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Home arrow newsitems arrow New CLRAE President Mosler-Tornstrom to EF: No Ghetto+Radicalisation. Digital+Education in 2017-2022

New CLRAE President Mosler-Tornstrom to EF: No Ghetto+Radicalisation. Digital+Education in 2017-2022

Written by ACM
mercredi, 19 octobre 2016
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*Strasbourg/CoE/Angelo Marcopolo/- A firm "No" to more Ghettos and Radicalisation in European Cities, coupled to a Strong Wish for Education and Digital Democracy, for the Next 4 Years of the Period 2017-2020, right from the "Grassroots", at a Local/Regional Communities' level, were, in Substance, the main points of the Reply, by the New President of the PanEuropean CoE's Watchdog for Local and Regional Democracy (CLRAE), Mrs Gudrun Mosler-Tornstrom, a Swedish-Austrian EU Integration live example, in Reply to 2 relevant Questions by "Eurofora", at her 1st Press Conference with Strasbourg's Journalists, earlier Today, just before Starting to Chair a series of Topical CLRAE Debates at its Plenary Session of Autumn 2016, (Comp. f.ex. Infra).


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Elected with a Wide Majority of 183 Votes, against only 8, and 11 Abstentions, the New President of CLRAE is the First Woman to get the Top Job at the PanEuropean, 47 Member Countries and 850 Million Citizens - strong CoE's Watchdog for Local and Regional Democracy, after initial Studies in the USA (Alabama), Sweden (Stockholm), and Salzburg (Austria), worked in Big German Companies, such as Siemens and Mannesman, but had also an Experience as Self-Employed Consultant, Founder and Manager of the first Ergonomics Centre in Austria, (etc), while also being Mother of 3 Children, and Married to a Professor of Labour and Social Law, before Engaging in a career of Elected Politician, both in Local, Regional and European level, where she served Recently as President of the Socialist Group inside the CLRAE, but mainly as Chairwoman of CLRAE's powerful Chamber of Regions.

 

 

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Gudrun Mosler-Tornstrom, had earlier stressed that, in her view, in the "Enlarged Horizon" of "a New Page due to be opened in CLRAE's History, CoE's core Values, on "Human Rights, Democracy and Rule of Law", are due to become "More Important than Ever", including in order to "Stabilize the Democratic Structures of our Societies", which, given also "the GeoPolitical situation", will have to Face more "Challenges" in the foreseable Future, as she Warned.

 - But, "Eurofora", pointed at her Personal initial University Background, dedicated to Digital Computers "Systems Analysis" and "Programming", and Asked her, mainly, about the potential role of "Digital Citizenship" Projects and Education, among various other Measures, also useful in order to Fight against Dangerous Socio-Cultural "Ghettos" and Radicalisation, which recently popped up in several Cities accross Europe, (even around Brussels, London, Rotterdam, Paris, etc.), in addition to their Importance for the Development of Local/Regional Democracy in itself.


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+ EDUCATION AGAINST GHETTOS + RADICALISATION
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-"Let me Start with your Question on Ghettos, and so on" : "We (CLRAE) are doing a lot of Work about it, also about How to Help, f.ex. by putting some Instruments, some Tools in the Hands of our Municipalities, our Cities, our Communities, etc. to Work with it", President Mosler-Tornstrom practicaly reacted from the outset .


 - "Just Today, we (CLRAE) introduced a New Project: The "Toolkit", including on Inter-Religious, and/or Inter-Cultural, Inter-Community work", she pointed out, (See Details Infra).


 - "This is a Toolkit Translated in Many Languages, so that all our Member States can Work with it".


+ "And we have done a lot of Work on a series of "Guidelines" in order to Prevent this" (Radicalisation), she added.


