Committee of Ministers 92nd session14 May 1993
Preparation of the meeting of Heads of State and Government
(Vienna, 8 and 9 October 1993)
There is much talk about a new European architecture. The changes brought about by the fall of the Berlin wall in November 1989 and the putsch that failed in Moscow in August 1991 are still going on. We cannot be sure where we will end.
We have followed with interest the rapid changes of the societies in Central and Eastern Europe, we have observed the dissolution of the Soviet Union and we have seen the birth of new independent States in Europe some of which have already become members of this organization, others are soon to follow. At the same time we have followed with growing concern the emergence of extremist movements within our societies both in east and west. We feel numbless in front of the atrocities committed in former Yugoslavia, particularly in Bosnia and Hertzegovina.
From the very beginning Finland supported the idea of convening the heads of state and government to a summit meeting of the Council of Europe. Today, we are even more convinced of its timeliness.
The Council of Europe does not command any armies, nor does it have large financial resources at its disposal. But it may have something more precious: its unique capacity to assist in laying a new spiritual foundation for our continent based on democracy, human rights and the rule of law.
The future of the nation state is being weighed today. Traditional concepts of what constitutes a threat to the national security are giving way to new threats, which if not contained in time may prove even more devastating. Threats to the environment, national extremism and xenophobia, the widening economical gap between the different parts of our continent create tensions which threaten our societies with instability. In some cases this may lead to disintegration of the society, even war between the peoples of the same state or between states as we witness in former Yougoslavia today.
More and more European states are willing to subscribe to the basic values promoted by the Council of Europe. Today we are 29 member states but the number will continue to grow. We are well under way to become a truly pan-European organization which should be our ultimate goal.
The preparations for the summit are well under way. For our part we can approve of the draft agenda as proposed by the deputies. Further, we would like at this stage to support in principle the idea of a political declaration of the Vienna summit along the lines contained in the first draft of 27 April 1993.
For these reason my Government finds it very appropriate that our heads of state or government should meet in Vienna in October next. We are thankful to the Austrian Government for having offered to host this meeting. The Summit meeting provides a welcome opportunity to take stock of where our organization is heading and in what way it can assist all of us to build a better and more secure future for Europe.