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Home arrow newsitems arrow Strasbourg Region Alsace ArchiBishop Grallet to ERFRA on EU+CoE Pope visit: 1 or 2 Strong Messages ?

Strasbourg Region Alsace ArchiBishop Grallet to ERFRA on EU+CoE Pope visit: 1 or 2 Strong Messages ?

Written by ACM
Sunday, 23 November 2014

*Strasbourg/Angelo Marcopolo/- Strasbourg Region Alsace's ArchiBishop, Mgr Grallet,  has gone on record for being the 1st to stress, already many weeks ago, the fact that Pope Francis wants, by focusing his 2014 Strasbourg visit just to EU Parliament and CoE,  to "Send a Message to European People".

    But, questioned by "EuroFora" about how the Pope might Handle in practice the co-existence of 2, more Distinct than ever, Organisations, that of EU's 28 Member States, and CoE's 47 Member States, which are very Differently Composed between them on 2014, from what they were back on 1988's previous visit by late Pope St. John-Paul II, while it's also their main Missions which have Changed a lot, in the meantime, and are, now, even located at... 2 Different, independent Buildings, instead of just 1 in 1988, Mgr Grallet appeared Thoughtfull :

 - "I don't know if he will deliver a very Differend Speech", and "I expect a more or less quite similar Speech, at least as far as the Issues are concerned",

  >>> - However, at any case, "what would be Good, is to deliver a Strong Message, in the same Day", he advised.

 - But, the Pope's 2 addresses, successively to EU Parliament and CoE, might well be "Complementary", Mgr Grallet agreed with "EuroFora", adding that, "without any Doubt, there will be some Inflexions or Modulations", considering also the Fact that EU Parliament is much more focused on EU Citizens, while CoE's core, (at least since the 2005 Warsaw Summit of the PanEuropean Organisation's Heads of State/Government, which officially decided to focus on Democracy, Human Rights and Rule of Law), is rather the European Court of Human Rights, he agreed too.

Something which might give a particular importance, at the CoE's part, on Human Rights,  - including BioEthics, which have recently inspired many Popular Movements throughout the World, not only in the USA, but even more in France, partialy in Spain, but also in Russia, etc, on Issues of Fast-Growing and Crucial Importance for all Humankind.

The well known concern of Pope Francis vis a vis Poor People, as well as Immigrants, etc., has been already cited by both EU Parliament's and CoE's Top officials, (as f.ex. President Schulz and deputy Secretary General Battaini-Dragoni, respectively), and it's certainly, very important, particularly at this period of prolonged Crisis and low Growth.

+ However, "EuroFora" can't but observe also the Fact that the absolutely necessary Fight against Poverty, including through Help to Homeless People, should also avoid any Risk to fall into the Trap of a State Monopoly - "Controlled "system, which would exclude even Natural Solidarity among People with Human feelings, able and willing to Help, by imposing an Exclusive State privilege to act for the Poor, while, at the same time, submitting them to "State Control"...

In this regard, a Topical, real Example taken from a Debate between American People, is astonishing : A 90 Years old man, reportedly was Threatened even with Jail, just for having tried to give Food to Poor People !

Pretext/ratio : "Homeless" People might be "Dangerous", and, should, therefore, should be "Controlled". This should outlow Feeding them in Free, Opean Areas, such as Parks, Public Squares, etc, and, instead, oblige them to enter inside Buildings and submi to a "Control" by State's agents only !.. (Seen in serious and prolonged Discussion among American Citizens)...

+ Another, and more important point, particularly seen from Strasbourg's ¨PanEuropean Human Rights' viewpoint, is that, nevertheless, Massive Poverty mainly provoked and maintained by General Economico-Social issues, should never be abused or Hypocritically exploited as a Cover-Up for Horrible Crimes,
 which may have Provoked, by various kinds of Brutal Aggressions, etc, also an Artificially Imposed even Extreme Deprivation or "Poverty" to their Victims, who have been (and often still are) Targetted and Harassed, in fact, for their Beliefs and/or Activities on certain particularly "Hot" Issues of General Interest for the while Society and/or of Crucial Importance for Humankind.

