10. April 2014

Protokoll Europarat

It is a structural problem: The instruments at our disposal are not as strong as the values we defend

The PRESIDENT – I call Mr Gross, who will speak on behalf of the Socialist Group.

Mr GROSS (Switzerland) – For social democrats, it is clear that what the Russian leaders have done is irresponsible. It is a slap in the face of the values of the Council of Europe. It is a kick not in the stomach but in the soul of the Council of Europe. The basic values of this Organisation have been violated and there can be no explanation, excuse or justification.

Borders should not be changed unilaterally by force. You can try to negotiate for anything, but the Russians should not have done what they have. Making that statement is easy; it is much more difficult to know how to react. The instruments at our disposal are not as strong as the values we defend. That is a structural problem.

As an eminent colleague in my group – he sits on the place 154 - one said that we could only lose. Whatever we do, we have already lost. If we kick out Russia and do brutal things, we lose our raison d’être. This is the only Organisation to which they come to listen, speak, discuss, think and learn. And if we do nothing, because nothing can correspond to the wound we received, we lose our credibility. That is why there is no simple answer and no right answer. We have insufficient information to make a judgment about the consequences.

We social democrats are convinced that we have to give Russia a sign, so we support the report on its voting rights. However, it is not enough. That is why we want to engage with Russian colleagues in an examination of all the facts of all what happened and of all affirmations. We want to engage them in dialogue and show them that what they did is irresponsible and breaches all the lessons we learned from the past century.

It is a step back from all what we have learned and acquired as civilisatorian progress. We should not remove Russia from our Organisation because it is only here that such dialogue can take place. Speaking, communicating and interacting are the only alternatives to violence. If we punish Russia through black pedagogy, we lose that opportunity. We should be wise. We should stick to the rapporteur’s proposition, and do more than rap Russia on the knuckles. We should have a dialogue. We should go to Ukraine and defend its democratic values. However, we must talk to the Russians because that is the only way they will learn that what they have done is unacceptable.

Kontakt mit Andreas Gross

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