Indholdet på denne side vedrører regeringen Poul Nyrup Rasmussen III (1996-98)

The Prime Minister's speech at the OSCE Foreign Minister meeting, 18 December 1997 in Copenhagen


Your Majesty,


Ladies and Gentlemen

I warmly welcome you to Copenhagen and to the sixth OSCE Ministerial Council. This Ministerial marks the culmination of the Danish Chairmanship of the OSCE.

At the end of 1989, a new dawn rose over Europe. On the horizon, we saw the prospects of a Europe, whole and free. Today, eight years later, at the threshold of the twenty-first century, the outlines of the new European landscape are clearly taking shape.

Still, the challenges are many. Change itself is a challenge.

Change implies breaking up social structures - That the past gives way to the future.

But the shadows of the past are long:

Conflicts we thought part of history have re-emerged. Years of mismanagement of human and natural resources; years of industrial pollution; years of neglect of nuclear safety; all are major threats to the new beginnings all are hoping for.

And also the future itself does not always appear too bright:

There is uncertainty following from economic and social reform - There is the fragility of infant democracies. Both may shake people’s belief in a better future.

But we should not loose sight of the most important: The new reality provides vast opportunities denied us by the past.

We have seen a new set of values take root. The principles of democracy, the rule of law, and respect for human rights have spread to the whole of the European continent.

Today, we can stand together to combat the common dangers. The security, prosperity, and welfare of a state and its people can never be built in isolation. Only when all states and peoples enjoy the same prospects and opportunities can we reach this goal. This in turn depends on the ability and will of all states to build fully on the principles that we share.

These fundamental principles of the rights for all must become a living reality for every European state. There is no place for a second division in the new Europe.

The key word is solidarity:

Solidarity with the states and peoples that face problems.

Solidarity is the main driving force in the emerging European security architecture.

Solidarity is the force behind the opening of NATO to former adversaries in a constructive and forward looking dialogue. It is the force behind the decision of the Madrid Summit to enlarge NATO, the creation of the Euro-Atlantic Partnership Council, and the NATO-Russia Founding Act and the NATO-Ukraine Charter.

Solidarity is the force that fuels the European Union. The Union has addressed the economic and social problems of the countries in transition. It has provided the parallel of the modern age Marshall Plan to the half of Europe that missed out in 1947. The prospect of membership of the Union contributes to political stability. The enlargement process of the European Union is a decisive contribution to the creation of the new Europe.

Solidarity has also fueled the enlargement of the Council of Europe, thus providing a legal base for the rights of the individual.

Solidarity is also embodied in the OSCE’s very being.

It was the first organization to integrate all the newly independent States emerging from the break-up of the Soviet Union and of Yugoslavia into the family of democratic nations. The OSCE was the birth place of the principles and commitments that constitute the very fabric of the new Europe. Its comprehensive approach to security, its preventive diplomacy and its quest for human rights and democratic values is a the very heart of our new common approach.

Your Majesty, Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen,

The challenges facing us in the new Europe reflect the difficulties of implementing the principles of freedom and democracy. They are multifaceted and complex.

They require of us to act together. As states we must act in the organizations to which we belong. And we must act through a closer and mutually reinforcing cooperation between these organizations.

Our vision of the future must be guided by resolve and solidarity:

Resolve on standing firm on the basic principles.

Solidarity in our approach, in our will to help.

Only then can we make real our vision of a Europe whole and free.

Denmark has been proud to chair the OSCE in the past year. We have sought to make our contribution towards achieving these goals.

As Europe has changed, the OSCE has changed. I am not going to dwell on the successes of the past nor on the issues and conflicts still confronting us. I will note, however, one instance, which I feel points to the future. Where the OSCE proved its relevance for today and for tomorrow. And that is Albania.

In Albania, the OSCE made a difference between peace and conflict; between order and chaos. In Albania, the OSCE turned the theory of conflict prevention into practice. And that is, I believe, a feat the OSCE and its member states should rightly be proud of.

Because by proving theory in practice, by actually preventing conflict and disaster, before it struck, the OSCE proved its own worth for today and tomorrow.

I am happy to note that this happened during the Danish Presidency.

I wish you a successful meeting. Thank you.