Neuer Minister für Brexit-Fragen in May’s Regierung wollte Europäische Union „vollends zerstören“

Steve Baker MP ist seit 17. Juni 2017 neues britisches Regierungsmitglied (als Parliamentary Under Secretary of State at the Department for Exiting the European Union, also Staatssekretär im Brexit-Ministerium) und seit 2010 Mitglied des britischen Parlaments. Der studierte Flugzeugingenieur, der zehn Jahre lang für die Royal Air Force arbeitete (seine Vita ist beschrieben auf der Regierungs-Website https://www.gov.uk/government/people/steve-baker – Zugriff vom 7.7.2017), wird in der britischen Presse auch schon einmal als „fanatischer Pro-Brexit-Konservativer“ bezeichnet (vgl. http://www.dailymail.co.uk/debate/article-4459342/Business-tycoons-make-toast-Brexit-Tory-MP-Steve-Baker.html aus Daily Mail Online, 30.4.2017 – Zugriff vom 7.7.2017, im Artikel „Business tycoons make toast of fanatical Brexit Tory MP Steve Baker“), als er sich von Kontra-Brexit-Geschäftsleuten mit Eiern bewerfen ließ.

Das alles wäre nicht weiter der Rede wert und könnte als übliche Profilierungsversuche britischer Abgeordneter gelten – wenn nicht der Herr Unterstaatssekretär vor einigen Jahren einige Bemerkungen gemacht hätte, die vollkommen in sein Engagement vor dem Brexit-Referendum passen. Diesbezüglich muss sich Frau May fragen lassen, warum sie dieses Regierungsmitglied ernannt hat, während sie mit Engelszungen Freizügigkeit für EU-Staatsbürger nach dem Brexit zusichert, freilich wie von der EU-Kommission festgestellt, in nicht sehr präziser Weise.

Steve Baker MP machte vor einer Konferenz der „Libertarian Alliance“ im Jahr 2010, wie vor einigen Tagen die renommierte britische Tageszeitung „The Independent“ nachwies, Bemerkungen, die für eine Zerstörung der Europäischen Union plädierten (http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/brexit-european-union-eu-steve-baker-theresa-may-wholly-torn-down-libertarian-alliance-a7820721.html, Zugriff: 7.7.2017, mit Video; The Independent 3.7.2017, Tom Embury-Dennis, Joe Watts: „Brexit: Minister appointed to negotiate Britain’s withdrawal wants European Union ‚wholly torn down'“).

In seiner Rede bei dieser rechtsgerichteten Einrichtung (die auf dem Kontinent als „ga-ga“ bezeichnet würde, so bizarr ist sie), hatte der jetzige Minister Steve Baker gesagt, die EU sollte „wholly torn down“, also vollständig zerstört werden.  Sie sei ein Hindernis für den Weltfrieden und unvereinbar mit einer freien Gesellschaft („[…he said…] the EU should be “wholly torn down”, before branding it an “obstacle” to world peace and “incompatible” with a free society).

Baker sagt den applaudierenden Zuhörern wörtlich: „I think Ukip and the Better Off Out campaign lack ambition. I think the European Union needs to be wholly torn down.” – Ich glaube UKIP [die zwischenzeitlich fast erloschene Anti-EU- und rechtspopulistische Partei] und die Better Off Out-Kampagne [eine Bewegung aus dieser Zeit, die für einen EU-Austritt warb und das mit der Behauptung, dass dann UK besser dastehen würde] haben nicht genug Ehrgeiz. Ich glaube, die Europäische Union muss völlig zerstört werden“.

Der neue Minister fügte hinzu: Die EU … war dazu gedacht, wirtschaftlichen Nationalismus zu besiegen. Daher ist sie ein Fehlschlag nach ihrer eigenen Definition (“It was meant to defeat economic nationalism, it is therefore a failure in its own terms.“). Und weiter  sagte der Abgeordnete für Wycombe, dr später eine sehr führende Rolle in der Pro-Brexit-Kampagne spielen sollte: „If we wish to devolve power to the lowest possible level, make it accountable and move on into a free society, then it’s clearly incompatible.“ – Wenn wir Befugnisse auf die niedrigstmögliche Ebene herunterdelegieren und diese Ebene verantwortlich machen wollen, und uns in Richtung einer freien Gesellschaft bewegen wollen, dass ist sie […, die EU,…] klar unvereinbar damit.

Diese libertäre Ansicht, ganz im Sinne der Zuhörerschaft, wurde dann noch ergänzt wie folgt: „What I want is free trade and peace among all the nations of Europe as well as the world and in my view the European Union is an obstacle to that.” – Was ich will, ist freier Handel und Frieden zwischen allen europäischen Nationen sowie auf der Welt, und nach meiner Ansicht ist die Europäische Union hiergegen ein Hindernis“. Der Herr Minister sagt also, dass die EU ein Hindernis für den Frieden sei, in Europa und der Welt. .. Spätestens hier wird klar, dass diese Person eine Lachnummer ist.

Da fühlt man sich erinnert an die Worte eines ehemaligen konservativen Ministers, der vor einigen Wochen davon sprach, dass Gibraltar vor den Spaniern ähnlich wie die Falklands zu Zeiten Maggie Thatchers vor den (damals diktatorisch regierten) Argentiniern verteidigt werden müsste. Dies erregte nicht nur in Spanien Kopfschütteln. Beide Äußerungen  indizieren eine gewaltige Realitätsferne.

Jetzt aber ist derjenige, der mit abenteuerlichen Argumenten die EU zerstören wollte, Minister Seiner Majestät. Er hat zwar einige Parlamentskollegen, die davor warnten, dass diese Ernennung die Fähigkeit, gute Verhandlungsresultate zu erzielen gefährden kann – und dies zu einer Zeit, als es die ersten Meinungsumfragen gibt, die als Ergebnis wiedergeben, dass „Remain“ für einen Verbleib in der EU eine Mehrheit bekommen könnte, wenn morgen eine solche Abstimmung stattfände.

Man kann sich keine kontinentaleuropäische Regierung vorstellen, die derartig besetzt würde. Aber vielleicht bedarf es erst eines irrationalen Brexit-Votums (von insgesamt 37% der wahlberechtigten Bevölkerung!), dass so etwas geschieht. Wenn Theresa May mit so etwas kommt und die EU-Unterhändler diesen Mann ernst nehmen, dann dürften sie verdammt gute Schauspieler sein.

Hans-Jürgen Zahorka

 

 

 

EU trade agreements: Away with the unanimous vote in the EU Council

For mainly internal policy reasons (state savings, the possible heritage of the present Belgian Prime Minister by a Walloon politician…, etc.) the internal Belgian conditions have not been met – at least for Friday, 21.10.2016, 12.21 h) – that Belgium can sign the Canadian-EU trade agreement CETA. So, a small part of the EU population, namely less than one percent, has until now blocked successfully a breaking EU trade agreement. This goes in one hand with the rising number of protectionist measures, as counted by the World Trade Organisation (WTO), in all parts of the world, and Plays in favour of those populists in the whole EU who are against Integration and the EU and in favour of an exaggerated subsidiarity principle, by means of regional votes for upper competences, by referendum etc. How to avoid the possible consequence – and one of those  m u s t  be seized – on future trade and other agreements in the external field of the European Union?

