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Inicio arrow newsitems arrow Green Candidate Strasbourg Mayor Barsheghian Endorses EF Project on Citizen/MEP Debate before EU Act

Green Candidate Strasbourg Mayor Barsheghian Endorses EF Project on Citizen/MEP Debate before EU Act

Escrito por ACM
11.03.20

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*Strasbourg/Angelo Marcopolo/- The currently Most Popular (according to Polls) Candidate for Strasboug's New Mayor, Armenian-origin "Green", Jeanne Barsheghian, speaking to "Eurofora" Both on 4 and 9 March 2020, Expressed, in a Crystal-clear way, her "Total Agreement" with "Eurofora"s Project for EU Citizens' Dialogue with MEPs Before Important Final EU Decisions Affecting People's Lives and/or Society at large are taken at Full Plenary Sessions here, Each Month, in order to Strengthen Modern European Democracy.

+ In this regard, She Also Added an Interesting Point concerning Relevant Cooperation also Between several European Cities Networked with Strasbourg, (and, probably, Brussels, too)

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     - "Eurofora"s 1st Question, (at a Brief exclusive Interview given After a Collective Debate among All Candidates, at the Prestigious "International Library Kleber", on March 4) evoked "European affairs", and, after observing the Fact of various "Green" Alliances in several EU Countries, including Austria, Germany, etc., also Together with ChristianDemocrats/EPP, (even at Strasbourg's Neighbour "Baden-Wurttenberg" Länder, etc), pointed at some MEPs' alleged Preferences for EU Parliament's work in Brussels and/or Strasbourg, stressing that "it's Not Only about Transports" etc, "But Also about Press Impact".

- So that "certain Projects (as "Eurofora"s, since 2006/2007+) aim to Create (MEPs') Public Debates with Citizens Before the Plenary Sessions", "i.e. Before Important Final Decisions are taken", "usually in Strasbourg, since here (Traditionaly) Concludes almost everything" in EU Parliament's decision-making process, "After having been Prepared in Brussels, to which due Attention should also be paid". For that purpose, f.ex., the Previous Friday, "Saturday or Sunday could be used", We Suggested.

- "In Strasbourg ?", she proposed the Candidate New Mayor of the City.

- "Naturally, but Not Only, since with Today's New Communication Technologies, it could be Even for those EU Citizens who might be staying up to Scandinavia !", "Eurofora" added, More Widely.

- "Certainly", Barsheghian reacted Positively.

- "I Absolutely Agree with that !", she clearly Welcomed in Reply.

+ By the way, " I've just said at a Debate about EU Parliament", "that we should Engage More the Citizens also of Strasbourg on European Issues". "F.ex., when (EU's) Free Trade Treaties are Discussed, some have the Impression that it's something which exists Far Away, While, in Fact, it's going to have a Direct Impact in People's Everyday Lives !", she observed.

_- So "I Wish that such EU Debates could involve (EU) Citizens, in our City". That's why, "I took the Commitment for, at least 1 Debate per Month, inside the City Counil's Room, on EU Parliament", Barsheghian proposed.

- "But, that Should be done Before the Plenary" session's Final Decisions, "Eurofora" Clearly suggested.

- "Thank you for that", she Kindly Concluded this conversation, Smiling.

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 + A Good Chance to Develop that Discussion Further with "Eurofora", was offered, just a Few Days Later, On March 9, when Barseghian spoke at "Cathedral's Circle", hosted at Hôtel "Cathedral", facing Strasbourg's Most Famous and Greatest Monument :

- Initialy, she stressed, there, that she "Believe(s) in the Values of Experimentation" and "Illustration", reiterating her Wish for "a Great Debate, with EU Experts (MEPs ?) and Open to Everybody", in order "to Explain, have a Pedagogic effect" on European Issues, "Each Month".

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=> This Incited a Question on "certain Pre-Existing Projects", as that of "Eurofora", proposing to Organise Debates, the Week Before (Final) Decisions are taken in Strasbourg (Full Week Plenary Sessions), Not Only for Information (of the Society), But Also with an Active Participation of Citizens, who would Express their Opinions about (imminent) Decisions which Affect their Lives (and/or Society at large)".

- For that purpose, "Internet and other New (Communication) Technologies, could be used, as well as "in situ", involving Hotels, (Associations), etc., while that would Also be of great Interest to many Medias (not only 1 or 2 alone) and MEPs, Attracting several Journalists"

+ Particularly if "such Debates would take place In View of ForthComing Decisions, With the Participation of (EU) Citizens in the Decision-Making Process, and a Duty (or Commitment, for EU Politicians), to Reply to the People Affected by those (EU) Decisions, in a way respecting, at least, Basic (Legal/Human Rights') Principles, as that of Proportionality, etc", "Eurofora" suggested.

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

>>> - "I Entirely Agree With You on that Point !", Barseghian Positively Replied to the above-mentioned "Eurofora"s Question.

- Indeed, "Everything like that, which Would Strengthen (EU) Citizens' Appropriation" of Main Topical EU Issues, "Anything which Would Facilitate their Participation to Those Debates, would Also ReinForce the European Democracy, and, De Facto, European Parliament's Role, Because, in Fact, We are Speaking about that" : I.e. "the European Democracy's Importance", she Rightfully observed.

- In this regard, "there are a Lot of (Pertinent) Debates, f.ex., as that of Free Trade (International) Agreements, the Debate about the Common Agricultural Policy, with Huge Implications (also) on Our Food, Urban and/or Regional Planning, our Peasants, etc., which are Fundamental Issues Affecting Our EveryDay Lives", Barseghian concretely illustrated, inter alia.

=> In Consequence, "as far as I am concerned, I  Fully Agree with What You ("Eurofora") Propose, that is to say, Previous (EU) Citizens' Debates, which would Allow for Everybody to Participate".

+ "And", Moreover, "I Wish for Strasbourg's City, Together With all Other (European) Cities with which it Works in Network, to Facilitate, and Even Organize those Debates, which would Allow to Feed the European Democratic Debate" in Wider terms, she interestingly Suggested, in Addition.

=> - "In Conclusion, myself, I Entirely Agree with that !", Barseghian clearly Reiterated.

- Indeed, as she had already Stressed Earlier, as a matter of General Principle, "I Believe in Democratic Debate" and "Citizens' Participation".

 

(../..)

 

("Draft News")

 

(NDLR : "Eurofora"s 2 Questions were Raised

by Angelo Marcopolo on March 4, and by Eugenie Marcopolo on March 9).

 

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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".

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        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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