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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

Parašė ACM
Tuesday, October 10, 2017
pace_new_president_stella_kyriakides_1st_move_eurofora_400

*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 )

pace__stella_kyriakides__emaniuelis_zingeris_with_axel_fischer_epp_chairman_eurofora 

(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".


pace_hall_with_stella_kyriakides_pub._as_new_pres_eurofora_400_01 


=> 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.


------------------------------------------------
Czech President MILOS ZEMAN (CoE's Chair)
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czech_president_milos_zeman_eurofora_screenshot_400


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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  imag0573_400

    An "Eugenic" loophole Amendment, which might expose to Dangers reminiscent of "3rd Reich's" notorious Genetic Abuses, hidden at the last minute inside an otherwise Good, larger Health policy Package scheduled to be voted on Thursday, was strongly denounced by a coalition of MEPs from various Political Groups and Countries, in a Press Conference held this afternoon at EU Parliament in Strasbourg.

    Mainly calling to "Select Human Embryos", via "Genetic Counselling" and "pre-implantation" Techniques including "Genetic Tests", in order to "Eradicate Hereditary rare Diseases", it might open ways to Dangerous Practices in Future, they denounced in substance.

    But they also made it clear that a much larger Report inside which this Controversial Amendment "No 15" was added in dubious circumstances, officialy destinated to struggle against "Rare Diseases", and drafted by Professor Antonios Trakatellis, was otherwise "an Excellent Report", aiming at a "completely Uncontroversial target" of Health policy on which "all MEPs and Experts are united, believing that Europe should act" to protect People's Health (See "EuroFora"'s earlier News).

    The controversy came at a particularly delicate moment for the EU in relation to Citizens, at the eve of June 2009 EU Elections, and shortly before Ireland re-votes for "Lisbon Treaty"..    

- Denouncing risks of "an Eugenic demand, very similar to what we had during the 3rd Reich in Germany, but now coming from some Scientisists themselves", German ChristianDemocrat/EPP MEP Dr. Peter Liese stressed that critical MEPs were against "Eugenic" engineering with "Selection of Human Embryos", and anything which might ultimately lead up to to a "Selection of Human Race". It doesn't help to "eradicate" Human Lives, he added.


    Several Experts and NGOs expressed "Deep Concern", as f;ex. DR M.C. Cornel of the "European Society of Human Genetics", which stressed, on this occasion, that "the importance of Non-Directiveness in Reproductive issues is a Central characteristic of Human Genetics, after the Atrocities committed in the name of Genetics in the first half or the 20th Century".

     - "This is completely Unacceptable", stressed Italian Liberal MEP Vittorio Prodi, on the Controversial Amendment, also because pushes to "eliminate early Human Life", as he noted.

     - "This opens a Dangerous Road, rather a Motorway", denounced Danish MEP Mrs Margrette Auken, from the "Greens", observing that various similar attempts were made in the Past "not only in Germany, but also in several other Countries, "even at the 1970ies", "f.ex. on forced Sterilisation of Roma" People, and other criticisable situations f.ex. in the UK, in Sweden, etc. as she said.

    + Other NGOs, as f.ex. "LebenHilfe" from Berlin, added that, among various other Risks, could also be that, by exploiting the pre-implantation Genetic Diagnostics and the Selection of "healthy" Embryos, some may "propagate" several "Eugenic" aims, starting f.ex. by pushing to eradicate Human Livies which might "Cost too much" to preserve, ultimately exposing to dangers reminiscent of the "3rd Reich"'s atrocious abuses.

    In consequence, ChristianDemocrats/EPP and "Green" MEPs "decided by Majority to vote against" this Controversial Amendment, anounced to Journalists the 5 MEPs who participated in the Press Conference, representing a wide spectrum, from Liberals to "Greens" and ChristianDemocrats, and from Hungary, Italy, Germany and Danemark up to Ireland (Gay Mitchell), etc.
----------------------------------
    Hungarian ChristianDemocrat MEP Laszlo Surjan said "that it was "Suddenly, at the End of the Procedure" in Committee, that "appeared this (Controversial) Amendment, which has nothing to do" with the main purpose of the Report, on which all agreed.

