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Home arrow newsitems arrow Merkel on Obama Web Spy scandal, after EU Summit's call: Real Change Needed on EU-USA Future's basis

Merkel on Obama Web Spy scandal, after EU Summit's call: Real Change Needed on EU-USA Future's basis

Written by ACM
Thursday, 24 October 2013

*Brussels/EU Summit/Angelo Marcopolo/- "It's a Real Change that is needed now, and not just Nice Words", because "the most Important is to set a Basis for the Future", and "to re-build Trust anew" after the "Shocks" that have shaken it recently, strongly stressed on the Internet NSA Spying Obama Scandal, the most Popular EU Political Leader from the biggest EU Country,  German Chancellor Angie Merkel, who has recently Won an Historic Record-High Vote on the September 2013 Election, giving her almost an Absolute Majority (less just 4 MPs out of a Total of 360), and received Today a Solid, quasi-Unanimous Backing by the 27 other Heads of State/Government united together in Brussels' October 2013 EU Summit in their joint expression of "Deep Concern", as she observed ovenight, (See Infra).

    - Naturally, "we (EU-USA) have so many Common Tasks in the World; being f.ex. responsible for its Safety", etc., so that we are "actually going to look at the Future" of the Euro-American Partnership, which has already grown for long, and from times to times includes elements of Different Views, but has also shown that it can withstand such elements, because our overall approach is that Europe, including Germany, and America, are Allies", Merkel also added, immediately afterwards, in reply to questions at her 1st Press Conference in Brussel's EU Summits since last Summer.


    - "EU and USA are Partners, but Partnership needs Mutual Trust and Mutual Respect in order to work efficiently, and this includes also the Secret Services", she pointed out, speaking shortly after Press Reports revealed that Phones of many Political Leaders accross the World, including even the Personal and Governemental SmartPhone of the German Chancellor herself, had been taped by the North American National Security Service, in addition to many Thousands/Millions of EU and other Citizens accross all Europe and the rest of the World.


(Mainstream Newspaper "Die Welt"'s Frontpage during EU Brussels'October 2013 Summit)



-  SInce European Countries and USA, "We are Allies", and f.ex., "We are Together in Afghanistan", where our Soldiers Today face also Life-Threatening situations, and some are even killed, sometimes in the Same Battles, there,  (NDLR : Where Deadly Casualties reached Unprecedented Hights during  US President Obama's term of office, according to mainstream American and Global Media), We Share something in Common, as we also Share certain Common Values, so that, normally, noone among us shouldn't have to Worry about eventually being Subjected to Secret Surveillance, as others, who have Nothing to do with these Values" : "That's how I Feel about that, and, therefore, "we have to Change something in the Future !", Chancellor Angie Merkel emotively reiterated.  


- "Friendship and Partnership between the USA and EU Member States, including Germany, is  Not an One-Way Street : We (EU) depend on that, but there are good reasons for the USA to Need Friends in the World", she observed, unveiling her "impression" that US President Obama "will certainly see that this is necessary, too".

+ 1st Collective EU Reactions :

    + Such serious incidents could be expected only "in Dictatorships", not in Democracies sharing the same Human Rights, Democracy and Rule of Law Values, as EU and USA do. Because "Dictatorships are Spying", while we, as Democracies, need Transparency and Clear Rules, especially in the Digital World, where we are entering", and whose "Economy needs Trust", particularly "on Personal Data", denounced earlier the President of EU Parliament, Socialdemocrat MEP from Germany, Martin Schulz (See also previous "EuroFora"s NewsRport including Schulz"s Press Conference, earlier this Afternoon).

    ++ Later-on, EU Council's President, Herman Van Rompuy, speaking officially on behalf of all 28 EU Heads of State/Government, pointed at the "Deep Concerns" naturally felt "by EU Citizens", being obviously afraid of what risks to happen to them, their families, businesses, private, religious and/or socio-political life, if even their most powerful, Democratically Elected, Top Leaders, may fall Victims to Spying by US services, as it was just revealed during the 2009-2013 Obama era,  Warned that such incidents Risk to Undermine and Damage even the Necessary International Cooperation in the Fight against Terrorism, unless the Necessary Trust between Partners is re-established.


