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Accueil arrow newsitems arrow EUROCORPS Commander +EU JHA Head to EuroFora: Lisbon Treaty's Human Rights +Security/Defence horizon

EUROCORPS Commander +EU JHA Head to EuroFora: Lisbon Treaty's Human Rights +Security/Defence horizon

Ecrit par ACM
Wednesday, 02 December 2009
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*Strasbourg/CoE/Angelo Marcopolo/- Europe can better defend Citizen's Human Rights if there is a political will to really use Lisbon Treaty's new possibilities, said in substance to "EuroFora", EUROCORPS' new Commander for 2009-2010, Lieutenant General Hans-Lothar Domroese, and EU Commission's acting Director for Justice, Freedom and Security, Alain Brun, speaking in parallel, only hours from EU New Institutions' entry into force.

They both stressed in Strasbourg, headquarters of the European Court of Human Rights and of EUROCORPS, that, now, with Lisbon Treaty, new horizons on Human Rights and EU's Security and Defence have become possible and could evolve fast, mainly via the new method of "reinforced cooperations", but effective developments, and their timing, depend on political will....

In addition to EU's new Charter on Fundamental Freedoms, which entered into force today, Lisbon Treaty makes it possible and incites the EU to also become a member of the older and larger panEuropean Convention on Human Rights :

 A "useful" move both in order to ensure a "coherence" on EU Citizens' rights' case-law between the EU Court of Justice at Luxembourg and the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg, and because "they don't cover exactly the same areas", Brun observed to "EuroFora".

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Significantly, he spoke on the sidelines of a joint EU - CoE Conference on Childrens' Rights, fex. vis a vis Adoptions, trafficking, etc, where participants (EU/CoE Officials, politicians, experts, NGOs, journalists, and even individuals whose life had been seriously affected by various related issues) held "hot" discussions highlighting various problems still in need of the right answers, well beyond an International Hague's Treaty and a specific CoE's Convention, which still left several unanswered questions open

For the Legal, technical matters, "we have been prepared since a long time ago, so that we can move quite fast" for EU's accession to the ECHR, the experienced EU's Head of JHA's services told us.

According to CoE's sources, this might, eventually, include, fex. also a guarantee that EU institution's acts would be monitored by a special EuroCourt's Chamber composed by EuroJudges coming only from EU Member States, and not from other, Third Countries, among PanEuropean CoE's 47 Member States.

- "But the ratification process might take longer than scheduled", Brun warned. Eventual delays might come "not so much from EU Member States, since they have all, already accepted Lisbon Treaty which provides for EU's accession to the ECHR, but from others" : The PanEuropean "CoE (under whose auspices works EuroCourt) has 47 Member States, i.e. 20 Countries more than the EU (fex., since the end of the "Cold War" and Germany's and Europe's ReUnification : Russia, Ukraine, and other former "Eastern European" Countries, but also Turkey, etc., since the particular era when the "Cold War" had started in the Past : 1950).

So, "we don't know, in advance, whether there might be any objection or delay from anyone among these 20 more Third Countries, which are now members of the CoE, but not of the EU", he observed.

That's one of the reasons for which "the ratification (of EU's entry into the ECHR, which will open the possibility for EU Citizens to challenge EU Institutions' acts if they affect their Human Rights) might take as long as about 3 or 5 Years more", the EU Top Official carefully estimated.

