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Home arrow newsitems arrow PACE President Brasseur to EuroFora on Ukraine, after Pope Francis urged CoE to act for Peace +

PACE President Brasseur to EuroFora on Ukraine, after Pope Francis urged CoE to act for Peace +

Written by ACM
Tuesday, 25 November 2014
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*Strasbourg/CoE/Angelo Marcopolo/- Speaking to "EuroFora" shortly after Pope Francis' speech at the PanEuropean Organisation of Strasbourg, who focused on urging CoE to act for Peace, mainly via its action on Democracy, Human Rights and Rule of Law, the President of CoE's Assembly (PACE), Anne Brasseur from Luxembourg, who had welcomed the Holy Father, earlier this afternoon, on behalf of all the Organization, was adamant, and crystal clear :

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Agreeing with "EuroFora" on the fact that Pope Francis repeatedly asked from the CoE to play a key role in the preservation and/or re-establishment of Peace throughout its 47 Member States, (which include Ukraine, Russia, Azerbaijan, and even Turkey, etc, as well as "Partners" as Morocco, etc, and "Observers" as the USA, Japan, even Mexico, etc), and, therefore, pointed at the Responsibility particularly of PACE, as the only Political Body of the COE which can move on General Issues of that magnitude without prior State authorisation, and able to host Pluralist Debates and Views, Brasseur sharply reacted by replying that - "I've never shyed away from my Responsibilities ! ", as she told us, smiling, but determined.


Significantly, she said that almost 1 Month before the expected Return of the Russian Delegation to CoE's Parliamentary Assembly, on January 2015, for the first time since it was striped not only from its Voting Rights (as PACE's "Monitoring" Committee had initially proposed), but even of its right to Participate in PACE's Leading organs, back on April 2014, by a Minority-pushed, additional last-minute Amendment which curiously found its way into a Recommendation voted in the absence of Russian and other MEPs, (Comp. : .......). This had as a result to make all Russian MEPs exceptionaly abstain from any individual or collective participation to PACE's activities.
Most regretably, this occured all over the most Crucial Period of the still on-going Deadly Conflict at Eastern Ukraine's Donetsk and Luhansk Autonomist Regions, which notoriously faced fierce, Deadly and Destructive Military Attacks from Kiev's Army, even with Heavy Weapons, (such as Missiles, Tanks, Military Helicopters, Bombing Airplanes, etc), killing too many innocent Civilian People, (including Elders, Women, and even Children), and/or almost systematicaly Destroying  vital Infrastructures, such as Water, Electricity and/or Telecommunications Networks, Administrative Buildings, many Schools, even Hospitals, etc, in addition to numerous Family Homes, resulting in an important flow of Refugees/IDPs and threatening to provoke a Humanitarian Catastrophe.  I.e. precisely when CoE Assembly's possible Peace-maker role, or at least helpful to broker some partial Compromises, and/or to respect certain basic Principles, (f.ex. protection of Human Lives, of Journalists, etc), was badly needed...                       


=> This gave an even more than initially expected Opportunity to Vienna-based Trans-Atlantic OSCE Organisation, strong of 57 Member States, including both Russia and the USA, etc), artfuly guided by an active Swiss Chairmanship led by Foreign Minister Switzerland's President Didier Burkhalter during 2014, to start playing a more and more Important role in Peace-making and Peace-keeping related Operations on the spot, going all the way long from Borders-Monitoring, Prisoners-exchanges, etc., up to Cease-Fire Keeping Operations, which culminated recently, with a September 2014 Agreement for Sustainable Cease-Fire and a partial road-map towards beginning a negotiating  Peace Process, to which was later added also an October 2014 more detailed "Protocol", etc.) at Minsk.


Only by discreetly and slowly Supervising any "Investigations" on certain particularly Serious Human Rights Violations, including, especially, the non-elucidated yet Deadly incident of "Snipers" reportedly Killing both Demonstrators and Policemen, by bullets shot at their Heads, at the Maidan square, back on 21 February 2014, which notoriously provoked a Violent and Bloody Clash that Toppled an Agreement signed by then President Yanukovich and all the Opposition Leaders, under the auspices of 2 EU Countries Foreign Ministers from France, Germany and Poland, resulting in what the Russian-speaking Minority of the country and others denounced as a "Putch", as well as the Horrible, May 2, Odessa Massacre of some 50 pro-Russian Demonstrators, who were Brutaly Aggressed, obliged to flee, and atrociously Burned Alive, by unpunished yet, Massive Attacks of Para-Military Groups by pro-Kiev Extremists, (as several Videos and Photos clearly attest), an International High-Level Panel, established by COE's Secretary General Thornbjorn Jagland, reportedly still tries to bring, even with long Delays, some necessary Light on some among the most Grave Ukraine incidents against Civilian People, which played a Crucial Role on the Conflict, (the 1st by Excluding a Peaceful, Comromise Agreement, able to keep the Unity of the Country, and the 2nd by inevitably giving the Impression to the Russian-culture Minority that any Peaceful protests would be brutaly crushed with unpunished Deadly Aggressions, as in Odessa, unless they seek to defend themselves and their own Cities with arms - precisely as they were pushed to do, after a May 11 Popular Referendum for Autonomy)...


