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Home arrow newsitems arrow CoE Democratic Participation Director Gruden +European Landscape CEO Pons to EF: Key area, But=More!

CoE Democratic Participation Director Gruden +European Landscape CEO Pons to EF: Key area, But=More!

Written by ACM
Tuesday, 07 May 2019

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*Strasbourg/CoE/Angelo Marcopolo/- As Switzerland prepares to host, on its exciting Mountains, a landmark PanEuropean Conference for the 20th Anniversary of CoE's Convention on Landscapes (Natural and Cultural : 2000-2020), under a probably "spicy" Presidency by Hungary's Victor Orban, accused by some to be "populist", while certainly being Popular and dynamic, it's rather on the Key role of Citizens to safeguard and/or develop their surrounding Evironment that CoE may focus, from now on.

It includes several aspects of "Eurofora"s 1997-2019 Project to develop, more generally, Citizens' appropriate Dialogue with Public Authorities Before important Decisions are taken which Affect their Lives and/or Society at large.

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This could explain why it was, this time, CoE's Director of Democratic Participation, the experienced Matjaz Gruden, who exceptionally chaired the Concluding Session of the 2 Days-long Annual 2019 Conference on the Implementation of CoE's Convention on European Landscapes :

 

 

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- Indeed, it's right from the outset, that Gruden pointed at that Convention's original text, observing that, "already from its 1st Article, it speaks about interaction with the People", as he said for the Definition of "Landscape" as "an Area, as perceived by People, which ...is the result of ...Natural and/or Human Factors". While "Landscape Quality Objective" means ...the formulation ... of the Aspirations of the Public, with regard to the Landscape Features of their Surroundings".

+ The 1Oth Anniversary of that Convention of 2000, celebrated in a PanEuropean Conference of 2010, was rather Focused on "Implementation" Issues, as the CoE's Committee of Ministers had just published an important "Recommendation on the Guidelines for the Implementation" in real practice, adopted on 2008.

=> So that the Forthcoming, 20th Anniversary, on 2020 (Comp. Supra), is due to Focus much more on the "Principles for the Participation of the Public, in the Definition and Implementation pf Landscape Policies", as adopted by CoE's Working Group on "Landscape and Democracy", already as early as since 2016, as well as on a CoE's collective Research about its "Landscape Convention" as "a contribution to Human Rights and Democracy", (supported, particularly, by the current and forthcoming Presidencies by Finland and France : 11/2018 - 11/2019), which has just been Published on 2018.

 

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- Indeed, when "Eurofora" asked the experienced CEO of CoE's Landscape Convention, Maguelonne Déjeant-Pons, whether some elements of our above-mentioned, wider Project (Comp. Supra), were on the pipeline of recent and/or on-going relevant Developments in this particular area, she immediately pointed at this CoE's recent Pamphlet of 100 pages.             

>>> It's all Based on that CoE's Convention's key Articles 5 and 6, which define "Landscapes ...as an Essential component of People's Surroundings, ...their ...Cultural and Natural Heritage, and a Foundation of their Identity", and, therefore, ask from Member States to "establish Procedures for the Participation of the General Public ...and other Parties with a Interest in the Definition and Implementation of the Landscape Policies", as well as "to Identify" such "Landscapes", "with the Active Participation of the Interested parties", to "Assess" them, "Taking into Account the particular Values assigned to them by ...the Population concerned", and to determine "Landscape Quality Objectives ... After Public Consultation".

- I have been striving since a long time in order to make it crystal-clear that protected Landscapes are also a matter of Human Rights and Democracy", stressed Déjeant-Pons,

who also Agreed with "Eurofora"s observation that, sometimes, it might become even a Vital matter of Life or Death, as, f.ex., it had been shown, in the Past, by the Tragic Fact that our own Grand Mother, a generally Healthy, Active and Good Temper elder Woman, had Suddenly fell Sick and Died, shortly After her Living Room, initially a Sunny Place with Clean Oxygen at an Open Area, was Transformed into a ...Black Hole, Deprived of SunLight and with any Natural Wind Cut Off by Thick Walls imposed by an Adjacent High-Rise Collective Building, that some Unscrupulus Real Estate developer private Compagnies, which seeked to make Money from any M2, apparently withOut giving a damn for Human Health and Life... The main Difference between the Pre-Existing and the Subsequnt Situations was that, in the MeanTime, a splendid View towards a Natural Landscape at the Adjacent Area, had been brutaly and totally Blocked 100%...  

