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Home arrow newsitems arrow Strasbourg World Forum organizers to EuroFora: Leaders to help Democracy face the Global Crisis ?

Strasbourg World Forum organizers to EuroFora: Leaders to help Democracy face the Global Crisis ?

Written by ACM
Monday, 25 June 2012

 *Strasbourg/Council of Europe/Angelo Marcopolo/- It's "Now or Never", when Democracy is at stake in the middle of Globalization, that World Leaders, Experts and Activists should start gathering at Strasbourg's 1st World Forum for Democracy (October 2012) to help Institutions and Citizens face the Challenges of Economic and/or Socio-Political Crisis, but also debate, reflect, stimulate and advise recent and on-going Movements spreading Democratic aspirations, after all Europe and its Central-Eastern States, also in 3rd Mediterranean Countries and elsewhere in the World, while also seizing new Opportunities offered by the Modern Information/Communication tools, said, in substance, the Organizers of this exceptional, pioneer Global Event, French Permanent Representative to the CoE, Ambasador Dominati and Strasbourg's Mayor, Senator Ries, in reply to "EuroFora"'s questions in a Press Conference at the CoE with the participation of its Secretary Gerernal Thornbjorn Jagland.


World Leaders, from UNO's Secretary General Ban Ki Moon, to French President Hollande and the King of Jordan Abdulah II, or Tunisia's President Marzouki, and Prime Minister of Albania Barisha (CoE chairman 5-11/2012), German Finance Minister Schauble, Foreign Minister of Bulgaria Mladenov, and Canada's former Prime Minister Campbell (World Democracy Movement's President), etc., added to EU Commission's President Barroso, CoE's Secretary General Jagland and Organization of American States' Secretary General Insulze (Brasil), EU Parliament's and CoE Assembly's Presidents Schultz and Mignon, European Court of Human Rights' President sir Bratza together with the Inter-American Court of HR. President Garcia Sayan, South African Constitutional Court Chief  Mogoeng, International Human Rights' Institute's President Costa,  and CoE's new Human Rights' Commissioner Muiznieks and PanEuropean Anti-Corruption watchdog GRECO's President Mrcela (Croatia),  OSCE's Democracy/Human Rights' office Director Lenarcic, as well as Russian Ombudsman Lukin and USA's International Center for Non-Violent Confict's Founding Chair Ackerman (Wash.DC), Nobel (Peace) and Sakharov (Free Speech) Prizes' winners 2011 Karman and Mahfouz, UNO's High Representative for Civilisations' Alliance Sampaio (former President of Portugal), CoE's "Democracy through Law"-"Venice Commission"'s President Buquicchio, North-South Center President Bergamini, and Amnesty International's Secretary General Shetty from India,  Afghanistan's Indepedent Human Rights Commission's Chair Samar, Transparency International's Founding Chair Sung Kim from South Korea, International Commission of Jurists (Geneva) Africa program Director Tsunga (Zimbabwe), as well as UNO's Envoy for Syria, former UNSG Koffi Annan, etc., are among the First Participants already anounced in Strasbourg, among many other Politicians, Experts (from USA, Japan, EU, Africa, etc), Media or Business' representatives, Associations, Activists, etc., throughout Europe and nearly from all over the World, who will, at least partly, interact also with interested Citizens in several Open Debates both at the CoE and throughout Strasbourg.

(Greek People collect Signatures for Referendum while Police with Clubs, Masks and Gas disperses the biggest Popular Demonstration of the year, in front of the Parliament : Athens, Constitution square, 29 June 2011)

Once the urgent vital Need felt, when Democracy was recently challenged by Crisis even at its Historic Birthplace/cradle : Greece since 2011, (See PHOTO+), after unprecedented Majority Abstentions emerged in EU Parliament's Elections 1999-2004, following a previous such trend also in the USA, incompatible with the present (2012) need to deepen EU Economic Integration and therefore also an EU Political Union able to attract EU Citizens' support, while, almost at the same time, on the contrary, various Democratic Ideas and aspirations are recently spreading, after having swept Central-Eastern Europe, even throughout most 3rd Mediterranean Countries, from Morocco up to Syria's borders with Turkey, the organization of this 1st World Forum for Democracy is, indeed, Timely.