 - "In fact, it all depends on Political factors", Alain Brun concluded, pointing at the incoming EU Commissioner on Justice and Home affairs, Mrs Viviane Reding from Luxembourg, who has been appointed in order to succeed to Jacques Barrot from France in the framework of the New EU Commission from January 2010.
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    But developments might be faster on another, partly complementary, issue of particular importance to Strasbourg-headquartered European bodies : EU Defence and Security capabilities, mainly with EUROCORPS, the multi-modal and multi-national European Army's "Etat Major" :

    - After Strasbourg Treaty entered into force, at the beginning of 2009, ratified by all 5 "Framework Nations" (France, Germany, Belgium, Luxembourg, Spain), to which are added other 5 "Sending" Nations represented by Liaison Officers, while EU Parliament was voting a landmark Resolution calling for the creation of a European Defence and Security policy based on the use of EUROCORPS' tool,  it has a Legal frame and Democratic support for further developments of a European Defence, observed his New Chief :

    - "What is needed now is that somewhere among the framework nations, emerges a "Driving Force" to boost the European Defence and Security policy", stressed from the outset EUROCORPS' new Commander for 2009-2010, Lieutenant General Hans-Lothar Domroese from Germany, speaking to "EuroFora".

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Perhaps significantly of EUROCORPS' Enlargement possibilities, his new Commander took over his duties by succeeding to a Spanish General, just before Spain chairs the EU in the 1st semester of 2010, and was present at a CoE event on the "double Anniversary of Romania's National Day and of EU Lisbon Treaty, on December 1st 2009", as CoE's Deputy Secretary General, Mrs Maud de Boer-Bucquichio observed

    Domroese, speaking the day Lisbon Treaty entered into force, akcnowledged that the possibility it provides for "Reinforced Cooperations" speaheaded by initiatives undertaken by some pioneer EU Member States and open to all other willing EU Member Countries is an adequate and efficient tool in that direction.

    - "But, in fact, it all depends on Political WIll", EUROCORPS' new Commander warned.

    Domroese, who has already served even at Afghanistan for a few months at the beginning of 2009, aqreed however with "EuroFora" that, at least at the start, EU's Defence capabilities' development can become soon Popular among EU Citizens, fex. by protecting EU's external borders, intervening in Peace-keeping operations in preference around Europe's Neighbouring Countries, (fex. in Cyprus, if a Peace deal for its ReUnification is made with a European/International Guarantee), helping to face "Natural Desasters", etc

    The new EUROCORPS' Commander, who took over his duties on September 2009 for 2 crucial years, speaking at the CoE to "EuroFora" appeared optimistic but also careful to further enhance both EUROCORPS' capabilities and political support in 2010.

    ESDP was the only one among France's 2008 EU Presidency's priorities who did not had enough time to be fulfilled then, particularly after it had to struggle (successfully) both against the unforeseen Global Economic Crisis and to stop an unprecedented Russia - Georgia War.

    Significantly, EU Parliament has recently decided to create, for the 1st time, a specific "Security and Defence Committee", which had been initially entrusted to the experienced German f. MEP Carl Von Wogau, from nearby Fribourg, (the "father" of EU's Monetary Union among MEPs, since he had worked for 10 Years as former President of EU Parliament's Economic Committee for the creation of EuroZone, before starting to help build EU's Defence).  After June 2009 EU Elections, EU Parliament elected as new President of its Security and Defence Committee the mainstream new MEP Arnould Danjean, from the Governing French Party UMP, a specialist of ESDP and GeoPolitical issues with personal experience even on the spot (Balkans, etc), who is well known among French President Nicolas Sarkozy's close councilors, as well informed sources from the Presidential Elysee palace said to "EuroFora".

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 sarko_merkel_mieux

The official presentation of a "Program" respecting People's choices voted in the June 7, 2009 EU Elections, to be debated in EU Council and EU Parliament during its 1st Session on July in Strasbourg, is the No 1 Priority, according to Democratic principles, for the Franco-German axis, said the main winners at the ballot box, French President Nicolas Sarkozy and German Chancellor Angie Merkel.

They stressed  that the New EU Commission's President must have a "Program" in favor of an EU which "protects" its Citizens, regulates financial markets and aims at a "Political" Europe" : a wording they have used as incompatible with Turkey's controversial EU bid.