The EU makes itself ridiculous, and from now on (and this is a very nice view) the EU has to calculate with the fact that one region or a country can indeed block, or blackmail?, the rest of the EU. This in a time when the Canadian-EU trade agreement CETA will be needed urgently, also as an example for other bilateral agreements. And this with Canada, which is the most similar partner to the EU overseas, sharing fully European values, always understanding the EU, and not with e.g. Pakistan, China or other countries who are also likely one day for a trade agreement, but do not share European values, like democracy, human rights, our parliamentary system etc.

Belgium should and must remain a federal state; this has to be underlined. Federalism is an excellent means to defuse many tensions immanent in a state. But federalism can also be exaggerated (and the Germans have a certain experience with that).  An exaggeration is that Belgium which has normally the sole competence in external relations negotiations needs an approval by each of the four regional parliaments. This even in the case when the EU, to which the external trade competence had been delegated has negotiated for seven years a complicated trade agreement.

It can clearly be doubted that every Walloon who now thunders against CETA has even read the text. It can be estimated that the Walloons profit now of a system which has foreseen all situations but this one – a clear „beautiful-weather system“. But sometimes it rains also, and then the EU and the Member States need umbrellas.

So the changes for a likewise situation have to be inserted at a place where a certain balance is necessary. This means clearly: The EU Council should change as fast as possible its unanimous vote in this kind of trade agreements into a qualified majority vote, at least.

A qualified majority would mean that in most of the cases the criteria for any vote would remain. But it would ease the possible pressure on any Member State „from below“ (and the EU has also a lot of experience herewith). As the EU has mended its potholes often after similar „incidents“, the time is now good for this.

The EU is in a very crucial phase for its common foreign and security policy: The refugee quotas, the Brexit, the Dutch referendum on the Ukraine-EU Association Agreement, the EU-USA trade agreement TTIP, the discussion about the Russia sanctions (which however is not yet dividing the EU decisively), etc., but now also CETA – these are all open issues, among many others, where the EU reached in very short time a clear division and not the necessary unity. It is easy: If the EU wants to have a common foreign, in particularly foreign trade policy (and experience shows that this was up to now an excellent way which never had to be discussed), a transition into a qualified majority vote will be indispensable. Otherwise, the tradition phrase about the EU „Economically a giant, politically a dwarf“ must be changed into „Politically a dwarf, economically a dwarf“. Nobody in the EU can accept this, not even the staunchest Walloon. For the Single Market, the European Single Act from 1986 has brought a qualified majority which was good, now it is the external dimension of this Single Market which is overdue.

Hans-Jürgen Zahorka

Chief Editor, European Union Foreign Affairs Journal – . http://www.eufaj.eu

 

EWIV und Steuern

Dies ist das Thema eines Workshops des Europäischen EWIV-Informationszentrums bei LIBERTAS – Europäisches Institut GmbH am Freitag, dem 26.6.2015, ab 13 h, an der Hochschule Merseburg. Merseburg in Sachsen-Anhalt, nahe Leipzig und Halle, ist Hochschulort für einen attraktiven Masterstudiengang für Steuer- und Rechnungswesen, und der Workshop findet eingebettet in eine Studiengangtagung statt. Die Referenten: neben dem Leiter des Europäischen EWIV-Informationszentrums, Assessor jur. Hans-Jürgen Zahorka, auch die langjährige EWIV-Steuerexpertin und Hochschullehrerin in Merseburg, Dr. Petra Sandner, die auch den erwähnten Master-Studiengang koordiniert.

EWIV steht für Europäische wirtschaftliche Interessenvereinigung, eine EU-Kooperationsrechtsform, die überall in den nationalen Handelsregistern eingetragen wird. Die wohl bekannteste EWIV ist der deutsch-französische Fernsehsender ARTE. Es gibt ca. 2.600 EWIV mit ungefähr 16.000 Mitgliedern in der EU (und Norwegen, Island und Liechtenstein, mithin also 31 Ländern!). Eines der Hauptprobleme ist, dass oftmals auch steuerberatende Berufe falsch beraten – dann sind alle Vorteile einer EWIV (sie muss keine Unternehmenssteuer zahlen, wie KSchSt und GewSt) dahin. Aber auch Finanzämter wissen manchmal nicht, wie sie eine EWIV behandeln müssen. Dies alles behandelt der Workshop – für Wirtschafts- und Rechtsstudenten, Hochschulangehörige, Geschäftsführer von EWIV und Mitgliedsfirmen, Kammer- und Verbandsmanager, Steuerberater, Wirtschaftsprüfer, Rechtsanwälte und Unternehmensberater. Von 17-20 h findet dann eine allgemeine Studiengangtagung statt, bei der man sich auch die staatliche Förderung von einem Masterstudium Steuer- und Rechnungswesen, aber auch die Förderung von Praxispartnern erklären lassen kann. Denn dieses Studium ist eine duale Angelegenheit, d.h. die Studenten, die alle einen Bachelorgrad oder Ähnliches haben müssen, können in einer parallelen Tätigkeit (z. B. einer Steuerkanzlei) Fragen des Studiums behandeln, und im Studium Fragen der Praxis. Der erste Teil zu „EWIV und Steuern“ ist gebührenpflichtig, der zweite frei.

Das Programm ist herunterladbar unter http://www.libertas-institut.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/05/EWIV-Merseburg-6-15.pdf. Näheres über das Masterstudium auch bei www.hs.merseburg.de, und über die EWIV unter www.ewiv.eu.

Türkei, der Völkermord an den Armeniern und der Papst

Der jüngste Bärendienst an der türkischen Sache stammt von der türkischen Regierung selbst, wie schon so oft vorher. Papst Franziskus hatte am 12. April 2015 im Vatikan an den „Völkermord an den Armeniern“ erinnert, worauf sich über ihn ein Sturm osmanischer Entrüstung ergoss. Der Botschafter des Vatikan wurde zum türkischen Außenministerium bestellt, der türkische Botschafter im Vatikan nach Ankara zurückberufen (er dürfte nach einigen Wochen wieder an seinem Posten sein). Letzteres gehört zum diplomatischen „Spiel“ und ist nicht weiter schlimm. Schlimm ist aber, dass die türkische Regierung (und die oppositionelle CHP) meint, dem Papst in Fragen, die die Ethik in der Politik betrifft, einen Maulkorb verpassen wollte. Wer die Zahl von 1,5 Millionen Opfern des Völkermordes an den Armeniern 1915 absenken will, muss sich vergleichen lassen mit jenen Holocaust-Leugnern, die sagen, nicht sechs Millionen Juden seien in Nazi-KZs umgekommen, „sondern nur drei“. Im Übrigen ist lediglich die ebenfalls oppositionelle MHP (Nationalist Movement Party) bereit, für die Redefreiheit des Papstes einzutreten, sagt aber auch, dass religiöse und politische Führungspersönlichkeiten kein Recht hätten, so schwere Beschuldigungen wie Völkermord gegen ein Land zu erheben. Es scheint also mehr oder weniger einmütig zu sein, wie die Türkei reagiert – allerdings gibt es heute viele Intellektuelle, Autoren, Journalisten, Geschäftsleute, die – mehr als je zuvor – eine Aufarbeitung dieses Geschichtskapitels wollen.

