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Home arrow newsitems arrow CoE Assembly EPP+Socialist+Left Groups Chiefs Fischer+Nicoletti+Cox to EF on Chairman Agramunt row+

CoE Assembly EPP+Socialist+Left Groups Chiefs Fischer+Nicoletti+Cox to EF on Chairman Agramunt row+

Written by ACM
Friday, 28 April 2017
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*Strasbourg/CoE/+Brussels/EPP Summit/Angelo Marcopolo/- The sudden Big Row about CoE Assembly's President, Pedro Agramunt, (a ChristianDemocrat/EPP from Spain), Hotly Denounced by several Critics for a Hasty Trip to Syria, where he met President Assad, with the Help of Russian MEPs, accused to have Ommitted to previously Warn PACE's Bureau, etc., while, possibly, rushing to seize any opportunity to help Peace through Dialogue, (See also Infra, on Agramunt's initial Explanations), has now Reached Proportions withOut Any Precedent in History, on which the Presidents of the ChristianDemocrat/EPP, Socialist and Left Group of MEPs, Axel Fischer, Michele Nicoletti, and Tiny Cox, respectively, briefly but Topically spoke with "Eurofora":


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To put it in a nutshell :

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    President Agramunt, (after Initially providing a first Explanation to Critics, Earlier this week in Strasbourg), he did Not Participate, this Time, to an Exceptional Meeting of PACE's Bureau, due to Focus on againg Criticizing him, and, apparently, Left from CoE's Building, probably even from Strasbourg. According to PACE's Rules, there isn't any Legal means to Oblige him to do otherwise, Neither to eventually Resign.


    A PACE's Bureau Majority published a Critical Note against its President, Agramunt, calling to Strip him from many of his prerogatives, (f.ex. to Speak on Behalf of the Assembly, etc), and Elected its Senior Member, British Conservative MEP Sir Roger Gale in order to represent them, according to a Press Statement that he has just Read to Strasbourg's Journalists, including "Eurofora".

 

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   Lithuanian ChristianDemocrat/EPP MEP Egidijus Vareikis, observed that there were several Absents, as well as Critical MEPs who didn't understand why Agramunt would have, necessarily, to Resign, and noted the Fact that, according to PACE's Rules, a simple Majority inside the Bureau could Not Destitute an Elected PACE President.


   Center-Right French MEP Ponzo di Bongo expressed his Anger for, curiously, Not being Informed at all, about what really happened, by the out-going Chair of his National Delegation, MEP ... from the Socialist Party, (who appeared in a Hurry to immediately Phone somewhere).


   After an apparently Unconclusive meeting (with Many Absentees, as "Eurofora" witnessed on the spot) of PACE's Biggest Political Group : That of ChristianDemocrats/EPP, (Agramunt's Political Family), its President, German CDU MEP Axel Fischer, anounced to "Eurofora" and other Journalists present in Strasbourg, his intention to Travel to Brussels in order to Speak about that Agramunt issue with the President of the European ChristianDemocrat/EPP Party (which Federates together All National Center-Right ChristianDemocrats/EPP parties in all European Countries), the Experienced Joseph Daul.

 
epp_president_daul__agg_eurofora_400 


   Daul, speaking to "Eurofora", Afterwards in Brussels, at the Conclusion of an EPP Summit of Heads of State/Government, while locacious on various Other Topical Issues, on the Contrary, prefered Not to make yet Any Public Statement on Agramunt's case, but Told us that he, indeed, just Met with Fischer and they spoke about that matter. His momentaneous Silence might, perhaps, be due also to the Fact that, Exceptionally, the Spanish Prime Minister Rajoy wasn't present at that EPP Summit, while Daul himself, even if he was an Experienced former Chairman of EPP Group in EU Parliament, and Long-Time MEP of Strasbourg (CoE's Headquarters' City), nevertheless, had not a frequent opportunity to deal with CoE Assembly's Internal Affairs as such, (two Points obviously pleading for a Careful Approach of such a Delicate and UnPrecedented Issue).  


