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Αρχική arrow newsitems arrow Top MEP for Non-Orchestrated "Dialogue" with Citizens Applauded, But the Word Lacks in EP Resolution

Top MEP for Non-Orchestrated "Dialogue" with Citizens Applauded, But the Word Lacks in EP Resolution

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Wednesday, 17 June 2020

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*Strasbourg/Angelo Marcopolo/- In an  EU Parliament's Draft Resolution on the Conference for Europe's Future (2020-2021+), which was just Debated in Brussels, and Largely Voted via the Web, a Top Mainstream MEP was Lively Applauded when she Vowed for a "Non-Orchestrated Dialogue with Citizens", Contrary to some Critics' Claims.

But it's also a Fact that, curiously, Even the Word "Dialogue", Now Lacks, in an Otherwise, apparently, quite Fair Text, (Despite of somme Vague References to that, by a Previous, January 2020 Resolution, adopted in Strasbourg, on which "Eurofora" has Widely Reported : See http://www.eurofora.net/newsflashes/news/euparliamentoncitizensforeufuture.html, etc).

Instead, Now, the New Text speaks just for EU Council's "Commitment to a Meaningfull Follow up", and a "Meaningfull Direct Involvement of Citizens", (which goes Towards a Good Direction, But it's Not the Same thing : See Ibid)...

- It's in this Context that German Rightist MEP Gunner Beck (ID Group), suddenly Criticized what he Called an "Orchestrated Citizens' Dialogue, Organized by pro-EU NGOs", which would provoke "an Excessive Gag", and  End in "a Catastrophe !", as he Warned.   

- Immediately, experienced, Twice ReElected 1st vice-President of EU Parliament, Mairead McGuinness, a ChristianDemocrat/EPP MEP from Ireland, (for McGuinness' Statements to "Eurofora", See, f.ex.: http://www.eurofora.net/newsflashes/news/lightin2017.html , etc) Strongly Vowed that "there will be No <<Orchestrated>> Dialogue with Citizens !".

- "We HaveN't Orchestrated such a Dialogue", and "we'll Never Orchestrate Dialogue !", she promised. On the Contrary, "We" sincerely "Want to Engage with Our Citizens !", McGuinness Urged.

=> Loud, Enthousiastic Applaudisssments followed her Intervention, on that Obviously Key Point, accross a quite Wide Political Spectrum, including, f.ex., Both ChristianDemocrats/EPP, Liberals + "Green" and Other MEPs...

+ McGuinness' main stance appeared Strongly Backed also by several Key Points at EU Parliament's Resolution, which, f.ex., "Stress" that "the Direct Engagement of Citizens ... Must remain a Priority of the Conference", "so as to Build a More Democratic, more Effective and more Resilient Union, Together with All EU Citizens", as well as "to Keep the Scope of the Conference OPEN to ALL POSSIBLE OUTCOMES", ("including ...Treaty Change"), etc.

But, at the Same Moment, that Resolution Added, too, the "Engagement of ...civil society Organisations, social Partners, and Elected representatives", (Other than MEPs), etc.

And things had Earlier appeared somewhat Gray, (in Relation with Beck's Criticism : Comp. Supra), when EU Comission's Vice-President in charge, Dubravka Suica, had Concluded her Introductory Intervention by pointing at:  -"Involving Citizens and Civil Society Even More", ... - withOut making it Clear Whether that "Even More" Pointed at "Civil Society" (i.e. NGOs), or "Citizens and Civil Society", according to Where one puts the Comma (or not), and/or the Emphasis...

However, Suica Obviously Tried to Rectify that in her 2nd and Final Intervention, while Replying to MEPs After the Debate, where ...Any Mention to "Civil Society" or "NGO"s, etc., was Skiped, Prefering to Focus, Instead, Exclusively on "Citizens" Alone, from Now on :

 - F.ex. in order to stress EU Commission's ", Determination to Engage with Citizens and Ensure their Voice is Heard". And that "a Key message from me Today is that (it) remains Crucial". "In fact, ...Because of the Pandemic, it is Now More Important than ever before", that "European Citizens should have Greater Say on what the Union does and how it works for them". Moreover, "the Conference should Allow Citizens to Focus on What They Consider to be Important". Even "Ideas found in Local Discussions can be meaningfully Discussed at European level", she interestingly proposed. Meanwhile, "the Conference on the Future of Europe must be Representative of Geography, Gender, Age, SocioEconomic background and level of Education of Citizens", as well as "inclusive of Minority populations". And "it is Important to keep an Open Mind" : "We should Not PreDetermine the Outcome, or Restrict the Issues for Discussion", she reminded. So that "We have the Potential ...for a New Type of Politics, for a New Dynamic", due "to Complement Representative Democracy", and make it "a real Success for our Citizens", Suica Highlighted.

+ Adding Even the "D" Word for the 1st Time Today, EU Commission's Vice-President also Stressed that "We (EU)want the Conference (on Europe's Future) to be an Open, Inclusive, Transparent and Structured Debate".

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But it's, However, a Fact that this EU Parliament's Resolution of June 2020 in Brussels, does Not even Mention, Anywhere, the Word "Debate" ! Contrary to a Previous one, of January 2020 in Strasbourg, which, at least, had included some Vague References to it... (See: ....).