    +++  Finaly, in a Collective "Statement of Heads of State/Government" from 28 EU Member Countries, gathered Today in Brussels, that was distributed to Journalists, including "EuroFora", who were present at the over-Night Press Conferences of Germany and France, they denounce "the Deep Concern ... raised among European Citizens" by "recent developments concerning possible Intelligence Issues", and, stress that the "close Relationship" and "Partnership" "between Europe and the USA", "must be Based on Respect and Trust", including as concerns the ... Secret Services".

    - Because, "a Lack of Trust could Prejudice the Necessary Cooperation in the field of Intelligence gathering", which "is a Vital element in the Fight against Terrorism", both "in Relations between EU Countries, as well as .. with the USA", they Warned.

* EU Parliament's call to freeze "SWIFT" and Suspend EU-USA Free Trade Talks :

    + In addition, EU Parliament's MEPs have, meanwhile in Strasbourg, asked for "SWIFT" EU - USA Agreement (on AirFlight Passsengers' and other Personal Data Lists, etc) , to "Freeze", and for EU - USA Negotiations for a Free Trade Agreement to be Suspended, etc., among a series of possible measures. Making its President Schulz stress in his Press Conference, earlier in Brussels (Comp. previous "EuroFora"s NewsReport from the spot), finding preferable, in the present circumstances, to "Wait a little bit, Think, Discuss and Agree on certain adequate Decisions for our (EU - USA) Partnership's Future, particularly on the "Rules" of the game. 

    EU Heads of State/Government "didn't yet discuss" Tonight MEPs' demand to Interrupt the EU - USA Free Trade Agreement Talks, Merkel revealed, and her "Personal View" is rather reserved.

    But, in exchange , the EU Summit focused much more on re-activating the EU - USA Data Protection Working Group, which must become  much more Vigilent and Active, she added.    

    + Moreover, Chancellor Merkel expressed "some Understanding for the Resolution voted by EU Parliament on the SWIFT" (Comp. Supra), since it concerns "a Fundamental (Human) Right", advising to "Carefully Think again" about that.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          

=> "Rules" ?!


    => In consequence, according to EU Brusssels Summit's "Goal-Oriented Discussion Today",  "we must place, bilaterally, the cooperation of Secret Services on anOther Basis in almost everything, or on a Clear Framework", on which "we have now to work at first", Chancellor Merkel outlined, pleased by a Franco-German "Common Position" in wider terms, resulting on this specific point in a "Joint Iniatiative", due to be joined by several other EU Countries. - "It has now become Obvious ...that we need Clear Rules for cooperation between the (security) services". Therefore, "the various Services must reach Agreements about the Standards of their work between them, with the respective Countries, and also with the respective Citizens", she stressed, (apparently pointing both at EU States, and at EU Parliament : Comp. Supra).

- "France and Germany are United in this move", which aims to associate also other European Countries which may will to obtain, Together with us, this Common Framework", which implies "not only a Clarification on the Past, but also the setting up of Rules for the Future". "Ther are Behaviors and Practices which are Unacceptable. When .. Surveillance is practiced, in this case by American services, and can affect all Citizens, including a numebr of European Leaders, full Stop must be put there, and Clarifications to be asked for. That's what Europeans did ToNight, Unanimously, considering that our American Ally had to give some Replies. Tonight, a Franco-German Initiative was launched, in order to provoke this necessary Debate, and to mark a Progress for Liberty. Naturally, I'm among the firsts to wish Security Services' full mobilisatio, in the Fight against Terrorism. But, I'm also convinvced, together with all Europeans, of the Necessity to Protect the Individual Freedoms and the (People's) Fundamental Rights",  confirmed, shortly afterwards, the French President Francois Hollande.


    + Meanwhile, the EU - USA Working Group on Privacy, which had been set up at the beginning of EU-USA Free Trade Talks, should now make "a really Fast Progress", and "develop Constructive Proposals", Merkel  added.

    - As for a Draft EU "Data Protection Act", iitially prepared at EU Parliament for adoption before the May 2014 European Elections, questioned, Merkel replied by revealing that there is a Difference mainly between the UK and Germany, the 1st thinking more about its Business, while the 2nd focuses much more on Citizens' Human Rights, as she said. - "The present situation" (with the NSA spying Scandal, etc) makes us "even less" accept to "Sacrifice large parts of the already existing (Personal) Data Protection", the German ChristianDemocrat Chancellor ensured the People in this very Topical and Sensitive matter.