  Meanwhile, while already in Strasbourg, "Eurofora" had also a brief but Topical encounter with the President of the Socialist Group in CoE's Assembly, Italian MEP Michele Nicoletti, (who had just met also with Other Strasbourg's Journalists earlier, but obliged to decline for several others, from various CoE Member Countries, for exceptional reasons Independent of his free will).

 

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 Nicoletti told us, in substance, that his Group was among those who believed that Agramunt should Resign, but claimed that, in fact, this would be UnRelated to the existence or absence of a Political Will for Good Relations with Russia and for a Peace Deal in Syria, that his National Government in Italy, (including EU's High Representative for External Action, Federica Mongerini : originating from the Same Political Family as his own), reportedly supported. Indeed, Nicoletti prefered to Focus on matters of General Principle, particulalry as far as CoE Assembly's working methods are concerned, Criticizein mainly an alleged Lack of previous Warning of PACE's Bureau by Agramunt about his imminent Meeting with the Syrian President Assad, escorted by a Russian Delegation.


    Agramunt, (who had been, in fact, Accompagnied also by some Other PACE's Top MEPs, including, f.ex., the President of the Liberal Group, etc), had already presented his Excuses, for not being able to meet, Previously, with PACE's Bureau, and stressed, earlier this week in Strasbourg, that he visited Syria as part of a National Team from Spain, (where he is Senator), and had informed his Foreign Ministry. He did not felt personally responsible for any eventual exploitation that others might have done of his participation to that trip, while he was deeply Committed to the Need to Help Find a Peaceful Solution to the Syrian Conflict, through Political Dialogue, as a matter of General Principle. But, despite having briefly met him Earlier this week in Strasbourg, at a entirely Different occasion, "Eurofora" (and several Other Strasbourg's Journalists) had Not any opportunity to Timely and clearly know what, in fact, was PACE President Agramunt's real and full Version for what happened nowadays, the Criticism and Measures take by a Majority in PACE's Bureau.


    President Nicoletti, (who is also Expected, according to a usual Agreement between the Biggest PACE's Political Parties, to eventually take over PACE's Presidency since Next Year, from January 2018 : A Possibility the he did Not Deny, while also Avoiding to Confirm Now Explicitly, with a kind Smile), however told "Eurofora" that he "Understood" the personal Sorrow of Pedro Agramunt, (who due to Conclude his Mandate as PACE's President, normally, towards the End of this Year), and, at any case, would not have any objection for that Job to be, eventually, entrusted, in the MeanTime, to anOther Member of the ChristianDemocrat/EPP Group. But he Firmly Excluded any eventual Compromise that might imply for Agramunt to Stay Longer in PACE's Presidency now, as things stand.

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    + A priori, even more Surprizing appeared the Strong Criticism of Left Group's President, Tiny Cox from the Netherlands, who is, however, a frequent Ally to Russia's attempts to Explain its Position during PACE's various Debates, as well as traditionally against Militarist Interventions and Wars, but favorable, in Principle, to any attempts to find Peaceful Solutions to Conflicts : Indeed, speaking to "Eurofora", Cox Strongly Denounced mainly the (uncontested) Fact that Agramunt should Not have given any Impression (even Involuntary) to eventually Represent Officially CoE's Assembly in such a Controversial Top Political Meeting withOut Previously Informing PACE's Bureau, and Lacking its Previous Agreement.  

    [NDLR : UPDATE = New French President Emmanuel Macron's subsequent Statements in Brussels, about Accepting Syrian President Assad's role in a Desirable Peace Deal for the Future, were Not yet Known neither to Nicoletti, nor to Fischer or to Cox, when we spoke with them at the CoE in Strasbourg]


    In the MeanTime, "Eurofora" confirmed, in parallel, that an Exceptionally Important PACE's Draft Report on the most "Explosive" BioEthical Issue Nowadays, about Interventions on the Genome of Human Beings, (which, notoriously, can have Crucial Consequencies on all Humanity's Future), is Still on the Pipeline for a possible Public Debate and Vote of a Resolution by a PACE's Plenary, apparently Before the End of this Year (2017).


