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Home arrow newsitems arrow EU Commission President Juncker to EF : I doN't know how Long will take BREXIT Talks !

EU Commission President Juncker to EF : I doN't know how Long will take BREXIT Talks !

Written by ACM
Thursday, 13 December 2018
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*Brussels/EU Summit/Angelo Marcopolo/- Replying to an "Eurofora"s Question, at a meeting with Journalists just after the 1st Press Conference on what is expected to be the most Crucial EU Summit before the EU Elections of May 2019, the Experienced EU Commission's President, former Long-Time Prime Minister of Luxembourg and €uroGroup's Head, Jean-Claude Juncker, surprised by his honesty :


- "I don't know, how long might take BREXIT's Talks, between the EU and the UK, Juncker simply acknowledged, speaking after MidNight, at the very End of a longer than expected working day, during which UK's BREXIT reportedly came Twice at the table : Once with a Briefing by UK Prime Minister Teresa May, and, Later-on, in a "27" Member States' Format.


He had Earlier shared the regrets of other EU Heads of State/Government, and EU Council's President Donald Tusk, for UK's recent incapacity to endorse the latest Agreement on London's Withdrawal from the EU, added to what he Criticised as "Foggy" stance, by most Groups of MPs, inside Westminster, about what might be UK's Future Relation with the EU (See Infra, + ..., etc).


+ EU Parliament's President, experienced former twice EU Commissioner and Foreign Minister, Antonio Tajani, speaking Previously here, during the Afternoon, with EU Heads of State/Government, had Denounced the fact that "Europe suffers from UnCertainty", inter alia. And this meets a relevant Premonitory Warning, by the Secretary General of the ChristianDemocrat/EPP Party, and mainstream MEP, Antonio Lopez-Isturez, who, speaking to "Eurofora" in Brussels on BREXIT, already as early as from 2016, had denounced that "some seek to provoque UnCertainties"..., (See: http://www.eurofora.net/newsflashes/news/eppsummitoutcomeafterbrexit.html).

 
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+ Earlier Today (13/12/2018), replying to "Eurofora"s Questions, an eminent representative of the current EU Presidency by Austria, Minister of Justice and Reforms, Josef Moser, (experienced Top Lawyer and former President of Austria's Court of Accounts, etc : See also Infra), evoked a possible Period of Time for eventually more forthcoming EU - UK Talks on BREXIT, (even Beyond the End of March 2019 Deadline for Withdrawal, according to Article 50 of Lisbon Treaty, in the Agreed or in a "Hard" way), which might extend as far as the European Elections of a New EU Parliament at the End of May 2019, (itself electing, as usual, a New President, new EU Commission, etc., between July and September 2019).


- Meanwhile, the key Austrian Minister (an experienced Jurist, recently elected 3rd in the ChristianDemocrat/EPP List of Chancellor Sebastian Kurz, at the 2017 National Parliamentary Election, after serving as former FPÖ Parliamentary Group Head and Director of Rightist Leader Jörg Haider's Office, while being politically Independent), also estimated that "EU Parliament might, eventually, need about 3 Weeks, or so", in case of a New EU - UK Deal, if not on the Withdrawal as such (See Infra), possibly on the Future Relations between EU and the UK, naturally in addition to the laps of Time that would be necessary also for EU Commission and, mainly, EU Council's Heads of State/Government themselves, in order to broker a really working deal between Brussels and London.


A previously published Draft Paper evokes 2020 and, perhaps, a 2 Years extension of transition (up to 2022) for the finalisation of EU - UK relevant Deals.


But, could EU Summits continue to be kept so Busy on BREXIT, at the Same Time that EU Citizens expect to see some Interesting Advances in European Integration, particularly in €urozone, and an elementary Protection from Deadly Islamist Terrorism which has just targetted cowardly even more innocent Civilian People even at Europe's Heart : Strasbourg, during EU Parliament's plenary session (See : http://www.eurofora.net/newsflashes/news/euparliamentlockedinbyterrorattack.html, etc) ? It's obviously on such Big, Vital and "Hot" Issues that the Crucial forthcoming EU Elections of May 2019 will be decided, and Not on the mere matter of Northern Ireland's Border...

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=> In order to Shorten such extensive Periods, both Presidents of EU Commission and Council, Jean-Claude Juncker and Donald Tusk, speaking at their Joint Press Conference, at the End of this 1st Day of December 2018 EU Summit, (which, already took Longer than scheduled, arriving at around MidNight), stressed together that EU does Not Intend to Re-Negotiate anew the latest Draft WIthdrawal Agreement alrteady brokered with the UK Government, But accepted to "give Clarifications", at least on certain Points, which seem to be the Most Controversial inside the UK. As, f.ex., concerning the wish to Prevent a "Hard" Border between the Republic of Ireland and UK's Northern Irish area, (where a provisional Precaution has been foreseen Only as a Possibility, and until that matter will be settled in an adequate way at a forthcoming EU-UK Deal on their Future Relations).


+ In Addition, Juncker, speaking earlier to Journalists, including "Eurofora", during that same Press Conference on the 1st Day of December 2018 EU Council in Brussels, (Comp. Supra), also Announced that EU Commission intends to Publish "All useful Informations" concerning, precisely, the Future EU-UK Relations, already as early as since "December 19", 2018, while also Urging the UK Authorities to make officially known their own Expectations on this Key Issue, in a period of about "4 Weeks", (i.e. in the middle of January 2019).


- EU is prepared and Ready, both for the case of a "Hard" BREXIT (i.e. withOut Agreement between EU and the UK), and to "Immediately" Start "serious" Negotiations on the Future EU-UK Relations, as soon as London Authorities would Ratify the already brokered Withdrawal Agreement, Juncker went on to say, (while also feeling that, normaly, it's up to the UK to say "First" what it wants for its Future relations to the EU, since it has taken that BREXIT initiative).


+ Later-on (Partly UPDATED), Both Juncker and Tusk stressed their Support to British Conservative Prime Minister Theresa May, for the "serious efforts" that she reportedly does in order to finalise asap. a full EU - UK Agreement, while also Urging the EU to be well "Prepared" "for All possible Outcomes".

 


(../..)
 

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(NDLR : "DraftNews", as already send, Earlier, to "Eurofora"'s Subscribers/Donors. A more accurate, full Final Version, might be Published asap).


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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)..
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    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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