------------


Indeed, during the Debate of a Report on a "Strategy to Combat Radicalisation at Grass-Roots Level",  drafted by representatives from the Netherlands, Bert Bouwmeester (Liberal) and Germany/NRW Josef Neumann (Socialist), which was Adopted by a Large Majority Today by the CLRAE, the co-Rapporteurs stressed that "Local Authorities play a Key-Role in Preventing Radicalisation", "But are Not sufficiently Equiped" for that purpose.
Therefore, they presented a "ToolKit" due to Help also "Strengthen the <<Living Together>> Feeling" of the People, whose Contents Focus mainly on "3 Points : (1) Guidelines for Preventing Radicalisation, (2) Twelve Principles on Inter-Faith Dialogue, and (3) a specific, CLRAE new Website, including on "Inter-Cultural Dialogue", as they said.

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In fact, among CLRAE's "Priorities for 2017-2020", (according to a Report drafted by Gudrun Mosler-Tornstrom and Swedish ChristianDemocrat/EPP representative Anders Knape, and due to be Examined on Friday), this is closely related also with Wider Topical Issues, such as Promotion of "Ethics and Transparency" at Local/Regional levels, particularly by "Preventing Corruption", according to a Report drafted by Experienced, former Twice President of CLRAE, Dr. Herwig Van Staa, a Top ChristianDemocrat/EPP representative from Tyrol (Austria), which was Debated and Adopted Today.


 - "Population's Trust" in "Elected Politicians" requires "a High Level of Integrity", stress, indeed, the above mentioned "Priorities". Van Staa, (who is also CLRAE' "Mr. Anti-Corruption" since a long time), presented Today a "RoadMap" composed from 6 more specific Texts on the Fight against Corruption, including (1) Abuse of Administrative Resources, f.ex. in Elections, (2) Public Procurement issues, (3) Transparency, (4) Conflicts of Interest, (5) Cronyism, and (6) Protection of Whistle-Blowers". Moreover, an EU/CoE 1999 "Code of Conduct" should be "Reviewed and Extended to cover also Executive Staff and Officials in Local/Regional Government". Concerning Results in Real Practice, an "Evaluation Conference" is Planned for Next Autumn (2017), he anounced, while, however, Regretting the Fact that, still, "a European Prosecutor Office has not been established yet". But, at any case, "Transparency" and "Electronic Governance" (Comp. Infra) can become realy Helpful, he highlighted.


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    - But, "... where does a Ghetto Starts ?", Gudrun Mosler-Tornstrom went on to add, in her Reply to the above-mentioned "Eurofora"s Question (Comp. Supra). -"In a Ghetto, often you don't have much Possibility for Education, for Social Life, and so on, (etc) and this is so Important : Education !", she stressed.


    - "So, there we (CoE) have to Start !", CLRAE's New President pointed out.
 Education is, indeed, by a Timely "Coincidence", at the Focus of  CoE's Annual "World Democracy Forum"; November  2016 in Strasbourg, with UNESCO Director General, Irina Bokova, but also Norway's Prime Minister and various Top Experts throughout all Europe and other areas of the World.


--------------------------------------------


- "Oh, it would be Wonderful if we could Invent an Instrument, put it inside, and then, wait for it to work"....It would be too Good!", she laughed.  


- "But No, it's not like this... So, we (CoE) have to Go On", she Urged.


 - At any case, it will remain true that "We (CLRAE) do a lot of Work to Prevent such situations (of Radicalisation), and do our Best".


- "I'd be very Realistic" on that matter, she concluded Soberly, at least for the time being, (Comp. Supra).


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+ DIGITALISATION and Local/Regional Democracy
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+ On "the 2nd point" of "Eurofora"s Question : - "On Digitalisation : This not only for the People participating in our Meetings, (for Decision-Making process), etc".
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Indeed, Gudrun Mosler-Tornstrom had already stressed earlier that, more Widely speaking, Local/Regional "DeCentralisation gives More Possibilities for Citizens to Participate in the Decision-Making process by Public Authorities".


In this regard, a 2009 Additional Protocol to CLRAE's Charter, which consecrates a Citizens' Right for Participation in Decision taken by Public Authorities at a Local/Regional level, will be actively Supported and its Signature by the remaining CoE Member States which have not yet done so, shall be "Encouraged", particularly in the run-up to the 2018 Anniversary for CLRAE's more than 30 Years of existence.


