Madame Chairman, I would like to congratulate you for the chairmanship.
You are going to face challenging tasks during the year to come. Let me assure you that my Government will do everything it can in the Nordic spirit of cooperation to support you in your office.
I would like to convey thanks of my Government to the Senior Officials for the preparations. We are satisfied with the results and can thus give our support to the draft documents.
We have on our agenda a number of Eastern European regional conflicts which have to be managed and, if possible, solved. We are also creating mechanisms which prevent potential conflicts in this region. At the same time we are discussing increasing social unrest and ethnic tension in Western Europe. These phenomena that threaten peace and security and violate human rights have a common background: economic difficulties - recession or should I rather say depression in Western Europe and deep problems of transition in Eastern Europe.
I am afraid that we have not paid due attention to the fact that threats to peace and security often derive from economic problems.
The CSCE cannot be successful in its efforts in securing peace and stability, as well as safeguarding human rights if we cannot solve the economic problems which plague Europe. The key to this is a massive economic cooperation effort by Western Europe, US and Canada in Central and Eastern Europe. Also other countries with significant economic potential - like Japan - have to be fully engaged in these activities.
It is not enough that we help the peoples of Eastern Europe on their way to market economy. Investments from other countries are also essential. Above all improvement of infrastructure, especially in the fields of energy and food supply is needed. We have to encourage also our companies to invest in Eastern parts of Europe. Joint ventures can play here a crucial role.
A strong interdependence exists between Western and Eastern Europe. We share a common fate. As long as the economic
development of Eastern Europe remains weak, Western Europe will suffer. When the economy in the East starts to pick up,
the economies of the West will enter into a new dynamic phase. And, by investing in the East the Western countries can
stimulate their own economies.
In my opinion, the CSCE should pay increased attention to the promotion of economic cooperation. If we cannot solve the economic problems of the whole of Europe, we are going to fail in reaching the goals of our cooperation in many other important fields. Thus, the Economic Forum should in its first meeting pay due attention to the promotion of pan-European economic cooperation in the spirit of real partnership based on the common CSCE goals and principles.