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Letter to the President of Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe Peter Scieder

Ljubljana, 05/12/2003  |  press release

Mr. President,

Our country also recalls with respectful acknowledgement the anniversary of the birth of the Council of Europe on 5 May 1949. Today we may say with justification that the founding of this international organisation, a few years after the destruction of the Second World War, was the carefully considered and forward-thinking act of visionaries, and later it also turned out to be a resistance and protest against the forced division of Europe, and at the same time the announcement of its renewed unification based on the common values of its tradition.

In the same way it was of decisive importance for our continent that after the Cold War ended, the Council of Europe established itself at the forefront of the international organisations that most rapidly and clearly charted the orientation of the new European architecture, in which there would be space for all countries that were committed to fulfilling the commonly adopted democratic standards.

This May Slovenia will be recalling with special favour 14 May 1993, when our country joined the members of the Council of Europe. From the very beginning we have been conscious of the importance of this step, and have endeavoured to function as an active and rationally connected link, which together with others and under the principle of solidarity is building a future in the hospitable and largest European family of countries.

It still holds true that for all the newly established and young democracies, joining the Council of Europe marks the first and perhaps most important step towards normalisation and Europeanisation. In this light it is particularly positive that today, all the countries that emerged from the former Yugoslavia, are members of the Council of Europe, since in this way they have announced their determination to pursue the irreversible process of democratisation and gradual adoption of European standards. As it has done to date, Slovenia will in its foreign policy pay special attention to these nations and countries, since together with all of Europe, our vital interest lies in peace, stability and progress prevailing in the whole region.

The gradual growth in the membership of countries in the Council of Europe indicates that in the coming years, Europe will be shaped as a complete geopolitical whole. This whole cannot be either self-contained or closed, so for this reason the Council of Europe faces new challenges, which the members will certainly define at the forthcoming Council of Europe summit.

I am convinced that in line with their methods of functioning, the institutions of the Council of Europe will continue striving for an intensification of the internal European dialogue; in the same way the Council of Europe would need to play a major part in globalisation, as a forum for dialogue with non-European cultures and civilisations and their organisations, for which the Parliamentary Assembly has for a long time shown exceptional inclination.

Permit me, Mr. President, to take this opportunity to wish you every success in your work, and to thank you for my being able next year to address the deputies of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe.
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