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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

Pisac ACM
13. 10. 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.


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


 - "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.  


---------------------------
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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    The incoming Swedish EU Presidency (July-December 2009) may still remain in favour of Turkey's controversial EU bid, despite June 2009 EU Elections' results, but it has "very strong demands on Turkey"'s obligation to respect EU Rules, said the Head of Swedish Foreign Ministry's Press Service, Cecilia Julin, to "EuroFora", reacting to critical Press reports.

    - "I know (that) the link is often made also to Sweden's position on Turkey"'s controversial EU bid. Indeed, "we (Swedish EU Presidency) are very much engaged in the future membership of Turkey, but not without fullfiling all the Criteria".

    - "It's very clear that we (Swedish EU Presidecny) have very Strong Demands on Turkey, in a sort of concept for Future membership of the Union, ...which will be a Long Process...", she stressed.

    This means, in particular, "the Copenhagen Criteria (on Human Rights, Democracy and Rule of Law), and also the adaptation to the Acquis of the European Union".

     - "If you listen to what Mr. Bildt (the Swedish Foreign Minister) says on Turkey at different occasions, it's very clear : We want Turkey to become part of the Union, in the Future. But we want it to fullfil all the Criteria : The Acquis of the European Union. That's very clear", she concluded.

    The Senior Official of the Swedish Foreign Ministry was reacting to critical Press Reports, from Brussels' Journalists invited by EU Commission's secretariat to Stockholm, who claimed that Bildt was abusing of a ..."Whip" (sic !) against Cyprus, by "threatening" the presence of UNO's Peace-keeping force at the "Green line" which separates the island's Government-controlled areas from the territories occupied by Ankara's army, if Nicosia didn't accept any political solution, regardless of Turkey's demands, before the end of 2009.

        Governing AKEL Party's new Secretary General, Andros Kyprianou, reacted by declaring that no-one can threat the People of Cyprus : -"We shall decide for our Future, and nobody else",  he reportedly said, asking to "keep calm". "In order to find a Solution soon, certain basic Principles must be respected", he stressed, calling those who feel an urgency to use their influence on Turkey. Other Political Parties were more critical.

    This was a reference to recently reported statements by Turkish Minister Bagis, Prime Minister Tayip Erdogan and Turkey's National Security Council (a Military-Political body), accused to push towards a partitionist "2 States" solution, contrary to UNO SC Resolutions for Cyprus' reunification.

    December 2009 is a crucial moment for EU's appraisal of Turkey's controversial EU bid, because EU Council has decided to review then Ankara's compliance with the European position on the recognition of Cyprus' Government, which was clearly set out by an EU reply of 21 September 2005 to Turkish Prime Minister Tayip Erdogan's claims, refusing to recognize even the existence of EU Member Cyprus, in controversial statements he made to London (former EU chair) on July 29, 2005.

    EU Parliament's latest Resolution on Turkey, adopted on March 2009 in Strasbourg, warned Ankara that "the non-fulfillment of Turkey's commitments... by December 2009, may further seriously affect the process of Negotiations" with the EU.

    In practice, the issue boils down to Ankara's "embargo" against Ships and Airplanes using Cyprus' seaports or airports at the strategic EU island, which traditionaly hosts one of the World's biggest Shipping flags. EU has already "freezed" 6 relevant Chapters in EU - Turkey Negotiations since December 2006, after Ankara refused to fullfil a commitment it had undertaken when EU had decided to open controversial "accession" negotiations with Turkey, back on December 2005.

    - "As far as EU - Turkey relations are concerned, it's clear that Turkey needs to fullfil its obligation of full, non-discriminatory implementation of the additional Protocol (to "EC-Turkey Association Agreement"),  This is an important issue....and should be addresseed as soon as possible as it clearly affects the pace of the accession negotiations.Issues covered by the Declaration of September 2005 will continue to be followed up, and progress is urgently awaited", warned earlier in Strasbourg the out-going Czech EU Presidency (former vice-Prime Minister Alexander Vodra).

    But the Head of the Swedish Foreign Ministry's Press Service, Cecilia Julin, dismissed "interpretations" by "some" that Foreign Minister Carl Bildt was reportedly "threatening" Cyprus with consequences on the UNFICYP, if it doesn't accept any solution until December 2009, while Turkey is reportedly delaying in an attempt to impose a partitionist "2 States" solution.

