24. Juni 2002
Protokoll AS 2002 CR 17; Europarat
Die Antworten von Andi Gross im Anschluss an die Debatte.
Back to the debate.
Mr GROSS (Switzerland). - I thank those who tried to think on the subject which has been mentioned independently of each other, by the President of the Assembly and me. I am grateful to Mr Surjan, who showed us that not mentioning that people in one of our countries have been killed in a demonstration means that we are not fulfilling our responsibility. That is why I regret that our colleague, Mr Ilham Aliyev of the delegation from Azerbaijan, went away during my speech. When we deal with something we must criticise and also be self-critical. I regret that we have been unable to avoid that, but it is a sign of love not to forget such incident. We would show our ignorance if we did not do this difficult job of criticising ourselves. Thinking about what has happened and why is the best thing that we can do. If we do not do this, we will not fulfil our responsibility.
To Mr Soendergaard I say that it is true that the Assembly believes that we should carefully re-examine the status of the Israeli knesset in our Assembly. The Political Affairs Committee has not forgotten that and it has tried to consider at what exact moment to do that. I am sure that the delegation that has been there will report tomorrow and this week during the meetings of the Political Affairs Committee, especially because we have another urgent debate on the subject. I thank you for your reminder, but we do not have to be afraid of forgetting.
Mr Pangalos took up my reference to democracy. Too many people do not see how much danger democracy is in today, because there is no longer any balance between economic and political power. I mention that because the sub-committee of the Political Affairs Committee on strengthening democracy has had its first meeting. I ask the members to engage in the committee, because there is a crisis of democracy in some countries. However, a crisis of democracy is also hanging over those countries. More and more power is going away from countries and their peoples do not realise that the power of democracy is under threat. That contradiction is an open door for populist forces and we should work on strengthening democracy, which is the mission of our sub-committee.
To Mr Zhirinovsky I say that there is an important difference between nationalistic and national. Every politician should defend his own interest - that is, the interest of the people and of the nation - but that should not be nationalistic. This is the difference: people who are nationalistic defend their interest to the cost of others, but defending a national interest should not be done at the expense of others. It may be that the best defence of national interest is the defence of the interest of all. When all are not free, the nation cannot be free. That difference is very important and we are happy that there is no nationalistic group here, although all the groups defend the national interest. They understand that the best way to defend the national interest in Europe is to defend European interests.
THE PRESIDENT. - Thank you. The debate on the progress report of the Bureau and the Standing Committee is closed.