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Αρχική arrow newsitems arrow New Strasbourg 'Great East' Region Prefect Marx to "EF": TransBorder Links now = Necessity+Dynamism

New Strasbourg 'Great East' Region Prefect Marx to "EF": TransBorder Links now = Necessity+Dynamism

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Thursday, 05 October 2017
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*Strasbourg/Press Club/Angelo Marcopolo/- A New French President, Emmanuel Macron, bringing also a New Prefect, Jean-Claude Marx, in Strasbourg's strategic PanEuropean Headquarters of the CoE, EU Parliament's full Plenary Sessions, ECHR, EU-Citizens' Defensor, Shenghen system's Secretariat, Euro-Corps Army, ARTE RadioTV, Euro-Campus, Human Frontier project, etc, soon after the local New Region of the "Great East", Extended its Borders throughout the (mainly Franco-German+) €uroZone's Core area (See Infra), it was Natural to ask for his Plans in relation to this rare responsibility, important for all the European Continent, and well Beyond, (particularly at these Times when Debates about EU's more Franco-German Future after UK's BREXIT, due at Early 2019, have just Started).


    The 1st relevant Occasion was offered by his Press Conference to Strasbourg's Press Club, symbolically and practically oganized just before his 1st Meeting, Later Today, with All Representatives of the European and International Community present in Strasbourg, as he Noticed himself, in the context of his reply to our query, (See Infra).


    - "Eurofora"s Question to the New Prefect of Strasbourg's "Great East" Region, (much Bigger than in the Past), pointed at its main Characteristic, (Unique in Europe), to Bring Together 5 Key European Countries (including the Two Biggest) : France, Germany, Switzerland, Luxembourg and Belgium, at EU's Core, (by Linking their common Borders to Strasbourg's New Region). And we asked his View on the foreseable Future of TransBorder Cooperation/Integration, etc., (both via the "Superior Rhine" agreements, already linking France, Germany and Switzerland, as well as in other, Wider terms).

(On earlier "Eurofora" NewsReports around Strasbourg's Region and Franco-German+ TransBorder Cooperation/Integration, See, f.ex., among others, also : http://www.eurofora.net/newsflashes/news/hoyeronfrancogermansummit.htm lhttp://www.eurofora.net/brief/brief/alsacenotoalcaponearea.html ; http://www.eurofora.net/newsflashes/news/alsacepresidentrichertonacaleuropeanprojects.html ; http://www.eurofora.net/newsflashes/news/franceregionelelectionsrepublicanswithgreensorfnrightistsforstrasbourg.html ; http://www.eurofora.net/newsflashes/news/newbigfrenchregionheadricherton5eustatesandchina.html ; http://www.eurofora.net/newsflashes/news/newstrasbourgbigregionprefect.html ; http://www.eurofora.net/newsflashes/news/strasbourgregionpresidentrichertandfrencheconomyministermacrononhighspeedinternet.html ; http://www.eurofora.net/newsflashes/news/prefetfrataccistrasbourgasgebevanyorshanghai.html ; http://www.eurofora.net/newsflashes/news/frenchregionspresidentricherttoeurofora.html ; http://www.eurofora.net/newsflashes/news/francogermancoreregionleaderseyescienceandethics.html ; http://www.eurofora.net/newsflashes/news/frenchregionschiefrichertquits.html , etc). 


    - Even if "Some may have seen with Question Marks and Perplexity the Creation of New, Bigger Regions in France, back on 2014-2015", nevertheless,


    >>> "a Big Advantage of this New, "Great East" Region is that it extends through All the Franco-German Borders", sharply replied Marx.


    - Indeed, "that's an Extremely Strong Point, in order to facilitate the Continuation and further Development of the TransBorder Cooperation" in wider terms, Strasbourg's New Prefect underlined.


    - The latter "is expressed mainly in 2 Big Areas : (A) The Superior Rhine (OberRhein) cooperation, which interests Alsace (French area), Baden-Wurttemberg (German Länder), and Switzerland, as well as (B) a Central part of French Borders with Lorraine, and Luxembourg, a part of Belgium, the Saarland and Rhineland-Palatinate" (German Ländern), he described.

