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Home arrow newsitems arrow EU Chair, Czech v.Prime Minister, to EuroFora on Eastern Partnership: Ukraine has "Special position"

EU Chair, Czech v.Prime Minister, to EuroFora on Eastern Partnership: Ukraine has "Special position"

Parašė ACM
Tuesday, May 05, 2009
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    Regardless of "Antonov" Airplane cooperation prospects, Ukraine has a "Special position" and "a Prominent role to play", "in the Multilateral part of EU's Eastern Partnership", while also keeping "its own system of cooperation with the EU", said EU Chairman-in-office, Czech vice-Prime Minister for EU affairs, Alexandr Vondra, in reply to "EuroFora"'s question, without denying Kiev's aspiration to eventually become in future also a Candidate to EU accession.


    Vondra, together with EU Parliament Foreign Committee's President, Polish MEP Jacek Saryuz-wolski, had just presented to Journalists in Strasbourg, the aims of the forthcoming EU Summit for the launch of the "Eastern Partnership" with 6 Countries : Moldova, Belarus, Ukraine, Georgia, Armenia and Azerbaidjan, at nearby Prague on Friday, May 8.

- "How does this fit with Ukraine's wish to advance towards an eventual EU accession in the future ?", asked "EuroFora".

 - "I think Ukraine is in a Special position, of course", the Czech EU Chairman in office agreed.

- "It has its own System of cooperation with the EU, so I would expect that Ukraine, as the largest country from the others, will be in the Multilateral part of the Eastern Partnership", he replied.

He earlier explained that its "Menu" will be composed both by "Multilateral" and "Bilateral" aspects and various "tools" from which each country could "choose".

- "I think we can rely on the Active Engagement of Ukraine, and certainly we shall have this... So, we expect the Highest Level participation, and, certainly I would expect Ukraine to have a Prominent role to play", Vondra added.

Vondra revealed, in his reply to "EuroFora", that he "was just talking with (Ukranian vice Prime Minister) Hrihoriy Nemyrya, in entering the (Strasbourg's EU Parliament) building" "We (Czech EU Chair) are working closely with Ukraine", he underlined.

During the last EU - Ukraine Summit, with Presidents Sarkozy, Jushenko and Baroso, of France, Ukraine and EU Commission respectively, the French EU Chairman on September 2008 in Paris had anounced EU's crystal-clear acknowledgement that Ukraine was unquestionably "un European Country" and offered an "Association Agreement". I.e. similar to those that former Central-Eastern European Countries had initially concluded before becoming, later-on, EU Candidates and ultimately EU Members, as Jushenko reminded then.

Paradoxically, Turkey, a mainly Asiatic country with an obviously different culture and grave Human Rights problems, including Military occupation, threats or interventions in neighboring countries, profiting from its Cold-War Past, snatched back in 1999 a controversial EU Candidate status, while Ukraine, a peaceful European country with historic European Culture and High-Tech industry, without equally grave Human Rights problems, has yet to struggle in 2009, to get a promise for a European perspective in future...

 - "Eastern Partnership is not a substitute to EU Enlargment", and "its' not directed against anyone, and, in particular, not against Russia, who doesn't wish to take part, and has other links to the EU, Vondra added.

An important boost to EU - Ukraine links, (which may benefit also to Russia), might be given not only by the well known Energy Transport issues (by Pipelines and/or Ships, via the Black Sea and Danube), could be given also in case of a cooperation between Airbus and Ukranian "ANTONOV's aircraft production capacities :

While Vondra found the "Time too short" to reply to a 2nd "EuroFora"'s question on a possible Airbus - Ukranian ANTONOV cooperation to build an efficient European strategic Military Transport Airplane, costing less, and being more efficient and timely than an old plan for a Turkey-sponsored "A400M"' plane, whose delivery has delayed and become uncertain, on the contrary,EU's Rapporteur on the 7th Scientific and Technologocal Research framework Program, mainsteam Polish MEP Jerzy Buzek, (ChristianDemocrat/EPP), a former Prime Minister, was enthousiastically positive :

 - "It's a very good idea, and I am sure that they (Ukrania's ANTONOV) would like to do that, and are able to achieve it", replied Buzek to "EuroFora"'s question whether he found more useful for European Countries to develop a more performant but cheaper Military Transport Airplane in a cooperation fex. between Airbus and Antonov, instead of waiting, again and again, for the old Airbus A400M, with its limited capacities, to be delivered from its strange and repeated setbacks and deadlocks in mass production, which were recently denounced even by a Report drafted by the French Senate..

