“The inter-cultural and inter-religious dialogue promoted in a number of documents of the Council of Europe will help finding out the right model for living together in the 21st century, preserving at the same time the principles of European unity and cooperation”, declared the National Assembly Chair Tsetska Tsacheva at the opening of the conference “Democratic Security, based on unity and cooperation”. The forum gathers heads of parliamentary foreign affairs committees of the 47 member countries of the Council of Europe. Representatives from 25 countries are taking part in the conference, held in the frames of the Bulgarian chairmanship of the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe.
In the words of Tsetska Tsacheva - we can reach agreements, based on the shared by us common values. She further said that today we face challenges, unthinkable just several years ago, such as the breaking of International law which happened in 2014, as well as the huge migrant wave from Syria and Afghanistan towards Europe, leading to a dramatic situation. “The solutions of the problems currently could only be found by joint actions and common policies”. We count on the Council of Europe, as the first Pan-European international organization to provide the only forum for dialogue between the European Union member countries and those not members.
The Chair of Parliament, Tsetska Tsacheva, stressed also: without the defense of the society and the existing order, there could be neither social, nor economic security; the rights and freedoms of citizens could not be protected. “Extraordinary measures in a difficult situation are permissible, precisely for the sake of defending the basic values and achievements of the European unity. Such measures are undertaken for a particular reason, with a specified scope and timeframe."
"The strengthening of our borders is a matter of duty towards our own citizens, as well as for protecting the rights of those who look for asylum in our countries", stressed Tsetska Tsacheva. "Thus the defense of our borders from illegal migrants does not contradict the principles of democracy and rule of law." Tsacheva also underscored some of Bulgaria’s borders are also external borders of the European Union and for this reason could not be considered as a problem of one sole country.
The Chair of the National Assembly praised the Bulgarian delegation to the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe for the Declaration for Unity and Cooperation, adopted at the beginning of the Bulgarian chairmanship, on 27 November in Sofia and signed by the leaders of all PACE's political groups. “We count on the continuing support of the newly elected President of PACE, Mr. Pedro Agramunt, for this initiative, which sparked the idea for convening of a Forth Summit of the Heads of State and Government of all Council of Europe's member countries”, Tsacheva declared. “The trust existing between us makes possible our common response, as is the slogan, which inspired our ancestors and which we gave as present to United Europe, carrying the message “Unity makes the strength”, she added.
At the opening of the conference, the President of PACE, Pedro Agramunt, outlined three major problems for Europe, seeking urgent solutions – the international terrorism, the influx of migrants, the wave of left and right-wing populism and rising nationalism. “These challenges and threats interact; they have a global dimension, which affects all countries. The Council of Europe has the necessary strength, capacity and instruments to cope with these challenges”, Pedro Agramunt stressed. “Our strength is in our unity, based on our values and it is very symbolic that the Bulgarian chairmanship of PACE’s Committee of Ministers has elected for their activities the same motto. Democracy, human rights, rule of law – these values and principles are at the foundations of a Europe without dividing lines”, noted Pedro Agramunt.
The chair of the National Assembly’s foreign affairs committee and head of the Bulgarian Delegation to PACE, Dzhema Grozdanova, is moderator of the forum.
The agenda of the conference foresees discussion on the PACE’s declaration regarding the values and principles of European unity and co-operation and the need to convene a Fourth Summit of the Council of Europe.