Parliamentary Assembly session : 23 – 27 September 2002 

Statement by Antonio Lazzaro Volpinari, Capitani Reggenti of San Marino

(Summary)

Strasbourg, 24 September 2002

Mr VOLPINARI (San Marino) thanked the Council of Europe for receiving him. San Marino was glad to be a member of the Council of Europe which it considerred to be a step towards giving up bilateral agreements within Europe, especially with Italy. San Marino had been attracted by the aims and ideals of the Council of Europe, which were concerned with furthering and protecting human rights, the rule of law, and political and economic growth. San Marino could guarantee democracy and freedom within its borders. Small countries had a role to play, just as the larger states. San Marino was anxious to contribute to the aims of the Council of Europe. Since its first contact, in 1971, it had shown an affinity with the ideals of the Council.

It had been said that small states were important in Europe because of their cultural heritage. San Marino’s strong history showed its observance of Council of Europe values through its strength and cohesion. It believed in peaceful co-existence and had built on this over time; it had no reason to envy the major democracies. The constitution of San Marino was in accordance with international human rights declarations and its new Declaration on Human Rights incorporated the tenets of the Convention on Human Rights. The first joint meeting of the Council of Europe and the European Parliament was an important step. Although the two organisations had very different roles to play, they needed to co-operate.

San Marino, as other small states, was hoping to establish new links with the EU. The world faced many new challenges such as globalisation and international terrorism. It was important to promote the Council of Europe ideals in the face of new violence. The Council of Europe had always worked against violence and for human rights. San Marino became the 23rd member of the Council of Europe in 1988 and he was pleased to report that there were now 44 members. This was encouraging for those who believed in human rights and growing European co-operation.