- Indeed, Human "Health and Well-Being" is part and parcel of the Human Rights' aspects in protected European Landscapes, observes in substance, inter alia, also the Above Mentioned, relevant 2018 CoE's Pamplet (Comp. Supra).

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- Protected European Landscapes can be Both various Large, Natural Areas at the Countryside, f.ex. among superb Mountains and Forests, or other Areas, even Inside Villages or Cities, which belong to the immediate Surroundings of People, reminded, in this regard too, CoE's competent CEO, Maguelonne Dejeans-Pons, pointing, for that purpose, also to an interesting Photo Exhibition at the CoE, organized by the current rotating Presidency by Finland, which characteristically pictures Both kinds of such, Rural or Urban Landscapes, (See relevant Photos).

But, normally, "Green" Areas should be Accessible to the People, and Not too Far Away from where they live their everyday lives, she advised.

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    - Such Issues being, often, "Hot" Topics for Public Debates in Urbanism, Spatial Planning, etc., they were, obviously, included also in CoE's Director on Democratic Participation, Matjaz Gruden's new responsibilities, (Comp. Supra).     

 

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    - Gruden stressed to "Eurofora" that a main Aim of his current activities is to Help People by providing also useful Knowledge, Awareness, Training, etc., on taking an Active Part in various existing Democratic Processes, (including, f.ex. the above-mentioned European Landscapes' Convention's pertinent articles : Comp. Supra).

    => But, in Fact, all that Covers a very much Wider Area, concerning also Many More Issues, f.ex., in Education, Culture, Sport, Youth, Landscapes, Diversité, etc, CoE's competent Director of Democratic Participation added, with a Smile...

    - And it concerns mainly already Existing, Legal Possibilities of Participatory Democracy, where People Need to develop some useful Experiences, and Not just the eventual creation of new ones, he observed, obviously Highlighting the Larger than expected Scope of such an endeavour, in real practice, even as things stand Nowadays.

 

 

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It's important to create a synergy between "mutually stimulating" EU Countries' moves in order to overcome an "Unjust" Crisis "imported from USA", stressed new French Minister for Economic Revival, Patrick Devedjian, in Strasbourg, warning also that, while hoping for a vigorous Obama US Plan, nevertheless, "Time" is of essence for Europe...

In fact, it's EU's own interest to act Fast, before June 2009 EU Election, since, with Lisbon Treaty not ratified yet, it cannot face again the risk of a Majority Abstention, as back in 1999 and 2004, nor another "anti-EU" mood among Citizens, as in the 2005 French and Dutch "No", followed by the 2008 Irish "No", without endangering rare Historic opportunities, currently open for the EU, whose future is at stake.

From Social issues up to High-Tech Scientific Research, concrete action for Economic revival started from Strasbourg and its European dimension, for the new super-Minister Patrick Devedjian, who visited a Popular Social Housing and Infrastructure project at nearby Hagenau village, before meeting new leaders of Strasbourg's unified mega-University in a Scientific Labo at the Campus, close to EU Parliament and CoE headquarters.

Devedjian, who met also with all the spectrum of Local Political  deciders of Alsace region, close to FrancoGerman borders, wants for deeds to meet the words, in real practice, whenever politicians speak about Strasbourg and Europe's development.

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Devedjan to "EuroFora" : "European coordination can act as a multiplicator by mutual stimulations"
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Devedjian was questioned by "Euro-Fora" on his expectations for reciprocal effects of coordinated European plans :

- "We are living in a (European and Global) system where borders are transparent : When we take measures in France, they produce effects also in Germany, in Belgium, Italy, Spain, or other EU countries, and vice-versa. "So, we can have mutually stimulating effects between national revival Plans, if they are somehow coordinated", ..."They can augment each other's effects, acting as multiplicators and levers". "As a State stimulates Local authorities and Private business, similarly, each EU country's economic revival plan may multiply the effects of other EU countries' actions", he told us.

- "F.ex., when I visited Strasbourg University's Scientific labos, they told me that part of the renovation, funded by France, is realized by German companies located only a few Kms away from the border. Thus, the French revival plan benefits also the German economy. And vice-versa : when Germany takes certain measures, they can have beneficial effects also for French companies"

In an era of Globalisation, "nobody can close and isolate himself inside a Fish-Bowl !", he concluded.
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Economy's revival starts from Strasbourg and Europe, for new French Minister Devedjian
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This could be one of the reasons for which the new French Minister for Economic Stimulus chose to make his 1st visit to Strasbourg, the headquarters of European and Paneuropean Institutions, in the Franco-German river borders at the heart of Europe.