    On the contrary, Julin, stressed that "Sweden has strong demands on Turkey'"s respect of "Copenhagen Criteria and EU Acquis".

    Meanwhile, Sweden  is "concerned" about the risk of "Stalemate" in Cyprus' Talks, but is well aware that "the main responsibilities lie with the two leaders and the UNO", Europe playing only a role of "facilitator".

    After carefully verifying, the Head of Swedish Foreign Ministry's Press Service, stressed to "EuroFora" that Bildt's reference to UNFICYP "was not linked to a Threat", and dismissed those who "interpreted" it so.

    On the contrary, the Swedish EU Presidency acknowledged the fact that Peace Talks are mainly for the UN and the leaders of the Cypriot communities, EU's role being limited into that of a "facilitator".

    As for Turkey's reported attempts to impose a "2 States' solution", the Head of the Swedish Foreign Ministry's Press Service sharply replied by stressing that Turkey must respect the "EU Acquis" rules.

    In particular :

    - "Basically he (Bildt) underlined that it's the leaders of the two communities in Cyprus and the UN that have the main responsibilities for solving the problem", started to say the Swedish Senior Official to "EuroFora", referring to the above-mentioned "briefing".

    - "But the EU had a role in sort of pointing out the benefits and facilitating a little bit the outcome for the settlement of the whole Cyprus' issue", she added.

    - "And he did state the Fact, that the rest of the World (i.e. USA, etc) will, of course, look at the differend issues which are at the table, and the future of the UN Peace keeping force is part of what is at the table", she admitted.

    - "I understand that some have interpreted that as a Threat, by the Swedish Minister" "But", in reality, "it's a statement of a Fact, that, when we'll look at the differend issues, one of the issues on which we shall have to take a stand on, is the future of the UN Peace keeping force in Cyprus".

    Indeed, one of the questions usually raised for a Solution of Cyprus' issue is what International and/or European or other Guarantees, by a Peace-keeping force, might be needed afterwards, eventually for a transitory period.

    Questioned anew by "EuroFora" whether (according to critical Press Reports) this could be taken as a veiled warning that, if Cyprus didn't accept any Turkish demand for any solution whatever, it might be left alone to face Ankara's Military Invasion/Occupation, she denied :

    - "He (Bildt) didn't say it in that way"... "It was not linked to a threat, or anything like that", the Head of the Swedish Foreign Ministry's Press Service stressed.

    On the contrary, "he (Bildt) underlined that the main responsibility lies with the parties concerned on the island". "The EU can try to facilitate and show the benefits of reaching a settlement. But also, when the EU and the rest of the World (i.e. USA) will have to look at it, they will look at all the Facts on the table, and the presence of the UN Peace-keeping force is one".

    And "he (Bildt) didn't speak about that at all", she replied to "EuroFora" question on Turkey's reported attemps to impose, in one way of another, a partitionist "2 States solution".

    Asked whether Bildt's aim was to incite both parties to move forward efficiently, she agreed :

    - In fact, "the EU is really very concerned with the Stalemate in the situation. Yes !", the Head of Sweden's Foreign Ministry's Press Service anounced. That's why Bildt "was hoping for the two parties (i.e. for Turkey's also) to engage and break, a little-bit, the present stalemate, come to a solution of the issue" of Cyprus.

    But, replying  to a "EuroFora"s question on the risk, denounced by several politicians in case of strict Time Deadlines, for Turkey to provoke a stalemate and wait for the time to come to impose a partitionist "2 States' solution", she reacted by pointing at Turkey's obligation to respect "EU Acquis" :

    - "Turkey must fullfil the EU Acquis : That's clear !", the Swedish Senior Official stressed.

    More details are expected when Swedish Prime Minister Reinfeldt will debate his Programme with new MEPs at EU Parliament's plenary mid-July in Strasbourg, that he has visited already in 2008.

    Foreign Minister Carl Bildt became familiar with Strasbourg's CoE last year, when Sweden chaired the PanEuropean organization of Human Rights. As EU chairman-in-office, he will also chair the 27-member States strong EU Group inside the 47-member States strong CoE.

    Minister for EU affairs, Cecilia Malmstrom is well known at EU Parliament, where she has been an active MEP of the Liberal Group for many years, following also Press Freedom issues.

    Both have already made various statements at "EuroFora", on differend topical matters.

    ***

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