While, precisely, "Digital Citizenship Education", was discussed by CoE's competent Ministers, recently in Brussels, while CoE's specialized Top Inter-Governemental body, its Steering Committee on Educational Policy and Practice (CDPPE) has just taken Decisions on that same matter, earlier Today in Strasbourg.


By a Timely Coincidence, almost at the Same Moment that CDPPE was also Examining a Plan of the Incomming CoE's Presidency by Cyprus, for the Period of Novembert 2016 - May 2017, to organise an Important PanEuropean/International Conference on Education in March 2017,

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during Today's CLRAE Debate on Young Representative's Projects from all over Europe, a Young Cypriot Girl, Margarita Christodoulidou, naively but interestingly suggested that, "If there are WiFi Internet Access for People living from Cyprus' Villages up to the UK and throughout other European Countries, then, Youngsters could Use Social Media Platforms, and, through them, would Reach Out to CoE's Networks", including on Citizens' Participation, Fight against Radicalisation, Local and Regional Democracy, etc, as she evoked.


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 => - In fact, "Digitalisation is a ...Issue in our (CLRAE) Priorities, Starting from 2017, and going on for the Next 4 Years, (i.e. up to 2020), the New President of CLRAE officialy Announced, in Reply to "Eurofora"'s Question.


- "Because we see How Digitalisation is Influencing the whole Life we are in, of  All of us :"
- "I mean, just go to a Market-place, and see, Some People don't even Realize what is Happening around them, because they have the EarPhones, they Look at the Phone, and just Go Out".


 - But, "What does it Mean to our Social InterAction, for these matters. What does it mean on How we Deal with Each Other ? What does it Mean for Solidarity ? What does it mean for Democracy ?", she drove up to the main point...


 - "It's not only if we Work, Look and Talk to Each Other. But also what does it mean for Democracy ? And where do we get the Input from ?"


- "From the Social Media ?", she wondered, (just to Aknowledge the Fact that, "I am Using Social Media by myself", as she went on to admit)...


- "But, all those Questions, We (CLRAE) Have to Talk about it, and here, in the CoE", President Mosler-Tornstrom stressed, more widely.


 - "And those ones Who are First that are Confrontated with all that (i.e. Both those "Gheto" Risks, and the "Digitalisation" Questions and Potential, from Citizens' participation to Democratic Decision-Making, up to Economic and/or Social Dangers or, on the Contrary, Useful Projects, etc), are the Local and Regional Levels", (i.e. Towns, Regions, etc), she observed.


=> So, "They Have to Do that !", with "CoE's Congre's Help", she Concluded.


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+ CLRAE ELECTS A FRENCH GAULLIST TO ITS "GOVERNANCE" COMMITTEE
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Meanwhile, later this Afternoon, the PanEuropean CLRAE, (in a move which obviously has also a Symbolic Value),  decided to Elect a French Gaullist, Jean-Luis Testud, (a ChristianDemocrat/EPP Mayor of Suresnes, near Paris, who has served at Top Jobs at several Ministries or Big Companies, as "Air France", etc.) for President of its powerful "Governance" Committee, (who was, by coincidence, one amog the First to salute "Eurofora", earlier this Morning, just when we entered inside CoE).


De Gaulle is known Both for his Strong Will and Convictions, (obvious also in President Testud's most interventions at CLRAE's Debates for Years), as well as for his Attempt to Adopt, by Popular Referendum, an Important Reform of the French Senate, which would be Composed just by those New Regions that he wanted to create, already as early as since 1969...


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In CLRAE's Mediatic "Current Affairs" Committee, it's Ms Gabriele Neff, a Liberal (FDP) from German Bavaria's Capital : Munich, who gets the Top Job.


Last, but not least, the Crucial Importance CLRAE's Committee of "Monitoring", elected as President the Experienced Head of the Dutch Delegation, Leen Verbeck, (Socialist), who is reportedly due, inter alia, to Draft a Report on the difficult current Situation in Turkey on 2017.

(../..)


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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)..
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    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.

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