 - "EuroFora" observed the Fact that, by coincidence, the Date chosen for the WDF is very close to crucial USA Presidential Elections (where a growing Majority of Citizens notoriously risks to Abstain from Voting, as also in the 1999-2004 EU Parliament Elections), and that CoE's Assembly, in its latest Plenary Session before the WDF, is debating and voting this week in Strasbourg an important Report on the Crisis of Democracy Today, its contemporary Challenges, but also New Opportunities, as f.ex. with the growing potential input of New, E - Technologies, inventive and revendicative Youth Movements, etc.


 - Therefore, we asked the Organizers, if the question how to face the present Challenges of a Democracy in Crisis, as well as how to seize the New Opportunities offered by the current Spread of Democratic Aspirations, as well as a Popular Quest to deepen and ReVitalize an Authentic, Real Democracy Today, possibly also with more helpful Modern Information/Communications Technologies, etc, would be a Priority at this First, 2012 World Forum for Democracy ?
- Strasbourg's Mayor, Senator Roland Ries, replying to "EuroFora"s 2nd Question, agreed, in substance, that, indeed, this 1st WFD of 2012, "comes at the Right Moment" :


- "If the main Meaning of your Question is if this World Forum on Democracy, in Strasbourg, comes at the Right Moment, as far as I'm concerned, I'd be enclined to reply to you with a "Yes !"", positively reacted to "EuroFora"s Question Senator Ries, of the new Governing Majority of Socialists in France.

- "Perhaps, there are no "Good Moments", in this regardn, but the overall Context Today, in this regard, f.ex. with the "Arab Spring", as well as what is happening in a number of Countries all over the World, clearly indicates that, today, it's more than ever that it's necessary to exchange views about what is Democracy, or what are Democracies".

- "Because, I have some Doubts to speak about "the" Democracy,  since we mustn't practice "EuroCentrism" : There might be Different Forms, at least in the Organisation of (on the way to organize) Democracy, given that the Final Aim should be the Same for All. That is to say, allow to the People to Participate in Decisions which will affect its Future", as he clarified.


=> "I don't know if I replied to Your Question, but I really believe that the Time (to move /to act on Democracy) is Now, or Never !", Strasbourg's Mayor, Senator Ries, strongly concluded on "EuroFora's query.

But France's Permanent Representative to the CoE, Ambassador Laurent Dominati, went even further, making some interesting remarks on the History and what is really at stake Today, in his own reply to "EuroFora":

 - " Since you asked about the (chosen) Moment :  CoE itself was founded after a Victory against Totalitarian Regimes" (as NAZISM and Fascism, etc), just "after the end of 2nd World War" (1949), he reminded from the outset.


 - "A second, fabulous Wave is after Berlin Wall's Fall" (1989), at the End of the "Cold War" era, "and, therefore, after the Victory against another type of Totalitarian regimes" (Stalinism, etc), as he said.

+ "Now, we arrive in a Globalized World, where we see that Democracy, which faces Challenges even inside Europe itself for several reasons, nevertheless, is Exported abroad and arrives to Latin America, arrives to the "Arab Spring", accross the Mediterraenean, "which are certainly the most Important events at the Beginning of this 21st Century", Ambassador Dominati stressed.

- "And afterwards, such Democratic movements continue also towards Africa, in Asia, etc., and you can see that, in a Globalized World, the Issue of Democracy, of its Definition, its Forms its Practice, of its Achievements or of its Challenges, is, indeed, a Question which concerns us all", observed the Permanent Represenative of France to the CoE.


+ Moreover, "as You know well, it's CoE's own role, which is also at stake, in exporting Democracy and its Universal Human Rights' Values, so that, in front of such Challenges and Tests", he pointed out, (apparently evoking also CoE's crucial task to ensure at least an elementary Respect of ECHR's judgements by all 47 CoE Member States)...

=> That's why, "we should all contribute, ...to this 1st Forum on Democracy", "together with France, and (Strasbourg's) Local/Regional Authorities which embody Democracy also at other levels", he invited.

