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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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    EU Rapporteur on Enlargment Strategy, maistream German MEP Elmar Brok, speaking to "EuroFora", welcomed the proposal made earlier this week by French President Nicolas Sarkozy for the EU to"start Now Talks with Turkey to create a common Economic and Security area", instead of full Accession, at a period when Ankara looks more and more unfit and/or unwilling to respect EU conditions.

    - "For Europe to have strong Political will, it must stop dilutiing itself in an endless Enlargement. It must have borders...Diversities enrich, on the condition that they don't undermine European Cohesion, and don't weaken EU Unity", Sarkozy stressed.
    
    - "Countries like Turkey share a part of common destiny with Europe, with which they have a vocation to build a Privileged Relation, to be closely associated, but not to become Member of the EU"  : "Noone respects his friends by telling them lies. Noone respects his friends by making them promises that will be never kept", he added.

    That's why "we'd better start, from now, negotiating with Turkey to create a common Economic and Security area", Sarkozy proposed.

Significantly, the French President was repeatedly and largely applauded by EU citizens, 3 times, when he made the Turkey point, (strategically placed between Europe's "Political Will" and its cultural heritage, historically open to mutually enriching dialogue with all the World, but never diluted).

    - "We could propose such a great ambition also to Russia, which must not be percieved as an Adversary of Europe, but as a Partner. Thus, we'd create a wide area, of more than 800 Million inhabitants, sharing the same Security, the same Prosperity", he concluded.

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    Sarkozy's move was anounced at the eve of a Franco-German Top meeting with Chancellor Angie Merkel in Berlin on Sunday, to jointly launch the EU Elections campain, after an EU Summit at nearby Prague, to launch a new kind of relations, called "Eastern Partnership", with neighboring countries such as Urkaine, Belarus, Moldova, Georgia, Armenia, Azerbaidjan, etc, (to which Russia, reportedly, is not - and does not want to be - included).

    As for Ukraine, which has already expressed her wish to join the EU in future, "Kiev will have a special place, and a very important role to play", replied earlier this week in Strasbourg, to an "EuroFora" question EU Chairman in office , Czech vice-Prime Minister Alexander Vodra.

    - "This direction is more Realistic for Turkey than Accession negotiations", reacted immediately EU Parliament's Rapporteur for Enlargment Strategy, mainstream German MEP Elmar Brok, commenting Sarkozy's idea for "EuroFora"

     Particularly "as far as it concerns the respect of EU Rules by both sides", he added, hinting at Turkey's now obvious inability and/or unwillingness to abide with EU Acquis, EU Commitments (fex. on Cyprus, etc), and European Democracy/Human Rights rules. (Comp. infra).

    Brok added that, in his view, a similar proposal might be made also to Ukraine and other neighbouring Countries, regardless if they have, or not, a "European vocation". This would not necessarily mean that there couldn't be any accession prospects at all." for all the countries that might be included in this area, according to Brok.  But it's preferable, particularly for Turkey, "because it's a more Realistic approach than full Membership".

    On this point, Sarkozy's proposal, (which he'll share with German Chancellor Merkel), seems more crystal-clear.

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    - "Turkey does not fullfil EU Criteria, and will never fullfil EU Criteria" on Human Rights, Democracy and Rule of Law. "Some have been lying to Ankara, but we must tell the Truth, and have honest and close relations with her", said meanwhile to "EuroFora" on the same issue also the President of EU Parliament's largest Group of MEPs (ChristianDemocrats/EPP), Joseph Daul.
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"Hot" Debate at EU Parliament reveals CHANGE of mood towards "Suspension" of EU - Tukey talks.
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    Earlier this week, many MEPs, and even some of those who were previously in favor of Turkey's controversial EU bid, strongly criticized the persistance and even aggravation of serious Human Rights violations in the country, that ECHR continues to "unanimously" condemn ":

      - "After winning a big victory in the latest Local Elections, the pro-Kurdish party DTP almost doubled its Elected Mayors from 52 to 98", but afterwards "more than 400 politicians were thrown to Prison and prosecuted" by the Turkish Authorities, denounced on behalf of the ChristianDemocrat/EPP Group, Belgian MEP Frieda Brepoels.

     At the same time, "more than 1.500 Children are closed in Turkish Prisons", she added. "What will the EU Commission do" against these facts ?

- "Turkey appears to be at greater Distance away from Copenhagen Criteria after 4 Years of accession Negotiations, than when they started !", denounced on behalf of the Liberal Group, German MEP Alexander Lambsdorf.    

"On the central issue of Press Freedom, Critical Journalists face obstacles for their accreditation, others are prosecuted, condemned, fined and/or jailed, Media blocked or closed", he denounced.   

 - "EU Made 2 grave Mistakes with Turkey : To start accession negotiations, and to continue them", despite everything, criticized Dutch MEP Bastian Belder, on behalf of the Ind/Dem group.

(../..)

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