 


     => - This "gives a Global View of All our Borders with the North-Eastern Neighbouring Countries, including the Total of Franco-German borderlines", observed Prefect Marx, (who holds particular competences, in addition to a recent Experience on Security at his previous job in France's South-Eastern Region of PACA, among Italy and the Mediterranean Sea, also on Geography).


     - A fortori, "it includes the Totality of Franco-German Borderlines, which have recenly become much More a sort of a Link !"


    - Such realities obviously concern also a Growing Number of many EU Citizens' EveryDay Lives, as, f.ex., "I had the opportunity to oberve, just between Lorraine and Luxembourg, where More than 90.000 Persons travel, Each Day (from and to France) in order to Work around Luxembourg City", he added, (a Spectacular and sympathetic Human and Social phenomenon, that has, indeed, surprized "Eurofora" personally, in particular during our Return trips towards Strasbourg from Brussels' EU Summits).


    - "Recent Changes" also brought, f.ex., Near the Borders between Lorraine area and Luxembourg, New Installations by "a University, the Ministry of Environment, several Modern High-Tech. Enterprises", he said earlier.


    + Similar phenomena, with TransBorder Workers, Businesses, etc,  naturally exists also in Alsace area, (for which they constitute a well-known, Traditional Issue), "up to Switzerland", and they are all "Sources of (Economic-Sociocultural) Dynamism", New Prefect Marx found now.


----------------------


    Meanwhile, in an Interesting intervention by the CEO of "Würth" Company for France Pierre Hugel, (a pioneer German Family Business headquartered at Neighbouring Baden-Wurttemberg German Länder, which evolved from Family-run Manufacture to a Big, Innovative Enterprise exporting in 26 Foreign Countries with about 250.000 Clients, creating, inter alia, Solar Panels with Selenium -instead of Silicon, Electric Batteries, etc., and Sponsoring Electric Cars "E-Rallies" around the World), found that a "Relaunch of the Franco-German motor, including with a warmer ambiance also after the election of new French President Emmanuel Macron, highlights a Better Future for Europe, (pointing, f.ex., also to the Fact that his Enterprise, after a +12% Benefit back on 2011, followed by "Stagnation", just Re-Started to have a +1 - 2% Benefit on 2016, now followed by an estimated +3 - 4% in 2017).


    He was referring to the Wider Fact that, as the "Great East" Region's new Prefect had saod earlier, even if Statistcs show that UnEmployment has Not Yet been Absorbed, remaining at a Too High Level, However, New Data indicate that the Mood of Businesses is becoming Better, and this may "Boost Investments".


------------------------

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    => - "In consequence, I think that TransBorder Cooperation and more, are here, Nowadays, an Absolute Necessity !", stressed Jean-Luc Marx, continuing on his reply to "Eurofora"s above-mentioned question.

    => - That's why, inter alia, "Later-on, this Afternoon, I am Hosting, at the Prefectoral Palace, a collective Meeting with all the Diplomatic Corps in Strasbourg, i.e. mainly numerous Countries' Consuls and Consul Generals, etc.", he revealed.


    + This is "in order to have Exchanges, not only on TransBorder Cooperation, but also, in much Wider terms, on what is usually called <<Strasbourg's European and International vocation>>", he concluded, in reply to "Eurofora"s Question,


(knowing that this includes not only Russia and other CoE's PanEuropean area's 47 Member Countries, but also the USA, Canada, Japan, Israel, Brazil, China, etc).


    - Indeed, Strasbourg's new and bigger "Great East Region", (that Recent Presidential and Parliamentary Elections in France also revealed that it has even a quite Specific Political Characteristics among its Citizens), after all, (as he had already pointed out in his Introductory remarks), "is almost Twice as Big as Belgium !"...

    => - So, Today, this "Great East" Region, can speak without being ashamed f.ex. with Baden-Wurttemberg and Rhenania-Palatinat (German Länder/Federated States)", New Prefect Marx added, later-on, (at anOther reply to a Different question by our Collegue from the Local Strasbourg's Newspaper "DNA"'s experienced Political News Director, Jacques Fortier).

