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Home arrow newsitems arrow CoE Political Director Laurens to EuroFora:Key Tunisian Minister in Democracy Forum, Morocco Partner

CoE Political Director Laurens to EuroFora:Key Tunisian Minister in Democracy Forum, Morocco Partner

Written by ACM
Wednesday, 22 June 2011

 

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A key representative of the currently evolving process from which depends the Success or failure of the famous "Jasmin" Democratic Revolution in Tunisia, the Historic frontruner Country in the Movements going on in 3rd Mediterranean States, the new Minister in charge of preparing a New Constitution, Mr. Ben Achour, will practically open, Next Week in Strasbourg,  the transition to the creation of Strasbourg's "World Democracy Forum in 2012, due to emerge from a kind of "Sythesis" between the preexisting CoE's Political Schools, and new, parallel events topically debating "Ethics" in Politics and "Citizens' Trust", said in substance the experienced CoE's Director General for Political and Democracy affairs, Jean-Louis Laurens, replying to "EuroFora"s questions :

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- "EuroFora" observed, from the outset, that, among various interesting and important Personalities, (such as CoE's Secretary General, Thornbjorn Jagland from Norway, CoE's President-in-office, Ukranian Foreign Minister Kostyantyn Gryschenko, experienced professor Catherine Lalumiere, former CoE's Head and current Chairwoman of Political Schools' PanEuropean Network, from France, experimented Russian Human Rights Mediator, Vladimir Lukin, former Head of the Russian Delegation to CoE's Assembly and to EU Parliament,) etc), figured also the Tunisian Minister Rafaa Ben Achour, delegated to the Prime Minister, who is due to give an "Inaugural Lesson" to CoE's Schools of Political Studies, spreading from EU Members Hungary, Poland or Cyprus, etc., up to Turkey, Ukraine and Russia, etc.

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- "Minister Ben Achour is both in charge mainly of Tunisia's Constitutional process, and s. Member of CoE's "Venice" Commission", i.e. the unique PanEuropean body of Top Legal Experts on Constitutional Law, Elections and Human Rights,  (See yesterday's "EuroFora"s Draft NewsReport), sharply and accurately replied Laurens, revealing the particular importance of CoE's selection for its Key-note Speaker.


- "Thank you .. for the question : Mr. Ben Achour is also Member of (CoE's) Venice Committee, and this already gives a clear indication on his main area of responsibilities, which obviously focus mainly on (New) Institution-building issues, and on the elaboration of a New Constitution in Tunisia", (after the "Jasmin" Popular, Democratic and Social Revolution), "That's his main domain of action", revealed CoE's Director General for Political and Democracy affairs, in reply to "EuroFora"s query.

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The move was topically made the same Day that, for the 1st time, CoE's PanEuropean Assembly gave a special Status as "Partner for Democracy", to Morocco, while also launching an appeal to Tunisia to be the 2nd to join the Historic process, due to enlarge, progressively, to all other 3rd Mediterranean and Asian Countries at EU's Neighborhood.


Thus, in an emotional and Symbolic ceremony at CoE's Headquarters, Morocco's Presidents of Parliament and Senate, Mr. Mr. Radi and Biadilach, joined together with Turkish Politician Mr. Cavusoglou, both from the 2 Bordering States around EU's Western and Eastern External borders, which have both asked, at one moment or another, even to become EU Members, (starting with Morroco, which had asked 1st, afterwards, followed by Turkey with a similar request, but only later-on, when time was more ripe)....  

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Since then, Mediterranean Arab Countries found difficult to understand why EU spend more than 90 € per inhabitant each year for so-called "Candidates" as Turkey, while it didn't invest not even ..9 € per inhabitant in all other 3rd Mediterranean Countries, as Morocco's Foreign Minister had recently denounced at an International G20 Conference organized by the 2011 French Presidency in Paris. While, in fact, we all face similar Challenges which affect also EU, such as, fex., Climate Change, Global Crisis, Illegal Emigration, Terrorism, Drug Trafficking, etc., but also an interesting Economic,  Energy, a.o. Natural Resources' GeoPolitical potential, as pointed out Morocco Senate's President, Seich Biadilach, and, therefore, now speaking to Strasbourg's Journalists, including "EuroFora", after meeting with CoE's Secretary General Thornbjorn Jagland.

