certain Praise, including by a part of German or USA Medias, f.ex. Bloomberg, etc).

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    => Thus, it Obviously canNot be Excluded, a priori, that Both CoE's Committee of Ministers' and the Greek Presidency's Choices to Fix certai Key Events, including Physical Collective Meetings, already for this Autumn 2020, (which is widely Estimated to Coincide with a Fading-Out of the Virus, and/or the Discovery of a Medical Treatment or a Vaccine, more or less then), and, particularly, the Most Important one, on November 4, in Athens, for an exceptional full Session of CoE's Top Political Body : its Committee of (Foreign) Ministers, Together with a Special Event to Celebrate the 70th Anniversary of the ECHR's text Signing (1950 - 2020), as well as a Conference of Justice Ministers on the "Independence of Judges", (a Landmark Issue, especially Supported, inter alia, also by the New Greek President of the Republic, Catherine Sakellaropoulou, who had just become Head of the Highest Administrative Court of the Country - equivalent of France's "Conseil d'Etat"), might appear, a priori, quite Possible to Realize.

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    But, notoriously, as Many already Warned, (Both Medical Scientists, as Economists, and/or Politicians), this Deadly Virus is an "UnPrecedented" Event, making these Times "UnCertain" and "UnPredictable", where all People are practically Obliged to "Walk in UnChartered Waters"...

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    - F.ex., as Varvitsiotis reminded Today, "When (he)"Last came Physically to Strasbourg, it was at 9 of March" 2020, and he was able he Meet CoE's Secretary General and it's Director General on Democracy, ECHR's President, and the PanEuropean Commissioner for Human Rights, presenting and discussing with them an Initial Version of the Greek Presidency's Draft Program, as well as, Later that same Day, with "Eurofora", (See relevant Statements that he gave us then, at : http://www.eurofora.net/newsflashes/news/ministeroncoepresidencyandturkey.html).

    - Nevertheless, "Immediately Afterwards", WHO declared officially a Pandemic, with EU becoming, then, its EpiCenter, and being Obliged to take strict, unprecedented "Confinement Measures"...

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        To the point that, f.ex., Today in Strasbourg, the Traditional Hand Over of CoE Presidency's Symbolic Key, had to be, Exceptioaly, given by Out-going Georgian Ambassador/Permanent Representative Irakli Giviashvili to his Collegue, the New Greek Ambassador/PR, Panayiotis Beglitis, a former Minister himself, as well as EU Parliament's MEP in the Past, who were among the Few to be Now Physically inside a CoE's special Room, just for the Present Circumstances, Other than that of its Committee of Ministers, and Digitaly Connected to the above-mentioned Collective Video-Conference, (precisely as Beglitis had Warned "Eurofora", Earlier this Week : See http://www.eurofora.net/newsflashes/news/newgreekagendaforcoechair2020.html, etc)...

    => Therefore, the Greek Government had to Rapidly Change the Main thrust of its Program, (while also Keeping a Key Part of the Original : See concrete details, f.ex., at ...., etc).

    - Simply Because, mainly, "Human Life is our 1st Concern", as he stressed, Wishing "Condoleances to all those who Lost their BeLoved ones" tragically.

    + But, "Victims were also States, our Institutions, the Economy, and even our Values", (such as "Human Rights, Freedoms in a Democratic Society, with Rule of Law"), etc...  

    => So that, in Fact, "these are Times for Solidarity".

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    >>> However, it's Also true, that, as CoE's New President-in-office, Miltiades Varvitsiotis stressed in Conclusion Today : - "At these Crucial Times, Europe is Challenged !"

    - And, at any case, "It's up to Us to Do Whatever we Can, in order for Europe to get Stronger, out of this Crisis !", he Urged...

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    Will CoE's 47 Member States live up to the Importance of all what is really at Stake Nowadays ?

