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Home arrow newsitems arrow 1st PACE President from Cyprus Kyriakides among Czech President Zeman +CoESG Jagland moves on Russia

1st PACE President from Cyprus Kyriakides among Czech President Zeman +CoESG Jagland moves on Russia

Written by ACM
Tuesday, 10 October 2017
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*Strasbourg/CoE/Angelo Marcopolo/- After stressing to Journalists her "Firm Belief to Human Rights" and her Intention to "treat All CoE's Member States Equally", the New CoE's PanEuropean Parliamentary Assembly's (PACE) President, for the 1st Time in History from Cyprus, ChristianDemocrat/EPP MEP Stella Kyriakides' initial interventions emerged among CoE's Committee of Minister's President-in-office (for May - November 2017), Czech President Milos Zeman's, and CoE's Secretary General, Thornbjorn Jagland's Topical Statements on Russia :


Leading during 3 Rounds, Kyriakides finally Won a Competition vis a vis the Mainstream, Long-Time MEP Emanuelis Zingeris, from Lithuania, with a Majority of More than 130 against about 90 Votes. Zingeris was the Official Candidate of PACE's Biggest Group, that of ChristianDemocrats/EPP, endorsed also by several Liberals. While Kyriakides, who comes also from the Same Group (EPP), was endorsed even by Socialist, Leftist, Conservative and Liberal MEPs, (See: http://www.eurofora.net/newsflashes/news/coeassemblynewpresidentvote.html )

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(Stella Kyriakides + Emaniuelis Zingeris, with Axel Fischer, EPP Chairman - Photo Eurofora)

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+ In her Brief, Inauguration Speech, this Afternoon, she Promised "Calmness, consensus, Credibility and Unity", Fight "against Corruption" and for "Ethics", with "the Support of All Political Groups, the Secretary General, and the Staff of the CoE", at this "ExtraOrdinary Time", full of "Chalenges and Responsiblities". as she said.


________________


Starting to Chair her 1st PACE Debate on MEPs' Questions to CoE's Secretary General, Thornbjorn Jagland, President Kyriakides topically reminded the fact that, recently, "the Russian Federation – informed us that it was Suspending the payment of the remaining (2/3) parts of its 2017 Financial contribution to the Organisation’s Budget", and observed that CoE's "Committee of Ministers and the Parliamentary Assembly bear a Shared responsibility for preserving the Organisation’s Unity and effective Capacity", so that they "Need to Work Together".


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=> Therefore, (just 1 Day before an Exceptional CoE's Assembly - Committee of Ministers' meeting, due to take place Tomorrow, Wednesday Afternoon), she immediately Incited Jagland to present Today his "View on that Issue" to PACE's Public Debate.


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Czech President MILOS ZEMAN (CoE's Chair)
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But, Meanwhile, it's already the Chairman-in-office of COE's Highest Political body : that of its Committee of Ministers, currently the experienced President of the Czech Republic, Milos Zeman, who had Just had such an Opportunity, to present his own View on that Same Topical Matter to MEPs, by a Timely "Coincidence", only a Few Hours Earlier Today :


- Indeed, Replying from the outset to a Similar Question (on EU + COE's various "Sanctions" to Russia), Zeman went Right to the point :


- This is "probably (the) most Important question" nowadays at CoE's PanEuropean dimension, he observed.


 - "Political Old-Timers", like me, "have plenty of Experiences", and "mine is that it is very difficult to make friends, and very easy to invent enemies"...


- Still Today, "Europe is a continent Divided by many lines. One of those Lines is between Russia and the rest of Europe – the EU" Even if it might not be a mere "Repetition of the (former) <<Iron Curtain>>", nevertheless "there is still a Division Line".


- Concerning "Sanctions", President Zeman described a real anecdote, when, "Approximately 20 years ago, I visited Miami and met Cuban Exiles. I told them, “Your Strategy against the political system in Cuba is wonderful. All those Boycotts, Embargoes and Sanctions ! ....with 1 small Mistake: Fidel Castro has been the President of Cuba for 40 Years"...


