Suomen ulkopolitiikan asiakirja-arkisto ja kronologia
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Statement by Mr. Pertti Paasio, Minister for Foreign Affairs, at the Copenhagen Meeting of the Conference on the Human Dimension of the CSCE on 5 June 1990


Mr. Chairman,

It is a particular pleasure for a Finn to see this meeting of the Conference on the Human Dimension take place on Nordic soil, Finland shares with Denmark and the other Nordic countries a heritage of values, foremost among them the freedom of the individual. A word of appreciation is due to the hosts of this meeting for the outstanding arrangements that they have provided for it.

I am also grateful to my Danish colleague Mr. Ellemann-Jensen for the invitation that he extended to his CSCE colleagues to attend the opening of the Copenhagen Meeting. We meet at a propitious time. I look forward to a decision by the 35 CSCE states to set in motion preparations for the CSCE summit planned to be held later this year.

The recent changes in Europe amount to nothing less than a transformation of our Continent. Unlike so often in the history of Europe, these changes have taken place peacefully, not through the cataclysms of war. The will of the people has overcome established tenets of political order. Democracy, pluralism and freedom are becoming values that unite all of Europe. People are again allowed to claim a past. Entire nations are free to assert their identity. For Europe, 1990 may become the year of the liberation of the human spirit.

Military confrontation is declining. However slowly, changed perceptions may affect capabilities, Europe has an historic opportunity to eliminate the capability for launching a surprise attack. Search has begun for a new security system. Instead of a balance of terror, it would be based on common values and cooperation.

Europe's unnatural division may soon be a matter of the past. The individual's yearning to move freely and his desire to associate with his kin haveproved a force that brings down barriers erected in the name of peace and security.

The CSCE is at the core of these developments. It is now increasingly appreciated that the Final Act signed in Helsinki fifteen years ago as more than a recognition of the order that had emerged in Europe as a result of the Second World War: it was also a blueprint for action. Europe is moving closer the ideals contained in the Final Act. In particular, when Europe now speaks of human rights, it increasingly does so in one language. One of the invaluable contributions of the CSCE has been the incentives it has provided for reforms within participating States. Equally, the CSCE has established human rights as a concern for the entire community of CSCE nations, wherever or by whomever violations may occur.

Mr. Chairman,

Seven weeks ago, a document was adopted at the CSCE Conference on Economic Cooperation in Bonn. The Bonn Conference achieved significant, indeed historic, results. Its Document outlines - in remarkable clarity - the relationship between internal reforms within participating States and economic cooperation between them. Through the Bonn Document, participating States agree to cooperate - not in spite of what divides them but because of what unites them. Through it, they are united in a belief in the free market, private enterprise and individual property. They are united in a commitment to free elections, multi-party democracy and the rule of law. They agree that economic cooperation has its human dimension, including the promotion of social justice and the improvement of people's living and working conditions.

Obviously, the Bonn Document is in many respects an outline for a long-term programme of action rather than a description of reality. But that is precisely the strength of the Bonn Document, as it has been the strength of CSCE documents before it: agreed commitments are an instrument of change. It recognizes the formidable problems facing the countries that have chosen the path of transition to market economy. And it underlines the role of cooperation in solving those problems.

Mr, Chairman,

The Copenhagen Meeting on the human dimension is but a part of a conference which may well continue beyond the next CSCE follow-up meeting. No document was adopted at the first Meeting of this Conference in Paris a year ago. This Meeting should, however, strive for a substantive outcome. It should strive for one because there is both an opportunity and a need for one. There is an opportunity to jointly
record the considerable advance in the field of the human dimension and help make that advance lasting. And there is the need to provide ingredients for the CSCE summit planned for late 1990.

The focus of the work of this Conference as defined in its mandate is on practical proposals. A host of them were made at the Paris Meeting a year ago. Many of them merit further consideration here. This Conference has particular duties with regard to the so-called mechanism. It is true that in recent months the number of cases in which the mechanism has been invoked has been on the decrease.
Nevertheless, the mechanism is worth preserving and developing. Its role as a confidence-building measure should be strenghened. This is the thrust of a proposal that the four neutral countries have prepared. The commitment that it seeks would enable the participating States to send observers to any other participating States in order to examine the implementation of provisions within the human

Mr. Chairman,

Equal rights and self-determination of peoples is a recognized principle of international relations. Several regions in our Continent are beset with tension between ethnic and national groups. Often, such tension has its roots in centuries-old animosities. The voice of oppressed national minorities has in the course of the history of Europe often become a major polical force of change. When people are free to seek their roots and assert their identity, dormant tensions may surface. Yet, it is in the interest of all that ethnic confrontation
does not lead to violence. Lasting solutions can only be found if the rights of all concerned are not only tolerated but also respected.

Questions of national minorities will no doubt become a predominant theme at the Copenhagen Meeting. A number of proposals are expected. For its part, Finland is considering the possibilities of identifying concrete questions on which cooperative action might prove useful. Access to education and other services in one's mother tongue could be one of them. In our view, the CSCE is uniquely suited
for the consideration of minority questions, not least because the CSCE encompasses all aspects related to them.

Mr. Chairman,

When the CSCE process began in Helsinki in the autumn of 1972, Albania was the only country that declined the invitation that Finland as the host country had extended. Ever since, the door has been kept open for Albania's participation. Some weeks ago, Albania informed us that it had decided to indicate its interest in joining the CSCE. We warmly welcome Albania's decision. It is now up to the 35 States as well as Albania to take the necessary steps before consensus about Albania's participation can be noted.

In recent months, discussion on strengthening the structure of the CSCE has been particularly lively. It is a shared view that the CSCE should play a central role in the management of change and that the CSCE should provide a framework for future security and cooperation in Europe. Numerous proposals have been made to this effect. Finland welcomes them. In our view, they provide elements for possible consensus decisions to come. In the field of the human dimension, the CSCE should develop procedures for drawing further upon the work of the Council of Europe.

We expect the CSCE summit planned for this year to discuss the issue of strengthening the structure of the CSCE. It could take the first steps, with a view to further joint decisions to be adopted at the CSCE follow-up meeting in Helsinki in 1992. The holding of periodic meetings of the CSCE foreign ministers could be such a first step. The period up to the Helsinki meeting could become a transitional phase for gaining experience from structured cooperation.

The Government of Finland has recently shared its views with its CSCE partners on the question of strengthening the structure of the CSCE. In that context we have also explained how we see the relationship between the CSCE summit planned for this year and the 1992 Helsinki meeting and its preparations. We have suggested that preparations for Helsinki could also take place in Helsinki. We would of course be ready to provide the requisite services of a secretariat.

Mr. Chairman,

I wish the Copenhagen Meeting every success in its work. May it become a milestone towards realizing the ideals of the CSCE.

Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

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