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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

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*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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Facing a 70% Abstention threat in 2009 Election, EU endorses EuroFora's idea for Citizens' debates on crucial EU decisions !

- Different views on "Europe's Future", should be debated among Citizens at June 2009 EU Elections, thanks to political Parties' "Manifestos", says EU Parliament's Report


                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                               
A main idea, initiated and promoted by EuroFora's founders since 1997: the vital need to develop European Citizens' democratic right to actively participate in multilingual debates on EU decisions, is formally endorsed by the EU from 2009 !

The move is a key attempt to overcome "catastrophic" Polls which warn that only ...30% of Citizens are ready to vote in the forthcoming June 2009 EU Election !  This was revealed by EU Commission's vice-president, in charge of Communication policy, Margot Wallstrom, during a "hot" meeting of EU Parliament's Committee on Culture and Education, during the December 2008 Strasbourg session.

Wallstrom faced criticism, but also suggestions from various MEPs, naturally worried by Abstention threats which herself found even "worse" than in 1999 or 2004...

A Report on "Active Dialogue with Citizens",examined at the same time, presented some useful practical tips, on "facilitating Interviews"; etc., but also a  potentialy important call to "incorporate the conclusions of ...debates...into (EU) policies, and take into consideration the expectations that Citizens have of the EU when deciding". An amendment even implies that Citizens' participation in debates on EU decisions is a democratic "Right".

More importantly, it finds that  a Debate "on the Future of Europe", (as French President Nicolas Sarkozy has asked since 2007), would be a good idea " for the 2009 European parliamentary Elections", because "clarifying the political differences between the EU political parties would help citizens to identify themselves with, and choose between various concepts", for which "all parties (should) present their Manifesto".

A "Joint political declaration on Communicating Europe in Partnership", co-signed by "the European Parliament, Council and ... Commission", confirms that they "attach the utmost importance to improving communication on EU issues", by "enabling European citizens to exercise their right to participate in the democratic life of the Union, in which decisions are taken as openly as possible and as closely as possible to the citizens, observing the principles of pluralism, participation, openness and transparency".

This should "enable Citizens to exercise their right to express their views and to participate actively in the public Debate on European Union issues", while also "promoting the respect of multilingualism". In this regard, EU confirms its "wish to develop synergies with national, regional and local authorities as well as with representatives of Civil Society".

    It's since 1997 that a group of EuroFora's founders have officially presented a pioneer Project (then called "EIW", for "Europe in the World"), which aimed to develop Strasbourg's "Polyphonic music", by providing "Interactive information", on "main issues ... during the Decision-making process of European Organizations which engage in Transparent and Public Democratic Debates"

    This should be done, inter alia, by "exploring the potential of New Communication Tools (mainly Internet)", as well as classic-form debates, the 1997 EIW pioneer project's anounced in its "Synopsis". It was formally "accepted for evaluation" by EU Commission in Brussels in order to be examined for a grant in the framework of the "Research/Technology/Development (RTD) Programme in the field of Information Technologies", then called "ESPRIT", as a "Best Practice Pilot Project".

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        But the vital, urgent Political need for EU to search new, efficient ways to reach the People and interact with European Citizens, was really felt in Brussels and elsewhere only after the unprecedented in History 1999 and 2004 Majority Abstention in EU Elections, followed by 3 "NO" in Referenda in France, the Netherlands and Ireland, on 2005 and 2008...
    In this New Political Landscape, we prepared a new, actualised and more developed version of our initial idea, in a simplified and more efficient form, thanks also to a large Experience accumulated during many years of EU/CoE/UNO Press work and Multi-lingual debates, with the New project "EuroFora" :

    On 2006 we presented in Public its main lines during Questions/Replies that we raised at two Press Conferences by EU Commission President, Jose Baroso, and mainly EU Commission's vice-President, in charge of Communication policy, Margot Wallstrom, together with EU Parliament's vice-president, Alejo Vidal-Quadras, in Strasbourg, (Videos available), and we reminded it at various brief contacts with Commissioner Wallstrom in 2007 and 2008.

    Meanwhile, a new Text was also presented for "EuroFora" Project mainly to certain Political and other personalities, at European, National or Regional/Local level, mainly in 2007, but also in 2008..

    Now, after the unexpected 2008 Irish "NO", and before the 2009 EU Elections, which are due to be of exceptionally crucial importance for Europe's Future, the moment has obviously come to launch that project, progressively, but in real practice.

    Whoever really cares for Europe and its Citizens is welcome to join, in one way or another. Only anti-European, anti-democratic, obscure or ignorant groups might oppose or attempt to "steal" and deviate the main idea.

    But European Citizens, incited by enlightened political leaders, are those who will finally write the real History.

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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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