    Only History will tell, and History is Also a good Measure for Nowadays' acts :

    - F.ex., inter alia, as far as it concerns CoE's "Values", Miltiades Varvitsiotis, who Reminded that Greece had Joined the CoE since August 20, 1949, also stressed that : -"We Believe that the Solidarity and the Attachement that CoE showed in its Basic Values, at the (so-called) "Greek Case" on 1969, (by Pushing the Colonels' Chunta Regime Out), was UnPrecedented !".

     - Indeed, "thanks to the Initiative of some (CoE) Member States, that we'll Never Forget (Sweden + Netherlands, etc), the CoE, First of all, Defended Human Rights and Democratic Freedoms in Greece, during a Dark Period, until 1974, when Greece became anew a Democratic State".

    => - "That <<Greek Case>> proves, until Nowadays, the Importance of COE's Basic Principles and Values. We Believe that this Spirit of Solidarity and Joint Responsibility, Must Prevail also Today. Because Great Challenges, Necessitate also Great Answers !", Varvitsiotis Urged for Nowadays.

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    + Afterwards, he also Reminded the Previous CoE's Greek Presidency, Back "on 1998", i.e. when, inter alia, was made "an Important Opening of the CoE to Caucasus" region, (i.e. including Georgia, Armenia, Azerbaijan, etc), as he said.

    >>> But, in Fact,  (as "Eurofora"'s co-Founder, who made an Extensive Press Coverage, Already, of that Previous COE's 1998 Greek Presidency, that we've Published at "TCWeekly" and/or "MPAgency", Remembers well, after having closely Cooperated also with the then Greek Foreign Minister, Yannos Kranidiotes, a former Top MEP at EU Parliament, who was Tragically Killed, soon Afterwards in a Controversial Airplane Incident on 1999, shortly before the EU Helsinki Summit), by a coincidence, 23 Years Afterwards :  on 1998 and 2020, the Years of the Previous and the Current Greek CoE's Presidencies, mutatis-mutandis, were Both Marked, inter alia, also by, at least, 3 Main, and still Topical, Key points :  

- (1) ECHR, (2) the Web, and (3) BioEthics :

 

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    (1) On the 1st Point,

as, Back on 1998, ECHR faced its Most Important Reform in History, shortly After the Fall of Berlin Wall and the ReUnification of Europe, with all former Central Eastern Countries and former USSR having become CoE's Members, leading, inter alia, also to Citizens' Direct Appiications to Strasbourg' Court, i.e. withOut having, no more, to Previously pass though a PanEuropean "Commission" of Human Rights, (etc),

Similarly, Now on 2020, the CoE has to face, in these Times of an UnPrecedented, Deadly Virus' Pandemics, the Problem how exactly to "ReNew" its Member States' Commitment on Human Rights' respect, Despite ECHR's Article 15 Allowing "Derogations", strictly "Required" in case of Vital "Public Emergency", (with the Exception of Life or Death, Inhuman/Degrading Treatments, Slavery, or Fair Trial, which Remain Always intact), with Measures that should be "Necessary, Proportionaly, and Timely", in such Times of Pandemics, as Greek Prime Minister Mitsotakis explained, at his Video-Adress to the CoE, earlier Today (Comp. Supra).

    An Issue due to be Finaly Resolved by CoE's Committee of Ministers, in one way or another, on November 4, 2020, probably in Athens (Comp. Supra).


    (2) On the Second Point,

as, Back on 1998, CoE prepared and Adopted, at an Important Ministerial Conference in Thessaloniki (Greece), a Landmark and Pioneer, official PanEuropean Recommendation on People's Access to -and Functioning of - Modern Tele-Communication Networks, almost at the Beginning of the "World Wide Web", (See "Eurofora" co-Founders' Publications, then, to "MPA" Agency of Thessaloniki, Afterwards Fusioned with Semi-Official "ANA" Press Agency, becoming "ANA/MPA" in Athens, including an Analysis of the Draft CoE's Text, and an Interview of theResponsible, theb, CoE's Top Official for Modern Techniogies, Democracy and Human Rights Philippe Poirel, Nowadays CoE's Director on Human Rights),

Similarly, and mutatis-mutandis, Now on 2020, the Deadly Virus obliges CoE to try to Use "Digital" Technologies of "Video-Conferences", Webinars, Sharing and/or Exchanging various Documents via the Internet, etc, in order to Avoid Infections by Physical Collective Meetings, as well as to Extend that, as far as possible, also to "Digital Dialogues" with Citizens, through Consultations and/or Exchanges via the WWWeb, as the incoming, New CoE's Greek Presidency just stressed that it aims to do, seeking to Boost Citizens' "Trust", via what they Called "e-Presidency", or "Digital Chairmanship", (Comp. Supra the relevant PM. Mitsotakis and M. Varvitsiotis' Declarations).              