--------------------------------

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    + By the way, concerning the Different, but adjacent Debate about the Future of the Historic "Alsace" area's former Region (Comp., f.ex.: ...), Prefect Marx observed, Earlier, that French President Macron had clearly Excluded any new Reform of the Country's overall Regional DeCentralisation System during the Next 4,5 Years, after that which had been made by his predecessor, Hollande, back on 2015, which notoriously fusioned Alsace, together with Lorraine and Champagne-Ardennes, inside the Bigger, New "Great East" Region. But, the "Reality" of Alsace still exists, f.ex., among others, also in his own relations with Rural Police ("Gendarmes"), Airport and Borders Police ("PAF"),  the Attorney's Office at nearby Colmar, etc., (while, Alsace had Not really Disappeared, not even in the Period of 1918-1955, when Not any Regional Entity did Not Exist in France). Thus, if tehre is a wish to re-create an "Institutionalized" Alsacian entity, this could be done, even Now, by a Fusion of the 2 existing Departments of Lower and Superior Rhine, into a Unified New Alsatian Department, adding, through negotiations, Complementary Competences, f.ex. among others, also : "on Tourism, Spatial Planning, TransBorder Cooperation".


 (..e. around "Superior Rhine/OberRhein"' pre-existing Structure : Comp. Supra. See also, on the possibility of French Departments' Fusion : http://www.eurofora.net/newsflashes/new/frenchregionschiefrichertquits.html)

 

 

(../..)


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***

 
("DraftNews", as already send to "Eurofora" Subscribers/Donors, earlier. A more accurate, full Final Version might be published asap). 
 
 
****

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People in Europe and the World expect from CoE to make a succes of its "Monitoring" for Human Rights and Democracy, despite difficulties, said Finland's President Tarja Halonen to "EuroFora" at a crucial moment for the mecanism built 15 years ago by the paneuropean organization which celebrates its 60th Anniversary in 2009.

Halonen, known as "Mother" of CoE's "Monitoring" mecanism, a long-time MEP and former Foreign Minister before becoming Finland's President, holds a long experience in the mattter, after also serving twice as CoE and EU Chairwoman in the past. That's why she is well placed to judge how CoE's "monitoring" should deal today with some crucial issues of importance both to CoE and to the EU.

The move came just a Month before a crucial, last visit to Turkey, scheduled for June, by the President of CoE''s "Monitoring" Committee, Ukranian MEP Serge Holovaty, to finalize his Report on Ankara, the CoE Member State with the longest Monitoring procedure. From its results depends its overall credibility.

This is a Test-case, because, in fact, it's in order to avoid Sanctions threatened against Turkey by a CoE's Assembly's April 1995 Resolution for grave Human Rights violations, Democracy gaps, the continuing Military Occupation in Cyprus, the unresolved Kurdish problem, Aegean differend with Greece, etc., that MEPs decided to create, for the 1st time on April 1996, a "Monitoring" proces, allegedly destinated to check, without excluding Countries who did not fulfill all CoE's standards.

In the Past, the obliged withdrawal of Greece's Military regime and of its "Civil" cover-up out of the CoE had helped bring back Democracy in 1974. But, on the contrary, since April 1996, the idea was to "monitor" Human Rights' respect while keeping most concerned Countries inside the CoE. After Turkey's oldest example, this was extended also to several former "Eastern" European Countries, even if CoE's Assembly has imposed to some of them (fex. Ukraine, Russia, etc., after Belarus, Serbia, etc) various "Sanctions", that Ankara always avoided. Curiously more succesful even than .. USA itself, (a CoE "Observer" since 1995), which has been at least threatened with sanctions some years ago..

EU-effects of CoE's Monitoring process became obvious between 2001-2008, since the "closure" of this procedure, when CoE felt that a Country had met most of its Human Rights, Democracy and Rule of Law obligations, (i.e. the "Copenhagen Criteria" for the EU), helped trigger Negotiations with the EU for "Accession" or other closer relations : This occured already before the 2004 and 2007 EU Enlargements to former "Eastern" European Countries, as well as for the commencement of "accession" negotiations with Croatia, and of "open-ended" negotiations with Turkey in 2005.

