It was no doubt this longing that brought us all here under one roof in order to meet, talk, listen and give our Organisation a fresh boost so that it can fulfil, with genuine efficacy, the tasks assigned it by its founding fathers, while also entrusting it with new terms of reference, within its fields of action and jurisdiction, meeting the specific urgent demands that are currently being voiced by our societies.
Poland wanted, and managed, to put the greatest care into preparing our encounter. We offer our warmest thanks. Poland’s leaders have generously provided us with the opportunity and appropriate conditions for committing ourselves as one body – while respecting the whole range of national specificities – to ensuring the implementation of human rights and the rule of law. At the same time we must tackle a number of major challenges emerging in the modern world, including the environment. Today’s and tomorrow’s Europeans should surely be allowed to live in a Europe that provides adequate protection for the natural environment, including marine habitats, to which, as you know, my country attaches particular importance.
There is no escaping the fact that these values, our values, such as our environment, which both create and cement our cohesion, can come under threat. However deep and solid the foundations of the edifice which we have built, it remains fragile. Our principles are exposed to direct challenges.
The issue of national minorities, for instance, is extremely worrying. Special attention must be paid to respecting these minorities’ individual and collective rights, because the means available for protecting them are not always up to dealing with the dangers to which they can unfortunately be exposed.
The fight against terrorism is also a major Europe-wide preoccupation which we must tackle in unison, in compliance with the principles which we defend, otherwise our unity will once again be in jeopardy.
Nevertheless, we must unflinchingly combat this scourge in order to shield the lives, rights and freedoms of Europeans from the irrational violence of fundamentalist ideologies.
Racism, anti-Semitism and xenophobia are also dangerous threats to the balance and well-being of our societies.
Sixty years after the liberation of the Nazi camps, the aberrations which held sway then have unfortunately made a comeback. Of course these ugly phenomena now take a different form, adapting to and dovetailing with changing circumstances. They warp history. They interpret science as they please. They misuse convictions. And all this again threatens Europe’s moral unity. All forms of discrimination based on race or religion must therefore be relentlessly condemned. We must never lower our guard.
Trafficking in women and children, which still continues in an extremely virulent form despite our best efforts, is another serious threat and a real danger to regional harmony, our shared values and our determination and ability to live together.
Violence against children, the most vulnerable in our midst, and the ill-treatment and sexual abuse to which they may be exposed on a day-to-day basis certainly require us to step up our protection for young people in line with measures to defend their rights.
The member states have entered into many commitments in this area.
It is vital to take stock of these undertakings and the existing legal instruments with an eye to making them more efficient and adding new provisions where necessary. The current three-year programme on “Children and violence” is geared to this approach, which we consider essential. The programme therefore merits firm support.
On behalf of my country, over which my late father, Prince Rainier III reigned for 56 years, I can assure you that the Princely Government, operating under my authority, will apply itself with conviction and determination to implementing the principles of the Declaration and the various activities in the Action Plan which we are to adopt on concluding our discussions.”
11. Mr H.FISCHER (Austria) made the following statement:
“Yesterday in Vienna we celebrated the 50th anniversary of the signing of the Austrian State Treaty of 15 May 1955, in the presence of senior representatives of Russia, France, the United Kingdom and the United States. Today we are gathered here in Warsaw to discuss the new opportunities and prospects for Europe, and particularly for the activities of the Council of Europe, arising from the far-reaching changes in our continent over the last fifty years, which have put an end to the division of Europe.
I am extremely grateful to Mr Kwasniewski, President of the Polish Republic, and to the Polish Government for inviting us to the Royal Castle in Warsaw, a great symbol of European reconstruction.
The Council of Europe originated the very first attempts at European unification, and on its inception in 1949 it expressed the quintessence of Europe as a value-based community.
The Council of Europe set itself a series of objectives, including protecting human rights, developing pluralist democracy and promoting the rule of law. Not long afterwards, social rights were also granted similar cardinal importance.
The increasing realisation of a common European identity has never been an obstacle to safeguarding and preserving cultural diversity and traditions in Europe.
The Council of Europe and the European Union have very different tasks and structures, but both organisations are profoundly attached to common European values. As regards consolidating the rule of law, developing democracy and protecting human rights, the Council of Europe will continue to play a key role on the basis of its long and invaluable experience in these fields. The European Union can also turn the Council’s expertise to good account, although this necessitates close co-ordination between the activities and programmes of both organisations.
Many of the attempts by states in different regions around the globe to create economic communities have been based on the European integration model. However, it should be remembered that the success of the European unification process is not based solely on economic considerations but also on common values and objectives.
Thanks to its historic experience and its position at the crossroads of the major European cultures, Austria has long been committed to Europe. Shortly after the restoration of its full sovereignty, exactly 50 years ago, on 15 May 1955, Austria began to focus on the Council of Europe, which it joined in 1956. In fact, the Council is the international organisation for which our country has provided the greatest number of senior officials.
The importance to Austria of the Council of Europe as an organisation with a major genuinely pan-European political and democratic destiny was also decisive when, in October 1993, my predecessor, Federal President Klestil, accepted a proposal from President Mitterrand to host the First Summit of Heads of State and Government of the Council of Europe in Vienna in October 1993. This Summit came to a very successful conclusion with the adoption of the Vienna Declaration.
We fully back the work that has been carried out since the First Summit, and are certain that the Action Plan and Declaration before us will provide further major steps in the right direction.
The Council of Europe’s human rights protection system, centring on the European Court of Human Rights, is literally unique. It enables some 800 million individuals who live in the States Parties to the European Convention on Human Rights to claim their human rights as secured by the Convention before an international court.
Effective human rights protection is inseparable from the very concept of the rule of law. This also applies to the most difficult challenges facing us, such as action against terrorism, although the latter must avoid any restrictions in human rights.
At a time when economic globalisation and international interdependence on the part of the goods and capital markets have given rise not only to new opportunities but also to unprecedented imbalance and tension, we should not forget at the same time to reinforce social values in our societies. If our European social model, which has proved is worth, is under threat and unemployment is on the increase, we will have to prioritise the social dimension because of the obvious link between social stability and the stability of the democratic system.
The aim of our encounter today and tomorrow is to give the Council of Europe a new impetus and new orientations, geared to consolidating and confirming it as the human rights protection organisation par excellence. I am convinced that the Action Plan as tabled, the Guidelines on relations with the European Union and the Joint Declaration on reinforced co-operation between the Council of Europe and the OSCE will enable us to make enormous strides in the right direction. The task ahead is daunting but worthwhile.”
12. Mr V. VORONIN (Moldova) made the following statement:
“To begin, allow me to congratulate our hosts on a remarkable ending of the Polish chairmanship of the Committee of Ministers of our Organisation.
The Republic of Moldova has supported the idea of organising this Summit from the very beginning. Today, we are participating all together in the third edition of the Council of Europe high-level meeting. The tasks and goals outlined by the Vienna and Strasbourg Summits have been for the most part achieved. In the meantime, Europe has changed considerably. The Council of Europe, which in 1989 brought together only 23 member states, has now extended its umbrella for protection of democracy to 46 states, thus covering the whole European continent and turning into a real pan-European co-operation forum.
Several days ago, we all celebrated the 60th anniversary of the victory over fascism. About 300 000 Moldovans also contributed to this victory at the price of their lives. Sixty years have passed during which European nations have been living in peace and prosperity. It is true that meanwhile our history learned what ideological confrontation, based on impenetrable dividing lines is. The same history has proved that the societies where there is no respect for human rights and the fundamental principles of freedom and democracy are exposed to social tensions, often very dramatic ones. In this context, the Council of Europe has been that structure of the modern democracy that succeeded, in a very short time, to bring central and eastern European states to normal democratic ways of development, guaranteeing to their citizens confidence in tomorrow.
Human rights, democratic security and the rule of law are values that give Europe a distinct identity under the conditions of the dynamic process of globalisation and obviously highlight it in relation to other geographic areas. These values that we have all subscribed to constitute the pillars on which the Council of Europe lies, promoting closer cohesion of our nations through tolerance, mutual respect, consensus and co-operation.
In this sense, I would like to stress in particular the role of the Council of Europe in overcoming the political crisis of 2001-2002 in my country. Political dialogue, openness to cardinal democratic reforms and the willingness to promote them for the first time in the recent history of the Republic of Moldova, have led to the establishment of a firm social consensus. The fact that the first document of the newly-elected parliament was the Declaration on political partnership for reaching the objectives of European integration, confirms the high level of maturity of the political class and of the whole society of my country. The implementation of a foreign policy irreversibly aimed at European integration, the implementation of the recently approved Republic of Moldova /European Union Action Plan, will constitute a serious task for our new political class. Moreover, I believe that the intensification of co-operation between the Republic of Moldova and the Council of Europe in the light of recent changes from the region will lead to the establishment of confidence and mutual respect, which will substantially, or even decisively, contribute to overcoming the problems that my country is still facing, as you well know. I hope with all my heart that the political dialogue on the Chisinau-Strasbourg axis will lead to the triumph of the rule of law, fundamental human rights and freedoms on the whole territory of the Republic of Moldova, which is presently confronted, as you well know, with separatism.
We have the duty to offer a very clear mandate to our Organisation for the twenty-first century, to reconfirm the mission of the Council of Europe – the most experienced European structure, able to tackle in the most efficient way the current challenges which are more and more serious. I am sure that the adoption of the political Declaration and the Action Plan during this Summit will set up the necessary framework for further development of mechanisms of endorsement and protection of European values. It is high time to turn the democratic mechanisms of the Council of Europe into mechanisms that are able to make the democratic processes on our continent irreversible, enhancing our common general European principles and values in a durable way. The unity of member states of the Organisation is also characterised by the wide range of their diversity.
And last, but not least, I would like to reiterate the fact that the main task of the Council of Europe is, and I think will be in the future, to ensure unity through diversity. Let this diversity never lead to new misunderstandings.”
13. Mr V. ADAMKUS (Lithuania) made the following statement:
“It is an honour for me to speak on European unity and values in the country that gave birth to the ‘Solidarity’ movement which raised the ideal of united and democratic Europe above the Iron Curtain. I am grateful to the people of Poland and to the host of the Summit, President Kwasniewski, who have been promoting Warsaw as the venue for reconciliation of nations, the development of good-neighbourly relations and initiatives on the future of Europe. I also would like to extend my congratulations to Poland on a successful chairmanship of the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe and on the excellent hosting of the Summit.
Democracy, human rights and the rule of law are the shared values and key pillars on which we build and consolidate European democracies. The rules and standards that the Council of Europe has consistently worked for form the architecture of united Europe.
Europe without dividing lines and Europe as a union of open and democratic states – this is an achievement which we aspire to celebrate with the whole family of European nations. Regrettably, today we cannot do this. One European country is missing at this forum: a country whose citizens subscribe to the values of the Council of Europe but who have been robbed of the opportunity to live by them; a neighbour of Lithuania remains a grey territory on the map of European democracies. The Lukashenko regime is further isolating itself and the people of Belarus from the family of free European nations and the values of democracy. It is my firm belief that we will not close our eyes to the attempts at curbing the right of expression of the Belarusian civil society. The fact that European values have not won their way in this country testifies to our joint failure. On the other hand, this also gives an impetus to work together and help the people of Belarus to build an open and democratic society.
The Council of Europe gives a particular focus to the initiatives of regional and cross-border co-operation, which are already helping to promote political and economic reforms and civil society in Belarus. These initiatives provide an effective instrument for transmitting the know-how to the institutions that are closest to the people and for sharing good practice and experience and executing joint projects.
Regional co-operation was a major priority during the Lithuanian Chairmanship of the Council of Europe. We will continue making every effort to transmit our experience to the countries which are in the process of democracy consolidation. Next spring I will be inviting the leaders of the countries in the Baltic and Black Sea regions to attend a Forum of new democracies in Vilnius, which will focus on democratic development and reforms in Eastern Europe. I am certain that a close dialogue between the Baltic and Black Sea regions will follow up on the activities of the Vilnius Process and contribute to civil society and economic and legal reforms in the countries that aspire to a European perspective.
Today we witness a unique development of European identity. More and more countries are acceding to Euro-Atlantic structures and contribute to this process. However, only respect for shared values and delivery of international commitments will be the true source of European identity.
The common tragic history of Europe, with all its victories and occupations will form a part of the European identity. We have to make it clear that there is no 'twofold' history of Europe, just as there can be no 'special type of democracy' which could avoid meeting commitments to the Council of Europe. Being unprepared to resolve frozen conflicts, we cannot disguise this as dignity and thus trample on vital national and societal interests. And since we discuss shared values, can we justify keeping an army in another country without that country’s consent?
European unity is the treasure that deserves all of our care and attention. It is in European unity that the strength, cultural and religious tolerance and the intellectual thought of Europe lies. Only in unity and solidarity will the family of European nations be able to fight terrorism and organised crime that knows no borders. Only by giving priority to human rights will Europe be able to successfully tackle the problems of its citizens.
Today European unity should above all focus on spiritual and moral values. European unity should be based not on the struggle against something but on joint work for democracy, human rights and the rule of law. It is the development of democracy that will prevent conflicts and pave new ways for European identity. The issues that we debate today in Warsaw are crucial for the future of Europe. I wish that the ideas which all of us generate would contribute in the near future to the well-being and security of the family of European nations.
The Council of Europe – a many-sided forum that covers human rights, aspirations of social unity, education and culture – will be a key instrument in building European unity and identity.”
14. Mr I. SANADER (Croatia) made the following statement:
“At the outset, I would like to thank our host, Poland, for organising and chairing this important event. The choice of the host country for this Summit also bears a symbolic value of the dynamic changes that the Council of Europe, and our continent as a whole, has recently undergone. Poland is certainly among the best choices to demonstrate both the challenges and success stories of the eventful contemporary history of Europe.
Since our last Summit, less than a decade ago, Europe has gone through enormous changes. What once was only a distant target – a united Europe without dividing lines – today seems to be only a step away from accomplishment. However, at this important historic juncture, we also have to avoid new divisions of Europe and prevent the building of new walls that might replace the fallen ones. Through the process of extending the space defined by implementation of our core values, we should tend to a unity that will be as complete as possible, real and viable. It is therefore an honour for me to address this gathering, aimed at setting this oldest European organisation firmly on the twenty-first-century track and to enable it to deal successfully with new challenges.
The last decade has been an equally dynamic period for my country, Croatia. At the last Summit, Croatia was a newcomer, freshly invited into the family of democratic European nations. In the meantime, it has evolved from a young democracy to a candidate country for membership of the European Union. Today, as Croatia is preparing itself for the opening of accession negotiations with the European Union, we can assess the immense contribution of the Council of Europe to this process. It is the Council of Europe that affirms the values and sets the standards which are the foundation of European unity and the common European spirit. By accepting these values and standards, the first step is made for inclusion in Europe's unifying process on other levels and in other dimensions as well, the highest of them being called – how significantly! – the European Union. Croatia is firmly determined to reach this final stage and we strongly believe that it is not just a phrase when it is said that the Union cannot be 'complete' without the inclusion of South-Eastern Europe.
It is not surprising that we share the opinion that, in the new European architecture, the Council of Europe should focus on the areas of its proved excellence. Human rights, democracy and the rule of law are at the heart of this Organisation, and we welcome their decisive role in planning future priorities.
As Prime Minister of a country that has ratified virtually all of the Council of Europe’s legal instruments relating to the protection of human rights, I would like to underline how important the wide acceptance of the standards set out in these conventions is. These legal instruments are the practical reflection of our shared values. This Summit should also be an opportunity to renew our commitment to respect not only the spirit but also the letter by which this Organisation has expressed its core values.
Croatia shares the opinion that the European Convention and European Court of Human Rights hold a central position in the protection of human rights in Europe. Although this system has been applicable for Croatian citizens for only a relatively short period of time, it has already gained significant appreciation.
We underline the importance of full compliance with the judgments of the Court. Croatia takes this duty very seriously and the practice of the European Court has been diligently translated into our domestic legislation. It is our firm belief that this Summit should give the European Court adequate tools to address the acute problems of its effectiveness, thus enabling it to successfully continue its function as a cornerstone of human rights protection in Europe.
The record of the Council of Europe in establishing human rights standards is remarkable and it would require a very long speech to mention all the instruments that deserve to be praised. I would like, on this occasion, to particularly single out the achievements of the Council of Europe in the field of protection of national minorities.
In the development of minority rights policy in Croatia – which recognises a wide range of specific minority rights – we have often drawn inspiration from the Council’s work. We hope that this field will remain equally important in the future activities of the Council of Europe.
Coming from a country that – despite fresh memories of the independence war – successfully continues to build tolerance and trust among its citizens, allow me also to underline the importance of promoting intercultural and inter-religious dialogue, as well as respect for cultural diversity. These are the tools that may prove to be of vital importance for the peaceful development of the contemporary world. Yet, our work in these fields should not stop at the borders of Europe. Historically, Europe is the cradle of values embodied in the complex of human rights, democracy and the rule of law.
Therefore it is Europe’s responsibility to project them – literally radiate them – to the world beyond its geographic borders, until those values permeate international relations generally. By promoting and developing a culture of democracy, by making democracy the European way of life, by building cohesive societies, we are working primarily for our security. This is how we can successfully fight major challenges of the twenty-first century, such as terrorism, organised crime, corruption or trafficking in human beings.
Our Summit has to result not only in the awareness of those threats and challenges, but also in creating efficient instruments to combat them. However, it is essential that the values of the Council of Europe remain intact. Our societies are built on those values and they must be respected in the efforts to eradicate new threats to our security. Furthermore, in focusing our activities on the core values of the Organisation, we should not completely lose sight of other very important fields, such as social cohesion or education, that are an integral part in the full enjoyment of one’s rights and freedoms.
In closing, allow me to once again stress that Croatia remains acutely interested in the activities of the Council of Europe and is prepared to actively contribute to its further development. Croatia also remains confident that this Organisation will continue to play an indispensable role in Europe and that, through our common effort, its standards will be implemented and will indeed reach every one of the 800 million Europeans gathered under the Council of Europe flag.”
15. Mr S. SCHMID (Switzerland) made the following statement:
“Meeting for the third time at the top political level, we have the duty to ensure that this Council of Europe Summit follows on seamlessly from the two previous ones, which constituted major landmarks in the history of our Organisation and of democratic Europe.
Last year, when our Deputies decided to organise the Third Summit, there was a consensus that the event should deal with substantial matters and reach decisions of far-reaching importance for our Organisation, for our member states and, ultimately, for the 800 million or so Europeans. It was agreed that the Summit should set out the main lines for our Organisation’s future action and determine the first steps along the road to interaction and co-operation with the other international organisations.
Today we can announce loud and clear that we have successfully taken up this challenge and will therefore be able to strike out along the road to reform by adopting the texts tabled.
Our decisions will give the Organisation the necessary flexibility to react to any challenges, problems and difficulties that may come to its attention. The Council of Europe must adapt, redefine its tasks and revise its structures. It must also specify the procedure for co-operating with other players on the European scene, be it the OSCE or the European Union. We can now no longer confine ourselves to acknowledging the need to adapt relations with other organisations. We must take affirmative action and draw up agreements or memorandums on the practical arrangements for reinforcing co-operation so as to prevent any future duplication and instead concentrate on complementary activities which would benefit all of us. We have to set about achieving this if we wish to maintain the credibility and proper functioning of the international organisations to which we belong and which we fund.
You may rest assured that Switzerland remains firmly attached to the European values of democracy, defence of human rights and the rule of law, and respect for diversity, all of which form the foundation of Europe as embodied by our Council. Switzerland accordingly believes in the future of the Council of Europe, because this Organisation guarantees the solidity of European values in a continent seeking stability. Our country therefore welcomes the new Forum for Democracy, whose creation will be announced later today. Membership of the Council is still a major resource in Swiss foreign policy, which is characterised by solidarity, universality, neutrality and a bilateral approach to the European Union, our main partner. The 25 Union members shoulder a special responsibility for our Organisation, and Switzerland is willing and able to share this burden. I myself feel that in view of the broad recognition of the Council of Europe’s efficacy, the Organisation’s work is fully in line with the European Union’s interests, just as the Union fosters Swiss interests by ensuring the stability, prosperity and peace of all its members and its vision of an open, democratic and free Europe which it is constantly expanding and consolidating.
By assuring the European Court of Human Rights of the support of all member states, stepping up assistance, reinforcing the specialised monitoring bodies, and pledging intensified co-operation with other European institutions, this Declaration lays the foundations for even more efficient Council of Europe action.
Many other challenges await us, including the fight against terrorism. Such action can only produce practical results if the international community in general, and the Council of Europe member states in particular, can co-ordinate their action. You are no doubt aware of my government’s determination to combat terrorism. This scourge has long been of major concern to Switzerland. My country pledges action to prevent any financial or logistical support for terrorist groups or attacks. In the Swiss Government’s view, effective action against terrorism necessitates determined efforts from our Organisation in accordance with the principles we hold so dear. This means that action against international terrorism must be primarily based on the wealth of crime-fighting legislation at our disposal, with respect for human rights and international law, so that even in such difficult circumstances we do not renounce our shared values.”
16. Mr R. KOCHARIAN (Armenia) made the following statement:
“Armenia is at the beginning of a complex road of European integration. Before the end of this year we are going to complete our post-accession obligations to the Council of Europe. This was a difficult but a fruitful process of reforms, which was widely supported by our society.
We look forward to deepening our interaction with the European Union within the framework of European Neighbourhood Policy. To us it is an opportunity to continue the political and economic reforms, now under European Union auspices. We consider ourselves to be a part of Europe. Our cultural heritage is a part of the European culture. We implement the reforms because they are deeply grounded in the needs of our state, and not because we want to be commanded by anyone. Perhaps that is why the efficiency of reforms in Armenia has been quite high.
In Armenia people believe in a Europe with open borders, without violence, without blockades, without refugees; in a Europe where human rights and the right of peoples to free choice are respected, where the present is being buillt upon objective evaluation of the past. It is in this context that we see the perspective of settlement of the conflict in Nagorno-Karabakh. Namely, we look forward to finding ways of including the de facto established Republic of Nagorno-Karabakh into the European processes of integration. Our efforts aimed at international recognition of the Armenian genocide committed in Ottoman Turkey are also explained by our belief in European values. This year we are commemorating the 90th year of those sad events, and we appreciate the support of those states which have recognised and condemned that genocide.
Our Summit takes place as we celebrate the 60th anniversary of victory of the Second World War. It takes place in a country which was among the first to suffer from that terrible war. It is very symbolic, since at the same place where Europe was once, decades ago, broken into two parts, today we discuss its reintegration. Victory in the Second World War saved the world from fascism, but divided Europe. Today, fighting new challenges and threats we shall not only win, but also make sure we do not create new dividing lines; we shall do our best to create the common European architecture of peace and stability.
I should like to thank President Kwasniewski for the wonderful organisation of the Summit. I am confident that this meeting of heads of the Council of Europe member states is extremely well timed. Europe is in the process of transformation and it creates an urgent need for discussions and adequate measures to reform the European structures and institutions.
Those changes are of fundamental character. 'Eastern Europe' and 'Western Europe' are no longer political terms; they have transformed themselves to regular geographic concepts. Meanwhile, the word 'Europe' is no longer simply the geographical name of a continent. It is a political term widely perceived as a unique model of a community of nations. A European is perceived as a member of that community. In this framework, the institutionalisation of that process and the psychological adaptation of the Europeans go hand in hand, most probably due to the advancement of information technologies. And the speed of that transformation is such, that it easily fits within the lifetime of one generation. I sometimes think that this process has its own logic and does not depend much on politicians.
All this raises questions which require consideration and response. Namely:
- Does European integration have geographical and cultural boundaries and if so, where are they?
- How does European Union enlargement and further institutionalisation affect the demand for other organisations, including the Council of Europe? It is becoming more and more apparent that, for European Union member states, our club is becoming less and less attractive.
- What is the future of Europe's relations with the rest of the world, which has other suppositions and traditions?
- Are the processes currently under way in Europe going to transform into a new ideology with the consequences to follow in the form of a global divide?
Answers to these questions very much depend on the European leaders sitting at this table.”
17. Mr M. FORNÉ MOLNÉ (Andorra) made the following statement:
“First of all I would like to thank you, Mr President, for your opening words – especially for your reference to the difference of minority languages such as the one we Andorrans have and which we share with the Catalans and others. The Catalan language in which I will express myself from now on.
This is the second time that I have had the opportunity of addressing this distinguished assembly and as my term as head of government is ending, so it will be the last. I am fortunate to be speaking to the Council of Europe because the values defended by this Organisation: democracy, human rights and the rule of law, are the basis of all political action and have led my path at the head of the Government of Andorra. Under these guiding principles, the Principality of Andorra recently celebrated its 10th anniversary as member of the Council of Europe. This is also the period for which I have been at the head of the government of my country and over this decade, we have ratified a large number of conventions, provisions laid down and supervised by this Organisation. They have led to additions to our legal system and I hope this will continue to be the case in the future.
Andorra has respected its commitment to ratify the revised European Social Charter, a fundamental instrument in our social model, which allows us to improve the quality of our citizens' lives in term of social policy and labour. We have also ratified the European Convention on mutual assistance in criminal matters, which we see as an essential instrument to face the new challenges before us at the beginning of this century.
Recently, we also signed the Group of States against Corruption and in this area I should stress the need for the planned process to reform the European Court on Human Rights which is currently being completed by the organisation with the signature of Protocol No. 14 to the European Convention on Human Rights.
Andorra has also actively participated at technical level and in the Parliamentary Assembly in preparing the European Convention on the Prevention of Terrorism and the Convention on Laundering, Search, Seizure and Confiscation of the Proceeds from Crime and on the Financing of Terrorism, instruments which would allow us to combat these destabilising phenomena which run counter to the principles of democracy, protection of human rights and the rule of law. We are delighted to see that these are opened for signature today as well as a Convention against Trafficking in Human Beings. These three instruments will, I think, allow us to face up to the activities which are the principles and values of this Organisation.
Our role in the Council of Europe should be to reaffirm the vocation of the European continent as a credo of fundamental freedoms, principles of justice and peace in the world, the protection of the model of parliamentary democracy and protection of human rights. Over recent years, major aims have been achieved and the difficult process of re-establishing the whole of our continent on the path towards democracy has proved hugely successful. Combating terrorism and its financing, combating corruption and the trafficking of human beings and protection of the freedom of expression should continue to be a main priority. The vestiges of violence and demagogy should be neutralised so we can have good governance and stability.
I said ten years ago in Strasbourg that we in Andorra, because of our history and our life and because of the size of our country, have ongoing regular contact between politicians and citizens. We still have ongoing dialogue and a huge demand for democracy. Two weeks ago, Andorran electors once again gave a further example of their commitment and civil conscience when the turnout in the recent general elections was over 80%. If only all European elections and referenda on the European Union Constitution could achieve those levels. We hope that the Constitution will be approved because for the first time the existence and specific links between the small countries and the Union are recognised and because I think it is an essential step on the path towards peace, prosperity and social justice throughout Europe.
Andorra is the only non-European Union member state where the majority of citizens living within its borders are nonetheless members of the European Union, citizens of the European Union. We, the Andorrans, are still in the minority within our own country in spite of increased integration thanks to the progress in developing our laws. Over 60 years, our population has increased ten-fold under an open and generous policy.
The worth of our Pyrenean culture is expressed through the Catalan language. Obviously, a language such as Catalan has developed over more than a thousand years and the number of those people who speak it cannot be the only criterion for its size. We also need to put in huge efforts to protect it in the face of the major languages in our neighbouring countries and imported languages as well. The Council of Europe is aware of this and it has to continue in its struggle to support the rights of those who most need to be defended. The right to maintain the worth of their own identity which is expressed in Andorra through our national language, Catalan, and that is one of the essential aims of this body.
Today, 60 years after the end of Second World War and 56 years after the creation of the Council of Europe, we can talk about European unity based on the standards of democracy, respect of human rights and the rule of law. The Council of Europe, I think, can draw on our joint humanistic heritage to bring in together our diversity, encouraging policies of inclusion and complementarity.”
18. Mr V. KLAUS (Czech Republic) made the following statement:
“Let me express my gratitude to President Kwasniewski and to all our Polish friends for organising this event and to all of you for giving me the opportunity to say a few words here this morning. The Council of Europe was the first respected institution on the old continent which – shortly after the collapse of communism – offered us membership and accepted us as its full members. By doing so, the Council of Europe confirmed the quality of the democratic changes realised in the Czech Republic. I hope the Council of Europe has no problems with us in this respect.
These days, in the complicated and in many respects contradictory era of globalisation and of wide-spread internationalism and multinationalism, our countries are members of many international institutions, sometimes complementary, sometimes competing. We have to give them clearly defined roles. This is especially the case of the parallel existence or, perhaps, coexistence of the Council of Europe and of the European Union. We have to differentiate their respective fields of activities, their purposes, their comparative advantages. Let me say a few tentative words about this.
The birth of the Council of Europe was, in my understanding, a direct reaction to the lack of democracy in the era of totalitarian or authoritative regimes half a century ago. It is therefore about, or it should be about, a Europe of traditional liberal values. It should be about a Europe of freedom and peace, a Europe of democratic nation states, a Europe of diversity, a Europe of genuine differences between its components, the states which – in their synergy – brings about the uniqueness of Europe in the homogenised, more and more monolithic, uniform and less colourful world of regional blocks or unions. To look at the title of this morning’s session, I believe the Council of Europe is, primarily, not about European unity. It is basically about values.
The Council of Europe is also about Europe in a broader sense. It is inclusive. The European Union, on the other hand, is about closer co-operation and political unification of a selected part of the continent. It is, inevitably, partial and exclusive. In its ambition to create an ever-closer Union, it tries to establish a new political entity. It is a different project from the original project of the Council of Europe.
Such differences of aims and purposes of different institutions are appropriate and sound. Even with the enlarged European Union, I believe in the continuing existence of an institution which tries indirectly to protect civic rights and freedoms in its member countries, of an institution which does not take civic rights of citizens of those countries directly into its own hands. I do believe, therefore, in the continuation of the Council of Europe’s role in fighting non-democracy. (By non-democracy I mean suppression of democracy by the state.)
This is, undoubtedly, the old and original mission of the Council of Europe. But I do believe, however, as well in its new mission which becomes highly relevant now, at the beginning of the twenty-first century, in the era of massive emergence of post-democracy. By this term I mean attempts of manifold forces, structures and groupings (not of the state itself), which – without a democratic mandate – try to directly decide (or at least basically influence) various crucial and sensitive public issues.
I have in mind various manifestations of NGOism, of artificial multiculturalism, of radical humanrightism, of aggressive environmentalism, etc. In these activities, I see new ways of endangering and undermining freedom, which we – at least those of us who lived in the communist era – take very seriously.
To return to the title of this morning’s session: European values and European unity, I dare to say that unity is not the priority. Values, based on freedom, the rule of law and the market economy, represent a true priority for all of us.”
19. Mr P. S. MØLLER (Denmark) made the following statement:
“All over Europe we have just commemorated the 60th anniversary of the end of the Second World War. In those days 60 years ago, and in the years that followed, one thought prevailed in the minds of all European citizens: This must never happen again! Idealistic and innovative thinking arose out of the catastrophe. A number of European and other international institutions which still serve us well were founded in that period – one of them being the Council of Europe. What was then regarded as radical thinking, namely that internal matters in one state could be a legitimate concern for the international community, is widely accepted today. So is the wisdom that one of the best guarantees for a state to live at peace with its neighbours is that the neighbours are also democratic states, ruled by law and respecting human rights.
Since the fall of the Berlin Wall, these fundamental values enshrined in the Statute of the Council of Europe have truly become a common European heritage. Today’s solemn reaffirmation of these values and the commitment to safeguard them by means of reinforced standard-setting and implementation activities are therefore crucial. Denmark remains committed to this work.
The Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms is of essential importance, as is our commitment to ensure an efficiently functioning Court of Human Rights with its unique protection of the individual. We welcome the decision to establish a Group of Wise Persons to look into the capacity problems of the Court, and we urge all states to ratify Protocol No. 14, aimed at easing these problems, in order for it to enter into force as soon as possible.
The Council of Europe has done a remarkable job in promoting and consolidating democracy in the states that became members of the Council in the 1990s. Democracy is a dynamic process for all states, and we all face challenges from new developments. Looking at the Council of Europe’s many activities in the field of democracy, we agree that there is a need for more coherence and probably also a more creative approach. We welcome the Council of Europe Forum for the Future of Democracy and believe that it can, in a non-bureaucratic way, stimulate the ongoing process of improving and safeguarding our democracies. It is important that the Forum will act in close co-operation with the Venice Commission, which in itself has proved to be an efficient instrument offering valuable advice, often under rather difficult political circumstances. Other Council of Europe institutions and activities with the aim to promote good governance should likewise be given our full support. The valuable work of the European Commission for the Efficiency of Justice (CEPEJ) is but one example.
The Council of Europe has proved able to adapt and define relevant responses to new challenges facing our societies. Good examples are the instruments drawn up in the field of countering international terrorism. It is satisfactory that the Council of Europe has been able to react quickly and to finalise in time for the Summit two new conventions in this field. These new instruments will make the Council of Europe a relevant partner in the worldwide anti-terrorism efforts under the leadership of the United Nations. We also welcome the opening for signature of the Council of Europe Convention on Action against Trafficking in Human Beings.
Denmark supports the Council of Europe’s increasing co-operation with other international organisations. The guidelines we adopt at this Summit will refocus the important relationship between the Council of Europe and the European Union. We also move forward concerning enhanced co-operation between the Council of Europe and the OSCE, starting in four commonly identified areas of work. We must ensure better use of resources by building on the individual organisations’ key competencies.
Seen through modern management glasses, Europe, with its many institutions for co-operation, may seem to be over-organised. History decided this development. But time has proved the value of these institutions. We have a multi-faceted European architecture with organisations mastering special competencies. Let us respect and nurse these important and relevant competencies and never lose sight of the overall context. Our organisations must cooperate and support each other, each one based on its field of speciality. We have come a long way already in getting rid of unnecessary duplication of work. Let us continue work in that direction. All European organisations will benefit from this.”
20. Mr M. BARNIER (France) made the following statement:
“Let me begin with a word of thanks to the Polish authorities for their warm welcome to this Third Summit of the Council of Europe, and beyond that to the city of Warsaw, which is an especially striking symbol in the wake of the celebrations for the 60th anniversary of the end of the Second World War and the passing away of Pope John Paul II, whose major role in securing European unity my country would like to salute.