 - "I am Not discussing the Justification for Sanctions; I am discussing the Efficiency of sanctions. Just today, the German newspaper, Die Welt, published an article saying that the EU Loses out from the sanctions, which do practically No Damage to Russia. We all speak about <<Win-Win>> strategies, but that is a <<Lose-Lose>> strategy !", he Denounced.


>>> Indeed, this was exactly the Finding also of Experienced OECD's Head, Angel Guria, when he Replied, already some Years Earlier, here in Strasbourg (that he was Visiting also Today, for the Traditional Annual PACE's Debate on OECD's Economic Outlook), to a relevant Question raised then by "Eurofora" on the Repercussions of EU/USA "Sanctions" against Russia, to the Detriment of EU's Economic Growth :  - Guria had clearly Acknowledged the Fact that such Controversial Moves Hindered EU's Growth Potential, and Lowered considerably its level down, Warning for Negative Consequences at the immediate Future, (See ....).


=> - "Instead of sanctions, I recommend Communication between People, at many levels", Zeman suggested, speaking as a matter of General Principle. F.ex.,,"We need the exchange of students, tourists, entrepreneurs, politicians and so on, because that alone may Change the politics of the countries we understand to be non-democratic or semi-democratic", he proposed Widely.


+ "I will give one more example against sanctions :  If you wish to increase the Popularity of Leaders – I am not speaking only about Mr Putin – then apply sanctions and blockades. Psychologically, there is the Myth of the <<Surrounded Fortress>>. That myth Needs a Strong Leader, and Mr Putin’s Popularity is growing all the time. He has an 81% Popularity rating, and I am sure that a substantial part of that has been provoked just by sanctions"...


=> - "To Conclude is very simple: I believe that the role of the CoE is to strengthen the Friendship between European Nations. To quote (Hostoric former French President) Charles de Gaulle : - Europe is a continent that stretches “from the Atlantic to the Urals”. It perhaps stretches to the Pacific Ocean", he reminded, GeoPolitically speaking.


+ In addition, "You canNot Divide European Culture from Russian Culture :" F.ex., "Tchaikovsky is as important as Beethoven. Dostoevsky is as important as Shakespeare. Solzhenitsyn is as important as Hemingway, and so on. Why (then) try to Divide the Political structure of Europe, if you would be Against the Division of European Culture ?", he critically wondered.

 

czech_president_milos_zeman_speech_at_pace_eurofora_screenshot_400 


>>> "That is why I believe that the CoE's endeavour towards Friendship, and Not Hostility and Hatred, among European Nations – including Russia – will be Successful in the Long term", President Zeman concluded optimistically.

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

 - Concerning Moscow's recent Refusal to Pay a part of its Contribution, as long as Russian MEPs' Rights are not Guaranteed in PACE, he wondered :

- "If you don't have Russian representatives in this Assembly, then, Why Pay the Money for an Organisation to which you do Not Participate ? It's a very Simple Question".


  - "It is, they told, me, approximatvely 10% of the (CoE's) Total Budget : an Enormous Amount of Money".


=> - "But, if you want to Change the Attitude of any Human Person, or every State, it Must be Present in a Dialogue", Zeman advised.


 >>>  - Because, "if it is Excluded from the Dialogue", as "Taylerand said : <<It is Worse than a Crime : It is a Mistake !...>>", he strongly Denounced, as a matter of General Principle.


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


+ However, he added, immediately afterwards, in Reply also to anOther Question, raised, on behalf of PACE's Biggest Political Group, that of ChristianDemocrats/EPP, by Lithuanian MEP Vareikis, about "Imposing Sanctions for Morality, or ... Lifting Sanctions for Business Interest", as he had said, President Zeman rectified more precisely :


- "If you compare Moral policy, with so-called <<Real-Politik>> – a German term – you are sometimes unhappy that moral policy has nearly no success. But still, deep in my heart, I believe, (even if I support the economic interest), that withOut protection of Human Rights, any Business is Only a Short-term one", he Warned, as a matter of General Principle.


