27. Juni 2010

Exklusiv-Bericht für den Tags-Anzeiger, Zürich

21. – 25. Juni 2010:
Ferien-Reisebericht aus der Parlamentarischen Versammlung des Europarates in Strassbourg

(ag-fk) Reisen ist ein Werkzeug europäischer politischer Arbeit. Gemessen werden sollte ein europäischer Innenpolitiker aber an seiner Arbeit und deren Erzeugnissen und nicht an der Tatsache, dass er reist. Wenn einige ausschliesslich während ihrer Ferien reisen, bedeutet dies nicht, dass alle, die reisen, nur Ferien machen. Genau dies suggerierte aber wieder einmal der früher seriöse Zürcher Tages-Anzeiger (im Volksmund: «Tagesanlüger»), als er in einem Kommentar zur Arbeit langjähriger Zürcher Nationalräte meinte, Andi Gross würde nach wie vor in der „Welt herumreisen“. Zur Erinnerung: Andi Gross ist kein Reisender, sondern seit Januar 2008 u.a. auch Vorsitzender der Sozialdemokratischen Fraktion im Europarat, eine Aufgabe, die in der ganzen Geschichte der schweizerischen Mitgliedschaft im Europarat, seit 1963, noch nie ein Schweizer auf sich genommen hatte.

Nachstehend seien also wieder einmal ein paar Auszüge aus den Protokollen des Europarates dokumentiert, die aufzeigen, was der Tages-Anzeiger weiss, worüber er aber geflissentlich nie schreibt, weil dann ja augenfällig würde, wie unseriös das Blatt ist und wessen Spiel gespielt wird.

Die vollständigen Protokolle aller Debatten finden sich auf www.coe.int


Dienstag, den 22.Juni, Vormittag, Debatte zu den Menschenrechtsverletzungen im Nordkaukasus:

Mr GROSS (Switzerland) – Thank you, Mr President. Dear colleagues, one of Mr Marty’s achievements has not yet been praised enough. In addition to his extraordinary empathy and the fact that, as a liberal, he is following the advice of Jean Jaurès in attempting to find the truth and to tell it, for the first time in the 15 years or so that the Russian Federation has been a member of the Council of Europe a rapporteur has managed to bring Memorial – the most respectful defender of human rights in the Northern Caucasus – on to the same side as Mr Slutsky and almost the entire Russian delegation. That is a huge achievement, for which we should praise Mr Marty and be grateful to him.

As the Croatian President said yesterday, there is no peace without justice. Justice means fighting impunity – that is the objective side of it. Justice also means addressing the needs of the people who suffered, because it also has a subjective dimension. That is exactly what some of the rulers in these countries do not respect and do not do. That is why Mr Marty’s advice in paragraph 11 on page 10 of the report is so good. He suggests that, like him, the most responsible people in the Russian Government should go to listen to, and speak with, the people who have suffered. I remember what happened about five years ago, when 300 school children were killed in Beslan in one of the most awful terrorist attacks – Mr Putin went there. He flew over the region and saw how devastated it was, after which investment was made and the cities and economy were rebuilt. That happened only after some responsible people saw the situation; you have to feel what these people feel in order to do what you can to overcome their grievance. The point that we have to continue to discuss with Mr Slutsky is that it is easier to repair the buildings than to bring justice to the blessed souls. That is why we need the commitment of the Russian authorities to bring justice also in the subjective sense to those people, who suffered so much.

I listened to what the President of the Republic of Ingushetia had to say and thank him very much for coming to speak to us. He said that he did not understand why many young people are tempted to follow the path of religious radicalisation. I wish to make the point that when we do not respect our values, when we adopt a cynical attitude to crimes and torture, and when we speak without respecting those who disagree with us politically, we produce those young people who look to the “real” values on the wrong side. In that sense, the responsibility of the people with power is to respect our values, especially if they do not want too many young people to be tempted to follow the wrong radical fundamentalist ways. We must take that into account, because we can thus see the mirror of our wrongdoings when we are trying to understand why many young people turn their backs on us.

