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Home arrow newsitems arrow New PACE President Kyriakides to "EF": Trust, Russia, New Summit + Fight v. Corruption = Priorities

New PACE President Kyriakides to "EF": Trust, Russia, New Summit + Fight v. Corruption = Priorities

Written by ACM
Friday, 13 October 2017
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*Stasbourg/CoE/Angel Marcopolo/- Replying to "Eurofora"s Questions, CoE Parliamentary Assembly's New President, mainstream ChristianDemocrat/EPP MEP from the Governing Party in Cyprus, Stella Kyriakides, until now Chair of the Social, Health and Sustainable Development (i.e. Environment), Highlighted the Main Priorities for the forthcoming Months (i.e. 11 October 2017 - 23 January 2018), stressing that regaining "Trust", inside and outside PACE, would be at the Forefront :


Of course the current issue of Russian MEPs Status (Comp., f.ex. : ...), and the Preparation for a New CoE's 47 Heads of State/Government's Summit, as well as the Transition from a Czech to a Danish CoE's Chairmanship, but, Most of all, for her, it's the Need to restore Trust, and Fight efficiently against Corruption, which would be the "1st Priority", as she told us.


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 - "Eurofora", pointing at the foreseeable "Timing", observed that Kyriakides' mandate, in principle, includes up to the Opening of the January 2018 PACE Plenary, and that, meanwhile, she had just co-organized an Exceptional Joint Meeting with CoE's Committee of Ministers and Top MEPs, Yesterday, Thursday, 12 October 2017, for the First Time after Many Years, (mainly on Russia, COE's Budget and new Summit, etc), due to be Followed by various PACE Committees' meetings elsewhere, as well as from the Hand-over of the Chairmanship of CoE's Committee of Ministers, on November 15, in Strasbourg, closely followed by an Important PACE's "Standing Committee" (with Similar Powers as the Plenary) at Copenhagen, etc.


=> And we asked PACE President Kyrakides how she Plans to Deal, in that Context, wth the Most Interesting Issues that the PanEuropean Assembly has to face nowadays.


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 - "There is a lot of things on the Agenda of the (CoE Assembly's) Standing Committee in Copenhagen", she acknowledged, (considering an Agenda whose precise contents are due to be Published "Next Week", as other PACE's Officials told "Eurofora").


 + As well as "the Follow-up to the Report of Mr. Nicoletti (Chairman of the Socialist Group), is comming up", (on a CoE's New Summit, but also Dialogue between CoE's Parliamentary Assembly and CoE's Committee of Ministers, including on Russia, etc : See ...), observed the new PACE's President, speaking shortly after an important relevant Debate and Vote at CoE's Assembly, earlier this week.


- And, such moves include  "Contacts of (CoE's) Committee of Ministers with the (Parliamentary) Assembly", but also with "the Congress" (of Local/Regional Authorities, which holds its Autumn 2017 Plenary Next Week in Strasbourg), "also of comming Importance is the Court" (ECHR), "the Czechh Republic" (out-going CoE's Chairmanship during May - mid-November 2017), "Denmark" (In-comming CoE's Presidency for mid-November 2017 - May 2018), etc.


 - In particular, "for me, it's Important to Establish Trust and Cooperation, through (PACE's) Political Groups, in order to Solve Problems", (considering also the fact that, even if she's Member of the ChristianDemocrat/EPP Group, nevertheless, she had been endorsed and voted also by Key Members of the Liberal, Conservative, Socialist and Leftist Groups : See ...), but also the Current Need for a Wider PACE Majority, f.ex. as far as it concerns the issues of Russia, a New CoE's Summit, etc).

+ Also in order to strengthen, in any way, "Support for Investigations and for setting up a (relevant) Independent Body (recently scheduled) for the Fight against Corruption" (inside and outside the PACE, f.ex.by various alleged External Lobbies' Attempts to influence it by inappropriate means), she added.


- "I think that this is for me a Great Challenge", because "we (CoE's Assembly) Need to get out the Clear Message that we are Totally Opposed and Immune to that !".


- "That's why this is going to be the 1st Thing ahead", and, "as long as I have the Honour of sitting at this Seat (PACE's Presidency), I want to be even More Clear: This, for us (PACE), is a First Priority", she stressed.


 - "So, If that Moves Ahead, and Comes to an End, during my Term, I would be quite Satisfied", she concluded, in reply to "Eurofora"s Question.


+ The relevant "Time-Frame" for that purpose "was (initially) given up to the End of the Year. We will see. But I wouldn't be Surprized I they need some More Time, f.ex. another Month, or so", President Kyriakides added later-on.  


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Short but Crucial
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  Meanwhile, as far as it concerns the Russian Issue, speaking to Strasbourg's Journalists, including "Eurofora", PACE's New President did not deny its obvious Importance, even if she declined from considering it as a landmark for her Presidency, preferring, rather, the "message" that she stated above, in reply to "Eurofora"s question, (Comp. Supra).