The fact of gathering here in Warsaw brings us back to the origins of the Council of Europe, that is to say to the initial determination of Europeans to prevent war, and also to the new face of Europe, the Council being the only organisation to have taken in the whole European democratic family after the fall of the Berlin Wall. I would take this opportunity to invite Belarus, which has not yet joined us, to make the vital, demanding, practical and necessary efforts to take its place alongside the 46 Council of Europe states.
France is delighted to have been involved right from the outset in this endeavour to secure democracy, peace and European unity.
My country is proud to host the Council of Europe headquarters in Strasbourg, which Jean-Claude Juncker described a few days ago in our Parliamentary Assembly as “the European capital par excellence, the city that symbolises Franco-German reconciliation”.
France pays tribute to the Council’s achievements since 1949, its almost two hundred conventions which have changed the lives of Europeans, and the practical protection which it has provided for citizen’s rights through the activities of the European Court of Human Rights.
Not all our citizens are sufficiently aware that it is thanks to the Council of Europe that progress has been possible in certain practical fields that are central to our societies: biomedicine, cultural diversity, the living environment, development, particularly through the Council of Europe Bank, and the fight against cybercrime, racism and xenophobia, and trafficking in human beings.
However, we are gathered here not so much to talk about the past as to prepare for the future. Much remains to be done: combating terrorism and organised crime, anchoring democracy in a few of our countries, preventing the re-emergence of discrimination, intolerance and anti-Semitism, tackling some remaining conflicts, and so on; the list is long.
How can the Council of Europe continue to help European countries to take concerted action in these different fields?
I consider this question central to this Summit, and both the Action Plan and the Declaration which we will be adopting address the issue in a fair, balanced manner. I am thinking, for instance, of the goals we are setting in order to combat violence against children.
France is deeply attached to the Council of Europe, and has simultaneously been firmly committed to the European Union right from the very outset. Our country wholeheartedly backs the statements we have heard from the Union’s Luxembourg Presidency.
This brings me on to the three points which I would like to make.
The first is that it would be a mistake to discard the fundamental principles that have underpinned the Council’s action ever since its inception: protecting and promoting human rights, consolidating democracy and ensuring respect for the rule of law. We must not flag in our endeavours to defend and implement these principles. Nothing should be taken for granted, nothing is definitive and everything is fragile. If our shared goal is indeed the creation of a stable, peaceful Europe without dividing lines, achieving it primarily involves building Europe up on the bedrock of these values.
My second point is that we must frankly admit that, in today’s Europe, the Council of Europe can no longer fulfil all our expectations alone. Our countries are also involved in the important work of the OSCE, and many of us are, or soon will be, members of the European Union. We therefore have a responsibility to all our citizens to construct a clear European architecture based on a network of efficient institutions. The Council of Europe must work in synergy and complementarity with both the European Union and the OSCE.
This will undoubtedly be an arduous, uphill battle, but such synergy is no illusion: we have seen concrete examples of excellent co-operation in this field.
The Council of Europe has already supplied the European Union with its “Copenhagen Criteria”. It inspired the Union’s Charter of Fundamental Rights as incorporated into the Preamble to the European Constitution. This complementarity could be further expanded, if the institutions could just get into the habit of exchanging ideas – I am thinking, for example, of themes that might be of joint interest to the European Parliament and the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe and its President, René van der Linden, the high quality of whose work is unanimously recognised.
Complementarity with the OSCE, which concentrates on security issues and adopts a more political than legal approach, must be more subtly nuanced. It would be useful if a memorandum formally setting out the methods and fields of co-operation (I am thinking of the issues of trafficking in human beings, the Roma and Sinti people, and the fight against all the phenomena surrounding intolerance and terrorism) could be adopted alongside this Summit.
My third and last point is that we must collectively pledge to meet the efficiency requirement. Surely we must admit that it would be doing Europe a disservice to let it promise the citizen great things but to enable it to do precious little.
This explains the need for political supervision of compliance with our shared values. I would like to highlight the excellent work being done by the official supervisory bodies, including the European Committee for the Prevention of Torture and Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (CPT), the European Commission against Racism and Intolerance (ECRI) and the Venice Commission.
On behalf of my country I would also like to pay tribute to the work of the Council of Europe’s first ever Commissioner for Human Rights. He has marshalled respect for this new institution, which we introduced at our last Summit.
This is why we must ensure the efficiency of the judicial supervision of our collective commitments, in particular by the European Court of Human Rights. Let us be quite clear about this: the Court is currently a victim of its own success, with over 60 000 applications pending. We must tackle this short-term problem by ratifying Protocol No. 14 as quickly as possible. For the future, a committee of wise persons should be set up to fuel our joint reflection.
I have several times expressed my country’s optimism about the future of the Council of Europe.
The documents emerging from this Summit will help us to draw up a joint diagnosis for the future. I would like once again to thank the Polish chairmanship and wish the Portuguese team every success as they take over.
I would like to close with one small piece of advice. The Council of Europe is obviously based on inter-state co-operation and commitment. Without the states, how could the Council conduct its political debates, implement its standards or finance its activities? We need this commitment and co-operation from the member states.
In my view, however, this commitment on the part of the states, which has become more necessary than ever, is no longer necessarily sufficient. I feel that it is increasingly in the Council of Europe’s interests to open up to civil society and the non-governmental organisations.
We must avoid the pitfall of trying to build up the value-based Europe, which is our raison d’être, for our citizens but without them.”
21. Mr S. LAVROV (Russian Federation) made the following statement:
“The Council of Europe, meeting today at the Third Summit in its 56-year history, rightly regards itself as a symbol of European unity, founded on a community of fundamental values. Chief among those values are human rights, democracy and the rule of law, as well as unified standards in the spheres of social cohesion, culture and education.
In the course of three centuries, while in some respects lagging behind and in others occasionally taking the lead on European standards, Russia, together with other nations of Europe, has experienced the difficulty of reforms and the emergence of a parliamentary system and municipal and judicial authorities. As for the other states of our continent, it has been a tough and winding road. It is no exaggeration to say that Russia has suffered much pain in assuming its European choice. As our President, Vladimir Putin, said in his recent message to the Federal Assembly of the Russian Federation, Russia was, is and will be a great European nation. Today, no one must doubt Russia's attachment to democracy and European values.
Together, we have gradually forged ahead towards recognition of the importance of protecting human rights, respect for the rights of minorities, equal and universal suffrage, understanding of the need to care for the underprivileged and vulnerable, and equality of women. It is no coincidence that the Council of Europe has become an inalienable part of the European order born from the tragic experience of the Second World War, when we jointly conquered Nazism, which had thrown down a challenge to the very bases of European civilisation. It is appropriate to remember this as we celebrate the 60th anniversary of the great victory.
The ideals of freedom, justice and democracy are universal. They are implemented in each country with due consideration for the country's traditions, culture and national characteristics. Human rights may be truly guaranteed only by a strong, responsible state with a developed civil society. In present day conditions, Russian citizens see restrictions of their rights primarily in terms of a low standard of living, unequal access to health care and the shortcomings of the social welfare system. This is what characterises our current situation, a situation that President Putin recently instructed the Russian Government to remedy.
Article 1 of the Statute of the Council of Europe stipulates that the Organisation's aim is to achieve a greater unity between its members for the purpose of realising common ideals and also to facilitate their economic and social progress. Sadly, the second part of that formula sometimes goes undeservedly forgotten. This skewed approach has to be redressed. Common values do not emerge and become rooted in a vacuum. They are fostered in the family and in schools, passed on through communication between people and function within the legal and administrative system in a citizens' society.
The main common European values include diversity of cultures, languages, faiths, lifestyles – in a word, everything that makes European civilisation the unique property of the whole of humanity. For that reason, the Council of Europe must develop as a multi-faceted organisation, seeking to assert these values through effective co-operation in the legal, social, educational, cultural and youth spheres. The universally recognised principle of respect for human rights cannot be pitted against other fundamental norms of international law, particularly the principle of sovereign equality of states.
A free and just society has no internal boundaries or restrictions on the free movement of citizens. Achieving such freedom on the scale of the continent would enable all Europeans to enjoy fully the values of European civilisation. It is free communication between people that generates that atmosphere of mutual understanding and trust without which there could be no full inter-state co-operation, nor a genuinely unified common European area.
Democratic values also include the safeguarding of rights of national minorities. This is an obligation for all Council of Europe member states without exception and one of the most important tasks of our Organisation.
It is undeniable that the traditional fields of work of the Council of Europe remain fully relevant. But within its scope of competence, the Council is required to deal with new problems now taking up a central place on the worldwide agenda and, first and foremost, to react to new challenges posing a direct threat to the wellbeing of the continent's inhabitants and ever more encroaching on the everyday lives of Europeans.
Those challenges are not diminishing, in number or intensity. Certain conflicts in the socio-economic, inter-ethnic and religious spheres are turning into real or potential flash-points of terrorism, constituting the greatest danger of violating fundamental human rights, the first of these being the right to life. Combating terrorism must become one of the priority thrusts of our Organisation's work.
We are prepared to engage in further work with our partners in the Council of Europe to improve instruments of co-operation in the fight against terrorism. In April this year, the Russian side signed the Council of Europe Convention on the Transfer of Sentenced Persons of 1983 and its additional Protocol of 1997.
We consider the conventions prepared on the eve of this Summit on the prevention of terrorism, the laundering, search, seizure and confiscation of the proceeds from crime and the financing of terrorism as a real contribution by the Council of Europe to the anti-terrorism effort.
International experience of recent years shows that the response to the terrorist threat must be united and decisive, and based on an unequivocal definition of terrorist acts as serious crimes for which their perpetrators, organisers and sponsors may not escape liability.
In striking a correct correlation between human rights and the requirement of security for society, we are basing our action on the necessity of respecting the universally recognised norms of international law. Real protection of democratic freedoms and human rights is incompatible with support, whether direct or indirect, for outlaws who flout those values.
One possible sphere for joint efforts is the creation within the geographical boundaries of the Council of Europe of a single area for combating terrorism and upholding law and order.
There are other, no less complex problems facing Europe, such as the use of progress in science and technology, information technologies and biotechnology and other intellectual achievements for the benefit of humankind. We welcome the fact that the Council of Europe intends to devote due attention to these issues, and Russia is prepared to make its contribution towards resolving them.
The challenges and threats facing us today are global. There is no one country or group of countries in Europe capable of overcoming them alone. It cannot be permitted that, because of short-term reckoning, prejudices or preconceptions, we lose sight of the main issue, namely the key importance of uniting our efforts, continent-wide, in resolving the truly complex and crucial problems facing the whole of Europe.”
22. Mr M.A. MORATINOS (Spain) made the following statement:
“I would like to thank the Polish authorities for their careful preparation of this meeting and congratulate them on its outstanding organisation. This Summit, which Spain has backed right from the outset, provides an excellent opportunity for reaffirming the importance of the Council of Europe in consolidating today’s Europe, a Europe that is at last free, democratic and without dividing lines.
For Spaniards of my generation, Europe is and will remain synonymous with freedom and progress.
Spanish citizens look back with immense gratitude at the faith which the Council of Europe placed in our country’s transition to democracy when it took us in in 1977, before we had even had time to ratify our democratic constitution.
Our accession constituted an enormous stride forward, confirming that Spanish society had irrevocably struck out along the road to democracy.
The same applied to the countries of central and eastern Europe after the fall of the Berlin Wall. Today, in a Europe which is becoming more integrated with each day that passes, it is only right to highlight the extraordinary contribution which the Council of Europe has made to disseminating and consolidating the fundamental values of democracy, the rule of law and human rights throughout our continent.
If the intrepid founding fathers of political Europe, which was built up in 1949 on the ruins of a physically and mentally devastated continent, could see us all gathered here today in Warsaw Castle, in a free Poland which is now in control of its own destiny, they would undoubtedly experience profound satisfaction at our achievements. This is why we must pay warm and deeply grateful homage to them.
Spain has always had a deeply-rooted European destiny. Its successive governments and the whole of Spanish society have attached the utmost importance to European political integration. We have always supported the enlargement of the European Union, and stand steadfastly behind the cohesion and convergence of all its member states.
This mindset in Spanish society was clearly expressed during the recent referendum on the European Constitutional Treaty, when a majority of the Spanish people approved this fresh advance in European construction.
The new Treaty and its entry into force will, in a manner of speaking, crown the whole architecture of European values which was established more than fifty years ago. If anything unites Europeans today, it is this community of values, the deep-rootedness of democracy, the protection of human rights, the banner of liberty, equality between men and women, and the perpetual quest for increased economic and social cohesion.
I am frankly convinced that alongside the work of containment conducted by the Atlantic Alliance, nothing has more decisively influenced the political transformation of the European continent than the success of its institutions. The twentieth century totalitarian ideologies were overcome first of all by force of arms and subsequently by the colossal force of democratic ideas and European integration.
It would be inconceivable for the European continent to be as peaceful as it is today had it not been for this huge capacity for stability and progress provided by the principles and values deeply rooted in all Europeans, namely democracy, justice, freedom, equality and human rights.
As Robert Schuman said in a speech before the Council of Europe in 1951, “Like the laws of nature, true ideas come to be recognised and applied in the end”.
We have come a long way, but we know that there is no going back, that for the first time in history the European nations have united on an equal footing, of their own free will, in full confidence, and that they have decided to work together on the only possible basis, namely a true idea, that of respect for human beings, their dignity and their inalienable rights.
As part of this great project, the Council of Europe is performing work of the utmost importance in energetically promoting democracy, the rule of law and respect for human rights.
In the light of the challenges facing European societies, the Council of Europe has arrived at a decisive turning point. Its action is not only compatible with, but also fundamentally complementary to that of the European Union, which must turn the Council of Europe’s achievements in its fields of excellence to optimum account.
However, any mention of the Council of Europe immediately brings to mind the European Court of Human Rights. The Court is the Organisation’s most visible and accessible institution, owing to the fact that the European Convention on Human Rights secures the right of individual petition.
The survival of our human rights protection machinery, the guarantee on the efficacy of this supreme court, is a matter of constant concern to the Spanish Government. Protocol No. 14, which our Minister of Justice signed last week in Strasbourg, provides for a wide variety of measures conducive to expediting proceedings, and we should implement them to the fullest possible effect. Let us not forget that the Court will operate all the more efficiently if our national systems can also function properly. Spain has had an extremely positive overall experience with individual applications to the Court.
On the subject of human rights protection, I obviously cannot disregard the activities of the Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights. Since the creation of this post almost six years ago, and despite all the material difficulties and lack of human resources, the first incumbent, Mr Alvaro Gil-Robles, has succeeded in building up an independent, efficient and unanimously respected institution. I consider it important to continue to reinforce this institution, to which Spain will continue to give its wholehearted support.
One of our joint priorities is obviously to organise international action against terrorism. I would like to sincerely thank the Council of Europe and its Parliamentary Assembly for the support and solidarity which was shown towards my country in the wake of the appalling terrorist attack on 11 March 2004, and would also like to thank the Secretary General, Mr Davis, for his participation in the Summit against terrorism held in Madrid two months ago, exactly one year after the tragedy.
The Council of Europe is contributing to this international action, as shown by its recent adoption of the Guidelines on the protection of victims of terrorism.
The Convention for the Prevention of Terrorism, which is being opened for signature today and which I am intending to sign on behalf of Spain, is another major step forward. This will be the first ever international convention recognising an obligation on the part of the states to adopt mechanisms to protect the victims of terrorism, and stipulating three new offences: public incitement to acts of terrorism, and the recruitment and training of terrorists.
The Council of Europe must prioritise co-operation with the other international organisations, particularly the UN and the OSCE. This I why I so warmly welcome the co-operation mechanisms currently being put in place, and the Declaration on Co-operation with OSCE which we will be adopting at this Summit.
I would just like to outline some of the proposals in the Action Plan and the political Declaration which Spain has actively defended, alongside a number of other countries.
The first proposal involves reinforcing democracy, political freedoms and citizen participation by setting up a Forum on the Future of Democracy, a venture proposed in the conclusions of the closing conference for the Integrated Project on “Democratic Institutions at Work”, held in Barcelona in November 2004. This Forum should facilitate an exchange of ideas, information and good practices, and help establish close co-operation with the various Council of Europe bodies.
The second proposal is to promote intercultural and inter-religious dialogue. Let me just remind you that at the last meeting of the General Assembly of the United Nations the Head of the Spanish Government officially launched the idea of an alliance of civilisations which would be at the heart of an endeavour to promote political and democratic stability worldwide, particularly in the areas around the periphery of Europe.
This proposal, which was recently tabled by the Arab League, has been welcomed with open arms. The Council of Europe has a major role to play in dialogue between Europe and its neighbouring regions, such as the Mediterranean Basin. The North-South Centre in particular can and should be an exceptionally useful instrument in this field, and Spain will endeavour to provide it with the necessary support and resources.
In an increasingly interdependent world, encouraging sustainable development is another of our government’s main preoccupations. Following the Johannesburg Summit, the Council of Europe should use the principle of sustainable development to guide its action in fields such as spatial planning and environment. This is why we have been working with a group of interested countries on ensuring that this important issue appears in the Action Plan.
I am convinced that we will look back on this Summit as having secured a major advance in European construction. With the conventions that are opening today for signature, the political Declaration and the Action Plan, we are setting out along the road towards fruitful co-operation in Europe.
The Spanish Government has always had a lofty idea of the Council of Europe. Twenty-seven years after accession Spain is now a country which fully implements, shares and defends all the Organisation’s values.
Freedom, democracy and the rule of law are the supreme values which we are fortunate enough to share in a Europe that has shaken off all its dividing lines. Our current government has laid very special emphasis on reinforcing these principles, and adopted legislation geared to increasing genuine equality among all citizens. This is further proof of Spain’s unflagging commitment to the Council of Europe, its objectives and its action.”
23. Mr K. DE GUCHT (Belgium) made the following statement:
“I would like first of all to extend my warmest thanks to President Kwasniewski for his hospitality and the remarkable commitment shown by the Polish authorities throughout their chairmanship and in preparing this Summit. I would also take the opportunity of wishing the incoming Portuguese chairmanship every success and assuring it of Belgium’s support in its work.
This Third Summit of the Council of Europe is being held in a place and at a time of great symbolic importance. We have just celebrated the 60th anniversary of the end of the Second World War, which tore the European continent asunder. We are gathered together here in Warsaw, a city which suffered terribly under the atrocities caused by this dreadful conflict.
It was on the ruins of our countries and the distress of our citizens that we built up a new united Europe without dividing lines, based on shared values: human rights, democracy and the rule of law. These values constitute the foundation on which we are building a Europe of solidarity and prosperity, openness and tolerance. This Europe lies at the heart of our citizens’ convictions. It is central to the commitment entered into by my country and by all of us present here today.
We are here to reaffirm our attachment to these values which we all share, but also, and above all, to consider together how to continue our joint endeavour in a changing Europe. The final decade of the twentieth century was marked by the end of the East-West divide and the advent of new democracies. Our Summits in 1993 and 1997 facilitated the accession of new partners and helped reinforce our continent’s democratic stability.
We are currently facing global challenges such as combating terrorism and organised crime, tackling migration issues, fighting poverty and exclusion, racism and discrimination, and promoting sustainable development. We must take up these challenges together, in a concerted effort, because otherwise they are liable to threaten the values which we are promoting.
In this context, the Council of Europe has a specific and unique role to play on account of its pan-European scope and its accumulated expertise. We must confirm our Organisation’s basic policy thrusts so that it can continue to discharge its duty to build up a Greater Europe based on democracy and citizens’ rights.
Seen from this angle, we must surely prioritise efforts to improve the efficiency of the system for protecting and promoting human rights. There can be no compromise where respect for the fundamental rights and the dignity of the human being is concerned. Such respect is the very foundation of our age-old European civilisation. This is why it is vital to ensure that the states strictly apply the provisions of the European Convention on Human Rights and reinforce their national capacities to comply more closely with the requirements of the Convention.
Guaranteeing the safety of human life is primarily a matter for the individual member states. Our Organisation has the means of helping them fulfil this responsibility, and we must ensure that the relevant bodies fully discharge their respective duties.
The Commissioner for Human Rights is a particularly important institution in this field. We must make sure that he can exercise his mandate on a completely independent basis, backed with adequate resources.
By setting up a Court to which every citizen can apply to ensure respect for his or her rights, the European Convention on Human Rights has established a protection mechanism unequalled anywhere in the world. This fact also explains our concern about the structural problems facing the Strasbourg Court because of the massive increase in the number of individual applications.
Medium- and long-term solutions must be found. We would support the proposed setting up of a Group of Wise Persons responsible for formulating recommendations. It is important that the terms of reference and membership of this group measure up to the task assigned it. Belgium is intending to provide input into this major debate.
Another field of action in which the Council of Europe has a decisive role to play is the promotion of democracy, the rule of law and good governance. Formulating and evaluating the standards needed for the proper functioning of democratic institutions, programmes for the development of democratic stability, and legal co-operation mechanisms are so many effective means of achieving this aim. They must be further developed.
Promoting democracy and human rights is still the Council of Europe’s main mission. However, we cannot build up a stable, democratic Europe without getting to grips with poverty, exclusion and social inequality. This necessitates reinforcing social cohesion and promoting the cultural dimension. This is why the implementation of the revised Social Charter must remain a major concern. The strategy used here must also be adjusted in the light of the problems of aging populations, immigration and sustainable development.
Culture plays a considerable, acknowledged role in advancing human knowledge and understanding of others, perpetuating our values and ensuring reconciliation and tolerance worldwide, which is why we are in favour of promoting cultural diversity and would encourage the development of intercultural dialogue, as proclaimed at the 50th anniversary celebrations for the European Cultural Convention in Wrocław.
There can be no democracy without the active and responsible participation of citizens in local decision-making processes. Education for democratic citizenship helps young people and adults to realise their individual and collective responsibilities. The Council of Europe’s schemes in this field must be continued and expanded. This is the European Year of Education for Democratic Citizenship, and we are delighted that this event has helped increase public awareness of European values.
The Council of Europe and the European Union are two major institutions that emerged from the same project to create a united, caring and democratic Europe. They differ in geographical size and mode of institutional operation, but they are both pursuing the same objective, based on their shared values. This complementarity is even more in evidence today, with the inclusion of the Charter of Fundamental Rights in the draft Constitutional Treaty.
The enlargement of the European Union and the heightened integration of its foreign policy militate for reinforced co-operation with the Council of Europe, with a view to establishing a genuine partnership between both institutions. Such a partnership should take the form of political dialogue involving all European states, whether European Union members or not. This would lead to mutual reinforcement of the action of both organisations, particularly in central and eastern Europe and the Caucasus.
The accession of the European Union to the European Convention on Human Rights will give a dynamic boost to this partnership. Belgium has always advocated early accession by the Union, after the entry into force of the Charter of Fundamental Rights. This is why I would recommend initiating the preparatory work for accession as soon as possible.
The opening of a Fundamental Rights Agency in the European Union will provide a new means of strengthening co-operation with the Council of Europe and its specific mechanisms. The current discussions on the Agency’s terms of reference should be guided by this same concern for coherent objectives and resources.
Belgium also attaches the utmost importance to reinforcing co-operation between the Council of Europe and OSCE, whose presidency my country will be taking over in 2006. I am particularly pleased that both organisations have now signed the Declaration enshrining this undertaking. Their interaction should be encouraged, with respect for their specific separate roles as well as their complementarity.
The pledges we will be making at this Summit should be conducive to boosting the Council of Europe in its action to promote democracy and the rights of all European citizens. This is our common task. My government will certainly be making its individual contribution.”
24. Archbishop G. LAJOLO (Holy See) made the following statement:
“It is my honour to convey to all present the cordial greetings of the new Pope, Benedict XVI, who in the choice of his name intended to recall one of the great architects of European civilisation. In some of his previous talks and publications he has proposed a number of considerations, both historical and doctrinal, on the subject of European unity and values, which remain relevant and worthy of attention.
This theme, to which the present session is dedicated, is something particularly important for the Holy See. Pius XII in his Christmas message of 1944 proposed to Europe a 'true democracy founded on freedom and equality' (Acta Apostolicae Sedis 37  14), and on 9 May 1945 he spoke of 'a new Europe ... founded on respect for human dignity, for the sacred principle of equality of rights for all peoples, all states, large or small, weak or strong' ( ibid, 129-130). Pope Paul VI dedicated keen and increasing attention to the same subject. And all are aware of the incessant, passionate and active commitment of Pope John Paul II to a Europe corresponding more fully to its geographical and especially to its historical identity. Here in his Polish homeland, I am particularly pleased to recall his great and lovable personality.
Europe will be loved by its citizens and will serve as an agent of peace and civilisation in the world only if it is animated by certain fundamental values:
a. the promotion of human dignity and fundamental human rights, among which in the first place freedom of conscience and religion;
b. the pursuit of the common good in a spirit of solidarity;
c. respect for national and cultural identity.
These values obviously are shared by all. However, if they are to take on a clear focus and not remain generic, they must refer to Europe’s own history because this is what constitutes Europe in its spiritual identity. For this reason the Holy See views with satisfaction the commitment expressed in the preamble of the Declaration, paragraph 6, 'to the common values and principles which are rooted in Europe’s cultural, religious and humanistic heritage'. The pre-eminent role that Christianity has played in forming and developing this cultural, religious and humanistic patrimony is well known to all and cannot be ignored.”
25. Ms B. FERRERO-WALDNER (European Commission) made the following statement:
“I am delighted to be here to represent the European Commission on behalf of President Barroso. It is a pleasure to see so many old friends and colleagues around this room.
Strong European values – promotion and defence of democracy, respect for human rights and the rule of law – have been at the core of the European integration for more than 50 years.
It is in part thanks to the Council of Europe, and its role as standard bearer for fundamental values on our continent, that the European Union is the organisation it is today. In this session devoted to European values, I would like to recall the long standing and excellent co-operation between the European Commission and the Council of Europe. Numerous initiatives within the European Union or to the benefit of other Council of Europe members through our joint programmes and projects are extremely successful in many different areas such as the promotion of pluralistic democracy and the rule of law, respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms.
The Commission and the Council of Europe have also a long history of co-operation on education. Whether it is in the field of higher education, with our joint work in the field of recognition of qualifications and on the “Bologna process”, in relation to language learning, or of education to democratic citizenship, I can only praise our excellent co-operation. I attach particular importance to human rights education which has been on top of my political agenda for many years, including when I was chair of the Human Security Network – we produced a Manual on Human Rights Education. The European Commission and the Council of Europe should increase their co-operation in this area.
Our joint task is to build on this and see where we can go further. In this context, let me just remind you that for many years the European Commission has been calling for accession to the European Convention on Human Rights. Now, finally, the European Union Constitution includes a commitment that ‘the European Union shall accede to the European Convention’. This will be a historic achievement for the protection of human rights in Europe, and a strong symbol of the European Union’s and Council of Europe’s commitment to pan-European values.
I am therefore very pleased to announce today that the European Commission, as the institution responsible for negotiating the accession treaty on behalf of the European Union, will take two steps towards putting that into practice. First, the Commission will immediately begin preparatory technical discussions with our member states on the various legal and technical questions surrounding a future accession treaty. These discussions should allow us to clarify the issues at stake. Secondly, the Commission is ready to begin informal exploratory talks with the Council of Europe as early as this autumn. These will take place in parallel with talks with our own member states, and will of course depend on the outcome of those discussions; but I believe that it is important that we lose no time in setting this process in motion.
Accession negotiations can only begin once the European Union Constitution has entered into force, and we do not want to anticipate the process of ratification. However, by starting the preparatory work on these rather complex technical questions, the Commission will fulfil its duty to the other European Union institutions and above all to our citizens. They rightfully expect that the European Union’s accession to the Convention – a long-awaited step for the protection of their fundamental rights – will become a reality without undue delay."
During this Summit we will all make abundant references to the European values embedded in the Council of Europe. However let’s remind ourselves that it is not enough to cherish them. We must also safeguard these values as our common heritage. In addition we must consolidate them with the view to further promote the democratic sustainability of our institutions and the wellbeing of our citizens.
This is an important message from all Europeans to the rest of the world.”
The session ended at 1.28 p.m.
SECOND SESSION – CHALLENGES TO EUROPEAN SOCIETY
(Chairman: Mr Marek BELKA, Prime Minister of the Republic of Poland)
The session commenced at 3.13 p.m.
26. The CHAIRMAN made the following statement:
“I declare the second session of the Summit open. The subject of the present session is the challenges facing the European society. Let me make a short introduction to the subject of our discussions on behalf of the Polish delegation. I will switch to the Polish language now.
I would like to start by referring back to the title of the previous session, during which it was emphasied that Europe is, and must remain, a community of values and the Council of Europe the guardian of that heritage of values. Defending European values is not just a question of protecting the 56 years of action of the Council of Europe: it also means being able to meet new challenges.
What are those new challenges? The Council of Europe concentrates on the defence of three main principles: human rights, democracy and the rule of law. In none of these spheres has the Council of Europe achieved full success. The inhabitants of the continent are still confronted with corruption, with intolerance, with xenophobia, with discrimination against individuals and ethnic groups, organised crime, unequal access to justice. So these are the old problems with which the continent has to fight. But at the same time there are a number of other phenomena that have arisen as a result of new technologies, of the internet, of new means of communication and certain restrictions that are imposed on movement and resettlement on the continent. And then there are also such phenomena as terrorism in various forms, such as cyber-terrorism. The Council of Europe can make its own specific contribution to combating terrorism and to eliminating its consequences by affording protection to victims and by defending their human rights.
Poland is acceding to the new anti-terrorism convention of the Council of Europe, a convention open for signature during this Summit. Combating terrorism requires very close and effective co-operation among all international organisations, in particular the United Nations, but with the support of all people of good will. Other aspects of the negative effects of terrorism are also a significant problem. Two other conventions are being opened for signature, combating trafficking in human beings and against money laundering. Poland also supports the work being done by the Council of Europe to develop standards to prevent abuse of these new developments in the information sciences and in bio-technology.
Now, a very important challenge facing the 46 member states of the Council of Europe is what can be done to achieve social cohesion. Poland is particularly interested in new standards to protect the nomadic, or wandering peoples, such as the Roma who are a specific aspect of our historic and cultural tradition. Anything that can be done by the Council of Europe to promote intercultural and inter-religious dialogue is also very significant. We believe that this should be included in programmes of national education and should also be taken up seriously by civil society. Xenophobia, the resurgence of anti-Semitism, neo-Nazism, hostility toward Islam, these are all phenomena that can poison our future democracies and we need decisive action in these areas. Bridges between cultures and religions, these were among the priorities of our chairmanship of the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe which is now coming to an end, and we believe that the various activities we have carried out have contributed to that. We also believe that the Council of Europe should do everything it can to protect young people and children against violence and against crime. Those are many of the tasks facing the Council of Europe. They have been set out in the Action Plan for the Organisation over the years to come. The chairmanship is calling on the Summit to approve all of the points set out in the Action Plan.”
27. Mr L. WILDHABER (President of the European Court of Human Rights) made the following statement:
“The European Court of Human Rights is more than just another European institution; it is a symbol. As no other institution, it symbolises an essential part of European legal culture. It represents the finest achievement of the Council of Europe. It is your achievement too, the achievement of the governments of the member states, but also your responsibility to ensure its continued effectiveness.
For over fifty years now, the Court – and indeed the whole Convention mechanism – has built up a comprehensive set of binding human rights standards, providing guidance to the national authorities and courts of the Council of Europe member states. In doing so, the Court has played and continues to play a vital role as the final guardian of fundamental rights, including in the process of transition to and consolidation of democratic governance.
The environment in which the European Court of Human Rights now has to operate has, however, radically changed over the last fifteen years. Direct access to an international judicial body for 800 million citizens throughout 46 states has inevitably placed a strain on the Court and its procedures. There is nothing surprising in this development. The 80 000 applications which are currently pending before the Court are therefore not the product of any dysfunction or mismanagement; they simply reflect the importance which the Court has acquired in the minds and hearts of all Europeans, from Dublin to Vladivostok. They are the inescapable consequence of the pan-European reach of the Convention guarantees and of the fact that the Court has done nothing but to faithfully fulfil its duties under the Convention.
In view of what has been achieved, this Court is, without a shadow of doubt, the most productive of all international tribunals and I am proud to say that. The two management audits which were submitted to the governments on 15 May 2005 have confirmed that the Court’s caseload will continue to rise and that therefore, despite the Court’s best efforts, despite an increase in productivity of nearly 500% over the last six years, something more radical is required.
It is in this context that I call on you, Heads of States and Governments, as the initiators and guarantors of the Convention system, to seize the opportunity of this Summit to send to all Europeans a clear and strong signal of your determination to preserve the system and ensure, as the Committee of Ministers recently declared, that it ‘remains the essential reference point for the protection of human rights’ in Europe. In order to achieve this, we unequivocally call for the speedy ratification of Protocol No. 14 as the first and necessary step towards stabilising the European Court and its capacity to fulfil its mission. But we now know, in the light of the recent forecasts of the two audits and the Court itself, that Protocol No. 14 will not be enough on its own.
We therefore need to look beyond Protocol No. 14 and address the issue of the long-term future of the system, and we should start doing so now. What kind of international protection mechanism do we need in the Europe of the twenty-first century? Are the present procedures still adjusted to the pan-European character which the system has acquired? What will be the impact of the projected accession of the European Union to the Convention? These are some of the crucial questions which we urgently need to start addressing, if we want to have a chance to enable the system to face up in time to the new challenges awaiting it.
Now is not the time for a quick fix, but for vision. A vision on how to ensure that the European Court of Human Rights remains what it has been since its creation, for the benefit of nearly two generations of citizens: the tangible symbol of the effective pre-eminence on our continent of human rights and the rule of law.
Developing such a long-term vision and a strategy adapted to it takes time, as many different aspects need thorough consideration. This is why we welcome your decision at this Summit an international panel of eminent personalities to examine the issue of the long-term effectiveness of the Convention control mechanism. I think we all agree that their work is not meant to be a political exercise. Its aim should rather be to provide governments with a range of feasible options which should then be made the subject of a political process. Therefore, we need high ranking persons of established independence who have practical experience of what a Court is; persons with the vision and the courage to submit the best long-term solution.
Your decisions at the Summit should demonstrate that in Europe, human rights are being taken care of at the highest political level, and rightly so, as an efficient European Court of Human Rights is an indispensable part of the present and future European landscape.”
28. Mr M. SAAKASHVILI (Georgia) made the following statement:
“I am honoured to be addressing this Council today and to be again in Warsaw, a city associated with the struggle for freedom in Europe and some of the greatest events of our time from which we are drawing an example.