They also declared ready for a "political" endorsment of "Mr. Barroso's candidacy" in June's EU Council, considering that an official decision would have to be made after EU Parliament's debates and votes, possibly from next month (July), with the legally necessary final acceptance shortly after Lisbon Treaty's entry into force, hoped for September or October.


- "A Program, and Mr. Barroso" : This resumes, in substance, the anouncements made by Sarkozy and Merkel, on the question of current EU Commission's President, Barroso's declared wish to succeed to himself for a second mandate, to be extended during the following 5 years.

 In their 1st meeting after EU Elections, they observed that "the Franco-German axis counted in European Elections' campaign... But, we both keep a realistic view : We saw the number of those who abstained, and we must absolutely give them an answer. We also see the disilusionment of an important number of Europeans vis a vis Europe, and we are aware of the responsibilities we have".

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 - The "Duty" of the new EU Commission's President, after June 7, 2009 EU Elections' result, "is to act for a Europe which protects the Europeans, to commit himself into working for a better Regulation of Financial transactions, ... and to have a Political will for Europe", underlined Sarkozy.

Therefore, "we have asked M. Barroso... to clarify, to officialy present the intentions he has", he anounced.

- "We want to speak also about the Programme", explained Merkel.

- "It's important that for the next EU Parliament's mandate (2009-2014) we take the right Decisions for Europe.  Obviously on Persons, but mainly Decisions on Issues", she stressed.

- "It's not simply a question of a Person, it's also a question of a Programme". We are "really asking Mr. Barroso to commit himself on a Program, and on Principles, on Values", Sarkozy added.

EU President-in-office, Czech Prime Minister Jan Fischer, accepted the Franco-German stance :

- "Barroso must present his Programme. The Czech Presidency agrees with that", Fischer reportedly said later, after meeting Sarkozy.

But Press reports from Brussels claimed that Barroso had preferred to be officially appointed by EU Council since June, (i.e. next week), "because this was implied by the current Treaty of Nice, according to him", and considered any delay until the possible ratification of the new, Lisbon Treaty on September/October, as "undemocratic".

- "At any case, independently of what Germany and France ask, it's also EU Parliament's wish". "We shall propose Mr Barroso's candidacy... But even in the framework of Nice Treaty, EU Parliament has to be associated in this Decision", the French President observed.

If this is correctly done, then "we support Mr. Barroso's candidature", and "if the (EU) Parliament agrees, we might ratify this decision since July", (i.e. next month), they both said.

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- "France and Germany support Baroso's candidacy, But we want to speak also on the Program. We believe that this Program should be established in close cooperation with EU Parliament, and that's why we have followed an appropriate way", said Merkel.  - If EU Parliament wants, this election can take place on July,  but this must be done in full agreement.

- "We shall support Mr. Barroso's candidacy, without doubt", said Sarkozy. "But we have asked from Mr. Barroso, as I told him yesterday, to put into detail.. his intentions, at the eve of his 2nd mandate, if the situation avails itself.


    France and Germany "don't want to take an Official Legal Decision by writting" during "the next (EU) Council" (on June 18-19), declared Sarkozy.  Because they prefer, at this stage, only "a Political decision" on June, "so that we (EU Council) can work together with EU Parliament", which starts to meet only Next Month, since July in Srasbourg, "leaving a Legal decision by writting for later".

    - "If the Conditions are fuillfiled in EU Parliament, we (EU Council) are ready to give the agreement and make it offficial", said Merkel

    - "But, now we are working in the base of Nice Treaty. If tommorow we want to work in the spirit of Lisbon Treaty, we have to find a proper way", she added.

    - "Of course it's Legally complicated, because we are going to make a Political proposal to the forthcoming Council, for an EU Commission's President, on the basis of Nice Treaty : So, we (EU Council) will not appoint the Commissioners. Only the President.  If EU Parliament agrees, it could endorse this position on July", explained Sarkozy.