+ This Key point (by Zeman) was furher Developed, shortly Afterwards Today, by Jagland (See Infra) :


------------------------------------------
CoE's S.G. JAGLAND
--------------------------------------------------

coe_sg_jagland_eurofora_screenshot_400


+ Concerning, now, various other MEPs' Questions on Russia to CoE's Secretary General, Thornbjorn Jagland, around PACE New President Kyriakides', abpve mentioned querry (Comp. Supra), things became even More Concrete :


- "If you see this (Russia's Decision to "Freeze" 2/3 of its Annual Financial Contribution to CoE's Budget, until Russian MEPs' Rights are Guaranteed inside PACE : Comp. Supra),  as a Financial problem, you get it Wrong", Jagland warned.


- "It is of course a Challenge for us if a member State does not pay its fee. That is simply unacceptable; we cannot have member States that do not finance the budget. If a member State does not finance the budget, it cannot be a member. It causes a financial problem – but that can be overcome. If you are referring to the Russian Federation, that is 10% of the budget, and that means we have to restructure the Organisation and reduce staff by 10%. That is clear and it can be done", he found.


>>>  - "But we are looking into Why we have this Crisis, and we are trying to Solve it, because it has a Wider Political Implication : - We have to ask ourselves whether we want to have a CoE with, or withOut Russia !", Jagland resumed sharply...


=>  "For me, the Central Question goes to the Core mandate of the CoE– namely, to Protect Citizens in our member States. I want to see all our member States on board so that we can Use all our Instruments to Protect Human Rights in Russia, as well as in all other countries. That is what the whole Issue is about".


   - Indeed, "Our (CoE's)  Mission is to see how we can Use our Instruments in the best way. If a member State does not want to be a member, it is up to them, but we will do what we can to keep our member States under the European Convention on Human Rights, and the European Court of Human Rights, because we want to Protect the rights of their Citizens", Jagland stressed.

 
 coe_sg_jagland_speaking_in_pace_with_new_president_stella_kyriakides_eurofora_400


     -  So that, "If we look at this from a Financial point of view, we get it Wrong". But, "If we look at it from a Political point of view, and a Human Rights point of view, it should be possible to Solve the problem", he concluded.


  - In fact, "that is what I am trying to do as the highest elected official of the COE, who is responsible for the whole Organisation : F.ex., I will see to it that all elected (CoE's) Officials are Elected with the Votes of All member States. That is a Crucial matter", Jagland stressed.


     - Nevertheless, "having said all that, it is Not Easy when a member State says, “We do not want to pay if this or that does not happen.” Because, as a matter of General Principle, "Nobody should act under Economic Pressure – that is totally Out of the question. That is why we need to have a Wider perspective, on what we are dealing with here", he advised Cautiously.


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


    + Meanwhile, at least from the immediate Practical point of view, "on the CoE's) Budget, we are handling the fact that the Russian Federation has Not Paid for the last part of this year. We are doing that in a responsible way".   

 
     - But, "if it does not pay for Next Year (2018), we will be in a much More Serious situation, Politically as well as Financially", CoE's SG warned.


    => "We (CoE) are, of course, thinking about how to handle it. Ultimately, it will be in the hands of the Committee of Ministers, which is responsible for the Budget. But, right Now, I am Focusing on finding aSolution to the problem", he revealed.


    - And "We (COE's Secretariat) are acting in a very Responsible way. .. We have a very Competent Secretariat, that is Able to Work out Solutions", Jagland concluded Optimistically, But Enigmatically, withOut yet opening all his cards in public...


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


    + But he was Urged, Later-on, by pro-Kiev Government Ukranian MEP Sobolev, to respond to his Claims against Russia "Occupying Transnistrian Moldova" and "20% of Georgia's territory", pushing "Annexation of Crimea : Not Respecting ECHR's Judgements", etc. Moreover, "they do Not Pay money to this Organisation, or Adhere to its main Principles. They have Violated their Obligations". But, "What is your answer? To let them be a full member of this Organisation?", that MEP critically wondered.