    Curiously, that "Hot" Report's preparation has been entrusted to a Socialist MEP from Belgium, whose Previous Drafts, on Various Other BioEthical Issues, had notoriously provoked Exceptional UpHeavals and Strong Reactions by Critics in the Recent Past, (Resulting, f.ex., in Referrals Back to Committee, and/or Votes of many Amendments radically Changing her Initial Draft, etc). And, usually, it was mainly (even if Not Only) the ChristianDemocrat/EPP Group of MEPs (i.e. Agramunt's Political Family) which freqently intervened in order to Rectify various eventually Dangerous Shortcomings, by such Controversial Drafts, inside CoE's Assembly.


    In such Contexts, normally, the successive Presidents of PACE's ChristianDemocrat/EPP Groups in CoE's History, (f.ex., among others, also Luc Van Der Brande, Lucca Volonté, Pedro Agramunt, etc), used to play an Important (even  if Discreet) Role in the Way that such "Hot" BioEthical Issues were Dealt with, already several Times in the Past, until recently.


    But, now, one among the Various Consequences of that UnPrecedented Row against Agramunt, (current PACE's President, and former ChristianDemocrat/EPP Group's President previously), is that it obviously may put such a Mechanism in Jeopardy : Only the forthcoming Future will tell...


  

 (../..)

 

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(NDLR : Partly UPDATED on 29 April 2017)

 

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    The recent paradox of freezing EU Talks with front-runner Croatia, while continuing controversial EU - Turkey talks, despite Zagreb's acceptance of Refugees' Human Rights to return, that Ankara refuses fex. in Cyprus, while both have "Good Neighborhood" problems vis a vis Slovenia, or Greece, Cyprus and Armenia respectively, can it be justified by the non-fullfilment of EU criteria, as Slovenia says, or, is it "Double Standards" ?    

The question became unavoidable after statements by Presidents of Slovenia and Croatia, Tuerk and Mesic, respectively, to "EuroFora", exclusively or among Strasbourg's journalists this week at the CoE, on the sidelines of its 2009 Summer University for Political Schools, which topically brought them together as successive key-note speakers.


    Comming only a few Months before EU checks Turkey's compliance to its commitments on Cyprus, etc., scheduled for December 2009, this obviously has a special importance for the coherence of EU Enlargement's principles.

     Suspension of EU Negotiations is a normal consequence in case of a Candidate Country's failure to fullfil EU Conditions, such as "Good Neighborhood relations", stressed at first Slovenian President Danilo Tuerk, current CoE's chair.

    But, regarding EU's Criteria,  there shouldn't be any "Double Standards",  reacted Croatian President Stjepan Mesic, commenting the fact that Turkey's controversial EU negotiations continue, while they were recently "freezed" in the case of Croatia, an "unquestionably European Country", which oficially accepts to respect Refugees Human Rights, contrary to Ankara's notorious refusals or reluctance.                                       

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                           - "EU itself has set as a Criterium (for EU Enlargement) the "Good Neighborhood relations",  and their absence justifies the "Suspension" EU Negotiations, (f.ex. with Croatia), because of a Border dispute affecting the territorial integrity of an EU Member Country, stressed Slovenian President, Danilo Tuerk, CoE's Chairman in office (May - November 2009), speaking to Journalists in Strasbourg including "EuroFora".    

Questioned earlier what "consequences on EU's Enlargement policy" can have the "Ban on EU Membership Negotiations", imposed to Croatia, Tuerk replied that "this question comes down to the fulfillement of (EU) Criteria for membership. One has to look at each Candidate Country ., from the point of view whether it fullfils the Criteria that EU has set. One of them are Good Neighborhood Relations, I'd like to remind. And also, there are other factors, such as Justice, Home affairs, Rule of Law, and others".


    - "Now, ..Candidate Countries are at Different Levels of fulfillement of Criteria", he observed.

