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Home arrow newsitems arrow Luxembourg Grand Duke Henri with CoE leaders: Juncker's EUElection win to ease EU Accession to ECHR?

Luxembourg Grand Duke Henri with CoE leaders: Juncker's EUElection win to ease EU Accession to ECHR?

Written by ACM
Thursday, 27 March 2014

*Strasbourg/CoE-ECHR/Angelo Marcopolo/-  Will History repeat anew itself on a crucial and strategic Human Rights development ? The CoE's member Country which triggered the Enter into force of he ECHR, for the respect of Human persons' Rights  by States, was Luxembourg, back on 1953. Today, more than 60 Years later, Luxembourg might also become at least a Facilitator to the application of ECHR also to EU Institutions, which have, in the meantime, gained considerable control over many important activities affecting People's lives, according to the outcome of the forthcoming, May 2014 EU Parliament's Elections, as the mere fact of an exceptional visit of Luxembourg's Grand Duke Henri to all CoE's Leaders in Strasbourg, followed by a solemn Hearing at the PanEuropean Court, indirectly but inevitably evoked, at least symbolically :

- Indeed, Today, both COE's PanEuropean Parliamentary Assembly new President, Anne Brasseur, (at the Head of the body which is due to elect the New Secretary General of the CoE for the period of 2014-2019 on June), and ECHR's President, Dean Spielmann, come from Luxembourg. At the same time, the biggest EU political Party, that of ChristianDemocrats/EPP, headed by French MEP Joseph Daul from Strasbourg, has just elected, at a Congres held in Dublin (Ireland), Luxembourg's former long-time Prime Minister, Jean-Claude Juncker, in order to lead the Campaign for the May 2014 EU Parliament's Elections, which, according to the EU Lisbon Treaty and an agreement between MEPs and EU Governments, are due to determine the new EU Commission's President. Now, Juncker, notoriously is the Key European Personality to whom CoE's Heads of State/Government's latest  Summit at Warsaw, back since 2005 : Comp. "EuroFora" co-Founder's NewsReports from Warsaw, +published then at "TCW", etc)), had officially entrusted with the exceptionaly important Mission to make a Report on the main Idea, Strategy and Tools for the Future of an EU - CoE cooperation, i.e. between the nowadays 28 EU Member States and PanEuropean CoE's 47 Member States (including Russia, etc. but also Turkey, etc), which had finaly focused on a kind of Standard-setting function for the CoE on Human Rights values and issues, the EU dealing more on Political choices and practical implementation. Thus, he could become the 1st EU Commission's President in Brussels, with a very good knowledge of CoE's Strasbourg activities, centered around the ECHR.


-  But, until now, even if, "what is anounced as a New Substantial Stage", i.e. "the forthcoming Accession of the EU to the (Pan)European Convention of Human Rights, ...is foreseen by the (EU) Lisbon Treaty", nevertheless, "some Legal Obstacles still stand on its way", warned the Great Duke of Luxembourg at his address to a special Hearing by all the Euro-Judges at the ECHR, where "EuroFora" participated.

- "However, there is a clearly expressed Political Will, and this would reinforce even more the Importance of Strasbourg's Court", Grand Duke Henri highlighted positively at the Horizon, pointing to the virtues of conscious European Politicians' voluntarism.
Experienced observers were, moreover, surprised by the unusual Fact that, just after Luxembourg's Grand Duke and Duchess were earlier officially Welcomed by all COE's Leadership, at the main Building of the PanEuropean Organisation, as "EuroFora" witnessed personaly, he arrived at his last bilateral meeting with the President of the Congress of Local and Regional Authorities of Europen, Herwig Van Staa from Austria, the country which currently Chairs COE's Committee of Ministers, he had already taken an unexpected Delay of at least Half an Hour, which was later tranfromed at the nearby ECHR building, where many People were anxiously Waiting for his Speech, into more than 3/4 of an Hour later than initially scheduled...

