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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
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 *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.

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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.

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(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)
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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.
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 - "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.

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 - 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 ?
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- 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" :

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- "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.

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=> "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.
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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.

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 - "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.

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+ 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).
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+ 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...
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+ 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.

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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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Recent developments proved that Europe can suceed to overcome challenges by aiming at great objectives, and this is needed also in 2009, said EU chairman, French President Nicolas Sarkozy.

    - "It's in the name of Great Ideas, Projects, Ambition and Ideals, that EU can overcome" challenges, stressed Sarkozy at EU Parliament in Strasbourg, in conclusion of a dense 7 months EU Chairmanship. "It's even easier for Europe to have Great projects, able to overcome national egoism, instead of limiting itself only to small projects" (unable to do alike), he observed.     

- "Europe must remain Ambitious and understand that the World needs her to take Decisions". "The World needs a Strong Europe", which "thinks on its own, has convictions, its own responses, its imagination" : "A Europe which does not limit itself into following" others, (as it did in the Past, when it followed USA, f.ex. on Bosnia). On the contrary, "Europe should undertake its own responsibilities", he said, after a series of succes in stopping the War between Russia and Georgia, and organizing the 1st EuroZone's Summit in Paris, which incited the Washington DC G-20 Summit to extend similar decisions World-wide.  


    - "When you sweep it all under the carpet, prepare yourself for hard tomorrows", he warned. "What hinders decisions is the lack of Courage and Will, the fading away of Ideals", he stressed before EU Parliament's 2008 debate on Human Rights and Sakharov prize on Freedom of thought attributed by MEPs to Chinese cyber-dissident Hu Jia, followed by an EU - Turkey meeting on Friday.

    - "I don't abandon my convictions" and "I will take initiatives" on EU level also in 2009, Sarkozy announced later. "France will not stop having convictions and taking initiatives" on Europe. + "It's an Error to wish to pass over the Heads of those who are elected in their Countries" : "It's an integrism I always fought against"', he warned.
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French EU Presidency faced 4 unexpected Crisis :

- An institutional crisis, with the Irish "No" to EU Lisbon Treaty, just before it started. A geopolitical crisis, wth the threat of War between Russia and Georgia risking to throw Europe back to Cold-war divisions, on August. A World-wide Financial and Economic crisis, arriving at a bad moment before crucial 2009 EU elections. And even a Strasbourg's mini-crisis, with EU Parliament's roof curiously falling down, from unknown reasons, in a brand new building on August, provoking an unprecedented transfert of the 2 September Plenary Sessions...

But it wasn't enough to stop Sarkozy ! On the contrary, it stimulated him...
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- "The better way to deal with the recent problems of EU institutions (as the "3 NO" by France, the Netherlands and Ireland) is to take them as a "Test" in order to find solutions closer to Citizens' concerns", said later in Strasbourg Sarkozy's new choice as Ministe for EU affairs, Bruno Le Maire.

- On the Institutional front, Sarkozy gave Time to the Irish to think about it, and stroke on December a deal including a New Referendum after the June 2009 EU Elections, in exchange of a promise to keep the rule of "one EU Commissioner for each EU Member Country", and some opt-outs on Defence and Fiscal EU policies, Abortion, etc. If the Irish get a "Yes" Majority, then the institutional package could be completed in 2010 or 2011 on the occasion of Croatia's probable EU accession.

He was accused in Strasbourg to upgrade EU Council and downgrade EU Commision, but he replied that "strong Political initiatives by EU Council reinforce also the more technical role of EU Commission, under the political-technical leadership of its President", all 3 "working together with EU Parliament".


- But, meanwhile, Sarkozy energetically spearheaded an Historic 1st Summit of EuroZone's 15 Heads of State and Government at EU's core, exceptionally enlarged to a partial participation of British Prime Minister Gordon Brown, on October 12 in Paris' Elysee palace, which started to tackle succesfully the growing world Financial crisis.

    It also paved the way for its endorsement by a subsequent Brussels' 27 EU Member States' gathering, before it all come to Washington's G-20 Summit. And "Europe was united, it asked for the 1st G-20 Summit, and it will also organise the next G-20 Summit on April in London", he observed.   

 But a Conference with EU, Russia, African and other Developing Countries, hosted in Strasbourg shortly after Washington G-20 Summit by the French EU Presidency, took a Resolution asking to enlarge participation to Global Economic Governance. Many found, indeed, illogic and unacceptable that f.ex. states as Turkey were given a seat at G-20 level, while all African Countries, and even the African Union itself, representing the greatest Continent on Earth, were excluded...


    Meanwhile, even USA''s "Paulson No 3" Plan, was, in fact, inspired by Europe's No 1 Plan", Sarkozy observed, largelly applauded by MEPs.

    And "Europe showed Solidarity" by mobilizing some 22 Billion credit for Hungary, 1,7 billion for Ukraine, as we do nowadays for Baltic States, etc., he added.

    The move on Economy was extended on December by an EU stimulus' plan totalling some 200 billion Euros, including 5 Billions released by EU Commission for big Projects, as well as various parallel National plans for Economic revival, (fex. 26 billions in France alone). They might appear limited, compared to USA President-elect Obama's reported plan to boost the American economy with 800 billion $, but at least succeded to overcome Europe's divisions for the first time on Economic governance, opening new horizons.