    => Indeed, officially, the 28 EU Heads of State/Government "Called for Rapid and Constructive Progress" in respect of "the related Issue of Data Protection", on which, already exists a "Working Group between the EU and the USA", as they stressed in their Collective Statement by writting.

    + At the same time, in parallel, the Collective EU Leaders' Statement also noted the New Fact, that, "with the Aim of Finding ... an Undestanding on Mutual Relations in that field", "Before the End of the Year" 2013, "France and Germany" have the "intention ... to seek bilateral Talks with the USA", and more "Other EU Countries are Welcome to Join this Initiative", launched by EU's Franco-German motor.

+ Merkel to certain Media, including "EuroFora" :  on "Legal Basis" :


+ Speaking afterwards to certain Journalists, including "EuroFora", the German Chancellor Angie Merkel added, moreover, the fact that, in her view, concerning the way to overcome the Topical Scandal of Internet Spying by USA's NSA even on EU Leaders,

- "the Fundamental Issue is more or less a Legal matter", and it will have to be definitively settled, "according solid Basic Lines", (apparently makinhg a hint to mutualy accepted, elementary  Principles on Personal and other Data Protection, Human Rights and Rule of Law values, recognized by both the EU and the USA, etc).
In this regard, the experienced and Internationaly Recognized PanEuropean watchdog on Democracy, Human Rights and Rule of Law : the Strasbourg-based CoE, where the USA already have a permanent Special Status, might be certainly useful, particularly concerning its basic Legal Standards, which have been developed through extensive consultations, exchanges of views and Collective Decisions for Decades, and are still Continuing Today, particularly on UpDating its Historic Personal Data Protection's International Convention, thanks to a Special Commission Chaired by Switzerland, in parallel with EU Commission's own Data Protection work, more oriented towards the Single Market, and, therefore, possibly of Complementary value.

+ Moreover, USA is traditionaly very much involved particularly in CoE's "CyberCrime" International Convention, (known also as "Budapest Convention"), which includes at least certein Rules on How to Fight Trans-National Organized Crime via the Internet and how to Cooperarte on that, (even if a Highly Controversial issue existed, until rezcently, mainly between Ruissia, Austria and other Countries, vis a vis the position of the us Administration about the "Trans-Border Data" Investigations and Harvesting, where experienced CoE's Officials are currently engaged in efforts to try to settle among the main players).

Last but not least, CoE's competent Legal bodies have even drafted recently (since 9/11/2001+) General Principles and main Rules to guide Secret Services in accomplishing  their Mission to Fight against Organized Crime and Terrorism efficiently, while also Respecting Citizens' Human Rights, Democracy and Rule of Law, which are obviously of particular relevance to the Obama - NSA affair.

+ Wide Importance of what is really at stake :

    The Question raised by the American Presidentt Obama's NSA Spying even on Europe's most Popular Political Leader, as the German People recently confirmed in the September 22, 2013, Elections, boosting beyond any expectations Chancellor Angie Merkel's CDU/CSU parties to the point to reach even an Absolute Majority  minus just 4 out of 360 MPs, affects not only Europe's  Safety and Dignity, in Global Geo-Politics,

but also  a Fundamental Topical Issue concerning both EU Citizens' Liberties and Human Rights, as well as the Democratic Structure of the Society, and even the current Hopes to rapidly Develop the New, Digital Economy in order to help Boost Growth and widespread Good Jobs, instead of Oppression and Poverty with dangerous Inequality Gaps. In this last sense, it can even be addressed in a way which might include also a key part of another Topical issue, that of Lambedussa Deadly Drama concerning immigrants and/or refugees seeking to reach Europe from the Mediterranean; at least as far as it concerns hopes for a more Democratic, MultiPolar World, to be better enclined towards attaigning and overcoming UNO's "Millenium" goals, which focus on the need to Develop the Poorest Countries, and stop a growing Divide Gap.