Because, otherwise, by "banalising" and "drowning" such personaly targetted Crimes into a Massively Dysfunctional aspect of a whole System, then, the grave Responsibilities of the Criminals are Hidden, risking to provoke also a Scandalous and Dangerous Impunity of Aggressors, instead of unmasking them and bringing them to Justice, while also it would be tantamount into practically Abandoning the Victims of such Horrible Crimes in a sly destruction even of their elementary Human Dignity that gives them the Moral Force to, at least, be proud to Resist, despite often of atrocious sufferings,  to such Criminal Attempts to Eliminate and/or Muzzle them, in what is rather, right from the start, a problem of Freedoms' Violation, through a brutal provocation of "Inhuman/Degrading Treatments", in certain cases up to the level of "Torture".

(According to the Definition that the ECHR gives, in its case-law, to the relavant Article 3 of COE's PanEuropean Convention on Human Rights : Comp. f.ex. the Historic, landmark case of "Akdivar", 1996, at least as far as it concerns just a Part of the above mentioned matter : That of Brutal Provocation of Extreme Poverty, for Political reasons, to a whole Family of formerly normaly living and peaceful People, in Turkey - to which should be added, obviously, also the 2nd Part of the above mentioned matter : That of Victims Targetted because of their Activities on "Hot" Issues of General Interest for the Society and/or even all Humankind  : Comp. Supra, i.e. adding the supplementary - and most Crucial - Dimension of Democratic Freedoms' Violation, as the only way to Find a real Solution).

    + But,  returning back to our "2 Stage Visit" problem, (Comp. Supra), concerning CoE, it's also its PanEuropean Dimension, which, obviously, gives a particular character and task at the CoE, specialy now, as long as the recent Ukranian Crisis, dangerously persists and/or aggravates :


- "Already Today, after the 2nd Failure of another World War, it might become possible to speak of a 3rd World War, fought "piece by piece", (in a Fragmented way), with Crimes, Massacres, Destructions", etc, as Pope Francis himself, has already Warned, since September 13, 2014, reminded the French Bishop affected to the Army, Mgr. Luc Ravel, speaking at a special Mass on Strasbourg's Cathedral, on the occasion of the 70th Anniversary of the Liberation of the City from NAZIsm (1944 - 2014), where participated also the New Vatican's envoy to the CoE, Mgr Paolo Rudelli. 


    ArchiBishop Grallet had  linked, earlier, these two matters, by reminding the fact that "it's just a few years after the Liberation of Strasbourg, that the Founding Fathers of Europe created the CoE on 1949, afterwards the Coal and Steel European Community (CECA, according to its original French acronym), and EU Parliament from 1952,  here, at the City which is a Symbol of Reconciliation".

    - "We'd better Link, Today, the Memory of our Fighters of Yesterday, to that of Europe's Founding Fathers, that Pope Francis comes to greet and support in Strasbourg, next Tuesday", he explicitly added.

     - Let's hope that the Pope's message will Help us all, European Citizens, to overcome nos Egos and our Fears, and support us in Caring for the Common Good, and our Participation in Public Affairs".

    - Because, "Honour our Heroes of Yesterday (1944), means, Today, to become Committed into bringing, in France, in Europe and the World, Brotherhood, Justice and Peace", Grallet concluded      



Just 2 Days later, from November 28, Pope Francis is rushing to meet (Christian Orthodox) "Patriarch Bartholomaios", in order "to be present (at Istanbul/Constantinople) on the 30th for the Feast of Saint Andrew", as he recently announced himself,  speaking to the Press about his next planned Visit of 2,5 Days, composed of an Ankara Half a Day part for the Turkish Authorities, and an almost 2 Days part apparently consecrated to efforts to bring closer Together the Catholic and Orthodox Christians, in a path towards ReUnification of Christians throughout Europe and all the World ;

A path initialy opened by late Pope, saint John- Paul II as early as since his 2001 visit to Greece, just after a landmark "Ecumenical Declaration of Strasbourg", bringing together Catholics, Protestants and Orthodox, Christians, followed by Pope Emeritus Benedict's 1st visit to Turkey and to Patriarch Bartholomeos, back on 2006.

However, after the atrocious bloody Murder of the former Head of the Catholic Church in Turkey, Mgr Padovani, right when he was preparing to travel to Cyprus for a Collective gathering of representatives of all Christian Communities in the Middle East on 2010, and, particularly, since the recent Ukranian Crisis of 2014, there is, Today, an obvious Need to both saveguard and re-vitalise Christians' presence and path towards Unity throughout all Europe, and at its Neighbouring Countries.


