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Home arrow newsitems arrow Foreign Minister Hague: ECHR reform, Internet Freedom, Non-Discrimination top British CoE presidency

Foreign Minister Hague: ECHR reform, Internet Freedom, Non-Discrimination top British CoE presidency

Pisac ACM
07. 11. 2011.

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Protection of "Freedom of Expression at the Internet", including against Cyber-Attacks and some Blocking Countries, a renewed push in ECHR's reform process, started since the landmark February 2010 Ministerial Conference at Interlaken (Switzerland : See "EuroFora"s NewsReports from the spot), as well as fight against Discrimination, figure among the incoming British CoE Presidency (11/2011-5/2012) priorities, stressed Foreign Secretary William Hague, speaking to Journalists in Strasbourg, including "EuroFora" :

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 It's the 1st time that the UK heads CoE's Ministerial Committee, its highest political body, "since 1993", i.e. 18 Years earlier, observed Hague, who is well known also as a friend of former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher.

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    Concerning ECHR's reform, surprisingly, it was an .. enthousiast French Permanent Representative to the CoE, Ambassador Laurent Dominati, who observed earlier to "EuroFora, that "the (incoming) Brittish Presidency of the CoE would have interesting things for you among its priorities, particularly concerning the ECHR", where, UK's main aim would probably be to focus on serious Human Rights violations, as he told us smiling, on the sidelines of Diplomatic meetings at the Presidential Palace "Elysee" in Paris, leaving the impression of a possible Franco-British "entente cordiale" on this and other topical CoE issues...

 

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Repeatedly questioned on this matter by more than... 5 Journalists, one after the other, Hague stressed, among others, that, he hopes to obtain an "Agreement" on ECHR changes, until May 2012, (i.e. shortly after a scheduled "Ministerial meeting on ECHR's Reform" on April 2012), even if "it's part of a Long Process" of overall reform, as he admitted, apparently referring to the landmark Interlaken 2/2010 Resolution which established a Plan for work up to 2019, (See "EuroFora"s NewsReports from the spot).


    Hague stressed, among others,  that "it's important for ECHR to focus on the maink, most important issues of serious, appaling Human Rights violations", "many of whom come from certain States", and face the overload of applications, so that it will become able to "become anew in Futrure as powerful and efficient as it had been in the Past".

 ../..

(NDLR : "EuroFora" intends to return back to this issue soon, with a complete analysis).
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    - But,  "We also place Importance in other issues, and I think that (Internet) is important too, not to lose sight of Human Rights issues which are gaining importance throughout the modern World", such as "the Free and Responsible use of the Internet", Hague added.

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    - In this regard, f.ex. "I hosted in London, last week, an International Conference on  CyberSpace, whis is also part of our Security policy, f.ex. by reducing Cyber Attacks and Internet Criminal Networks", (as he said, at  the eve of a forthcoming, new CoE International Conference on CyberCrime, scheduled in Strasbourg on November 21).


    - "But we place all that Strongly in the context of Freedom, and the immense Benefit of Economic and Political and Social imortance of Freedom of Expression : The greater Freedom of Expression and Information that the Internat has brought about", Hague stressed.


    - "There are many Governments around the World who now use the Power of CyberSpace to try to Suppress Opposition, and also Block Freedom of Expression", the incoming CoE's Chairman in office denounced.


    - "So, this is becoming an increasingly important issue, and it's right to bring attention there", concluded the key Minister from the new British Government which was elected on 2010 on the basis of an Electoral Program which included also a cystal-clear promise to "Restore Freedoms" to British People, (something which has become a target of various "Socialist" a.o. provocations, recently, in an obvious attempt to  try to make the new government deviate from its officially anounced principles).
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-  "Internet Governance, including Freedom of Expression on the Internet", is, indeed, officially included among the "Priorities and Objectives" of the "UK Chairmanship of the CoE", also accordin to an Official Programme, which stresses that "the UK strongly supports an Open internet, not only in terms of access and content but also Freedom of expression"

    Moreover, UK's CoE Chairmanship "will work towards the adoption of the CoE Internet Governance strategy by (CoE's) Committee of Ministers", according also to the Conclusions of the latest, May 2011,  "G-8" Summit of Heads of State/Government at Deauville symbolically located between France and the UK at the Manche, and chaired by French President Sarkozy (See "EuroFora"s relevant NewsReports from Strasbourg, Paris and from the "G20" at Deauville)

    "We will also give impetus to the Principles that the Council of Europe has developed to uphold Freedom of expression on the internet and provide support to other Initiatives, to ensure that all member States live up to their international Obligations in this area", the Official UK's CoE chairmanship Program adds.

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    + Hague, (perhaps observing the astonishing behavior of an inexperienced CoE's agent who curiously interposed himself in systematically hintering any questions from certain long-time EU/CoE/UNO+ Journalists, despite the available time and British Foreign Minister's obvious willingness to reply), added, at his own initiative, also "another UK's priority (which) is the Fight against Discrimination", as he said.

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All this, (i.e. added to the "Freedom at the Internet" issue : See Supra), apparently fits well also the fact that, right in front of CoE's Press Room (the "No 4"), is located the Statute of World famous former British Prime Minister Winston Churchil, whose idea was the creation of CoE itself, and who was already actively engaged in a previous, Historic Liberal- Conservative Coalition Government : that of young Winston Churchil and David Lloyd George, between 1916 and 1922, a Victorious Government over 1st World War, and to which many Arabs, Greeks, Armenians, etc. owe much for active Help for their Liberation  from Military Invasion and Occupation by the former Ottoman-Turc empire, notoriously stoped from dissolution and transformation into several Modern, Democratic National States, at the last minute by a cynical, real-politics manouver by Stalin at the Caucasus, obviously made in order to provoke headaches for many years to the detriment of Western Europe.. This also was probably one of the last Governments in Europe to be really Autonomous, including vis a vis overseas..  