+ Obviously, if EU Citizens see that even the most Popular EU Leader of the biggest European Country, as Germany's Chancellor Merkel, recently plebiscitated by a Strong Support from its Citizens approaching Absolute Majority (less only 4 out of a Total of 360 MPs), can be Spied upon by Foreigners, for so many Years and  in total Impunity, then, they cannot avoid to have Legitimate Fears on what might happen to them, their Famiies, Businesses, Work, Socio-Political Activities and Life....     

+  EU's Economy going also "DIGITAL":

    + Meanwhile, the current state of EU's Economy allows to speak also of such "Other Issues" of Topical Importance, which are Now even a Necessary "Complement" into building  a performant Digital Economy, at the Focus of EU Summit's Agenda, particularly at a time when EU's Economic Governance coordination has to mark "a qualitative Leap Forward", mainly  inside €uroArea, where it's not normal that only 9% to 10% of EU Commission's Recommendations were fully implemented in the Past, instead of fostering a more Integrated Economic Policy, open also to other EU States,  German Chancellor Angie Merkel stressed in substance.

In order to realize the Potential of the Digital Economy, EU has to catch up and fill Fast the existing Gaps, including by completing a real Single Market there by 2015, thanks also to the appropriate Monitoring in order to ensure that it will generate true Digital Innovation Policies, she added.

In this regard, EU Citizens' "Trust" to Internet's Safety, Privacy and Transparency, is obviously a "must", (Comp. Supra).

Another one would naturally be the idea to launch a European (possibly starting by a Franco-German initiative, open to other willing €uroArea or EU Member Countries) Industrial Reply to USA's currently excessive domination over Big Internet Players, f.ex. by creating and/or facilitating the emergence of at least one or more EU "Giant" Global Player(s) in the Digital Economy.

 Few know; f.ex., that even several among the most succesful ICT Innovations, initially were European  : As "SKYPE", a Scandinavian invention, before being bought by a US Company ; the Alternative Computer Operating Sustem "LINUX" ;  a widespread Software able to "read" almost all VIDEO's codecs (a French creation) ; the very idea of Electronic Puces in Mobile Phones GSM ; the very powerful Search Machine "All the Web", which was finally bought and "killed" by "Yahoo !" ; the still existing Web Browser "Opera" (from Finland), etc....




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


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People in Europe and the World expect from CoE to make a succes of its "Monitoring" for Human Rights and Democracy, despite difficulties, said Finland's President Tarja Halonen to "EuroFora" at a crucial moment for the mecanism built 15 years ago by the paneuropean organization which celebrates its 60th Anniversary in 2009.

Halonen, known as "Mother" of CoE's "Monitoring" mecanism, a long-time MEP and former Foreign Minister before becoming Finland's President, holds a long experience in the mattter, after also serving twice as CoE and EU Chairwoman in the past. That's why she is well placed to judge how CoE's "monitoring" should deal today with some crucial issues of importance both to CoE and to the EU.

The move came just a Month before a crucial, last visit to Turkey, scheduled for June, by the President of CoE''s "Monitoring" Committee, Ukranian MEP Serge Holovaty, to finalize his Report on Ankara, the CoE Member State with the longest Monitoring procedure. From its results depends its overall credibility.

This is a Test-case, because, in fact, it's in order to avoid Sanctions threatened against Turkey by a CoE's Assembly's April 1995 Resolution for grave Human Rights violations, Democracy gaps, the continuing Military Occupation in Cyprus, the unresolved Kurdish problem, Aegean differend with Greece, etc., that MEPs decided to create, for the 1st time on April 1996, a "Monitoring" proces, allegedly destinated to check, without excluding Countries who did not fulfill all CoE's standards.

In the Past, the obliged withdrawal of Greece's Military regime and of its "Civil" cover-up out of the CoE had helped bring back Democracy in 1974. But, on the contrary, since April 1996, the idea was to "monitor" Human Rights' respect while keeping most concerned Countries inside the CoE. After Turkey's oldest example, this was extended also to several former "Eastern" European Countries, even if CoE's Assembly has imposed to some of them (fex. Ukraine, Russia, etc., after Belarus, Serbia, etc) various "Sanctions", that Ankara always avoided. Curiously more succesful even than .. USA itself, (a CoE "Observer" since 1995), which has been at least threatened with sanctions some years ago..