Timely Symbol of Peaceful Solution :  - The No 1 gift that CoE's Official reportedly plan to show to Pope Francis  : a replica of the landmark Stain-Glass painting of "the Madona of Strasbourg", with the European Flag's 12 Stars, exists, indeed, at the core of the City's Cathedral, between 2 Christian Crossses, and surrounded by many golden Religious "Icons" of a typical Orthodox style : Something which is quite Exceptional inside a Catholic Church, and was, indeed, donated by the CoE in the Past, in a visual Reference to the aspiration of ReUnification of all Christians, starting from Europe, (as experienced Historian and Top Religious Official Bernard Xibaut has told "EuroFora" earlier).


     - Meanwhile, next Tuesday in Strasbourg, Mgr Grallet, hopes to have a few Time with Pope Francis, since he's due to "accompany him from the Airport .. to the Airport", as he characteristically told us, concerning what the Press has named : "the Shortest Papal visit in History", condensated in just 4 or 5 Hours all in all.

    This visit is also Exclusively concentrated on Strasbourg headquartered EU Parliament's plenary session and CoE, (which, by the way, were both in 1 and same Building, back on 1988, while now, they have 2 adjacent but Different and Separated Buildings here : One for the 28-Member strong EU, and another for the 47-Members Wide, PanEuropean CoE, which includes also Turkey, and even Ukraine, Russia, etc). Resulting now to a Two-Stages Visit, to each, one after the other, running fast, in a too "Tight" schedule, (where Bureaucracy apparently made things even more Difficult than normal, since many Journalists learned, almost at the last minute, that they would be practically Hindered to even try to follow both EU and CoE events on pretext of some "Security Checks" scheduled astonishingly early)...

    Mgr Grallet also told us that there isn't any other special Event scheduled at the Pope's arrival at the Airport, (where, however, French Minister for EU Affairs, Harlem Desir, is due to welcome him officialy), except to bring him directly to the European/PanEuropean Institutions.


    Later, in a well-attended special Mass at the Cathedral, on the occasion of the celebration of the 70th Anniversary of the Liberation of Strasbourg from NAZIsm, (Comp. relevant "EuroFora"s NewsReport, with Statements that gave us the French Minister of Defense, Jean-Yves Drian, at ...) , the Bishop affected to the French Army, Mgr Luc Ravel,  indirectly but surely, justified Pope Francis' decision to Concentrate his entire 1st visit to Strasbourg just to his EU and CoE Speeches, in less than 4 Hours' Time, all in all :

 - "It's characteristic of a man supported by God, to keep Firm in the Direction indicated by his internal Freedom. Anything Else Degrades or distracts us, (from the main Task), something which is even worse", he concluded.

Because; f. ex., these men who liberated Strasbourg from NAZism had "a Giant's Breath", since they were "Breathing Freedom" : "That's what Resists, best from all, to the Power of any terrestrial Dictatorship". But, "what kind of Freedom ?" - That "which results from the Concentration of Energies, from the Unity as capacity to Monitor ourselves, and from "Faith in Action", as "Men of One Idea", with the Will to Unify, by Faith in all its forms, any Forces, and Curb them to serve an Ideal",Mgr Ravel explained.

=> What might be the Main Idea in Pope Francis' move ?



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Swedish Foreign Minister, Carl Bildt, speaking  to "EuroFora", denied rumors on Turkey's attempts to avoid an EU check of its obligations on Cyprus on December 2009 by blackmailing Nicosia to either accept any deal with intransigeant Turkish claims contrary to EU values on the island's political issue, or face threats against the territorial integriy of the EU island, semi-occupied by Ankara's army.

On the contrary, the incoming EU President-in-office, speaking exclusively to "EuroFora", promissed that he will act for EU Council's decisions on December 2009 assessment of Turkey's commitments on Cyprus to be kept.

    Bildt was asked to react to Cyprus' President Christofias' denunciation, earlier this week, that some want to exert "pressure" on Cyprus in order for Turkey to escape from its obligations.

    Avoiding to mention any precise Deadline, Bildt, however, warned about "Consequences" in case of "failure" to reunite Cyprus, but without saying whose responsibility an eventual deadlock might be.  