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++ UK's official Program also adds that "the UK Chairmanship will work towards a more effective and efficient role for the CoE in supporting Local and Regional Democracy". CLRAE's (Congres of Local and Regional Democracy's) current President is, indeed, the experienced Liberal representative Keith Whitmore, (See various Whitmore's Statements to "EuroFora", including during the most recent CLRAE Session in Strasbourg, on October 2011).

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(NDLR : "DraftNews", as already sent earlier to "EuroFora"s Subscribers/Donors. A more accurate, complete, Final version is due asap).


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    EU Rapporteur on Enlargment Strategy, maistream German MEP Elmar Brok, speaking to "EuroFora", welcomed the proposal made earlier this week by French President Nicolas Sarkozy for the EU to"start Now Talks with Turkey to create a common Economic and Security area", instead of full Accession, at a period when Ankara looks more and more unfit and/or unwilling to respect EU conditions.

    - "For Europe to have strong Political will, it must stop dilutiing itself in an endless Enlargement. It must have borders...Diversities enrich, on the condition that they don't undermine European Cohesion, and don't weaken EU Unity", Sarkozy stressed.
    
    - "Countries like Turkey share a part of common destiny with Europe, with which they have a vocation to build a Privileged Relation, to be closely associated, but not to become Member of the EU"  : "Noone respects his friends by telling them lies. Noone respects his friends by making them promises that will be never kept", he added.

    That's why "we'd better start, from now, negotiating with Turkey to create a common Economic and Security area", Sarkozy proposed.

Significantly, the French President was repeatedly and largely applauded by EU citizens, 3 times, when he made the Turkey point, (strategically placed between Europe's "Political Will" and its cultural heritage, historically open to mutually enriching dialogue with all the World, but never diluted).

    - "We could propose such a great ambition also to Russia, which must not be percieved as an Adversary of Europe, but as a Partner. Thus, we'd create a wide area, of more than 800 Million inhabitants, sharing the same Security, the same Prosperity", he concluded.

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    Sarkozy's move was anounced at the eve of a Franco-German Top meeting with Chancellor Angie Merkel in Berlin on Sunday, to jointly launch the EU Elections campain, after an EU Summit at nearby Prague, to launch a new kind of relations, called "Eastern Partnership", with neighboring countries such as Urkaine, Belarus, Moldova, Georgia, Armenia, Azerbaidjan, etc, (to which Russia, reportedly, is not - and does not want to be - included).

    As for Ukraine, which has already expressed her wish to join the EU in future, "Kiev will have a special place, and a very important role to play", replied earlier this week in Strasbourg, to an "EuroFora" question EU Chairman in office , Czech vice-Prime Minister Alexander Vodra.

    - "This direction is more Realistic for Turkey than Accession negotiations", reacted immediately EU Parliament's Rapporteur for Enlargment Strategy, mainstream German MEP Elmar Brok, commenting Sarkozy's idea for "EuroFora"

     Particularly "as far as it concerns the respect of EU Rules by both sides", he added, hinting at Turkey's now obvious inability and/or unwillingness to abide with EU Acquis, EU Commitments (fex. on Cyprus, etc), and European Democracy/Human Rights rules. (Comp. infra).

    Brok added that, in his view, a similar proposal might be made also to Ukraine and other neighbouring Countries, regardless if they have, or not, a "European vocation". This would not necessarily mean that there couldn't be any accession prospects at all." for all the countries that might be included in this area, according to Brok.  But it's preferable, particularly for Turkey, "because it's a more Realistic approach than full Membership".

    On this point, Sarkozy's proposal, (which he'll share with German Chancellor Merkel), seems more crystal-clear.

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    - "Turkey does not fullfil EU Criteria, and will never fullfil EU Criteria" on Human Rights, Democracy and Rule of Law. "Some have been lying to Ankara, but we must tell the Truth, and have honest and close relations with her", said meanwhile to "EuroFora" on the same issue also the President of EU Parliament's largest Group of MEPs (ChristianDemocrats/EPP), Joseph Daul.
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"Hot" Debate at EU Parliament reveals CHANGE of mood towards "Suspension" of EU - Tukey talks.
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    Earlier this week, many MEPs, and even some of those who were previously in favor of Turkey's controversial EU bid, strongly criticized the persistance and even aggravation of serious Human Rights violations in the country, that ECHR continues to "unanimously" condemn ":

      - "After winning a big victory in the latest Local Elections, the pro-Kurdish party DTP almost doubled its Elected Mayors from 52 to 98", but afterwards "more than 400 politicians were thrown to Prison and prosecuted" by the Turkish Authorities, denounced on behalf of the ChristianDemocrat/EPP Group, Belgian MEP Frieda Brepoels.

     At the same time, "more than 1.500 Children are closed in Turkish Prisons", she added. "What will the EU Commission do" against these facts ?

- "Turkey appears to be at greater Distance away from Copenhagen Criteria after 4 Years of accession Negotiations, than when they started !", denounced on behalf of the Liberal Group, German MEP Alexander Lambsdorf.    

"On the central issue of Press Freedom, Critical Journalists face obstacles for their accreditation, others are prosecuted, condemned, fined and/or jailed, Media blocked or closed", he denounced.   

 - "EU Made 2 grave Mistakes with Turkey : To start accession negotiations, and to continue them", despite everything, criticized Dutch MEP Bastian Belder, on behalf of the Ind/Dem group.

(../..)

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