- But "it (WFD) wouldn't succeed at all, without (the help also from) another great pillar of Democracy : i.e., the Press, and, therefore, we count upon You to act adequately so that these Debates, these Questions and their promotion, are prepared in Intelligent and the Widest possible way, vis a vis the Largest possible Audience, and we thank you all for that", concluded the Representative of France to "EuroFora"s query (Comp. supra).
+ Meanwhile, CoE will debate this week both Crisis of Democarcy and Economy, implying that Growth is needed to alleviate excessive Austerity threatening Democratic Institutions, at the eve of a crucial EU Summit in Brussels from Thursday Night and Friday.

But, it didn't yet think to tackle this Double Crisis the other way round : - Could an adequate and efficient Restoration/ReInvention of Democracy, by succeeding to overcome its current Crisis, also Help ReSolving even the current Financial/Economic Crisis ?

- Once again, the concrete Example of Democracy's cradle : Greece, (nut even contemprarY France in 2012 Elections, etc), provides a crystal clear Answer :  - "YES !"
Why ? And How ?

=> Simply because the Huge Debt provoked in Greece since the 1980ies, and scandalously Hidden on 1999-2001 (when some former "Socialist" Governments in the EU allowed a former PASOK Government in Athens to enter in €uroZone earlier than normal, even before doing the necessary Reforms, in exchange of closing its eyers on Turkey's controversial an unpopular EU bid, despite gross Violations of Human Rights, Democracy and International Law), which "exploded" from 2009, threatening all Europe and affecting even the Global Economy (as many USA observers and politicians complain), could be resorbed, in a both Econmically Efficient and Socially Just way, only if all counter-productive Cushy job holders and/or abusive, often corrupted Political Lackeys hired/appointed by Clientelism and/or Nepotism in the Past 30 Years (1980-2012) at a State-controlled Public Sector which became DisProportionate compared to the Country's GDP, obliging to have a Structural Deficit, were stopped to waste precious Funds, (to the detriment of both the Productive Economy, pushed to Recession, and to Poor People, heavily affected by Austerity cuts), thanks f.ex. to a full and deep Anti-Corruption campaign, as the Majority of Greek People clearly wish, (as they revealed during the 2011 massive Popular protests and according to all Polls). But, for this to be done, Greek People must be given a Real Chance to freely debate and Democraticaly express their Popular Will on this crucial issue...
+ This 1st WDF of Strasbourg is due to continue, and become a Global Annual Rendez-Vous every year, at the same Date and Place, (as the nearby "Davos" World Economy Forum),  the Organizers added earlier, and that's a reason more for the CoE to fund the event with about 800.000 €, to which are added some 750.000 € more by the French Authorities (250 K by the State, and 300 K by the Region, Department and City of Strasbourg, as former Minister, and current President of the Alsace Region, Philippe Richert explained).  

=> Therefore, if everything goes as scheduled, Strasbourg's WDF will also face a Crucial, Historic Challenge soon, with the forthcoming, 2014, European Elections, where it has, now, become of Vital Importance for the EU to at least reverse the Record-High Abstention by a Majority of EU Citizens since the 1999-2004 EU Parliament Elections, (a drop which only decelerated a bit on 2009), particularly when Urgent, practical Needs for much more Economic Integration, also necessitate much more EU "Political Union" today, which, obviously, cannot go without succeeding, somehow, to boost EU Citizens' enhousiasm for a less Bureaucratic, but more Democratic and efficient Europe.


A Challenge for which EU Parliament's staff has already started to work in order to prepare the 2014 EU Elections in the Time Deadline of the remaining  1 Year and some Months (July 2012 - June 2014), i;e. until, by a Timely Ironie of History, the rotating EU Presidency is due to be taken over by the Cradle of Democracy : Greece, bringing, even Symbolically, the counter Back to Square No 1 (Comp. Supra) !...



("DraftNews", as already sent earlier to "EuroFora"s Subscribers/Donors. A more accurate and full, Final Version may be published asap).




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    EU Rapporteur on Enlargment Strategy, maistream German MEP Elmar Brok, speaking to "EuroFora", welcomed the proposal made earlier this week by French President Nicolas Sarkozy for the EU to"start Now Talks with Turkey to create a common Economic and Security area", instead of full Accession, at a period when Ankara looks more and more unfit and/or unwilling to respect EU conditions.

