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Home arrow newsitems arrow New CoE Chairman Kasulides (11/2016-5/2017) to Eurofora: RDV Spring 2017 for EU-CoE Cooperation+

New CoE Chairman Kasulides (11/2016-5/2017) to Eurofora: RDV Spring 2017 for EU-CoE Cooperation+

Written by ACM
Tuesday, 22 November 2016

 kasulides__agg__at_the_coe_400

*Strasbourg/CoE/Angelo Marcopolo/- Luxembourg, from one side, Cyprus from another : Will those often interlinked, Small but Strategic European Countries, currently holding the Presidency of EU and CoE, respectively, succeed to Boost a much Needed, closer Cooperation between the 28 EU Member States and PanEuropean CoE's 47 Member States (including Russia, etc) ?


At any case, the New President of the CoE, Experienced Long-Time Foreign Minister of Cyprus and former Top MEP (in charge of Foreign Policy at EU Parliament's biggest Group : that of
ChristianDemocrats/EPP) Ioanis Kasulides, Replying to "Eurofora"s relevant Questions, cleary revealed the Importance that the Incoming Chairmanship of CoE's Committee of Ministers for the Period of November 2016 - May 2017 gives to the Enhancement of EU-CoE Cooperation, at a Crucial Moment for All Europe, while EU Commission's vice-President for the Digital Market, Andres Ansip, gave us, Later Today, a Concrete Example, (See : ...).
 - Replying to a relevant "Eurofora"s Question, (which reminded, inter alia, also the Fact that EU Commission's President, former Long-Time Prime Minister of Luxembourg, Jean-Claude Juncker, had been entrusted by CoE's Heads of State/Govenment, from the PanEuropean CoE's Summit at Varsaw, Poland, back on 2005, with the Task to Draft a landmark Report on EU - CoE Cooperation in the New Architecture of a ReUnified Europe, (Comp. "Eurofora" co-Founder's NewsReports from Both Events, in Warsaw + Strasbourg, at : ...+...), the incoming CoE's President gave Rendez-vous for Spring 2017 :

 - "On May 2017, (i.e. at the Next, Plenary CoE's 47-Countries strong, Committee of Ministers Summit, scheduled in Nicosia, Cyprus), one of our Priorities is, precisely, the EU - CoE Cooperation", he clearly stressed, regarding our above-mentioned Question.

+ Moreover, on this occasion, "we (CoE's 11/2016-5/2017 Presidency) are going to Celebrate the completion of a Decade since the Signature of EU - CoE's Memorandum of Understanding", Chairman Kasulides clearly anounced.

Meanwhile, CoE's Secretary General, Thornbjorn Jagland, who Welcomed Earlier Today Chairman Kasulides in Strasbourg's Meeting of the PanEuropean Organization's Committee of Ministers, together with EU's High Representative for External Action, Federica Mogherini, are due to Launch, later-on, at EU Parliament, a Series of Initiatives, precisely for the Commemoration of that EU/CoE's M.O.U."


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


+ Among various other Issues included in the November 2016 - May 2017 Program of the incoming CoE's Presidency by Cyprus, the New COE's President also told "Eurofora", that "Digital Technologies", and particularly the Web, could be tackled, mainly, "in relation with Freedom of Expression", in Addition to the Protection and Promotion of "Cultural Heritage", which appeared, Today, to be one among the Most Popular Issues in the Agenda of the Incoming Cypriot CoE Presidency, as several other Participants told us, (See Infra).

++ Moreover, in an Adjacent Field, there is also, currently, a Political Will to Develop "Citizens' Participation" to Public Decisions-Making, particularly "through Young People'"s involvement, he Added, Evoking a Topical COE matter, which was also Highlighted by COE's Secretary General, Thornbjorn Jagland, Earlier Today, during his Official Speech at the Opening of a landmark Exhibition organized by Cyprus' chairmanship, at CoE's and ECHR's Headquarters, with Original Paintiings, (some Inspired by Neo-Classic Top Artists/Writers, such as Picasso, Garcia Marquez, etc.: See relevant Newsreport)


+++ But, the New CoE's President-in-office, also Agreed with "Eurofora", that EU/CoE Cooperation, f.ex. on Digital Technologies, could be usefuly addressed, as far as as is concerned one of the Most Popular Priorities of Cyprus' chairmanship, among the 47 COE Committee of Ministers' members, i.e. Cultural Heritage :


- Even if, "First of all, we (CoE) have to Work in order to "Create adequate (PanEuropean/International) Legal Norms which will make Life more Difficult for those (Smugglers) who (illegaly) Buy and Sell stolen Cultural Heritage, So, "we (CoE) have, at First, to Agree on the (exact) Content of a (New) Treaty", he stressed.