+ Moreover, the Way that Suica Uses the Word "Dialogue with Citizens" appears to be quite Laxist, Vague, Superfluous, InAccurate, even UnJustified and/or MisLeading, at any case withOut Any Relation to its Fundamental Political Meaning :

- F.ex., at one point, she Boasts to have "Already held Many (sic !) Dialogues with Citizens" hershelf ! But, Most Engaged EU Citizens having ...Never Heard about her so-called "Dialogues", they should Not really Exist... Since a Real "EU Dialogue with the Citizens" would Basically Mean that All People had been Informed, and could Freely Participate, If and When they Wanted, in a Fully Transparent Way, with a Rigorous Democratic Dialectic, Monitored by really Indepenent Observers, according to the Standards Required by Public Authorities, and leading to Published Results. ... Otherwise, it's just a kind of Private Chat, with Only a Few Individuals, Arbitrarily Chosen, God knows how, for a kind of Idle-Talk, withOut Any Consequence...

- At anOther Moment Today, she Even went as Far as to Speak Also (at this Same EU Parliament's Debate) about ..."Dialogues AMONG Citizens" (sic !)...  

- Last, but not least : Suica Also Pointed at some "Examples of ...Citizens ...involved in Decision-Making processes", while "getting the FeedBack Mechanism will be Key" and "the Most Important thing", "for the Conference on the Future of Europe", as she stressed.

However, Real Dialogues with Citizens are Not Only meant to Serve as such "FeedBack Mechanisms" Towards Public Administrations, (i.e. a Simple, Classic Consultation), But Also ...to Get Feedback FROM Public Authorities, on People's positions, expressed in such Dialogues, (in a New Kind of Modern Democratic Exchange)...      

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

=> Therefore, the current Lack of Explicit, Fully-Fledged, and Crystal-Clear Reference to Citizens' Dialogue with Public Authorities, (Comp. Supra), canNot be really Compensated just with a few oral or other, Random Verbal Tricks, too often Superficial, (RegardLess of how "Positive" thay Might Seem at First Sight), But Needs Serious and UnEquivocal Handing.  

Probably, the Surprizing Concision (and even Total Silence on this Point) of EU Parliament's Resolution, this June 2020 at Brussels, on Europe's Future Conference, compared to the very much More Extensive, January 2020 Resolution in Strasbourg, (Comp. Supra), could be Due to the Current Need to Urgently Overcome some alleged DisAgreements yet, inside EU Council, on the Conference for Europe's Future :

- Indeed, "Some of the StakeHolders have Far-Reaching Ambitions", while "Member States approach" this "New Project" "with Different Ideas, Views, Experiences and Priorities", so that, "in any case, we are Seeking Consensus", as the out-going EU Presidency by Croatia told MEPs Today, represented by Minister Nikolina Brnjac, (shortly Before Germany takes over for the Period of July-December 2020).

=> So that, for Many, Nowadays the Priority number 1 was to Convince the EU Council, (after having Postponed once that Europe's Future Conference on May 2020, Because of the Virus), to Start, at last, "asap in Autumn 2020".    

                                                                                             

- Since EU "should enable an Open Forum for Discussion, among Different Participants, withOut a PreDetermined Outcome", then, "the common Agreement of the 3 Institutions (EU Council, Parliament, Commission) should therefore Only concern the Format and 0rganisation of the Conference", observes the Resolution.

- Otherwise, "let’s be Honest, it Becomes more and more like ...the Monster of Loch Ness (sic !). From time to time it Appears, then it Disappears, it is more like an Illusion, like a Fantasy", Denounced the Experienced former Prime Minister of Belgium, Guy Verhofstadt, speaking on behalf of the Liberal ("ReNew") Group.

- But, "We Must Avoid that", Because "this is Serious Business" : "This Conference is Vital, it is Crucial for the Future" and the Necessary Changes of which, even "this Covid Crisis is another Illustration", also GeoPolitically, he Warned, Urging for EU to Change, in order to Prevent being "Stuck Between USA and China", as "this EU is Not Fit for purpose", and "Our Citizens Know" that "We Need anOther EU".  

- "I hear in the Council that the Conference has become a bit of a running Joke, a running Gag (sic !)". But "I think this House (Parliament) has made it very clear that Citizen Participation is Not a Joke, that meaningful Reform of the Union is not a joke, and that coming Out of this Crisis Stronger and more United is not a joke", stressed also, on behalf of the "Green" Group, German MEP Daniel Freund.

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

=> EU Citizens' Participation in Decision-Making notoriously being the Most Original aspect of this Forthcoming Conference for Europe's Future 2020-2021+, it shouldN't remain also its More Shady area... *

>>> At any case, Today's Votes at EU Parliament proved that Representatives from practically ALL Political Groups, (Including Old "Conservative" Krasnodębski from Poland, who Urged for "EU to Become Again More European", and ChristianDemocrat/EPP Van Dalen, as well as Young "Green" Freund, mainstream Socialists, "ReNew"'s Liberals, as well as "ID" Rightists and Leftists, even Many "NI", etc), Exceptionaly found a Common Ground, at least, by Surprizingly forming an Absolute Majority of 386 MEPs, to Support or Abstain (247 + 139 respectively) Instead of Refusing (a Minority of Only 300 MEPs), a quite Symbolic Amendment which Mainly asked that, at the Conference on Europe's Future,  "No Solutions are Excluded a priori"...


(../..)

("Draft-News")

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    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.
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    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.
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The precise Text :
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    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".

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Each MEP's vote will be registered !

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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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