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+ "EuroFora", also asked Laurens whether CoE's project to create a  "Democracy Forum in the future", was already "examined by the Committee of Ministers" of the PanEuropean Organization, or not, and "if the common Inspirations behind Next Week's 2-3 successive/parallel Events (i.e. CoE's Political Schools, Conference on "Ethics in Politics", and the meeting of EU Mayors of "Strasbourg's Club" focused on "Citizens' Trust") were due to merge, afterwards, inside a joint Synthesis, that will emerge with the 1st "Strasbourg's World Democracy Forum" on 2012.


- Indeed, "Next Week's events are a kind of a Pre-figuration of the (2012 Strasbourg's World) Forum", (on Democracy), it has been already decided, since it is part of CoE's Secretary General's (Thornbjorn Jagland's) Priorities for the period of 2012-2013, and these Priorities were accepted by (CoE's) Committee of Ministers", replied Laurens to "EuroFora"s 2nd Question.


=> "Our task, now, is to ensure its Funding, since it (i.e. Strasbourg's Democracy Forum) will be an Activity going well beyond the current (CoE's) Political Schools and their (Annual) Summer Democracy University, including an important Financial Partnership out of the CoE, where we work together with Strasbourg City, for External Fund-Raising, in order to become able to give to this (future) event the Real Dimension of what we wish, i.e. what we callled, earler, "Davos of Democracy", CoE's Director General of Political and Democracy affairs' replies to "EuroFora" concluded.
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Obviously, such planned events are expected to follow any relevant topical development, including, f.ex., currently the "Citizens" gatherings which start to spread also in EU Member States like Spain and Portugal but also in Greece, etc., particularly (but not only) among Young People, as a NGO Representative, precisely  from ...Tunisia had earlier warned "EuroFora", on the sidelines of the recent G8 Heads of State/Government Summit organized by the French 2011 Presidency at Deauville, (See relevant "EuroFora"s NewsReport from the spot).


Curiously, however, despite their apparent potential, such Popular Movements were qualified by another Journalist as often raising good "Questions", but whose "Replies are given by Extremists" (sic !), as he said, echoed by Local Strasbourg City's vice-Mayor, Robert Hermann, (Socialist party), who also criticized such Citizens' Movements, nonobstant their current trend to spead accross several EU Countries, as having "Difficulties to formulate Proposals", as he claimed.


However, as another, Spanish collegue recently wrote also for similar Popular Movements in Spain, and as it can be witnessed now, even more clearly, in the serious situation of Greece, these Citizens' Groupings clearly ask  for a "Real (i.e. Direct) Democracy", "without" (bureaucratic Intermediaries in Political) Parties", nor in Mass Medias, etc., as well as a decisive action "against (the recent Decades of) Corruption" in the Public Sector, mainly the State.


It's also at an "Ethical Deficit" that future co-organiser, in charge of Strasbourg City's International relations, Nawel Rafik Elmrini, attributed at least a part of the precursos phenomenon of the "huge Abstentions which appeared in EU Elections", as she said in reference to the well known "No" to the French and Dutch 2005 EuroReferenda, notioriously provoked since 1999-2004 by EU Citizens' refusal to accept Turkey's controversial and unpopular EU bid. - "We don't intend to avoid any topical Debate" of interest to EU Citizens in future, she added later-on.


The 2012+ World Strasbourg's Forum is not intended to be limited only in Europe, but, with participants also from Africa, Asia and other Countries, it aims to become really International, as it was confirmed in this last preparatory 2011 Press Conference.

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(NDLR : DraftNews, as already send earlier to "EuroFora"'s Subscribers/Donors. A complete and more accurate Final Public Version is due asap).

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Swedish Foreign Minister, Carl Bildt, speaking  to "EuroFora", denied rumors on Turkey's attempts to avoid an EU check of its obligations on Cyprus on December 2009 by blackmailing Nicosia to either accept any deal with intransigeant Turkish claims contrary to EU values on the island's political issue, or face threats against the territorial integriy of the EU island, semi-occupied by Ankara's army.

On the contrary, the incoming EU President-in-office, speaking exclusively to "EuroFora", promissed that he will act for EU Council's decisions on December 2009 assessment of Turkey's commitments on Cyprus to be kept.


    Bildt was asked to react to Cyprus' President Christofias' denunciation, earlier this week, that some want to exert "pressure" on Cyprus in order for Turkey to escape from its obligations.

    Avoiding to mention any precise Deadline, Bildt, however, warned about "Consequences" in case of "failure" to reunite Cyprus, but without saying whose responsibility an eventual deadlock might be.  