We are taking this new approach – it is the approach that Mr Zakayev and the President of Russia asked for – and it gives us a huge opportunity. As a rapporteur on Russia, I am ready to continue along this line but, like Mr Slutsky, I think that Dick Marty should also not give up this work. Thank you very much.


Dienstag, den 22. Juni, späterer Nachmittag, Debatte um den Umgang mit Migrantinnen und Migranten, die wieder nach Hause müssen

Mr GROSS (Switzerland) – On behalf of the Social Democrats, I would like to thank the two rapporteurs. I think they have done a very good job, and we should support their propositions. When I read them, I remembered the famous professor – a law specialist, of course – who said that the way you deal with foreigners is an expression of whether you have a culture of the rule of law. When I read the report, I thought that the way we behave when confronted with migrants is an expression of whether or not we have a culture of human rights. Perhaps we should bear this in mind and, when we look at the report, be aware how grateful we should be to Mrs Strik and Mrs Türköne for showing us how to behave when we do not just want to pay lip service to human rights but take them as a criterion for how we want to be judged.

Of course, Mr Santini is right to say that Italy is in a geographically difficult position. I would be ready, and I think the committee should think about this, for us to establish burden-sharing between ourselves. This would help Italy not to find processes that did not guarantee non-refoulement, for instance, which is not only a human right but a basic principle of international law that we have to respect.

I apologise, but there is one small sentence in the Türköne report that I think expresses an error. However, it is only in the summary, so it is no problem. The first sentence in the summary says, “balance the needs of member states and the human rights of irregular migrants.” This is not the real way to balance because the human rights of immigrants, regular or irregular, always have to be respected. It is an absolute law, an absolute right, and it cannot be neglected because of the needs of member states. So we can agree, but you do not have to change anything because it is just a summary.

I think that we agree on this because we should never forget – I say this coming from a country which in the 19th century was full of poor people who went to Latin America, all of whom were irregular migrants who fled need looking for work and a decent life because they did not have a decent life at home – that we are here at the hospital of democracy, and democracy means a fair distribution of life chances. As long as we have no global institutions that, while not guaranteeing a fair distribution of life chances, contribute to that goal, we will always have migrants, regular or irregular.

We used to say “refugees” – we have now downgraded them to migrants. We should see them as messages of structural injustice, because there is deep injustice in the unfair distribution of life chances in our world. This is just another word for violence. We should not answer this kind of violence with violence ourselves. This is why respect for human rights is absolute, and Mrs Strik is absolutely right when she shows us that when we deal with countries that do not belong either to the migrants or to the recipients, we have to be aware of these problems. That is why I ask you to support both of the reports.


Mittwoch, den 23.Juni, Nachmittag, dreistündige Debatte über den Stand der Demokratie in Europa, die Krise der Demokratie und ihre Reformperspektiven

I call Mr Gross, rapporteur, to present the third report. You have 13 minutes in total – I do not need to tell you how to use it; you are an experienced member of the Assembly.

Mr GROSS (Switzerland) –Dear colleagues, as the President says, this is the third time that we have discussed the state of democracy in Europe. My report tries to consider our findings from 2007 and from 2008 and how the argument that we developed stands in the context of today’s reality. The hypothesis of the two other reports was that democracy is in crisis, not because nobody believes that democracy is the best system by which to organise our political realities or because never in history have so many people lived in democracies but because never in history have so many people living in democracies been so disappointed by democracy. To understand that hypothesis and to check it, we need a precise understanding of what the term “democracy” means. One reaction to the disappointment is that we should say to the disappointed people, “You expected too much.” That is quite a cynical reaction. Democracy is a mission – it is a project – but the main project is for us to be able together to organise our common life.

One of the biggest deceptions today is that many people do not see the relevance of us – the democratically elected people – to their daily lives. They do not believe in democracy any more and look for other ways in which to organise their interests. The key point is that in a modern democracy based on Pericles and Aristotle our lives are not governed by destiny – we can influence our existence. For us to be able to do that, democracy must be able to handle the market forces – those who produce and the way in which production is organised. So, 100 or 200 years ago, when democracy was developed, we had national democracy and national markets. National democracy could influence the national markets. Today we have a global market but we still have national democracies so instead of their influencing the economy, the economy is influencing democracy. Democracy is losing its place because so many people think that it does not deliver what it promises.