Indeed, Kyriakides' PACE Presidency, notoriously taking place in the contect of "an Exceptional situation", as she reminded earlier, os paradoxically, Both Short (See : ...) and Crucial, particularly on PanEuropean CoE's relations with its Biggest Member Country, Russia.
Inter alia, also for Practical reasons of Timing :


As it's well known, Moscow's Government has recently declared its intention to "Freeze" sine die the 2/3 of its Annual Financial Contribution to the CoE, (about 22 Millions €),  as long as there is No Guarantee for the Russian MEP's Rights to Vote and Participate in CoE's Assembly, (after some controversial 2014 - 2015+ PACE Resolutions which had "Freezed" most of them, on pretext of the Problems provoked inside Ukraine also by various Foreign interferences, etc, which had resulted into Threatening a new and dangerous Division of Europe).


But, that UnPrecedented Crisis, Now Extended even on CoE's Finances, threatens also to Affect about 10% of CoE's Budget, not only for the Present Year of 2017, but Even ...(in Addition) for the Next Year of 2018, for which the Budget is, normally, Decided around the "End of November" 2017, as Experienced PACE's Secretary General Sawicki confirmed to "Eurofora". Sawicki, personally, believes that the CoE could Find a Way to Handle even an eventually prolonged such Financial Problem, and this seems not far away from what CoE's Secretary General, Thornbhorn Jagland, also claimed, speaking at the PACE, earlier this week. But, obviously, it such an eventually Accumulated Loss of More than 10% + 10% of regular Revenues for the CoE would, obviously, be Not Easy to absorb, in real practice...


+ And, at the Same Moment with that Practical Financial Problem, there is also anOther, Different but also Topical, new Political Problem nowadays :


- I.e., how could the PanEuropean CoE prepare efficiently a New Heads of State/Govenrment Summit, expected for 2019, if its Biggest and a Geo-Politically, as well as Culturally Important Member Country, as Russia, stay partially or totally, more or less Excluded from having a say on such a Top Political Event, (which, Contrary to the EU, occurs Only at certain Exceptionally Important, Historic Junctures in CoE's History) ?...


=> That's why, the Fact that a Solution on that Problem affecting Russian MEPs has, according to PACE's Rules of Procedure, to be Found, at the latest, ...Before the Opening of its Next Plenary, "Winter" Session in Strasbourg, (23-27 January 2018), simply Because the Credentials of All MEPs are normally Decided at that Time, for All the Year round, (as also a Russian Diplomat confirmed to "Eurofora".

>>> In other words, in real Practice, it's, de facto, during the New PACE President, Stella Kyriakides' term of office, (11 October 2017 - 23 January 2018) that a Deal has to be brokered between Strasbourg and Moscow, in one way or another, if there is a Political Will from Both Sides to reall Solve this Problem, without wasting more precious Ressources and Time, particularly at the present Period, full of Great New Challenges in Europe and Worldwide.


In consequence, well informed PACE's Officers did Not Deny at all, Today, a possibility for the New President of CoE's Parliamentary Assembly to, eventually, Visit Moscow asap, withOut officially confirming yet, neither disclosing this or that precise Date, but promising to do so beforehand, if and when it may become possible.

During Yesterday's (Thursday, 12 November) Exceptional Joint Meeting between the CoE's Committee of Ministers and its Parliamentary Assembly's leaders, (the 1st after several Years of interruption !), well informed sources from the Inter-Governemental part, told "Eurofora" that, Despite the "Complex" Issues raised, there is a certain Mutual Wish for "Dialogue", both between Governments and MEPs, as well as between the CoE and Russia, on he Need to Try to Find an adequate Solution of the pending problems, in one way or another, for the Road Ahead.

May be even the New USA Presidency by Don Trump, could be, more or less Helpful, (particularly after also the recent, 1st Meeting between the American and Russian President, Trump and Putin, at July 2017's "G20" Summit in Hamburg, Welcomed by their Host, German Chancellor Angie Merkel : See ...). As well as Recent Developments in the Geo-Political views of New French President Emmanuel Macron, (particularly as far as it concerns the Need for a Joint Fight against Deadly Islamist Terrorism, cowardly Targetting innocent Civilian People, and to forge Peace in Syria, etc). Added, Soon, to a New German Government, headed by Experienced Chancellor Merkel, (who had practically Started her Top Diplomatic activities by a landmark Franco-Germano-Russian Summit, back on 2006, at the Historic Castle of Compiegne, near Paris, hosted by former long-time President Jacques Chirac, closely followed by a "G8" Summit with Putin and Sarkozy, etc, that she hosted in Germany on 2007 at Heiligendam, and anOther "G8" Summit, with the same, that Sarkozy hosted at Deauville on 2011 with then Russian President Medvedev, etc : Comp. "Eurofora" co-Founder's News Reports from those Compiegne, Heiligendam, and Deauville Summits, at : ... + ... + ...). Perhaps also, mutatis-mutandis, the Recent and/or Forthcoming Elections in Germany (9/2017) and Austria (10/2017), etc., as well as the Incoming Chairmanship of the EU by Bulgaria, from the 1st of January 2018, (See: ...), etc.