In the Mean-time, it was, indeed, at least frustrating, from the viewpoint of Strasbourg's PanEuropean Organisation for Human Rights, Democracy and Rule of Law, to see even several Journalists being Arrested, brutaly Humiliated even in front of Cameras, and/or Shot and Wounded or even Killed at Eastern Ukraine, without any immediate reaction by the CoE, contrary to OSCE's and some International Human Rights' NGO's vibrant protests and/or condemnations from Vienna, London or New York and elsewhere...


It's true that, at least, COE's PanEuropean Commissioner on Human Rights, Nils Muiznieks, visited and inspected mainly internaly Displaced Persons from the Bloody Conflict in Eastern Ukraine, (Comp. f.ex. Muiznieks' Statements to "EuroFora", already as early as since End June 2014 : .... ), while also CoE's "Venice" Commission finaly managed to check, even with Delay, the crucial Draft Constitutional Reforms promised by Ukranian President Poroshenko as a key-element in his "Peaceful Plan" for a proposed Solution, at last on October 2014 in Rome, and that even CoE Assembly President Brasseur, hershelf, tried to have some Top-level Contacts, particularly with Russian Duma's President Naryshkin, initially in Paris, on September 2014, and recently in Moscow, on November 2014, while a PACE's Repporteur on the Humanitarian Crisis in Eastern Ukraine managed to visit recenty, but without having a real possibility to fully use PACE's mechanisms for substantial Politica Dialogue, nor real attempts for Compromise brokering, at least as long as that exceptionaly prolonged Absence of all Russian MEPs persisted until now..


- "If some believe that they might settle any important issue (particularly on Ukraine) without Russia, let them try !..", had already Warned "EuroFora", with a Bitter Smile, the Head of the Russian Delegation to CoE's Assembly, President of Duma's Foreign Affairs Committee, Aleksay Pyshkov, while sadly saluting and collectively leaving away from the CoE, immediately after that Controversial Vote on Heavier than initially expected Sanctions against all Russian MEPs, back on April 2014, (i.e. just a few Days before, at first some Armed Extremists, and afterwords all Kiev's Military, started Deadly Attacks against the Autonomist Regions of Lugansk/Luhansk, where the number of People Killed, including many Civilians, risks now to overcome, according to UN data, the 4.500 Dead).
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    - However, despite, or, may be, on the contrary, because of these Tragic recent Developments, Pope Francis chose, Today, to hail the CoE, from the outset of his Speech, for his "Contribution to Peace in Europe through the promotion of Democracy, Human rights and the rule of Law", while also reminding that, "10 Years before the Treaty instituting the CoE was signed in London" , back on 1949, "there broke out the Most Lethal and Destructive Conflict in the Memory of these lands", (the 2nd WW), atter which, "the Divisions it created long Continued, as the so-called "Iron Curtain" split the continent into 2, from the Baltic Sea to the Gulf of Trieste".


    - "The Dream of the Founders", i.e. "to rebuild Europe in a spirit of Mutual Service",   "Today too, ... Must be the Cornerstone of COE's Mission on behalf of Peace, Freedom and Human Dignity", he stressed, while also noting that "the royal Road to Peace – and to Avoiding a repetition of what occurred in the 2 World Wars of the last century – is to see Others Not as Enemies to be Opposed, but as Brothers and sisters to be Embraced", as he said.


    - "This entails an Ongoing Process which may never be considered fully completed. .. Peace ...must Continually be attained, ...(and) calls for Constant Vigilance. ...Wars arise from the effort to Occupy spaces, to Crystallize ongoing processes, and to attempt to Halt them. Instead, ... Peace, ...can be achieved only when we are Constantly Open to Initiating Processes and carrying them Forward". Indeed, "Building Peace calls ...to ...Generate New Processes in Society and engage other persons and groups, ...to the point where they bear Fruit in Significant Historical Events", he highlighted. "That is why the Founders established this body (CoE) as a Permanent Institution, a,d "Pope Paul VI, several years later,.... observed that “the Institutions which ...in International Society have the Task ...of proclaiming and preserving Peace, will attain their lofty goal only if they remain Continually Active, if they are capable of Creating Peace, making peace, at Every Moment”, without any Interruption.


