Strasbourg, June 27 (TASR correspondent) – Slovakia needs the Council of Europe in the current turbulent times as much as other countries do, said Slovak Prime Minister Peter Pellegrini during the speech that he delivered to the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) in Strasbourg on Wednesday.
“Terrorism, the migration crisis, strengthening scepticism and public distrust in institutions weaken the principles of democracy, human rights and the rule of law. Multilateralism is being threatened by a lack of dialogue and tolerance, the inability to listen to each other, preference for national interests and the absence of political will,” stated Pellegrini.
He stressed that current challenges can only be addressed jointly, by cooperation.
Pellegrini in his speech mentioned that Slovakia will mark the 25th anniversary of its admission as a member of the Council of Europe in three days. He mentioned the successes that Slovakia has achieved in that period thanks to commitments stemming from its membership.
In this connection, he spoke, for example, about the successfully managed Slovak Presidency of the EU Council in the second half of 2016 and of the Council of Europe in 2007-08. He also pointed to the fact that Slovak Foreign and European Affairs Minister Miroslav Lajcak is currently holding the post of President of the 72nd Session of the UN General Assembly. Additionally, Slovakia will assume the Visegrad Four (V4 – the Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland and Slovakia) Presidency in a few days and the OSCE Presidency as of next year.
Pellegrini thanked the Council of Europe, which will soon mark its 70th anniversary, for helping Slovakia 25 years ago to build the foundations of its statehood and parliamentary democracy in line with the principles of the rule of law and respect for fundamental human rights and freedoms.
The Slovak prime minister highlighted the importance of the Venice Commission as “a highly respected authority” that has exceeded the geographical framework of the Council of Europe with its importance. He praised the institution’s contribution also in connection with Slovakia, stating that its verdict last year helped to resolve the issue of the appointment of judges to Slovakia’s Constitutional Court.