Natürlich war es 1915 ein Völkermord – dies hatten Experten und Wisscnschaftler hinreichend oft festgestellt. Aber warum stellt sich keine türkische Regierung hin und sagt: Wir haben, verdammt noch mal, vor 100 Jahren einen Völkermord initiiert, wir bedauern dies zutiefst, wir entschuldigen uns hierfür, und wir wollen mit unseren Nachbarn, den Armeniern, eine gute und bessere Nachbarschaft. Gerade, dass es hieran fehlte, ergab bei den Armeniern jenes Trauma, das darin gipfelte – was in der EU nicht immer verstanden wurde, dass man ständig eine Völkermord-Entschuldigung forderte. Es ist ein bezeichnendes Symptom für die mangelnde Souveränität der Türkei, sich mit diesem Thema, allein aus nationalistischen Gründen, nicht auseinander setzen zu wollen. Es spricht Bände, dass aus der vom Staat drangsalierten türkischen Zivilgesellschaft die einzigen Stimmen dringen, die für eine solche Entschuldigung eintreten. Armenien hat übrigens keine Kompensationsansprüche gestellt.

Im Übrigen steht es gerade Deutschland an, sich hier zu erklären: Das Deutsche Kaiserreich war vor 100 Jahren mit dem Osmanischen Reich verbündet. So wie Deutschland sich dazu bekannte, als Nazi-System den Holocaust initiiert zu haben, muss es sich dazu bekennen, als Verbündeter des Osmanischen Reichs damals offiziell die Behandlung der Armenier unterstützt zu haben. Etliche Zeitzeugen, wie von Lepsius, Werfel und andere, haben damals einen anderen Kurs gefahren.

Armenien, das in einer seltsamen Zwangslage zwischen der EU und Russland liegt, re-orientiert sich derzeit wieder an der EU – im klaren Gegensatz zur Türkei. Deren unwürdige Leugnung des ersten Völkermords im letzten Jahrhundert unter Erdogan III ist in einem eklatanten Gegensatz zur europäisch orientierten Reformpolitik von Erdogan I. Damals war auch der Autor dieser Zeilen ein überzeugter Anhänger eines türkischen EU-Beitritts; unter der heutigen Regierung in Ankara kann davon keine Rede sein.

Hans-Jürgen Zahorka

Chief Editor, European Union Foreign Affairs Journal (www.eufaj.eu)

Nouvelle coopération avec l’Université européenne de Tbilisi/Géorgie

Il y a une nouvelle coopération entre LIBERTAS – Institut europeen GmbH et la European University (Université européenne) de Tbilisi/Géorgie. Ces jours, Hans-Jürgen Zahorka a signé pour LIBERTAS – Institut européen un „Memorandum of Understanding“, un accord de cadre sur la coopération, avec le Recteur de l’Université européenne, M. Lasha Kandelakishvili. La personne clé dans cette université sera le Doyen de la faculté de droit, des sciences économiques et sociales, M. Sosso Kelenjeridze, qui a fait une partie de ses études en France, avant d’obtenir une reputation de juriste avec une portée internationale. Dans le passé, il avait des postes diverses dans des ministères géorgiens. Chez LIBERTAS – Institut européen GmbH la personne compétente sera Mme. Ofelya Sargsyan M.A., qui est une des éditrices de „European Union Foreign Affairs Journal“  et avait atteint un mastère de l’AUA à Yerevan/Arménie et un (études européennes) à l’Université de Flensbourg/Allemagne.

 

150112_Drapeau_europ_EuropUniv_Tbilisi

Dans une des réunions sur la coopération, un drapeau européen pour l’Université européenne est décerné aux Recteur, M. Lasha Kandelakishvili (à droite).

 

Cette coopération s’étendra du dévéloppement de curriculum (par example pour un Mastère aux études européennes) aux conférences scientifiques, universités d’été et aux cours divers, par exemple par des enseignants européens. Dans cette coopération universitaire le tandem franco-allemand va jouer un rôle prominent.

New Cooperation with the European University in Tbilisi/Georgia

There is new European cooperation focussing on the European University in Tbilisi: For LIBERTAS – European Institute GmbH, Hans-Jürgen Zahorka signed these days a Memorandum of Understanding with Lasha  Kandelakishvili, Rector of the European University. The relevant person there is the Dean of the Legal, Economic and Humanities Faculty, Sosso Kelenjeridze, who himself had studied also in France, is a reputated lawyer and has in the past worked in different government ministries; at LIBERTAS – European Institute GmbH the coordinator for this cooperation is Ofelya Sargsyan M.A., who is Junior Editor at European Union Foreign Affairs Journal and had been awarded two Master degrees, one in Yerevan/Armenia (AUA) and one at Flensburg University/Germany.

The cooperation will range from curriculum development (e.g. a Master in European Studies) to scientific conferences, summer schools and a cooperation for single courses (with e.g. compact courses by EU university teachers).

150112_Round_Table_EuropUniv_Tbilisi

The picture shows the initial round table discussion at the European University in Tbilisi about the possibilities of the cooperation.

Russia and the Eurasian Union: Mission Impossible?

By Hans-Jürgen Zahorka
Chief Editor, European Union Foreign Affairs Journal (EUFAJ)
http://www.eufaj.eu

The Russian president Putin may be a political chess player, but he will fail at the very end. He wants to restore glory for his country, and therefore he undertakes a lot:
– blaming the Americans and the Europeans for anything which does not function in his country, including a growing authoritarianism and repression of non-violent opposition, including as well the stigmatisation as „foreign agents“ of any non-governmental organisation which has contacts abroad (and all open-thinking NGOs have them), and following a media policy which is absurd and where critical journalists often have to pay with their lives and health,
– gathering a lot of compliments from most of his compatriots after the conquest of Crimea, and the intended destabilisation of Eastern Ukraine – and in both cases the troops there turned out to be Russian ones, although this has been denied by Putin, who did not say the truth to the world.

This is why Russia is now isolated more than ever. Even China did not veto the trend of a discussion in the UN Security Council on 12.4.2014.

All the efforts by Putin go in this mentioned direction. It is to be crowned by the project of the „Eurasian Union“ which is to see the light of the world in 2015. Since his article in Izvestiya some years ago, it is evident that this Eurasian Union should become a kind of counterpart to the EU. No problem with this; the EU is very much in favour of regional integration in the world. And nobody in the EU or elsewhere would have anything against the Eurasian Union. However, this Project is not about economic or political Integration only. It will never be possible as an integration in the worldwide sense, alone as the EU has been a totally voluntary integration. The same for all other integrations in the world. The Eurasian Union, however, is definitely not: its predecessor and economic centerpiece, the Eurasian Customs Union is going bonkers — even if this is not seen by the protagonists. Consisting of Russia, Belarus and Kazakhstan (all three beacons of democracy and human rights, as everybody knows), a lot of transborder operations go better with the help of corruption. I don’t want to mention the ranking in the Corruption Perception Index, as everybody also in Russia knows that there is still a lot of corruption in the administration. The customs tariffs are three times as high, on an average, as the import tariffs for new member countries: Armenia has either to raise its customs considerably, or get several hundred of exemptions, which makes a customs union ridiculous. Normally a customs union in economic history has always served to decrease customs, and not to increase! The Armenian government has been squeezed – under which circumstances ever – to welcome this and to tell its people that this would be a success. At the same time, newspapers write at the same page of many possible insolvencies of various sectors and drop-outs, which will lead to a continuation of the Armenian nightmare, the brain-drain by emigration. Every integration – see e.g. the accession of Spain, Portugal, Greece as well as Central and Eastern Europe to the EU – has led so far to a short to medium-term re-integration of former emigrants.

