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Home 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

Parašė ACM
Wednesday, December 02, 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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    Scientific innovation joined to Faith for Human Rights, Eastern Partnership and fight against the Crisis, but above all, the need to overcome the "Crisis of Trust" from EU Citizens, are the main priorities for new EU Parliament's President, Polish Jerzy Buzek, that a 555-votes-strong majority of MEPs on July 14,  Strasbourg made a living symbol of the fact that, 20 years after the fall of Berlin Wall (1989 - 2009) there is no more an Eastern or Western Europe, but only one Europe, as the head of the largest group of MEPs, ChristianDemocrats/EPP, Joseph Daul, stressed after the event.

    Speaking later to a group of Strasbourg's Journalists, including "EuroFora", the new EU Parliament's President clarified his stance on concrete topical issues, as f.ex. that of Turkey's controversial EU bid, which was one of the main issues of the June 2009 Electoral campain, clearly won by his party of ChristianDemocrats/EPP :  - "At present, Turkey does not fullfil none of EU conditions", he stressed, (See infra).

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    Buzek is well known in Strasbourg and to "EuroFora" as EU Rapporteur for the Framework Program of Scientific Research and Development of Technologies. A Natural Science Professor from the Historic and Religious landmark Polish City of Częstochowa, active in the famous Solidarnosk grass-roots social movement, he served 4 years as Prime Minister (1997-2001), before being elected as MEP in 2004 and 2009, after he brillantly won the latest EU Election at the head of his party (EPP) almost doubling the number of its MEPs from 15 to 28 !

    - "Innovation" and "Energy safety", as well as fight against the "Cimat change", but also "Eastern Partnership", the "Mediterranean", "Strategic partnerships" with Russia, the USA, etc, and the search for "solutions to the Economic Crisis" that EU Citizens "expect" from us, will be his "priorities", announced from the outset the new EU Parliament's President, reminding also that the quest for "Human and Civic Rights" played an important role in his experience with the Solidarnosc grass-roots social movement in Poland's History

    But, the most important of all, is the urgent need to overcome the "Crisis of Trust" between EU Institutions and the People he stressed : - EU "Citizens often don't understand us", denounced Buzek, launcing a call to "do anything for EU Citizens to understand our work" in EU Parliament : "We (MEPs) need to make EU Citizens involved" in "what we are doing every week, in Strasbourg and Brussels", he proposed. Pointing f.ex. to the hot "Debates" with "strong arguments" exchanged between MEPs during the preparation of their Legislative Decisions, in Committees, delivering often hard struggles between initially opposed points of view, long before forging a majority at the final vote, sometimes more than a year..

    Therefore, EU Parliament will be "open to your criticism, for discussion and exchange of views", he promissed to Journalists in Strasbourg.

    In this way, Buzek, in fact, highlighted "EuroFora"s main idea, that we strongly advocate since 1997-2007, to systematicaly and actively involve EU Citizens in public debates during the decision-making process of important EU measures, which affect their lives and the society in which they live, (and not only just a few weeks each 4 or 5 Years at the eve of EU Elections)...
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    This is related also to the symbolic gift that Buzek chose to give to the out-going former EU Parliament's President, Hans Gert Poettering, (2007-2009), his collegue in the ChristianDemocrats/EPP, who brillantly won 2009 EU Elections in Germany : A genuine statute of sainte Barbara crafted in Silesia's black Coal by Polish Miners : Those simple but strong people who fought for social change against some technocrats and bureaucrats disguissed into so-called "real-socialists" of old times. (PHOTO).

    It's enough to have seen a popular open air mass, at Warsaw's center, with many thousands of people, old and young, simple workers and intellectuals mixed together, with references to Poland's history and struggles for survival and liberty, through various ages, (as fex. that organized at the eve of CoE's 2005 panEuropean Heads of State and Government for the beatification of late Pope John-Paul II), in order to understand what such symbols mean..

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    But, overcoming the "Crisis of Trust" with EU Citizens obviously implies also to rectify any errors done in the past, fex. on Turkey's controversial EU bid, with controversial decisions taken in 1999 and 2004 to give a "candidate" status and to start EU negotiations, provoking an unprecedented series of 3 "No" to EuroReferenda and 3 Majoriy Abstentions in EU Parliament Elections : 1999, 2005 and 2009, (even if the latest one succeeded to decelerate and almost stop the drop of participation rates, opening hopes for vote's revival after an electoral campaign clearly critical to Turkey's claims in several mainstream EU countries)
    
    Therefore, Buzek was faced with manifold critical Questions on EU Enlargement, most of them citting concrete examples of certain political problems  :  But his replies were almost always given as a matter of general principle :

    F.ex. Questioned on the suspension of EU - Croatia talks because of a Border conflict with EU Member Slovenia, Buzek prefered to speak about principles :

- "We know that during Enlargement, the process can be blocked by failure to resolve this kind of issues",  This concerns also other enlargments' cases", and "these rules are always in force" he warned.


But Buzek avoided to directly reply to a queston on "French and German EPP' calls to define the Borders of Europe", as a German journalist asked him by making a reference to French President Nicolas Sarkozy, and German Chancellor Angie Merkel's, critical statements on Turkey at the June 2009 Electoral campain.    

- "Concerning Enlargement, there's always the same rules : There have to be Criteria, which have to be respected if a Country wants to join the EU", he started to simply reply.

- "For my country (Poland) it took us 15 Years to fullfil these Criteria", Buzek reminded, indicating, if proportions are kept, that Turkey, fex. would have to spend some 25 years before eventually joining the EU..

- "Countries wishing to join the EU need to Change their Systems", as we (Poland and other former Eastern European Countries) did, he stressed.

- "'For me, meeting the condition of Human Rights is one of the Key conditions for membership in the EU", preferring again to speak from the point of view of General Principles, on the occasion of an untimely question on Serbia (which is not even a candidate yet)...

- "Turkey" has, "first of all", to fullfil (EU) Copenhagen criteria". Bevause, currently, none of them is fullfiled by Turkey", New EU Parliament's President, denounced, speaking later to a group of Journalists, including "EuroFora".

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In particular, on Human Rights :  - "We (EU) can never forget Human Rights", because "this is at the very Foundations of the EU", Buzek added.

On the contrary, when he referred to EU Enlargment for the  "Western Balkans Countries ", Buzek appeared upbeat, finding "promising situations", despite "difficulties" in the Past, since "Countries are queuing to become EU members", and this "generated changes", as he said.

As for Russia, Buzek observed that it was a "very important" country, located "in the same Continent", Europe,  "close to our borders", and "we need eachother". "But Russia' has 'differend poblems : "They claim that their system is Democratic, but rules are differend", and we must be "aware of such differencies", fex. "on Human Rights", that we can't ignore, as he said;

Concerning China, where a journalist observed that the recipient of EU Parliament's latest "Sakharov prize" for freedom of thought is "still in prison", Buzek found that since the 1999 events in Tien Amin square, "we see differencies on Human Rights still today", and expressed his "support" for those who try to ameliorate the situation.

On the contrary, speaking recently to "EuroFora" he strongly supported the idea for an EU - Ukraine cooperation, fex. between Airbus and Antonov, in order to build a  less costly but more performant than the old and problematic A400M, new Military Transport Airplane : - "They (Ukranian Antonov Company) can certainly do it. I'm sure they can. It's a good Idea, and I'd be glad if it was done", he told us. (See : http://www.eurofora.net/newsflashes/news/airbusantonov.html )


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