    But a stricking new development are Holovaty's recent findings that on core Human Rights issues as Torture and Freedom of Expression, Turkey, even "5 Years after" CoE closed its "Monitoring", back in 2004, inciting EU to start accession Negotiations in 2005, still presents grave problems.

    His findings are of crucial importance after a 2008 CoE Resolution called, "if need be", to "seriously consider the possibility of Re-Opening the Monitoring procedure for Turkey" : A move which might affect Ankara's controversial EU bid, since EU Accession Negotiations are based on the Hypothesis that the Candidate fullfils the "Copenhagen Criteria" (See above)..
-------------------------
    Holovaty expressed his will to check  "Matters still Outstanding" and  those that he "didn't have an opportunity to discuss" at an earlier visit this year, "in order to discuss the more complex issues in greater depth", at his forthcoming New Visit to Ankara, before the December 2009 EU Summit.  This is all based on the 2004 CoE Resolution which stresses that, CoE "will continue.. post-monitoring Dialogue with the Turkish authorities,...in addition to a 12-points list,..and on any Other Matter that might arise in connection with Turkey’s Obligations as a CoE member state".

    CoE's Resolution also asks  from Turkey "to secure the proper Implementation of Judgements, particularly in the Cyprus v. Turkey InterState case", of 2001, which concerns also the plight of many Hundreds of MISSING People. It adds Turkey's obligations to "execute" ECHR's Judgements in the Loizidou case,..and in particular adopt General Measures to avoid repetition or continuation of Violations found by the Court" to the detriment of Refugees.

    Nevertheless, Holovaty said to "EuroFora" that "MISSING" persons,"might be included" and cannot be excluded, but he has yet to examine the situation "to find out  which issues will be raised" to the Turkish Government.

    Therefore, "EuroFora" asked Halonen, as the Historic "Mother" of CoE's Monitoring mecanism, if she thought that, "whenever there are grave Human Rights Violations, as fex. "MISSING" persons, attested even by ECHR's judgements, they should be always checked by a Monitoring process. Or could they be forgotten ?"
    
     - "We (CoE) must be, at the same time, Fair, Realistic, but not in the mind that "now we have Forgotten", etc., replied to "EuroFora"'s question Halonen, speaking as a matter of general principle.

    - "When we think of those People that are suffering from the lack of Democracy, of Human Rights, and of the Rule of Law", "we should find a base on how to deal with the (Monitoring) system more rapidly"', she stressed.

    - "Sometimes it's very difficult to combine Transparency and Effectivenes together, particularly in this specific case", she went on to say. But, "I have not found a (CoE Member) Country who could be insensitive in this sens", Halonen answered concerning grave Human Rights violations attested by the ECHR.

    - "I have no ready-made answer. I have the expectations that you, in the CoE, will, step by step, find the different types of the monitoring systems."

    Also "because this is a part of the UN's Post-Conflict system, (fex. when it comes to Cyprus' MISSING persons), and it's a more Global system". So that, "If we make a succes in Europe, the others will follow", throughout the World.  "But they expect that we (Europe) are this opportunity, this Opportunity to make a Succes", Halonen concluded.

    In addition, she advised to extend CoE's Monitoring to all its 47 Member States, "because, as long as we hear that, all these monitoring systems are "OK for the neighbor, but not for me", "it's very difficult" to understand. Something which could make easier to Compare...

    Finnish MEP Jaako Laakso, former CoE Rapporteur on the Occupied Territories of Cyprus and one of the 5 Signatories of the Historic CoE's call to create the "MONITORING" mecanism since 1996, was more specific :  - "We (CoE Assembly) have to find a way for the issue of Cyprus' MISSING People to be better followed", he stressed, anouncing his intention to "speak to Mr. Holovaty" about that. "There might be also other ways", added Laakso.

    - The 2008 "Year had been a very Bad one for Turkey with regard to Human Rights in general, and Freedom of Expression in particular", denounced, meanwhile, Holovaty's preliminary Post-Monitoringh Draft Report by Holovaty, published by the CoE on April 2009.