The biggest problem for Russia is her relations with Ukraine. Here every possible Eurasian Union member state can see at first hand, how they can be treated. No chance to hope that this can be changed: Russia has in all Eurasian structures since many years the absolute majority of votes. No way with a qualified majority, which in the EU can easily serve as an instrument of balancing the interests and of creating a compromise.

The result of the Crimea action has been to suspend Russia’s voting rights in the Council of Europe and to be subject of a negative assessment by the UN Assembly.

And nobody will invest at present in Russia, if he is mentally normal (except some big operators who are of strategic interest for Russia): The Moscow government had declared that it might confiscate foreign investmnt. This is against all rules, the rule of law, the rule of any international economy and above all the interests of Russia herself. Every small and medium enterprise will refrain from investing – and this in an era of positive globalization. Only a former KGB chief who never saw a company from inside can ride on such a wave. Russia is also dependent of its raw material and energy sales. The EU, including Germany, as main client are working since a while to diversify their purchases, a step which is getting momentum, and of developing alternative energy.

As the present macroeconomic trends indicate, Russia’s economy goes slowly but safely down, like the ruble currency, thus problemizing all foreign purchases which will be necessary also for domestic investment.

There are some people – like the author of these lines – who remember the hospitality, the fine humour, the philosophical discussions even with non-philosophers, the great nature, the food, the interesting history, the excellent education of Russian people. Their economy could become more and more efficient, corruption could go down, a numerous middle-class could emerge, Russians (all, not some) would go for holidays to the EU and worldwide, and will not flee their country, NGOs could form a vital civil society, art and music could thrive, and all problems could be discussed – why not controversially – and then solved in a free parliamentary vote. And the parliaments are correctly elected, and why not letting all parties admitted for this? Towards the outside, Russia could have excellent relations with its neighbours, with the EU (there are many years homework on what has been proposed and not done, like a free trade agreement etc.), with NATO, just to name some. In such a climate, NATO could become a historical structure – maybe with Russia as a member.

Instead of this, the former KGB chief in the Kremlin does not refrain from lying to the world, from attacking Crimea (at least. until tonight, 14.4.2014), and arresting many people who demonstrate against this in Moscow these days.

It is, simply speaking, ga-ga that at the beginning of the 21st century Russia, while all the others, or most of them, try to cooperate, falls back into the 19th century. If these ideas cannot convince the people (who should not behave like a flock of sheep), they feel a minority complex, manipulate the media and threaten other countries with tanks at their borders. They also are misled by this foreign activity from domestic and grave deficits. With this, the Eurasian Union will never function. It might be launched, but it will be a sick structure from the beginning – like many others who have been launched after 2001 in the former Soviet Union. There are brillant heads e.g. in the Eurasian Development Bank which is a kind of think-tank for regional integration and where many concepts for economic integration have been conceived. But in their concepts you do not read anything about the necessity of a free will of the member states to follow this integration. What their people have, the Russian government has not: sovereignty. The sovereignty to live and to let live. You should take it easy, Vladimir Vladimirowich. If you would, your people would also. But I have lost any hope that this is possible under your reign, although I am an eternal optimist. So drive your country to the beton wall, including following countries. Like the system of the USSR, this „Soviet 2.0“ system, although not under Communist auspices, will be rejected by a majority of People involved when they see the middle and Long-term results – first in the partner countries, then in Russia. By educated, young people who will see how dysfunctional their own system will be, also due to their Facebook and Twitter accounts and the Internet in general. Like the integration of the USSR, of Yugoslavia which both burst in bubbles. The result will always be smaller than the original. Because of this, perhaps for the sake of its own corruption?, the Moscow government will end up similarly, in the most positive way with four or five former and present European CIS countries in or near the EU, and Central Asia may later form a kind of integration themselves. It would, after all, need another and sympathetic leader in Moscow (not only to most of the Russians but also to the world) to break up this isolation and inefficiency.

Neuer EWIV-Workshop am 16.5.14 in Berlin

In welcher Rechtsform sollten Unternehmen, Freiberufler, Vereine usw. in Europa zusammenarbeiten? Eine der möglichen Antworten ist: in der einer EWIV, einer Europäischen wirtschaftlichen Interessenvereinigung. Von manchen als skurrilste europäische Rechtsform bezeichnet, ist die EWIV zwischenzeitlich zwar ohne Seltenheitswert (mit ca. 2.500 EWIV in der EU, mit insgesamt ca. 16.000 Mitgliedern), aber immer noch meistens Gegenstand von Unkenntnis. Mindestens zwei Mitglieder (egal, welche Rechtsform) braucht man dazu, aus mindestens zwei verschiedenen EU-Ländern (dazu kommen noch die EFTA-Länder minus Schweiz, also Norwegen, Liechtenstein und Island). EWIV bezahlen auch keine Unternehmenseinkommensteuer (in Deutschland also keine Gewerbe- oder Körperschaftssteuer). Ein Instrument, das Unternehmen und dem Dritten Sektor (Vereine, Verbände usw.) viel Geld sparen kann – wenn der Vertrag dies erlaubt sowie das Verhalten der Mitglieder.

Das Europäische EWIV-Informationszentrum bei LIBERTAS – Europäisches Institut GmbH führt am Freitag, dem 16.5.2014, von 10 – 16.30 h, einen Workshop zum Thema „Die Europäische Wirtschaftliche Interessenvereinigung (EWIV): „Gründungs-, Rechts- und Steuerfragen der EU-Kooperations-Rechtsform“ in Berlin (Köpenick, pentahotel) durch. Die Referenten: Hans-Jürgen Zahorka, Assessor jur., Leiter des EWIV-Informationszentrum (seit Beginn der 1990er-Jahre), und Dr. Petra Sandner, Vertretungsprofessorin an der Hochschule Merseburg und ebenfalls Expertin für EWIV-Steuerrecht. Hier ist das Programm und die Anmeldeunterlagen: http://www.libertas-institut.com/de/EWIV/16_EWIV_Workshop_Programm_Einladung.pdf.

Näheres zur EWIV (die in jeder EU-Sprache anders heißt!) auch bei http://www.ewiv.eu.

What the Association Agreement EU – Armenia Really Says And What It Means For The Economy

By Hans-Jürgen Zahorka

The text of the Association Agreement (AA) and the Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Agreement (DCFTA) between the EU and Armenia is still unknown to the grand public. However, it can be assumed that all agreements between the EU and the Eastern Partnership Member States will be very similar and even coincident in very many aspects.

The EU-Ukraine AA is known, at least from a draft version. It comprises more than 900 pages and has lots of provisions which refer to detailed trade issues, EU customs numbers, and many trade details. This AA is not only a new version of the old Partnership and Cooperation Agreement (PCA), but as a detailed document in particular for the economy even a roadmap to further EU integration. Although this was never spoken out, its finality could be in a number of years the logical step of the AA countries from the Eastern Partnership of an application to accession to the European Union. Armenia could feel to be stimulated to do exactly this, after some years, for economic and political reasons; the latter exactly then if Russia would follow in a linear way its present policy. Of course this then depends if Armenia would then still have any sovereignty at all. But the Customs Union in ist present form would turn out as a centrifugal solution for Armenia, whereas the EU Agreements would be of centripetal and concentric effect.