     

    (3) On the Third Point,

as Back on 1997-1998, the CoE prepared, Adopted and Signed, for the 1st Time in History, a Landmark International Treaty, Open for Accession by Any Country in the World, on "BIO-MEDICINE" and "Human Rights", Soon Extended, then, Also to an Additional "Protocol" Banning the Controversial and Dangerous "Human CLONING" Everywhere on Earth, (which Still Remains the Only Legaly-Binding Text in the World Until Nowadays, on Bio-Ethics, Progressively Extended, Afterwards, also in Various Other Parts of that Area, Crucial for Humanity),

Similarly, on 2020, the CoE has to Respond, inter alia, also to the New Big Challenge of Heritable Genetic Manipulations of Human Embryos, (particularly After the 1st Artificial Birth, on Autumn 2018, of 3 individuals previously Manipulated, in a way Permanently Transmissible to All their Future Generations, by a Maverick Chinese "Dr" acting Secretly, after having been Educated, Funded, Directed, and Publicized by a USA Technocratic Lobby linked to Former POTUS Barack Hussein Obama : See http://www.eurofora.net/newsflashes/news/heritablegenemaniptrumpxihumanity.html, etc). MEPs, Debates, Draft Resolutions, etc. Urged, since 2019 in EU Parliament, for a "Global Ban" of such Abuses Dangerous for all Humankind's Future, (See f.ex.: http://www.eurofora.net/newsflashes/news/eppvpresidentandmepsongermlinemanipban.html + http://www.eurofora.net/newsflashes/news/greengrouppresidentonbioethics.html, etc), while, when the Chinese Government finally Punished that Maverick "Dr Frankenstein", by Condemning him to 5,5 Years in Jail, and Strongly Denouncing his Abusive and Criminal actions against Human Health and all Humanity, as it was Officially Published on December 30, 2019, suddenly, exactly the Next Day, on December 31, 2019, was First Announced that China's innocent Civilian People were Attacked by an UnKnown yet, Deadly Virus at Wuhan ! (See, f.ex: http://www.eurofora.net/newsflashes/news/chinacondemnsheritablegeneediting.html, etc).

CoE's competent Inter-Governemental Committee on Bio-Ethics, as well as its Parliamentary Assembly, and its Committee of Ministers, etc., have, Meanwhile, Published Various relevant, Critical Initial Reactions and/or Proposals on that Thorny New Issue of Heritable Gene-Editing, (made technically Possible, already Earlier, by a New Gene-Editing Technology), and Several Coordination attempts' Meetings were made on such Topical BioEthical Issues also with Other Regional or International Organisations' Experts, including WHO, UNESCO, UNO, etc., up to February 2020 in Strasbourg.  But 2 Long-Awaited CoE's Reports on Heritable Gene Editing, and, particularly, its New "Strategic Action Plan" on Bio-Ethics for the Crucial Period of 2020-2025, ordered, prepared, and elaborated Previously, after ...15 Years of 3 successive CoE's Secretary Generals from One and Same Political Party, were Suddenly Finalized and most Adopted Just When CoE's New Secretary General Marija Buric, (Recently Elected by an Opposite Political Majority in CoE's Assembly), had Started to serve its Mandate of 2019-2025, Only a Few ...Days earlier, from October 2019, so that she (and all her New Team) was practically Hindered to have Enough Time to Read, Think, Discuss, Decide, and Take Measures on such Exceptionaly Important Issues !