EU-effects of CoE's Monitoring process became obvious between 2001-2008, since the "closure" of this procedure, when CoE felt that a Country had met most of its Human Rights, Democracy and Rule of Law obligations, (i.e. the "Copenhagen Criteria" for the EU), helped trigger Negotiations with the EU for "Accession" or other closer relations : This occured already before the 2004 and 2007 EU Enlargements to former "Eastern" European Countries, as well as for the commencement of "accession" negotiations with Croatia, and of "open-ended" negotiations with Turkey in 2005.

    But a stricking new development are Holovaty's recent findings that on core Human Rights issues as Torture and Freedom of Expression, Turkey, even "5 Years after" CoE closed its "Monitoring", back in 2004, inciting EU to start accession Negotiations in 2005, still presents grave problems.

    His findings are of crucial importance after a 2008 CoE Resolution called, "if need be", to "seriously consider the possibility of Re-Opening the Monitoring procedure for Turkey" : A move which might affect Ankara's controversial EU bid, since EU Accession Negotiations are based on the Hypothesis that the Candidate fullfils the "Copenhagen Criteria" (See above)..
    Holovaty expressed his will to check  "Matters still Outstanding" and  those that he "didn't have an opportunity to discuss" at an earlier visit this year, "in order to discuss the more complex issues in greater depth", at his forthcoming New Visit to Ankara, before the December 2009 EU Summit.  This is all based on the 2004 CoE Resolution which stresses that, CoE "will continue.. post-monitoring Dialogue with the Turkish authorities,...in addition to a 12-points list,..and on any Other Matter that might arise in connection with Turkey’s Obligations as a CoE member state".

    CoE's Resolution also asks  from Turkey "to secure the proper Implementation of Judgements, particularly in the Cyprus v. Turkey InterState case", of 2001, which concerns also the plight of many Hundreds of MISSING People. It adds Turkey's obligations to "execute" ECHR's Judgements in the Loizidou case,..and in particular adopt General Measures to avoid repetition or continuation of Violations found by the Court" to the detriment of Refugees.

    Nevertheless, Holovaty said to "EuroFora" that "MISSING" persons,"might be included" and cannot be excluded, but he has yet to examine the situation "to find out  which issues will be raised" to the Turkish Government.

    Therefore, "EuroFora" asked Halonen, as the Historic "Mother" of CoE's Monitoring mecanism, if she thought that, "whenever there are grave Human Rights Violations, as fex. "MISSING" persons, attested even by ECHR's judgements, they should be always checked by a Monitoring process. Or could they be forgotten ?"
     - "We (CoE) must be, at the same time, Fair, Realistic, but not in the mind that "now we have Forgotten", etc., replied to "EuroFora"'s question Halonen, speaking as a matter of general principle.

    - "When we think of those People that are suffering from the lack of Democracy, of Human Rights, and of the Rule of Law", "we should find a base on how to deal with the (Monitoring) system more rapidly"', she stressed.

    - "Sometimes it's very difficult to combine Transparency and Effectivenes together, particularly in this specific case", she went on to say. But, "I have not found a (CoE Member) Country who could be insensitive in this sens", Halonen answered concerning grave Human Rights violations attested by the ECHR.

    - "I have no ready-made answer. I have the expectations that you, in the CoE, will, step by step, find the different types of the monitoring systems."

    Also "because this is a part of the UN's Post-Conflict system, (fex. when it comes to Cyprus' MISSING persons), and it's a more Global system". So that, "If we make a succes in Europe, the others will follow", throughout the World.  "But they expect that we (Europe) are this opportunity, this Opportunity to make a Succes", Halonen concluded.

    In addition, she advised to extend CoE's Monitoring to all its 47 Member States, "because, as long as we hear that, all these monitoring systems are "OK for the neighbor, but not for me", "it's very difficult" to understand. Something which could make easier to Compare...

    Finnish MEP Jaako Laakso, former CoE Rapporteur on the Occupied Territories of Cyprus and one of the 5 Signatories of the Historic CoE's call to create the "MONITORING" mecanism since 1996, was more specific :  - "We (CoE Assembly) have to find a way for the issue of Cyprus' MISSING People to be better followed", he stressed, anouncing his intention to "speak to Mr. Holovaty" about that. "There might be also other ways", added Laakso.