The Council of Europe is one of core institutions of the community of European nations. It is an institution associated with individual liberties, social responsibility and the peaceful resolution of conflicts. I have been linked to this Organisation for a long time. I had my first internship as a student in Strasbourg at the Council of Europe, and I was Vice-President of the Parliamentary Assembly. I certainly understand the importance of the Organisation.
I think all the institutions in Europe and world-wide face serious changes. We are currently faced with a deep humanitarian crisis, an HIV/Aids crisis, tsunami, natural disasters. The leaders of the key institutions have responded in various ways to these new challenges. NATO has made extensive reforms to its organisation to basically expand its membership, to modernise its capabilities to cope with the security threats. The European Union has expanded its membership, rewritten its constitution, has created a new Neighbourhood Policy aimed at countries like Georgia. The OSCE continues to play a key role and as the elections in Ukraine and Georgia proved, they are very instrumental in advancing the cause of freedom. The Council of Europe remains more than ever the institution which symbolises European identity, fundamental values.
Georgia is keeping its commitments: we have ratified 46 conventions and we are in the process of ratifying the others. We also support the idea of ratification of Protocol No. 14. Georgia has also launched all necessary internal procedures towards ratifying other important conventions, like the Convention on the Prevention of Terrorism, the Convention on Laundering, Search, Seizure and Confiscation of the Proceeds from Crime and on the Financing of Terrorism and the others.
What is important today is that the organisations work more closely with each other to increase their effectiveness and to be capable of dealing with the major challenges in the first place with frozen conflicts, which today in Transnistria, in Abkhazia and South Ossetia continue to represent black holes on the map of Europe, where democracy, human rights, the rule of law and stability are not allowed.
We come to the decision that the Council of Europe will strengthen co-operation with other European institutions, synergy in European co-operation in general. We should guarantee that the Council of Europe’s role within the new European and global environment is reinforced. Moreover, co-operation and synergy with the European Union and the OSCE are inevitable. I think that we need to do more than just rely on the core institutions of Europe to respond to the challenges. Many civic associations and neighbourhood societies play a central role in our civil societies. I believe that voluntary associations of democracies and collaboration between states of a region can make a significant contribution to the improvement of Europe’s neighbourhoods and beyond.
Georgia is proud of leading the way in more than one direction. While we are striving for a step-by-step evolution of our integration process into a bigger European family, we also demonstrated the ability to be one of the most trusted partners of the United States, and we are striving to normalise our relations with our neighbour, Russia. In one week the visit of President Bush in Georgia, our participation in today’s historical event in this, the very centre of Europe, and ongoing negotiations on military bases with Russia symbolise the three main orientations of our policy.
Georgia, at the edge of Europe, is proving true that the world of “zero endgame” is coming to an end and that our region can become a place for co-operation and restore the South Caucasus and the Black Sea region to its role as a bridge of communication and centre of co-operation. I strongly support President Bush’s statement on the impossibility of new Yaltas – his talk about immorality and inadmissibility of bills between bigger states at the expense of smaller nations, at the expense of democracy. At the same time, you may know that in recent discussions with Presidents Traian Basescu and Victor Yushchenko we called for a new Yalta conference to establish a voluntary association of new European democracies. We share the view that Romania, Ukraine and Georgia face similar challenges in resolving frozen conflicts surrounding the Black Sea, in supporting democratic changes in what was once called post-Soviet space, in building a constructive relationship with Russia, and in accelerating the integration of our countries into Euro-Atlantic institutions.
We propose that our club of new democracies focus on three main areas. First we must work together to support the consolidation of democracy in our own countries. Georgia gained its freedom in the Rose Revolution 18 months ago. Lots of work should be done in building a lasting democracy. We need to solve our conflicts which are basically the bulwarks of the last remnants of anti-democratic rule in Georgia. We had our peace proposal, which I advanced in Strasbourg in January. To be frank, I was quite disappointed by the lack of progress over this issue, despite our good faith and efforts. In this small part of Georgia, which has only about 30 000 people – and this is important to understand – where all main officials are Russian citizens and the place is sustained by Russian troops, we are looking forward to working closely with the Russians to try to solve this thing through vast self-government and autonomy but also through regularisation, excluding the criminal situation and trafficking and the limitations on democracy. Ukraine’s Orange Revolution succeeded only five months ago; my friend Yushchenko faces real challenges in rebuilding his country’s economy and in the corruption and criminality. And it is a legacy of the case of repression and misrule.
Secondly, we must extend the reach of liberty in the Black Sea region and throughout wider Europe. Moldova, like Georgia, faces a separatist region that maintains itself with cast-off Soviet weaponry and profits from on illicit economy based on trafficking and weapons, drugs and women. These are the last razor-sharp splinters of the Soviet empire. In Belarus, 10 million people remain in a more regimented captivity. The regime of Alexander Lukashenko rules by fear yet fears its own people. The world can do much more, and Europe can do much more, and the Council of Europe should do much more to aid the Belarusian people in the quest for freedom.
Thirdly, we seek to expand the frontiers of freedom far beyond the Black Sea. Our message to the oppressors and their subjects is clear. Free peoples cannot rest while tyranny thrives, just as we benefit from the blessing of liberty we have a duty to those who remain beyond its reach worldwide. Too many governments in international organisations appear willing to sacrifice freedom for what they mistakenly believe will be stability. It is a losing approach in the long run.
Historically the Black Sea has stood at the continued conflux of the Russian, Ottoman and Persian empires. Now the Black Sea is new frontier, a frontier of freedom with co-operation, with countries including Turkey, Ukraine, Russia, Georgia, Romania, and Bulgaria. A frontier of freedom with vibrant new democracies. The values that drove our peaceful revolution: accountable government; open society; the rule of law, are not exclusively European values. They are universal. These winds of freedom that swept away across the Black Sea, which is a European sea just as much as the Mediterranean is, to Ukraine now rush across the central Asian Steppe and across the whole Middle East, including Lebanon and other countries.
It is time to return to a new kind of Yalta. This time we will not engage in a secret diplomacy at the expense of the others, diplomacy in which our values are compromised and innocent peoples are enslaved.
In this new association of democracies our diplomacy will be open and our focus will be the possibilities of our future. A future without foreign military bases, a future without the possibility of the return of dictatorships, a future without the possibility of going back on our gains in freedom which we achieved and of which we are very proud because they are very much a part of our national identity, and make life easier, make life vibrant. The more debates we have, the higher the temperature of political debates go, the quicker our society moves forward. So, this is our idea, the idea of Georgia, to make Yalta this time a symbol of hope.”
29. Mrs V. VIKE-FREIBERGA (Latvia) made the following statement:
“I would like to thank Poland for hosting this timely Summit, which is taking place on this 60th anniversary year of the end of the Second World War. A week ago today, the people of Europe commemorated the Allied victory over Nazi Germany. This was, however, only a partial victory, for at the end of that terrible conflict, the Western democracies accepted without protest the renewed subjugation of over a dozen countries in Central and Eastern Europe by the totalitarian communism of the Soviet empire and its satellites.
Having sacrificed the fundamental values that they claimed to stand for in favour of a simplistic Realpolitik and an ultimately elusive security, the Western powers were soon faced with the Cold War, and the perilous instability of a European continent divided into two opposing camps. Latvia believes that there is a lesson to be learned from these historical misjudgments, which is, quite simply, that there can be no compromise regarding those principles that the Council of Europe and that we, as Europeans, must all stand for.
Over the course of the past 56 years, the Council of Europe has come to be seen as a stalwart defender of freedom, democracy and the rule of law. This is what we must reconfirm here today: that we will not accept double standards by any of the Organisation's current or prospective members, no matter how large or how small in size they may be. We may be flexible regarding the speed of the implementation of obligations, but not on the need for their implementation, or else the credibility of our Organisation will come into doubt.
In the years that have passed since the First and Second Summit meetings of the Council of Europe, our nations have produced tangible achievements. The death penalty has been abolished in almost every country on the continent. The Commissioner for Human Rights has made a visible input in promoting and in defending the values that this Organisation stands for. Important monitoring mechanisms have been set up. The protection of minority rights has been advanced, most importantly through the Framework Convention. My own country of Latvia is set to become a party to the Framework Convention later this year.
Nevertheless, many of the same issues that were addressed at the previous Summits are still relevant today. We still require measures to improve the effectiveness of the European Court of Human Rights. We need to maintain co-operation programmes for achieving the full integration of the Council of Europe's more recent member states. We need to reconceptualise the Council's co-operation with the European Union in the light of its recent – and future – enlargements. Measures on the protection of minority rights must be supplemented by inclusive integration policies to ensure equal opportunities for all.
Furthermore, the list of challenges has grown. During the past eight years, Europe has witnessed events that we hoped never to see again. Acts of terror have wiped out hundreds of innocent lives. New technologies have been used for spreading messages of hate in the virtual world. Not only virtual, but also physical attacks by extremist groups of all ideological colourings have continued against countless individuals.
For these reasons, I believe that our societies require a renewed immunisation against the dangers of totalitarianism through a persistent campaign of education. This must be undertaken first and foremost in our schools. We want our children to know that intolerance and prejudice are unacceptable; and that human beings must not be divided into such categories as ‘us’ and ‘them’. We must inform our children of our past mistakes, so that these are never repeated again.
For it is only once we have fully dealt with the legacy of the past that we will be able to successfully address the challenges of the future in a united Europe. Every society has some dark events in its history. Is it best to ignore these events and to pretend that they never took place, or is it better to risk opening old wounds and to expose these events fully? We in Latvia have chosen the second approach, even on the most sensitive issues. We believe that an honest debate – even if it is a painful one – is necessary for the truth to be uncovered and for genuine healing to take place.
No wound can truly heal if it is festering beneath the surface. It is to be hoped that those countries where such a debate has not yet started will ultimately follow the positive example of countries such as Germany, which has been ready to apologise and to atone for its Nazi past. I feel that the Council of Europe can do valuable work in this area by promoting joint projects for the teaching of history among the member states. We owe the full picture of our past to our future and to our children.
As I mentioned earlier, one of the biggest challenges for the Council of Europe in the coming years will lie in optimising the operations of the European Court of Human Rights and in reducing the tremendous backlog of cases that the Court is facing. If the Court is to operate effectively in the long term, then Protocol No. 14 should be ratified without delay, and other measures agreed upon last year for improving human rights protection at the national level should be implemented. At the same time, we must not succumb to the temptation of releasing the Court from so-called 'less important' cases and leave it with only the challenging ones. While a repetitive or minor case may not be of great interest to international legal experts, it is of fundamental interest to the party concerned.
We have lately seen the march of freedom reach several societies in Europe. However, those values that spur entire nations into action and bring about peaceful revolutions must not be forgotten the day after. Such values as freedom, democracy and the rule of law must be preserved, nurtured and shared. They must be preserved in our legislation, they must be nurtured together with our civil societies, and they must be shared with those who do not yet enjoy them.
Against the background of the recent democratic changes in Georgia and Ukraine, as well as the recent expansion of the European Union, I see enormous potential for strengthening the cooperative links between the Council of Europe and the European Union. I believe that the European Union should spare no effort in furthering its European Neighbourhood Policy. In so doing, the European Union will simultaneously promote the Council of Europe's standards, as well as support the strengthening of civil societies, independent media, NGOs and human rights defenders in neighbouring countries.
One European country, which is a neighbour of both my own country, Latvia, and of this host country, Poland, is strikingly absent from our meeting today. That is Belarus. I have no doubt that we all feel a particular sense of empathy with the Belarusian people, who deserve far better than the authoritarian rule that they are now experiencing under the last dictator in Europe. I hope that the Council of Europe will increase the scope of its efforts to strengthen the civil society in Belarus, and that one day Belarus will join our community of democracies.
Many years ago, just at about the time when the Council of Europe was born, a tyrant is reported to have sneered 'How many divisions does the Pope have?' The peaceful revolutions that brought down totalitarian communism throughout Central and Eastern Europe have revealed that you do not necessarily need military force and armed divisions to be strong. What you do need is the strength of conviction and the power of the written and spoken word, and the means for expressing it freely. The values that the Council of Europe stands for: freedom, democracy, the respect of human rights and the rule of law, can and must become so integral a part of our ordinary lives, that some day in the future we shall no longer need to talk about them. We shall be just living them and taking them for granted.”
30. Mr T. BASESCU (Romania) made the following statement:
“It is not by chance that, as President of Romania, I chose to address the session on challenges for European societies during the Third Summit of the Council of Europe. Romania has been in the vortex of European history during the last century, having overcome, like most of our East European neighbours and friends, world wars and totalitarian systems. We are placed in a pivotal European region, open towards South-Eastern Europe, the wider Black Sea area, the Caspian Sea and the Middle East. We are thus all the more sensitive to the larger movements of the European and world scene that influence our region.
Addressing this high-level forum of the Council of Europe is of particular significance as this Organisation has been the long-standing and faithful companion of Romania during its historic journey from the stage of a country in transition to that of stable democracy. That is why we emphasise the interdependence between sound democratic development of a society and its strength in overcoming internal and external challenges.
We have all witnessed the increasing number of new or reinforced threats endangering our democratic community: terrorism, corruption, organised crime and trafficking in human beings. Those are real threats, with real, terrifying consequences that affect everyone, governments and citizens of Europe alike. Our strength in facing these challenges lies in solidarity, promoting democratic values and reinforcing the respect for human rights. Those are the basic standards and values that led, at the end of the Second World War, to the establishment of the Council of Europe, and they are today as significant as they were then.
I would also like to refer to another kind of solidarity, social solidarity. We should put in practice integrated policies in the field of environment, prevention and management of natural disasters, in a sustainable development perspective. We need to promote sustainable development with a view to improving the quality of life for European citizens. We are keen on multilateral and transborder co-operation in this field and we value the Council of Europe's contribution to the fostering of the relevant co-operation between member states.
By cultivating solidarity in all domains, we avoid the peril of creating virtual dividing lines within our own community. We believe in one Europe, whole and free.
Let me take the opportunity to outline some of Romania’s challenges and achievements. The signing of the Accession Treaty to the European Union, on 25 April this year, can be interpreted as the end of a long and, often difficult, period – the period of transition from a totalitarian system to a consolidated democratic society. We have managed to bring this period to a successful conclusion and I would like to underline in this context the significant role carried out by the Council of Europe, a constant partner of my country. Now we have to concentrate on consolidating our democratic society. We are closer than ever to accomplishing this goal but we still have to face important challenges. Since I took office in December last year, one of the main priorities of our government is the unprecedented fight against corruption and organised crime. We are determined to undertake the reform in the justice and home affairs field in order to eradicate them. We also have to preserve and promote democratic stability, first and foremost, by way of good governance, constant dialogue with civil society and fostering diversity.
I would also mention our achievements, which reflect the sprit of the Council of Europe’s core values. Romania has put in to practice, quite successfully I might add, a new style of governance close to the people, one that can be subsumed as: no minority should feel left aside, no citizen should be alone. This is not only important for us but also for the countries in the region and, I would say, for the Council of Europe. I am proud of the Romanian-Hungarian partnership, as I am proud of the contribution of the Hungarians of Romania to the political and economic development of my country. We Romanians, are promoting everyday dialogue with national minorities, including them in the decision-making process. Minorities are a source of mutual richness for European countries. Special attention has been given to the Roma population, taking into account their particular social difficulties. We therefore encourage further work of the Council of Europe in this field.
We should take full advantage and further develop the unique approach of the Council of Europe, based on the human-rights perspective, in the fields of social cohesion, education and culture. We strongly believe that the activities of our Organisation aimed at promoting stable and cohesive societies, democratic culture and active citizenship, intercultural and inter-religious dialogue should have an increasing role in strengthening the core values of the Council of Europe.
The Council of Europe has proved its capacity to respond to the threats and major challenges to our societies. We express our satisfaction for the opening for signature of the Convention on the Prevention of Terrorism, the Convention on Action against Trafficking in Human Beings and the revised Convention on Laundering, Search, Seizure and Confiscation of the Proceeds from Crime and I am pleased to announce that Romania will sign all of them.
An important step was also made, last year, concerning the task of increasing the Court’s effectiveness: the adoption of Protocol No. 14 to the Convention. In March this year Romania also ratified the Protocol. We join the invitation addressed to member states to support, by immediate ratification, the entry into force of the Protocol. We wish every success to the Court in continuing, on this new procedural basis, its remarkable efforts in building a Europe of justice. In our turn, we, the member states, must contribute to the success of the Strasbourg system of protecting the human rights, by assuring its direct reflection in our national legal systems. Romania is in the midst of an extensive process of reforming and improving its judiciary and we trust the success of this endeavour.
Unfortunately, the Council of Europe is confronted by a series of problems related to the respect of human rights and democracy in a number of grey zones which are threatening the security and stability of the European continent. I will mention here just one case of such a grey zone: the Transnistrian region in the Republic of Moldova. Romania has a legitimate interest in the settlement of these issues and in the developments taking place in its neighbourhood. In our view, the best way to erase those grey zones from the European map is to promote respect for human rights, the rule of law and democracy all over the continent. Romania stands ready to share its experience, acquired during the accession process to the European structures, to the countries in our vicinity, from the Republic of Moldova, Ukraine and countries in the Western Balkans and across the Black Sea, now facing similar challenges on their road towards Euro-Atlantic integration.
I cannot help recalling here another painful experience that we must confront in unity. Today, Romania is one of the countries directly affected by terrorism; three Romanian journalists being kept captive in Iraq. I call on you to support the safe return of all the journalists defending freedom of expression, irrespective of whether they are Romanian, French or any other nationality. I would also like to express my gratitude to the Secretary General of the Council of Europe and the President of the Assembly for their statements of solidarity with the captive journalists. Likewise, my appreciation is extended to the distinguished representatives of non-governmental organisations, especially to the organisation Reporters without Borders for their awareness-raising campaign on this issue.
In this new environment, the Council of Europe must reassert its primary aim – to ensure peaceful unification and democratic stability in Europe, while consolidating its role as a pan-European political forum. The Council of Europe is the only pan-European organisation in which all European countries cooperate on an equal footing. The Council of Europe has to contribute to a greater Europe without dividing lines. We could reach such a goal by increasing its political role.
We have to strengthen co-operation between the Council of Europe and other international institutions such as the European Union, the Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe or the United Nations. We are endorsing the prospects, underlined by our Summit, for increased co-operation with the OSCE and we highly appreciate the perspectives open for wider co-operation between the Council of Europe and the European Union. We should also mention here that the true nature of the transatlantic relationship, that of a partnership for peace, development and democracy, should be reinforced and consolidated.
As the future chair of the Committee of Ministers, starting in November this year, Romania will ensure the political success of the Summit by implementing the Council of Europe's goals and priorities, as adopted in the Action Plan. The final documents of the Summit, the Declaration and the Action Plan, are not only a summary of our aims and values but also a road map for their implementation in the future.
We are proud to take on this mandate after our Portuguese friends. We wish them a successful term and we assure them of our full co-operation.
Allow me to join the tribute already paid to the inspiring life and pontificate of Pope John Paul II, a staunch messenger and unexhausted defender of human rights.
Before concluding, I want to express my gratitude to the Polish authorities, and particularly to President Kwasniewski, for organising this major European event in Warsaw.”
31. Mr G. PARVANOV (Bulgaria) made the following statement:
“I would like first to thank my friend the President of the Republic of Poland, Alexander Kwasniewski, and Prime Minister, Mr Belka, as well as our Polish hosts for their warm welcome and hospitality. I would like to pay tribute to the work of the organisers and experts who have prepared this forum.
The Third Summit of the Council of Europe is being held at a time of historic changes which would have been inconceivable a mere 15 years ago. The Republic of Bulgaria will never forget that the Council of Europe was the first democratic institution that opened its doors to our country. It was a bold and far-sighted step. The decision to expand eastward was a strong political signal that the division of the old continent would be overcome and the universal principles of freedom and democracy would cover the whole of Europe. The example of the Council of Europe was followed by NATO and the European Union, who admitted the countries of central and Eastern Europe into
their family. I take this occasion to inform the distinguished audience that only a few days ago the Bulgarian Parliament ratified the Accession Treaty which makes 1 January 2007 a very realistic date for our full membership. This act has reaffirmed the consensus among the Bulgarian political forces on the matters of European integration and I believe has sent a strong signal to our partners from whom we expect to ratify fast and problem-free this treaty.
The Republic of Bulgaria is certain that the Council of Europe will continue to have an important role to play in establishing and spreading the fundamental principles of democracy, the rule of law and the protection of human rights. Our support for the political Declaration and Action Plan falls within this context. We subscribe to them because they will set the main framework for the activity of the Organisation in the new circumstances. The ever-closer unity among European states on the basis of common values, respect for our common heritage and cultural diversity, will continue to be a priority of the member states. In a week’s time, we are to host a regional forum of the Heads of States and Government of South-Eastern Europe, the main subject of which will be the cultural corridors which will be considered not only as our common past and shared heritage, but also as a key to our future partnership. I am truly pleased that the forum will be held in my country under the joint patronage of the President of the Republic of Bulgaria, of the Secretary General of the Council of Europe and the Director General of UNESCO.
We stress our full support for the contribution of the Council of Europe in fighting terrorism as one of the new challenges facing us. The adoption of the three conventions of the Council of Europe which are being opened for signature today is a further step ahead for our Organisation and a further contribution of the international effort to find an adequate response to the new challenges. Among the challenges we are facing, I would list social cohesion and equality of education because they foster and maintain a medium and environment which is beneficial to the fundamental values of our Organisation. I would like in this connection to evaluate highly the Council of Europe’s decision to declare 2005 the European Year of Citizenship through Education. Bulgaria hosted the conference which launched this initiative back in December 2004. I do hope the Third Summit will reconfirm the contribution of this initiative to establishing the underlying principles and spreading the underlying principles and values of the Council of Europe.
The strengthening the unity of our continent and preventing the emergence of new dividing lines is the most important goal which our meeting sets today. We do support the Guidelines for the relationship between the Council of Europe and the European Union as a very good framework for an enhanced co-operation and political dialogue between the two organisations. I would like to note that the European Union’s Neighbourhood Policy and the process of stabilisation and association have an important role to play in strengthening the democratic stability of the continent. We also welcome the positive result of deepening co-operation between the Council of Europe and the OSCE for which I believe the Bulgarian chairmanship of the organisation in 2004 made a definite contribution. The Declaration on Co-operation between the Council of Europe and the OSCE which was endorsed a month ago sets the guidelines for the future close co-operation in the area of common interest.
There is another thing I believe important when we speak of the European architecture. Bulgaria attaches particular importance to the protection of human rights in Europe on the basis of common standards. We believe that the European Court, this unique European institution, should play an important role in the new architecture of Europe. This is a conviction that guides Bulgaria in its consistent support for every step that would make this institution just as effective in the long term.
The Council of Europe is in the front line of European unification and co-operation. Today when we are seeking for new answers to the new challenges, when we are seeking new architectural solutions the significance of the Council of Europe becomes even greater, for we all look forward towards this contribution to the common effort to foster a genuine understanding of shared values, shared responsibilities and a common future.”
32. Mr S. MAROVIC (Serbia and Montenegro) made the following statement:
“I would like to start by thanking our hosts for the excellent organisation of the Third Summit of the Council of Europe.
The Polish leadership and the Polish people have proved once again that they are extraordinary organisers and kind hosts. On behalf of the Delegation of Serbia and Montenegro, thank you.
By choosing to speak about the topic European unity-European values, I primarily had in mind the need of the region I come from – the Western Balkans – to speedily go through changes in order to have the European values become a reality in our countries, thus contributing to the building of a unified Europe.
We are convinced that European unity is based on common values and common heritage, but also on the respect for differences that are invaluable and embody, I would say, the charm of Europe. It is a duty of 800 million Europeans to build a stable and prosperous Europe founded on parliamentary democracy, respect for human and minority rights and the right to be different – in a word, founded on the rule of law.
I want to mention here and emphasise the support of the Council of Europe to the network of schools for political studies in our region. The future political elite of our countries is being educated in these schools. They – the leaders of tomorrow – will have the task of continuing to build our common European future. Their education will enable them to deal with this task.
The building of Europe with no new or changed borders, without dividing lines – be they political, cultural or psychological, is the objective unifying all of us here in Warsaw. This objective is a Europe where all the citizens communicate easily, progressive and modern ideas flow freely and where the economy is open for free competition of talents and qualities. In this process the Council of Europe has played a very important role in the past, and I am convinced that it will continue to play the same role in the future. That is why, in my opinion, today's Summit has a great importance.
Serbia and Montenegro deems its membership of the Council of Europe as very important. For us, being a member of the Council means more than mere geographical affiliation. It means acceptance of all the values the Council of Europe tirelessly supports, as well as their respectful enforcement in everyday life. As a responsible and trustworthy member of the Council of Europe, Serbia and Montenegro wishes to continue contributing fully to the strengthening of Europe’s democracy and stability. In our opinion, the best way to do so is to offer a tangible contribution to the region we live in; as you well know, this region is still burdened with numerous problems. We are convinced that they can be solved if we keep to the above mentioned principles that serve as a foundation for twenty-first-century Europe.
The only way to reach a modern democratic society for all peoples of the Western Balkans is to accept compromise and mutual understanding, while respecting the basic principles of international law. For the Western Balkans, only mutual understanding and dialogue open perspectives of a tolerant, multiethnic and modern European society. The role and importance of Serbia and Montenegro in solving the remaining regional problems – with respect to European standards – is of a great importance, not only for geo-strategic and security reasons, but also for the affirmation of European values in the region.
The greatest challenge facing not only Serbia and Montenegro but the region and Europe is the issue of Kosovo and Metohija. The only possible way to solve this problem is to implement European standards while searching for the agreed, sustainable solution that would be acceptable for all sides. Today I want to send a message that, on this basis, Serbia and Montenegro is prepared to have a dialogue with the provisional authorities of Kosovo about all issues, including the most complex ones. Only so can we and, I hope, our soon to be partners from Kosovo and Metohija, prove to Europe and the world that we respect European values and truly opt for unified twenty-first-century Europe.
Every retreat to the dreams of past centuries is pushing the societies of Western Balkans further away from the ideals and life of this century's Europe. As responsible politicians, we have a duty and a responsibility to today's and future generations not to let this happen.
The Third Summit of the Council of Europe needs to help establish the future role and importance of the Council of Europe in the climate of changed European relations – especially after the enlargement of the European Union – and offer answers to new challenges by defining a plan of activities.
Serbia and Montenegro attaches great importance to this Summit; within the limits of our abilities, we are prepared to take part in solving all the problems tackled by the Council of Europe. I mentioned the specific European problem – Kosovo and Metohija – as the key problem in the region. I also wish to emphasise that Serbia and Montenegro will offer their full contribution to the fight against terrorism, organised crime, human trafficking, all forms of intolerance and other problems facing the modern world. We are prepared to do so primarily for our own sake, for it is the only way to build a modern European society based on the rule of law, where every citizen knows that their human and civil rights are well protected, in line with the highest democratic standards.
Serbia and Montenegro is aware of the importance of the Council of Europe's co-operation with the European Union and the Organisation for European Security and Co-operation. It is our opinion that the differences in their priorities and membership represent more of an asset, not an obstacle to successful co-operation. In this context, allow me to express our respect and acceptance of the Declaration on Co-operation between the Council of Europe and the OSCE and of the guidelines for the Memorandum of Understanding between the Council of Europe and the European Union.
All institutions, all relevant political factors and leaders in the State Union of Serbia and Montenegro, as well as in the Republic of Serbia and the Republic of Montenegro, have defined the accelerated process of European integration as their priority in year 2005. This year is considered to be a year of rapid advancement towards European and Euro-Atlantic organisations and integration. There is a consensus in our country that no problem can jeopardise this strategic goal.
Serbia and Montenegro support Europe without dividing lines of any kind, Europe as a home to all its citizens and nations unified by common values of great European family. Our joint highest interest was, and is, a loyalty and respect for modern Europe's values, their nurture and development. I will name these values once again: the highest democratic standards, civil society and rule of law. All of us in Europe support these standards; this Summit proves it. This is, I am sure, our essential interest and a guarantee for our peaceful and prosperous future.”
33. Mr A. RUUTEL (Estonia) made the following statement:
“Allow me to start with a few words of gratitude to our host Poland, chair of the Council of Europe's Committee of Ministers for their accomplishment. And good luck to Portugal, our next chair.
For more than half a century, the Council of Europe has been defending European values and working in the name of a more unified, democratic and freer Europe. In 1949, when the Council of Europe was established, it comprised ten Western European countries. Today we can admit with pleasure that both the Council of Europe and Europe itself have undergone a tremendous change. There are no dividing lines in Europe any more. The concepts of Western and Eastern Europe are acquiring a merely geographical meaning. The collapse of communist regimes in the late 1980s has provided many a European nation with a long-awaited opportunity to restore their place in democratic Europe. Estonia, having been for 50 years under Soviet occupation, knows well the value of unified and free Europe.
This is the already the Third Summit of the Council of Europe. Previous Summits – in Vienna in 1993 and in Strasbourg in 1997 – have also taken place after major breakthroughs in Europe. Today we can say that Europe has leaped towards unity over the last twelve years. The European Union of 25 member states – and still enlarging – serves as clear proof. With the Orange Revolution in Ukraine and the Rose Revolution in Georgia in mind, we can rejoice on the continuous spread of European values. These are values stemming from freedom, democracy and the recognition of human rights and the rule of law. The Council of Europe has to stand firm in its support of the implantation of European values during the slow process of instilling democratic culture.
However not all developments have been positive in Europe in recent years. The situation in Belarus is of concern, especially in the light of last year's elections. Moldova is still caught in the crisis in Transnistria. We have to consider that security risks have multiplied in the world over recent years and Europe is not an exception. Terrorist attacks in Madrid last March and in Beslan in September bear tragic proof.
In the light of these developments, it is essential to sustain efforts to protect democracy and European values. The Council of Europe, embracing nearly all European countries, plays a unique role, however. The Council of Europe's close co-operation with the OSCE and the European Union is inevitable. The values underlying our policies and positions are of extreme significance. In order to ensure the spread of democracy, relations between states cannot be based on narrow economic interests.
I would like to emphasise that Europe's unity does not lie merely in spreading democratic values and the rule of law and a convergence of living standards. Unfortunately, the last century was a century of major and fatal confrontations for Europe. We have just marked 60 years of the end of the Second World War on Europe's territory. While for Western Europe the end of the war delivered peace, co-operation and wealth, for Eastern Europe the year 1945 has a dual meaning.
The most devastating war with the largest number of victims in the history of the mankind ended for East European nations with one totalitarian regime replaced by another for more than fifty years. Thus, the number of people Estonia lost during the first decade of Soviet regime in peacetime was significantly higher than the number of Estonians who perished in the war.
Naturally, we need to reconcile and rise above the past. However, this can be done only if we dare to look the past in the eye, if we can and want to establish the historical truth. A free and democratic Europe cannot embark on half-truths – in order to accomplish real unity, crimes by all totalitarian regimes have to be condemned and everybody should admit the past. I stress that all this is in the interest of our common future, opening new horizons for the development of our part of the world.
To conclude, I will come back to the role and further development of the Council of Europe. The currently 46-member Council of Europe has made an invaluable contribution to the protection of European values over the last fifty years. At the current Summit we should take a clear look into the future. The political Declaration and Action Plan should establish goals for the Council of Europe as well as specify and enhance its role both in Europe and in the entire world under the new circumstances of the twenty-first century.
The Council of Europe should be able to focus its strength on activities in which the Organisation has delivered over time. It is essential that the Council of Europe's development is flexible and responds to upcoming problems facing member states. Giving up some less significant activities, the Organisation could improve its diverging capability, considering the needs of a rapidly developing Europe. Features which make the Council of Europe strong should be preserved: representation of all European states, preventive action and elaboration of common norms, standards and evaluation criteria. The efficient performance of the European Convention on Human Rights and the Court of Human Rights is extremely significant to ensure democracy, human rights and the rule of law. However, definitely, resources of the Court should be increased in order to accomplish all this. Certainly, the Council of Europe should also address the issues related to indigenous people in the future.
Estonia welcomes the Council of Europe's leading role in the implementation of information technology in order to speed up democratic reforms. Estonia has rich experience to offer in this field and I am pleased to admit that Estonia’s professionals are actively involved.”
34. Mr K. KARAMANLIS (Greece) made the following statement:
“I would like, first of all, to express the profound sense of satisfaction that I feel in being here today among you, on what is doubtless a cross-roads in the history of Europe, as well as my deepest thanks to the Polish chairmanship of the Committee of Ministers for having successfully tackled the Herculean task of organising this Summit.
The Council of Europe, born of the ashes of the Second World War and set with the major task of the effective and efficient protection of human rights, is equally relevant for twenty-first-century Europe.
However, it is clear that this valuable institution has to undergo some transformations,
if we want it to respond effectively to the new challenges of our times and of our reunited continent. The building blocks of the Council, which are based on democracy, human rights and the rule of law, are good and solid. We only have to improve them. I am profoundly convinced that one of the most effective ways to do so is by strengthening the European Court of Human Rights.
Ever since its inception, in 1959, the European Court of Human Rights has evolved into the most functional and essential tool for the protection of human rights in Europe. The Court's burden of applications is first and foremost an indication of its success. We should, therefore, equip the Court in such a manner that it does not collapse under the weight of its success. One big step in this direction is the agreement we have reached on Protocol No. 14, during the 114th Ministerial Session in Strasbourg. Greece has already initiated the ratification process and it is very important that our partners who have not yet done so, do the same.
The Court of Strasburg, which is one of the major achievements of our peoples, must be the beacon of our policies and activities in the field of human rights. It is imperative, therefore, that its judgments be fully, unconditionally and immediately executed by all member states. The Committee of Ministers, entrusted with the prerogative, under Article 46 of the Convention of Rome, to supervise the execution of the Court's judgments, should perform this legal duty in accordance with the standards set out in the Rome Convention and its protocols, leaving aside any other considerations. In this connection, I would like to support the proposal made by President Wildhaber to establish a Group of Wise Persons. I propose as chair of this Group the former President of the European Court of Justice, Mr Rodríguez Iglesias.
I would like at this point to pay tribute to the work of the Council of Europe's Commissioner for Human Rights. Back in 1999, when this institution was established, little did we suspect that within the relatively short space of five years, this institution would develop into what is now a brilliant example for the whole of Europe. Mr Alvaro Gil-Robles, whose personality reaches out beyond borders and across faiths to assist and strengthen democracies, both young and old, in Europe,
has accomplished his mission with exemplary objectivity, encouraging as he criticises,
proposing solutions where he identifies problems and gaining the trust of his interlocutors in a manner that is unique and has been to the benefit of those member states which he has visited and on which he has drawn up his reports. The universal praise which he has garnered is testimony to the central role he has played in the protection and promotion of core Council of Europe values.
