Warsaw, 4 November 2005
Where will the Forum on the Future of Democracy stand in five years’ time, at the end of 2010?
I hope – or better, I expect – that the Forum process will have given us the platform we need to address and debate, from many different angles, the challenges facing our democratic systems. By comparing the root causes of the problems in our different countries and the different efforts to tackle them, we will have reached agreement on a series of democratic principles shared by all member states of the Council of Europe.
In this sense, we will have fulfilled one of the key commitments of the Action Plan, adopted in this very castle in May 2005, that of developing “standards of democracy and good governance”.
But I hope that we will have done more than that. I hope that we will also be able to point to higher standards having been put into practice in all our member States – in the same way that many of our member States can point to having moved to higher standards during the last 20 years and all our member States have achieved higher standards than existed 100 years ago.
Let me conclude by also expressing my hope that in this context, the Council of Europe will come to be recognised as “the home of democracy in Europe”, much as it has come to be seen as “the conscience of Europe” with regard to the protection of human rights.