 Asked by "EuroFora" if there is a risk for "Turkey's commitments to "be forgotten or downgraded", "despite crystal-clear EU Council decisions and EU Parliament's latest Resolution on the assessment to make at the end of this year on Turkey's obligations", according to rumours that, instead of pressing Turkey, on the contrary, there might be "pressure on Cyprus", even "blackmail", as Media reported and President Christofias denounced this week, Bildt denied :

- "No ! ", he clearly replied.


- On the contrary, invited by "EuroFora", to "reassure that the Swedish EU Presidency (7-12/2009) will keep a fair stance, based on principles",  Bildt promised that "we (Swedish EU Presidency) will be very clear on all of the decisions taken by the (EU) Council".

He added, however, that "we have very numerous decisions that have been taken" by EU Council, as if he warned, also, on something else.

- "'I am not aware of any sort of statements coming out today''", Bildt started to say, on our reference to Cyprus' President Christofias" denunciation of Turkish lobby's manoeuvers this week, replying earlier to 'another"EuroFora"'s question during a Press Conference at EU Parliament in Strasbourg.


 - '"I know the issues that you' are concerned with'", he added, remembering  the statements he gave us when Sweden was chairing the PanEuropean CoE on 2008.

- "But, obviously, .. I think that Cyprus' Peace negotiations are extremenly important".

- And "'I think that we are at a unique moment in History, in the sens that both (Cyprus') President Christofias and Mr. Talat (the Turkish Cypriot leader), are personally convinced of the need to overcome the division".

 - "It's 20 Years since the fall of Berlin Wal, but we still have a Capital in Europe (Nicosia) that's divided". ,

- 'I don't that we should loose any time in overcoming that"..

 - ''We should be aware of the fact that success will bring great benefits, but failure, will also have major consequences. There will not be Status Quo' " It's a question of seeking a solution, or entering another situation, which is somewhat difficult to see exactly how that could evolve", he warned.

- "That being said, this is a negotiation for Cyprus itself", Bildt admitted.

 - ''We (EU) can support, the (EU) Commission primarily, be technically helpful, and then, of course, there is a specific role for the UN, when it comes to the Cyprus' situation".  

- "At least so far. It might not be for ever'. Certainly not for ever, but for this period of time", Bildt added, skiping now any reference to concrete threats on UNO's Peace keeping force in face of more than 40.000 Ankara's soldiers, contrary to some Press claims, (See previous NewsReports).


     Replying to another "EuroFora"'s Question,  if anyone might attempt to "impose a Deadline for the conclusion" of Cyprus' Talks on December 2009, Bildt avoided to speak of any precise Time-frame, and indirectly evoked the fact that  35 Years of Turkish Invasion/Occupation obviously durated too long :

'- "If I was from Cyprus, I would say that the Deadline was Yesterday ! '",
Bildt concluded.

Cyprus' Government Spokesman, Stephanou, reportedly pointed out that "a settlement is possible on December if Turkey changes its stance", accepting a solution for the reunification of the island based on UNO resolutiona and EU principles.

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Earlier, EU Chair, Swedish Prime Minister Fredrik Reinfeld, highlighted an "historic opportunity" to "re-Unite" Cyprus according to EU's "basic Values"' (i.e. Human Rights) and 'Rules'", in a last-minute change of his draft speech to EU Parliament in Strasbourg.

    The initial Draft spoke only about "healing" the island.

    Significantly, Reinfeldt linked Cyprus' reunification with Turkey's obligations to respect EU's "Values" and "follow" EU's "common Rules" :

    - What is "called Membership Negotiations" should lead, "at- the end of the day", into "sharing a set of common Basic Values (i.e. Human Rights, Democracy, etc), and following common Rules", stressed Reinfeld from the outset.
    
    - "This is something that those on the Outside (of the EU), are now  contemplating", up "to Ankara", for "a solution" on "Cyprus", observed the EU Chairman, immediately afterwards..  

    - "Both sides of Cyprus have been granted a historic opportunity to together reach an agreement on a solution to re-Unite the island, that has been divided for far too long", said Reinfeldt, modifying his draft text.


-  "The Swedish Presidency will act ...in accordance with Commitments EU has made, on the basis of Criteria that apply", "as a Honest Broker", he promised.    

- "To those on the inside (of the EU), allowing the membership process to become an opportunity to solve protracted disputes, can be tempting", he added.


    "In such cases, we must find solutions that can benefit both sides, and open up a way forward. Otherwise, it would jeopardize the progress we have made towards EU integration", Reinfeldt said.

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