+ But, indeed, Cultural Heritage "Digitalisation matters (can) come in the Aftermath of that", Ioanis Kasulides acknowledged, in Reply to the above mentioned "Eurofora"s Question.


++ This Perspective was also Backed by the out-going CoE Chair-in-office, Estonian Ambassador/Permanent Representative to the PanEuropean Organisation, Mrs Wiki, who Remains at the Bureau of CoE's Committee of Ministers, as vice-President, and, speaking later-on to "Eurofora", reminded that the Estonian Presidency had already Launched a Project for "Digitalisation" of Culture (including on Heritage), and offered to Support Further Developments by the Incoming Cyprus' EU Presidency towards Cultural Heritage's Digitalisation.


+++ Speaking earlier to Journalists in Strasbourg, including "Eurofora", the New CoE's Committee of Ministers' Chairman in office, stressed the Fact that COE is currently in a period of Big Challenges: First of all, Migration, Terrorism, Intolerance, etc., together with the Problem of Turkey, the existing Differences on Ukraine, Georgia, etc.


In this regard, Cyprus intends to Work with Objectivity and Professionalism, but also Efficiently, in order to prove that even a Small CoE Member Country can usefuly Contribute to Face collectively also some Big PanEUropean Challenges", he concluded.



(../..)

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    The recent paradox of freezing EU Talks with front-runner Croatia, while continuing controversial EU - Turkey talks, despite Zagreb's acceptance of Refugees' Human Rights to return, that Ankara refuses fex. in Cyprus, while both have "Good Neighborhood" problems vis a vis Slovenia, or Greece, Cyprus and Armenia respectively, can it be justified by the non-fullfilment of EU criteria, as Slovenia says, or, is it "Double Standards" ?    

The question became unavoidable after statements by Presidents of Slovenia and Croatia, Tuerk and Mesic, respectively, to "EuroFora", exclusively or among Strasbourg's journalists this week at the CoE, on the sidelines of its 2009 Summer University for Political Schools, which topically brought them together as successive key-note speakers.


    Comming only a few Months before EU checks Turkey's compliance to its commitments on Cyprus, etc., scheduled for December 2009, this obviously has a special importance for the coherence of EU Enlargement's principles.

     Suspension of EU Negotiations is a normal consequence in case of a Candidate Country's failure to fullfil EU Conditions, such as "Good Neighborhood relations", stressed at first Slovenian President Danilo Tuerk, current CoE's chair.

    But, regarding EU's Criteria,  there shouldn't be any "Double Standards",  reacted Croatian President Stjepan Mesic, commenting the fact that Turkey's controversial EU negotiations continue, while they were recently "freezed" in the case of Croatia, an "unquestionably European Country", which oficially accepts to respect Refugees Human Rights, contrary to Ankara's notorious refusals or reluctance.                                       

imag0475_400
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                           - "EU itself has set as a Criterium (for EU Enlargement) the "Good Neighborhood relations",  and their absence justifies the "Suspension" EU Negotiations, (f.ex. with Croatia), because of a Border dispute affecting the territorial integrity of an EU Member Country, stressed Slovenian President, Danilo Tuerk, CoE's Chairman in office (May - November 2009), speaking to Journalists in Strasbourg including "EuroFora".    

Questioned earlier what "consequences on EU's Enlargement policy" can have the "Ban on EU Membership Negotiations", imposed to Croatia, Tuerk replied that "this question comes down to the fulfillement of (EU) Criteria for membership. One has to look at each Candidate Country ., from the point of view whether it fullfils the Criteria that EU has set. One of them are Good Neighborhood Relations, I'd like to remind. And also, there are other factors, such as Justice, Home affairs, Rule of Law, and others".