 - "You asked me what the Answer was, and whether it was to offer the Russian Federation full Membership of the CoE", Jagland resumed. But, "Actually, the Russian Federation IS a full Member, takes part in all our integral activities and comes under the ECHR", he observed.


 - "It is true that several (ECHR) Judgments have Not yet been implemented, but the Russian Federation is Not First on the list for Non-Implementation of Court Judgments", CoE's SG put it mildly...


 >>> Indeed, "Eurofora"'s co-Founder will Never Forget an Exceptionally Important Press Conference by CoE's Director of Human Rights and, then, PanEuropean Commission on Human Rights' Secretary General, who had Strongly Denounced, for the 1st Time in Public, that a Serious Problem of Non-Implementation of ECHR's Judgements, Not even in Cases of Blatant and Brutal, Massive Violations of Human Rights, including Killings, Torture, Arbitrary Deprivations of Liberty and/or UnFair Trials, Massive Violations of Freedom of Speech, Destructions of Family Homes, Violent Massive Displacement of Populations, etc.

>>> It all was about Turkey ! And it was, then, as Early as ...1995 : I.e. Russia had Not eve Adhered, yet, into the CoE, (while Turkey, on the Contrary, had been Full Member -and Still is, withOut any Interruption- since the "Cold War" era of 1949-195O's Past)...


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


 + Moreover, as a matter of General Principle, "while there are severe Problems in Many of our member Countries, it is (also) important not to overlook what Participation and presence in the CoE, and being under the Convention (on Human Rights) have Contributed to their Citizens", Jagland pointed out.


 - "F.ex., the European Committee for the Prevention of Torture and Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment has Improved prison Conditions in Russia, as well as many other countries. With our (CoE's) Help, the Russian Federation got a New Civil Court, and a New Penal court. Many Shortcomings remain ... : the Conflict with Georgia, the Problems in Transnistria and in Ukraine and the illegal annexation of Crimea", etc. However, reSolving those Conflicts is Not - first and foremost - in the hands of the CoE, but in processes that the UNO Security Council has mandated", he criticized.  


=> "Our (CoE's) Mandate is to Protect Human Rights in All the (47) Member States, and we should Not Give up on that, Despite the Conflicts !", CoE's Secretary General stressed, as a matter of General Principle.

    +  "We Should also bear it in mind that, although we do Not take a Direct part in reSolving Conflicts, our protection of Human Rights Contributes to it :"


 - "F.Ex.:, the <<Good Friday>> Agreement in Northern Ireland was Based on the fact that the (HR) Convention applies in Northern Ireland. That also applies to the <<Dayton>> Agreement. The more we can apply our Standards in Areas of Conflict, the Better it will be (also) for reSolving them. I see no other way: the CoE has to work on that basis.
- "Otherwise, we could say, “Yes, these conflicts exist” and Give Up... But I do Not recommend that", CoE's SG pointed out.


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


    - Finaly, Austrian MEP Koh observed the Fact that "Article 1 of the Statute of the COE  states that its task and Duty is to create “greater Unity” between Member States". => How would you interpret that in terms of our relationship with Russia ... ?", he asked.


    – For Jagland, "it's true that the Purpose of the CoE is to create greater Unity between member States and on the continent as a whole. We (CoE do that first by getting all member States to Comply with the standards in the legal space of the ECHR. By Harmonising Laws, we get Nations to come Closer to each other. That is why I always stress the need to Abide by the Rulings of the ECHR. Usually the Court issues Compensation to the person Affected by the Violation, and, then, General Measures Change the Laws or Practices that led to that Violation. By implementing the Court’s judgments, all member States Change their legislation in the direction of the ECHR. We are coming Closer to each other because of that process. That is Unity".


      + "We (CoE) also foster Unity through many Other means, including Culture, Sport, and this (Parliamentary) Assembly, in which people can Speak to each other", CoE's SG added.