>>> An obvious indication that his successive encounters, particularly with the experienced CoE's Deputy Secretary General Gabriella Battaini-Dragoni, from Italy, as well as with the Representative of the Austrian Chairmanship of CoE's Highest Political body : that of its Committee of Ministers, Permanent Representative/Ambassador Rudolf Lennkh, had apparently a .. much Longer Duration than expected, (while the forthcoming, next EU Council's Chairman-in-office for the period of July - December 2014, Italian Minister Andrea Orlando has just met in Strasbourg, on Tuesday, March 25, with CoE's Secretary General Thornbjorn Jagland, who is due to visit EU Commission's Headquarters in Brussels next week), leaving the impression that something interesting might be currently prepared as far as it concerns such Top issues on EU - CoE relations as f.ex. the above mentioned EU Accession to the ECHR  :
+ An issue currently judged so Topical that it will be at the focus of a forthcoming Conference and Debate with ECHR's President Spielmann at the prestigious French School of Top Officials for National and European/International Governance "ENA"'s Headquarters in Strasbourg on April 10.

- The experienced, long-time ECHR's Director of Press and Communication, Roderick Liddell, responded to a relevant "EuroFora"s Question simply with a kind smile and by waving friendly"" his hand towards the open sky, adding that there was "no immediate relation at all, between these two differend developments, precisely as he was expected to do... - "We can always dream...", replied "EuroFora" to Liddell, who, at least, didn't deny that...  As for ECHR's Head of Public Relations, Stephanie Klein, at first Amused with the speculation, afterwards got a Thoughtful expression... - "As the Grand-Duke told us himself : "No Hegemony of Luxembourg !", reacted laughing an Ambassador/Permanent Representative of a key European Country to the CoE, to "EuroFora"s suggestion, but without excluding at all a friendy facilitation of an, at any case, Collective EU/CoE probable Decicion soon..

- That Ambassadorial observation pointed at Grand Duke Henri's sense of Humour, in his speech at a special Hearing of the ECHR, where he "ensure(d)" a prestigious CoE audience that "this rare situation, where a (CoE's) Member State of a Modest Dimension (as Luxembourg), Accumulates such Responsibilities (as, currently, those of CoE Parliamentary Assembly's and ECHR's Presidencies, by former Head of the Liberal Group of MEPs Anne Brasseur, and EuroJudge Dean Spielmann, respectively : Comp. Supra), inside an International Organisation of primordial Importance, does Not result from any Hegemonic will of Luxembourg's Great Duchy on CoE's Institutions", but "is a fruit of circumstances", "as well as it Reflects an Appetite of my Country for the Values on which is Founded the Cooperation inside the COE,  since its inception, namely Respect for Human Rights, strengthening Democracy, and the preeminance of Law", as he said. Also because "the Challenges faced by a Small State, cornered between 2 Big European Powers (France and Germany), and, even worse, the direct Threats for its own Survival during the Decades, have impegnated it with a particuliar Sensitivity vis a vis anything affects the Rule of Law, be it for States, or for Private Persons", he explained.

=> "It was Natural, therefore, for Luxembourg, one among CoE's Founding Members, to be a first order Ally of ECHR, already since its own Birth : Symbolically, the Great Duchy of Luxembourg was the 10th State to lodge at the COE the instrument of Ratification of the (Pan)European Convention of Human Rights", back on 1953, "thus allowing its Entry into Force", he observed.  - "I love to remind that it was my Grand-Mother, Great Duchesse Charlotte, who has put her Signature under the Ratification Law" : "This act expressed Luxembourg's Commitment for a Union of Europeans "by developing Human Rights and Fundamental Liberties", he concluded on this Historic point of obvious Symbolic Value also for the Future.

