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PACE President calls for unity around the principles of democratic security

Speaking to a Conference of Chairpersons of Committees of Foreign Affairs of National Parliaments in Sofia today, PACE President Pedro Agramunt has called for “unity in the face of the many challenges we are confronted with”.

“The process of reconciliation and pan-European unification started in 1989, but cracks have appeared in the last few years. ‘Frozen’ and ‘burning’ conflicts, especially on our eastern borders, represent a real threat to Europe’s unity and stability,” said the President.

“History has taught us that mature democracies do not wage war with each other. The key word is ‘mature’. But by moving too quickly to create democracies without doing the hard work to create institutions to protect the rights of minority groups, it will be more likely that the most ruthless thugs seize power in the territories concerned,” he stressed.

“International terrorism, the refugee crisis, the wave of left and right-wing populism, rising nationalism and the erosion of democratic principles and human rights – all these challenges and threats interact, fuelling and exacerbating each other. They have a global dimension and affect all of us. No country can respond effectively alone.”

Reiterating the Assembly’s support for the idea of a fourth Council of Europe Summit, the President stressed the need “to reaffirm our political commitment to what unites us – the principles of democratic security – as well as to update, and further develop, strategic lines of action for our Organisation and our member States, in order to pursue and deepen the process of European co-operation”.

“Our strength is our unity around our values and it is very symbolic that the Bulgarian Chairmanship of the Committee of Ministers has chosen this idea as a motto for its activities,” he concluded.