    - "It is true that Conflict cannot be ignored or concealed; it has to be Faced. But if it Paralyzes us, we Lose perspective, our horizons shrink and ....when we fail to move forward in a situation of conflict, ....we become Enmeshed in Useless Disputes". - "Tragically, Peace continues all too often to be Violated. This is the case in so many parts of the World, where Conflicts of various sorts Continue to fester", he Warned


    >>> -  But, still Today, "It is also the case here in Europe, where Tensions continue to exist. How great a toll of Suffering and Death is still being exacted on This Continent (Europe), which ....so easily Falls Back into the temptations of the Past ! That is why the Efforts of the CoE to seek a Political Solution to current Crises is so Significant", Pope Francis pointed out, (obviously making a reference to the Eastern Ukraine Crisis).
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    + Moreover, "what is called for, is a Constant work of Humanization, for “it is Not Enough to Contain Wars, to Suspend Conflicts… An Imposed Peace, a utilitarian and Provisional Peace, is Not Enough. Progress must be made towards a Peace which is Loved, Free and Fraternal, founded... on a Reconciliation of Hearts”", Pope Francis added, asking for "Clear Convictions and tenacity".


    - Because, "Peace is Not merely the Absence of War, conflicts and tensions. In the Christian vision, peace is at once a Gift of God, and the Fruit of free and reasonable human Acts aimed at pursuing the Common Good in Truth and Love. “...a conscientious Decision ...to Seek Harmony, ... with respect for Justice for everyone”, he stressed, (obviously condemning Impunity of serious Crimes).


    -  "How then do we pursue the ambitious Goal of Peace? The Path chosen by the CoE is, above all, that of promoting Human Rights, together with the growth of Democracy and the rule of Law. This is a particularly Valuable undertaking, with significant Ethical and Social Implications", Pope Francis stressed.


    - In other words, "in order to Progress towards the Future, we Need the Past, we need Profound Roots. We also need the Courage not to flee from the Present and its Challenges. We need Memory, Courage, a sound and Humane Utopian Vision", as he characteristicaly said. - "The Roots are nourished by Truth, which is the sustenance, the vital lymph, of any Society which would be truly Free, Human and Fraternal. On the other hand, Truth appeals to Conscience, which ... gives rise to Fundamental Decisions guided by the pursuit of the Good, ...it is itself the locus of Responsible Freedom".


    - But, "the concept of Human Rights" should have "an ...Universal import", and Not "be replaced by an Individualistic" or "Subjectivistic conception of Rights", which "leads to a .. Lack of Concern for Others and favours ...Indifference born of Selfishness, .. a man Incapable of embracing the Truth, and living an Authentic Social dimension. This kind of Individualism leads to human Impoverishment and cultural Aridity, since it ...Cuts off the nourishing Roots on which the Tree Grows. Indifferent individualism leads to the cult of Opulence reflected in the Throwaway Culture", with "a surfeit of Unnecessary things, but ...No longer have the Capacity to build Authentic Human Relationships marked by Truth and mutual Respect", he denounced.


    - In this regard, "we can put the Question to Europe : “...Where is that Idealism, which inspired and ennobled your History? .....Where is your Thirst for Truth...? The Future of the continent will Depend on the Answer to these questions. ...., a trunk without roots can continue to have the appearance of life, even as it grows hollow within and eventually die"; Therefore, "Europe should reflect on whether its immense (Human, artistic, technical, social, political, economic and religious) Patrimony,  is simply an artefact of the Past,  or whether it is Still capable of Inspiring ?".


    - "In providing an Answer to this question, the COE ...has a role of primary Importance" : => - "I think particularly of the role of the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR), which ... represents the Conscience of Europe with regard to those Rights. I ...hope that this Conscience will Continue to mature, ...as the result of Efforts to Build on those "Deep Roots" which were the Bases (for) the Founders of contemporary Europe. These Roots need to be Sought, Found and Maintained,...for they represent the genetic Patrimony of Europe", as he said.