One of the major priorities of my government is the fight against corruption. In this framework, we welcome the efforts of the Council to seek common responses to the challenges posed by corruption, organised crime and drug trafficking.
I would also like to raise a significant point in the evolution of the Council of Europe: the fight against terrorism. Combating this scourge has become, more than ever in the twenty-first century, a first priority. The Council has already joined international anti-terrorist efforts. However, our work in this direction should be further enhanced in all possible ways, always bearing in mind the significance of the respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms, as well as intercultural and interreligious dialogue.
The new, still-emerging European architecture calls for empowered and closer co-operation between the Council of Europe and other institutions, most notably the European Union, the Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe and the United Nations. Still, the Council of Europe, with it's multi-faceted action, effectively represents the reunification of Europe, the abolition of dividing lines across our continent and our common commitment to the values of democracy, the rule of law and human rights.
In concluding, I would like to pay tribute to the new Secretary General of the Council of Europe, Mr Terry Davis, whose evident commitment to the values of the Organisation and to the strengthening of its core mandate, significantly contribute in the twenty-first century with assurance and determination. To this end, he is well complemented by the similarly new President of the Parliamentary Assembly, René van der Linden. Their common engagement and commitment augurs very well for the future of our Organisation and the role it is called to play in the new European architecture.”
35. Mr O. HASLER (Liechtenstein) made the following statement:
“Let me begin by voicing my heartfelt gratitude for the excellent organisation of this Summit and the warm hospitality which we have enjoyed here. Warsaw, an iconic city in European history, is an ideal setting for this major encounter.
What kind of Europe do we want? What do we want to change, and why? These are questions we must answer if we hope to instil new enthusiasm for the European idea in our fellow citizens. With their populations and the European organisations, the distinguished representatives of the European states gathered here today are invested with the prestigious but difficult mission of building Europe and transforming it in accordance with their convictions.
We shall succeed in this mission if we manage to base our action on the unifying bedrock of concepts cherished by Europeans, namely our shared values, which we must undertake to promote in a convincing manner, and especially with determination.
The protection and promotion of human rights, the rule of law and democracy provide a solid foundation for a better future, a goal which warrants the utmost effort on our part. This is why I would consider it vital for politicians and civil society to remind the populations of the whole of Europe of the meaning of these values, in order to consolidate and perpetuate the European identity.
However, Europe will never be genuinely united if we consider it merely as a common economic area: we must instead assign it its real significance as a community based on a unique set of values forged by history.
The Council of Europe has a frontline role to play in this field. Ever since its inception it has been defending the spiritual and cultural dimension of Europe. By co-operating within the Council of Europe, the member states must sustain both European unity and the diversity of Europe’s democratic systems. Liechtenstein sets particular store by this approach.
What kind of Europe do we want to build together? We are building a community based on mutual esteem and respect, taking in states of all physical sizes. These states all undertake to settle conflicts peacefully and ensure that law takes precedence over force at both the national and the international level. They are creating a common public area in which the rules apply equally to all and sundry.
If we are to construct this Europe we need adult, responsible citizens playing an active part in political life and in the functioning of our democracies. Europe does not need people who are prepared to resort to violence and terrorism in order to achieve their goals. With the conventions and the standards which it lays down, the Council of Europe has created a wide-ranging legal area based on the protection and promotion of human rights and the rule of law. This trail-blazing route is being continued with the three conventions that have opened for signature at this Summit.
The European Convention on Human Rights is intended to protect human dignity, human rights and the fundamental freedoms. The possibility of upholding these rights before the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg is an integral part of the Convention. Since the very beginning the Court has been building up case-law which, in many respects, has had a major influence on the various European legal systems. It is thanks to the Court that we now have an unprecedented “human rights protection area” in Europe. However, such an area can never be taken for granted: we must relentlessly strengthen and defend it.
As we all know, the Court is up against some very difficult problems, as the number of new applications being submitted is far greater than that of the cases being processed. Some applicants have had to wait for years for a final judgment from the Court. This is why Liechtenstein backs any measures conducive to improving the situation in the Court.
Protocol No. 14 to the ECHR is the first step in the right direction. The Liechtenstein Parliament will be considering this Protocol in a few weeks’ time.
Nevertheless, Protocol No. 14 will not suffice to remove all the obstacles: the most it can do is to provide a temporary solution.
It is ultimately for the Court itself to conduct continuous assessment of the appropriateness and efficacy of its organisation and structures, as it has been doing for years now. So we are relying on the Court to continue this approach into the future.
Only if we shoulder our responsibilities vis-à-vis the European Court of Human Rights and ensure its proper functioning can it continue to provide effective protection for human rights in Europe.
What kind of Europe will we have in the future? We are preparing for tomorrow’s Europe with the decisions we will be taking today. I would just voice my hope that our co-operation will enable us to build up a Europe in which no-one will feel excluded and all dividing lines between citizens or states will be abolished. It is up to us to lay the foundations for such a Europe. By signing the Declaration and Action Plan as tabled, we will be providing a decisive contribution to ensuring that the Council of Europe can fully realise the responsibility it has for constructing tomorrow’s Europe. The fact of launching such an important initiative in a city which so powerfully symbolises Europe’s history inspires great optimism as to the future of united Europe.”
36. Mr G. FINI (Italy) made the following statement:
“I would like first of all to sincerely thank our hosts, and particularly the Polish President, Mr Kwasniewski, for organising this major pan-European encounter today. This Council of Europe Summit, the third since 1949, is particularly significant because it is taking place in Warsaw, in Poland, a city and a country that lie at a major crossroads in European history and geography.
Over the years, the Council of Europe has adapted to all the continent’s geopolitical transformations.
At the end of the Cold War, forty years after its birth, the Council donned its rightful mantle as a valuable reference-point for the new European democracies. As its fields of action continued to expand, more and more sectors of the national societies simultaneously realised that there were rights which had to be defended and public institutions before which these rights could be upheld. The Council of Europe must now be assigned a new role, while also improving the apportionment of the tasks and duties of other supranational organisations and bodies.
The Council of Europe’s future action will be all the more efficient if the Organisation provides an enduring, targeted and co-ordinated response to the challenges facing European society in the twenty-first century.
The response must be enduring, because this year the Organisation’s overall budget, including the European Court of Human Rights and the Partial Agreements, comes to only €254 million, with barely a third of the total being earmarked for activities and projects.
It must be targeted so that the available, obviously limited, resources can be allocated to the countries, regions or themes which genuinely need them.
Lastly, the response must be co-ordinated because we must limit the manifest duplications with other supranational organisations and bodies in Europe.
It is clear that responsibility for these efforts cannot fall exclusively upon the Council of Europe. It is equally clear that it is precisely the Council of Europe's genuinely pan-European character that renders it particularly valuable in a phase in which the creation of new divisions in Europe must be avoided at all costs.
The Council of Europe's efforts will be more effective if they integrate with those of the European Union and the OSCE, with a clear division of tasks that makes the most of the potential and capacities of each organisation.
Italy has been right behind this Summit from the outset. The geopolitical configuration of our continent is changing with unprecedented speed. The Council of Europe must likewise be capable of looking ahead, adapting and keeping up with the times, while still preserving its statutory objectives and universal values with which we are proud to identify: the inalienable rights of the human being, the centrality of democracy and the rule of law.
The Council of Europe's 195 agreements and conventions constitute an extraordinary juridical heritage, which can and must be further enriched. The creation of a uniform legal area based on common human rights standards is a practical prospect of great historical importance. This area must continue to be strengthened so that, to quote a great European and great friend of the Council of Europe, Pope John Paul II, “the two lungs of Europe, so long time divided, may breathe in unison”.
The new challenges on which the Strasbourg Organisation will have to focus its attention include not only the problems of terrorism, international organised crime and trafficking in human beings, but also intercultural dialogue as an tool for conflict prevention and the search for enlarged forms of social cohesion that encourage the enlightened democratic participation of women, young people and the more vulnerable sections of our societies.
It is vital that we adopt a united approach to the great global challenges facing Europe. Complex challenges impose difficult choices on all our governments.
Rights cannot and must not remain mere words on paper, but must be effectively applied. With this requirement in mind, Italy has been adamant that the Action Plan of this Summit should mention the dissemination of a culture of human rights in schools and universities in order to raise the awareness of civil society operators, judges, police forces, elected representatives, journalists and trade unionists.
Similarly, in the knowledge that the threats associated with globalisation (and not only terrorism, but also organised crime and the migration phenomenon) can affect the fundamental rights enshrined in the European Convention and in our constitutions, Italy has stressed that the Action Plan should lay proper emphasis on the management of migration flows, intercultural and inter-religious dialogue and the protection of minorities.
In conclusion, Italy is convinced that the Council of Europe is still uniquely valuable within the European architecture; its added value complements that of the European Union. The peoples of our continent therefore need both institutions.
The specific, invaluable mission of the Council of Europe is to safeguard and promote human rights and shared values, and to offer a uniform legal model of reference for all 46 member states: this is one of the major objectives of European civilisation.
In fact, this unique role played by the Strasbourg Organisation is recognised by the European Constitution itself, which invites the Union to accede to the European Convention on Human Rights.
Not only the countries but also the citizens of all the nations represented here are increasingly involved in affirming a European identity anchored in the awareness of our common roots and the inestimable value of pluralist democracy and human rights.
Allow me to conclude by quoting another great European, a figure of the past whose thoughts are still relevant today, namely Alexis de Tocqueville, who said, in substance, that “without a belief in a common ideal no society can prosper, or perhaps even exist. In order for a society to exist and, a fortiori, prosper, the minds of all the citizens must be rallied and held together by certain fundamental ideas, something which cannot happen unless each citizen draws his opinions from the common source”.”
37. Mr J. JANŠA (Slovenia) made the following statement:
“Let me first express my pleasure in participating at this Summit. I am particularly glad that it takes place in Poland, a country which has a strong symbolic place in the European history. The implementation of universal values promoted by the Council of Europe has become possible throughout Europe due to the ‘Solidarity’ movement that started in Poland 25 years ago, launching a series of democratic changes that eventually brought the Berlin Wall down. The history of Poland, and especially of her capital city, is a convincing confirmation of a statement which was written by a famous Greek historian Thucydides: 'Happiness depends on being free, and freedom depends on being courageous'.
In the last fifteen years, the Council of Europe has made an extraordinary contribution to the reunification of Europe. Human rights, democracy and rule of law are ever more strongly anchored in our societies and ever more thickly spread over Europe. The curtain that for so long kept the continent apart, finally rusted away, and provided us with historical opportunity to construct a brave new Europe without dividing lines.
I am certain that the Third Summit of the Council of Europe will lead to defining the role of the Organisation in the context of present challenges in our continent. The Action Plan we are to adopt is comprehensive, forward-looking and task-oriented. It may even look overambitious. On the other hand, Europe is the continent of most numerous standards and institutions worldwide. We must tap our rich expertise, reinforce synergy and make the most out of our resources. There are great opportunities in the mandate of the Council of Europe for joint, complementary ventures with other global, regional and national organisations to tackle the challenges of vital concern for all of us.
Let me first address the issues that have been at the core of Council of Europe’s mission – human rights, democracy and rule of law. Despite, or rather because of the unique expertise the Organisation has developed in these fields, promoting them remains as a major challenge. At present, reform of the European Court of Human Rights is one of the priorities. I am pleased to announce that Slovenia ratified Protocol No. 14 to the European Convention on Human Rights in April this year. Upon entry into force, the Protocol will make the Court more efficient in its procedures and more accessible to our citizens.
Slovenia, as a European Union member, supports the Guidelines on relations between the Council of Europe and the European Union and the accession of the European Union to the European Convention on Human Rights as an important step towards a coherent system of protection of human rights in Europe.
In protecting human rights we should pay special attention to the most vulnerable groups of our societies. Among them we often neglect the rights of women. Even in the twenty-first century we still cannot say that we have reached full enjoyment of gender equality and respect for the principle of non-discrimination.
Slovenia also calls for a clear definition of the right to protection of health for all citizens, particularly those in marginal situations, within the system of protection of human rights. I would like to express my support for the protection of human rights in health protection and for the implementation of the strategic integrated approach to health.
Let me continue with issues that new era of globalisation has brought about. The process of globalisation is not solely economic, but also political and cultural. There is a growing consensus that globalisation must now be reshaped to reflect values broader than simply the freedom of capital. Managing of especially socio-cultural aspects of globalisation in wider Europe is also one of the big challenges facing our continent and international organisations like Council of Europe.
I think we have to work especially in the domains such as cross-cultural communication or fostering respect among different races, ethnic groups, religions, etc.
The Council of Europe, with its wide mandate and membership, is uniquely positioned to serve this purpose. It has plenty of legal instruments at its disposal. Our common responses must be fully attuned to our values in spite of or, if you wish, precisely because of such threats as terrorism, corruption, organised crime and trafficking in human beings undermine our basic values.
Terrorism is widely understood as one of the most serious threats to international peace and stability. The Council of Europe has created an important arsenal of instruments to face it. The new Convention on the Prevention of Terrorism which is to be opened for signature regulates domains that have not yet been included in other existing international documents, whereas the Guidelines on human rights and the fight against terrorism clearly chart the border that no country respecting international standards may cross.
We must also reach out in the spirit of mutual respect and co-operation to our neighbours on the southern and eastern shores of Mediterranean, because only together can we defeat the hostile forces of terrorism which pose a threat to the peace, stability and wellbeing of Muslim societies as well. Our struggle is not directed against the noble religion of Islam, but against the perpetrators of terrorist violence, regardless of their religious affiliation or ethnic origin.
The fight against trafficking in human beings poses another crucial challenge. We welcome the Convention on Action against Trafficking in Human Beings, which pays special attention to the protection of victims. Let me also inform you that Slovenia will be co-hosting with the Council of Europe and the United Nations in July this year in Ljubljana, a Regional Consultation on Violence against Children and at the Yokohama Congress Review of regional committments – Combating sexual exploitation of children for commercial purposes. Both events will include a discussion on the issues of the trafficking in children.
A closely related issue to trafficking in human beings is the increasing number of immigrants in Europe. Considering the demographic trends in Europe, our continent is becoming ever more attractive to people from developing countries. In close co-operation with the European Union, the Council of Europe and its member states must increase the efforts to manage the migration flows, while assuring respect of human rights. Nevertheless, we should not get used to the idea that Europe can successfully face its demographic trends only by migration. One of our fundamental challenges is also maintaining a sustainable demographic picture on the continent. Without further delay, we should engage in a European-wide reflection on how to create an environment that will stimulate European society to become younger.
Slovenia attaches special importance to the inclusion of sustainable development into the activities of the Council of Europe. Sustainable development and conservation of bio-diversity are very important for preservation of quality of life and represent another key challenge to modern European society. Sensibility to environmental questions is one of the Europe-wide accepted principles. The Council of Europe is well placed to discuss the mutually reinforcing relationship between sustainable development, human rights and democracy.
This Summit is a unique opportunity to assess the achievements and focus on the future. The Warsaw Declaration and the Action Plan define the goals and clarify the priorities of the Council of Europe. Thus they provide the base for the reform process of the organisational structures and working methods of the Organisation. Such a reform is indispensable for consolidating the role of the Council of Europe as a key partner in the new European political architecture that is successfully facing the challenges of the new century.
I would like to commend Poland once again for its indispensable contribution to the resolution of the key issues during its chairmanship and convey my warm thanks for the excellent organisation of the Summit. I would like to take this opportunity also to express to Portugal, the next chair of the Committee of Ministers, my best wishes for its successful tenure.”
38. Mr I. ALIYEV (Azerbaijan) made the following statement:
“First of all I would like to express my gratitude to the authorities of Poland for their hospitality and excellent organisation of the Summit. It is symbolic that the Summit is being held in the country representing the region which over the last 50 years has undergone fundamental democratic transformation and now became an integral part of the united Europe.
50 years ago Azerbaijan also lived in a different system and our policy of political and economic reforms have, in the most recent period, allowed us to achieve major successes in political and economic reforms, in modernisation of our society, in promoting democracy, protection of human rights and freedom of ideas, pluralism. In this respect the role of the Council of Europe in our achievements is very high. Azerbaijan, after acceding to the Council of Europe in 2001, has undergone a substantial transformation in its democratic development. All of the commitments which we have undertaken upon adoption into the Council of Europe are being implemented, and new laws, new legislation adopted in our country are in accordance with European standards and European values.
All of these political and economic reforms allowed our country to develop our economy. We are performing well economically, but we understand that without creation of a democratic society we will not be successful in that. We will not be able to create equal opportunities for our citizens to enjoy the democratic process. Our country is strongly committed to the process of European integration, we are very glad to now be a member of the new Neighbourhood Policy of the European Union and are looking forward to actively co-operating with the European Union in the promotion of this policy.
Integration of Azerbaijan with Europe has many advantages for our country, but we also understand that without peace and stability in our region it will be very difficult to enjoy full scale integration, and peace in the region of the South Caucasus unfortunately is in danger. The Armenian-Azerbaijan conflict – the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict – has caused many casualties, many victims, and as a result of the conflict today 20% of the territory of Azerbaijan is under occupation. 1 million people in Azerbaijan are refugees and internally displaced people. Our territorial integrity has been violated and one of the basic principles of the Council of Europe, the protection of human rights, was also violated. Human rights of a million refugees of Azerbaijan are now being brutally violated. We are very encouraged by the Council of Europe’s approach to this issue, especially the Resolution of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe adopted in January which clearly indicates the major elements of the conflict that I have already mentioned. Therefore, we think that the implementation of the Resolution may lead to finding a peaceful solution and a sustainable peace in the region.
Azerbaijan, in its approach towards the resolution of the conflict, has always based its position on the norms and principles of international law which state that the territorial integrity of any country must be preserved and, if it is violated, should be restored. And, of course, in the twenty-first century we cannot tolerate a situation where one member of the Council of Europe continues to occupy the territory of another member of the Council of Europe. We demand our territories back, we demand our territorial integrity to be restored.
We are ready for compromises and we think that the highest possible autonomy for Armenians in the Nagorno-Karabakh region which Azerbaijan has been proposing for many years is a very substantial compromise. Along with our suggestions for security guarantees for people who live in the region, that could be a very important element of the comprehensive agreement, but at the same time we cannot compromise on the issues of our sovereignty over Nagorno-Karabakh and we cannot compromise on the issues of our territorial integrity. We respect the territorial integrity of all the countries of the world and naturally expect the same attitude towards the territorial integrity of Azerbaijan. I think that international attention to this issue will help us to find a solution. We can see that peaceful negotiations at the level of Foreign Ministers and Presidents are fruitful and we are committed to a peaceful resolution of the conflict and we think that it will be proper that all the corresponding organisations – the OSCE Minsk Group which has a mandate for the resolution of this conflict, the Council of Europe and the European Union – could pay more attention to this important issue which today is a danger to stability and prosperity in the whole region and is a major obstacle in our process of European integration.
Once again I would like to thank the authorities for their excellent organisation, I would also like to mention that we highly value our relationships and co-operation with the Council of Europe and will continue to comply with all our commitments which have been undertaken upon our adoption to this Organisation.”
39. Ms F. S. MORGANTI (San Marino) made the following statement:
“In our capacity as representatives of the Republic of San Marino, we would like to stress the importance of this Third Summit of Heads of State and Government of the Council of Europe.
We would thank the Polish Government for its hospitality, and also the chairman of the Committee of Ministers for having spared no efforts in ensuring that this event took place.
Opportunities for meetings at this high level are few and far between, and it would seem that we often advance along the road to union more under the pressure of external events, economic considerations or brief inter-state talks than under the impetus of genuine institutional awareness.
And yet we are convinced that Europe’s history is enabling it to pave its political path towards democracy and unity.
2005 is an important year. It is impressing upon us the need to reinforce participation and consolidate the foundations of democracy within a continent that is shrinking in the face of the exploding new economic and social realities and the dreadful scourges of war, famine and disease.
In Berlin recently, the German nation managed to pay tribute to the victims of the worst crimes perpetrated in our recent history. We can show that we have learned the lessons of history if we manage now to provide support for other regions of Europe, if the European peoples all feel borne along by a determination to grow together and together take up the challenges of our century.
This “Summit of European unity”, as we too would style it, could mark a real turning point if we manage fully to grasp the great wealth of values and opportunities offered by Europe, from which we can all mutually benefit, and if we take advantage of the Action Plan to build up a strong European identity.
Human rights, which have always been at the heart of the debate in European countries, the rule of law, which is still a goal to be obstinately pursued, with its constantly changing reference points, and pluralism of cultures, political institutions, languages and legal systems, all these values combine to form an inexhaustible heritage.
The work of the Committee of Ministers, the Parliamentary Assembly, the Secretary General, the European Court of Human Rights, the Intergovernmental Committees and the Congress of Local and Regional Authorities of the Council of Europe is of fundamental importance in combining all these energies, co-ordinating the multifarious initiatives and giving them coherency and consistency with an eye to securing integration and enhancing differences in order to transform the latter from obstacles into the beginnings of solutions to the problems facing us.
The Council of Europe is at the very heart of this intense activity, playing a role which is irreplaceable because the Organisation is in a position to listen to and understand the ceaseless changes at political level in the member states, and to rethink and rationalise development policies in order to improve interaction at the various levels of democratic participation and constructive dialogue.
This specificity of united Europe, which can boast all its different component cultures and can promote dialogue and mutual understanding among all the peoples of the world, represents a tremendously effective weapon against terrorism and its underlying causes.
Behind terrorism there lurks indifference about suffering and human life itself.
San Marino intends to continue a type of co-operation enabling us to ensure a high quality of life and proper understanding among all Europeans.
Sustainable development is another challenge. In our view, education and youth training could ensure fair access to resources and restore harmonious relations between human beings and their natural environment.
The quality which has always set the Council of Europe apart from all the other organisations is our ability never to lose sight of the right of the individual, which takes precedence over reason of the state, to prioritise diversity over uniformity, and to offer a choice of several different options in pursuing an ideal instead of imposing one single mode of thought, whether in the economic, social or political sphere.
This deep-seated conviction induces us to resolutely support the Council of Europe in its specific duties and its relationship with the other European organisations, with a view to defining and specifying its objectives.
San Marino has taken a number of steps in this direction with its recent reform of its Declaration of the Rights of the Citizen and the Fundamental Principles of the Republic, and by expediting the process of ratifying international conventions and acceding to the main legal instruments in our parliament, the Great and General Council.
During this Summit, moreover, our country has signed Protocol No. 14 to the Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms amending the system of supervision of the treaty. We would also like to point out that our country is planning to accede to the conventions that have opened for signature at this Summit.
Our active participation proves that even a small state can join all the others in providing an effective contribution to building up new values and opening up new avenues towards European unity.
This is why, and this is also in line with the requests we have received vis-à-vis the democratic stabilisation of our continent and consolidation of our objectives, we would propose an in-depth debate on a European intergenerational policy, because in our view intergenerational relations have not yet been adequately covered by existing texts and recommendations.
The future must be built up on the past and on remembrance, and, we are convinced, also on our ability to transmit to future generations the true values of living together such as tolerance, dignity and recognition of the rich diversity of others. If this theme can be incorporated into an ambitious project for highly advanced democracy, it will prove extremely valuable in social and cultural terms.
This rich European heritage must provide the mortar for the whole structure, in order to unite different countries and cultures in the same palace, a building with rooms and halls presenting authentic styles bearing witness to a diversity which will enrich all European peoples rather than dividing them.
The Republic of San Marino will most certainly be making its contribution to the construction of this great European home.
We are well aware of how far we have come, but also of how far we still have to go; we realise that we are a small state, but we are one of the oldest and most peaceful in Europe, and can therefore provide a major input by drawing on our history, traditions and originality.”
40. Mr L. GONZI (Malta) made the following statement:
“It is with a deep sense of gratitude that I address the Head of the Polish nation: with gratitude for your hospitality and the organisation of this Summit, but, above all, with gratitude for all that Poland has contributed to Europe and its civilisation over the centuries.
The late Karol Wojtyla is only the most recent of major Polish personalities who have shaped history. There is no doubt that it is due to him, among others, that Europe today enjoys an unprecedented degree of freedom and has advanced so far on the road towards eliminating dividing lines that have separated families, communities and nations for centuries.
Looking back at our recent history, we can proudly affirm that the Council of Europe has largely succeeded in achieving the objective of European stability and unity that we had set ourselves in Vienna back in 1993. Looking forward, we see that our role is being shaped by the emerging European landscape which we, in our turn, must help mould in conformity with our values.
The core values of the Council of Europe – democracy, human rights and the rule of law – do not constitute a single tangible goal that we can ever claim to have reached. They form the basis of our European identity. The Council of Europe will always face the challenge of defending them in every aspect of our citizens’ lives.
In our Action Plan for this Summit, we rightly start by reaffirming our commitment to the European Convention on Human Rights, which enshrines our most cherished values. In view of this sound foundation, we welcome the work being undertaken for the accession of the European Union to the Convention. This accession will enhance legal certainty in general and widen the Convention’s direct application in cases involving the European Union. The Union’s accession is essential and we must create the conditions to attain it, whatever the political circumstances.
The European Court of Human Rights is our single most influential institution. It has the power to reach out to the individual citizen in our own countries. We all recognise that our values are best protected by the Court. The Council of Europe has been active in addressing the new challenges it is now facing, not least with the adoption of Protocol No. 14. Malta is proud to have been the first country to ratify this Protocol. It is now necessary to intensify our efforts for its entry into force as early as possible.
However, we must not underestimate the Court’s problems. These call for a range of long-term solutions. We must implement the proposals under consideration and find alternative ways of dealing with the Court’s increasing workload. We look forward to the recommendations of the panel of eminent experts that we are setting up for this purpose. We must not look for economies in an area that we hold so dear. Indeed, this is an area that calls for further investment.
Our priority is to ensure respect for human rights and the full execution of the Court’s judgements. We should continuously evaluate our own ability to supervise compliance with judgments and, where necessary, reconsider our working methods. If we fail to do so, we would jeopardise the credibility of everything the Council of Europe stands for.
The continuing relevance of the Council of Europe is shown by its active role even in areas where little intergovernmental co-operation exists so far. I refer, for example, to the important work on the Convention on Action against Trafficking in Human Beings and the European Roma and Travellers Forum.
In addition, Malta continues to support with the greatest conviction the existing institutions and mechanisms set up to defend human rights. We are committed to assisting the European Committee for the Prevention of Torture and Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment and to do our utmost for the irregular immigrants that find themselves on our shores.
We must understand, however, that getting to the root of irregular immigration problems requires a strong and concerted effort by all countries, and not only by those confronted with the first impacts. Our efforts to protect the dignity and rights of these displaced migrants must also lead to concrete solutions that address their primary needs. Malta appreciates the Action Plan’s reference to the increasing importance of migration management. We fully support drawing up effective instruments and using existing infrastructure to deal with this challenge effectively. I particularly look forward to seeing the Council of Europe enhance its political dialogue and pursue active co-operation with the European Union on this urgent issue.
Terrorism is another area where the Council of Europe is proving its added value. Malta continues to take a strong stand on this matter and welcomes the contribution that the new Convention on the Prevention of Terrorism will make to the existing body of international legal instruments.
The Council of Europe is not alone in pursuing its mission. It shares its common values with other international players, although the roles played are often different. Clearly, there is a strong need for a better structured working relationship between the Council of Europe and the European Union. Malta adds its voice to those who strongly encourage the conclusion of a Memorandum of Understanding between these two institutions. We hope that a constructive approach will maximise the benefits that each can draw from the other, in a spirit of support rather than rivalry. It is not an easy task, but it is both necessary and worthwhile.
Finally, let me deal with a subject which is particularly close to my heart, that is, the broader role of the Council of Europe Development Bank. Malta has been an active member of the Bank for more than three decades. It has encouraged its evolution, in name and substance, as it broadened its financing role from the resettlement of displaced persons to social projects in general. More recently, we have welcomed and encouraged the Bank’s greater involvement in financing the development of European countries in transition.
This is why we support the call made by our Action Plan for the Bank to confirm its traditional roles and, in addition, to facilitate the implementation of policies aiming at the consolidation of democracy, the promotion of the rule of law and respect for human rights. It could accomplish this mission, in particular, in the field of training of magistrates, civil servants and other participants in public life, as well as in the organisation, operation and infrastructure of administrative and judicial public services. As the Bank broadens its role, Malta intends to play an even more prominent part in the Bank’s activities.
It is our responsibility, as Heads of States and Governments, to ensure that the Council of Europe continues to receive the support that we owe it. Our noble aims must find their place in our political agendas and translated into reality, both at home and in our relations among each other.”
41. Mr J. PRESCOTT (United Kingdom) made the following statement:
“I would like to express my thanks and appreciation for the hospitality and organisation of our Polish hosts.
I am proud to have been associated with the Council of Europe for many years. Thirty years ago I was a member of the Council of Europe Parliamentary Assembly and then, as a British MP, I became a member of the European Parliament (before it was directly elected). It has indeed been part of my European education. In 2003, when I spoke at the Congress of Local and Regional Authorities of the Council of Europe in Strasbourg, I supported the idea of a Summit which would work for a "Greater Europe without Dividing Lines,” especially with its emphasis on local governance.
The last time many of us saw each other was a week ago, at the Russian Federation's commemoration of the 60th anniversary of the end of the Second World War. That ceremony in Moscow reminded us of the huge sacrifices of tens of millions of victims of that war. And it was particularly moving to see the truckloads of veterans parading through Red Square past old allies – and former enemies. We honoured veterans instead of looking at the military hardware which we all remember from the past – when East and West faced off.
The Moscow ceremony also reminded us how easily Europe can be torn apart by fear and hatred. And it reinforced the importance of the East and West coming together, and building nations and communities based on common values, consensus, peace and prosperity. So, where better to hold our Summit than here, in Poland and especially in Warsaw? Last year, I was honoured to speak at the 60th anniversary of the Warsaw Uprising, and I was profoundly moved by the courage of this great city and its people. They suffered more pain and loss than any of us can comprehend today. And even when they were liberated after six long years of war, the Polish people – like many other nations represented here today – still had to wait decades for real freedom.
Today, Poland, like many other ancient European nations, has regained its place at the heart of a democratic Europe, a new Europe with a different political and social order: a Europe in which we settle our differences through dialogue; a Europe in which peace and reconciliation means prosperity and renewal; a Europe in which we are so much stronger working together than we are apart; a new and wider European solidarity.
The Council of Europe has played a key role in the creation of a new Europe because it stands for common values. When the Council of Europe was established in 1949, the British Foreign Secretary, Ernest Bevin, said he hoped it would achieve 'greater unity among our peoples …realising the ideals which we have in common'. And the French Minister Robert Schumann said at that ceremony in 1949 – 'we are laying the foundations of a spiritual and political co-operation from which there will arise the European spirit'.
Since then, to its eternal credit, the Council has played an important part in building democracy across Europe – with the acceptance of human rights as an essential part of the rule of law in any democratic country. The Council of Europe has been crucial in facilitating the enlargement of the European Union, which has grown from just 6 states, to 9 nations in 1977 when I was a member of Parliament in the European Union, to 25 today.
In 1949, the Council of Europe began with 10 states. When I was a member of the Parliamentary Assembly, it was 20. Now it includes 46 states, bringing together over 800 million citizens who are united by common ideals and values. That’s why, Mr President, you were so right in your opening address to say never has Europe been so safe, so close and so united. The Council of Europe is right to be proud of its role in bringing that about.
Those values are social justice, democratic participation, and mutual respect. They are now threatened not by nations at war but by acts of terrorism. Therefore, it is vitally important that we work together in the face of new challenges from terrorism. That is why the United Kingdom, with others, is signing the Convention on the Prevention of Terrorism today. Many nations represented here today have been victims of terrorist attacks or have suffered the fear of being attacked.
In the United Kingdom we have comprehensively reviewed the whole range of our response to the terrorist threat. As chair of the G8 and as next presidency of the European Union, the United Kingdom is giving these matters the highest priority.
Mr President, you and the Secretary General emphasised the importance of the rights of individuals with regard to the state, whether in the Court of Human Rights or their participation in local democracy. Any democratic society requires the active involvement of its citizens in the decision-making process, at national, regional and local level. Good governance is essential to good government. So I welcome the fact that the proposed Summit Declaration commits us all to intensify our work within the Council of Europe, and within our own states, 'to promote and sustain effective democracy and good governance'.
It is particularly important that the Declaration recognises that 'effective democracy and good governance at all levels are essential for preventing conflicts, promoting stability, facilitating economic and social progress, and hence for creating sustainable communities where people want to live and work, now and in the future.'
The time is right for the Council of Europe to celebrate our values of democracy, rule of law and human rights, and find new ways to make them stronger, including, and especially through, reform of the European Court of Human Rights and the rapid implementation of Protocol No. 14.
The Council needs to focus on these values as its core objective in the years ahead – and all its activities must contribute to this aim. We can only make our values stronger if we make our communities stronger and more sustainable than at present. Across Europe, there are outstanding examples of sustainable communities which are places in which people feel proud to live and work. Places which promote economic prosperity and social justice, so that everyone has the chance to fulfil their potential; places in which the confidence of the people is expressed in superb architecture and welcoming parks and open spaces.
We know that creating sustainable communities means looking beyond the need for housing, though that's important enough. That means providing high quality public services like schools, hospitals and transport, and a more devolved decision making process. And it means giving people a greater role in what goes on in their locality, especially in its planning and environment. It’s essential to recognise that people want to do things for themselves. They don’t want things to be done to them, all too often without being involved in the decisions that directly affect them.
So, for all these reasons, I am delighted that the draft Declaration of Warsaw places such emphasis on creating sustainable communities. During the United Kingdom’s forthcoming Presidency of the European Union, I want to develop and discuss a European approach to creating sustainable communities, to discuss the establishment of a common European code for sustainable communities – which would reflect the rich diversity of our towns, cities and peoples. Such thinking could create a new framework to consider the newly emerging regional policy – not focused on simple, narrow economic objectives, as important as they are, but on achieving sustainable communities.
But let me emphasise that this debate must go further than the European Union. Across the world, from Chicago to China, I've seen the importance of sustainable communities and partnerships inside those communities. Indeed, economic prosperity and social justice are two sides of the same coin in any democratic society. Of course, we face many practical challenges to make this idea of sustainable communities more of a reality. We have to learn from the successes and mistakes of the past. And we have to develop and share the right participatory, democratic skills.