It is important to note that democracy is an ongoing process and you never get a perfect one. You can always start in very difficult circumstances and you can always make progress. The process is not linear; there are setbacks. Today, we are undergoing such a setback. We must understand the setbacks in order to be able to make propositions, which is what I have tried to do in this report. We have four big propositions that were already hinted at in our earlier reports. We can fine-tune them and learn from the reality of the past two years. One consequence is that democracy at home – at a national, regional and local level – must not be merely about electing people. We must give people personal, participatorial power. Of course, when you hear this you will think about Switzerland and the minaret initiative, which we discussed this morning, but we have to do it in a better way. As Mr Mogens Jensen said this morning, we cannot allow the majority to vote on the basic rights of the minority. That is a shortcoming of the interface between human rights and direct democracy in the Swiss constitution. It is not a problem with direct democracy itself. That is why we propose – this is a courageous proposition in our report – that we include a special new protocol in the European Convention on Human Rights on the notion of participation. To be part of what concerns you is an idea of freedom that we should put in the Convention. Participation has a lot of achievements. People are taking part and they care. They develop and feel an identity.

The basic problem was discussed two or three years ago. I believe that, in order to be able to match market forces, we must also develop democracy above the nation state. It must be constituted on a transnational level, especially on a European level. That is the difference between a treaty, which is an agreement between governments ratified by parliament, and a constitution, which is always an agreement between citizens. You need the majority of the citizens to make a constitution. When you make a constitution, you also have the power to civilise and balance the market forces. You do not reduce or disrupt the market forces, but you are able to civilise them, and to make them respect both nature and weak people or those who are not strong when it comes to market forces.

These are the four propositions that we make in the report. We are happy that it passed well in the committee. We had a good discussion and there are not many amendments. I hope that we have a good discussion today, as we have had on previous occasions.


THE PRESIDENT – Thank you, Mr Saar. The rapporteur will reply at the end of the debate, but I understand that Mr Gross wishes to comment at this stage. You have a maximum of 4 minutes.

Mr GROSS (Switzerland) – I do not want to comment, but I wish to react. I have three points I wish to make. I think that Mr Markov made a big mistake in his discourse. Democracy is the right to speak, as well as the right to be heard, but not only when people have money. That is exactly the point. Everybody should be heard. The more people act together, the more they can be heard. Money helps, but it should not be the only factor. Democracy has been colonized by money, and that is one of the problems that we face and one of the issues that we must discuss.

Mr Volontè made the good point that many people feel hopeless. They do not have confidence in themselves – ohnmächtig in German. Mr Touraine said that we need to reinforce democracy, which means giving back to people confidence in what they can do. When people do not have confidence in themselves they do not respect themselves. If people do not respect themselves, how can they respect other people, even when those others are different? That is why racism and nationalism has so much to do with the experience of powerlessness and lack of trust in oneself. That is one element of the crisis of democracy that we face.


La parole est à M. Gross.

M. GROSS (Suisse), rapporteur – Je remercie en particulier mes collègues français même si le malentendu, en l’occurrence, est grand. La démocratie directe a été inventée par la France, non par la Suisse. Si le girondin Condorcet n’a jamais opposé démocratie directe et représentative, c’est qu’il considérait que la première permettait d’accroître la seconde. A défaut, la démocratie directe devient plébiscitaire et c’est le fantôme du roi exécuté qui revient vous hanter, vous autres Français, dans votre monarchie républicaine. Dans le plébiscite, en effet, c’est le chef qui décide alors que dans la démocratie directe à la Condorcet telle qu’elle est en vigueur en Californie ou en Suisse, c’est le peuple qui décide comme il l’entend. Si, en Suisse, les relations entre démocratie et droits de l’homme laissent à désirer – ce que je suis le premier à dire – , la démocratie directe n’y est pour rien! Cette dernière parfait la représentation, voilà tout.