Meanwhile, among others, in a Different but Parallel move, informed sources from Cyprus, reportedly speculated that, by a (perhaps Helpful) coincidence, it's also the Country's President, Nicos Anastassiades, (an experienced ChristianDemocrat/EPP political leader), who might, eventually, Visit personally Russia, at some Date between Now and December 2017.

(../...)

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They voted to "freeze" UK Government's draft to put People in jail for 42 Days on "anti-terrorist" suspicion without charge, or they abstained. Don't they look suspect ?
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CoE's debate on UK controversy stirs PanEuropean check of anti-terror suspects' imprisonment

Former Leftists of the Sixties would boil in hot water if they heard PACE's debate on the controversial 42 days detention without charge, currently drafted by the British Government :

A "Socialist" Government, a Socialist PACE Rapporteur and a Socialist Chair of PACE's Legal Committee, opposed a .. "Conservative" amendment (supported by .. Liberals, Democrats, etc), to freeze the measure, in order to protect Citizens' Freedom, by "waiting" until CoE's Venice Committee checks its conformity with Human Rights' principles.

"Left"'s support to Conservative-Lib.Dem's criticism, wasn't enough to obtain a majority, nor to make things as they were back in the good old days, when "Left" and "Right" had a clear meaning, as "liberty" and "restrictions"...

Conservatives and most Democrats were joined by the Left in voting for the "freeze", as well as Liberal Paul Rowen, while Socialist MEP Ivan Popescu, an experienced MEP from Ukraine (PACE Member since 1996-2008) abstained. But most Socialists, added to a few Liberals and EPP's Right, voted against.

Fortunately, someone inside PACE had the wise idea to shorten the Debate for less than 1 Hour, and put it on the Agenda only at the end of an exceptionally busy day, towards the end of the Evening, when most MEPs had already gone to taste wins and foods at various Receptions all around Strasbourg's "European" area : As a result, not even 42 MEPs weren't present..

Socialist Lord Tomlinson accused the leaders of the PanEuropean Assembly, in its highest body : the "Bureau", to "lack wisdom" by deciding to hold a Debate on an issue that neither the Socialist Chair of the Legal Committee, nor its Socialist "reluctant Rapporteur", did "not want to do", ...

tomllinson

Finally, everybody (critics and supporters alike) was happy to agree, in substance, that the controversial measure "may" gravely violate Human Rights, and therefore, PACE asked Legal Experts of Venice Commission to check UK Government''s plans.

But this might take more than .. 42 Days to do, since PACE's Rapporteur asked the Experts to enlarge their study in a PanEuropean comparison of all that is happening on "anti-terrorism" legislation in 47 CoE Member Countries, including Russia, Turkey and Azerbaidjan..

Bad lack : "The existing 28 days’ detention without charge in the UK is, in comparison with other CoE member countries, one of the most extreme : In Turkey, the period is 7,5 days, in France 6 days, in Russia 5 days, and in .. the U.S. and Canada just 2 and 1 days respectively", denounced Democrat MEP Ms WOLDSETH from Norway..

woldsteth

"Numerous respected human rights organisations, including Liberty and Human Rights Watch, have expressed serious concern" "The proposed legislation ...could easily lead to extensive abuses. ...Detention for 42 days means six weeks in which one is taken away from one’s family, friends, home and livelihood only to be let off without being charged. That will destroy lives and isolate communities", she added.

- "3 years ago, the UK Government sought to increase the period of pre-charge detention from 14 days to 90 days. Not long before that, it had been only 7 days. There was a vigorous debate ...and a ...compromise was reached of 28 days. We have to ask whether there are proper safeguards in place to extend the period to 42 days. I suggest that there are fatal flaws", reminded British Conservative Clappison.

- "What sort of society holds someone in detention for 42 days and does not have to tell the person who is in prison why they are there, or explain the suspicions that arose and led to their detention? What sort of society believes that that is the way to treat its citizens? That is an appalling injustice, ...A 42-day detention period will not make the UK safer. Instead, it will be the first step to giving in to terrorists; it is saying that we are prepared to sacrifice our democratic rights and the principles for which we have stood for centuries", criticized British Liberal Michael Hanckock

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"Comments made ...by Norwegian delegates are unfortunate", replied British Socialist MEP Ms.Curtis-Thomas, accusing them to "besmirch the reputation of our police force, which is one of the Best in the World", as she said, believing that "there are significant safeguards ...to ensure that individuals are not subjected to unlawful detention"

curtis

PACE "has serious doubts whether ...the draft legislation are in conformity with the ...case-law of the European Court of Human Rights. A lack of ..safeguards may lead to arbitrariness, resulting in breaches of ... liberty and ...right to a fair trial". PACE "is particularly concerned that: ..the judge ..may not be in a position to examine whether there exist reasonable grounds for suspecting that the arrested person has committed an offence;"; that "... representation by a lawyer may be inappropriately restricted or delayed;" that "information on the grounds for suspicion of a person ...may be unduly withheld.. ;" that this "may give rise to arrests without the intention to charge;", and; in general, that "prolonged detention without proper information on the grounds for arrest may constitute inhuman treatment", says Klaus De Vries' Report, adopted with 29 votes against zero.

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Records don't say if it took him 42 Days to draft his Report, but, at least, he knew why...

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