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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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(Opinion).

 In Democracy, the forthcoming choices for EU's Top Jobs, as the New EU Parliament's President, new EU Commission's President (+ probably EU Council's President, EU Foreign Minister, etc) should be made according to EU Citizens' Votes in June 7, 2009 European Elections, and main EU Governments' strategic policies.

At the heart of the biggest EU Countries, in France and Germany, EU Citizens clearly voted for a renovated, non-technocratic but Political Europe based on Values, declared explicitly incompatible with Turkey's controversial EU bid.

This main choice was also supported in several other small or medium EU Countries, such as Austria (cf. promise of a Referendum), Spain (cf. EPP program's reservations vis a vis Enlargment), etc., while EPP Parties won also in Poland, Hungary, Cyprus, etc.

In other Countries, whenever Governing coalitions didn't make these choices or eluded them, continuing to let a Turkish lobby push for its entry into the EU, they paid a high price, and risked to damage Europe, by obliging EU Citizens to massively vote for euro-Sceptics whenever they were the only ones to offer a possibility to promise  real change and oppose Turkey's demand to enter into the EU :

It's for this obvious reason that British UKIP (IndDem) succeeded now (after many statements against Turkey's EU bid) to become Great Britain's 2nd Party, unexpectedly growing bigger even than the Governing Labour Party, as well as the Liberal party  ! Facts prove that it's not an isolated phenomenon : A similar development occured in the Netherlands, where Geert Wilders "Party for Freedom" (PVV) became also the 2nd biggest in the country, (after EPP), boosting the chances of a politician who had withdrawn in 2004 from an older party "because he didn't agree with their position on Turkey". And in several other EU Member Countries, even previously small parties which now focused on a struggle against Turkey's controversial demand to enter in the EU, won much more or even doubled the number of their MEPs (fex. Bulgaria, Hungary, Greece, etc).

On the contrary, whenever Socialist and oher parties were explicitly or implicitly for Turkey's controversial EU bid, they obviously lost Citizens' votes and fell down to an unprecedented low.

In consequence, EU Citizens clearly revealed their main political choices, in one way or another : They voted to change for less Bureaucracy, but more Politics and Values in a Europe really open to EU Citizens, but without Turkey's controversial EU bid.

Recent political developments are obviously different from the old political landscape which existed in the Past of 1999-2004, when Socialists based on Turkish 1% vote governed undisputed not only in Germany, but also in the UK, Greece and elsewhere, France followed old policies decided when it had been divided by "cohabitation", before the 3 "NO" to EU  Referenda since May 2005, before Merkel, before Sarkozy, etc.... before the surprises of 7 June 2009 new EU Elections.

If the current candidates to the Top EU jobs promise and guarantee to respect People's democratic choices, OK.

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

The beginning of crucial, final Decisions are scheduled for the 1st EU Parliament's plenary session in Strasbourg, in the middle of July, and they could be completed towards the October session, when Lisbon Treaty's fate will have been fixed.


See relevant Facts also at : http://www.eurofora.net/newsflashes/news/2009electionsandturkey.html
http://www.eurofora.net/newsflashes/news/daulelections.html
http://www.eurofora.net/brief/brief/euroelectionresult.html

 ***

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