 Asked by "EuroFora" if there is a risk for "Turkey's commitments to "be forgotten or downgraded", "despite crystal-clear EU Council decisions and EU Parliament's latest Resolution on the assessment to make at the end of this year on Turkey's obligations", according to rumours that, instead of pressing Turkey, on the contrary, there might be "pressure on Cyprus", even "blackmail", as Media reported and President Christofias denounced this week, Bildt denied :

- "No ! ", he clearly replied.

- On the contrary, invited by "EuroFora", to "reassure that the Swedish EU Presidency (7-12/2009) will keep a fair stance, based on principles",  Bildt promised that "we (Swedish EU Presidency) will be very clear on all of the decisions taken by the (EU) Council".

He added, however, that "we have very numerous decisions that have been taken" by EU Council, as if he warned, also, on something else.

- "'I am not aware of any sort of statements coming out today''", Bildt started to say, on our reference to Cyprus' President Christofias" denunciation of Turkish lobby's manoeuvers this week, replying earlier to 'another"EuroFora"'s question during a Press Conference at EU Parliament in Strasbourg.

 - '"I know the issues that you' are concerned with'", he added, remembering  the statements he gave us when Sweden was chairing the PanEuropean CoE on 2008.

- "But, obviously, .. I think that Cyprus' Peace negotiations are extremenly important".

- And "'I think that we are at a unique moment in History, in the sens that both (Cyprus') President Christofias and Mr. Talat (the Turkish Cypriot leader), are personally convinced of the need to overcome the division".

 - "It's 20 Years since the fall of Berlin Wal, but we still have a Capital in Europe (Nicosia) that's divided". ,

- 'I don't that we should loose any time in overcoming that"..

 - ''We should be aware of the fact that success will bring great benefits, but failure, will also have major consequences. There will not be Status Quo' " It's a question of seeking a solution, or entering another situation, which is somewhat difficult to see exactly how that could evolve", he warned.

- "That being said, this is a negotiation for Cyprus itself", Bildt admitted.

 - ''We (EU) can support, the (EU) Commission primarily, be technically helpful, and then, of course, there is a specific role for the UN, when it comes to the Cyprus' situation".  

- "At least so far. It might not be for ever'. Certainly not for ever, but for this period of time", Bildt added, skiping now any reference to concrete threats on UNO's Peace keeping force in face of more than 40.000 Ankara's soldiers, contrary to some Press claims, (See previous NewsReports).

     Replying to another "EuroFora"'s Question,  if anyone might attempt to "impose a Deadline for the conclusion" of Cyprus' Talks on December 2009, Bildt avoided to speak of any precise Time-frame, and indirectly evoked the fact that  35 Years of Turkish Invasion/Occupation obviously durated too long :

'- "If I was from Cyprus, I would say that the Deadline was Yesterday ! '",
Bildt concluded.

Cyprus' Government Spokesman, Stephanou, reportedly pointed out that "a settlement is possible on December if Turkey changes its stance", accepting a solution for the reunification of the island based on UNO resolutiona and EU principles.


Earlier, EU Chair, Swedish Prime Minister Fredrik Reinfeld, highlighted an "historic opportunity" to "re-Unite" Cyprus according to EU's "basic Values"' (i.e. Human Rights) and 'Rules'", in a last-minute change of his draft speech to EU Parliament in Strasbourg.

    The initial Draft spoke only about "healing" the island.

    Significantly, Reinfeldt linked Cyprus' reunification with Turkey's obligations to respect EU's "Values" and "follow" EU's "common Rules" :

    - What is "called Membership Negotiations" should lead, "at- the end of the day", into "sharing a set of common Basic Values (i.e. Human Rights, Democracy, etc), and following common Rules", stressed Reinfeld from the outset.
    - "This is something that those on the Outside (of the EU), are now  contemplating", up "to Ankara", for "a solution" on "Cyprus", observed the EU Chairman, immediately afterwards..  

    - "Both sides of Cyprus have been granted a historic opportunity to together reach an agreement on a solution to re-Unite the island, that has been divided for far too long", said Reinfeldt, modifying his draft text.

-  "The Swedish Presidency will act ...in accordance with Commitments EU has made, on the basis of Criteria that apply", "as a Honest Broker", he promised.    

- "To those on the inside (of the EU), allowing the membership process to become an opportunity to solve protracted disputes, can be tempting", he added.

    "In such cases, we must find solutions that can benefit both sides, and open up a way forward. Otherwise, it would jeopardize the progress we have made towards EU integration", Reinfeldt said.



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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