 Indeed, that "Plan" was immediately Presented on ...November 2019, but After some First Reactions, (including by "Eurofora"'s co-Founder, who Faced UnPrecedented Attempts to "Muzzle", since October 2019, when we First Tried, in a Press Conference of CoE's SG, to Raise that "Hot" Issue, Following which, in Contrast to Marija Buric's always Kind and Helpful Attitude, [See her Reply to "Eurofora", then, at: http://www.eurofora.net/newsflashes/news/newcoesgonbioethics.html, etc] Suddenly Followed by some Others' Brutal Harassment, Slandering behind the Back, and Abrupt Moves seeking to Oppress elementary Press Freedom to a Degree Never Seen Before During more than 28 Years of Journalism for European News [EU/CoE/OSCE/UNO/G8-G7+G20, 9/1993-2020], as we Also Tried to Speak on that obviously Crucial Issue for Humanity's Future, with Other Top CoE's or EU's Officials, and Published various relevant News Articles until Recently on 2020), it was "Freezed", as it stood then, and ...Re-Scheduled only for Formal Official Adoption and Final Endorsement by CoE's Leading Bodies, at the Beginning of February 2020... (Meanwhile, "Eurofora" had Already, Previously, Warned, with Publications made on November 2019 and January/February 2020 [See, inter alia, f.ex., also: http://www.eurofora.net/newsflashes/news/coebioethicsplan.html, etc], as well as Open Letters to certain Top Officials, etc, Against such a possible Manouver of Diversion, apparently due to Provoke False Impressions, since that Draft Text, Finaly, was Not really Modified Since its Initial Adoption, Neither Seriously Discussed at any Pluralist, Well-Informed and Decision-Making CoE's platform, so that, in Practice, Nobody from the New Political Majority at the CoE was Never Given any Real Chance to have Enough Time to be Informed, Think, Discuss and Act Efficiently in that matter, Before real Decisions)...

     "Finaly", that strange "Strategic Action Plan" on BioEthics for the Crucial (Comp. Supra) Period of 2020-2025, reportedly was, Simply "Welcomed" (according to a ...Routine Formula, Often used withOut Any Debate) by CoE's Committee of Ministers, also on that February 2020 (Comp. Supra), i.e. Shortly Before the Virus hits Europe on March, during the Out-going Georgian CoE's Presidency, (as Ambassador Giviashvili simply noted at a Document Published Today, on the Results of Tbilisi's November 2019-May 2020 rotating Chairmanship).

    + Nevertheless, the In-Coming CoE's Greek Presidency for the Period of May - November 2020, has just Revealed, also Today, by Publishing its New Draft Program, that it Intends to Organize also a "Conference", precisely on that Crucial CoE's "Strategic Action Plan" on "Human Rights and Technologies in Bio-Medicine", i.e. Bio-Ethics, for 2020-2025, already at the Beginning of June !  And the New CoE's Chairman-in-office, Minister Varvitsiotis, is Known, since he was a MEP in CoE's Assembly for Many Years, to be Seriously Interested in BioEthical Issues in general, despite his Young Age. But, Curiously, the precise Format of this Event, (f.ex., Traditional Conference "in Strasbourg" or "Tele-Conference" at the Internet), has apparently, been Left, still, UnDetermined...

    => But, is it Really Feasible for Anyone to eventually try to contribute to do Anything Useful on - and/or Discuss Before Definitive and Total Adoption of -  the Main Choices of that Plan, particularly on such "Hot" Issues as that which was Cited Above ?

    >>>  If not necessarily Optimisticaly, at least, apparently, Voluntaristicaly, the New COE's 2020 President-in-Office, Greek Minister for European affairs Miltiades Varvitsiotis, speaking Earlier Today by Video-Conference to the CoE, Symbolically stressed, as a matter of General Principle, that, as the World-Famous Ancient Greek Philosopher "Protagoras said : <<the Human person is the Measure for All things !>>"

    * Let's leave it there, (as Angels cross the Sky)...

 

 

(../..)

 

 

("Draft-News")

 

 

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

 

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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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