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Home arrow newsitems arrow EUParliament Press Chief Duch to EuroFora:How EUElection Abstention Trend stopped+Participation grew

EUParliament Press Chief Duch to EuroFora:How EUElection Abstention Trend stopped+Participation grew

Written by ACM
Tuesday, 01 July 2014

*Strasbourg/EU Parliament/Angelo Marcopolo/- At the 1st Press Briefing on New EU Parliament's Inaugural Plenary Session in Strasbourg, as it emerged from the latest May 2014 EU Elections, its experienced Press Director and Spokesman, Jaume Duch, replying to an "EuroFora"s Question on the Need to Find the Real Causes for the Present Success to Stop a previous trend towards more Abstention, and even Start Augmenting EU Citizens' Participation, for the 1st time after 15 Years, so that MEPs could Timely prepare for the Next, 2019 EU Elections to reach even Better Results, f.ex. by Aiming to arrive anew at a Majority Participation, positively Highlighted a possibility for relevant EU Parliament Debates and Decisions throughout the next 6 Years (2014-2019) :



 - "In the latest EU Elections, you have contributed to succeed to Stop the Trend for a Sharp Fall of  EU Citizens' Participation, towards a growing Majority Abstention, which pre-existed since 1999, (i.e. the Year which was notoriously marked by Turkey's  controversial and unpopular EU bid), as you know, as well as to mark at least a small Rise in the number of Participants", throughout the overall EU-wide area, which was "even much Bigger in certain Countries, such as, f.ex. France, Greece, etc", "EuroFora" observed.


=> - "Do you think that it might be possible, either during this Week, or in the foreseable Future, to have a chance for a substantial Debate inside EU Parliament, in order to Find out which were  the real Cause(s), and what Conclusions should be made (on this obviously crucial issue for European Democracy) for the Future ?", we asked.  - "Because it has to be prepared, and not left only for the last minute, so that we could have, then, (on the Horizon of 2019), a fully-fledged Re-Launch" of EU Citizens' Participation, "hopefuly becoming anew a Majority", (as it was initially, since back on 1979), "EuroFora" concluded.



 - "I think", indeed, "that this is a(n EU Parliament's) Debate which starts Today", (i.e. already since the 1st Plenary Session of the New EU Parliament, as it emerged from the latest, May 2014, European Elections : July 1 - 3, 2014), Duch sharply replied to "EuroFora"s Question"


+ -  But, "it will also be of a duration which migt take as long as throughout all the next 5 Years !", the experienced EU Parliament's Press Director and Spokesman wisely concluded on this crucial point.

=> - "So that you will have enough Time to follow that" EU Parliament's Debate, he added smiling in fine, apparently addressing himself to all present Journalists in Strasbourg, including "EuroFora"...



In fact, there are exceptionaly Big Issues at Stake in this regard during the forthcoming Years, considering particularly the Fact that many Top EU-Politicians have already stressed the Need to resolutely Advance soon towards a much Stronger EU and/or €uroZone Integration, specially on Economic but also on certain Political issues, which, obviously, couldn't really succeed unless it manages to be Based on a Strong Democratic Legitimacy given by People's Votes.



According to Official EU Parliament's Data, the Sharpest ever Falls in Participation suddenly occured back in the 1999 and 2004 EU Elections, when it Droped from an Absolute Majority of 56,67% of Registered Voters, as it had been on 1997, Down to only a .. Minority of 49,51% for the 1st Time in History on 1999, (i.e. a long Fall of - 7,16% Less than before !), to which was also added another Sharp Fall of - 4,04% less, droping Down to only an even smaller Minority of 45,47% on 2004. Those 2 Sharp and unprecedented Big Falls of Participation  down into a Shrinking Minority of registered Voters, during 1999 - 2004, correspond to a period of growing Controversies on Turkey's Unpopular EU bid, which notoriously Deceived, Angered and Dissuaded many EU Citizens even from participating to such events.

On 2009 that continuous Trend to Fall suddenly Decelerated, (particularly after the Elections of President Nicolas Sarkozy in France,  and of Chancellor Angie Merkel in Germany, as well as of a brillant Win of most ChristianDemocrats/EPP parties accross EU Member Countries, most of whom were officialy Opposed to Turkey's controversial and unopopular EU-bid), lowering just- 2,47%, until it reached a Participation of 43%.

But it's only this Year, with the May 2014 EU Elections, that, for the 1st Time after 15 Years (1999-2014), there is No more any other Fall of Participation, that previous Trend having been fully Stopped now, by succeeding to Keep a Participation of more than 43% in 2014 as back on 2009, and even Starting to Grow, at least a little better, with a +0,9% (almost +1%) Higher Number of Participants now on 2014 (43,9%), than back on 2009, (in certain EU Member Countries even much More : Comp. Supra).                                                                                                                                                                                                                           






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They voted to "freeze" UK Government's draft to put People in jail for 42 Days on "anti-terrorist" suspicion without charge, or they abstained. Don't they look suspect ?