    => "First and foremost, however, the Aim of the CoE is to strengthen the Legal space constituted by the ECHR", Jagland stressed in Conclusion, (precisely when some reportedly, just went as far as to Urge Russia to Refuse to abide with ECHR, as long as Russian MEPs' participation and voting Rights are Not Guaranteed inside PACE)...


(../..)

 

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("DraftNews", as already send to "Eurofora" Subscribers/Donors, earlier. A more accurate, full Final Version might be published asap). 

 

*** 


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 imag0972_400


    Scientific innovation joined to Faith for Human Rights, Eastern Partnership and fight against the Crisis, but above all, the need to overcome the "Crisis of Trust" from EU Citizens, are the main priorities for new EU Parliament's President, Polish Jerzy Buzek, that a 555-votes-strong majority of MEPs on July 14,  Strasbourg made a living symbol of the fact that, 20 years after the fall of Berlin Wall (1989 - 2009) there is no more an Eastern or Western Europe, but only one Europe, as the head of the largest group of MEPs, ChristianDemocrats/EPP, Joseph Daul, stressed after the event.

    Speaking later to a group of Strasbourg's Journalists, including "EuroFora", the new EU Parliament's President clarified his stance on concrete topical issues, as f.ex. that of Turkey's controversial EU bid, which was one of the main issues of the June 2009 Electoral campain, clearly won by his party of ChristianDemocrats/EPP :  - "At present, Turkey does not fullfil none of EU conditions", he stressed, (See infra).

imag0958_400

    Buzek is well known in Strasbourg and to "EuroFora" as EU Rapporteur for the Framework Program of Scientific Research and Development of Technologies. A Natural Science Professor from the Historic and Religious landmark Polish City of Częstochowa, active in the famous Solidarnosk grass-roots social movement, he served 4 years as Prime Minister (1997-2001), before being elected as MEP in 2004 and 2009, after he brillantly won the latest EU Election at the head of his party (EPP) almost doubling the number of its MEPs from 15 to 28 !

    - "Innovation" and "Energy safety", as well as fight against the "Cimat change", but also "Eastern Partnership", the "Mediterranean", "Strategic partnerships" with Russia, the USA, etc, and the search for "solutions to the Economic Crisis" that EU Citizens "expect" from us, will be his "priorities", announced from the outset the new EU Parliament's President, reminding also that the quest for "Human and Civic Rights" played an important role in his experience with the Solidarnosc grass-roots social movement in Poland's History

    But, the most important of all, is the urgent need to overcome the "Crisis of Trust" between EU Institutions and the People he stressed : - EU "Citizens often don't understand us", denounced Buzek, launcing a call to "do anything for EU Citizens to understand our work" in EU Parliament : "We (MEPs) need to make EU Citizens involved" in "what we are doing every week, in Strasbourg and Brussels", he proposed. Pointing f.ex. to the hot "Debates" with "strong arguments" exchanged between MEPs during the preparation of their Legislative Decisions, in Committees, delivering often hard struggles between initially opposed points of view, long before forging a majority at the final vote, sometimes more than a year..

    Therefore, EU Parliament will be "open to your criticism, for discussion and exchange of views", he promissed to Journalists in Strasbourg.

    In this way, Buzek, in fact, highlighted "EuroFora"s main idea, that we strongly advocate since 1997-2007, to systematicaly and actively involve EU Citizens in public debates during the decision-making process of important EU measures, which affect their lives and the society in which they live, (and not only just a few weeks each 4 or 5 Years at the eve of EU Elections)...
--------------------
    This is related also to the symbolic gift that Buzek chose to give to the out-going former EU Parliament's President, Hans Gert Poettering, (2007-2009), his collegue in the ChristianDemocrats/EPP, who brillantly won 2009 EU Elections in Germany : A genuine statute of sainte Barbara crafted in Silesia's black Coal by Polish Miners : Those simple but strong people who fought for social change against some technocrats and bureaucrats disguissed into so-called "real-socialists" of old times. (PHOTO).

