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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
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*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.

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-  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"

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    - 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.

 

(../..)


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Pierre Pflimlin's visionary line : Honouring the Memory of the man who wanted to build Europe on the Mountains, based on Spirit !

 

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One of EuroFora's best inspirators is naturally Pierre Pflimlin :

We had a chance to personally meet the dynamic and experienced former President of both EU Parliament and CoE's Assembly, France's Prime Minister and Strasbourg's Mayor, only at his 90th anniversary, during an Historic speech at the Council of Europe, exceptionally full of people.

But his energetic figure looked more like a youngster of 19 years old, eager to win the Olympic games !..

Visionary, 2P was, from many points of view :

His daughter, Antoinette, Artist-decorator, and Senator Jung, President of a group of friends, confirmed us an Historian's revelation, that Pflimlin had initially the idea to build all European institutions (EU Parliament, Council of Europe, European Court of Human Rights, etc) at the spectacular heights of Oberhausbergen hills, with an eye-catching view of both French Vosges and German Black Forest Mountains, in the midst of a Forest : A real vision to create a brand New European Headquarters with a big ambition !

But, it seems, that "someone in Brussels" found that picture, precisely, too big for his taste, and threw a spanner on the works...

Pflimlin stroke back a Decade ago, at his Historic 1997 farewell speech :

He urged Europeans to find another, more substantial way, to lift Europe to more important Heights in Future :

- "On which basis can we imagine the birth of a great Europe ?", he asked.

"Certainly an Economic basis ! A solid market economy, meeting also the needs of social justice. A Political basis : Europe must become a strong Political Power, able to influence World's changes, naturally for Peace."

"But I believe that the essential foundation of a greater Europe should be of Spiritual nature : .... The great pacific Revolutions were Spiritual Victories" : They expressed "People's main motivation to live in a society with our Values of Liberty, Democracy, respect for Human Dignity".

"Then, the roadmap is ready : Yes, the foundation of the unity for a large Europe is the spiritual heritage, inspired by Christian Humanism and the Humanism of Renaissance, of Enlightenment, from which emerged a Civilisation focused on the Human person".

"Here is the task to be accomplished. It's very difficult".

"The Time approaches when I'll have to pass over the torchlight. God willing, this torch should enlighten the path of those who are going to build, tomorrow, the great Europe, marked by this Spirit".

 

(Extract from the Book "Pierre Pfilmin : Alsacian and European", 2007. Texts by Senator Louis Jung, by the long-time f. Director of Strasbourg's Newspaper DNA, Alain Howiller, and by f. EU Parliament's Press Director, Paul Collowald : See dedications, hand-written by the authors, the day the book for Pflimlin's 100th Aniversary was launched at Strasbourg's Press Club and European Parliamentary Association's headquarters, 13 April 2007).

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