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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

Автор 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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    The recent paradox of freezing EU Talks with front-runner Croatia, while continuing controversial EU - Turkey talks, despite Zagreb's acceptance of Refugees' Human Rights to return, that Ankara refuses fex. in Cyprus, while both have "Good Neighborhood" problems vis a vis Slovenia, or Greece, Cyprus and Armenia respectively, can it be justified by the non-fullfilment of EU criteria, as Slovenia says, or, is it "Double Standards" ?    

The question became unavoidable after statements by Presidents of Slovenia and Croatia, Tuerk and Mesic, respectively, to "EuroFora", exclusively or among Strasbourg's journalists this week at the CoE, on the sidelines of its 2009 Summer University for Political Schools, which topically brought them together as successive key-note speakers.


    Comming only a few Months before EU checks Turkey's compliance to its commitments on Cyprus, etc., scheduled for December 2009, this obviously has a special importance for the coherence of EU Enlargement's principles.

     Suspension of EU Negotiations is a normal consequence in case of a Candidate Country's failure to fullfil EU Conditions, such as "Good Neighborhood relations", stressed at first Slovenian President Danilo Tuerk, current CoE's chair.

    But, regarding EU's Criteria,  there shouldn't be any "Double Standards",  reacted Croatian President Stjepan Mesic, commenting the fact that Turkey's controversial EU negotiations continue, while they were recently "freezed" in the case of Croatia, an "unquestionably European Country", which oficially accepts to respect Refugees Human Rights, contrary to Ankara's notorious refusals or reluctance.                                       

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                           - "EU itself has set as a Criterium (for EU Enlargement) the "Good Neighborhood relations",  and their absence justifies the "Suspension" EU Negotiations, (f.ex. with Croatia), because of a Border dispute affecting the territorial integrity of an EU Member Country, stressed Slovenian President, Danilo Tuerk, CoE's Chairman in office (May - November 2009), speaking to Journalists in Strasbourg including "EuroFora".    

Questioned earlier what "consequences on EU's Enlargement policy" can have the "Ban on EU Membership Negotiations", imposed to Croatia, Tuerk replied that "this question comes down to the fulfillement of (EU) Criteria for membership. One has to look at each Candidate Country ., from the point of view whether it fullfils the Criteria that EU has set. One of them are Good Neighborhood Relations, I'd like to remind. And also, there are other factors, such as Justice, Home affairs, Rule of Law, and others".


    - "Now, ..Candidate Countries are at Different Levels of fulfillement of Criteria", he observed.

    - " Croatia is obviously the closest to that. I'm rather optimistic : I think that in the coming Months we'll have an opportunity to look at all these issues constructively and hopefully we'll be able to make progress". "My main concern, at this point, is the situation in Bosnia : We haven't seen enough progres domesticaly. We haven't seen enough during ..political parties within their country.We need a New Energy, a new energetic move towards the Candidature for EU membership. "Other (Western Balkan) Countries (Serbia, Montenegro, FYROM, Albania) have been making soaring Progress, and I think that they should be ready, in a few Years, for the Candidate status".

    - "As far as the Western Balkans are concerned, .. nobody should be left outside" the EU, Slovenian's President concluded, ommitting to mention Turkey's controversial EU bid.

    - "This process may be seen as Slow, but..  Slovenia has also has also been exposed to various "Booms of Slowness" in our accession period. But now we can say that the process was relatively quick, because changes which occur after becoming EU member, are quite large, and they require proper Preparations before the (EU) membership becomes a new factor, an impacting line for a new (EU) member country".
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EU "Solidarity" ?
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Slovenian statements made some participants from certain 3rd Countries as FYROM, etc. claim that "the Principle of EU Solidarity" would "produce a.. rising European Union Nationalism (sic !), against Non-EU Countries", as they said, asking unhappy foreign countries to form a "bloc" to exert pressure on the EU...    

But Croatian President Stjepan Mesic dismissed that, supporting "EU Integration", "after the Economy also in Political" issues, as "the achievement" of our times. In EU there is "diversity, but it's United", he stressed, "EU has to be United so that it can become a central factor of Peace" also at the surrounding areas, he replied.

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Speaking later exclusively to "EuroFora", the experienced twice President of Croatia, former President of the International "Non-Aligned" movement, denounced "Double Standards" in the way EU treats recently Croatia compared to Turkey :   

 - "I think that there shouldn't be Double Standards", stressed the Croatian President, in reply to a Question comparing the freeze of EU - Croatia talks, with the continuation of EU - Turkey talks, despite the fact that Croatia is an "unquestionably European country", while Turkey's EU bid is notoriously controversial.


    Mesic was reacting to the observation that, even if he confirmed his "respect of Refugees' Human Rights to return, etc. (See infra), nevertheless, EU talks are suspended with Croatia.. While for oher, controversial candidates, who refuse to respect Refugees' Rights to return, etc., as fex. Turkey does in occupied Cyprus and elsewhere, EU negotiations continue".

    - "I believe that Croatia's accession will confirm that all European Countries who fulfill all of the Conditions and achieve European Standards, have to join the EU. There shouldn't be any Double Standards", went on to add in reply President Mesic.

    In this relation, Croatia's President found "of paramount importance", CoE's "mechanisms enforcing ECHR's judgements"
    
    - "On Refugees and Displaced persons, the process will be completed only after the last person demanding to return will be allowed to do so !", President Mesic Croatia stressed earlier, setting a general standard of obvious importance also for otherr candidates, as f.ex. Turkey, often accused to exclude or heavily restrict Greek Cypriot Displaced persons' return to their Family Homes and ancestral land, provoke difficulties to Turkish-Kurd IDPs return to their home regions at the South-East, etc.

    Some "2.000 People are still reported Missing" in former Yugoslavia, for some Years, (as in Cyprus, modern Europe's oldest case, for 3 Decades. Nagorno-Karabach, Tcecnya in Russia, etc, more recently), and Investigations "will only be completed after establishing the fate of the last one of them", he added.
    
    Speaking earlier on "War Crimes", President Mesic stressed that "Leaders are responsible for (the) Wars (of the Past), not the People", and called against Impunity :  "Individuals have to be held Responsible for Crimes. International Penal Tribunals have to persecute those individuals", perpetrators of War Crimes, he underlined.

    Such statements naturally made Mesic rather popular at ECHR, whose President, French EuroJudge, Professor Jean-Paul Costa, looked particularly smiling when he welcomed him later on Wednesday afternoon, after Slovenian President Daniko Tuerk earlier this week.
           

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