    He denounced an "Unhonest" move, and called to "avoid this kind of unacceptable situations". Nobody should "Select People", Surjan stressed.

    - "We (MEPs) had No Chance to Discuss" this last-minute Amendment earlier added at a Committee's level, said German MEP Peter Liese

    Speaking to "EuroFora", Dr. Liese, the Spokesman of the ChristianDemocrat/EPP Group in EU Parliament, said that MEPs didn't oppose other references of the Report f.ex. on "Genetic Tests", because they were "no proposals" to impose them, while, on the contrary, there was "a Problem" if anyone attempted to "impose" f.ex. this or that Genetic Technique and "Genetic Counselling", etc. to the People on human reproduction.
-------------
The precise Text :
-----------------
    Controversial parts of Amendment No 15 ask mainly "to lead finally to the Eradication" of "Hereditary" "rare diseases", "through Genetic Counselling .., and ..pre-Implantation Selection of healthy Embryos".

    But  EU Rapporteur Professor Trakatellis, said to "EuroFora" that fears should be alleviated by Guarantees that all this should be done only "where appropriate", when it's "not contrary to existing National Law", and "always on a Voluntary basis", according to other Parts of the Amendment.

    He stressed that the main aim was to allow "a free and informed choice of persons involved", without imposing them anything :  - "It's not an obligatory, but advisary" text, he said.

    To make that point clear, he was ready, in agreement with many MEPs, to eventually drop at least that part of the controversial Amendment which initially called for "efforts to ..lead finally to the Eradication of those rare diseases" "which are Hereditary".

    But, until late Wednesday evening, reportedly together with many other MEPs, he stood by all the rest of the controversial Amendment, (fex. on the "Genetic Counselling" and the "pre-implantation Selection of healthy Embryos"), so that critical MEPs, going from ChristianDemocrats as Dr. Liese, to "Greens" or "Ind/Dem", observed to "EuroFora" that "this was not enough" to close the dangerous loophole.

    Particularly since, as Professor Trakatellis noted himself, "this is already allowed to the U.K.", and "other National Legislations would probably follow, sooner or later" in a similar direction. As for a general call to "Eradicate Hereditary rare Diseases", this "should happen, at any case, in practice, de facto", to protect public Health.

    On the contrary, "our goal should be to help patients suffering from rare diseases, not to eradicate the patients. In case of genetic disease risk, the decision should not be guided by scenarios" made by politicians. "Perents who may decide to accept a child, even if handicapped or with genetic disease, must be respected and supported with solidarity", critical MEPs stated.

    - "Any Pressure" to "a patient or couple (who "should be able to make an informed choice consistent with their own values"),"from health Professionals, Public Health Policies or Governemental Institutions, or Society at large, should be avoided", stresses the "European Society for Human Genetics".

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

Each MEP's vote will be registered !

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

The Socialist Group requested a "Split vote" on the Amendment 15, first without, and afterwards with the words "lead finally to the Eradication" etc.


    But the first "split vote" leaves intact all the other parts of the Controversial Amendment, (i.e. "Genetic Counselling", "Selection of healthy Embryos", etc).

    That's why, 3 Groups of MEPs : ChristianDemocrats/EPP, "Greens/EFA", and "Ind/Dem", have asked for "Roll Call Votes", on everything regarding the Controversial Amendment No 15, and on the final outcome of the resulting Report as amended, which will register all the individual positions to be taken by each MEP.   

Something which will obviously make each MEP think twice before voting for one or another choice, to be sure that he/she will make the right choice in front of EU Citizens, particularly at these pre-Election times...


    Crucial Votes were scheduled between 12 Noon and 1 p.m. local Strasbourg time, in the middle of a long series of various other Reports, and after a long Public Debate on the larger Health policy package, from 9 to 11.50 am.

    The specific Report inside which was hidden the controversial Amendment is due to be debated between 11 and 12 am.

    So that more last-minute Surprises may not be excluded a priori...

    Particularly at the present Historic moment, when even the Institutional Future of the EU depends on the result of a second Referendum on "Lisbon Treaty", later this year, in ...Ireland, a mainly Catholic country, where People are particularly sensitive in such kind of socio-cultural and values issues...
 

      ***     
 
     (Draft due to be updated).
 
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