Creating sustainable communities a big challenge for us all. It is a vision which is exciting and will benefit the whole continent: greater prosperity, more jobs, communities that are cleaner, safer, greener, with more devolved decision-making; putting more power in the hands of ordinary people. Sustainable communities is a big idea for a bigger Europe, for a stronger Europe and a more democratic Europe.
So, 60 years on from the end of the most disastrous war in our history, a war which left this city shattered and its population annihilated – at this time, let the Declaration of Warsaw stand as our commitment to common values. To democracy. To human rights. To the rule of law. To a greater participative democracy.
Let us create those sustainable communities where our people and our values will thrive and prosper within a vigorous democratic framework.”
42. Mr V. VORONIN (Moldova) made the following statement:
“First of all, I would like to congratulate the Committee of Ministers and the Secretariat of the Council of Europe for the excellent work done in reaching the consensus and in today's opening for signature of the three new conventions of the Organisation, which will substantially increase the level of the fight against terrorism, trafficking in human beings and money laundering. Tonight the Republic of Moldova will undoubtedly be one of the states that will sign these documents.
As for the challenges to modern European society, I would like to draw your attention specifically to the so-called 'democratic vacuum zones' within the geographic area of the Council of Europe. Personally, I believe that it is impossible to achieve efficient and democratic security in a state being eroded by separatism. After all, as long as there are such centres within Europe, we cannot say that the general European principles and values are working effectively on the whole continent. I slightly touched upon this item during our morning session as well, having mentioned the necessity for a more active involvement of the Council of Europe in a thorough effort to secure democratic values, human rights and rule of law on the whole territory of my country and not only part of it.
You are well aware of the fact that for more than 13 years, the Republic of Moldova has been affected by aggressive and intransigent separatism. For the same amount of time, my country has been a fully fledged member of the OSCE. This year, my country will celebrate the 10th anniversary of joining the Council of Europe. Unfortunately, I have to say that in the meantime, despite the fact that specific steps have been taken by Moldovan authorities, as well as by the OSCE and the mediators, no long-term political solution of the Transnistrian conflict has been found. The distinguished Professor Adam Daniel Rotfeld, Foreign Minister of Poland, can confirm this, as he has personal experience of this subject and knows it well.
We are aware of the fact that the delay in finding a long-term political solution of the Transnistrian conflict is a serious obstacle to the social and economic development of my country, let alone the impossibility to secure and promote democratic reforms so that each citizen of the Republic of Moldova is able to benefit from all the advantages offered by general human values. That is why for my country it is a vital priority to identify a political solution to this conflict that would be widely acceptable.
As long as the international community remains passive regarding countless violations of fundamental human rights and freedoms, violent suppression of freedom of speech and the aggressive intolerance of any opposition within the eastern districts of the Republic of Moldova, the stability and security of the whole region will be in danger. I would like to remind you at this point of the current situation of Moldovan schools teaching in Latin script in the Transnistrian region.
To be honest, I would have liked very much to have the Moldovan Parliament's ratification instruments of the conventions to be signed tonight submitted to the Secretariat of the Council of Europe without any reserves or declarations to the effect that Republic of Moldova cannot account for the region not controlled by the country's constitutional authorities. In order to attain this goal, we need an active involvement of the international community in the settlement process of the Transnistrian conflict.
The Transnistrian region, as well as other separatist zones in other Council of Europe member states, is a real black hole from all viewpoints: starting with the absence of any democratic processes and ending up with illegal trafficking in human beings and weapons, large-scale money laundering, etc. The most recent example is the disappearance from the deposits of the former 14th Army of the missiles that imitate nuclear explosion. Their explosive force is identical to the nuclear missile, except for radioactive contamination. The problem is getting even worse as the Russian Federation authorities cannot give any explanation of how these missiles could disappear without trace. Can you imagine the destructive force of the missile detonated in a big city? Unfortunately, it is a gloomy scenario, which is quite possible.
The Republic of Moldova has always insisted upon compliance with the OSCE Istanbul Summit decisions with regard to complete withdrawal of Russian troops and armament from the territory of my country. Moreover, when joining the Council of Europe, the Russian Federation committed itself to complying, within six months of its accession, with the OSCE Istanbul Summit decision by withdrawing fully, unconditionally and without delay its troops and armament from the Republic of Moldova. Their stationing on the territory of my country is totally illegal and it comes in flagrant contradiction with the principles and norms of international law, as well as with the provisions of the Constitution of the Republic of Moldova and with its national interests.
I regret that I need to repeat in this case as well the following. I am sure that a viable solution of the Transnistrian problem should not be based on a military presence or the expression of certain militarist ambitions. It should be established on the basis of securing the principles of rule of law and democracy on the whole territory of my country and for the whole population, upon reintegration based on European political and legal standards. In this respect, the key to the peaceful and final solution of the Transnistrian problem is the democratisation of the Transnistrian region, the access of the population of the region to printed and electronic media, the release of political prisoners, the abolition of political police, free activity of political parties and funds. Just in this, it is so important to involve some new participants with a rich democratic biography – the USA and the European Union – in the process of settlement of Transnistrian conflict. That is why it is so important to engage in the negotiations the western neighbour of the Republic of Moldova – Romania, which will become a fully fledged member of the European Union in 2007. That is why the proposal of the President of Ukraine, Viktor Yushchenko, to settle the conflict by means of democratisation of the region is so interesting for us.
The recent political changes in Ukraine make us hope that the new administration from Kyiv will cooperate honestly and disinterestedly in order to secure the Transnistrian segment of the border between Moldova and Ukraine and that they will accept international monitoring with the assistance of the European Union, the Republic of Moldova and Ukraine, including common border and customs control and participation in the settlement of the conflict. The Republic of Moldova appreciates the initiative of Ukraine to come up with a personal plan to settle the Transnistrian conflict. So far, we are carefully examining the seven principles of settlement, formulated by Viktor Yushchenko during the recent GUUAM Summit in Chisinau.
Besides the need to face numerous challenges to the modem European society, I believe that the Council of Europe should also concentrate its efforts, in close co-operation with the European Union and the OSCE, to addressing the so-called democratic vacuum zones within the geographic area of our Organisation, making full use of its mandate and available instruments – the Venice Commission, the Commissioner for Human Rights, the Congress of Local and Regional Authorities of the Council of Europe, etc. We can only speak of true success of our pan-European forum in promoting European values when such areas of chronic deficit of democracy completely disappear from under the umbrella of democratic stability of the Council of Europe. Yet, in order to attain this goal, we need to take joint efforts to combat strongly any manifestation of aggressive separatism.”
43. Mr V. OSKANIAN (Armenia) made the following statement:
“This is Armenia’s second chance to speak today, I will stay within the limits of three minutes that has been allocated. My President spoke this morning about the new European architecture, the Council of Europe’s role in that new architecture, in Europe, in the Caucasus and particularly in Armenia. Let me just make a few more observations. Armenia’s engagement in the Council of Europe as we realise on the occasion of the Summit that it would be a continuous process. As I looked at the list of the members and the date of their membership in this Organisation, I realise that some of them are founder states of this Organisation and for them, after 50 years of passage, this Organisation has not lost its value and importance.
So, it will indeed be a continued engagement as we go on, in coming years and decades of co-operation between Armenia and the Council of Europe. I just came from signing the Convention on trafficking in human beings. Armenia recently ratified Protocol No. 14 and we have been very actively engaged in promoting, devising and advocating the establishment of the democracy forum which will engage civil societies throughout Europe in building democracy on this continent.
I listened very carefully to the speech of the Azerbaijani President. I will simply make a few observations and corrections with regard to some of the things that the distinguished President of Azerbaijan has said. One is the very serious charge that he placed on Armenia, without mentioning Armenia’s name, that it would not be acceptable that one member state of the Council of Europe occupied territories of another member state. Let me very clearly say that Armenia has not occupied anyone’s land. Armenia’s engagement in the Nagorno-Karabakh region is simply for the fact that Azerbaijan refuses to talk to the people of Nagorno-Karabakh who have the legitimate right to opt for self-determination on the very territory that they have being living on for centuries.
When these people opted for self-determination following the collapse of the Soviet Union, Azerbaijan opted for military suppression of this peaceful call for self-determination, which led to fully fledged war and loss of territories and creation of refugees. This problem needs to be addressed between the people of Nagorno-Karabakh and the Azerbaijani Government. Armenia’s involvement in negotiations because of Azerbaijan’s refusal to talk to the leadership of Karabakh should not be construed or misrepresented as Armenia being actively involved and as a sole responsible for these processes. That is absolutely not the case.
Second point I want to make: it is the offer that the Azerbaijani President made for autonomy to the people of Nagorno-Karabakh. Let me clearly say that autonomy in another country for the people of Nagorno-Karabakh is a past phase, they have had autonomy for seventy-five years during the Soviet period within Azerbaijan, during which they were subjected to discrimination and suppression. They opted for self-determination when they got the opportunity and today, given the fact that the right for self-determination is embedded in the Helsinki Final Act that must be respected by the Government of Azerbaijan.
Today the negotiations are going on. Yesterday the two Presidents met. It was a positive meeting and there is a clear agenda for resolving this matter. We look very much forward for our continued talks on the basis of the understanding that eventually the right of the people of Nagorno-Karabakh to self-determination as a European value, as respect for democracy and the rule of law must eventually be respected by Azerbaijan so that we will be able eventually to reach a peaceful resolution to the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict.”
44. Mrs L. FREIVALDS (Sweden) made the following statement:
“After the end of the Cold War, we were happy to welcome a number of new members to the Council of Europe. Through our memberships we all acknowledge that we share the values of this Organisation.
However, there is still work to be done in developing and implementing democracy, human rights and the rule of law in Europe. This is why we need the Council of Europe, and it is also the reason why these areas remain the core of the Organisation. These central aspects should permeate all activities of the Council of Europe. Each member state must also assure that its commitment to Council of Europe's values is reflected in its policies, laws and actions.
The European Court of Human Rights is the guardian of human rights and fundamental freedoms on our continent. Its importance for a peaceful development in Europe should not be underestimated. It is a unique institution, something we ought to be proud of, and which we must never neglect. Today there are more than 80 000 pending cases. This excessive caseload of the Court continues to endanger its effectiveness, and thereby threatens the integrity of the whole human rights convention system. It is an enormous challenge to tackle.
It is a joint responsibility, for all of us, to make sure that this essential institution is allowed to efficiently continue its important work. Further reforms of the Court may be needed, but first and foremost Protocol No. 14 to the European Convention on Human Rights, adopted by Ministers a year ago, must be ratified by May 2006 as we agreed last year. The accompanying measures that we adopted on the same occasion must also be implemented. The Group of Wise Persons that is to be established will have a very important task. I agree that the group of independent experts should be established without delay under competent leadership. However, we cannot merely leave the problem to them: member states must take action to fulfil their obligations to protect human rights.
Yet another step towards strengthening democracy in Europe is being taken at this meeting through our decision to establish a Council of Europe Forum for the Future of Democracy. This will be one of the most important achievements of this Summit and relevant to all the member states. The main task of the forum will be to provide member states with guidance in how to enhance democracy. It will enable the exchange of ideas, information and examples of best practice, and include civil society and persons active in democratic life.
The conventions adopted by the Council of Europe throughout the years have no doubt been of fundamental importance to the development of democracy, human rights and the rule of law in Europe. But the conventions as such are not enough. Every member state must do its part and carry out the changes needed both in respect of legislation and other forms of implementation. This also includes the execution of the Court’s judgements without delay. We have to make sure that this really takes place.
The Council of Europe has indeed been a forerunner in establishing a special treaty-bound system when it comes to supervising the execution of the Court’s judgements. Moreover, monitoring has been a natural part of the working process to achieve progress in more general terms. However, it is essential to remember that the point of monitoring is not about exerting criticism, but about promoting further progress. The Council of Europe is equipped with efficient monitoring mechanisms, in different shapes.
The Parliamentary Assembly and the Committee of Ministers have at their disposal different tools. The Commissioner for Human Rights has a special mandate and there are special mechanisms, for instance for the recently adopted Convention on Action against Trafficking in Human Beings. Monitoring is clearly an added value of the Council of Europe. The monitoring by the Council encompasses all member states, but since the situation differs between our countries, it is only natural that specific countries may occasionally need extra attention to promote progress.
The political Declaration we are about to adopt at this Summit underlines the importance that we go further in the implementation of equal opportunity policies and non-discrimination in our member states. This is a Swedish priority. It puts the focus on the individual, regardless of her or his sex. Equality between men and women also provides society with otherwise unused potential of skill, ambition, and intelligence. This cannot be achieved by a special programme, but requires general approaches of gender mainstreaming and changed attitudes.
Sweden welcomes a strong focus on gender equality. Next year we will host a Ministerial conference on gender equality for all the member states in the Council. The conference will focus on gender equality as an integral part of human rights as well as on gender analyses and gender budgeting as tools for economic development. I hope to see representatives from all our countries there.
I am convinced that this Summit of the Council of Europe could become a symbol for further democratisation of Europe. The work that lies ahead of us on the basis of the priorities we have agreed upon here in Warsaw is to be carried out by governments, authorities and institutions in each member state. It will clarify the role of the Council of Europe within the new European security policy architecture and reaffirm the Council's responsibility for peaceful co-operation and democratic stability. The Council of Europe should continue to function as a meeting place where ideas and best practices are exchanged and where we can conduct a constructive and frank dialogue.
The three conventions that are being opened for signature at this meeting also show that the Council of Europe continues to be a relevant forum for important subjects. Solid work on a legal ground has been the trademark of the Organisation for decades. We must make sure that this does not change.
We meet in Warsaw, a capital which has experienced so much of the tragic history of Europe during centuries. Meeting here also reminds us of the potentials of democracy. Today Poland is a member of the European Union, a union that shares the common values of the Council of Europe. However, the Council of Europe should not only cooperate closely with the European Union, but also with other organisations like the OSCE. Sweden will actively contribute to such co-operation.
Human rights, democracy and the rule of law remain the core areas for the Council of Europe. They represent timeless values, but also values that must never be taken for granted. Therefore, our task is far from finished. By promoting the rights of the individual, our Council can contribute to peace, stability and security in Europe. In this respect the Council of Europe has a unique and relevant role to play. We all share the responsibility for the Council’s performance.”
45. Mr P. KISS (Hungary) made the following statement:
“We have recently commemorated the 60th anniversary of the end of the Second World War, ‘Victory day’. Indeed, it is beyond doubt that all European nations have profited from the reconstruction following the Second World War. It was a process of both economical and political reconstruction aiming at building solid democratic foundations. In this process, the Council of Europe, as the guardian of human rights, the rule of law and democracy, had a pre-eminent role to play.
Fifteen years ago another period came to an end: an era characterised by political division and opposition. The enlargement of the Council of Europe after the fall of the Berlin Wall has undoubtedly contributed to the fact that today Eastern and Western Europe are rather geographic than political categories.
During the past decade, the Council has remained true to the essence of its mandate: to spread democracy and the rule of law on our entire continent. Facing political and social realities in Europe, this mandate can never be concluded, but only permanently fulfilled. In order to live up to this expectation, the political dimension of the Organisation must be further strengthened. The Forum for the Future of Democracy, which we are to establish today, is a further step in this direction.
We must pay tribute to the historic role the Council of Europe has played in bringing the peoples of Europe closer together. The Council of Europe has established the political, moral and legal values for European integration. The constructive criticism of the Council of Europe has indeed helped my country to meet the standards set forth for the accession to the European Union. The Council of Europe can count on Hungary as a contributor country in the future.
Referring to the words of the President of Romania, the Neighbourhood Policy is a key factor in achieving greater stability. Fostering trans-frontier and regional co-operation between member states is an excellent tool for bringing together different cultures and re-establishing contacts between peoples and territories separated by international borders. Having launched several regional initiatives, such as the renewed ‘Szeged Process’ or the ‘Nyíregyháza Initiative’, I cannot but assure the Council of Europe of my country’s continued support for its activities in the field of regional co-operation.
The Council of Europe’s complex monitoring system is an asset, which has no equal in the world. Through its different mechanisms, both political and legal, the Council is permanently supervising the fulfillment of obligations of member states. It has also developed special mechanisms for crisis situations. The Council of Europe has always coupled monitoring with advice and assistance. It is a monitoring based on equal footing, with the prevailing principle of ‘non-discrimination’. From the many examples justifying that, I bring up the recent evaluation of the situation in Vojvodina, where the Council’s conclusions coincided with my government’s assessment.
I believe that this Organisation should do all that is possible in order to maintain its leading role obtained over the past decade in the area of the protection of national minorities. Since the Vienna Summit, the Council of Europe has developed the European acquis for the protection of national minorities, the cornerstones of which are: the Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities and the Charter for Regional or Minority Languages. Clearly, the success of these instruments lies in their effective implementation, therefore our work should primarily be directed towards enhancing and further improving the functioning of the relevant monitoring mechanisms. I most welcome that upon the initiative of Hungary a new forum, an intergovernmental committee dealing with minority issues has been established. It is the only permanent European forum designed for dialogue, exchange of experiences and problem sharing among governments in this field, and I encourage you all to make full use of it.
The issue of minorities brings me to the subject of Roma, which has come to the forefront of the attention of my country and that of the European community. The situation of Roma is a complex issue, with social, cultural and human rights dimensions, therefore only a comprehensive approach can bring about long lasting solutions. It is exactly in this spirit that my government has worked out a set of national measures aimed at improving the situation of the Roma, such as the government decree on promoting their social integration. The Decade of Roma Inclusion, the OSCE Roma Action Plan and, last but not least, the Council of Europe, can count on the support of my government when dealing with this issue in a comprehensive manner. On this note I would like to welcome the establishment of the European Forum for Roma and Travellers. It is in our common interest, that the Forum does not become a purely representative, but indeed an operative, well functioning body.
It was a real honour for my government to host a commemorative session: the 50th anniversary of the Council of Europe. One of the major decisions we have taken in Budapest was the establishment of the post of the Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights. The Commissioner for Human Rights is yet another instrument of the Council of Europe which has proven to be effective in defending human rights. We highly appreciate the work of the present Commissioner, Mr Alvaro Gil-Robles. The Commissioner promotes awareness of human rights and supports national human rights bodies on the one hand, and on the other monitors the observance of human rights in all member countries. Among the high level posts of the Council of Europe, this is certainly one which requires a thorough knowledge of the problems of societies in democratic transition. I would like to draw your attention to the candidature of Mr Jenő Kaltenbach, put forward by my government to this post. Knowing his personal qualities, experience in the field of human rights and in assisting democratic changes, I am confident that he is a highly suitable candidate capable of keeping the high profile of this institution.
There are still times when we insist too firmly on our immediate interests, and are too rarely able to think about what happens tomorrow. At present we find ourselves at one of the most important crossroads of European history where political decisions may decide the fate of many future generations. I am well aware of the fact that youth programmes are integral parts of a wealth of initiatives aimed at the development of a common European cultural area. Council of Europe Youth
Centres are vital instruments in implementing the wide range of programmes in this field offered by the Council of Europe. Therefore my government gives the necessary financial and technical support to the refurbishment of the European Youth Centre in Budapest, which is celebrating its 10th anniversary this year. I am certain that Budapest was a right choice as the venue of the 7th Conference of European Ministers responsible for youth to take place in September this year.
Finally, let me express on behalf of my government my deep appreciation to the Chairmanship of Poland for the outstanding job carried out during the last six months. I would also like to thank you for your hospitality and congratulate you for the excellent organisation of this event.”
46. Archbishop G. LAJOLO (Holy See) made the following statement:
“Europe is faced with challenges arising from its own internal dynamism as well as challenges in its encounters with global problems. It cannot address one set of challenges successfully without responding adequately to the other.
As to the first, the Council of Europe, as a guarantor of democratic security, based on respect for human rights and the rule of law, is confronted with two requirements:
a. the need to prevent the principle of equality from compromising the protection of legitimate diversity: justice in fact requires equal relationships to be treated equally and diverse relationships to be treated diversely;
b. the need to prevent the principle of individual freedom from being dislodged from its natural insertion in the totality of social relationships, and therefore from the principle of social responsibility, which in fact constitutes an essential component of its positive value.
The consequences of this confrontation on the level of international relations, as well as on the social, family and individual levels are evident.
On the other hand, many concrete challenges derive from the great worldwide problems handed down from the twentieth century: the nuclear threat, which is now in danger of escaping from the exclusive historic responsibility of the great powers, the emergence of forms of political and religious fundamentalism, large-scale migration of peoples and certain situations of dangerous instability at the state level even in the European arena. I am referring here particularly to the situation in Bosnia and Herzegovina and in the Kosovo region, both of which are in need of a reliable solution, which cannot be reached without providing effective guarantees for minorities.
In a spirit of service, the Holy See offers her own support and that of the whole Catholic Church in order to respond adequately to these challenges. She is persuaded that the message of fraternity, proper to the Gospel, the vast charitable action of Catholic organisations, the commitment to ecumenical and inter-religious dialogue can be conjoined naturally to the commitment to political, inter-religious and inter-cultural dialogue, mentioned in the Final Declaration of this Assembly which the Holy See willingly supports.
I would like to say a few words about the construction of Europe. The Delegation of the Holy See does not presume to propose technical solutions but would like to offer some simple considerations as a contribution to our common reflection.
A better co-ordination of European organisations is not only an imperative of political and conceptual coherence or financial considerations, but is required by the original creative spirit of the European project. The success of this project in fact does not require just the smooth functioning of each of the principal institutions, but their common balanced synergy which allows the citizens of Europe to see Europe as their “common home” at the service of the human person and society.
Given its widely recognised competence acquired in the juridical area, the experience of the Council of Europe is particularly important because it sketches the outlines of what could become a blueprint for European society. The more than 190 conventions of the Council of Europe, dealing with education, culture, minorities, refugees, immigration, ecology, the media, etc. cover a notable part of the sectors involved in the social dimension.
Furthermore the territorial extension acquired by the Council of Europe draws it close to the Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe. The OCSE, however, is also marked by its transatlantic dimension, something indispensable for maintaining peace in a globalised world and for fulfilling its mandate with regard to conflicts. From the three ways of European construction outlined in the three baskets of the OSCE – concerning respectively security policies, economic and ecological co-operation, and the human dimension – clearly it is this last factor which offers the broadest field of co-operation between the Council of Europe and the OSCE.
Regarding the European Union, it is in the juridical sector in relation to human rights that one finds further concrete possibilities for closer institutional co-operation. The common commitment to corroborate the human rights and the legal protection of European citizens – reaffirmed by the will of the European Union to adhere to the European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms – must be given adequate expression.
I would like to conclude by stating clearly that in the construction of the great European project, the Holy See will not fail to continue to offer her co-operation.”
47. Mr G. DI STASI (Congress of Local and Regional Authorities of the Council of Europe) made the following statement:
“I would like to convey the voice of local and regional authorities, a voice which is still insufficiently heard but which, I firmly believe, is essential to the concert of 46 nations you are representing here.
I am the sole, but staunch, representative here of some 200,000 municipalities, regions, counties and special-status communities, forming a mosaic of varieties of administrative institutions that reflect all our identities. I myself am an elected representative of a region of Italy, Molise, that some of you have perhaps not heard of but which has a strong personality, a pronounced identity and the kind of day-to-day grassroots democracy that is a key aspect of our nations’ diversity and wealth.
The message I want to put across on this formal occasion attended by so many eminent European political figures is the message of local democracy and local self-government. In the past, dialogue between central government and the autonomous local level has not always been easy. That has changed and I know that all of you understand the importance of local democracy. Firstly, many of you began your political lives at that level, which is where we served our apprenticeships as practitioners of democracy.
The Council of Europe has had a pioneering role in the evolutionary process that was needed to promote this vital dimension of modern democracy. Our particular focus has been on the necessary distribution of powers and responsibilities between the national, regional and local levels in accordance with the subsidiarity principle.
And indeed that principle was first recognised in 1985, in the European Charter of Local Self-Government whose twentieth aniversary we celebrate this year. Forty-one of our forty-six member states have ratified the charter, an indication of the progress, in terms of intellectual acceptance and actual practice, that local self-government has made as a basic ingredient of democracy.
It is now clear to all of us that there can be no democracy without local democracy, and allow me to add that, in the political context of our democracies, which are plainly undergoing a crisis of change which we can see in the upsurge of extremist movements, the level of electoral abstention and widespread public anxiety about globalisation – in that context local democracy is a key to revitalising our democratic culture.
We are convinced – and here I address the Heads of State and Government present today – that you will decide to fully exploit the potential of the Congress by reinforcing it to meet the new challenges and play its part in implementing the Action Plan you intend adopting.”
The session ended at 6.24 p.m.
THIRD SESSION – EUROPEAN ARCHITECTURE
(Chairman: Mr Aleksander KWASNIEWSKI, President of the Republic of Poland)
The session commenced at 9.33 a.m.
48. The CHAIRMAN made the following statement:
“I am opening the third and final session of the Warsaw Summit of the Council of Europe. We want to reflect on a shape of European co-operation that will provide a response to the challenges of our time. The question we are facing is: what kind of role should the Council of Europe play under the new circumstances? How do we envisage the development of co-operation with our principal partners, i.e. with the Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe and the European Union?
These three major structures are the pillars of the international order on our continent. The permanence of the European architecture depends largely on well-defined, close relations between them. Acting together, we may gain more. We trust, therefore, that harmonious co-operation between the Council of Europe, the European Union and the OSCE will prove still more effective as compared to their individual efforts, even if all these efforts are taken together. It is crucial, in particular that we act with a sense of unity of purpose and avoid any unnecessary overlap between our initiatives.
Today’s Europe resembles a vast construction site. Even today, the structure under construction allows us to hope that it will be stable and beautiful, but we have a great deal of work ahead of us. What we want is a solid edifice that will fulfil the hopes of nations and at the same time will leave the world amazed at the grandeur of the vision of civilisation that we propose. The story of the Tower of Babel, which forms part of our cultural heritage, reminds us how essential it is that the architects should understand one another; that they should build a structure based on one and the same design; that they should coordinate their respective building schedules and feel responsible for the entire project. We all do need one another.
Obviously, each of the three major European organisations has its own independent and unique mission to accomplish. Working towards a prosperous future and a better life for the people of our continent is what forms the cement binding all of them together.
This Summit demonstrates that the common European values are the roots from which the successes of democracy, civil society and the free market grow out. All of us are convinced that the mission of the Council of Europe cannot be overestimated. Also, we do realise the great role played by the OSCE, which consolidates security, confidence and openness, seeks to prevent conflicts and works towards resolving the existing ones. We also have great respect for the achievements and potential of the European Union, which can boast truly historic successes in political integration and economic co-operation, and which has at its disposal important instruments for defending order and justice. All these are our assets in building a brave new Europe.
Before the opening of this session, the chairman of the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe, Minister Adam Rotfeld, and the OSCE Chairman-in-Office, Minister Dimitrij Rupel have signed a Joint Declaration. It is to reaffirm the arrangements concerning working co-operation between the two organisations. Poland, as chairman of the Council of Europe, presents and recommends the adoption of all the proposals included in the political Declaration and in the Action Plan.
All processes of European integration are supported, and are often only possible, due to the activities of the European Union, which possesses strong instruments for protecting law, justice and deepening the integration processes in Europe. Poland, as chairman of the Council of Europe, expects that the adopted Guidelines for the preparation of the Memorandum of Understanding between the Council of Europe and the European Union will be implemented during the next chairmanships of our Council.
As today’s chairman, I would like to turn to our colleague Jean-Claude Juncker, who is the Prime Minister in Office for the longest time in this gathering, and who is the Head of Government of Luxembourg, a founding country of both the Council of Europe and European Union. I would like to ask Prime Minister Juncker to prepare, in his personal capacity and from a political point of view, a report that could accelerate the co-operation between both our organisations. Meanwhile, the next Council of Europe chairmanships will continue the preparation of the Memorandum.
If our proposal is accepted by the distinguished participants of the Summit, and above all our colleague Jean-Claude Juncker, I will propose amending accordingly our political Declaration. The most suitable fragment for this seems to be paragraph 10, where we can put in our decision. I ask the Secretariat to present the Polish proposal on the screens.
I would like to invite you to reflect together on and to discuss the shape of the European architecture that will make our dreams, expectations and ambitions become reality. A Europe like that is possible, today more than ever before. We are all responsible for its success and we will all have a stake in it!”
49. Mr J-C. JUNCKER (Luxembourg) made the following statement:
“There can be no better place to think about European construction as it is and as it should be than in the City of Warsaw. Yesterday we were in the Presidential Palace, where we remembered that the Warsaw Treaty was signed on 14 May 1955. Fifty years on we are meeting as a great European family striving to build the future. Just before our arrival here, Austria commemorated the 50th anniversary of the State Treaty which meant the end of the Second World War for the Austrian Republic. So this meeting is extremely timely and taking place on the right “site”, so to speak, for discussing European architecture. Our great fortune, that is to say the great fortune of our generation, is that the situation we are in is much better than that which faced our forefathers, and that we have the means of fashioning and sculpting our architecture.
Europe has three major organisations: the OSCE, which deals with the human, security and economic dimension of the major challenges facing our continent; the Council of Europe, which addresses the human rights field, excels in standard-setting and has, right from the outset, skilfully shaped the cultural and educational dimensions of Europe; and we have the European Union, a political organisation which is much more integrated than the other two and which covers 25 of our Council of Europe member states. Clearly, following the sweeping changes in our continent and the added value which has been provided from various quarters for the range of competences of all three organisations, the various responsibilities overlap and sometimes even compete. This problem of apportionment of responsibilities is very well known. We are in fact particularly familiar with it within the European Union. And we run more or less the same risk with the three European organisations, namely that of not knowing who deals with what, which competences can be considered primary, which are complementary and which should be the subject of co-operation. In my view, we must endeavour to highlight the specific responsibilities of the individual international organisations in order to avoid pitfalls, and, in particular, senseless rivalries, especially between the Council of Europe and the European Union, and to progress in harmony. We must move forward by intensifying our co-operation rather than just staying side-by-side in isolation.
You have suggested mandating me to investigate this co-operation issue. I accept the suggestion with pleasure, because I have always maintained a special relationship with the Council of Europe, a relationship which I would describe as intimate and irrational, rather than actually erotic! When I was a student in Strasbourg I regularly followed the work of the Parliamentary Assembly. Even today, when faced with preparing speeches of a more formal nature than this one, I always base my approach on the reports of the Parliamentary Assembly.
So I am very pleased to take on this assignment. I would just ask you not to set too tight a deadline. I will need some time to think. As President of the European Union, and I would turn here to all the other European Union Prime Ministers and Ministers of Foreign Affairs present, I must first of all settle the problems bound up with the financial prospects. If the other 24 states can efficiently tackle this matter of financial prospects, I will be able to devote myself to my new assignment in the very near future.”
50. Ms B. FERRERO-WALDNER (European Commission) made the following statement:
“As we gather here to salute the achievements of this Organisation, to reaffirm the core values on which Europe is built, and to consider its future role, I am also conscious that just a few days ago we also marked the first anniversary of the European Union's enlargement from an organisation of 15 members to one of 25, and decided to expand to 27. It is therefore a fitting occasion to reflect on how our two organisations can best work together to advance democracy, the rule of law and human rights on the European continent.
Central to the European Union's foreign policy is the desire to improve the effectiveness of multilateral organisations, and to support and promote those fundamental values. We pay tribute to the ideas and principles of the United Nations enshrined in the United Nations Charter and the Universal Declaration on Human Rights. But we strongly believe that regional organisations have a vital role to play implementing those principles and that acting at a regional level is also the right way to respond to our citizens' needs.
On the European continent, the current architecture provides us with the possibility to act through the Council of Europe 46, the OSCE 55, and/or the European Union 25.
Yet this regional architecture is in need of some modernisation if it is to meet the challenges of the twenty-first century.
We welcome the opening of discussions with the view to maximising co-operation and co-ordination between the different organisations. The Commission will take the initiative necessary to negotiate the Memorandum of Understanding with the Council of Europe. Of course, avoiding duplication of effort is important. But it would be too simplistic to have just this objective in mind. Moreover we should not shy away from this debate – each organisation has its own vocation, its particular added value, and as such there is nothing to fear.
We have to look at our comparative advantages. On our part, we are ready to look into strategic priorities to make them coincide. We are committed to further developing activities, programmes and projects which are mutually supportive and reinforcing. This is, for me, the way forward for the European Union/Council of Europe relationship and co-operation.
Although the European Union is growing larger and economically stronger, our external policy remains an essential component of our ambition. Our bilateral agreements with all of the countries present here today, the close relations we have with both the Council of Europe and the OSCE, and our new European Neighbourhood Policy, are all indications of our determination to build a strong and effective new European architecture.
Of course much has already been achieved – there is strong co-operation between the European Commission and the Council of Europe which goes far beyond political rhetoric. As you know we work closely together in the context of European Union enlargement and our Neighbourhood Policy. Rather than develop a parallel system, we make use of the Council of Europe's expertise to monitor the compliance of the candidate countries with what we call the "political" criteria. I got inspiration from this extremely valuable experience in the context of the action plans being developed within the Neighbourhood Policy.
In the same spirit, the use of all possible synergies will be the basis of the establishment of the future European Union Fundamental Rights Agency.
In addition, our joint human rights and democratisation projects have proved extremely effective and are warmly welcomed by the beneficiary countries.
We must and we will build on this.
We also encourage the Council of Europe and the OSCE to look at how best they can work together, avoiding duplications and bringing a real synergy to their work, for example in the field of democratisation and the protection of national minorities.
This Summit marks an important moment for the Council of Europe. I think it has seized the opportunity to give new momentum to its ambitious political objectives. The Council of Europe, as the organisation which was the first to promote the principle of a Europe based on a set of fundamental values, has a vital role to play in responding to the new challenges of the twenty-first century.
As we all face the same challenges the European Union and the Council of Europe must join forces and cooperate better for the benefit of our citizens. The European Commission is ready to take its full share of responsibility and will take the necessary initiatives in this context.”
51. Mr J. P. BALKENENDE (Netherlands) made the following statement:
“Having the floor for the first time at this Summit, I would like to thank you, Chairman, for your hospitality and the efficient organisation and proceedings of this conference. Let me also congratulate Poland with the successful conclusion of its chairmanship. I wish Portugal every success in the execution of its chairmanship of the Committee of Ministers in the months to come.
This month Europe celebrated the end of the Second World War. Each country has its own ceremonies, its own traditions and its own monuments. The forms may be different. But the underlying meaning of every commemoration unites us. We share the living memory of the horrors of that time and the conviction that we must join forces to preserve and protect peace and justice.