Russia also had reportedly shown an interest in the past to cooperate with Antonov and EU countries to jointly create a new airplane, and this possibility might, eventually, be anew explored to satisfy the present European needs in the best way possible for EU's High Technology and funds.

Meanwhile, Saryuz-wolski indicated to "EuroFora" that, as EU Parliament will confirm this week in Strasbourg also by writting in a special Resolution, Eastern Partenship's Parliamentary dimension, "EuroNEST", intends to follow the example of the Union for the Mediterranean's Assembly, by bringing together 60 MEPs not only from the neighbouring but from all those interested among EU's 27 Member States : It's well known, indeed, that several other EU Countries have close links with the Black Sea area area, via big Investments, Ship transports, etc.
Meanwhile, Vondra is reportedly due to pass later-on EU's relay baton to a renewed Czech Government, his main successor expected to be the forthcoming New Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister, Jan Kohout.

Kohout, who is well known in Strasbourg from his earlier visits, has already stressed to "EuroFora" Czech Republic's wish to examine carefully Foreign Policy issues, while also boosting Renewable Energy sources, Modern Technologies, Education, etc, as key-tools both for EU's independence and security, and for enhanced cooperation with developing countries accross the World, and mainly in Africa and Asia.

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(+ New Czech deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister, Jan Kohout, replying to another "EuroFora" question at an earlier meeting in Strasbourg : 3rd, at the right side).
 

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    An "Eugenic" loophole Amendment, which might expose to Dangers reminiscent of "3rd Reich's" notorious Genetic Abuses, hidden at the last minute inside an otherwise Good, larger Health policy Package scheduled to be voted on Thursday, was strongly denounced by a coalition of MEPs from various Political Groups and Countries, in a Press Conference held this afternoon at EU Parliament in Strasbourg.

    Mainly calling to "Select Human Embryos", via "Genetic Counselling" and "pre-implantation" Techniques including "Genetic Tests", in order to "Eradicate Hereditary rare Diseases", it might open ways to Dangerous Practices in Future, they denounced in substance.

    But they also made it clear that a much larger Report inside which this Controversial Amendment "No 15" was added in dubious circumstances, officialy destinated to struggle against "Rare Diseases", and drafted by Professor Antonios Trakatellis, was otherwise "an Excellent Report", aiming at a "completely Uncontroversial target" of Health policy on which "all MEPs and Experts are united, believing that Europe should act" to protect People's Health (See "EuroFora"'s earlier News).

    The controversy came at a particularly delicate moment for the EU in relation to Citizens, at the eve of June 2009 EU Elections, and shortly before Ireland re-votes for "Lisbon Treaty"..    

- Denouncing risks of "an Eugenic demand, very similar to what we had during the 3rd Reich in Germany, but now coming from some Scientisists themselves", German ChristianDemocrat/EPP MEP Dr. Peter Liese stressed that critical MEPs were against "Eugenic" engineering with "Selection of Human Embryos", and anything which might ultimately lead up to to a "Selection of Human Race". It doesn't help to "eradicate" Human Lives, he added.


    Several Experts and NGOs expressed "Deep Concern", as f;ex. DR M.C. Cornel of the "European Society of Human Genetics", which stressed, on this occasion, that "the importance of Non-Directiveness in Reproductive issues is a Central characteristic of Human Genetics, after the Atrocities committed in the name of Genetics in the first half or the 20th Century".

     - "This is completely Unacceptable", stressed Italian Liberal MEP Vittorio Prodi, on the Controversial Amendment, also because pushes to "eliminate early Human Life", as he noted.

     - "This opens a Dangerous Road, rather a Motorway", denounced Danish MEP Mrs Margrette Auken, from the "Greens", observing that various similar attempts were made in the Past "not only in Germany, but also in several other Countries, "even at the 1970ies", "f.ex. on forced Sterilisation of Roma" People, and other criticisable situations f.ex. in the UK, in Sweden, etc. as she said.

    + Other NGOs, as f.ex. "LebenHilfe" from Berlin, added that, among various other Risks, could also be that, by exploiting the pre-implantation Genetic Diagnostics and the Selection of "healthy" Embryos, some may "propagate" several "Eugenic" aims, starting f.ex. by pushing to eradicate Human Livies which might "Cost too much" to preserve, ultimately exposing to dangers reminiscent of the "3rd Reich"'s atrocious abuses.