De plus, Monsieur Béteille, si la démocratie participative a en effet un certain usage du temps, vous avez raison de dire que l’éducation civique doit être encore plus développée. Condorcet, encore lui, disait fort bien que l’Etat a le devoir d’éduquer et de former à travers débats et délibérations tout comme Périclès, d’ailleurs, affirmait que la discussion permettait à tous de croître en sagesse. La question de l’objectivité, dès lors, n’est plus fondamentale puisque quoi qu’il arrive, le débat permettra de s’en approcher au plus près. Faire participer les citoyens, enfin, c’est le meilleur moyen de les inviter à ne plus se focaliser sur les seules échéances électorales. L’école des Annales avait raison: la démocratie doit défendre son usage singulier de la temporalité. Le temps du capitalisme, par exemple, n’est pas le sien car, aller vite, c’est exclure quand la démocratie, elle, requiert l’inclusion. Prenons donc le temps d’examiner les problèmes de long terme et, de grâce, ne confondons pas sondages et démocratie directe!

Donnerstag, den 24. Juni, spätnachmittags, Debatte über die Situation der Demokratie in Aserbeidschan vor den Wahlen im kommenden November

We come to Amendment No. 1, tabled by Mr Andreas Gross, Mrs Marlene Rupprecht, Mrs Doris Barnett, Mr Alan Meale and Mr John Prescott, which is, in the draft resolution, paragraph 3, to delete the word “considerable”.

I call Mr Gross to support Amendment No. 1.

Mr GROSS (Switzerland) spoke in support of the amendment, asking that “considerable” be deleted because it was incompatible with the next sentence which highlighted the many steps that still needed to be taken. He believed that judgements should be made post facto, not before the event.

THE PRESIDENT (Translation) – Does anyone wish to speak against the amendment? That is not the case. - What is the opinion of the Committee?

Mr MARTY (Switzerland) (Translation) – The committee is in favour.

THE PRESIDENT (Translation) – The vote is open.


Freitagmorgen, den 25.Juni, vormittags, Debatte zu den jetzt zur Fernhaltung von Kindern und Jugendlichen eingesetzten, früher gegen Katzen verwendete Hochfrequenzapparate „Mosquitos“, die verboten werden sollten:

THE PRESIDENT – Thank you. I call now Mr Gross to speak on behalf of the Socialist Group.

Mr GROSS (Switzerland) – I wonder whether you all realize that today we are doing something for which we are often criticized. We are talking about something that we do not understand because we do not hear these devices. But children cannot represent themselves, so we must represent them and that is why we have to speak about something we do not understand. However, this issue is an exception and we must not fall into that trap otherwise.

I totally agree with the rapporteur and thank him on behalf of my group. I am also grateful for the contribution of Mr Volontè. The British invented the device to use against cats, rats and other animals, to keep them out of their gardens. Unfortunately, some people have started to use it against human beings. That is why we should not treat animals as we are not prepared to treat humans, because some people do not distinguish between them. It is obscene to treat children like animals. It is another reflection of the temptation of our time to use machines against people instead of speaking with them.

These are two things that we can draw out as lessons that have a far wider scope than the Mosquito device. We should support the report. We should ban this; it is obscene and against the human rights of children. We must say this here, because the children cannot defend themselves. We should vote for the report.


Einreichung einer neuen Motion, welche von 25 KollegInnen mitunterzeichnet wurde, zur Erarbeitung eines Berichtes zur Frage, wie viel und welcher Art von Staat die Gesellschaft in Zukunft braucht, um gerechte Lebensverhältnisse schaffen zu können

24 June 2010 - Motion for a resolution

How much and what kind of state is needed in a democratic and just society? Tabled by Andreas Gross and others.

Over the last 20 years there has been a tendency all over Europe to assume that a reduced, weak and non- intervening state would serve best the interests of a free and democratic society. This tendency was particularly strong and seemed especially legitimate in central and eastern European countries where an omnipresent oppressive state and a totalitarian society had to be reformed.

However, in the past two years many states have intervened massively to support banks in order to prevent the collapse of the financial and economic system. Now many begun to recognise that regulations are very much in need and they are trying to find a new role for the state.