I would like to address the three main topics on our agenda and conclude with some remarks about the future of the Council of Europe and the Court.
Europe is a continent of many peoples, historical events, cultures and religions. But what we have in common is the belief that some values are fundamental and universal. Peaceful diversity prospers only when it is firmly anchored in respect for human dignity, democracy and the law. That is the lesson one brutal chapter of our history has taught us.
The Council of Europe has been the guardian of our common values for 56 years. It plays a crucial role in the interaction between European countries. It links 46 countries and eight hundred million people.
It is an organisation of values. And of standards. Standards enshrined in the European Convention on Human Rights and almost two hundred other binding European conventions.
These conventions help to ensure that, in Europe, right, not might, has the final say.
Of course, Europe is not a utopia which has eliminated all injustice and violence. Still, step by step, we have succeeded in making our continent freer, more peaceful and more humane. And on the basis of the standards we share, we can openly criticise one another when we feel injustice.
The process has been taking place for more than fifty years and it must continue.
Achievements can easily be taken for granted. We tend to think of values as possessions we can always count on. But values are never really secure. They require constant attention. And they are a constant call to action.
Today, our values call on us to take a strong position against terrorism and trafficking in human beings – challenges to our shared principles of human dignity and justice.
And to stand up against discrimination and xenophobia. Shutting out groups – excluding certain people – is the first step towards a society ruled by fear. This is why discrimination cannot be tolerated and why we must not only demand strict enforcement of the law but also promote dialogue and awareness.
This is a job for which we need parents, educators and civil society. In my country, volunteers who survived the horrors of the Second World War go with groups of young people from immigrant families to visit the Westerbork transit camp. They speak about their experiences. They answer questions. They show how great the danger of racism and discrimination is.
This teaches young people that Europe is a living mosaic of peoples and groups.
Europe has room for every belief, religion and culture. Attempts to put a fence around European identity would weaken Europe. Such a defensive attitude would not make it stronger, on the contrary, Europe’s strength has always been the free exchange of ideas. As the Polish poet Adam Zagajewski phrased it: “Europe invites criticism as a hallmark of our continent”.
Wherever dialogue takes root, misunderstanding and suspicion lose ground. And it is dialogue that the Council of Europe has fostered in every possible way. For the last fifteen years, this dialogue has helped do away with historical dividing lines in Europe.
One important theme today is the relationship between the Council of Europe and the European Union.
We must never forget that the European Union owes a great deal to the Council of Europe. Many of the values and standards on which the Union is based were identified by the Council and have been enshrined in the European Convention on Human Rights and other conventions.
The Council of Europe was and is a frontrunner in upholding European values. The European Union should remember this.
In 1993, at the First Summit of the Council of Europe, European Commissioner Hans van den Broek said that the Union should become a party to the European Convention on Human Rights. Ratification of the European Constitution by all 25 member states will open the door to doing so. I hope we reach that point soon.
Once this issue has been settled, the European Union and its member states will have to work on their everyday, practical relationship with the Council of Europe. All 25 member states of the Union share a dual responsibility: they are both members of the Council and the Union. Along with 21 other countries, we share a common European house, as Mikhail Gorbachev so rightly observed in Strasbourg in 1989.
What is the best way for the Union and the Council to strengthen one another? Overlapping responsibilities do not produce better results. This is why – as we state in today’s Declaration – we must better coordinate our instruments and our activities. The Union must make much better use of the Council’s potential.
Co-operation, not competition, is the way to meet the challenges we face.
The strength of the Council of Europe is its great legal experience and expertise.
I have in mind the expertise of the Secretariat and specialised entities like the Congress of Local and Regional Authorities of the Council of Europe and the Committee on the Prevention of Torture, the European Commission against Racism and Intolerance, the Venice Commission and the Commissioner for Human Rights.
I am also thinking about the Parliamentary Assembly, an instrument of great value for forming common positions and a democratic outlook. The Netherlands is proud that this body now has a Dutch President, René van der Linden.
All these bodies make the Council an ideal forum for the debate on co-operation between organisations within the European architecture.
We need a Council of Europe that is building bridges between values and actions. Are we prepared to work on strengthening our laws, our democracies, our civil societies and our social cohesion?
The Council is open to every European country prepared to fulfil the rights and obligations which come with accession. But once acceded, members should continue to respect those rights and obligations in their internal policies and in relations with other states. That requires strict monitoring and open debate. Are we prepared to adhere thereto?
We need a Council of Europe which focuses on its core activities – human rights, democracy and the rule of law – and at the same time makes the most of its role as a pan-European meeting place. Are we truly prepared to restrict ourselves to the Council’s core tasks and to provide it with the necessary means? Are we prepared to listen to the Council’s essential messages?
We need a Council of Europe with a Court that guarantees right and justice. The Court is at a crossroads, as President Wildhaber made clear. We do understand that there are limits to its absorption capacity. We will have to find ways to allow the Court to perform its task. With the recent audit reports in hand, my government will look for possible solutions and answers.
We do agree with President Wildhaber that the Group of Wise Persons, envisaged in our concluding documents, should start its work as soon as possible. We agree with Prime Minister Karamanlis that the former President of the Court in Luxemburg, Mr Iglesias, looks indeed like the right person to chair this body.
Ensuring access to the Court, as well as its long term effectiveness, and ensuring that its decisions are honoured has a price. Is it a price we are prepared to pay?
We cannot run away from these questions. And this Summit should provide at least some answers to them.
Our Declaration today is absolutely clear, on one score at least, where it unambiguously states in its first operational paragraph: “The Council of Europe shall pursue its core objective of preserving and promoting human rights, democracy and the rule of law. All its activities must contribute to this fundamental objective.”
Working together with other nations, the Netherlands is prepared to continue down the road of freedom, peace and reconciliation.
And to do so, we are prepared to invest in an effective Council of Europe. A strong organisation of values, standards and actions.”
52. Mr B. CRVENKOVSKI (“the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia”) made the following statement:
“I am greatly honoured to address this eminent gathering, and to express my appreciation to our host, the Republic of Poland, for all the efforts regarding the preparations and organisation of the Third Summit of the Council of Europe. I believe Warsaw is the right place from where we, the member countries of the Council of Europe, can send a strong and clear message to the citizens of Europe that we continue to work for the unity of the continent and for Europe without any dividing lines.
This Third Summit is an excellent opportunity to exchange views on our visions and the specific actions aimed at advancing the construction of a democratic and united Europe. A Europe which is democratic and integrated. A Europe in which human rights, democracy and the rule of law will be preserved and further advanced. A United Europe with fundamental freedoms in the focus of attention; a continent free of terrorism, crime, trafficking in human beings, family violence, discrimination, xenophobia, racism or any other type of violations.
In the last period, European countries have managed to create on our continent an elaborate network of international institutions and organisations, which are primarily characterised by their functionality. In the last few years, the Council of Europe, the OSCE and the European Union have established the basis of the political map of Europe, at the same time setting standards for creating stability and democracy.
The culture of co-operation, solidarity and reaching consensus on important political issues among the member countries of these organisations has been the critical driving force for the development of Europe in political, economic and cultural terms. The gradual development of all major political projects in Europe, among which the reforms at the Council of Europe, the OSCE, and, I believe, the future enlargement of the European Union and NATO, illustrates the fact that the reforms are not only a response to the changed political reality on the continent, but are also a result of the accumulated historical experience of Europeans. Such experience has taught citizens of Europe to be patient, to demonstrate solidarity and be consistent in their decisions, and while finding solutions, to duly take into account the specific features of certain problems.
On the other hand, the present European institutional architecture is developed in a more complex setting than before. Hence, I especially appreciate the fact that the Third Summit of the Council of Europe has taken this issue into full consideration, offering guidelines for advancing interaction, and for more fruitful future co-operation among the Council of Europe, the OSCE and the European Union.
The Republic of Macedonia supports the Guidelines on relations between the Council of Europe and the European Union, which are to practically strengthen the partnership and complementarity of the two organisations. We equally support the Declaration for co-operation between the Council of Europe and the OSCE.
The enlargement of the European Union is an ongoing, dynamic process, which has a substantial impact and far reaching consequences on the transformation and reforms of the European institutional architecture. The unique position of the Council of Europe, as the genuine pan-European organisation, creates the possibility to enhance political dialogue between European Union member countries and countries that are preparing for membership, such as the Republic of Macedonia. This dialogue is of course based on partnership, a respect for European values and a shared interest in a common future.
The fully fledged integration of the Republic of Macedonia into the European Union and NATO is a strategic priority interest, supported by full political, social and inter-ethnic consensus. My country draws its energy for democratic reforms inter alia from the adopted Council of Europe standards for respect for human rights, including the advancement of rights of persons belonging to minorities, the rule of law and development of democracy.
The continuous development of social cohesion, inter-cultural and inter-religious dialogue and attaining European standards in the field of education, health care, transport, telecommunications and other public spheres are a substantial part of our fulfillment of the criteria for entry in the large family of European countries.
I strongly support the establishment of the Council of Europe Forum for the future of democracy. Democratic development requires joint efforts and engagement by politicians, but also by the
non-governmental sector. We have to find specific models for consistent and practical realisation of participatory democracy, in which no one will feel marginalised or insignificant. In making political decisions, it is necessary to duly take into account the interest of each citizen, eliminating at the same time non-participation in the election processes and the so called voters’ fatigue.
Furthermore, it is necessary to make the decision-making processes more transparent and closer to the citizens. I consider that the solutions for these issues are to be located in the three related aspects: greater decentralisation and more comprehensive informing of the public, complete professionalisation of the media and ensuring full freedom of information, and continuous, comprehensive human rights education. In light of the specific situation in member countries, and at the wider European level, we have the overriding duty to make the right decisions, those that will be truly effective and practically functional.
The European Court of Human Rights is one of the special features of the Council of Europe. The Court must not be a victim of its own success. The right to individual application, enabling any individual to lodge an application against any state for violation of individual human rights is an essential accomplishment of our Organisation. We must not allow that such an accomplishment is diminished owing to the large caseload of the Court, causing delayed administration of justice. The Republic of Macedonia supports the reform of the Court and the adjustment of national legal systems to enable more adequate treatment of the violations under the European Convention on Human Rights. We have contributed in this respect by signing and ratifying Protocol No. 14 to the Convention.
International terrorism, crime, corruption and trafficking in human beings are one of today's greatest problems. The Council of Europe addresses these problems under new legal instruments opened for signature at this Summit. The Government of the Republic of Macedonia will consult the relevant institutions at the national level and adopt a decision regarding our accession to these important Council of Europe legal instruments.
I hope that the decisions adopted at this Summit of the Council of Europe will contribute towards strengthening the position and role of this Organisation in the new European architecture. The Council of Europe, as the democratic forum for debates and decision-making at the
inter-governmental, parliamentary and local level, will continue supporting the democratic development of the continent and the strengthening of its unity.”
53. Mr S. SCHMID (Switzerland) made the following declaration:
“Switzerland too considers the European Court of Human Rights as one of the mainstays of the Council of Europe. This is why we do our utmost to support its work. We would therefore call on all member states to ratify Additional Protocol No. 14 to the European Convention on Human Rights without delay. The Court must be able to act efficiently and enjoy conditions enabling it to work quickly and with the requisite independence. I might take this opportunity to thank the Court for all its hard work over the years.
We are also fully behind your idea, Mr President, of asking the Luxembourg Prime Minister to draw up a report on the links between the Council of Europe and the European Union. The two organisations share the same values and should be complementary in their many fields of action. Switzerland sets great store by relations between the EU and the Council of Europe, and would expect both institutions not only to optimise their synergies but also to ensure mutual respect.
Mr President, in entrusting Mr Juncker with this important mission you have made the right choice, a fact which must be stressed because no other public figure is better qualified for succeeding in such a task.
Lastly, I would join with the other delegations in thanking our host for organising this Summit. We were greatly impressed with the welcome we have received and the extremely ambitious goals set for this event. I would therefore extend my wholehearted gratitude to the Polish authorities and the Polish people for their warm hospitality.”
54. Mr I. GASPAROVIC (Slovak Republic) made the following statement:
“By my being here, Slovakia wishes to declare its endorsement of and commitment to the results and commitments of this Summit, which should mark a step forward in the advancement of democracy within the European community. I wish to declare Slovakia’s desire of being a dedicated member of this community and confirm that we firmly stand behind the commitments we made to our partners.
A few weeks ago, we commemorated the first anniversary of the largest EU enlargement round, which also saw my country become an active member of this organisation, which for Slovakia means a new and positively reinforced acceptance in world politics. I recognise that our membership and co-operation in the Council of Europe contributed significantly to this achievement. In many ways, our membership of this Organisation has helped us solidify the foundations upon which we build the democratic, legal and social system of our country. Equal rights and justice for all citizens alike, the rule of law and impartial and politically unbiased decisions – these were the main principles that made us stand firm in the protection of our shared values and in the respect for freedom, democracy and human rights.
The Council of Europe has been acting as a guardian, watching over the ideals of democracy, giving values to its members. Today, with the assistance of the Council of Europe, we can create a conducive environment which bears the promise of a prosperous future for a Europe filled with hope and satisfaction. This is no easy task. And it can only be achieved by putting in place equal conditions, mainly social, economic, education, cultural and political ones. We highly appreciate the member states for being committed to our common cause, turning the component parts of the Council of Europe into a venue of our coming together as we strive to preserve the values of Europe which lie at the very heart of the rules of our civilisation residing in our proud European heritage of principles and ideas.
It was through the European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Rights and, in particular, the European Court of Human Rights that the people of Slovakia became aware of the Council of Europe. This Organisation acts as the human rights watchdog and it is my wish that it would never have to deal with a single application from Slovakia. Alas, the world we live in is far from perfect. Therefore, I will be committed to making sure that, in our country, the enforcement of the European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms is as effective and reliable as possible. In that way we hope to support the European Court of Human Rights as a unique machinery for the protection of human rights. A heavy caseload, coupled with a low effectiveness of the Court, runs counter to one of the very rights protected by the European Convention. Therefore, in my view, improving the human rights protection mechanisms in Slovakia is a major challenge, which, if successfully met, will not only mean a step forward for civil society in Slovakia, but also for the whole European civilisation. Besides, we have no intention of having the European Court of Human Rights act as a substitute for our domestic control mechanisms. Slovakia has therefore made great strides in improving its national system for the protection of human rights. We embrace the reform of the Court aimed at reducing its workload, as adopted by the 114th Session of the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe.
Convinced as I am that Protocol No. 14 to the Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms will help improve the situation of the European Court of Human Rights, I decided to use this Summit to deposit the instrument of ratification of the Protocol and thereby help advance the cause of the Court’s reform. Yesterday’s official ceremony made one appreciate the strong resolve on the part of the Council of Europe member states to see this exercise through. Of course, I do realise that, as a matter of fact, with the ratification and coming into effect of this Protocol, we are only half way there. Also, non-systemic financial aid is far from an ideal solution, because money has always been scarce. The best, most effective and most moral solution dwells
in our very selves. It has to do with respect for the human being, with everyone’s right to fair, equitable and humane treatment. Together, we have to make an effort so that the everyday protection of human rights neither drifts into utopia described at length in textbooks nor becomes the subject of muscle-flexing rhetoric confined to conference halls. It is imperative that we turn the protection of human rights into reality, one for which there is no alternative. It is for this reason that I appreciate the interest of the Council of Europe member states in advancing the cause of human rights protection by agreeing to adopt laws and regulations whose enforcement constitutes the main prerequisite for achieving the desired objective.
Rigorous and consistent enforcement of the Court’s case-law is also a must. Because honouring the European Convention on Human Rights and the case-law of the European Court of Human Rights means honouring the “rule-of-law” principle in practice. We are trying to uphold this principle by enacting legislation that, at times, could be said to be progressive. And we remain confident that our effort will come to fruition and we will see fewer violations in our country.
The times we live in show us new challenges that call for an ever closer and deeper co-operation among democratic countries in order to safeguard the security and prosperity of our people. I therefore cannot avoid addressing the issue of terrorism and fight against organised crime. At the time the Council of Europe was called into life, these kinds of threats were almost unknown and the mechanisms of multilateralism conceived in the previous century are proving to be ineffective today. I highly appreciate that, although dealing with regional or even global security issues goes beyond its mission, the Council of Europe is far from inactive in the face of the threat of international terrorism. To this end, I am very pleased that the Council of Europe member states were able to articulate common positions in respect of the appalling phenomena that we call terrorism. I am confident that, by opening the Convention on the Prevention of Terrorism for signature, this Summit will give us a hopefully useful and effective tool in stamping out terrorist activity and, more importantly, in preventing terror attacks from happening in the first place.
I want to assure you that Slovakia is very serious about the issues of global peace and security. In this regard, I also want to highlight that we are ready to do our bit and act as necessary to assist the UN Security Council – the primary body responsible for global peace and security – in fulfilling its mandate in the 2006-2007 period, during which Slovakia has non-permanent membership.
In the early twentieth century, the important Slovak diplomat and statesman Milan Hodža said the following: “One has to see that the new Europe will be built not only by the European countries individually, but mainly through their common potential which is undoubtedly one of the supporting elements of future peace.” Today, at the dawn of the twenty-first century, in the process of shaping a new European architecture, we can attest to the truth and vision of this statement. I believe that a Europe united on the shared principles of the European Union and the Council of Europe will play a more important role on a global scale and that the new millennium will show how unique our continent is. I am convinced that we will see the rise of a new generation of confident and proud Europeans who, embracing the spiritual richness of our European cultural diversity, will march towards a life in peace and justice.
These ideas of mine find support in the tabled documents – the Warsaw Declaration and the Action Plan, both of which outline possibilities of harnessing the potent complementarities among European states, which arise as a result of concurrent membership in multiple international organisations other than the Council of Europe or the European Union, namely the UN or the OSCE. Rather than being seen as a hindrance to our national interests, these individual memberships should be wielded as a powerful instrument of their development. It is our desire to
have a new Europe that is functional, flexible, but most of all, has a purpose. By the same token, we must not forget to always keep our focus and decisions geared towards the citizen. Because, at the end of the day, the citizen expects us to act as responsible advocates of the civil and democratic safeguards that today’s standard modern society must provide, because justice, human rights and protection of democracy are among the fundamental elements of European society.
Going forward, we have to build a democratic system that counts on the citizens’ active involvement in social life, while offering new forms of social cohesion, protection and care based on solidarity, equality and responsibility.
During the First Summit of the Council of Europe in Vienna in 1993, the Slovak Republic was a fresh member. At the Second Summit of the Council of Europe in 1997, we were still under the close scrutiny of the Council of Europe. Today, at the Third Summit of the Council of Europe, we are a fully fledged member of both NATO and the EU and we would not want to be anywhere else to ensure our further development and prosperity. We want to show that Slovakia is both capable and ready to shoulder its share of the responsibility for creating conditions conducive to a stable and unrestrained development of the people and nations inside Europe. However, there are major geopolitical changes on our continent which have a significant impact not only on young European democracies of the likes of Slovakia. It is inevitable to jointly address and decide on the social and political direction of our countries. The Council of Europe might serve as an exclusive forum, where clear priority would be given to the protection of human rights and the promotion of democratic principles. Slovakia gives its support to a clear definition of the role of the Council of Europe which, in collaboration with international partner organisations – that is, currently in my view the OSCE and the European Union – will underpin democracy and stability in Europe.”
55. Mr B. PARAVAC (Bosnia and Herzegovina) made the following statement:
“I would like to thank the President and the Government of Poland for their hospitality and excellent organisation of this Third Summit, for their initiative in bringing us together, in the historic city of Warsaw and giving us this opportunity to plan for the future of the Council of Europe.
We are gathered here in times when the picture of Europe is changing and being redrawn by the enlargement of the European Union. Our task is to reassert the Council of Europe's role as guardian of the fundamental values common to the whole continent. I see it as a victory over the division of Europe, the opportunity to create a continent of shared, common conceptions of rights and values. The Council of Europe is indeed the place we all consider our home, our family, responsible for watching over the preservation of our values, a true guardian of modern European civilisation.
The Warsaw Summit brings together 46 countries of Europe; a family that has grown rapidly during the two last decades. United under one roof, we are responsible for building the house for everyone.
Fundamental values are built in the foundations of our house and we share a common sincere commitment to democracy, human rights and the rule of law, social cohesion, education and culture, as well as protecting and promoting the long-term success, stability and overall prosperity of all Europeans.
As you know, my country became a member of this family only three years ago. The Council of Europe remains the most important co-operation organisation in Europe for Bosnia and Herzegovina.
On our path to achieving European standards and implementing norms and conventions, the Council of Europe has helped Bosnia and Herzegovina to promote a model of democratic culture, actively involving civil society and citizens, and to combat all forms of exclusion and discrimination.
The importance we attach to our accession to the Council of Europe is proved by the fulfillment of our post-accession commitments, which show that we are on the right track for attaining the European standards for democratic societies and further integration in Europe. Bosnia and Herzegovina has been fully determined to embrace the highest democratic values, and we have been supported by this Organisation, which has made a very constructive contribution to that endeavour.
Bosnia and Herzegovina, as other non-member states of the European Union, needs the Council of Europe to further develop a self-sustainable society, upgrade its standards of democracy, rule of law and respect for human rights to the level needed for the membership in the Union, and encouraging intergovernmental co-operation, in order to help establish and maintain stability in our continent, the hope of enduring peace and the wellbeing of our citizens.
We expect the Third Summit to provide the future orientation for this Organisation, keeping in mind the challenges we are facing.
I believe that Bosnia and Herzegovina is an example of a society based on shared values. Its cultural diversity, melting pot of different religions, cultures, traditions, languages, dialects, folklores, architecture, historic heritage, natural resources, persevered throughout centuries, but were endangered during the years of the dissolution of Yugoslavia. Building inclusive, stable, and peaceful societies, based on shared values, means that these values need to be rekindled in the minds and hearts of every generation. That is what we are doing in Bosnia and Herzegovina right now, and with the welcome assistance of our Organisation.
The experience of the Western Balkans countries shows how, too often, we were told that our youngsters and young professionals have so many abilities and so few, or no opportunities. This is our historic chance to correct this injustice. To achieve real unity of our continent, we should provide an environment of equal opportunities for everyone. Every one of our 800 million fellow Europeans should have the same opportunities. Phenomena like extreme nationalism and xenophobia come from ignorance. We should let young people travel and learn from meeting each other and enriching their knowledge and experience.
The main challenges have important educational and cultural dimensions. The understanding of democratic values and the value of cultural diversity are fundamental elements in the promotion of peaceful co-existence and co-operation in Europe. To strengthen European identity we have to enhance our co-operation in the sphere of culture, education and intercultural dialogue, and that is the only way to successfully combat intolerance, xenophobia and signs of racism. We must teach our children that our diversity, our common and our individual cultural heritage are a gift to us all. That is the least we have to do.
We are witnessing here today the beginning of a new, united Europe, undivided and united in its commitment to democracy and respect for human rights. Europe united in pledging a better future for its citizens, and making respect for human rights an integral part of the daily lives of people living in Europe.
We believe that this Summit should reaffirm the role of the Council of Europe as a true pan-European body which can create a framework for initiatives of common interest and take concrete steps in the fight against international terrorism, corruption and organised crime, and in combating trafficking in human beings. We all want to better the world today to provide our children with a healthy basis to develop stability and prosperity and promote European values beyond the borders of this continent. That is what we owe to our children, and to the founders of this Organisation as well.
The fight against corruption and organised crime is the field in which we still need assistance from international bodies, and especially more efficient regional co-operation. In this regard, we warmly welcome the PACO and CARDS programmes aimed at strengthening of our own capabilities to fight corruption and organised crime.
Bosnia and Herzegovina therefore endorses the three conventions concerning the prevention of terrorism, action against trafficking in human beings as well as money laundering and financing of terrorism.
Bosnia and Herzegovina supports the Action Plan for this Summit and will actively cooperate in its implementation. We also endorse all parts of the draft Declaration. We do so in the firm belief that the Council of Europe is and will continue to be indispensable to the peoples of Europe as the guardian of stability, democratic security and respect of human rights.
We are aware that the Western Balkans is a region of major attention for the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe. We appreciate their last decision as regards monitoring reports on the compliance with post-accession obligations and co-operation programmes, which from now on are going to be issued twice a year. This represents a clear positive message from Strasbourg to Brussels, and we all know that the road to Brussels goes exclusively through Strasbourg.
We understand that full and unconditional co-operation with the ICTY remains an important task and obligation for the states in the region, and we will continue with our efforts to prove our co-operation is full and sincere. This is a visible sign of our progress towards European Union structures and the European family of nations.
Let me conclude with expressing my firm belief that Europe should establish its unity exactly in its diversity, and that Europe should use its wealth for the wellbeing for all.
We must go beyond all narrow boundaries and look forward to the exciting decades of common prosperity in this century of a united Europe.”
56. Mr R.T. ERDOĞAN (Turkey) made the following statement:
“There is an effort to redefine the role of the Council of Europe in the light of the current transformation in the world. The Council of Europe already fulfils an important role and it should pursue its valuable work in promoting and monitoring the standards in the fields of human rights, democracy and the rule of law.
After the last enlargement of the European Union, its member states now constitute the majority of the Council of Europe. This fact should not lead to radical changes in the competencies and working principles of the Council. To the contrary, the Council of Europe, committed to a continent without dividing lines, should pursue its role in fundamental areas.
A Europe without dividing lines and a Europe tackling common problems can better obtain those goals of co-operation between European institutions.
We should not become a hostage of historic events. We should look forward and look into archives, search for realities and evaluate history in those terms.
It was indeed not my intention to take up this issue today in my speech, but the genocide claims that were brought up yesterday prompted me into doing so. Today, in the Turkish Grand National Assembly, my party, together with the opposition, made an appeal to seek the truth: we are disappointed by lobbying efforts that are not based on documents and realities. Actions taken by other parliaments will not have positive effects on the issue. As the Republic of Turkey, we have opened all our archives. We have declassified more than one million documents. We are also opening up our military archives and we ask Armenia to do the same. If other countries have pertinent information in their archives, we also ask them to come forward. Let us focus on documents, realities and if there is any decision that needs to be taken, historians, legal experts, and political experts should get together and prepare their conclusions. This should constitute a basis upon which the politicians can proceed from. Forwarding unfounded claims and relying on lobbying activities and on decisions taken by other parliaments based on these false claims is not fair, to say the least. Before proceeding to the political level, concrete conclusions should be drawn up by experts. Political decisions need to be based upon concrete documents. This is a prerequisite.
Every institution has expertise. We should make full use of this expertise and avoid any repetitions and loss of time. Here, the enlargement process of the Union and the relations between the Council of Europe and the European Union necessitates the establishment of good foundations. Due to the policy choice of some countries, the EU enlargement process will not embrace the whole of Europe. This means that the Council of Europe will continue to be the pan-European institution; we need to have a common legal basis and we would like to see the Fundamental Rights Agency of the EU serve not as a duplication, but as an opportunity to further increase co-operation with the Council of Europe. I fully support the President of Poland and the Prime Minister of Luxembourg as to their comments on the future of the European Union and the Council of Europe and their proposal for a study of this co-operation. Mr Juncker is indeed a very experienced statesman. I believe that he is going to be the most suitable person for such work. I wish him good luck in this work. Finally, I would like to thank our Polish hosts for their hospitality.”
57. Mr D. RUPEL (OSCE Chairman-in-Office) made the following statement:
“It is a great pleasure for me to be able to attend this Summit and address you as Chairman-in-Office of the OSCE, one of the Council of Europe’s closest partners.
Today we stand at a turning point in European history. The enlargement of NATO and the EU last year threw down an additional challenge for our organisations, which must redefine their roles at this time of major change in Europe’s political situation.
2005 is also a year of anniversaries, giving us an opportunity to think back on the past before tackling our future objectives.
Last week we celebrated the sixtieth anniversary of the end of the Second World War in Europe. It was an opportunity for remembering all those who lost their lives during the worst tragedy of the twentieth century and of honouring all those who fought for the victory of freedom and humanity against dictatorship, oppression and aggression.
The Cold War caused a fresh profound division throughout the world, splitting it into two opposing blocs. Thirty years ago, 35 Heads of State and Government signed the Helsinki Final Act setting up the Conference on Security and Co-operation in Europe. The Helsinki Process greatly facilitated détente between East and West and helped us to heal the splits in Europe.
After the collapse of the Berlin Wall and the political transformations in central and eastern Europe, the OSCE Heads of State and Government signed the Paris Charter for a new Europe, undertaking to promote and help construct democratic institutions throughout the region covered by the Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe.
The Council of Europe has developed a sophisticated range of treaties, conventions and instruments to strengthen the democratic foundations of the new Europe. For its part, the OSCE is continuing its endeavours to strengthen democratic institutions and promote viable civil society in the transition countries. The OSCE remains committed to preventing and resolving ethnic conflicts in our region and to address new threats to European security, such as terrorism, organised crime and illegal trafficking.
I believe that it is no coincidence that the United Nations, the OSCE and the Council of Europe are aIl now discussing reform. Organisations created in the aftermath of the Second World War or in the period of mistrust between CoId War opponents now find themselves in completely different circumstances and must change to retain their relevance.
The OSCE is undergoing a process of transformation to make it more efficient and transparent, so that it will be of even greater benefit to the people of its participating states. Slovenia has chosen "Reform, Revitalise and Rebalance" as its motto for this year's OSCE chairmanship. Reform is the centrepiece of the Slovenian chairmanship, as was reflected in my appointments to the Panel of Eminent Persons which will present its report next month.
The OSCE's enhanced co-operation with the Council of Europe is a good example of how the reform of our respective organisations should be accompanied by stronger ties between us in the pursuit of our common goals.
Our partnership must be anchored in a strong set of common values. While the architecture of Europe may change, the foundations stay the same. Democratic values and respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms remain at the core of the OSCE's concept of comprehensive security.
ln the Istanbul Charter for European Security, the OSCE undertook to strengthen relations with organisations that promote comprehensive security in the OSCE region. The Council of Europe and OSCE not only share similar objectives but also similar memberships, with a couple of important exceptions from Asia and Northern America.
For this reason, it is necessary that the OSCE and the Council of Europe pool the available resources and enhance synergy between the two organisations. I believe that both organisations – and the States that are part of them – should, as a rule, look at existing resources before planning new initiatives. Europe has a high concentration of expertise in human rights and the rule of law that should be properly channelled and used effectively.
Some political actors would like to introduce into the relations between the OSCE and the Council of Europe, not subsitution but competition and "forum shopping". This would be a harmful direction to take. The Council of Europe and the OSCE must continue to coexist and cooperate. They reinforce each other, the same way other European organisations, for instance the EU and NATO, are reinforcing each other. The OSCE is an addition to the Council of Europe, the same way NATO is an addition to the European Union.
I applaud my Norwegian and Bulgarian colleagues, who started this process last year, and Poland with whom we have worked closely this year to see the project through. Today, the Polish Foreign Minister, Adam Daniel Rotfeld, and myself signed a joint statement that highlights the Declaration on Co-operation between the OSCE and the Council of Europe. The Declaration is a manifestation of the determination to see closer co-operation between the OSCE and the Council of Europe.
On election monitoring, I believe that the sound foundation of co-operation between the OSCE/ODIHR and the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe should continue. The fundamental principles on democratic elections bind our organisations together in the ultimate pursuit of genuine democratic governance. Our joint monitoring efforts enhance confidence, transparency and accountability of an election process. Co-operation between the OSCE/ODIHR and the Venice Commission in the review of election legislation helps emerging democracies to bring their legislation more closely in line with democratic standards.
The two organisations must ensure that our efforts in the field of tolerance and non-discrimination complement existing activities. We can also draw on each other's expertise in the protection of persons belonging to national minorities, Roma and Sinti, combating trafficking in human beings and in the fight against terrorism.
As we reflect on momentous past events that have shaped modern history, we should appreciate how far we have come in building a world united on the basis of common democratic values.
While we may have our differences, these are the differences that we debate rather than fight over. We have forums where we can seek to resolve them, a clear set of common standards, and instruments to assist each other in implementing our commitments.
I welcome this Summit as a way of assessing, reaffirming and strengthening the co-operation between the OSCE and the Council of Europe.”
58. Mr T. PAPADOPOULOS (Cyprus) made the following statement:
“I am delighted to be here to join colleagues at this historic gathering of the Council of Europe in Warsaw and I would like to offer warm and sincere congratulations to Poland for its excellent organisation.
Europe's history of the last centuries can be told through wars, conflicts and revolutions which resulted in the constant drawing and redrawing of the lines of the map. However, under the burden of history, we have realised that there is more that unites Europeans than divides us. We understood that continuous co-operation, not battlefields, must be the way forward. We put behind us the past, outlawed its horrors and started building a common future for our people.
We have established the Council of Europe and have given real meaning to the notion of co-operation between sovereign states. Through relentless efforts, at times arduous, we embarked on constructing peaceful societies, coexisting harmoniously with each other. These societies are of course diverse, but based on common principles, on common values and on common standards and the respect of the rights and liberties of each individual. Our goal is a Europe of peace, stability and most importantly understanding; a continent founded on the principles of democracy, the rule of law and human rights.
The visionary founders of the European Union and the previous fifteen members of the European Union, have opened the great horizons of a reunified Europe. Now, the European Union of 25 countries took up the torch and follows the avenue which they have opened.
We are all in agreement that so far the course of the Council of Europe has been, on the whole, a success story. We have identified and codified a set of shared values. We granted for the first time an international right of individual petition for human rights violations. We took considerable steps in initiating human rights monitoring mechanisms, empowered to assess and evaluate each and every state. Finally, we are about to conclude successfully the enlargement and transformation of the Council of Europe into the wider European platform of co-operation.
Our achievements are hard-gained and noteworthy. As such they must be safeguarded and strengthened. At the same time, they must serve as the basis of the future course of our Organisation. This is our great responsibility and our great challenge.
In this respect, we welcome most warmly and support the proposal of the President made this morning to entrust the distinguished and highly respected Prime Minister of Luxembourg, Jean-Claude Juncker, to report on the relationship between the Council of Europe and the European Union.
Undoubtedly, the greatest achievement of this Organisation is the European Convention of Human Rights and its supervisory mechanism. The Convention must remain the essential reference point of protection of human rights in Europe as a whole. We need to secure, irrespective of cost or political considerations, the credibility and the long term effectiveness of the Convention's system and the values it represents. This is our single most important responsibility. It is our duty towards 800 millions Europeans, to the world in general and to the human rights movement. We must rise to this challenge and we must complete by May 2006 the reform provided for in Protocol No. 14.
