Addressing the Council of Europe Parliamentary Assembly (PACE) at its summer session in Strasbourg (20–24 June), PACE President René van der Linden stressed that after the referenda which took place in France and the Netherlands on the European Treaty, Europe finds itself in an extremely difficult situation. “If we do not learn from these votes and do not react accordingly, we could soon be on the slippery road back to egocentric nationalism and its dangers,” he said.
“It causes a standstill instead of progress and optimism. It has a negative impact on the necessary and justified solidarity with central and eastern European countries. In this connection I want to pay tribute to the behaviour of those countries at the European Council last week. I share Mr Juncker’s deep disappointment with regard to the position taken by some other governments, which has plunged the European Union into one of the deepest crises of its history. All this, despite the great statesmanship shown by the President of the Council, Mr Juncker,“ René van der Linden said with a view to the recent European Council.
“The EU constitutional treaty aims at making Europe more democratic, to improve the decision-making process, to pave the way to a Europe speaking with one voice and to ensure respect for common values, also through the accession of the EU to the European Convention on Human Rights. I would appeal here to the EU, during the reflection period, to proceed with the accession of the European Union or at least the European Community to the European Convention on Human Rights. This would strongly contribute to a common European legal area – for the benefit of all our citizens,” the PACE President said.
“A strong Europe is necessary to avoid new divisions and strengthen economic growth. At the same time, it would be a historical mistake to think that Europe is just about economy and trade. It is also about common values – democracy, human rights and the rule of law,” he pointed out.
“A few weeks ago, Serbia was obliged to confront one of the most difficult and painful episodes of its recent past. A videotaped murder of six young Bosniaks shocked public opinion and discomforted the political class. It is high time that the masterminds of this massacre, Mr Karadjic and Mr Mladic, and their collaborators be brought to justice now before the Hague Tribunal. Justice is necessary to help, if at all possible, heal the pain of the people,” René van der Linden said.
“I very much regret the decision of the Parliament of Serbia to reject the draft resolution to condemn war crimes in Srebrenica and in all former Yugoslavia. One would have hoped that Serbian politicians would seize this opportunity to unconditionally and unreservedly condemn the massacre of Srebrenica. The terrible events of Srebrenica should remind us why the Council of Europe’s mission is so essential and urge us to do better in future,” he concluded.
For more information, see http://assembly.coe.int/ or http://www.coe.int/PAsession