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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
Wednesday, 19 October 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.


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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.


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- "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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  Ten Years of ECHR : 1998 - 2008 show need of Revival in 2009-2010 coinciding with 2009 EU Election
   

A threefold, coordinated move by new Top French Political actors in the 2009 EU Parliament Elections, expressed in Strasbourg a will to boost Europe's Political dimension close to Citizens' concerns, going from protection of Economy to defence of Human Rights.    

The move met an exceptional ECHR's call for a "revival" of Human Rights' protection mechanism', in a Mega-Conference, early 2010.   

Obviously focusing on June 2009 Elections to EU Parliament, it involved from the outset the recently nominated "dual" Head of French Governing Party (UMP)  Michel BARNIER and Rachida DATI :

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     - "As President Sarkozy has clearly said, we (France) are in favor of a Strong, Sovereign and Independent, Political Europe, which protects its Citizens, and not for a large Super-Market, nor for a Europe under influence",

    "This goes for everything, including Energy", added to "EuroFora" the experienced former EU Commissioner, Minister of Foreign affairs, currently of Agriculture and Sarkozy's new pick as Leader of the Governing party UMP to EU 2009 Election, Michel BARNIER                                              .                             

  - Human Rights are important because they are at the Heart of the Political Europe that we aspire for : I.e. a Europe able to act and protect its Citizens, stressed also the New French Minister for European affairs, Bruno LE MAIRE, while meeting Strasbourg's Journalists at his first visit to the CoE.   

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This is one of the main interests for CoE, which is also a natural place for cooperation between EU countries and Russia or Turkey, which was recently helpful at the Middle East crisis, he added.

The move gained momentum with French Minister of Justice, Rachida Dati's main observations at ECHR's 5Oth Anniversary :   

- "While we are seeking Europe's Borders and Identity, you (ECHR) remind us also of its Values", Human Rights, Dati noted.   

Citizens seek more and more often ECHR's help, and the tempo accelerates, Europa awaits a symbol, while national legal orders are not freezed   

And she expressed "support" to ECHR President Jean-Paul Costa's call to satisfy the vital need to revigorate the PanEuropean Court by deciding big changes at a High-Level Conference open to a large audience, a kind of "Etats Generaux" of Human Rights, at the beginning of 2010.       

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It's not so much the recently growing number of applications for Russia or Ukraine etc, which seems to be Costa's main concern : In fact, the cases declared "admissible" are much fewer...    

But rather the persistent violations of Human Rights, sometimes very grave (ie. murders, torture, abritrary deprivation of liberty, oppression of freedom of speech, destructions of homes/properties, etc), despite numerous, repeated condemnations by ECHR. So that CoE's Ministers, due to "supervise execution" of ECHR's judgements, are overloaded.   

F.ex. most Media noted that Turkey still remains, even in 2008, the 1st among 47 CoE member States in the number of condemnations by ECHR :  257, compared to 233 for Russia, with a population more than the double..    

The problem is that it's not the 1st time at all : During all the last Decade 1998-2008, Turkey was condemned by ECHR much more than any other State, and for particularly grave violations :   

- 1.652 condemnations, compared to 605 for Russia, 548 for Poland, 494 for France, 476 for Ukraine, etc.   

Italy's second place with 1.394 condemnations is a misleading false appearance : In fact, most of them (999) concern mere "procedural delays" in national courts. Same for France.   

On the contrary, Turkey was condemned 180 times for Killings, 192 times for Torture or Inhuman/Degrading treatments, 340 times for arbitrary deprivation of Liberty, 528 times for "Unfair trial", and 169 times for oppression of Freedom of speech, (etc). And the latest, 2008 numbers, indicate no change in this trend, (See supra).   

The current Spanish CoE Presidency (November 2008 - May 2009) has made of the implementation of ECHR's judgements its 1st Priority.   

ECHR's President, Jean-Paul Costa, stressed in its 2009 Annual Press Conference, CoE Member States' obligation to implement the judgements, according to Article 46 of the European Convention on Human Rights.   

Moreover, if CoE's Committee of Ministers delays to ensure implementation, then, the repetition of violations in similar cases provokes a multiplication of complaints tabled to the Court, which overload the mecanism for the protection of Human Rights, denounced Costa.          

A series of Debates on "the situation of Human Rights in Europe", focusing on the "need to fight against Impunity" of perpetrators of grave crimes, is  currently prepared by CoE's Parliamentary Assembly for the session of June 2009.  

The final Timing comes shortly AFTER the EU Elections, but the main Reports should have been adopted before.

Meanwhile, French President Sarkozy and German Chancelor Merkel's recent call "for a Political Europe" in 2009 EU Elections (See earlier "correspondence from Paris, Elysee Palace), seems more and more endorsed also by other EU Countries' Top MEPs :

Thus, f.ex., EU Parliament's 1st vice-President, Greek MEP Mrs Rodi KRATSA, speaking to "EuroFora", agreed that 2009 EU Election would be a "naturally good" opportunity to debate what really interests EU Citizens : "The Future of a Political Europe, able to face the Economic Crisis, with a Culture and identity which attracts the People"

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(Photo taken earlier during Sarkozy's 1st visit at EU Parliament, in 2007 : Sarkozy and Merkel's Ideas for a Political Europe inspire also other EU politicians accross the continent)..
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