At the same time, we should proceed in providing the Court with all resources necessary for its enduring smooth and unhindered functioning. We should also make the conditions of service of the judges attractive enough in order to ensure further excellence in its composition and its absolute independence. Finally, we should elaborate without further delay all those additional measures which are essential in securing the future effectiveness of the Convention and the Court. To this end, the proposed establishment of a panel of eminent and independent international personalities is the step in the right direction that has our full support. We also support the proposal for the appointment of the former President of the ECJ, Mr Rodríguez Iglesias, as chairman of this panel.
Human rights values and their protection, as Judge Tanaka argued in the South West Africa cases, should be accorded primacy. Human rights should be placed beyond any internally or internationally expressed will of states. National interests and political expediencies should not be relevant to their enforcement. Today more than ever, multilateralism and unconditional implementation rather than unilateralism and defiance should prevail when it comes to human principles. The Republic of Cyprus has always committed itself to these principles.
We must now reevaluate the practical application of our collective duty to enforce human rights. Our most urgent task is to address the long standing fundamental question of the execution of the Court's judgments. The execution of all judgments, within a reasonable time frame, is indispensable for the credibility of the Convention. We must finally react to this acute problem and our response must be immediate and courageous. Failure to address this effectively will undermine the achievements of the last 50 years and put at risk the very foundations of European human rights protection. Above all, it will be a great disappointment to our own citizens, who trust the Council of Europe as the most efficient human rights protection system worldwide.
We, Cypriots, are particularly sensitive when it comes to safeguarding and further promoting the achievements and common values of the Council of Europe. After all, Cyprus' history has been a constant struggle to maintain its unity and sovereignty. Our recent history has been marked by grave violations of fundamental human rights of our citizens by the foreign military forces, which occupy about 37% of Cyprus. The unresolved humanitarian issue of the fate of the missing persons, only to mention one, is proof to that.
There is an urgent need for restoration and respect of human rights of all Cypriots. It is my firm belief that the contemporary aspirations of the parties involved in the Cyprus problem can and should contribute towards restoration of human rights on the island.
Our common aim should be to build a region anchored in our determination to resolve divisions by peaceful means and in accordance with international and European principles. Our commitment to that has been repeatedly declared; I will spare no effort in striving through negotiations to truly and effectively reunify our country, its people, society, territory, economy and institutions.
The history of the Council of Europe has been, as I said earlier, a success story mainly because of the willingness of European states to cooperate in finding common solutions to their differences. It is therefore imperative that all of us start making proper use and applying this founding cooperative principle of European integration.
In conclusion, Cyprus expects that this Summit will mark the beginning for a strong and refocused Council of Europe, uniting its member states under a common identity of shared values and principles. The Council should concentrate on the areas in which it excels, with the primacy given to the consolidation and unconditional enforcement of human rights norms and standards. This is the vision of Cyprus for the Council of Europe of the twenty-first century.”
59. Mr G. SCHROEDER (Germany) made the following statement:
“Over the last few days Europe and the whole world have been engaged in commemorating the 60th anniversary of the end of the Second World War, which had been started by Germany. It was highly moving to witness the men and women of Germany and the peoples of Europe celebrating the liberation of our continent from such scourges as Nazi domination, war, terror, oppression and occupation. For decades after this war, Europe, and Germany, were painfully divided by walls, barbed wire and the Iron Curtain. Fortunately, the peaceful revolutions in eastern Europe have ended this painful, unnatural division of our continent. Many courageous and far-sighted men and women have contributed to this process.
I would like to take the opportunity of our visit to Warsaw to pay tribute to the work of Solidarity and Pope John Paul II. The Council of Europe has also played a major role here. When the Council was inaugurated in May 1949, Europe was already facing the so-called Cold War. Politically, the continent was divided into Eastern and Western Europe. Initially, only the western part of Europe could therefore belong to the Council of Europe.
Nevertheless, the Council was not an alliance against the others, but rather an organisation which distinguished itself by promoting universal values and co-operation among states which undertook to respect these values. This aspiration and this mission continue to this day. The Council of Europe’s noblest attributions still include promoting democracy, the rule of law, human rights and the rights of minorities.
The Council is particularly well suited to this task because its 46 member states make it a genuinely pan-European organisation.
The system for protecting human rights as collectively secured under the European Convention on Human Rights covers over 800 million individuals, from Iceland to Vladivostok and from North Cape to the Mediterranean and Black Seas.
This was all made possible by the Council of Europe’s reaction to the political upheaval and the end of an era in 1989 and 1990. The Council rapidly opened its doors to the central and east European states, thus providing them with sustained assistance in their reform processes.
The Council’s Parliamentary Assembly had the prescience to grant special guest status to parliamentary delegations from the countries in question in May 1989, thus enabling parliamentarians from these emerging democracies very quickly to take part in the work of the committees and even plenary Assembly sessions. This pioneering role in paving the way for a new democratic, peaceful and co-operative order throughout Europe is the true hallmark of the Council of Europe.
This is why we cannot do without this institution. However, there is one rule which also holds true for the Council of Europe: if we want to be prepared for the future in a time of rapid change, we must not rest on our laurels.
We must join forces in order to facilitate and improve the functioning of the European Court of Human Rights. Consequently, Protocol No. 14 must come into force without delay, and Germany will be doing all it can to ensure that this happens.
The safeguard of freedom of expression and of the media is another important topic. The Council of Europe’s political mandate requires it to define the relevant standards in this field.
We are currently facing the challenge of combating three afflictions on humankind, namely terrorism, trafficking in human beings and money laundering. At this Summit, the Council of Europe has opened a number of major conventions on these subjects for signature. My government will be endeavouring to sign and ratify these treaties in the near future, so that these major legal instruments can come into force as soon as possible.
Our Summit is also concerned with the issue of relations between the Council of Europe and the other international organisations. Duplication must be avoided wherever possible. I am thinking mainly of relations between the European Union and the Council of Europe. Jean-Claude Juncker mentioned this matter this morning, and I am sure that he will successfully carry out all the work with which we will be entrusting him.
The Guidelines which we are to adopt during this encounter provide new prospects for co-operation between the two organisations. Even though many points of detail still have to be settled, we must single-mindedly turn this opportunity to good account.
The Council of Europe could also intensify its role in selected “future-oriented fields”. I consider this Organisation well placed to pay extra attention to current legislative challenges in such fields as biomedicine and biotechnology. The Council of Europe is a pioneer in this area, and it can continue to play a vital role here in the future.”
60. Mr A. MOISIU (Albania) made the following statement:
“Allow me at the outset to express my heartfelt thanks to the host country and to highly appreciate the excellent organisation of this important Summit, which is the third in the history of Europe and the first in the new century. Europe has positively evolved since the Summit of 1997. New former communist countries have joined the European family. I have the pleasure to emphasise that the South-East Europe region has also changed for the better. The ethnic war and conflicts have been replaced by understanding and co-operation. There is a political will among us to be integrated in the European Union. The Thessalonica Summit confirmed our European future. The values of Europe are also our values. We are conscious about that great cohesion required by the time and that inclusive unity that the democratic Europe requires.
In this framework of historical developments, the voice and the strength of the new community is being enriched by new dimensions. The reaction of the continent to the events and humanitarian catastrophe in Kosovo, to the genocide in Bosnia and all the way to Afghanistan and in a wider context, the reaction against international terrorism are examples of a joint and successful co-operation and reaction. A united Europe is no longer a dream. It is our project for the future. This transmits optimism and unites the people; it feeds hopes for a better and safer future.
The European identity is appearing to us and we are living through it as a community of values, cultures and traditions that share common interests. In the countries with young democracies and integration aspirations, we look up with admiration to the success of our neighbours of the former Eastern block and try to gain from their experience. The values of freedom, democracy and the free market kept our hopes alive even in the most difficult times. You, but also our citizens, naturally have some criticisms and misgivings about the level of democracy, about which there is full understanding, but what it is important is that we do not doubt the need for European democracy and values.
Soon Albania will mark the tenth anniversary of its accession in the Council of Europe. These years for us have been not only years of joint engagements and challenges, but also of the proof that we without a doubt belong amongst European values. We come from an extreme totalitarian dictatorship and being such, in our country the needs for change do not appear only in the economic system, in the rule of law and in building democratic institutions, but also in the founding of a new mentality, which is a complex process that requires hard work, energy and courage. On this occasion, I thank the Council of Europe and the member countries for the help given to my country in order to get Albania closer quickly to the European values and standards.
The move from a totalitarian system, where human rights are limited by law, into a democratic system, where the defence and guarantee of human rights is the main principle of the state functioning, is a complex process that is carried out gradually. We are conscious that without the expressed and guaranteed freedoms of the citizens, we cannot have a democratic society.
In a wider framework, Albania believes in the principles of the defence and promotion of human rights and thinks that the European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms is the main legal instrument that ensures the highest defence system of human rights in the pan-European space. The Albanians, the way they believe in the European values, the same way they also trust its justice. Lately, for the very first time, there have cases when the European Court has positively judged and weighted the complaints of some Albanian citizens. This is getting the European institutions closer to the citizens.
The Council of Europe has been active in Albania during these years in the fields of human rights, strengthening of democratic institutions, tackling racism and intolerance, reforming the legal and judiciary system, decentralisation, in the fight against trafficking of human beings and in the assistance given for the better drafting and implementation of the laws that guarantee the defence of minorities. The activity of the Council of Europe office and the visits of the missions of the Council of Europe have founded by now a precious tradition in our relations with the Council of Europe.
The promotion of the functional and pluralist democracy is one of the primary objectives of the Council of Europe. Albania has entered in the electoral campaign for the parliamentary elections, which will be held on 3 July. These elections are widely considered as the most important political challenge for our country since the years 1991-92. For this reason, our attention is now focused on how to conduct free and fair elections, freed from the problems that have been remarked upon in the past and which conform to European standards and values, because they are the foundation of a true and real democracy.
We can say that these elections will put an end to the political transition and we can take a fundamental step forward in strengthening of democracy and on our Euro-Atlantic path. The electoral process in general is progressing well. The recent signature of the Code of conduct by all the parliamentary parties was a positive achievement. We expect a civilised electoral campaign where the programmes and alternatives should compete and the will of the people will come out as the winner.
In light of the principles of the Council of Europe, Albania has reason to believe that it is progressing in the right direction. Today there is no longer any real basis for social and political crisis; civil society's role has increased, the media in its diversity manages to transmit information to the public, the model of the rule of law that we strive to build is becoming more and more of a reality. Albania has been engaged even further in a reform of its laws and institutions in accordance with European norms. We are fully engaged in the implementation of the fourth Programme of Co-operation with the Council of Europe, in response to the need for strengthening the quality and effectiveness of the legal system.
An active part of this commitment is the strengthening of the legislative process, real independence from politicians, training of judges and prosecutors, legal education, training in administrative law, reforming the penitentiary system, the fruitful co-operation of the Albanian institutions with the Venice Commission, the deepening of the fight against corruption and organised crime by implementing also the Convention of the Council of Europe on laundering, search, seizure and confiscation of the proceeds from crime and on the financing of terrorism.
On a wider level, Albania appreciates the condemnation of terrorism through the Convention of the Council of Europe for the Prevention of Terrorism and we commit ourselves to taking all the necessary measures in co-operation with other European countries in order to strike it a decisive and unified blow.
On the regional level, Albania has been playing a positive and stabilising role. Thanks to our common efforts, the Balkans of today offers a different picture from that of only a few years ago. It has left behind the period of ethnic conflicts and wars and is embarking on the road of bilateral understanding and co-operation. What is more important, it sees the future in the integration in the Euro-Atlantic structures. However, we cannot say that our region has freed itself from its problems, which are related to the legacy of the former Yugoslavia. A typical case in point is Kosovo. The solution of the Kosovo problem allows for no delays as any further delay might destabilise the situation there, which in turn, could send tremors throughout the region. We believe that after the disintegration of Yugoslavia, which no longer exists, Kosovo deserves a clear Euro-Atlantic future, which will come about through a free expression of the will of all its inhabitants, in close co-operation and understanding with the international factors.
Within a few years we have managed to build relations of partnership and friendship through intensive co-operation with all the countries of the region, including those with whom we have shared great problems in the past. The good neighbouring policy and the intensive co-operation with our neighbours correspond also with the values of the Council of Europe on the need for dialogue and social and cultural exchanges.
Six months ago, Albania became the host country of the presidents of the region in a political and academic manifestation on the inter-ethnic and inter-religious dialogue. We are proud that our model of coexistence among three different religious faiths represents a great national value, which is already recognised beyond our region and which is very important at the present. We shared this value with the others and stressed the need of the improvement of the inter-ethnic dialogue through the education of young generations. In our viewpoint, education is the basic tool that allows us to develop the long-term dialogue ensuring the participation of all.
Seen this way, the increase in the quality of education, civil education and the joint projects in various fields will help strengthen understanding and co-operation. Alongside it, co-operation in the cultural field also plays an important role in deepening the inter-cultural dialogue and also in safeguarding diversity and European cultural heritage.
The Council of Europe is based on the concept of a unique Europe, without dividing lines and differences because of nationalities and religious beliefs. The system of values that led to the creation and later on the continuous enhancing and strengthening of the European Union, is guiding us in the reforms that we want to carry out and the model we want to build. The strengthening of our ties, the holding of as many joint activities as possible, the separation and the exchange of our values and experiences will make it possible for us to get closer, to join together and unite as a community in cohesion and as a common European family, with room for all.
During the Summit we will open for signature three conventions, which are an important part of our future responsibilities. Due to a lack of time required to conduct the internal legal process, I am sorry that I cannot participate today in the signing of these conventions. I would however, like to assure you that the Albanian Government, in accordance with the priorities of its programme, is committed to signing these important acts as soon as possible.
Once again, I am convinced that each country individually and all of us together will manage to successfully face and overcome the challenges that lay ahead of our countries and societies. Albania will have an active role in this task.”
61. Mr E. MAMMADYAROV (Azerbaijan) made the following statement:
“I will just try to share Azerbaijan's view with regard to the European architecture, and the situation where Europe continues to face a number of risks and challenges. The eventual outcome of this standoff will mainly be determined by how effective we are in preparing the European architecture to react to those threats.
We, in Europe, are still in the process of evaluating the risks and challenges, including extremism, aggressive separatism, acquisition of territories by force or through ethnic cleansing, as well as of the threat they pose to stability and the sustained development of all parts of Europe. There is a multi-dimensional nature of security which includes military, economic, humanitarian and other dimensions.
Azerbaijan’s capability of reacting to the threats depends greatly on the effectiveness of co-operation within the framework of the European and Euro-Atlantic structures. One of the major obstacles hampering democracy-building is obviously the unsettled conflicts in the Eurasian space. Settlement efforts by the international community still have not yielded any tangible results and separatist regimes continue to operate on the uncontrolled territories, which emerged as a result of the conflicts.
Obviously such a condition seriously undermines international peace, serves with the dissemination of risks and threats to security, negatively impacts the European integration processes and jeopardises the stable future of a united Europe. The acquisition of territories by force and ethnic cleansing are in total contradiction to European values. Europe, having suffered from the most destructive wars and conflicts, has come to the understanding that the genuine prosperity of nations cannot be achieved through the struggle for living space and creation of ethnic kingdoms, but rather through the development of co-operation, democracy and respect for human rights, encouragement and support of poly-ethnic and multi-cultural communities. Undoubtedly, each of the disputes in post-war Europe had its own features, but somehow the problems were resolved by peaceful means, and on the basis of respect to the territorial integrity of states.
The experience of European states in solving these problems should serve as guidance for new democracies having embarked upon the course towards European integration. Different forms of self-rule that give proper weight to the specific interests of local ethnic communities applied in many countries of the continent, provide enough persuasive and pragmatic examples of the peaceful democratic development of multi-national societies within indivisible states. Against the background of this civilised experience, armed expansionist and secessionist activities resemble a throw-back to the extremely primitive and disastrous approach, where weapons and bigoted ideologists were its driving force.
Based on such a vision, we foresee the peaceful resolution of the conflict between Armenia and Azerbaijan through the reintegration of territories presently uncontrolled by the constitutional authorities, the return of displaced populations to their places of origin, ensuring the peaceful coexistence of Armenian and Azerbaijani communities of the Nagorno-Karabakh region of Azerbaijan with full guarantees of their security. Indulgence to aggressive separatism, attempts to secession of territories and conservation of conflicts can not be tolerated by the civilised Europe, united by common aims and values.
All of us, members of the European family, have to apply strong efforts for the earliest resolution of so-called frozen conflicts in the interest of the consolidation of democracy and ensuring a secure future of the European community.”
62. Mr D. ODDSSON (Iceland) made the following statement:
“Allow me to thank the Polish chairmanship for providing the venue for the Third Summit of the Council of Europe. The excellent organisation and warm hospitality are much appreciated.
European unity can only be achieved by the pursuit of the fundamental values of democracy, human rights and the rule of law. Their denial led to last century's divisions and tragedies in the continent. Today we are meeting in a country which suffered heavily from the assault on these values, and which in later years was in the forefront of re-establishing them.
With its distinguished history, unique experience and continent-wide membership, the Council of Europe is in an exceptional position to promote and protect these principles and help ensure freedom and prosperity.
Work is in progress in the United Nations to bring about much needed reform of that organisation so that it can effectively counter threats to global security. Europe is as sensitive as the rest of the world to terrorism, tyranny, organised crime, poverty, and disease. The Council can make a vital contribution to reducing the danger from these threats.
Proposals to create a new Human Rights Council within the United Nations, following growing criticism of present arrangements, highlight the strength of the Council of Europe's human rights institutions. The powerful mechanism of the European Court of Human Rights is particularly to be admired. The Court provides impartial decisions on whether states are upholding their obligations under the European Convention on Human Rights. The contrast with the approach and activities of the United Nations Commission on Human Rights could not be greater.
The European Court of Human Rights is thus an institution to be cherished. It is at the centre of the Council of Europe. The Court, however, faces a crisis due to a growing backlog of cases, which will eventually undermine it and threaten the credibility of the Council. The resolution of this crisis is the most important immediate task.
As regards the long-term effectiveness of the Court, Iceland favours establishing a panel of eminent persons to consider the issue. A guiding principle should be that the Court should pay careful attention to the selection of cases. It needs to avoid straying into becoming a Court of final appeal for all civil cases between citizens and their states. It should concentrate on cases involving breaches of fundamental human rights.
Member states can also do their part. Applications can be reduced with domestic remedies such as increased awareness by domestic courts of the case-law of the European Court of Human Rights and adequate training in Convention standards as listed in the Action Plan.
The three new conventions now opened for signature address some of the most urgent and serious challenges to our societies, namely terrorism, criminal activity which finances terrorism, and trafficking in human beings which represents a shameful chapter in the recent history of the continent. I am particularly pleased to note that the Convention on the Prevention of Terrorism takes full account of standards for safeguarding human rights and democracy in its application.
The Council of Europe must continue to focus on its core mission to ensure the respect for democracy, human rights and the rule of law. Other activities are secondary and only justified if they clearly support the core mission. Iceland strongly supports current proposals for continued reform of the Council’s organisational structures to meet the realities and priorities of today.
The Council of Europe was established as the continent emerged from the ruins of the Second World War. During the Cold War it was active in the defence of freedom. Since then it has made a critical contribution to European security by assisting the countries of Central and Eastern Europe to consolidate democracy. Its mandate remains clear. I am convinced that the Council will continue to be a powerful guardian of democratic security and a force for unity in Europe.”
63. Mr S. LAVROV (Russian Federation) made the following statement:
“The concept of European architecture encompasses not only the organisations operating on the European continent but also the entire fabric of relations between peoples and states. We are in favour of co-operation and complementarity, and it would appear that no one disputes those aims. Above all, in the context of globalisation, which has the unfortunate flip-side of globalising risks and threats, the need for qualitatively different European interaction has never been greater.
However, the reality is such that the system of European organisations and institutions that has come together is currently lacking in effectiveness and not fully in line with the requirements of the moment. The Council of Europe is in danger of being turned into a junior partner of the more dynamic structure, but more limited in terms of membership, of the European Union. There are serious problems of geographical and functional imbalance in European organisations' activities and duplication and parallel efforts in their work, resulting in a dispersal of the resources we so badly need. The forms of co-operation proposed to the states often do not correspond to their real needs and wishes and are sometimes even obsessive. Yet the authority and effectiveness of international organisations hinges directly on how much they are needed by the member states. In our view, the time has come for a serious, multilateral discussion of the entire range of problems of European architecture, including at the highest political level.
We welcome the proposal that the present EU Council President, Jean-Claude Juncker, head up work on preparing a report on relations between the Council of Europe and the European Union. It is important to develop a similar dialogue with the OSCE too.
We believe that the Council of Europe must become one of the initiators and organisers of a carefully and multilaterally prepared "Europe Summit" with the full involvement of all European organisations and institutions. We would see the aim of such a Summit as strengthening the unity of the European continent for the purpose of upholding common ideals and principles.
One tangible means of harmonising and increasing the effectiveness of the work of all European structures could be to adopt a convention on common principles and criteria for holding democratic elections, a draft of which is currently being examined by the Council of Europe.
Russia is willing to enter into effective partnership with all countries to resolve global problems – from coming up with efficient responses to the deterioration of the environment to exploring space, from preventing technological disasters to tackling the threat from the spread of Aids. And, of course, we are prepared to join forces in combating international terrorism, transfrontier organised crime and drug trafficking.
As far as the Council of Europe is concerned, we believe that it cannot become some kind of instrument or intermediary. In order to remain relevant and needed, the Council must stick to its historically justified roles as the builder of a common European legal area and an exacting and just champion of a single set of high standards applicable to all Europeans in the area of democracy and human rights, including, needless to say, the fundamental right to life and security. To carry out this role, the Council will need to be courageous and discerning, but it is the only proper way to go for an organisation on which millions of Europeans continue to pin their hopes for a better future for our continent.
Our common task, now more than ever, is to do our utmost to ensure that the Council of Europe continues to build on its contribution to the construction of a truly Greater Europe without dividing lines.”
64. Mr J. MINOVES TRIQUELL (Andorra) made the following statement:
“The architecture of Europe is the subject we have come to address here today, the second day of the Council of Europe Summit. Europe is diverse and multicultural. Over the centuries, on a foundation of common roots, it has built up a mosaic of similar but uniquely different countries which, since the end of the Second World War, and more recently the fall of the Berlin Wall, have been endeavouring to fashion a common destiny, using the reference points of peace, respect for human rights, democracy and prosperity provided by a Single Market. To this end several organisations have been set up, including the Council of Europe, the European Union and the OSCE.
The Council of Europe is the oldest of these organisations and the most representative of the whole continent, given that it embraces virtually all the states whose geography and culture places them in Greater Europe. From the Atlantic to the Urals, and even beyond, the Council of Europe has introduced a common model for acceptable conduct in the field of human rights and fundamental freedoms with which we are all required to comply. Moreover, it has been a forum for debate and bilateral encounters in which all states, both great and small, can meet around the same table, to the exclusion of none except those that fail to respect the Council’s founding principles.
For the process of constructing a united Europe, the Council of Europe constitutes the foundations on which we can build the common European home. Over 50 years ago, the Council enabled the western European states that were emerging from a fratricidal war to join hands, motivated several states, including my own, to change their constitutions, brought in small states on an equal footing with the rest, and finally welcomed in our brothers and sisters from the East after the collapse of communism. And the European Court of Human Rights tirelessly ensures that our founding principles are properly implemented in all our countries.
It is vital for all of us here today to reaffirm our commitment to the Council of Europe, at the highest level. The idea for this Summit bringing us together in Warsaw largely emerged from the general desire to clarify the architecture of Europe at an historic moment when the European Union is coalescing around the prospective adoption of a Constitutional Treaty. The Europe of the Common Market has long since exceeded its initial economic objectives: it has enlarged eastwards and extended its objectives to an area of security and prosperity few people could have conceived
of only a few decades ago. A European Human Rights Agency will soon be enforcing the rights and freedoms of the European Union. The Warsaw Declaration which we will be adopting today sets out to prevent duplication. We must see the Council of Europe, the European Union and the OSCE as complementary institutions, all of which are striving towards the ultimate goal of European unity in the whole wealth of its diversity.
My country, Andorra, is a good illustration of this drive towards unity in diversity. It is a Council of Europe member, sharing the Organisation’s objectives. It is also involved in the progress being made by the European Union, with which it has concluded a customs union and, more recently, a co-operation agreement. Furthermore, alongside the other small states continent-wide, it originated a declaration appended to Article 1.57 of the draft Constitution for Europe relating to the specific proximity to the EU of geographically small states. Lastly, Andorra plays a full part in the work of the OSCE, whose Forum for Security and Co-operation it recently presided.
All of us at this table are concerned to grow closer together in as many fields as possible, each with our own specificities bequeathed by the highly diverse history of Europe. I hope that we will be able to advance in all three of the great integration movements, namely the Council of Europe, the European Union and the OSCE, reaffirming, as we will be doing in the Summit Declaration, that unity will spring forth from the complementary, rather than the competitive operation of the three organisations. Europe deserves this chance.”
65. Mr R. van der LINDEN (Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe) made the following statement:
“Why are we here in Warsaw? Because in the European architecture of tomorrow the Council of Europe has a crucial role to play. It is the only pan-European organisation. And it will remain the only pan-European organisation for many years to come. And as so many of you said yesterday and today – it is doing an excellent job.
The unfolding tragedy in Uzbekistan is a reminder of what happens if our values are not respected. We should do our utmost to contribute to a peaceful settlement. Lessons should be drawn to enable Europe to prevent such crises from reoccurring.
In 1949, when the Council of Europe was set up, many were opposed to creating a Parliamentary Assembly. From today's perspective, it is clear that the creation of the Assembly was essential to the success of the Council of Europe. Every time the Assembly takes on additional competence this has paid off and moves the European idea forward and closer to its citizens.
The members of the Assembly have a double mandate: European and national. This enables us not only to bring national parliaments to Europe, but also to bring Europe to national parliaments, and thus to the people. Closer to their views, hopes, ideas, and criticisms. Regrettably, today many of our citizens consider European architecture to be more an office building for bureaucrats rather than a home for themselves. We need to reconnect Europe with its citizens.
We must apply the principle of subsidiarity, also to international institutions, to avoid duplication and waste of money. Decisions should be taken at the most appropriate level; that is by the best placed institution.
The Council of Europe has unique and proven mechanisms and instruments for the protection of human rights. They should not be undermined. Recent initiatives within the European Commission, in particular concerning the European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights, if pursued, will create unnecessary duplication and create new dividing lines in Europe. Commissioner Ferrero-Waldner this morning recognised the excellent work of the Council of Europe and expressed the Commission's intention to make full use of our instruments and mechanisms in the Neighbourhood Policy. The Assembly will soon submit concrete proposals on how to make this intention a reality.
The mandates of the European Union, the OSCE and the Council of Europe need to be defined. Each has its own specific role. Your decisions at this Summit clearly set out the Council of Europe's political mandate.
I strongly appeal to you to recall these decisions when instructing your representatives in our partner organisations, in particular, the European Union and the OSCE. I attach the greatest importance to good co-operation with the European Union.
I am extremely grateful to Prime Minister Juncker for having just accepted to prepare a political report on the relations between the European Union and the Council of Europe. I am sure that he will provide the right answers. He can count on the Assembly's contribution and our strong political support. When discussing relations between the European Union and the Council of Europe, the parliamentary dimension must, of course, be present. Together with the European Parliament, the Assembly should therefore be a full participant in the Quadripartite meetings between the European Union and the Council of Europe. I count on you to make this possible.
In European relations, parliamentary diplomacy has become an irreplaceable tool. It is one of the strengths of our Assembly. Moreover, for Europe's political leaders, our Assembly has become a school for democracy. It should be more regularly consulted by the Committee of Ministers and be closer involved in the preparation of conventions. The Assembly needs increased budgetary rights, similar to those enjoyed by international assemblies. This should include verification of the Organisation's spending. This will enable us to be more convincing in our national parliaments when defending the budgetary needs of our Organisation. I intend to work more closely with the Committee of Ministers and I appeal to you to make this possible.
In conclusion, we need:
- a much stronger co-operation with international organisations, in particular with the European Union. Mr Juncker's report will certainly provide us with the necessary roadmap;
- a much stronger Parliamentary Assembly;
- more effective co-operation with the Committee of Ministers.
I count on your support.”
66. Mr A. GIL-ROBLES (Commissioner for Human Rights) made the following statement:
“The institution I have the honour to represent here today was established following the decisions taken at the Council of Europe’s Second Summit. Almost six years after its creation, the institution of the Commissioner for Human Rights has begun to show its full potential. I would like to thank all the speakers around this table who have expressed kind words about the work done by the Commissioner’s office.
We have endeavoured to lay the foundations of an institutional activity aimed at identifying, notably through action on the ground, the human rights problems specific to each member state and making constructive recommendations for their resolution in the context of a continuing dialogue and co-operation with national authorities.
At the same time, the flexible nature of the institution enables it to react promptly in crisis situations.
The Commissioner also helps to identify problems common to several countries, allowing him to formulate general recommendations.
The action of the Commissioner is thus corrective but also, and to a large extent, preventive. Its aim is to facilitate the adoption of measures at the national level, which address at source the collective or structural problems behind potential violations. In the long run, this should help to limit the number of repetitive individual cases arriving before the European Court of Human Rights. The Commissioner will have to bear this preventive function in mind when exercising the new power conferred by Protocol No. 14 to intervene before the Court.
However, the institution still needs to be consolidated. In order to fulfil its considerable potential and to respond effectively to its mandate, the institution must be provided with the necessary resources and be fully assured of its independence.
Because many challenges lie ahead.
This is particularly evident today in the tensions resulting from the need to respect individual rights and freedoms and, at the same time, to ensure collective security.
Resolute action is also required to eliminate the racism and xenophobia that is still pervasive in Europe; to stem the trafficking in human beings which claims thousands of new victims each year; to combat the exclusion of persons belonging to vulnerable groups and minorities.
The survival of the model enshrined since 1950 in the European Convention on Human Rights depends on our ability to meet these challenges. The defence of the values and principles at the heart of a Europe in which justice, peace, democracy and security prevail requires the engagement of each and every one of us.
The active support for ombudsmen, national human rights institutions and non-governmental organisations is of particular importance in this process. They play a vital role in the service of a cause that is common to all of us.”
67. Mrs V. VIKE-FREIBERGA (President of Latvia and Special Representative of the United Nations Secretary General) made the following statement:
“I send my greetings to the Heads of State and Government of the 46 member states of the Council of Europe. I join you in celebrating the unity of this continent and the values of human rights, democracy and the rule of law that your governments and people share, and which the Council of Europe seeks to promote. The United Nations seeks to promote those same values throughout the world, which is why our two great organisations work closely together, as envisaged in Chapter VIII of the United Nations Charter. In 2005, we have both the opportunity and, I believe, the obligation to strengthen the United Nations, and to ensure that it is responsive to the concerns of all countries and all regions.
That is why I hope that each of you, along with leaders from every region of the world, will make the September 2005 Summit a priority, and that you will come ready to take far-reaching decisions. I have put before all member states, for their consideration and decision in September, a set of proposed reforms, designed to ensure that more and more people live in what the Charter calls “larger freedom”, and that the United Nations is in the forefront of efforts to achieve development, security and human rights for all.
One of the reforms I have proposed is to transform the Commission on Human Rights into a standing Human Rights Council. The Council would build on the strengths of the Commission, but improve on its weaknesses. It would reflect the priority of human rights within the United Nations system, and be better equipped to deal with emerging crises. Many of you have strongly supported this proposal. I appeal to you to work with colleagues from other continents to reach agreement to establish it, in principle, by the September Summit.
I also believe that, if we are to take human rights seriously, we must embrace the concept of the “responsibility to protect”, as a basis for collective action to prevent and stop instances of genocide, war crimes, and crimes against humanity. This is not meant as a way to bypass sovereignty, since each state remains first and foremost responsible for protecting its citizens. But when national authorities are unwilling or unable to do so, the international community, through the Security Council, should be able to act, and must be ready to do so. On the 60th anniversary of the liberation of the Nazi extermination camps, let us recommit ourselves to stopping mass human suffering and preventing it in the future.
The Universal Declaration of Human Rights adopted by the General Assembly in 1948 enunciated the essentials of democracy, and has contributed greatly to the acceptance of democracy as a universal value. Five years ago, more than 100 countries met here in Warsaw to convene the Community of Democracies, which held its third meeting in Santiago last month. Regional organisations such as yours have also made democracy promotion a core component of their work. The Democracy Fund that I have proposed for the United Nations would support states in their efforts to strengthen democracy at home and assist efforts abroad, and I know I can count on your support.
As we work to promote democracy and human rights, let us also remember that poverty and misery destroys freedom. We must make a reality of the global partnership for development to which the member states of the United Nations committed themselves, five years ago, in the Millennium Development Goals. In that effort, I am glad to say, many European countries are pointing the way. The five donors that have exceeded the internationally agreed target for official development assistance of 0.7% are European countries. Many of you are major contributors and others have recently joined the ranks of donors. I am heartened by the recent European Commission proposal of a timetable for member countries to meet the 0.7% target by 2015, and I hope concrete commitments will be made by September. Debt relief and debt sustainability are also vital, as is urgent progress towards a truly free and fair global trading system.
It is equally important that we act to free people from fear. A high priority is to ensure that we have a strong and effective regime to prevent the use of nuclear weapons by states or non-state actors. The review conference of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty is currently underway in New York. I have appealed to the participants to recognise that disarmament, non-proliferation, and the right to peaceful uses of nuclear energy are all vital, that they all impose obligations on all states, and that action is required on a number of fronts to ensure the future integrity of the Treaty. I hope you will direct your representatives accordingly. And I also hope that Heads of State and Government will, in September, help to break the longstanding deadlock that has thwarted progress on a number of issues. In particular, I hope that you will help to reconcile the right to peaceful uses of nuclear technology with the imperative of non-proliferation, and that you will provide impetus to commence negotiation of a fissile material cut-off treaty.
I am heartened by the strong endorsement of European representatives for the comprehensive counter-terrorism strategy which I presented in March in Madrid. To translate that strategy into action, we need sustained efforts, including from capitals, to secure international agreement on a definition of terrorism leading to the adoption of a comprehensive counter-terrorism convention. We must also work together to assist states in developing their capacity to fight terrorism.
The United Nations, like all institutions, needs to be adjusted to the changing requirements of the times. I have put forward an ambitious set of institutional reforms, including making the Security Council more representative, and therefore more legitimate. I am aware of deliberations among European countries on this issue, and I hope that consensus can be achieved. But I also believe that the search for consensus should not delay action indefinitely. I believe, equally strongly, that no issue, not even this one, should overshadow the debate and detract from the rest of the reform agenda.