- The French President stressed even harder the unique role of an active EU Council's chairmanship, when he moved swiftly and efficiently, at the beginning of August, to succesfully stop War between Russia and Georgia, at the last minute, which threatened to bring Europe back to Cold War division.

"We (EU) also wanted to avoid a situation like in Bosnia, in the Past, when EU was absent, so that our American friends took their responsibilitues, and EU only followed", despite the fact that the conflict took place in Europe. Now, it was the EU who took its responsibilities".

A roadmap towards a new PanEuropean Security policy, before which all unilateral moves to place new Missiles (from USA or Russia) would be freezed, was proposed by Sarkozy after a meeting with Russian president Medvedev, at the eve of Washington DC's G-20 Summit.

Ukraine's "European" character was stressed at a Sarkozy - Jushenko Summit, September in Paris, while EU adopted on December an "Eastern policy", in which, "I'm convinced that our (EU's) future is to find with our Neighbours the conditions for Economic Development. Peace and Security, by explaining them that.. they must respect (Human Rights') Values, and adopt behaviors different from the Past", explained Sarkozy in Strasbourg.

Meanwhile, the "Union for the Mediterranean" was created, since July's Summit if 45 Heads of State and Government in Paris, as "an organisation for a permanent Dialogue, that we need", mainly in order to tackle the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, by bringing together, for the 1st time, Israelis and Arabs, where "Europe must be present, in order to avoid a frontal clash".

- "If Europe doesn't take its part for Peace in the Middle-East, nobody else will do that in our place", Sarkozy stressed.
-----------------------
    Meanwhile, other EU Agreements were brokered during the French EU Presidency on Immigration, (fex. common Asylum rules, etc), and Climat- Energy :

    - On Climat-Energy, the 2007 German EU Presidency had fixed a triple 20% aim for 2020 (20% renewable Energies, 20% reduction of CO2 emmission, 20% energy efficience/economies), and the 2008 French EU Presidecny realized that, making the necessary compromises in order to modernize EU's industry, but without throwing some former Central-Eastern European Countries into abrupt Economic break down risking "social explosion".

    - Defence-Security EU policy was mainly postponed for April 2009, since both German chancellor Merkel and French president Sarkozy want to strike a deal with the new American president Obama in Strasbourg's NATO Summit.

    However, with all these 4 unexpected Crisis diverting attention to other urgencies, People wil wonder now, what happened to the famous deal proposed by freshly-elected French President Sarkozy on Turkey's controversial EU bid, back on August 2007, to continue EU - Turkey negotiations, but on the double condition that core chapters, intrinsequally linked with EU Membership, will be excluded, and that a collective Reflexion and Debate on Europe's future would start before the end of 2008.

    It was meant to reply to the crucial question : What kind of Europe do we want in 10 or 20 Years from now : A large Market, or a Political Europe, with a popular identity ? In Sarkozy's thinking, presented in his 2 landmark speeches on Europe in Strasbourg, shortly before and after the 2007 Elections, (on February and July 2007), Turkey's controversial EU bid would be incompatible with the second choice.

    It's true that EU Commision's Chairman, Jose Barroso, (who had notoriously declared, as former Portuguese Prime Minister, that he found "nonsense" the idea that Europe might become equal to the US), had repeatedly tried to avoid that Sarkozy's criticism on Turkey might start winning a larger audience in Europe, preferring a discrete "wismens' committee" work. And that most of the personalities later chosen in order to participate in a Committee on Europe's Future, are too much linked with Socialist parties and/or American policies, to be really critical of USA's notorious wish to impose Turkey to the EU, as Sarkozy had noted himself since March 2007..

     - "It's on EU Council's presidency to take political initiatives. EU Commission has other competences", stressed Sarkozy. The "European Ideal" is to "build Europe with the States, not against them". "Ask Europeans to chose between their countries and Europe won't work. You don't choose between your two parents : We must add them together".

    "France and Germany have an Historic Duty to work together, precisely because of what happened to the Past. We have to work hand by hand. We cannot be separated.It goes beyond me and Mrs Merkel today, Mr Schroeder and Mr. Chirac yesterday. It's not a choice, it's a duty to Europe and to the World".  "We need Germany, as Germany needs Europe". Compromise is inevitable, here as everywhere, and each one made some steps towards eachother's positions.

    But "it's true that Mrs Merkel didn't chose her Socialist partners, while I chose mine", Sarkozy said, in an indirect hint that the Socialist Minister of Finance in Germany might be a cause of minor past disagreements in Economy, which were overcome in recent negotiations.

    "We (France and Germany) have particular duties in Europe", but "in a Europe of 27 Member States, it's not enough for France and Germany to agree between them.

    "I always thought that Great Britain has a special role to play in Europe. ... Now, everybody "saw what it cost payed the UK for having been too exclusively open towards the US (and) Financial services. Europe needs the UK, but also the UK needs Europe" :- "We were able to face the hardest moment of the Financial crisis because the UK clearly chose Europe", stressed Sarkozy, reminding Gordon Brown's exceptional participation to the Historic 1st Heads of State/Government Summit of EuroZone, October 12 in Paris (See EuroFora's Reportage from Elysee Palace then).

     - "Some look at Europe with old glasses aged 30 years ago. While we must look at her in relation to what it will be in 30 years" in the Future, Sarkozy concluded.

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