+ By the way, as "EuroFora" had already highlighted, on the occasion of the "ECHR entry into force 60th Anniversary, eve of EuroFora Editor's Birthday: 3 September (1953)-2013 !", as E.M. had observed then (See :  http://www.eurofora.net/brief/brief/echrbirthdayeveofambirthday.html ), wishing a "Hapy Birthday" to all concerned !", "by another coincidence, it's also in 1953 that was discovered the DNA, theoretically opening a way for Genetic Manipulations of Human Embryos 20 years after Aldus Huxley's "Brave New World", and obviously making at least an elementary protection of Human Rights a "must", as probably felt the then Prime Minister of Luxembourg, Pierre Dupong, a Catholic who founded the governing Christian Social Party. Nevertheless, ECHR didn't start to publish important Judgements on BioEthics but later-on, (f.ex. on the Raelian sect versus Switzerland, etc). Meanwhile, however, EU's Court of Justice, established afterwards in Luxembourg, took some landmark judgements in that field, of fast growing, topical importance today, including, particularly, by recognizing officialy a Legal link between the "Human Dignity", in principle safeguarded by EU's Charter of Fundamental Freedoms and Rights, and the Human Embryo vis a vis Genetics, by considerig that Patents are not applicable on such Human Cells. But both Courts -ECHR and ECJ - seem naturally due to have many occasions in the foreseable Future to develop further a consistent BioEthics' case-law soon, given the recently fast-growing Technical and other developments in Genetics Worldwide"


    - Today (27/3/2014), ECHR's President Spielmann, welcoming the Grand Duke Henri in Strasbourg, pointed out that the PanEuropean "Convention (on Human Rights) is Not Frozen in time. In many areas it has Evolved and is even in constant Evolution. The Court has interpreted the Convention in a Dynamic manner, in the light of "Current Living Conditions" (mainly on what is called "BioEthical" issues, as Spielmann had already observed, earlier this year, in Reply to an "EuroFora"s Question : Comp. : http://www.eurofora.net/newsflashes/news/echrpresidentonjudgementsexecutionandbioethics.html ); it has Broadened the scope of the Rights guaranteed, to take account of Technological and Societal Developments that were Unforeseeable back in 1950". - Indeed, "more recently it (ECHR"s evolving Case Law) has intervened in New Areas, such as BioEthics, education or the Environment. (And) it has set out its Jurisprudence on the protection of the rights of Migrants and of Minorities, Sexual in particular", he observed, adding also some very Controversial and much more Dangerous than generally thought matters, (comp. ibid). 

    - That's one more reason for which, when, back on 1953,  "the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg played a Role that was far from insignificant, by being the 10th State to Ratify the 'PanEUropean Human Rights) Treaty, thus Triggering its Entry into Force (Comp. Supra), "the Luxembourg Parliamentarians were well Aware of ...this connection as, during the Debates on ratification, the Rapporteur observed that the honour fell to Luxembourg to enable the entry into force – and I quote – “of the finest European work that has ever been created”.  A work that he strongly believed would be – to quote him again – “the founding CornerStone of a Democratic Europe ... which alone will be Capable of Defending our Peoples against All those who would seek to Enslave them by Tyranny, from whichever Side it may come”...
    => "The first signatories to our Convention, ...expressed their commitment to common Values: Democracy, respect for Freedoms, the rule of Law.  But, above all, they created a Mechanism – the 1st of its kind – a Court to ensure the Observance of their own engagements, thus abandoning part of their sovereignty. ....The System put in place in Strasbourg constituted, from the outset, a major Step forward in the international protection of human rights. Who would have thought, indeed, in the immediate aftermath of the war, that Citizens would one day be able to obtain a Judgment against a State from an International Court? What seems self-evident today, was something Revolutionary just 60 Years ago". Indeed, "what makes our system Unique is clearly the Right of Individual Petition, open to everyone, regardless of nationality, home or residence. This is an unquestionable Achievement, universally commended. An Acquired Right that we have a Duty to Preserve", ECHR's President stressed, in face of some recent attempts by certain quarters, to heavily restrict or even practicaly drop that Basic Human Right, which have provoked strong reactions by some CoE Member States and particularly from International Human Rights NGOs, Personalities, etc.
    + Now, after "nearly 17,000 Judgments have been delivered, (so that) to choose just 1, 2 or 3 of the most emblematic judgments is a feat worthy of the heroes of mythology", ECHR's President decided, "nevertheless to cite 3 cases which(he) find(s) of particular Significance" :  The 1st confirmed "the Importance of the FREEDOM OF EXPRESSION, an  essential Foundation of Democratic society, not only for information received favourably but also for ideas which offend, shock or disturb"; as he reminded. The 2nd, had "put an End to DISCRIMINATIONS", f.ex. in terms of inheritance Rights, between Children born out of wedlock, and Legitimate Children", while "Court's role in Combating Discrimination, generally speaking, has been Fundamental", as he pointed out. And the 3rd, had associated the Prohibition of "INHUMAN or DEGRADING TREATMENT" with that of "LIFE", by "prevent(ing) the Extradition of a person to a country, the USA, where he risked ...to be ...placed on Death Row – the treatment reserved for prisoners awaiting execution". + Moreover, ECHR, "for nearly 50 Years now it has laid down the main principles of the right to a Fair Trial and the right to respect for Private Life, which also encompasses the right to one’s Reputation", etc., he added.