    "Amnesty International believes that freedom of expression is not guaranteed given the various articles of the Criminal Code that restrict it. .. "For example, 1,300 Websites are said to have been closed down by the (Turkish) authorities in 2008" ! While "the new Turkish Criminal Code was used to bring a total of 1,072 proceedings between June 2005 and April 2008, and led to the conviction of 192 people", for expressing views. "Representatives of the Özgür Gündem newspaper, which specialises in Kurdish affairs, ..complained about Numerous Attacks on their Freedom of Expression ...as was everyone who advocated a settlement to the question by means other than the intervention of the army" "According to their figures, 19 Newspapers had been suspended 43 times between 4 August 2006 and 4 November 2008" !...

    Moreover, on 2008,  CoE's "Ministers adopted its 4rth Resolution on the execution of the judgments of the ECHR, ...and outstanding issues regarding 175 Judgements and decisions relating to Turkey delivered between 1996 and 2008...  concerning Deaths resulting from the excessive use of force by members of the Security forces, the failure to protect the right to life, the DIisappearance and/or death of individuals, Ill-Treatment and the Destruction of property". CoE's " Ministers urged the Turkish authorities ...to ensure that members of Security forces of all ranks can be prosecuted without administrative
authorisation" for "serious crimes". Holovaty reminded.

"Nonetheless", Holovaty heard anew of "Several cases of Violence committed last year (2008) by the (Turkish) security forces". Amnesty International speaks of Many Cases of ill-treatment and Torture in the prisons and by the police". "Including, fex."'the death of Engin Ceber, a young man of 29 who died on October 2008 as a result of the TORTURE allegedly inflicted on him by police officers, prison staff and members of the gendarmerie. He was part of a group of people arrested on September 2008 during a demonstration and Press Conference in Istanbul'. Proceedings against suspects are "on-going" in this case.

- " I therefore noted an Obvious Contradiction between the Government’s stated “zero tolerance” policy.... of Torture and other forms of ill-treatment, and the different testimonies given", denounced CoE's Rapporteur.  Turkish "authorities must make considerable efforts to guarantee that proper investigations are carried out into allegations of abuses by members of the security forces and that perpetrators are effectively punished" "In this respect, I have requested detailed Statistics on the number of Investigations, acquittals and convictions in cases involving allegations of abuse in order to show the positive impact of the measures taken to date", Holovaty said, repeating a permanently unsatisfied CoE's demand to Turkey since a Decade...

    - "The Political Crisis that shook the country in the spring of 2008 highlighted the Weaknesses of the (Turkish) Constitution", which comes from the Military regime of 1982, "and the Urgent Need of Reforms", stressed from the outset CoE's Rapporteur in 2009. In particular, "the ...Democratic functioning of state institutions, including the independence of the judicial system, are crucial", he observes.

    But, "the Electoral  system and the ways in which it is circumvented do not appear to give those elected complete Legitimacy, and tend to pervert the course of direct universal suffrage", denounces Holovaty, observing that, even 5 Years later, Turkey did not yet change the 10% nationwide Threshold for a party to take any seat, which is "far higher" than the "3%" maximum in Europe and already condemned as contrary to European Standards by the CoE.

    + Moreover, EU Parliament's 2009 Report on Turkey, drafted by Dutch MEP Ria Oomen-Ruijten and adopted in Strasbourg on March, expresses "Concern over the Failure of the (Turkish) Judiciary to prosecute cases of Torture and Ill-treatment, the Number of which is Growing". EU also "is concerned about continuing Hostility and Violence against Minorities" in Turkey. It also "calls on the Turkish Government to launch, as a matter of Priority, a Political Initiatve favouring a lasting Settlement of the Kurdish issue, (while "condemning violence.. and terrorist groups"). EU "regrets that No progress has been made on establishing full, systematic Civilian suprevisory functions over the (Turkish) Military".

    The final results of Holovaty's 2nd and last visit to Turkley will be known later this year, and, at any case, before EU's December 2009 Summit.

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