There are lots of tasks in approximation in these AAs – from extensive harmonization to safety rules for products (e.g. product safety, product liability, toys, electromagnetic appliances, pressure vessels etc.), company law (the EU Directives will have to be taken over, by a kind of „transposition“ very parallel to the EU), to general clauses like the common heritage as well as the one for European integration, and to many dozens of pages with lists for accepting geographical origins for food products, wines etc.

Whoever flies over this text will see that the Eastern Partnership countries will be sooner or later a part of the EU Singe Market, a huge market without borders and custom controls, with a lot of purchase power, and the idol of all other regional integrations in the world. The Eurasian Union has obtained the name „USSR 2.0“ – not without reasons, as Russia will always be the dominant power, and is already so in the Customs Union. It is still to short to give a final verdict about the Customs Union now, but it does not always funcitn well where it should – this also to some Soviet-style mentalities within the respective member states.

The mistake of the EU may be that it never boasts of this success – it is too modest. This can be understood, as it is no single state structure but one of cooperation and integration of now 28 Member States, of a structure which never had any tradition or history of imperialism or making other peoples its slaves. Its communication lines are targeted to the inside of the EU only, and then more to its mere functionalities. When it comes to military force, the EU can rely only on its Soft Power – not on any Hard Power; the EU has no army, but is dependent of cooperation between its Member States. Is it therefore weak? No, as its Soft Power can be defined as the power of weakness, and as Hard Power of someone else can be defined as the weakness of power. The power of weakness is its integration, the cohesion of its people when confronted with EU principles, and that it is self-evident to be now in the EU, which has created a period of peace among the Member States longer than at any time before in history, and we are not at the end of our history.

When Armenia and the EU trumpeted both on 24th July 2013, they were both happy to have finished the draft of their bilateral agreement, which may have between 800 and 900 pages. Six weeks later, all this was suddenly in vain, after one mere talk between the Armenian and the Russian presidents? It must be clear that this agreement of almost 1.000 pages cannot be have negotiated with the purpose of not being put into power. The absolute contrary was the case, and this almost for four years. This is what it makes evident that Armenia encountered some extraordinary pressure. This was on 11./12.7.2013 also exactly the subject of the famous Statement of Commissioner Stefan Füle and of a cross-party tabled resolution of the European Parliament – both very particular measures. But if one examines what has been said about Putin and Russian foreign policy before in many European Parliament articulations, there is one logical line, namely that the EU wants e.g. civil freedoms for Russian citizens like for its own. But this is not the place to argue about minority treatment, xenophobia, selective justice, and administrative corruption etc. in Russia.

Now some people from Armenia spoke recently to sign now anyway the Association Agreement, but not the DCFTA. One of the „Whereas“ indents says however,

„DESIROUS of achieving economic integration, inter alia through a Deep and
Comprehensive Free Trade Area (DCFTA) as an integral part of this Agreement, in
compliance with rights and obligations arising out of the World Trade Organisation
(WTO) membership of the Parties, including through extensive regulatory
approximation;

which means clearly that the principal agreement will be the AA and then only as a secondary agreement the DCFTA (words underlined by the author). Therefore it may not be so easy to sign the AA only and not the DCFTA, without saying bye-bye to the project of the Eurasian Customs Union. The CU agreement does by far not go so deep in any approximation details and therefore in market integration (which, quantity-wise, would be to 165 mill. population of Russia, Kazakhstan and Belarus, compared to the 520 mill. of the 28 EU and 3 EEA/EFTA Member States). With the AA, Armenia would be continuously reformed in a way that its economy would be competitive on the European and therefore on the world markets. I do have serious doubts if this would be the case with the CU – who keeps oligarch appearances meaning that the economy would not be exposed to a real competition (for which Armenian competition law will be further adjusted, also the whole intellectual property law), where strategic investments will be in very few Russian hands (railway, telecommunication, energy etc.), and where there is no external reform pressure on the economy. The latter means, that Armenian economy would not proceed as well as it would be the case with its relevant relations to the EU. These would, by the way, also for the first time in an international framework agreement for Armenia, include the protection of the environment, and social standards, and health and safety at the workplace – just to name a few.

The next indent of the AA:

„RECOGNIZING that such a Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Area, linked to the
broader process of legislative approximation, shall contribute to further economic
integration with the European Union Internal Market as envisaged in this Agreement“,

is nothing else what has been already written in the old PCA from 1996. Therefore this (new) AA has no impact on security etc. It leaves the finality to the respective countries, i. e. if they after some years want to join the EU as Member States, it will be their affair at first, as it was until now.
The truth behind all this seems to be that in particular Vladimir Putin is scared of the European model, which is defined in the articles 2 et al. of the EU-Treaty (Lisbon Treaty), with values like human dignity, freedom, democracy, equality, rule of law, human rights, and a society based on pluralism, non-discrimination, tolerance, justice and solidarity, as well as equality between women and men. Of course, we all have to fight in the EU every day to keep these pillars of human existence – but Putin and his regime, although being more liberal than former Soviets, is committed to these things mainly in words, in legal articles, but certainly not always de facto. Whoever doubts this position – well, this would need another article. So, like Georgia, like Moldova, like Ukraine, the Armenian government should have made clear to Russia that its geographical position would drive it to be an excellent bridge between Russia and the European Union, and that being in the same security alliance does not bother it to keep this bridge function (there is no other security alliance in the world which demands of its member countries to come into a customs union).

What scares me even more than the position of the Armenian president, who might not be the most gifted economist on earth, is that from his own parliamentary group, the Republican Party, came no big objection, not even a thorough discussion about the whole scheme, but only justifications „sans justificatif“. Is this a consecration army without any autonomous will – like it exists in all other free parliaments? Is there really a parliamentary majority in Armenia who swallows this without any discussion? Some people in the EU say, if so, Armenia can join „USSR 2.0“, and the European Union will wave good-bye. It is indeed a matter of political culture that a parliamentary majority group discusses this thoroughly. The first signs, however, were not very encouraging. And, by the way, we now „interfere“ in other countries‘ politics – there is no domestic policy any more anywhere, but so far this was not be heard anywhere. At least this!

After all, there are still some options for Armenia. Austria was under a likewise pressure from the Soviet Union between 1986 and 1994, but it resisted. I took part in many discussions in this country at that time, when some Russian generals or deputy ministers – who in every democracy keep their mouth in the domain of foreign policy of other countries who do not directly threaten theirs – expressed themselves in the usual, rude way. Let them bark, again – this is good for the lungs. Armenia could have – and still can – made her security concerns to the object of a debate within the EU. As she agrees to the OSCE Minsk Group principles, it could be easy to launch also an EU debate on this basis. After all, nobody from the EU provides Azerbaijan with weapons worth several billions of euro.
Some day – and not too far in the future – it must be clear that also the European Union will have elements of a common foreign policy (it starts with elements, yes), and that the EU will not have a too-Christian attitude to offer the left cheek if it gets a slap on its right cheek. The EU can also withdraw its face, what nobody wants right now (out of Moscow). The President of Armenia should verify once more, if he wants to become totally incredible and incomprehensible, or if he really steers his country through a possible rough sea. This should go together with a creative diplomacy: towards the possible „double-pack“ neighbour Georgia, to Turkey, to Russia, to the other Eastern Partnership countries, and regarding also Nagorno-Karabakh to Azerbaijan, too. In these contexts, Armenia is well advised to delegate as much as possible to its civil society which is always more accepted than any government initiative.