    - "Now, ..Candidate Countries are at Different Levels of fulfillement of Criteria", he observed.

    - " Croatia is obviously the closest to that. I'm rather optimistic : I think that in the coming Months we'll have an opportunity to look at all these issues constructively and hopefully we'll be able to make progress". "My main concern, at this point, is the situation in Bosnia : We haven't seen enough progres domesticaly. We haven't seen enough during ..political parties within their country.We need a New Energy, a new energetic move towards the Candidature for EU membership. "Other (Western Balkan) Countries (Serbia, Montenegro, FYROM, Albania) have been making soaring Progress, and I think that they should be ready, in a few Years, for the Candidate status".

    - "As far as the Western Balkans are concerned, .. nobody should be left outside" the EU, Slovenian's President concluded, ommitting to mention Turkey's controversial EU bid.

    - "This process may be seen as Slow, but..  Slovenia has also has also been exposed to various "Booms of Slowness" in our accession period. But now we can say that the process was relatively quick, because changes which occur after becoming EU member, are quite large, and they require proper Preparations before the (EU) membership becomes a new factor, an impacting line for a new (EU) member country".
----------------------------

EU "Solidarity" ?
------------------------------   

Slovenian statements made some participants from certain 3rd Countries as FYROM, etc. claim that "the Principle of EU Solidarity" would "produce a.. rising European Union Nationalism (sic !), against Non-EU Countries", as they said, asking unhappy foreign countries to form a "bloc" to exert pressure on the EU...    

But Croatian President Stjepan Mesic dismissed that, supporting "EU Integration", "after the Economy also in Political" issues, as "the achievement" of our times. In EU there is "diversity, but it's United", he stressed, "EU has to be United so that it can become a central factor of Peace" also at the surrounding areas, he replied.

croatian_president_mesic_ 

Speaking later exclusively to "EuroFora", the experienced twice President of Croatia, former President of the International "Non-Aligned" movement, denounced "Double Standards" in the way EU treats recently Croatia compared to Turkey :   

 - "I think that there shouldn't be Double Standards", stressed the Croatian President, in reply to a Question comparing the freeze of EU - Croatia talks, with the continuation of EU - Turkey talks, despite the fact that Croatia is an "unquestionably European country", while Turkey's EU bid is notoriously controversial.


    Mesic was reacting to the observation that, even if he confirmed his "respect of Refugees' Human Rights to return, etc. (See infra), nevertheless, EU talks are suspended with Croatia.. While for oher, controversial candidates, who refuse to respect Refugees' Rights to return, etc., as fex. Turkey does in occupied Cyprus and elsewhere, EU negotiations continue".

    - "I believe that Croatia's accession will confirm that all European Countries who fulfill all of the Conditions and achieve European Standards, have to join the EU. There shouldn't be any Double Standards", went on to add in reply President Mesic.

    In this relation, Croatia's President found "of paramount importance", CoE's "mechanisms enforcing ECHR's judgements"
    
    - "On Refugees and Displaced persons, the process will be completed only after the last person demanding to return will be allowed to do so !", President Mesic Croatia stressed earlier, setting a general standard of obvious importance also for otherr candidates, as f.ex. Turkey, often accused to exclude or heavily restrict Greek Cypriot Displaced persons' return to their Family Homes and ancestral land, provoke difficulties to Turkish-Kurd IDPs return to their home regions at the South-East, etc.

    Some "2.000 People are still reported Missing" in former Yugoslavia, for some Years, (as in Cyprus, modern Europe's oldest case, for 3 Decades. Nagorno-Karabach, Tcecnya in Russia, etc, more recently), and Investigations "will only be completed after establishing the fate of the last one of them", he added.
    
    Speaking earlier on "War Crimes", President Mesic stressed that "Leaders are responsible for (the) Wars (of the Past), not the People", and called against Impunity :  "Individuals have to be held Responsible for Crimes. International Penal Tribunals have to persecute those individuals", perpetrators of War Crimes, he underlined.

    Such statements naturally made Mesic rather popular at ECHR, whose President, French EuroJudge, Professor Jean-Paul Costa, looked particularly smiling when he welcomed him later on Wednesday afternoon, after Slovenian President Daniko Tuerk earlier this week.
           

***

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