    In consequence, ChristianDemocrats/EPP and "Green" MEPs "decided by Majority to vote against" this Controversial Amendment, anounced to Journalists the 5 MEPs who participated in the Press Conference, representing a wide spectrum, from Liberals to "Greens" and ChristianDemocrats, and from Hungary, Italy, Germany and Danemark up to Ireland (Gay Mitchell), etc.
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    Hungarian ChristianDemocrat MEP Laszlo Surjan said "that it was "Suddenly, at the End of the Procedure" in Committee, that "appeared this (Controversial) Amendment, which has nothing to do" with the main purpose of the Report, on which all agreed.

    He denounced an "Unhonest" move, and called to "avoid this kind of unacceptable situations". Nobody should "Select People", Surjan stressed.

    - "We (MEPs) had No Chance to Discuss" this last-minute Amendment earlier added at a Committee's level, said German MEP Peter Liese

    Speaking to "EuroFora", Dr. Liese, the Spokesman of the ChristianDemocrat/EPP Group in EU Parliament, said that MEPs didn't oppose other references of the Report f.ex. on "Genetic Tests", because they were "no proposals" to impose them, while, on the contrary, there was "a Problem" if anyone attempted to "impose" f.ex. this or that Genetic Technique and "Genetic Counselling", etc. to the People on human reproduction.
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The precise Text :
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    Controversial parts of Amendment No 15 ask mainly "to lead finally to the Eradication" of "Hereditary" "rare diseases", "through Genetic Counselling .., and ..pre-Implantation Selection of healthy Embryos".

    But  EU Rapporteur Professor Trakatellis, said to "EuroFora" that fears should be alleviated by Guarantees that all this should be done only "where appropriate", when it's "not contrary to existing National Law", and "always on a Voluntary basis", according to other Parts of the Amendment.

    He stressed that the main aim was to allow "a free and informed choice of persons involved", without imposing them anything :  - "It's not an obligatory, but advisary" text, he said.

    To make that point clear, he was ready, in agreement with many MEPs, to eventually drop at least that part of the controversial Amendment which initially called for "efforts to ..lead finally to the Eradication of those rare diseases" "which are Hereditary".

    But, until late Wednesday evening, reportedly together with many other MEPs, he stood by all the rest of the controversial Amendment, (fex. on the "Genetic Counselling" and the "pre-implantation Selection of healthy Embryos"), so that critical MEPs, going from ChristianDemocrats as Dr. Liese, to "Greens" or "Ind/Dem", observed to "EuroFora" that "this was not enough" to close the dangerous loophole.

    Particularly since, as Professor Trakatellis noted himself, "this is already allowed to the U.K.", and "other National Legislations would probably follow, sooner or later" in a similar direction. As for a general call to "Eradicate Hereditary rare Diseases", this "should happen, at any case, in practice, de facto", to protect public Health.

    On the contrary, "our goal should be to help patients suffering from rare diseases, not to eradicate the patients. In case of genetic disease risk, the decision should not be guided by scenarios" made by politicians. "Perents who may decide to accept a child, even if handicapped or with genetic disease, must be respected and supported with solidarity", critical MEPs stated.

    - "Any Pressure" to "a patient or couple (who "should be able to make an informed choice consistent with their own values"),"from health Professionals, Public Health Policies or Governemental Institutions, or Society at large, should be avoided", stresses the "European Society for Human Genetics".

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Each MEP's vote will be registered !

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

The Socialist Group requested a "Split vote" on the Amendment 15, first without, and afterwards with the words "lead finally to the Eradication" etc.


    But the first "split vote" leaves intact all the other parts of the Controversial Amendment, (i.e. "Genetic Counselling", "Selection of healthy Embryos", etc).

    That's why, 3 Groups of MEPs : ChristianDemocrats/EPP, "Greens/EFA", and "Ind/Dem", have asked for "Roll Call Votes", on everything regarding the Controversial Amendment No 15, and on the final outcome of the resulting Report as amended, which will register all the individual positions to be taken by each MEP.   

Something which will obviously make each MEP think twice before voting for one or another choice, to be sure that he/she will make the right choice in front of EU Citizens, particularly at these pre-Election times...


    Crucial Votes were scheduled between 12 Noon and 1 p.m. local Strasbourg time, in the middle of a long series of various other Reports, and after a long Public Debate on the larger Health policy package, from 9 to 11.50 am.

    The specific Report inside which was hidden the controversial Amendment is due to be debated between 11 and 12 am.

    So that more last-minute Surprises may not be excluded a priori...

    Particularly at the present Historic moment, when even the Institutional Future of the EU depends on the result of a second Referendum on "Lisbon Treaty", later this year, in ...Ireland, a mainly Catholic country, where People are particularly sensitive in such kind of socio-cultural and values issues...
 

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     (Draft due to be updated).
 
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