    It's enough to have seen a popular open air mass, at Warsaw's center, with many thousands of people, old and young, simple workers and intellectuals mixed together, with references to Poland's history and struggles for survival and liberty, through various ages, (as fex. that organized at the eve of CoE's 2005 panEuropean Heads of State and Government for the beatification of late Pope John-Paul II), in order to understand what such symbols mean..

buzek_press_a_400

    But, overcoming the "Crisis of Trust" with EU Citizens obviously implies also to rectify any errors done in the past, fex. on Turkey's controversial EU bid, with controversial decisions taken in 1999 and 2004 to give a "candidate" status and to start EU negotiations, provoking an unprecedented series of 3 "No" to EuroReferenda and 3 Majoriy Abstentions in EU Parliament Elections : 1999, 2005 and 2009, (even if the latest one succeeded to decelerate and almost stop the drop of participation rates, opening hopes for vote's revival after an electoral campaign clearly critical to Turkey's claims in several mainstream EU countries)
    
    Therefore, Buzek was faced with manifold critical Questions on EU Enlargement, most of them citting concrete examples of certain political problems  :  But his replies were almost always given as a matter of general principle :

    F.ex. Questioned on the suspension of EU - Croatia talks because of a Border conflict with EU Member Slovenia, Buzek prefered to speak about principles :

- "We know that during Enlargement, the process can be blocked by failure to resolve this kind of issues",  This concerns also other enlargments' cases", and "these rules are always in force" he warned.


But Buzek avoided to directly reply to a queston on "French and German EPP' calls to define the Borders of Europe", as a German journalist asked him by making a reference to French President Nicolas Sarkozy, and German Chancellor Angie Merkel's, critical statements on Turkey at the June 2009 Electoral campain.    

- "Concerning Enlargement, there's always the same rules : There have to be Criteria, which have to be respected if a Country wants to join the EU", he started to simply reply.

- "For my country (Poland) it took us 15 Years to fullfil these Criteria", Buzek reminded, indicating, if proportions are kept, that Turkey, fex. would have to spend some 25 years before eventually joining the EU..

- "Countries wishing to join the EU need to Change their Systems", as we (Poland and other former Eastern European Countries) did, he stressed.

- "'For me, meeting the condition of Human Rights is one of the Key conditions for membership in the EU", preferring again to speak from the point of view of General Principles, on the occasion of an untimely question on Serbia (which is not even a candidate yet)...

- "Turkey" has, "first of all", to fullfil (EU) Copenhagen criteria". Bevause, currently, none of them is fullfiled by Turkey", New EU Parliament's President, denounced, speaking later to a group of Journalists, including "EuroFora".

buzek_close_a_400 

In particular, on Human Rights :  - "We (EU) can never forget Human Rights", because "this is at the very Foundations of the EU", Buzek added.

On the contrary, when he referred to EU Enlargment for the  "Western Balkans Countries ", Buzek appeared upbeat, finding "promising situations", despite "difficulties" in the Past, since "Countries are queuing to become EU members", and this "generated changes", as he said.

As for Russia, Buzek observed that it was a "very important" country, located "in the same Continent", Europe,  "close to our borders", and "we need eachother". "But Russia' has 'differend poblems : "They claim that their system is Democratic, but rules are differend", and we must be "aware of such differencies", fex. "on Human Rights", that we can't ignore, as he said;

Concerning China, where a journalist observed that the recipient of EU Parliament's latest "Sakharov prize" for freedom of thought is "still in prison", Buzek found that since the 1999 events in Tien Amin square, "we see differencies on Human Rights still today", and expressed his "support" for those who try to ameliorate the situation.

On the contrary, speaking recently to "EuroFora" he strongly supported the idea for an EU - Ukraine cooperation, fex. between Airbus and Antonov, in order to build a  less costly but more performant than the old and problematic A400M, new Military Transport Airplane : - "They (Ukranian Antonov Company) can certainly do it. I'm sure they can. It's a good Idea, and I'd be glad if it was done", he told us. (See : http://www.eurofora.net/newsflashes/news/airbusantonov.html )


(../..)

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