- "It was President Sarkozy's idea", he revealed, adding also fresh "support to Strasbourg's European vocation, not only with words, but also with deeds" :F.ex., the completion of a High-Speed Train network, due to stimulate fast links with Germany, Austria, Italy, Hungary and other central EU Countries.

- "This Crisis is Unjust for Europe, because it wasn't its fault". The greatest part of the "Crisis was imported from the USA, where problems are deeper than here'', in the EU. The Crisis "wasn't due to a bad managment by Europe", who was affected by problems which emerged elsewhere. That's why Europe must be united and active enough to face this challenge. said Devedjian, who has just won +5% in popularity...

- "I hope that there will be an "Obama-effect" also on Economy, and that the Plan of the New American President will be substantial enough to face this crisis, which is worse in the USA than in our area", Europe, he added.

"Economic Revival overcomes political divisions : F.ex. Strasbourg's Socialist Mayor "Ries agreed that State actions funded by Public Debt are justified during such exceptional circumstances", noted the Center-Right republican Minister.

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"Zeitnot" for 2009 EU Elections ?

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"My problem is Time", stressed Devedjian from the outset, at Strasbourg's University. "I have to engage 75% of funds in 2009, out of a total of 29 Billion euros", he explained later. "Monitoring will be of essence", because we must "avoid bureaucracy or delays. No project should get lost or neglected in complex meanders of adminstrative offices' moving sands", he warned.

- "I must create activities in the middle of the Crisis", he added. Questioned by EuroFora whether he aims to start creating some "hopes before the June 2009 EU Elections", Devedjian, a former leader of the Governing Political Party in France: UMP, did not immediately reply, but revealed, later, that he "hoped to start at least some Projects on May 2009, even if the bulk of Revival Plan's effects are "expected from Autumn 2009".

However, with only 30% of EU Citizens currently aiming to cast a vote at the forthcoming EU Elections on June, (See other NewStory), the  coordinated moves' results are expected to be crucial for Citizens' participation and votes at the forthcoming June 2009 EU Elections throughout all 27 EU Member Countries...Thus, it's vital for all Europe's own Future that coordinated national Economic revival plans start to have concrete results and create hopes for new dynamics before the June 2009 EU Election...

A real challenge, since careful choices are needed : Our aim is to fund projects which "create activities", even "in the middle of the crisis", and have a "lever effect, attracting other investments", Devedjian said. Because the "Stimulus' Plan has 2 aims : A Tactical one : to create New Activities. And a Strategic one : Choose what can become efficient and useful also in the Long-term". 

- "Are you ready ?", he asked Strasbourg University's new President, professor Alain Beretz, with some 700 million euros in his pockets for Education-Research in France. - "We are !", he replied.

- "The Minister's initiative can accelerate funds, and Time is important for us. This concerns the entire renovation of all our buildings", said to "EuroFora" President, Beretz. "I showed some Scientific Research Labos to Mr. Devedjian. But, If we had more time, I could show him also some Education Amphis, whose condition needs to meet Strasbourg's new Mega-University's ambition" to reach the 10 best in the World, as Prime Minister Fillon earlier anounced here.

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(Devedjian kicks off his Economic Revival tour from Strasbourg University, meeting with its new chairman Beretz, at Scientific Institute Le Bel) 

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Regional Prefectures should gather and select projects to be presented for decision before the end of January 2009.

A well-known close friend of President Sarkozy, who succeeded as EU Chairman to launch, in agreement with German chancelor Merkel and even British prime minister Brown, vigorous EU actions against the Financial/Economic Crisis, (starting from the 1st Historic Summit of EuroZone's Heads of State/Government, October 12 at Elysee Palace, followed by Washington G20 Global Summit), Devedjan will have a key role in the realisation of National and EU plans recently agreed in Brussels.

President Sarkozy is expected to arrive himself in Strasbourg, on the occasion of the official inauguration of its brand New Mega-Hospital, on the 9th of January 2009, at the eve of EU Parliament's session here, Elysee confirmed shortly after Devedjian's visit.

EU is due to review its economic revival plans at March 2009 EU Council in Prague, before the April 2 London Global Summit.

***

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Multi-facet concrete activities at focus : Stimulus Minister Devedjian at the Political, Social and High-Tech fronts in Strasbourg...

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