- The European Convention on Human Rights was due to become "the cornerstone of a Democratic Europe, a project for Peace and Freedom", hailed as "the finest European undertaking to date" by Luxembourg which triggered its entry into force by the deposit of the 10th instrument of Ratification in Strasbourg, (had) declared (then) EuroCourt's President Dean Spielmann, 16.500 judgements and 500.000 applications later, promissing to "strive, everyday, to continue in that direction". "Peace" and "Freedom" both between States, Citizens v. States, and between Citizens themselves inside the Modern and Future Societies, as the recent addition of BioEthical issues naturally implies (Comp. Supra)...

    => So that, Today, in order "to enable our Court to pursue its Mission and for Human Rights to continue to Move Forward, we Need ... strong Support", President Spielmann warned in conclusion, speaking of the foreseable Future.





("DraftNews", as already sent, ealier, to "EuroFora"s Subscribers/Donors. A more accurate, full Final Version might be published asap).


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    Before the end of 2009, France and Germany will take strong initiatives to open "new Horizons" needed by Europe and the World, going well beyond the current Crisis' management, anounced French President Nicolas Sarkozy and German Chancellor Angie Merkel, reassuring that both a judgement on Lisbon Treaty by nearby Karlsruhe German Federal Court, and the forthcoming National Elections in Germany would confirm their capacity to act.    

They were replying to Press questions in Berlin, after key-regional elections on Sunday, where Merkel's ChristianDemocratic party kept everywhere a strong 1st and won the possibility to forge a New Majority with Liberals at the largest of 3 Landers : Saxony (4 millions inhabitants), while its main competitor, the Socialdemocrat party fell to unprecedented lows : Tackled by the small "Linke" (left) party in Saarland (1 million inhabitants), it became even smaller than it in Saxony and Thuringen (3 million inhabitants), where SPD arrived only third. While its usual partners, the "Greens" also fell down, contrary to CDU's new partners, the FDP Liberals, who go up.


    - "At any case, at the end of the year (2009), if things go as scheduled, we shall take strong initiatives, showing that Europe needs a Franco-German axis, as well as the World, even if it never excludes other" countries to join, replied Sarkozy to a question if France and Germany will revive the "European dream", by "relauncing the EU motor" for the Future, with actions going further than the mere management of the global crisis, (as it was done fex. in the Past with the creation of the "Euro" Monetary zone, etc).

    - "I am convinced that the Franco-German friendship must be constantly nourished by New Projects", he added."There are many areas of cooperation where we intend to take, very soon, some Franco-German initiatives, which will allow to open more Horizons" to the EU, Sarkozy stressed.

    But if "we don't speak about that now, it's only in order to avoid interfering in important elections coming in Germany", he observed. However, "we have already started to consider the Future with the (German) Chancellor, and what we can do in order to honour our predecessors". "We are already speaking about that, and we are preparing things". "I am working very well together with Mrs Merkel, and I wish that it goes on", Sarkozy concluded.