Armenia is after all not yet „lost“, but it is not five, but two minutes before High Noon.

Armenia, the Russia-led Eurasian Customs Union, and the European Union: Will the Finality be Armenia’s Accession to the EU?

By Hans-Jürgen Zahorka

Since 1999 I was several times in Armenia, in journalistic missions and as Government Advisor, mainly for the EU. In 2003, during an assignment in AEPLAC (Armenian-European Political and Legal Advice Center), I had some spare time and wrote, after thorough consultations mainly with three former ministers (economy, finances) a scenario on Armenia’s accession to the EU. At this time, there was a very positive thinking towards a more active European policy in wide parts of the government and public life, and one of the „spinoff“ products following the essay I wrote was that there was soon the founding meeting of the Armenian chapter of the European Movement.

In the years to come, this article was more quoted and discussed (e.g. in Internet fora) than it could be expected. It can be seen in English on the Website of LIBERTAS – European Institute under: http://www.libertas-institut.com/de/PDF/Armenia%20ante%20portas.pdf, and in 2003 there was also a German version (it is not easy to translate as a German one’s English text into German, I remember) in ADK 1-2/2003 (Armenisch-Deutsche Korrespondenz, Vierteljahresschrift der Deutsch-Armenischen Gesellschaft), which was also published on our Website: http://www.libertas-institut.com/de/PDF/ArmeniaDE.pdf

Now we are in the situation that Russia is actively reluctant against an orientation by some of the former parts of the Soviet Union towards the EU. Besides the legitimate question, if Russia’s government does not try to turn back the wheel, it must be said that the Eurasian Customs Union as first stage of a Eurasian Union is of course, as a regional integrstion, fully legitimate – but it has to be taken into accouont that a regional integration can function only if the participant countries go voluntarily into this integration. But as we see and what has not be mentioned in detail (well, if someone wants, this is possible of course), Russia tries almost everything to „keep“ the European CIS Member States (Georgia has left the CIS in 2008) – Belarus, Azerbaijan, Armenia, Georgia, Ukraine and Moldova – on a lane leading to the Eurasia Customs Union, and later to the Eurasian Union. Belarus and Azerbaijan are not able to come closer to the EU, at least not under their present governments. Ukraine, Moldova, Georgia and Armenia have negotiated an Association Agreement which is the successor of the PCA (Partnership and Association Agreement) from the late 1990s which was valid 10 years with automatic extension until it would be replaced by ist successor agreement – the Association Agreement (AA). In addition and a „goodie“ for the economies, there is also a DCFTA – Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Agreement which should be signed at the Summit Meeting of the Eastern Partnership end of November 2013 in Vilnius/Lithuania.

But Russia wants to prevent this: Moldovan wines can at present not be exported to Russia (for „standards‘ reasons“ – but the EU which has widely feared very high standards to food imports does continue to import Moldovan wine …, and there are indeed no Quality changes to the worse with the good Moldovan wines), Ukraine exports to Russia have been stopped at the borders by the Russian administration, until Ukraine and the EU coughed … Georgia – well, their Prime Minister said, we will consider the Customs Union, but we have at present no opinion on this – this was quite friendly to MOCKBA, but it raised a domestic furor in Georgia, and the Prime Minister will leave office soon. Anyway, Georgia had a short armed conflict in 2008 with Russia, and since then, and not only then, the relations between both are a bit suspended asymetrically, and they cannot be called „normal“. In Georgia, there is an all-party coalition in favour of more European integration, and this did not change at the last general election.

The orientation of these four Eastern Partnership countries, including Armenia, towards the EU has been evident as the EU in the framework of its European Neighbourhood Policy (ENP) has always tried to reform these former kommando economies – with a huge amount of detailed legal approximation which had and still has to be implemented. This covers among others competition and state aid policy, de-monopolization, pegging to technical EU standards and norms (which are relevant far beyond the EU), regulation of utilities and transport (rail, air traffic etc.), intellectual property rights, energy and environment law etc. Russia and its Customs Union remain advocating some key sectors, like railway, energy, telecommunications. Indeed, Russia holds all or big parts of these sectors in Armenia, and they are strategic. One has also to take into account that there are long and deep (and emotional) links in providing security from Russia for Armenia. However, one has also to ask what Russia did objectively that the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict was won by the ethnic Armenians from there in the beginning of the 1990s, and why Russia which has army bases in Armenia has now committed to provide Azerbaijan (which implicitely has threatened several times Armenia to conquer back Nagorno-Karabakh by the use of force) with arms worth several billions of euros. There were evidently Russian pressions, at present unknown in detail, on the Armenian President, to agree during a summit meeting on 3.9.2013 to include Armenia into the Eurasian Customs Union and later into the Eurasian Union. No politician would have said this without any pressions, just six weeks after four years of negotiations with the EU, having praised the objectives of these negotiations all the time. Big parts of Armenian civil society are protesting this, the European Parliament has adopted on 12.9.2013 a multi-party tabled motion quasi unanimously, and we had to state, too, that the European media did not much react on all of this…

The EU Commissioner Stefan Füle made very clear comments before the European Parliament on 11.9.2013. It is not necessary to repeat them here, just see http://europa.eu/rapid/press-release_SPEECH-13-687_en.htm. The question is what will be the finality of Armenia vis-à-vis the European Union. I know many Armenians who fit fully into the pattern one has for an EU citizen, and the whole country’s culture is on one line with the EU, and nowadays the political culture more or less, too. Now, with the DCFTA many, even uncountable new links for small and medium enterprises could emerge, and this would really bring the country Forward. The expectations are in solid double-digit numbers for the growth of the Armenian GNP, if the DCFTA will be in power, within several years. Both, the Eurasian Customs Union and the DCFTA, are not compatible, and Armenia which cannot even form a common customs territory with the Customs Union, would be worse off with having signed both. So the moment of truth approaches:
– will Armenia sign only the AA plus DCFTA (they belong together, as a double-pack), which would require some explications to Russia (if they insist),
– or will it sign only the AA and not the DCFTA (which will cut the wings of the AA in a wide, yet unknown extent, and would stall the ongoing reform efforts of the country to be on line with the social market economies of the EU, and would also endanger trade flows – Armenia has more foreign trade with the EU than with Russia; statistically it is evident, but the EU Member States are counted separately, although the EU follows one Common External Commerce Policy, art. 206 et al. TFEU/Lisbon Treaty, and is counted in other countries as one statistical unit),
– or will it sign the Customs Union Treaty only, indicating this by a non-signature of the both agreements with the EU? Then it would give green light to oligarchs, more strategic investment by Russia and on the Long run an oligarchy and no competition at least in the relevant sectors. The whole country would be set back as it would not be reformed in a continuous way. It would then opt to be on one line with the economies of Russia (which has raw materials, different from Armmenia), of the ridiculous dictator-determined one of Belarus, and of the Central Asian System – and I mean very Central Asian!. and it is not the place to speak about this now and here – of Kazakhstan. Maybe Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan will be in the boat in some months, but this can be in no way a decision parameter for Armenia.

Nobody with some brain – sorry – could understand the latter possible decision. Only dubious and shallow words by Vladimir Putin must have induced to bring Armenia in today’s impossible position, after all. The Armenian President did not look to well and happy on the TV Screen when he came out of the meetings. What has been perceived as not too positive were the assurances given by all Armenian government officials and representatives. They should remember the fact that they cannot be pregnant only to 50%.