    - " Croatia is obviously the closest to that. I'm rather optimistic : I think that in the coming Months we'll have an opportunity to look at all these issues constructively and hopefully we'll be able to make progress". "My main concern, at this point, is the situation in Bosnia : We haven't seen enough progres domesticaly. We haven't seen enough during ..political parties within their country.We need a New Energy, a new energetic move towards the Candidature for EU membership. "Other (Western Balkan) Countries (Serbia, Montenegro, FYROM, Albania) have been making soaring Progress, and I think that they should be ready, in a few Years, for the Candidate status".

    - "As far as the Western Balkans are concerned, .. nobody should be left outside" the EU, Slovenian's President concluded, ommitting to mention Turkey's controversial EU bid.

    - "This process may be seen as Slow, but..  Slovenia has also has also been exposed to various "Booms of Slowness" in our accession period. But now we can say that the process was relatively quick, because changes which occur after becoming EU member, are quite large, and they require proper Preparations before the (EU) membership becomes a new factor, an impacting line for a new (EU) member country".
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EU "Solidarity" ?
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Slovenian statements made some participants from certain 3rd Countries as FYROM, etc. claim that "the Principle of EU Solidarity" would "produce a.. rising European Union Nationalism (sic !), against Non-EU Countries", as they said, asking unhappy foreign countries to form a "bloc" to exert pressure on the EU...    

But Croatian President Stjepan Mesic dismissed that, supporting "EU Integration", "after the Economy also in Political" issues, as "the achievement" of our times. In EU there is "diversity, but it's United", he stressed, "EU has to be United so that it can become a central factor of Peace" also at the surrounding areas, he replied.

croatian_president_mesic_ 

Speaking later exclusively to "EuroFora", the experienced twice President of Croatia, former President of the International "Non-Aligned" movement, denounced "Double Standards" in the way EU treats recently Croatia compared to Turkey :   

 - "I think that there shouldn't be Double Standards", stressed the Croatian President, in reply to a Question comparing the freeze of EU - Croatia talks, with the continuation of EU - Turkey talks, despite the fact that Croatia is an "unquestionably European country", while Turkey's EU bid is notoriously controversial.


    Mesic was reacting to the observation that, even if he confirmed his "respect of Refugees' Human Rights to return, etc. (See infra), nevertheless, EU talks are suspended with Croatia.. While for oher, controversial candidates, who refuse to respect Refugees' Rights to return, etc., as fex. Turkey does in occupied Cyprus and elsewhere, EU negotiations continue".

    - "I believe that Croatia's accession will confirm that all European Countries who fulfill all of the Conditions and achieve European Standards, have to join the EU. There shouldn't be any Double Standards", went on to add in reply President Mesic.

    In this relation, Croatia's President found "of paramount importance", CoE's "mechanisms enforcing ECHR's judgements"
    
    - "On Refugees and Displaced persons, the process will be completed only after the last person demanding to return will be allowed to do so !", President Mesic Croatia stressed earlier, setting a general standard of obvious importance also for otherr candidates, as f.ex. Turkey, often accused to exclude or heavily restrict Greek Cypriot Displaced persons' return to their Family Homes and ancestral land, provoke difficulties to Turkish-Kurd IDPs return to their home regions at the South-East, etc.

    Some "2.000 People are still reported Missing" in former Yugoslavia, for some Years, (as in Cyprus, modern Europe's oldest case, for 3 Decades. Nagorno-Karabach, Tcecnya in Russia, etc, more recently), and Investigations "will only be completed after establishing the fate of the last one of them", he added.
    
    Speaking earlier on "War Crimes", President Mesic stressed that "Leaders are responsible for (the) Wars (of the Past), not the People", and called against Impunity :  "Individuals have to be held Responsible for Crimes. International Penal Tribunals have to persecute those individuals", perpetrators of War Crimes, he underlined.

    Such statements naturally made Mesic rather popular at ECHR, whose President, French EuroJudge, Professor Jean-Paul Costa, looked particularly smiling when he welcomed him later on Wednesday afternoon, after Slovenian President Daniko Tuerk earlier this week.
           

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