    - "It's important for EU's credibility that France and Germany advance forward together", stressed Merkel from the outset. "Don't worry about Germany's capacity to undertake initiatives" with France, she added. "France and Germany will be perfectly able to make proposals" for the EU.

    -  "After-crisis" plans must be prepared, meanwhile, with measures "advancing progressively", Merkel anounced. And, for the short term, we must deal also with EU Citizens' dismay since they feel that it's a Scandal for some in the Financial Markets to be paid with excessive "Bonuses", etc, she agreed with Sarkozy.

    - "Abuses in financial markets must stop", stressed also Sarkozy. Backing Merkel's announcement that France and Germany call for an EU meeting to forge "a crystal-clear European position" in view of the G-14 Summit at Pittsburg, he warned that "everyone will have to undertake his responsibilities, in front of World's Public Opinion. particularly those who don't want to make the same effort of regulation as France and Germany".

    Moreover, "Global Trade cannot be correctly dealt, without taking into account also Environmental and Social rules", Sarkozy added, referring to recently expressed positions against Unfair Competition via Environmental and/or Social Dumping, (See earlier "EuroFora"'s publications).

    Such moves are obviously linked to the need to ensure at least an elementary respect for Human Rights by Third Countries, (f.ex. exploitation of Children's work, etc) in order to avoid, precisely, any such Social Dumping.

    - "EU has Values, protecting Human Rights and Human Dignity", and "it cannot close its eyes" in front of grave violations, particularly "Torture and/or killings", added, indeed, Sarkozy.

    Thus, "the time comes, where decisions must be taken". But, in case of "Sanctions", "all International opinion should be convinced of the need to take action", he observed.

    Expressed on the occasion of recent developments in Iran, the same principles should logically apply also to other similar cases, including fex. that of Hundreds of ECHR judgements' condemning f;ex. Turkey for grave crimes, (as Torture, brutal Killings, Enforced "Disappearances", Destruction of Family Homes, harassments and oppressive violations of Freedom of Speech, etc).

    Meanwhile, questioned on (EU Commission's chair)  Barroso's bid to succeed himself for a second mandate, they both expressed a "wish" or a "feeling" that "EU Parliament"'s various political Groups might fix a date for decisions "during September". However, is he is endorsed before the entry into force of the Lisbon Treaty, it will be legally necessary to re-vote anew for a full term of office afterwards, according to EU Legal Experts, revealed recently in Strasbourg the experienced former President of EU Parliament's Constitutional Committee, German Socialist MEP Jo Leinen. And Germany will not vote for Lisbon Treaty's ratification but only "on September 8 and 18", revealed Merkel, ( i.e. after EU Parliament's plenary session in Strasbourg).

    - Therefore, "for EU Commissioners' appointment, it's too early yet, because we must wait for the ratification of Lisbon Treaty" by all 27 EU Member countries, including naturally Ireland's Referendum on early October, said to "EuroFora" the influential President of EU Parliament's largest group of MEPs, Joseph Daul, expressing, however, the hope that a controversial deal with the head of the Socialist Group of MEPs, Martin Schultz of Germany, might hold for Barroso alone, at a forthcoming vote due to fix the Strasbourg plenary's Agenda.

    But MEPs reportedly just "postponed" for 1 week all their previously scheduled group meetings (See : http://www.euractiv.com/en/future-eu/barroso-unveil-summer-homework-week/article-184825 );

    However, while the choice of a new EU Commission's President by EU Parliament is supposed, according to many MEPs' wish, take place according to EU policy issues, paradoxically, this would mean that Barroso's bid would pass before even the anouncement of France and Germany's "initiatives" for EU's "new Horizons"...


2009 EU Elections were won by Parties against Technocracy and Turkey's controversial EU bid, while the 1999-2004 Majority Abstention trend decelerated. What should be done in 2009-2014 ?


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