We consider that a report by the Parliamentary Assembly would be of importance for citizens and Parliamentarians in order to redefine what kind of state a democratic society needs in order to promote justice and fairness in the daily lives of our fellow citizens.

Zum Sessionsschluss wurde Andi Gross zum sechsten Mal hintereinander als der einzige Parlamentarier aller über 300 KollegInnen aus den 47 Ländern ausgezeichnet, der in der ganzen Woche keine einzige Abstimmung im Saal verpasst hat!


Kommentar des Setzers:
… und da kommt nun dieser tägliche Anzeiger mit seinem im letzten Stadium befindlichen Syndrom der regressiven Wahrnehmung, dieses Blatt, das Zürich stets kleiner macht als es ist, dieser denkscheue Kleinkrämer-Journalismus, der ums Verrecken aus Zürich Provinz machen will, und meint a) die Arbeit im Europarat habe ausschliesslich mit Reisen zu tun und b) Reisen habe ausschliesslich mit Ferien zu tun. Das ist armselig nicht nur weil es ein Versuch ist, aus der sicheren Deckung heraus Andi Gross zu schaden und zu beleidigen; es ist armselig, weil es durch das Vorenthalten von Nachrichten allem voran ein Betrug ist an den Leserinnen und Lesern des Tages-Anzeigers.

Kommentar von Andi Gross:

Liebe TA-Redaktion

Ich bitte Sie, den folgenden Leserbrief zur Berichtigung der unnötigen Polemik aus dem Zürich intern von heute möglichst bald zu veröffentlichen. Ich finde es schade, dass Sie sich nicht mit meiner Arbeit auseinandersetzen, und statt dessen glauben, einen schlechten Eindruck von mir verbreiten zu müssen, obwohl der Inlandteil Ihrer Zeitung oder die Onlinepublikation Ihres Konzerns gleichentags Sie darüber orientiert hätte, was ich pflichtgemäss an diesem Abend im Auftrag des schweizerischen Parlamentes in Strassburg zu tun hatte.

Mit freundlichen Grüssen
Andi Gross

Zürich intern, TA vom 26.6.: Europarat statt SP-Kantonalparteitag

Die Zürcher Sozialdemokraten stellen seit über 60 Jahren National- und Ständeräte, deren Horizonte über die Kantons- und Landesgrenzen hinausreichen. Sie wissen deshalb auch, dass auf die Sommersession der eidgenössischen Räte jeweils die Sommersession des Europarates in Strassburg folgt, an der die Vertreter des Schweizer Parlamentes teilzunehmen haben. Dies gilt ganz besonders für mich als Fraktionspräsident der Sozialdemokraten aus allen 47 Mitgliedstaaten des Europarates.

Am vergangenen Donnerstagabend war ich bis 18 Uhr 30 an der Debatte über die prekäre Lage der Demokratie in Aserbeidschan beteiligt, anschliessend folgte die Sitzung mit den Botschaftern im Europarat und um 20.Uhr 30 bis 23 Uhr die Sitzung aller fünf Fraktionspräsidenten, an der jeweils die Arbeit der Parlamentarischen Versammlung bis zum Oktober vor besprochen und gestaltet wird.

Die Zürcher Sozialdemokraten wissen, dass diese europäische Arbeit zur Überwindung der Krise der Demokratie und zur besseren Respektierung der Menschenrechte in Europa wichtiger ist als innerparteiliche Repräsentationspflichten an einem Kantonalparteitag. Zumal sie ebenso wissen, dass ich in den vergangenen 30 Jahren jeder Einladung eines Zürchers oder einer Zürcherin zu einer politischen Debatte wenn immer möglich nachgekommen bin.

Dieses Wissen der Basis ist für die SP bei der Beurteilung der Qualität ihrer Räte wichtiger als die Gnade, die der TA diesen gewährt oder die Polemiken, die dieser um sie herum entfachen möchte.

Andreas Gross, Zürich, National- und Europarat der SP.

Kontakt mit Andreas Gross

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