 

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    + "At the same time, there are Present Challenges facing the continent. These summon us to ....Creativity, in ensuring that the roots Continue to bear Fruit Today, and in the realization of our Vision for the Future", as Pope Francis went on to add for the PanEuropean CoE, with 47 Member States, including Turkey, Azerbaijan, and with "Observers" as the USA, Japan, Canada and even Mexico, etc., recently starting to seek permanent "Partners" among various Neighbouring Countries going from Morroco, up to Kirghistan, etc., i.e. ambitioning to cover a so Vast Space area, that "Multi-Polarity" and "Dialogue" among various Cultures, are a must, as he stressed afterwards.

 

 (../..)

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 sarko_merkel_mieux

The official presentation of a "Program" respecting People's choices voted in the June 7, 2009 EU Elections, to be debated in EU Council and EU Parliament during its 1st Session on July in Strasbourg, is the No 1 Priority, according to Democratic principles, for the Franco-German axis, said the main winners at the ballot box, French President Nicolas Sarkozy and German Chancellor Angie Merkel.

They stressed  that the New EU Commission's President must have a "Program" in favor of an EU which "protects" its Citizens, regulates financial markets and aims at a "Political" Europe" : a wording they have used as incompatible with Turkey's controversial EU bid.

They also declared ready for a "political" endorsment of "Mr. Barroso's candidacy" in June's EU Council, considering that an official decision would have to be made after EU Parliament's debates and votes, possibly from next month (July), with the legally necessary final acceptance shortly after Lisbon Treaty's entry into force, hoped for September or October.


- "A Program, and Mr. Barroso" : This resumes, in substance, the anouncements made by Sarkozy and Merkel, on the question of current EU Commission's President, Barroso's declared wish to succeed to himself for a second mandate, to be extended during the following 5 years.

 In their 1st meeting after EU Elections, they observed that "the Franco-German axis counted in European Elections' campaign... But, we both keep a realistic view : We saw the number of those who abstained, and we must absolutely give them an answer. We also see the disilusionment of an important number of Europeans vis a vis Europe, and we are aware of the responsibilities we have".

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 - The "Duty" of the new EU Commission's President, after June 7, 2009 EU Elections' result, "is to act for a Europe which protects the Europeans, to commit himself into working for a better Regulation of Financial transactions, ... and to have a Political will for Europe", underlined Sarkozy.

Therefore, "we have asked M. Barroso... to clarify, to officialy present the intentions he has", he anounced.

- "We want to speak also about the Programme", explained Merkel.

- "It's important that for the next EU Parliament's mandate (2009-2014) we take the right Decisions for Europe.  Obviously on Persons, but mainly Decisions on Issues", she stressed.

- "It's not simply a question of a Person, it's also a question of a Programme". We are "really asking Mr. Barroso to commit himself on a Program, and on Principles, on Values", Sarkozy added.

EU President-in-office, Czech Prime Minister Jan Fischer, accepted the Franco-German stance :

- "Barroso must present his Programme. The Czech Presidency agrees with that", Fischer reportedly said later, after meeting Sarkozy.

But Press reports from Brussels claimed that Barroso had preferred to be officially appointed by EU Council since June, (i.e. next week), "because this was implied by the current Treaty of Nice, according to him", and considered any delay until the possible ratification of the new, Lisbon Treaty on September/October, as "undemocratic".

- "At any case, independently of what Germany and France ask, it's also EU Parliament's wish". "We shall propose Mr Barroso's candidacy... But even in the framework of Nice Treaty, EU Parliament has to be associated in this Decision", the French President observed.

If this is correctly done, then "we support Mr. Barroso's candidature", and "if the (EU) Parliament agrees, we might ratify this decision since July", (i.e. next month), they both said.

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- "France and Germany support Baroso's candidacy, But we want to speak also on the Program. We believe that this Program should be established in close cooperation with EU Parliament, and that's why we have followed an appropriate way", said Merkel.  - If EU Parliament wants, this election can take place on July,  but this must be done in full agreement.

- "We shall support Mr. Barroso's candidacy, without doubt", said Sarkozy. "But we have asked from Mr. Barroso, as I told him yesterday, to put into detail.. his intentions, at the eve of his 2nd mandate, if the situation avails itself.


    France and Germany "don't want to take an Official Legal Decision by writting" during "the next (EU) Council" (on June 18-19), declared Sarkozy.  Because they prefer, at this stage, only "a Political decision" on June, "so that we (EU Council) can work together with EU Parliament", which starts to meet only Next Month, since July in Srasbourg, "leaving a Legal decision by writting for later".