    - The 2008 "Year had been a very Bad one for Turkey with regard to Human Rights in general, and Freedom of Expression in particular", denounced, meanwhile, Holovaty's preliminary Post-Monitoringh Draft Report by Holovaty, published by the CoE on April 2009.

    "Amnesty International believes that freedom of expression is not guaranteed given the various articles of the Criminal Code that restrict it. .. "For example, 1,300 Websites are said to have been closed down by the (Turkish) authorities in 2008" ! While "the new Turkish Criminal Code was used to bring a total of 1,072 proceedings between June 2005 and April 2008, and led to the conviction of 192 people", for expressing views. "Representatives of the Özgür Gündem newspaper, which specialises in Kurdish affairs, ..complained about Numerous Attacks on their Freedom of Expression ...as was everyone who advocated a settlement to the question by means other than the intervention of the army" "According to their figures, 19 Newspapers had been suspended 43 times between 4 August 2006 and 4 November 2008" !...

    Moreover, on 2008,  CoE's "Ministers adopted its 4rth Resolution on the execution of the judgments of the ECHR, ...and outstanding issues regarding 175 Judgements and decisions relating to Turkey delivered between 1996 and 2008...  concerning Deaths resulting from the excessive use of force by members of the Security forces, the failure to protect the right to life, the DIisappearance and/or death of individuals, Ill-Treatment and the Destruction of property". CoE's " Ministers urged the Turkish authorities ...to ensure that members of Security forces of all ranks can be prosecuted without administrative
authorisation" for "serious crimes". Holovaty reminded.

"Nonetheless", Holovaty heard anew of "Several cases of Violence committed last year (2008) by the (Turkish) security forces". Amnesty International speaks of Many Cases of ill-treatment and Torture in the prisons and by the police". "Including, fex."'the death of Engin Ceber, a young man of 29 who died on October 2008 as a result of the TORTURE allegedly inflicted on him by police officers, prison staff and members of the gendarmerie. He was part of a group of people arrested on September 2008 during a demonstration and Press Conference in Istanbul'. Proceedings against suspects are "on-going" in this case.

- " I therefore noted an Obvious Contradiction between the Government’s stated “zero tolerance” policy.... of Torture and other forms of ill-treatment, and the different testimonies given", denounced CoE's Rapporteur.  Turkish "authorities must make considerable efforts to guarantee that proper investigations are carried out into allegations of abuses by members of the security forces and that perpetrators are effectively punished" "In this respect, I have requested detailed Statistics on the number of Investigations, acquittals and convictions in cases involving allegations of abuse in order to show the positive impact of the measures taken to date", Holovaty said, repeating a permanently unsatisfied CoE's demand to Turkey since a Decade...

    - "The Political Crisis that shook the country in the spring of 2008 highlighted the Weaknesses of the (Turkish) Constitution", which comes from the Military regime of 1982, "and the Urgent Need of Reforms", stressed from the outset CoE's Rapporteur in 2009. In particular, "the ...Democratic functioning of state institutions, including the independence of the judicial system, are crucial", he observes.

    But, "the Electoral  system and the ways in which it is circumvented do not appear to give those elected complete Legitimacy, and tend to pervert the course of direct universal suffrage", denounces Holovaty, observing that, even 5 Years later, Turkey did not yet change the 10% nationwide Threshold for a party to take any seat, which is "far higher" than the "3%" maximum in Europe and already condemned as contrary to European Standards by the CoE.

    + Moreover, EU Parliament's 2009 Report on Turkey, drafted by Dutch MEP Ria Oomen-Ruijten and adopted in Strasbourg on March, expresses "Concern over the Failure of the (Turkish) Judiciary to prosecute cases of Torture and Ill-treatment, the Number of which is Growing". EU also "is concerned about continuing Hostility and Violence against Minorities" in Turkey. It also "calls on the Turkish Government to launch, as a matter of Priority, a Political Initiatve favouring a lasting Settlement of the Kurdish issue, (while "condemning violence.. and terrorist groups"). EU "regrets that No progress has been made on establishing full, systematic Civilian suprevisory functions over the (Turkish) Military".

    The final results of Holovaty's 2nd and last visit to Turkley will be known later this year, and, at any case, before EU's December 2009 Summit.


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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