    But, on Autumn, "if Ireland ratifies Lisbon Treaty, there will be, at any case, a 2nd Decision, to appoint the Commission's President, this time on the basis of Lisbon treaty, and then, we, the EU Member States, would have to appoint (also) the EU Commissioners", he added.

    As for the precise Timing :  - "Everything is suspended until the Irish vote... Now, we must all make everything possible to help Ireland to say "Yes"" to Lisbon Treaty... The Irish Referendum, ..will take place either on September or on October. It's a Question which depends on the Irish. And,  then, we shall have the Choice of the Candidates for the permanent Institutions of Europe".

    However, "if Ireland says No, we, French and Germans, have to assume our responsibilities, and we'll do so", he concluded.

    But British and Swedish governments were reportedly eager to have a final EU Council decision on Barroso since this month, on June's European Council. While the other EU Member Countries are divided, several of them preferring to wait until EU Parliament pronounces itself, on July, and/or until Lisbon Treaty might be ratified by Ireland at the beginning of the Autumn. Barroso's current mandate ends on November.

    There are also various, contradictory and/or unpredictable reactions inside EU Parliament vis a vis Barroso's wish to continue a 2nd mandate, because many MEPs are openly or secretly opposed, reluctant, or hesitating.

    In the biggest EU Countries, as France and Germany, EU Citizens voted on June 2009 EU Elections for a renovated, non-technocratic but Political Europe which cares for its Citizens, with an Identity, Values and Borders, declared incompatible with Turkey's controversial EU bid, by mainstream, pro-European Governing Parties. Similar choices were also supported in several other small or medium EU Countries.

    On the contrary, whenever, in other Countries, Governing and other mainstream Parties didn't make these choices or eluded them, EU Citizens massively voted for euro-Sceptics whenever they were the only ones to to promise anti-bureacratic change and oppose Turkey's demand to enter into the EU, (f.ex. in the UK, Netherlands, etc).

    It's seems to be an Open Question whether Sarkozy and Merkel's conditions will be really accepted by Barroso, who was appointed on 2004 in a different political context, (with Socialist Prime Ministers in Germany, France, etc), had rejected in the Past the idea of EU becoming "equal to the USA" as "ridiculous", and pushed for Turkey's contoversial EU bid, trying to "soften" or contain the changes desired by the People who voted for Merkel and Sarkozy with another policy vis a vis Turkey on 2005 in Germany and on 2007 in France, as they did all over Europe on 2009.

    In addition to many EPP Governments, it's 3 remaining Socialist Prime Ministers : Gordon Brown in the UK, Zapatero in Spain, and Socrates in Prortugal, who support Barroso, as well as Liberal Swedish Prime Minister Reinfeldt. But their Parties lost the June 2009 EU Elections.

    Questioned whether there was still "Time" for "other" possible "Candidates", Sarkozy and Merkel did not deny, nor made any comment on that, but simply said that "it's not for us to make publicity for any candidates. We anounced our choice ("A Program, and Mr. Barroso"). But we respect any other candidate".

    Among various other names cited are former Belgian Prime Minister Verhofstadt, former UNO's Human Rights Commissioner Mary Robinson of Ireland, Italian former EU Commission's vice-President Monti, etc. Meanwhile, Luxembourg's PM Juncker, (who had been unanimously accepted by EU Council for EU Commission's Presidency on 2004, but refused), announced his intention to resign from "EuroGroup"'s Chair. Thus, he might be available for another Top EU job.

    As "EuroFora"'s "opinion" said (See publication dated 9/6/09) : - "If the current candidates (i.e. Barroso, etc) to the Top EU jobs promise and guarantee to respect People's democratic choices, then, it's OK".

"Otherwise, Europe must find new candidates, really motivated and able to implement these democratic choices of the People."

    Because, "in Democracy, the forthcoming choices for EU's Top Jobs,...should be made according to EU Citizens' Votes in June 7, 2009 European Elections, and main EU Governments' strategic policies".
        

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