    - "If the Conditions are fuillfiled in EU Parliament, we (EU Council) are ready to give the agreement and make it offficial", said Merkel

    - "But, now we are working in the base of Nice Treaty. If tommorow we want to work in the spirit of Lisbon Treaty, we have to find a proper way", she added.

    - "Of course it's Legally complicated, because we are going to make a Political proposal to the forthcoming Council, for an EU Commission's President, on the basis of Nice Treaty : So, we (EU Council) will not appoint the Commissioners. Only the President.  If EU Parliament agrees, it could endorse this position on July", explained Sarkozy.

    But, on Autumn, "if Ireland ratifies Lisbon Treaty, there will be, at any case, a 2nd Decision, to appoint the Commission's President, this time on the basis of Lisbon treaty, and then, we, the EU Member States, would have to appoint (also) the EU Commissioners", he added.

    As for the precise Timing :  - "Everything is suspended until the Irish vote... Now, we must all make everything possible to help Ireland to say "Yes"" to Lisbon Treaty... The Irish Referendum, ..will take place either on September or on October. It's a Question which depends on the Irish. And,  then, we shall have the Choice of the Candidates for the permanent Institutions of Europe".

    However, "if Ireland says No, we, French and Germans, have to assume our responsibilities, and we'll do so", he concluded.

    But British and Swedish governments were reportedly eager to have a final EU Council decision on Barroso since this month, on June's European Council. While the other EU Member Countries are divided, several of them preferring to wait until EU Parliament pronounces itself, on July, and/or until Lisbon Treaty might be ratified by Ireland at the beginning of the Autumn. Barroso's current mandate ends on November.

    There are also various, contradictory and/or unpredictable reactions inside EU Parliament vis a vis Barroso's wish to continue a 2nd mandate, because many MEPs are openly or secretly opposed, reluctant, or hesitating.

    In the biggest EU Countries, as France and Germany, EU Citizens voted on June 2009 EU Elections for a renovated, non-technocratic but Political Europe which cares for its Citizens, with an Identity, Values and Borders, declared incompatible with Turkey's controversial EU bid, by mainstream, pro-European Governing Parties. Similar choices were also supported in several other small or medium EU Countries.

    On the contrary, whenever, in other Countries, Governing and other mainstream Parties didn't make these choices or eluded them, EU Citizens massively voted for euro-Sceptics whenever they were the only ones to to promise anti-bureacratic change and oppose Turkey's demand to enter into the EU, (f.ex. in the UK, Netherlands, etc).

    It's seems to be an Open Question whether Sarkozy and Merkel's conditions will be really accepted by Barroso, who was appointed on 2004 in a different political context, (with Socialist Prime Ministers in Germany, France, etc), had rejected in the Past the idea of EU becoming "equal to the USA" as "ridiculous", and pushed for Turkey's contoversial EU bid, trying to "soften" or contain the changes desired by the People who voted for Merkel and Sarkozy with another policy vis a vis Turkey on 2005 in Germany and on 2007 in France, as they did all over Europe on 2009.

    In addition to many EPP Governments, it's 3 remaining Socialist Prime Ministers : Gordon Brown in the UK, Zapatero in Spain, and Socrates in Prortugal, who support Barroso, as well as Liberal Swedish Prime Minister Reinfeldt. But their Parties lost the June 2009 EU Elections.

    Questioned whether there was still "Time" for "other" possible "Candidates", Sarkozy and Merkel did not deny, nor made any comment on that, but simply said that "it's not for us to make publicity for any candidates. We anounced our choice ("A Program, and Mr. Barroso"). But we respect any other candidate".

    Among various other names cited are former Belgian Prime Minister Verhofstadt, former UNO's Human Rights Commissioner Mary Robinson of Ireland, Italian former EU Commission's vice-President Monti, etc. Meanwhile, Luxembourg's PM Juncker, (who had been unanimously accepted by EU Council for EU Commission's Presidency on 2004, but refused), announced his intention to resign from "EuroGroup"'s Chair. Thus, he might be available for another Top EU job.

    As "EuroFora"'s "opinion" said (See publication dated 9/6/09) : - "If the current candidates (i.e. Barroso, etc) to the Top EU jobs promise and guarantee to respect People's democratic choices, then, it's OK".

"Otherwise, Europe must find new candidates, really motivated and able to implement these democratic choices of the People."

    Because, "in Democracy, the forthcoming choices for EU's Top Jobs,...should be made according to EU Citizens' Votes in June 7, 2009 European Elections, and main EU Governments' strategic policies".
        

***

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