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Address by H.E. Branko CRVENKOVSKI, President of the Republic of Macedonia
European Architecture (Council of Europe, OSCE, EU)
Warsaw, 17 May 2005
Mr. Secretary General,
Ladies and Gentlemen,
I am greatly honored 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 organization of the III Council of Europe Summit. I believe Warsaw is the right place wherefrom, 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 lines of division.
This III 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. Europe - democratic and integrated. Europe in which human rights, democracy and the rule of law will be preserved and further advanced. 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.
I believe that today, 60 years after the II World War and 15 years of democratic transformation of the countries in Central and Eastern Europe the fundamental values of our Organization remain equally relevant and valid in terms of their respect, development and advancement. It is of crucial importance that these underlying principles are reaffirmed in the documents we will adopt at this Summit: the Warsaw Political Declaration and the Action Plan. These documents will pave the way for future activities of the Council of Europe, ensuring thus solid grounds to deal with the great challenges of the 21st. Century, recognized in the needs of the large European population.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
In the last period, European countries have managed to create on our Continent an elaborate network of international institutions and organizations, which are primarily featured by their functionality. In the last several years, the Council of Europe, the OSCE and the European Union have established the basis of the political map of Europe, setting at the same time standards for building stability and democracy.
The culture of cooperation, solidarity and reaching consensus on important political issues among the countries members of these organizations have 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 the hitherto, and I believe, the future enlargement of the EU 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 more complex setting than before. Hence, I especially appreciate the fact that the III Council of Europe Summit has taken this issue into full consideration, offering guidelines for advancing interaction, and for more fruitful future cooperation among the Council of Europe, the OSCE and the European Union.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
The Republic of Macedonia supports the set guidelines for the relations between the Council of Europe and the European Union, which are to practically strengthen the partnership and complementarity of the two organizations. We equally support the Declaration for Cooperation between the Council of Europe and the OSCE.
The enlargement of the EU is an on-going, 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 organization, creates the possibility to enhance the 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, respect for European values and shared interest in the common future.
The fully-fledged integration of the Republic of Macedonia into the EU 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.
In this context, it should be taken into consideration that the development of social cohesion, promotion of the education, advancing the culture and inter-cultural dialogue and the commitments to consequent respect for human rights, democracy and the rule of law are the key values of the Council of Europe. In light of the fact that these are the fundamental commitments at the III Council of Europe Summit, we should expect that the assistance and support to the EU membership candidate countries would be focused on fulfillment of the required democratic benchmarks. By adopting and applying these standards, the Republic of Macedonia comes ever closer to fully-fledged membership of the EU and NATO.
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 realization of participatory democracy, in which no one will feel marginalized 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 decentralization and more comprehensive informing of the public, complete professionalization 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.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
The European Court for 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 Organization. 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 adjusting the national legal systems for more adequate treatment of the violations under the European Human Rights Convention. 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 the greatest problems of today. 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 Organization 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.