The long-term consequence of everything is that Armenia will forward an application to become a Member State of the EU. Maybe not within the next five years – but I exclude nothing. The security issues, at least with Turkey, can and will be solved, as they are also in the interest of Ankara, not at least in view of her EU negotiations. And the more Armenia will be uncoupled from EU growth and parallel countries like Ukraine, Moldova and above all Georgia, the more the civil society trend will be in favour of the EU. The EU is not an imperialist entity, but it has a huge centripetal potential – in economy, but also in its democratic systems. And Armenia has happily a more or less functioning civil society, which can and will have a feedback on its political system. And as the EU knows perfectly that a possible „no“ to the EU by Armenia is not the will of the people and not even of the government in Yerevan (why would they have drunk so much mulberry vodka or konjak on 24.7.2013, when the DCFTA negotiations were finished?!), the doors to the EU will not be closed. And isn’t it encouraging that e.g. in EU universities there is at present made serious research on a possible roadmap of Armenia towards an EU accession?

We will publish as a book what comes out there, for the EU must say „B“ when they say „A“. It will be on the market still this year, and it will induce any discussions. And Armenia as a European country, clearly anchoring in the standards of the Council of Europe, cannot be denied any further integration – in particular as Georgia will exactly do the same, and a double-pack is easier for the EU. And last but not least, the Russian system got some further spots of civil society influence: the Mayor elections in Moscow, but also in Ekaterinburg. Under these auspices, Mr. Putin should get the next Sakharov Prize of the European Parliament to promote inconsciously European values in Armenia – or the next medical Nobel Prize, as a Polish M.E.P. has proposed with a ;), as he opened the eyes of many with his – let’s call it: funny – behaviour towards the Eastern PArtnership countries. I look forward to heated or cool debates in the South Caucasus on these matters.

60th Anniversary for the European Convention on Human Rights: Happy Birthday, Happy Growth!

On 3 September 1953 the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR) entered into force. Besides the many congratulations this Council of Europe Convention got, gets and will get I just want to make some short remarks on the ECHR.

1. Europeans are often envied for this Convention. I discussed in North America, the Caribbean, in Africa and in Asia the function of the ECHR, and every time there was a spontaneous consensus in favour of such an instrument also in the respective regions. Especially the individual complaint was and is seen as an effective tool for everybody’s access to law.

2. With more than 500,000 applications since its enry into force and around 16.500 judgments, the ECHR has set up real European rule of law standards, and many elements of a European litigation culture. We can be proud of this. In my 16 years of government advice there were at every assignment some possible applicants as well as several lawyers who approached me „just because you are a lawyer from Europe …“ and told me „their“ story; some of them could be convinced that a ECHR case would have probably no success, some others have been encouraged to follow their Intention. But it brings me to the crucial question of a follow-up: what happens e.g. if a state does not comply with the judgment, or only partly? The ECHR still needs a lot of publicity, and it should be included in the education (in constitutional law probably) of every law student. The more popular, the more self-evident and well known this Convention is, the better.

3. The ECHR will have a considerable growth in application when the European Union will join it. Together with the European Union Charter of Fundamental Rights, which has strong and very modern tendencies not only towards social and economic fundamental rights, the EU citizens will have an ever more efficient system of human and fundamental rights’protection. At the same time, the Vienna-based Fundamental Rights Agency of the EU should have, in full legitimacy, to work as a secondary outreach also for the ECHR.

4. In the EU, among the signatory states of the ECHR. there are at present negative tendencies: In particular it must be allowed to mention the British Government who is responsible for the fact that the EU Charter of Fundamental RIghts is not explicitly part of the Lisbon Treaties but only mentioned in a footnote. This does not decrease the validitiy, but the visibility. Also, the next General Elections in UK must be observed thoroughly if the governing Tories will try to withdraw from the ECHR – this is what one hears since several months from the relevant ministries. It Comes in a time with not very much respect of personal data privacy, by the British Secret Service, by incredible intimidation practices to journalists (The Guardian), and to intimidation to famiy members of journalists (the Miranda Case). Any withdrawal would be a catastrophic move, as the ECHR has been set up on the explicit proposal of the British Government. Created by Churchill – abolished by Cameron? In UK, one should be proud of the ECHR standards and should try to celebrate this. But it seems to be a new policy attempt by the Conservative Party, caused by its right and populist wing. It should be rather examined if the UK, after many centuries of an unwritten Constitution, would not be better off with a written Constitution, which reminds the administration more than a regulation vacuum of what to do or not. It is regrettable that this has to be said to the government of a country where the habeas corpus act has been created, as well as the Magna Charta, and this in the 13th century. In addition the UK withdrawal from the ECHR would be a step of erosion and a bad example for countries who regret today, too, that they have signed the ECHR. It is evident, which countries! In order not to argue too long, I just mention the UK Human RIghts Blog, with a recent article by Adam Wagner, at http://ukhumanrightsblog.com/2013/09/03/why-we-would-be-mad-to-leave-our-european-convention-on-human-rights/ .

Ad multos annos to the European Convention on Human Rights, and a considerable growth in use – in all European states, but also a good imitation in other parts of the world!

Hans-Jürgen Zahorka

Chief Editor, European Union Foreign Affairs Journal

6.4.2013: Gründung des „Rates der europäischen Aserbaidschaner“ – Eine neue Epoche beginnt für die regierungskritischen Kräfte

Am 6. April 2013 wurde in Basel, unter der Führung der international tätigen Haqq & Adalet Association und der West-East Dialogue Academia, und unter der Beteiligung zahlreicher hochstehender Persönlichkeiten der aserbaidschanischen Diaspora in Europa die Gründungskonferenz des Rates der europäischen Aserbaidschaner durchgeführt. Sein Ziel ist die Einigung der verschiedenen regierungskritischen Kräfte in Aserbaidschan. Die Konferenz wurde unter der Teilnahme von 85 Delegierten aus 7 europäischen Ländern abgehalten. Zudem beteiligten sich weitere wichtige Personen der Diaspora aus Russland, Kanada, der Ukraine und der Türkei durch Live-Zuschaltungen über Skype.

Die Eröffnungsrede wurde von Coshgun Feyzullazade gehalten, als Präsident der West-East Dialogue Academia. Er erklärte, dass im ersten Teil der Konferenz die aktuelle Situation in Aserbaidschan diskutiert werden soll. Coshgun Feyzullazade betonte die Unausweichlichkeit des Wandels und unterstrich, dass dieser Prozess durch soziale und gewaltfreie Methoden erreicht werden müsse.

Feyzullazade, der diesen Teil der Konferenz moderierte, las die zahlreichen Gratulationsschreiben vor, die von der aserbaidschanischen Opposition aus Baku gesendet wurden. Zu den Gratulanten gehörte unter anderem der Führer der Partei der aserbaidschanischen Volksfront, Ali Kerimli. Prof. Lale Sevket Haciyeva, die Präsidentin der Partei der aserbaidschanischen Liberalen, richtete Ihre Unterstützung und die guten Wünsche per Live-Telefonschaltung aus. Zudem wurden Gratulations-E-Mails vorgelesen von SP-Nationalrat Andreas Gross, von der Sozialdemokratischen Partei (SP), den Grünen, vom Basler Regierungspräsidenten Guy Morin, von Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, AugenAuf, und von Hans-Jürgen Zahorka, Chefredaktor von „European Union Foreign Affairs Journal“.

