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Home arrow newsitems arrow Greek President Pavlopoulos OKs EF Idea on Citizens Participation Rights in Decision-Making process

Greek President Pavlopoulos OKs EF Idea on Citizens Participation Rights in Decision-Making process

Written by ACM
Wednesday, 26 April 2017
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*Strasbourg/CoE+Sciences Po/Angelo Marcopolo/- Greek President Prokopis Pavlopoulos, who is also a Paris-Educated University Professor of Public Administration Law, speaking to "Eurofora" in reply to relevant Questions through a Threefold Move accross COE's PanEuropean Assembly, Strasbourg University's "Political Science Forum", and a Reception at Ambassador Stelios Perrakis (another former Professor) Residence, Today, carefuly but clearly Welcomed the Idea that EU Citizens' current needs and aspirations include not only Social, but also Participatory Rights, in Public Decision-making processes, to be added to traditional, Core Human Rights :

To put it in a nutshell, in substance, President Pavlopoulos made a 3 Points Presentation at a landmark Speech in the Parliamentary Assembly of the CoE (PACE), Focusing on the Importance of parliamentary Democracy for People's Lives, when it works right :  

 

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(1) In fact, Democracy emerges from Human Rights, which, therefore, have a Double Importance, also as a "Checks and Balances" Mechanism vis a vis Power, including Independent Courts, in order to implement them. (2) Citizens' Rights should be Protected not only vis a vis the State, but also vis a vis Other Powerful Actors who can seriously affect People's Lives and Society at large, including Private ones, f.ex. Economic Powers, etc. (3) Therefore, it is Important, particularly in Recent History, to enhance also "Social Rights". and make them Work Efficiently in the foreseable Future, both for Social Cohesion and Solidarity, as well as because, Otherwise, even Core, Classical Human Rights and Democracy, could Not be Fully Working in Real Practice, neither develop their Full Potential nowadays.



+ This unfolded, Later-on, through his Speech to Strasbourg University's "Political Sciences' Forum" about "European Values", extending to include also "Legitimation" and "Ideologic Foundations" of European Democracy, as well as the current Need to "ReVive its Sources", and "Review" even the European Institutions' relevant Mechanisms, in order to catch up with some Delays towards an Harmonious European Integration, and bring them closer to EU Citizens.

 

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- On Both these Two Occasions, Speaking Later with "Eurofora", President Pavlopoulos said that he had, personaly, "Followed Closely" f.ex. also the recent, April s2017 French Presidential Elections' main Debates, (notoriously Crucial also for All Europe), and, inter alia, found Interesting also the, a priori, Strange Fact that Many People proved to be much More Attracted by Citizens' EmPowrement in the way that a State of Elected Democracy really functions, as, f.ex., the Atypical "Left" of Melenchon succesfully proposed, astonishingly Prefering that Even to the Money that had been Promissed by "Socialists" such as former Prime Minister Valls and (even More) the main PS Presidential Candidate Hamon, in the form of a kind of "Universal Revenue", or of "Permanent, Stable Employment for all", advocated by Leftist Candidate Poutou, etc., whose Electoral Results were, Comparatively, Less important, by Far, as "Eurofora" noted.


- In this regard, President Pavlopoulos agreed that it would be Important for Today's European Democracies to also try to Develop the full Potential of European Citizens' so-called "Participatory" Rights in Public Administration's Decision-Making process, particularly regarding Measures which can seriously Affect their Lives and/or Society at large, f.ex. by Using all the set of various Converging Legal Mechanisms, most of whom already exist, in one way or another, including, f.ex., inter alia, also : "Ultra Vires" (or "Recours pour Exces de Pouvoir", etc) for the Judicial Control of Administrative Acts' Legality, "Contradictory Procedures" ("Audi alteram pars"), all Public Administrations' Legal Obligation to Motivate,vis a vis a "General Interest" their acts ruled by Administrative Law, Judges' Monitoring on the "Sufficiency of the Motivation" of such Administrative Acts, the Reality, Legality and/or Accuracy of the "Facts" evoked by a Public Administration in order to Motivate its Decisions, their "Proportionality" and/or eventual "Manifest Errors of Appreciation", but also "Abuse of Power", ("Detournement de Pouvoir"), etc.


Indeed, taken All Together, such modern Legal Mechanisms could Help Develop a kind of elementary "Dialogue" between the Public Institutions and European Citizens, at least during the Process of Taking Important Decisions which can Seriously Affect People's Lives and/or Society at large, as "Eurofora"s co-Founder has been Advocating for Decades, (including even by Legal Research presented in Public at Strasbourg's University, since the Earkly 1980ies, and chosen by the Faculty of Law in order to be Proposed for a Prize destinated to PhD. Thesis). In this regard, President Pavlopoulos appeared also, a priori Positive vis a vis unfolding yet attempts to Prepare some special relevant Events at the Univesity of Strasbourg (probably in Cooperation within the Franco-Germano-Swiss "European Camps" founded on 2016: See relevant "Eurofora"'s NewsReports, f.ex. at ... + ... , etc), from 2018, (about which we spoke also with Experienced University Professor Florence Benoit, both in the Recent Past, and at .Today's occasion).


- But, Most of all, President Pavlopoulos told "Eurofora" that he found, a priori, very Positive and Promissing, the Recent Initiative of CoE's "Venice Commission" (a prestigious PanEuropean body of Top Legal Experts for "Democracy through Law and Human Rights"), to Publish and Promote a coherent Set of Legal "Benchmarks" for the "Pevention of Abuse" in case of Public Administation's "Discretionary Powers", (which, by a Timely "Coincidence", goes also in the Same Direction as EU Ombudsman's quite srecently anounced Criteria for a "Good Administration", after Lisbon Treaty's and Charter of Fundamental Rights and Freedoms" Started to Enter into Force). (See, f.ex., among others, also : http://www.eurofora.net/newsflashes/news/eucoeabdcitizensinpublicdecisionmaking.html ).

 

On these Occasions, "Eurofora" also spoke about it with Experienced CoE's "Venice Commission's Director, Thomas Markert himself, Later-on Today.

 

By the way, Professor Pavlopoulos, a former important JHA Minister (as UK's current PM Theresa May, or Germany's Wolfgang Schauble, etc), and Government Spokesman for the ChristianDemocrat/EPP Government of Costas Caramanlis, (2004-2009), was proposed by the current Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras (Left) as President of the Republic, in Agreement with the Center Right, and was Elected by the Greek Parliament with an exceptionaly Big Majority, as a rare, nowadays, exceptional Mark of National Unity of that EU Member Country

 

(../..)

 
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("DraftNews", as initialy Send to "Eurofora" Subscribers/Donors, earlier. A more accurate, full Final Version, might be Published asap).


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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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