    - "For Europe to have strong Political will, it must stop dilutiing itself in an endless Enlargement. It must have borders...Diversities enrich, on the condition that they don't undermine European Cohesion, and don't weaken EU Unity", Sarkozy stressed.
    - "Countries like Turkey share a part of common destiny with Europe, with which they have a vocation to build a Privileged Relation, to be closely associated, but not to become Member of the EU"  : "Noone respects his friends by telling them lies. Noone respects his friends by making them promises that will be never kept", he added.

    That's why "we'd better start, from now, negotiating with Turkey to create a common Economic and Security area", Sarkozy proposed.

Significantly, the French President was repeatedly and largely applauded by EU citizens, 3 times, when he made the Turkey point, (strategically placed between Europe's "Political Will" and its cultural heritage, historically open to mutually enriching dialogue with all the World, but never diluted).

    - "We could propose such a great ambition also to Russia, which must not be percieved as an Adversary of Europe, but as a Partner. Thus, we'd create a wide area, of more than 800 Million inhabitants, sharing the same Security, the same Prosperity", he concluded.


    Sarkozy's move was anounced at the eve of a Franco-German Top meeting with Chancellor Angie Merkel in Berlin on Sunday, to jointly launch the EU Elections campain, after an EU Summit at nearby Prague, to launch a new kind of relations, called "Eastern Partnership", with neighboring countries such as Urkaine, Belarus, Moldova, Georgia, Armenia, Azerbaidjan, etc, (to which Russia, reportedly, is not - and does not want to be - included).

    As for Ukraine, which has already expressed her wish to join the EU in future, "Kiev will have a special place, and a very important role to play", replied earlier this week in Strasbourg, to an "EuroFora" question EU Chairman in office , Czech vice-Prime Minister Alexander Vodra.

    - "This direction is more Realistic for Turkey than Accession negotiations", reacted immediately EU Parliament's Rapporteur for Enlargment Strategy, mainstream German MEP Elmar Brok, commenting Sarkozy's idea for "EuroFora"

     Particularly "as far as it concerns the respect of EU Rules by both sides", he added, hinting at Turkey's now obvious inability and/or unwillingness to abide with EU Acquis, EU Commitments (fex. on Cyprus, etc), and European Democracy/Human Rights rules. (Comp. infra).

    Brok added that, in his view, a similar proposal might be made also to Ukraine and other neighbouring Countries, regardless if they have, or not, a "European vocation". This would not necessarily mean that there couldn't be any accession prospects at all." for all the countries that might be included in this area, according to Brok.  But it's preferable, particularly for Turkey, "because it's a more Realistic approach than full Membership".

    On this point, Sarkozy's proposal, (which he'll share with German Chancellor Merkel), seems more crystal-clear.


    - "Turkey does not fullfil EU Criteria, and will never fullfil EU Criteria" on Human Rights, Democracy and Rule of Law. "Some have been lying to Ankara, but we must tell the Truth, and have honest and close relations with her", said meanwhile to "EuroFora" on the same issue also the President of EU Parliament's largest Group of MEPs (ChristianDemocrats/EPP), Joseph Daul.
"Hot" Debate at EU Parliament reveals CHANGE of mood towards "Suspension" of EU - Tukey talks.
    Earlier this week, many MEPs, and even some of those who were previously in favor of Turkey's controversial EU bid, strongly criticized the persistance and even aggravation of serious Human Rights violations in the country, that ECHR continues to "unanimously" condemn ":

      - "After winning a big victory in the latest Local Elections, the pro-Kurdish party DTP almost doubled its Elected Mayors from 52 to 98", but afterwards "more than 400 politicians were thrown to Prison and prosecuted" by the Turkish Authorities, denounced on behalf of the ChristianDemocrat/EPP Group, Belgian MEP Frieda Brepoels.

     At the same time, "more than 1.500 Children are closed in Turkish Prisons", she added. "What will the EU Commission do" against these facts ?

- "Turkey appears to be at greater Distance away from Copenhagen Criteria after 4 Years of accession Negotiations, than when they started !", denounced on behalf of the Liberal Group, German MEP Alexander Lambsdorf.    

"On the central issue of Press Freedom, Critical Journalists face obstacles for their accreditation, others are prosecuted, condemned, fined and/or jailed, Media blocked or closed", he denounced.   

 - "EU Made 2 grave Mistakes with Turkey : To start accession negotiations, and to continue them", despite everything, criticized Dutch MEP Bastian Belder, on behalf of the Ind/Dem group.



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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