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Address by the President of the Republic of Poland, Aleksander Kwaśniewski, at the opening of the Third Session of the Council of Europe Summit: ‘European Architecture’

(Warsaw, 17 May 2005)

Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen,

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 cooperation 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 cooperation with our principal partners, i.e. with the Organisation for Security and Cooperation 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 cooperation 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 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 realize 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 cooperation, and which has at its disposal important instruments for defending order and justice. All these are our assets in building a brave new Europe.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

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 cooperation 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 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, the founding country of both the Council of Europe and European Union. I would like to ask Prime Minister Juncker to personally prepare a special political report that could accelerate the cooperation of both our organizations on the Memorandum of Understanding. On behalf of the Council of Europe, next Chairmanships will continue the efforts to prepare the Memorandum.

If our proposal will be accepted by distinguished participants of the Summit, and above all our colleague Jean Claude Juncker, I will propose to amend 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 onto 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!1

1 Proposal by the Polish Chair
Sentence to be added in the Warsaw Declaration:
10. We are determined to ensure complementarity of the Council of Europe and the other organisations involved in building a democratic and secure Europe: