(Abstract of the official report of the debates)
3 April 2003
THE PRESIDENT. – Dear friends, I now have the honour of welcoming among us representatives of our new member country, Serbia and Montenegro. I welcome the President, the Foreign Minister, the President of the Parliament, and a delegation from the parliament. We congratulate you, as our new member here.
Dear friends, we will now have the honour of hearing a statement by Mr Dragoljub Micunovic, the President of the Parliament of Serbia and Montenegro. Mr Micunovic, you have the floor.
Mr MICUNOVIC (President of the Parliament of Serbia and Montenegro) greeted his fellow delegates and said that it was an important day for Serbia and Montenegro and for the rest of Europe too. They were all finally together where they belonged, namely, within the broad family of European democracies. The absence of Serbia and Montenegro had been an aggravation in its attempts to develop and deepen democracy in that country. Serbia and Montenegro was aware of both the advantages and commitments implied by membership and looked forward to striving to achieve the normal standards of European democracies.
Adopting and fostering democratic values would help Serbia and Montenegro to develop. Serbia and Montenegro had been busy harmonising its legislation. Recent events had been a challenge to the new democracy and had shown that democracy needed not only to be fostered but defended. Serbia and Montenegro hoped to be able to raise living standards of its citizens and learn from historical events. He reminded the Assembly of the aphorism: “History leads the wise man by the hand and drags the unwise one”. All Balkan countries were now democracies, had good relations with each other and were members of the Council of Europe. Next year, Serbia would celebrate 200 years of it existing as a state, and Montenegro had celebrated 150 years of international recognition. Serbia and Montenegro looked forward to contributing to peace and stability in Europe and to its senior officials, Walter Schwimmer and Bruno Haller.
THE PRESIDENT. – Thank you, Mr President. We wish you, your parliament and your state union all the best in this new chapter of your European history. I wish you all the best in the Council of Europe.