I am asking Foreign Minister Dermot Ahern of Ireland to brief you on where we stand on some of these key issues around the world. He and Dr. Vike-Freiberga are two of five envoys who are travelling around the world to brief on the summit agenda and to keep me updated on reactions to it. So far, I am heartened by the reaction – but we have a long way to go to ensure a positive outcome in September. I therefore hope I can count on you to work with your colleagues from the developed and developing countries to help bring North and South closer, so that, four months from now, we can chart a new and hopeful course for the United Nations in the twenty-first century.”
68. Mr D. AHERN (Foreign Minister of Ireland, Special Representative of the Secretary General of the United Nations) made the following statement:
“Since publication of the Secretary General’s “In Larger Freedom” report there has been a surge of activity, in New York and around the world – though not equally in all regions or capitals. The Secretary General has been in touch with world leaders and his five envoys active in our respective regions. The General Assembly has held a series of formal and informal consultations in New York, under the leadership of its President and his ten facilitators.
The Secretary General is gratified to see member states engaged in serious and positive dialogue across the set of recommendations he has proposed in his report. On some points, areas of convergence have already emerged and deserve to be reinforced. On some others, though, there are still difficulties, requiring intensified efforts to find common ground.
The Secretary General appreciates the lead taken by European countries on issues of development and the achievement of the 0.7% target for Official Development Assistance (ODA). On this and other issues like the Peacebuilding Commission, Europe has complementary interests with Africa, and should build on that. African countries, along with other developing states, stand to benefit the most from the Secretary General’s proposals, and should be encouraged to adopt a more proactive role.
The Secretary General on numerous occasions has clarified that development is central in its own right. We now have to move and implement in practice the Monterrey consensus. The Secretary General has taken a balanced approach, emphasising both sides of the “deal” – for developed and developing countries – the need for solid national strategies, with commitments to an increase in ODA within a set timeframe.
Mitigating climate change is of particular importance to small island developing states, especially in the Pacific. Although this is broadly recognised, references to “major emitters” draw objections from some larger developing countries. Establishing a global early warning system for natural hazards and strengthening the international humanitarian response capacity are well received across the board.
The fight against HIV/Aids, gender equality, water and sanitation remain a priority, and the recommendations of the Secretary General have widespread support.
More difficult are issues of trade. Developing countries are concerned about the outcome of the Doha Round and emphasise the need to focus on issues such as market access, elimination of agricultural subsidies, and commodity prices. They also continue to advocate for an effective solution to the problems of external indebtedness and easing the burden of middle income countries.
The establishment of a Democracy Fund and strengthening the United Nation’s human rights machinery receive wide support, notably in Europe but also the Americas. Many countries are in favour of transforming the Commission on Human Rights into a Human Rights Council. However, several stress the need for further discussions on size and composition before committing to a concrete decision.
There is near universal agreement on the establishment of a Peacebuilding Commission. Details will be firmed up in the coming weeks, and it is the Secretary General’s firm hope that Heads of State and Government create the body at the September summit. Strengthening UN mediation and good offices and providing strategic reserves for peacekeeping also attract very wide support.
The definition of terrorism remains controversial. Although attacks against civilians are deemed unacceptable irrespective of circumstances, “state terrorism” and the right to resistance against occupation remain divisive. Additional efforts are needed here, especially with some key Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) countries, to move the issue to a successful conclusion. The recent adoption of a Convention on nuclear terrorism by the General Assembly was an important step forward.
The majority of UN members recognise that the importance of a vision of collective security laid out in the Secretary General’s report cannot afford to get stuck on old debates between non-proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and disarmament. We need both.
Recommendations on chemical and biological weapons are widely accepted but nuclear non-proliferation issues remain more controversial, in particular the Comprehensive Test-Ban Treaty and nuclear fuel cycle issues. The use of force, together with the responsibility to protect, remains highly contested.
There is broad agreement on the proposals to strengthen the Economic and Social Council and on the need to revitalise the General Assembly, although in the latter case the exact way of doing so is not agreed upon. The need to make the Security Council more representative and more legitimate is widely acknowledged, but there is no agreement on the model to follow.
The Secretary General hopes for consensus eventually emerging on this and other issues. However, the search for consensus should not delay indefinitely the reaching of decisions. His message is clear: no single issue should be allowed to overshadow this important process. Actionable decisions should be made at the September Summit across the wide range of issues that are on the table.”
69. Mr G. DI STASI (Congress of Local and Regional Authorities of the Council of Europe) made the following statement:
“In my address to you yesterday I stressed the importance of local and regional self-government for the democratic good health of our societies. You have devoted today’s session to the “European architecture”, European construction and the respective roles of the various organisations participating in it. I want to tell you how firmly resolved the Congress is to make its own contribution to this thought-process and to European construction as such.
The first reason is that one of the essential principles of local democracy is subsidiarity, which we have upheld through the Charter of Local Self-Government. We in the Congress consider that this principle must govern our approach to apportionment of the powers of each entity, whether at state level or at that of the different international organisations. Moreover, I observe that in its constitutional treaty the European Union has devoted one of the protocols to the necessary respect for the principles of subsidiarity and proportionality.
The next reason is that for many years we have been convinced of the usefulness to our citizens of a strong and open partnership between our various organisations and especially between the Council of Europe and the European Union. In that regard, allow me to share with you the long experience of it which we have gained, particularly through our close co-operation with the Committees of the Regions instituted in 1994 as was the Congress. Just last month we signed a co-operation agreement which I solemnly place in the hands of the Chairmanship and of Jean-Claude Junker to whom you have assigned a crucial mission for the future of our institutions. To me, this co-operation with the Committee of the Regions is one of the finest examples of the good practices that must be established between our institutions.
It is a means of sharing our work with regard to monitoring of local and regional democracy, an area of prime importance for the European Union, as it wants to know the state of local democracy for the examination of the candidatures submitted to it.
The partnership does not stop there. Allow me to give a specific example of positive co-operation between the Congress and the European Union for the furtherance of local and regional democracy. With the help of the Union, we recently set up an association of Georgian municipalities playing an active part in the significant reforms which that country has undertaken, giving local democracy a firmer foothold at grassroots level.
I could also mention in the transfrontier co-operation context the planned Adriatic Euroregion allowing co-operation to take place between Union and non-Union countries around a semi-closed sea, whose management cannot end at the abstract borders of our states and our organisations. This original model for a Euroregion could very well be applied to other seas marked by the same territorial complexity for the purpose of common management; here I have in mind the Black Sea, where a few months from now the Romanian Presidency of our Organisation will be able to contribute effectively. I am also thinking of the Baltic Sea.
While partnership with the European Union is paramount, we have also worked with the United Nations, particularly with UNMIK in Kosovo, with the OSCE, ODHIR and NGOs. This helps to avoid duplications and to ensure that, as far as possible, the international community speaks with a single voice.
This Summit is a precious opportunity to better define our respective tasks, to enable us together to develop the European project we are pursuing and determine the paths we need to take to this end. Sometimes when we meet, the Council of Europe speaks about the Council of Europe, the European Union about the European Union. Let us make sure that we all speak now about the Europe we want to achieve, and to which we all have a contribution to make.”
70. Ms A. OESCHGER (Conference of International NGOs of the Council of Europe) made the following statement:
“The main reason why civil society is in a position to address you here today is thanks to the Council of Europe’s pioneering role in this field.
As far back as 1952, it granted consultative status to the international non-governmental organisations, or INGOs. In 2003, the Committee of Ministers granted INGOs a participatory status in order to “reflect the active and constructive role of NGOs” and to involve them more closely “in defining Council of Europe policies and actions”.
The Conference of INGOs thus became one of the Council of Europe’s mainstays.
You are affirming this recognition here today before all the citizens of Europe.
Our contribution to the Summit opens with a request to the Council of Europe itself: we would ask you to reaffirm the unique role played by this pan-European Organisation in promoting a Europe without dividing lines and to provide it with the necessary resources for carrying out this task.
With its legal instruments and supervisory bodies, and its research work and field activities, the Council of Europe is the natural ally of all those who defend its values day by day.
Human rights are important because they are the expression of what we dream of for every individual human being. Human rights protection must prioritise those who have suffered most from repression, violence, unheeded exposure to avoidable dangers, discrimination or destitution. These are intolerable situations which we have the collective responsibility for and the means of eradicating.
You, as Heads of State and Government, and we, as citizens belonging to organised civil society, commit ourselves to the Council of Europe because we bear the same values. INGOs are therefore your natural allies. They contribute to the development of social cohesion. Thanks to their proximity to the populations and the structures in which they live, they observe dysfunctions
and can predict developments on the ground. They alert the public authorities and put forward proposals to the policy-makers. The Council of Europe and increasing numbers of national and local authorities are expecting NGOs to play this political role. This participatory component of democracy complements its representative component.
Participatory democracy means recognising the citizen as a player in pursuing the common weal. The fact of recognising a citizen as a player is crucial for the future of our democracies. Citizens become involved when they see that they are respected and that they can influence the development of their communities.
We often speak of money collected for good causes disappearing into “black holes”, but we never mention the human efforts which are wasted because they are not acknowledged. NGOs transform these efforts into constructive, enduring energies. Seek out the unrecognised efforts of millions of citizens in your countries and support them. They are the best possible investment.
If they are to be able to play their role properly, NGOs must be allowed to act in a stable, sustainable environment. This is why we would ask all the states to provide the legal and economic conditions for NGOs to operate effectively and lastingly.
Clear political support on your part for the Conference of INGOs of the Council of Europe will strengthen our capacity for creating fresh citizen commitment to the cultural project borne by the Council of Europe. We assure you that you will benefit from our constructive, long-term political energy.”
71. Mr R. VAISBRODAS (European Youth Forum) made the following statement:
“It is a great honour to be here as a representative of the youth organisations in Europe to hand you over the Final Declaration adopted by the participants of the European Youth Summit that took place over the last two days. This summit gathered 92 youth leaders from the 48 countries Parties to the European Cultural Convention, representatives from national youth councils and international non-governmental youth organisations.
For young people in Europe this is an important momentum. Not only for the opportunity given to send a porte-parole to address all European Heads of State and Government, but also because we know that we will get the message through and that it will be implemented into concrete actions by giving us the means, the space, the opportunity and the support to engage in actions and activities so as to contribute to the building of European democratic societies.
At the First Summit in 1993, the commitment of the Heads of State and Government expressing the conviction that the participation of young people is essential for creating a cohesive, yet diverse Europe, constituted the basis for large regions of activities and programmes that led to the development of youth policies and youth work in Europe. The major achievements are in the fields of human rights, education and democratic citizenship. We have developed a number of prominent policies that were translated into actions affecting the lives of millions of young people. Those achievements had such a strong impact because our work is based on co-decision and equal partnership and we engage in the process of social co-production. We believe that these achievements are an essential element in contributing to the work of the Council of Europe in the field of human rights, democracy and the rule of law.
To give it a new impetus and adapt it to changes in Europe in the last ten years, this final Declaration emphasises the necessity to involve young people in the two following challenges that Europe is facing today. First, we want to make democracy work and secondly we would like to implement the principle that became our motto “All different, all equal”.
The first, making democracy work, implies supporting youth participation as a crucial element in the democratic process. The second, “All different, all equal”, implies that there is an increasing need to promote the basic values of human rights among Europe’s younger citizens. We strongly believe that to promote shared values of human rights and, in the long term, to overcome phobia, and all sorts of discrimination we must open dialogues to underline the differences between people represent an added value to build societies and that the diversity of our societies is a basis for the European construction. On this basis, and to reaffirm our commitment to put all this into practice we call upon all the Heads of State and Government of Europe to reaffirm their political commitment in encouraging and enabling young people to participate in building European societies based on shared values. For this, we first and foremost, call upon the European Heads of State and Government to launch a European youth campaign for diversity, human rights and participation.
“All different, all equal” is neither a slogan nor a concept. It is the reality in which young people want to live. We need to stop all the outbursts of racism, anti-Semitism and Islamophobia. Therefore, we pledge to build peaceful societies based on diversity and inclusion in a spirit of respect and mutual understanding. We need it for the future of Europe and its youth.”
72. Mr B. AHERN (Ireland) made the following statement:
“I wish to congratulate the Polish Government for organising this important Summit. I would like to pay tribute to Foreign Minister Rotfeld for his country’s chairmanship of the Committee of Ministers which has skilfully guided us to this landmark event.
It is fitting that the Third Summit of the Council of Europe is taking place in Poland. This is a country that has contributed immensely to dismantling Cold War divisions and constructing a new order of liberty and democracy on the European continent.
In honouring the achievement of the Polish people, we also salute the outstanding contribution of the late Pope John Paul II. He was indeed an eloquent advocate of many of the values that lie at the heart of the Council of Europe – the dignity of the individual, tolerance, commitment to peace, justice and freedom and to cross-cultural and inter-religious dialogue.
Poland’s achievement over the past fifteen years is mirrored in the expansion of democracy and the advance of economic prosperity throughout Central and Eastern Europe in that period.
As President of the European Council, I had the honour of acknowledging this expansion on the occasion of enlargement of the European Union on 1 May 2004. Today’s European Union of 25 member states might never have come to pass if the Council of Europe had not conceived and sustained the vision of a united Europe based on democracy, human rights and the rule of law.
The core values of democracy, human rights and the rule of law are the defining attributes of the Council of Europe. They remain the touchstone for emerging democracies, as valid today as they were in 1949. The Council of Europe still serves today as an inspiration for countries in transition, especially those in the Western Balkans and the Caucasus.
Ireland values highly the role the Council of Europe plays in supporting these countries’ transition to democracy. We have provided funding for local democracy and human rights programmes managed by the Council of Europe in the Western Balkans and Russia since 2001. We have also committed to contributing one million euros to similar Council of Europe programmes over the next three years.
The enduring significance of the Council of Europe for emerging democracies is clear from its having been the first multilateral port of call for Presidents Yushchenko and Saakashvili following peaceful democratic change in their countries. We remain concerned that the Council’s destiny as a truly pan-European organisation has still to be achieved.
I would encourage Belarus to commit itself whole-heartedly to the standards of the Council of Europe and to join this community of states. Europe would then be truly a continent without divisions where human rights, fundamental freedoms and democratic standards for all are the most highly prized goals.
The Council of Europe cannot rest on its achievements. It must press ahead with strengthening respect for the standards set by the European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms. And it must do so while addressing also the many challenges that face a modernising and changing Europe.
I see this Summit and the adoption of the Action Plan and the political Declaration as the catalyst of a movement to renew and reshape the Council of Europe, so that it can maintain its unique place in the institutional architecture of Europe.
Ireland is committed to enhanced co-operation between the Council of Europe, the OSCE and the European Union. A sound foundation for co-operation between the European Commission and the Council of Europe Secretariat has been in place since 2001.
The Memorandum of Understanding which is to be drawn up between the Council of Europe and the European Union will provide a helpful framework for practical co-operation and political dialogue. The European Union should recognise and utilise the particular areas of expertise and experience of the Council of Europe. This could be useful, for instance, in regard to the Union’s Neighbourhood Policy.
The early accession of the European Union to the European Convention on Human Rights is vital, not only for renewed co-operation between the European Union and the Council of Europe but also, and more fundamentally, for safeguarding human rights in Europe.
I welcome this Summit’s endorsement of a Declaration on Co-operation between the Council of Europe and the OSCE. The relationship between these two organisations should be based on complementarity, transparency and democratic accountability. We should avoid unnecessary duplication and both bodies should demonstrate their resolve to work together to confront common threats and challenges.
The work already under way in the Council of Europe/OSCE Co-ordination Group on developing a common response to the threats of terrorism and trafficking in human beings, as well as to the challenge of protecting the rights of national minorities and promoting tolerance and non-discrimination is an excellent model.
The three conventions relating to these issues, which we are endorsing at this Summit, will facilitate a coordinated engagement between the Council of Europe and the OSCE. Most importantly, they lay down a strong marker that these evils within European society are unacceptable and will not be tolerated.
Enhanced co-operation between European institutions and organisations must seek, first and foremost, to protect and promote the comparative advantages of each institution and organisation. The comparative advantage enjoyed by the Council of Europe lies unquestionably in standard setting and monitoring in the areas of human rights, democracy and the rule of law. We must therefore continue and, if possible, enhance our support for the relevant Council of Europe instruments and bodies, whether in relation to racism and intolerance, torture prevention, national minorities, democracy, human rights, or the rule of law. I am happy that a new Forum for the Future of Democracy will emerge as a lasting achievement of this Summit.
The Convention on Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms and the European Court of Human Rights are the bedrock of human rights protection in Europe. Indeed the Convention is the most robust human rights treaty anywhere.
The Court of Human Rights has become a vital and living instrument for the defence and protection of human rights in Europe. And this is due in no small measure to the remarkable achievement of successive judges and experts who have served the Court.
The reform of the Court is a vital issue and one to which Ireland attaches the very highest priority as we look ahead. An effective and well-functioning Court is essential. We need this to safeguard Europe’s human rights heritage, to ensure the protection of human rights for each one of our citizens and to meet the demands of our changing times. I believe that achieving reform is the number one challenge and primary responsibility facing us as members of the Council of Europe.
The adoption of Protocol No. 14, which Ireland has signed and ratified, was undoubtedly a positive step. This Protocol aims to streamline and simplify the procedures of the Court and thus improve the processing of cases. Ultimately, it is up to the member states to ensure that the effects of Protocol No. 14 are fully realised. I therefore encourage all those who have not yet done so to ratify this vital Protocol without delay, so that it enters into force at the latest by May 2006.
The Court’s work in preparing the ground for the entry into force of Protocol No. 14 is already yielding some good results in improving efficiency and productivity.
However, even with the entry into force of Protocol No. 14, the Court and the Strasbourg human rights system will still face overwhelming problems. The volume of petitions which the Court must examine has doubled in the last five years. This creates a huge backlog of cases and it continues to rise. The reality is that the European Human Rights Convention system – which is unique – has become the victim of its own openness and success.
My message to all around this table is that Protocol No. 14 will at best solve only part of the problem. We must begin without delay to think hard about long-term reform. Our aim must be to secure the effectiveness of the Court on a permanent basis and to give it the guarantee of stability. A Group of Wise Persons is to be established under the Action Plan to look at the long-term effectiveness of the Court. Ireland believes that this work should proceed on the basis of a number of important principles:
- firstly, the panel’s deliberations must neither provide a pretext for the non-ratification of Protocol No. 14, nor detract attention from the priority of providing the Court with the necessary financial, human and administrative resources to meet its short-term requirements. This is all the more imperative in the light of recent audit reports;
- the Court should be encouraged to continue to review its own internal processes, so that urgent reforms which are not treaty-based are implemented immediately;
- the Group of Wise Persons should begin work without delay and without waiting for the entry into force of Protocol No. 14. A most constructive proposal was made yesterday, which deserves full consideration;
- the reflective process can be wide-ranging and take into account the likely impact of Protocol No. 14, so that we can move quickly to correct any deficiencies that may emerge; and finally, and most importantly, the Group of Wise Persons should be independent and eminent in the field of law and justice. They should not shy away from ‘radical thinking’ about the future of the Convention system in the twenty-first century. It is essential that our citizens should have the reassurance and protection of this unparalleled European achievement.
The ultimate responsibility for long-term effectiveness of the Court lies squarely at the feet of the member states. Whatever the eminent persons recommend, difficult choices and hard decisions will have to be made. If we are all agreed that the over-riding objective is the strengthening and protection of human rights for all our citizens, then a lasting solution will be found. There can be no other outcome if the future of the Council of Europe itself is to be assured.
To conclude, my vision for the future of this Organisation is of a Council of Europe that works to its strengths, drawing on its unique and indispensable achievements to date. A Council that focuses on its core business – democracy, human rights and the rule of law.
A Council that draws on its comparative advantage when working with other key institutions and organisations in furthering a Europe based on common values.
A Council that faces the challenges of an ever-changing Europe with determination, without complacency and in a spirit of co-operation and mutual understanding. Most importantly, a Council that has as its core an effective and thriving system for the protection of human rights.
I believe that the implementation of the Action Plan we are adopting today can lead to a Council of Europe consistent with this vision. We need to ensure that the Council of Europe has a secure place in the institutional architecture of Europe, and will cement the fundamental values of human rights, democracy, respect and tolerance into every aspect of European society.”
73. The SECRETARY GENERAL made the following statement:
“The 1993 Vienna Summit of the Council of Europe is now called “historic” because of its groundbreaking decision to open the doors of our Organisation to the then fledgling democracies of central and eastern Europe. This Summit will go into history as the Summit of European unity. For the first time, 46 European democracies – almost the entire continent – gathered under one roof to reaffirm their commitment to the core values of the Council of Europe.
But you are also adopting an ambitious Action Plan which confirms the Council of Europe’s leading role in developing democracy, defending human rights and advancing the rule of law on our continent, and in promoting our values in a broader sense – the values of democratic culture, tolerance, justice and social cohesion.
Twelve years after the Vienna Summit, it is clear that the tree of democracy took solid root on European soil. Our ambition today is to make sure that it grows high. The task of the Council of Europe today is to spread the culture of democracy throughout our continent, because without a genuine democratic culture, we will not be able to build a Europe of citizens, a Europe of justice and a Europe of social cohesion.
The Council of Europe has a clear mandate to carry out its mission.
But a mission statement alone is not enough. We need political will, we need support, and we need the means. Let us look at what we are taking away from this Summit.
We have three new tools to fight terrorism and trafficking in human beings.
We have made a step forward towards the entry into force of Protocol No. 14 to the European Convention on Human Rights, bringing us closer to implementing the reform of the European Court of Human Rights. You have instructed a future Group of Wise Persons to come up with concrete proposals to ensure the long-term effectiveness of the Court.
You have decided to give higher priority to democracy at all levels in Europe, by creating the Council of Europe Forum for the Future of Democracy, tasked with advancing a genuine participatory democracy, bringing us closer to attaining our goal of a Europe of citizens.
You have given a new impetus to our work on culture, and in particular in the field of intercultural and interreligious dialogue, both inside Europe and with our neighbours in Central Asia, the Middle East and the southern Mediterranean.
You have decided to launch a dedicated effort to prevent torture, inhuman or degrading treatment and all forms of racism.
You are adopting a challenging Action Plan, and of course, we cannot achieve all these goals in isolation. We need close co-operation with our sister institutions, and I therefore welcome the signing earlier today of the Declaration on enhanced co-operation between the Council of Europe and the OSCE, and the adoption of the Guidelines on the relations between the Council of Europe and the European Union and the appointment of Mr Juncker. They provide a basis for new projects and common action.
As Secretary General of the Council of Europe, I can assure you that your Secretariat will do everything it can to make sure that the Action Plan is implemented with transparency, and to ensure that the taxpayers’ money with which you have trusted us is spent efficiently. At the same time, I trust you to provide us with both political support and the budgetary means to put the Plan into practice.
For all of us, the Declaration and Action Plan are not the end, but the beginning.”
74. The CHAIRMAN made the following statement:
“I have to apologise now because we had foreseen some time in the original schedule to have an additional discussion but I, as the chairman of this meeting, have to decide to forego the thirty-minutes additional discussion due to the extensive delay and I trust that you will respect this decision.”
ADOPTION OF THE WARSAW DECLARATION AND THE ACTION PLAN
The CHAIRMAN spoke as follows:
“Now I would like to propose to go to the closing part of our Summit. I would like, first of all, to invite you in the light of our discussions, to proceed to the formal adoption of the political Declaration and the Action Plan of our Summit. Both texts have been distributed to you. They are based on the draft texts which were prepared for us by the Committee of Ministers at Deputies’ level and include the changes we agreed on in the course of the Summit. I want to ask you: can we adopt these texts? [Applause] Thank you, that is a good answer. I see and I hear that we can. Thank you very much.”
HANDOVER OF THE CHAIRMANSHIP OF THE COMMITTEE OF MINISTERS FROM POLAND TO PORTUGAL
The CHAIRMAN spoke as follows:
“Before concluding the Summit, we will dedicate a few minutes to the transfer of the chairmanship of the Committee of Ministers from Poland to Portugal. I, first of all, give the floor to the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Poland, Mr Adam Daniel Rotfeld, to briefly present the achievements of the Polish chair.”
75. Professor A.D. ROTFELD (Poland) made the following statement:
“The 6-month long Polish chairmanship of the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe is coming to its end. Therefore, as the chairman, I would like to say a word about the tasks we have undertaken during this time.
The main priority of our chairmanship was the enforcement of the unity of our continent after the enlargement of the European Union. We concentrated especially on those regions where the values of democracy, human rights and the rule of law were not strong enough, engaging ourselves in helping the countries in transformation.
Since the very beginning of our chairmanship, Poland has actively participated in reaching a political compromise in Ukraine and has contributed to a peaceful resolution of the crisis. The joint mediatory effort of the Council of Europe, the European Union and the OSCE in order to support democracy in Ukraine is an example of very successful co-operation.
The main reason for my visit, as the chairman of the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe, to the Republic of Moldova was the review of the internal situation after the parliamentary elections in the context of the respect for the norms of democracy, human rights and the rule of law as well as the state of co-operation with the Council of Europe. The question of finding the resolution to the Transnistrian conflict in the context of the political changes in Ukraine was the main topic discussed both with the authorities in Chisinau and Tiraspol.
The unity of Europe, especially in the context of the further European Union enlargement, requires continuous co-operation among the main European organisations. The Declaration on Co-operation between the Council of Europe and the OSCE is the result of the efforts to tighten this co-operation. We have also made progress on the co-operation between the Council of Europe and the EU. A special report on the relations between the Council of Europe and the European
Union will be elaborated, based on the decisions taken during this Summit, and taking into account the significance the human dimension has for the European architecture. The position of the European Union Commission representative to the Council of Europe in Strasbourg has been established. Moreover, the accession by the European Union to the European Convention on Human Rights has been agreed once the Constitutional Treaty is adopted.
Human rights are the foundation of the democratic Europe and their protection is the centre of attention of the Council of Europe. Continuing the efforts of the Norwegian Chairmanship, Poland worked for the enforcement of the European Court of Human Rights by promoting the idea of signing and ratifying Protocol No. 14 to the European Court of Human Rights. Moreover, during its chairmanship, Poland emphasised the need for further strengthening of the functions of the Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights and assuring the independence of his office.
The reaction to the terrorist threat and international crime was the preparation of the text of three Council of Europe conventions during our chairmanship: on Action against Trafficking in Human Beings, on the Prevention of Terrorism and on Laundering, Search, Seizure and Confiscation of the Proceeds from Crime. We regard the opening for signature of the three conventions during the Third Summit of the Council of Europe, as our Organisation's success and confirmation of its ability to react to contemporary threats.
Poland is convinced that the intercultural dialogue represents the necessary condition for tolerance and resolving disputes. It is the best remedy for racism, nationalism, xenophobia as well as the threat of terrorism. The 50th anniversary of signing the European Cultural Convention, which was commemorated during the Polish chairmanship, as well as the conference held in Wrocław for that occasion was an excellent opportunity to summarise the achievements in the field of culture and education in strengthening the common European identity.
The logical consequence of actions for the promotion of cultural dialogue was the inclusion the issues of local democracy and transborder co-operation into the scope of our priorities.
Their co-operation should be a significant instrument of preventing new divisions in Europe. Among the conclusions of the Conference of the European Ministers responsible for developing Local Democracy, held on the occasion of the 25th anniversary of the European Outline Convention on Transfrontier Co-operation between Territorial Communities and Authorities, it was stated that the legal framework of transfrontier co-operation, especially in Central and Eastern Europe should be strengthened.
Poland paid special attention to the implementation of the 5th priority overcoming divisions of the past in Europe. In Poland's opinion, it is an essential element on the way to reconciliation and the development of Europe. We consider the reconstruction of the European nations' identity, which, during the nineteenth century was based on the idea of nationalism, the root cause for the main catastrophes of the twentieth century, as the most primary challenge for the international community. Unfortunately, we still have to tackle this problem. Our contribution to the European dialogue was the exhibition "Difficult History – Common Heritage" organised in Strasbourg and the seminar of the European Ministers of Education "Teaching remembrance through the cultural heritage" held during the March of the Living.
A more detailed report on the implementation of the priorities of our chairmanship can be found in the Summit's papers.
On behalf of Poland, I would like to thank all the member states of the Council of Europe for their support and active co-operation.”
76. Mr D. FREITAS DO AMARAL (Portugal) made the following statement:
“First of all, I would like to thank the Polish chairmanship for their hard work and very successful activity in the past six months and the organisation of the Third Summit of the Council of Europe.
Let me say just a few words regarding the three main areas on which the Portuguese chairmanship will be focusing for the next six months.
Our first priority will be the reinforcement of those values that have constituted the main basis of the activity of the Council of Europe for more than 50 years and that were reiterated in the Declaration and in the Action Plan we adopted today: human rights, democracy and the rule of law. Although much has been achieved since 1949, we need to enhance the mechanisms that ensure the implementation of these values in those areas in which that implementation has not been possible thus far.
To that end, we will be looking forward to promoting the reinforcement of the efficiency and relevance of the European Court of Human Rights, namely through the full implementation of additional Protocol No. 14 to the European Convention on Human Rights and other measures that may be necessary.
The establishment of the Group of Wise Persons to consider the issue of the long-term effectiveness of the European Convention on Human Rights mechanisms and of the Court itself should also take place as soon as possible.
Furthermore, the human and financial resources at the disposal of the Commissioner for Human Rights should be improved. I avail myself of this opportunity to congratulate Mr Gil-Robles for his excellent work as Commissioner for Human Rights. We will be also awarding major importance to the strengthening of local and regional democracy and good governance as well as the role of
pan-European legal instruments as a way of dealing with the new challenges to our societies. Threats like terrorism, trafficking in human beings and economic crime perfectly illustrate the difficult problems we want to face with full determination.
We have chosen the cultural dimension of the Council of Europe as the second main priority of our chairmanship. In as much as Europe’s cultural diversity is an issue that must be addressed adequately, we will seek to promote the principles of the Wrocław’s Declaration and we will honoured to host the closing ceremony of the 50th anniversary of the European Cultural Convention in Portugal. We also favour the Council of Europe’s engagement in a constructive dialogue with its neighbouring regions, namely through the activities of the North-South Centre which is situated, as you surely know, in Lisbon. Moreover, and since we believe that that democratic value should be promoted at an early age in schools and universities, we will grant full support to the European Year of Citizenship through education.
As a third priority, we have decided to dedicate our attention to social cohesion in a wider Europe. We are strongly convinced that the sustainability of democratic societies relies heavily on the ability to deliver social justice. This can only be achieved through the respect of common standards in the field of economic and social rights.
I would like to reiterate Portugal’s long-standing commitment to the fundamental values of the Council of Europe. The Portuguese chairmanship is aware of the needs to ensure the follow-up of the decisions contained in the Declaration and Action Plan that we have just adopted. We hereby commit ourselves to such an imperative task for the future of the Council of Europe, an organisation that, having played a vital role in Europe’s past, will certainly play an increased role in Europe’s future.”
77. The CHAIRMAN made the following statement:
“As a symbolic gesture, I would suggest that the Polish chair hands over to the Portuguese chair the Warsaw Declaration and the Action Plan we have just adopted.
I think that we can all trust that our decisions will be fully and effectively implemented under future leaderships.”
[Mr Rotfeld, Foreign Minister of Poland hands over the Declaration and the Action Plan to Mr Freitas Do Amaral, Foreign Minister of Portugal. Applause.]
“After such a gesture it is very difficult to say more but I would like to make some closing remarks. The Third Summit of the Council of Europe is drawing to a close. We feel honoured to have hosted this event and to have had so many outstanding European leaders and politicians as our guests here.
Barely a week ago, celebrations were held in many countries across the continent to commemorate the 60th anniversary of the end of the Second World War. We are a nation for which these celebrations had a very special meaning, to which the cataclysm of war brought enormous destruction and suffering. Poland was also among those countries painfully affected by the consequences of the post-war order. That is why we are so deeply committed to building a
conflict-free Europe, a Europe being an area of cooperative partnership and mutual confidence.
I believe I am now voicing an opinion of the participants of the Summit by saying that it opens up a new prospect for peaceful co-operation in Europe for many years to come. For the Council of Europe political Declaration and Action Plan that we have adopted set specific tasks to be carried out. The Council of Europe Secretary General spoke about them in his address. The leaders of all member states gathered at this forum have declared the implementation of the Summit’s decisions in their respective countries. We have also agreed to promote the objectives that have been set in the arena of the other international organisations that we are members of. If we show enough consistency and perseverance in action, then it will certainly be legitimate to say that the Third Summit has significantly contributed to deepening European integration.
The thing to be pleased about the most is, perhaps, that while discussing today’s architecture of our continent we no longer invoke the military power of individual countries, the way our forefathers used to do in the past centuries, viewing instead a country’s attitude towards values as the principal consideration. Towards those very values and principles we have said so much about in our addresses. It is those values and principles that map out the direction of Europe’s evolution today.
As it was mentioned in many speeches during this Summit, we are especially concerned about the situation in Belarus. Notorious violations of all the basic democratic principles and human rights in Belarus are unacceptable. The Belarusian people have for centuries been part of European civilisation, making an important contribution to it in cultural terms, and they fully deserve to live in freedom, democracy and justice. We are looking forward to the moment when it will join the family of Council of Europe member states, so that we may work together to translate the European values into practice.
From this place, I would like to address all those citizens of Europe who cannot yet fully enjoy their rights enshrined in the European Convention on Human Rights. I want to convey to them words of hope and solidarity. The democratisation of life on our continent is an irreversible process. I am convinced that it will keep spreading far and wide.
A powerful message is flowing from Warsaw today: that the Council of Europe is a truly
pan-European organisation. An institution which stands as a safeguard that Europe will be building its identity in the spirit of dialogue, tolerance, respect for individual rights and human solidarity. That we will be guided by these principles both in our own countries and in relations with other states.
I thank all participants for their creative contributions to the Summit’s outcome. Today our most important task is to reach with our message the conscience of our societies. Only then we will able to declare the full success of our Summit.
I express my gratitude to all the Council of Europe agencies and the organisers for the effort of preparing it. I thank all the technical staff, translators, security officers and all other whom we owe the flawless organisation of this gathering. I also thank the media for reporting on our debates; it is my belief that the achievements of this event will be widely disseminated.
I declare the Third Summit of the Council of Europe closed.”
The session ended at 1.02 p.m.