CoE's debate on UK controversy stirs PanEuropean check of anti-terror suspects' imprisonment

Former Leftists of the Sixties would boil in hot water if they heard PACE's debate on the controversial 42 days detention without charge, currently drafted by the British Government :

A "Socialist" Government, a Socialist PACE Rapporteur and a Socialist Chair of PACE's Legal Committee, opposed a .. "Conservative" amendment (supported by .. Liberals, Democrats, etc), to freeze the measure, in order to protect Citizens' Freedom, by "waiting" until CoE's Venice Committee checks its conformity with Human Rights' principles.

"Left"'s support to Conservative-Lib.Dem's criticism, wasn't enough to obtain a majority, nor to make things as they were back in the good old days, when "Left" and "Right" had a clear meaning, as "liberty" and "restrictions"...

Conservatives and most Democrats were joined by the Left in voting for the "freeze", as well as Liberal Paul Rowen, while Socialist MEP Ivan Popescu, an experienced MEP from Ukraine (PACE Member since 1996-2008) abstained. But most Socialists, added to a few Liberals and EPP's Right, voted against.

Fortunately, someone inside PACE had the wise idea to shorten the Debate for less than 1 Hour, and put it on the Agenda only at the end of an exceptionally busy day, towards the end of the Evening, when most MEPs had already gone to taste wins and foods at various Receptions all around Strasbourg's "European" area : As a result, not even 42 MEPs weren't present..

Socialist Lord Tomlinson accused the leaders of the PanEuropean Assembly, in its highest body : the "Bureau", to "lack wisdom" by deciding to hold a Debate on an issue that neither the Socialist Chair of the Legal Committee, nor its Socialist "reluctant Rapporteur", did "not want to do", ...


Finally, everybody (critics and supporters alike) was happy to agree, in substance, that the controversial measure "may" gravely violate Human Rights, and therefore, PACE asked Legal Experts of Venice Commission to check UK Government''s plans.

But this might take more than .. 42 Days to do, since PACE's Rapporteur asked the Experts to enlarge their study in a PanEuropean comparison of all that is happening on "anti-terrorism" legislation in 47 CoE Member Countries, including Russia, Turkey and Azerbaidjan..

Bad lack : "The existing 28 days’ detention without charge in the UK is, in comparison with other CoE member countries, one of the most extreme : In Turkey, the period is 7,5 days, in France 6 days, in Russia 5 days, and in .. the U.S. and Canada just 2 and 1 days respectively", denounced Democrat MEP Ms WOLDSETH from Norway..


"Numerous respected human rights organisations, including Liberty and Human Rights Watch, have expressed serious concern" "The proposed legislation ...could easily lead to extensive abuses. ...Detention for 42 days means six weeks in which one is taken away from one’s family, friends, home and livelihood only to be let off without being charged. That will destroy lives and isolate communities", she added.

- "3 years ago, the UK Government sought to increase the period of pre-charge detention from 14 days to 90 days. Not long before that, it had been only 7 days. There was a vigorous debate ...and a ...compromise was reached of 28 days. We have to ask whether there are proper safeguards in place to extend the period to 42 days. I suggest that there are fatal flaws", reminded British Conservative Clappison.

- "What sort of society holds someone in detention for 42 days and does not have to tell the person who is in prison why they are there, or explain the suspicions that arose and led to their detention? What sort of society believes that that is the way to treat its citizens? That is an appalling injustice, ...A 42-day detention period will not make the UK safer. Instead, it will be the first step to giving in to terrorists; it is saying that we are prepared to sacrifice our democratic rights and the principles for which we have stood for centuries", criticized British Liberal Michael Hanckock


"Comments made ...by Norwegian delegates are unfortunate", replied British Socialist MEP Ms.Curtis-Thomas, accusing them to "besmirch the reputation of our police force, which is one of the Best in the World", as she said, believing that "there are significant safeguards ...to ensure that individuals are not subjected to unlawful detention"


PACE "has serious doubts whether ...the draft legislation are in conformity with the ...case-law of the European Court of Human Rights. A lack of ..safeguards may lead to arbitrariness, resulting in breaches of ... liberty and ...right to a fair trial". PACE "is particularly concerned that: ..the judge ..may not be in a position to examine whether there exist reasonable grounds for suspecting that the arrested person has committed an offence;"; that "... representation by a lawyer may be inappropriately restricted or delayed;" that "information on the grounds for suspicion of a person ...may be unduly withheld.. ;" that this "may give rise to arrests without the intention to charge;", and; in general, that "prolonged detention without proper information on the grounds for arrest may constitute inhuman treatment", says Klaus De Vries' Report, adopted with 29 votes against zero.


Records don't say if it took him 42 Days to draft his Report, but, at least, he knew why...


2009 EU Elections were won by Parties against Technocracy and Turkey's controversial EU bid, while the 1999-2004 Majority Abstention trend decelerated. What should be done in 2009-2014 ?


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