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Home arrow newsitems arrow CFE Panel 4: EUCom VP Suica Leans towards EF Project (Dialogue Citizens-Politicians Before Decisions

CFE Panel 4: EUCom VP Suica Leans towards EF Project (Dialogue Citizens-Politicians Before Decisions

Written by ACM
Friday, 15 October 2021

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*Strasbourg/EU Parliament/Angelo Marcopolo/- Just After Welcoming Citizens Participants at the 4rth and Last Panel (on "Europe in the World") Before an Important Plenary due to Start Discussing Citizens' Initial Proposals for the Future of Europe Next Week, EU Commission's vice-President for Democracy, Dubravka Suica, suddenly came Closer than ever, Until Now,  to "Eurofora"'s Project for "Dialogue" between EU Citizens and Politicians, Before Decisions Affecting their Lives and/or Society at large !

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Indeed, Speaking to Accredited Journalists, as "Eurofora a.o., Soon After EU Parliament's Coordinator for the Conference on Europe's Futur, Guy Verhofstadt, former President of  "Liberal" MEPs and Prime Minister of Belgium, (Cf. Verhofstadt's Reply to "EF" Question, previously, at: ..., etc), had Announced that, this "Unique" "Combination of Both Representative" and "Participatory Democracy", in a "2nd Track", at "a PanEuropean Level", was "Requested from Citizens", Already "from the 1st Panel", to be "Made a Permanent Process", and this "Could be among the Final Conclusions of the Conference", Suica Revealed that, in fact, "We (EU) Want to Make European Citizens Part of a European Policy-Drafting Mechanism", as she Characteristicaly stressed.

- "We (EU) Want to Listen to them (Citizens), All the Time", and "Take into Consideration their Ideas and Problems, While Drafting our Policies", EU Commission's vice-President on Democracy underlined, in this regard.  In  Fact, this is "Participatory Democracy and Deliberative (Decision-Making Process) Democracy", taken Together, which "are New Exercises, and they Can Help us a lot", she explained*

*A First Idea towards making Citizens' Dialogue with Politicians before Decisions a Permanent Reality was accepted by French President Macron, agreeing with a relevant proposal by "Eurofora" (Based on the existing EU's Lisbon Treaty), as Early as, Already since April 2018, at Saint-Dié, (i.e. just a Day After he had Inaugurated the 1st EU Citizens' Consultatin at nearby Epinal, (See: http://www.eurofora.net/newsflashes/news/macronforcitizensdebatesalsoafter2019.html, + http://www.eurofora.net/newsflashes/news/macronlauncheseucitizenconsultations.html, etc).

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    => In Consequence, "there is No Coming Back : This Conference (CFE) Will Deepen European Culture, From the Roots Up !", and Opens up a truly European Space !", Suica stressed  earlier in the Plenary, (apparently using Terms familiar from German Philosopher Jurgen Habermas, of Nearby Frankfurt, nowadays in Bavaria, with his Landmark, premonitory Book on "The Structural Changes of the Public Space", i.e. Area for Collective Discussions).

    >>> Indeed, "We (EU) Need" to "Bring Citizens into the Heart of European Decision-Making", she Emphasized.

    Already, "thanks to the Conference on the Future of Europe", "Each Citizen has a Chance to Participate in a PanEuropean Discussion, on Issues that Matters to them". "From Ireland to Malta, from Latvia to Lisbon,..., you Can Exchange your Ideas, have your Voice Heard, and Stimulate Change". "This brings Not Only the Right to Participate, But Also the Possibility to Create Ideas". And "We Want to Listen to them", to "Take into Account" their "Ideas and Contributions", Suica Ambitiously Vowed. "Europe not only wants to Listen to you.... EU Commision is Ready to Follow up Whatever is Agreed by this Conference, (as von Leyen stressed).

- -"It might take us a bit More Time to get Started, But we (EU) are Able to Find Solutions" that work, she boasted. -"Because we want a Union which really Belongs to its People. That it can Inspire, and Protect Everyone of us".

    - This "Euopean Dream" has Already Delivered : Peace, Prosperity, Openess, Equality of Rights, and Our System of Values. But we canNot Guarantee that it will be assumed for Ever, and that it will rest easily...  In Fact, "Our Union has been Disputed, and is being Challenged, Both Internally, and Externally". But, also, "Whenever the Righs of an Individual Person are Denied, our European Dream is Damaged".

    => Therefore, "It's Important that we Regularly Assess Where we Are, and Where we want to Go"...."Take a Time to Look at the Hights and Lows we have come Together". This is also a Time to "See Where we can Expect Better f", Suica welcomed good-faith Criticism, with Lucidity.

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    However, it's also a Fact that Nowhere Emerged yet a Crystal-clear and fully-fledged EU Citizens' Right to be Informed, Heard, and Receive Timely Replies to their Critical Observations, which should be Sufficient, Real and Legal, concerning any Proportionate Restriction of their Legitimate private Interests motivated by a General Interest Aim, (all this being placed under Control of a Judge, able to Cancel any Controversial Administrative Measure, eventualy does Not meet all those Conditions), as it should be done according to that kind of "Dialogue", between Citizens and Politicians Before Decisions Affecting their Lives, and/or Society at large, according to "Eurofora"s Proposal : See ...,, etc).

    So that, until this is unequivoqualy done, a Critical Reserve is obviously required from "Eurofora"'s part, on this Key Point.

    +For the Rest, and, Particularly, as it concerns the overall Methods used into Treating the Way that each Pannel of 200 Radomly Chosen Citizens are Consulted by EU Institutions on their Wishes vis a vis the EU Decision-Making process, and certain Major Key Topical Issues on EU's foreseable Future, (Economy, Democracy, Environment, and Foreign Policy), a Surprizing Big Change was Observed by "Eurofora" Today :

cfe_panel_4_x7_more_secret_rooms_eurofora_400 

    - Indeed, instead of only One (1) special Room, Usualy reserved into a Discreet and Remote Location of EU Parliament's Building, for those "Moderators", "Experts", "Secretariat", "Facilitators", and "Observers", etc., who were used to Handle Citizens previously, on the Contrary, Now, there were as Much as ... Seven (7) such special Rooms, reserved to that purpose, (in this Pannel for Foreign Policy and Migration), i.e. a Spectacular Augmentation of X 700 % !...

    As usual, "Eurofora" will Examine Further such Organisational Issues Tomorow, on Saturday, i.e. the Most "Busy" Day.

 

(../..)

 

("Draft-News")

 

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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)..
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    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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