Anschliessend sprach Gabil Rzayev, Präsident der internationalen Haqq & Adalet Association. Er sagte, dass Haydar Aliyev, der 1969 an die Macht kam, durch seine Politik das Selbstvertrauen des aserbaidschanischen Volkes zunichte gemacht hat. Weiter verwies Rzayev auf den Militärputsch von 1993 durch H. Aliyev, der damals die Weichen für seine Diktatur setzte. Ilham Aliyev, der wie üblich in Diktaturen das Land von seinem Vater geerbt hatte, beutete das Land schamlos aus und festigte die despotische Stellung der Aliyev-Familie. Rzayev unterstrich, dass der Weltgemeinschaft klar gemacht werden müsse, dass Ilham Aliyev ein skrupelloser Diktator ist.

Danach ergriff Prof. Elshad Abdullayev das Wort, ehemaliger Rektor der International University of Aserbaidschan. Abdullayev verwies auf die Art und Weise der Behandlung des Volkes durch die Regierung. Er verglich das Regime mit Besatzungskräften, die gegen das Volk ohne Skrupel vorgehen. Zudem verwies er auf seine persönliche Situation und unterstrich, dass er nicht freiwillig nach Europa kam, sondern von der Regierung unter Druck gestellt wurde. Abdullayev sagte, dass das eigentliche Ziel der Regierung seine Tötung in Europa durch aserbaidschanische Agenten ist.

Atakhan Abilov, Experte auf dem Gebiet des internationalen Rechts, deutete auf die undemokratische Situation in Aserbaidschan hin. Abilov unterstrich wie seine Vorredner, dass das Regime in Aserbaidschan eine Diktatur sei. Zudem sprach Abilov über die Situation in Karabagh. Er sagte, dass gemäss internationalem Recht die Gründung eines zweiten armenischen Staates auf diesem Gebiet nicht möglich sei.

Danach kam der Politologe Surkhan Latifov zu Wort. Er stellte vier Faktoren fest, welche die politischen Prozesse in Aserbaidschan beeinflussen:

1)      Sozioökonomische Faktoren

2)      Die Beziehung zwischen dem Regime und der Opposition

3)      Der Konflikt um Karabagh

4)      Die internationale Situation

Latifov verwies auf die Festnahmen just vor der geplanten Demonstrationen vom 10.März und unterstrich die Intoleranz und Unterdrückung von Oppositionellen durch das Regime. Latifov sagte, dass er trotzdem die Hoffnung habe, dass das Volk in naher Zukunft zum Akteur in der Politik werden könne. Schliesslich unterstrich S. Latifov, dass die Vereinigung der Opposition für eine Demokratisierung in Aserbaidschan unausweichlich sei.

Elnur Mecidli verglich die Situation in Aserbaidschan mit denen in anderen Ländern. Er betonte, dass gemäss der Verfassung Ilham Aliyev in den kommenden Präsidentschaftswahlen eigentlich nicht mehr kandidieren dürfe.

Auch Reshad Gurbanov schloss sich seinen Vordernern an in Bezug auf die diktatorische Regierungsweise des Regimes. Die Ressourcen des Landes seien alle in den Händen des Aliyev-Clans, betonte Qurbanov. Weitere Ansprachen wurden auf dieser Gründungskonferenz von Prof. Canmirze Mirzeyev, Dr. Alec Schaerer, Telman Kazimov, Metin Sahin und Ferhat Akhundov gehalten.

Den zweiten Teil der Konferenz moderierte Surkhan Latifov. Zuerst wurde der Rat der europäischen Aserbaidschaner gegründet. Gabil Rzayev wurde zum Präsidenten des Rats gewählt. Danach ging man zur Wahl der Mitglieder des Rates über. Atakhan Abilov wurde zum Ratssprecher gewählt. Als nächstes wurden die Mitglieder der Revisionsstelle gewählt. Surkhan Latifov wurde zum Präsidenten der Revisionsstelle gewählt, und Elshad Abdullayev wurde zum ersten Vizepräsidenten des Rates erkoren.

 

A Short Visit of Solidarity with Haqq & Adalet Association from Azerbaijan

Et audiatur altera pars” – or: Never listen only to one side!

Due to its socio-political tensions, the situation in the southern Caucasus still requires a lot of attention. For cultivating a competent focus with particular emphasis on Azerbaijan, Hans-Jürgen Zahorka from Baden-Wuerttemberg state in Germany met core representatives of the Haqq & Adalet Association (Right and Justice) on October 23, 2012 in Basel / Switzerland. The former Member of European Parliament and Government Advisor since many years who is now also Chief Editor of European Union Foreign Affairs Journal said that the objective of this meeting was mutual information, as it would be also necessary to hear other voices than only the official government side.

interesting talks were held mainly by Gabil Rzayev, President of Haqq & Adalet (Right & Justice), Dr. Alec Schaerer, Basel, Hans-Jürgen Zahorka and Surkhan Latifov, former President of the European Movement of Azerbaijan. The broad competence on both sides gave rise to a fruitful dialogue, as much in the immediate pragmatic dimensions (‘tactical realm’) as on the level of secure long-term thinking (‘strategic level’). The discussion evolved of course on how the two domains can reasonably be brought together.

In the post-socialist countries of the southern ex-Soviet union, a socially explosive situation is being bred by a struggle between a helpless populace on the one hand, and on the other hand a selfish and often corrupt government. The most material apple of discord is the benefits resulting from exploiting the natural resources – essentially crude oil and petroleum gas. Another bone of contention is the violent cultural and intellectual paternalism, prohibiting autonomous thinking and democratic procedures. The crude strife has produced an emotional and intellectual turmoil and massive emigration, mostly to the West, aggravating tensions in the homeland and burdening statehood abroad.

Under the flags of Switzerland, Azerbaijan and the European Union the very open talk included also issues like European asylum laws, Azerbaijan and European Integration, Azerbaijan and Armenia as well as Nagorno-Karabakh etc. There were no unbridgeable gaps between the participants of the talks – just the contrary. “We would be much further, if Azerbaijan would be an open society which discusses the place of Azerbaijan in the world in a pluralistic way”, said Hans-Jürgen Zahorka, and “the country has now to catch up to prepare for the necessary diversification for the post-oil & gas period, for which no major preparations have been done but for which all the oil & gas revenues also those diverted by some tycoons should be used”.

Haqq & Adalet is committed to producing change by empowering the hitherto helpless populace. This association goes for a stimulating mediation between the government, the destitute political opposition, and the people. It fosters thoroughly transparent procedures, thereby creating also favorable conditions for democratization. The first objective is civic participation, social self-organization, and finally a non-violent but clearly insistent transition to the relaxed order of a functional, open society that allows also the material repatriation of exiled citizens. Violence is generally to be countered by transparency and intelligence.

This activity coincides very well with the basic attitude of Hans-Jürgen Zahorka, as documented in the editorial style of the European Union Foreign Affairs Journal and the activities of Libertas – European Institute, a think-tank on European and international governance and economy he leads.

Basel, October 23, 2012

Dr. Alec Schaerer

(A similar article with photos is published on the website of EUFAJ, www.eufaj.eu, as well as on the homepage of Haqq & Adalet, www.haqq-adalet.com).