President of Finland

Speech made to the Assembly

Tuesday, 28 April 2009

Distinguished President, honourable members of the Parliamentary Assembly, Mr Secretary General, Deputy Secretary General, Excellencies and ladies and gentlemen, I would like to thank you for the invitation to Strasbourg and for the opportunity to address the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe. I feel at home again.

This year marks the 60th anniversary of the Council of Europe and the 20th anniversary of Finland’s membership of the Organisation. Our world has changed in many ways during the years, but as you mentioned, Mr President, the core principles – democracy, human rights and the rule of law – remain at the heart of our work. We must continue building our future on these common values. This work is essential for Europe and for Europe’s democratic development.

Finland has had a longstanding interest in the Council of Europe and its activities. The Finnish Parliament and parliamentarians have taken a particular interest in the work of the Parliamentary Assembly, and with good reason. The Parliamentary Assembly is really the heart of the Council of Europe. For me, it has always been a great pleasure to participate in the work of the Council throughout my political life, and it always will be.

“a human-rights based approach will lead to more equitable and sustainable solutions”

Since the Second World War, Europe has lived through several changes. The Council of Europe and its work have been most valuable. It has ensured that the principles of democracy, human rights and the rule of law have been applied. The work continues because, today, we still face many challenges.

The international economic crisis affects all of us. In many countries, economic activity has slowed down considerably and this has led to growing unemployment. This causes human suffering and may also cause social instability. The scale and impact of the crisis are still largely unknown, but we must be prepared for difficult times ahead.

The economy must of course be revitalised in a manner that is effective but also socially just. We need a fair globalisation that promotes stable growth, provides adequate financing for enterprises and responds to the needs of workers for decent work. We have to remember that the welfare of people goes hand in hand with the welfare of nature. Markets alone cannot give the answers.

The Council of Europe can provide us with useful tools in responding to the challenges of today. We must keep human rights firmly in our minds, and work together for our shared principles and values. A human rights-based approach will lead to more equitable and sustainable solutions.

The European Convention on Human Rights and the European Court of Human Rights are the flagships of the Council. We must ensure that the Court can effectively fulfil its tasks. I am personally convinced of the importance of Protocol No. 6 to the European Convention on Human Rights. Furthermore, we must remember that the proper implementation of the human rights convention at the national and local level is best for the people. It could also lead, in a positive way, to a decrease in the number of cases put forward to the European Court of Human Rights.

In order to ensure the reinforcement of democracy and human rights, it is important to monitor the compliance of commitments undertaken by the member states. Currently, the Parliamentary Assembly conducts the state-specific public monitoring of new member states. I believe that extending monitoring by the Parliamentary Assembly to all the member states of the Council could be studied. All in all, I have started to think more and more about how human rights processes – the way of thinking – could be taken more as encouragement than as punishment, not for me but for my neighbour, because punishment is not very effective.

Finland was active in setting up the Office of the Commissioner for Human Rights and now we are satisfied with the results. Both Commissioner Alvaro Gil-Robles and Commissioner Thomas Hammarberg have been very successful in promoting the awareness of, and respect for, human rights.

Recently, Commissioner Hammarberg has played an active role in monitoring the human rights situation that followed the crisis in Georgia last year. I encourage all parties to implement the six principles in question.

Last month, in Monrovia, Liberia, I had the honour of co-convening with the President of Liberia, Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf, the International Colloquium on Women’s Empowerment. The colloquium sent out a strong message about the need to implement fully UN Security Council Resolution 1325 on women, peace and security. The Council of Europe has an important role in supporting the implementation of this resolution. All member countries should adopt a national action plan in support of this work.

We must strongly condemn the rape and sexual violence that occurs in conjunction with conflicts, and do all that we can to ensure the fundamental and human rights of women and girls. I repeat my proposal that the systematic rape in armed conflict should be classified as a forbidden weapon of war.

Violence against women is in all circumstances a human rights violation. At the Council of Europe summit in Warsaw in 2005, we agreed to undertake a pan-European campaign to combat violence against women, including domestic violence. I am pleased that the campaign led to a decision to draft a convention. All the best for that work.

It is also self-evident that children – both girls and boys – need special protection. We must take firm measures to eradicate all forms of violence against children. It is essential that the member states ratify and implement the relevant legal instruments to prevent the sexual exploitation and sexual abuse of children, trafficking and customs and practices that are harmful to children.

All children should be ensured an adequate standard of living, social protection, health and education – in other words, a good childhood. In particular, access to education for the children belonging to minorities and migrant communities has to be secured. Children’s rights have to be mainstreamed into all areas of activity in the Council and in the member states. All children should be assured adequate standards, and that is what we can do.

Democracy is based on equality between people. Finland pays special attention to the rights of minorities. One of our main aims is to strengthen the social and minority rights of the Roma. I am happy that the European Roma and Travellers Forum has become our common project. This forum has a valuable role in ensuring that the voice of Roma is heard in decisions affecting them and in promoting mutual understanding. The Roma cannot do this work alone; they need our support and co-operation. We are altogether Europeans.

Promoting intercultural dialogue is crucial in today’s globalised world. Our societies are increasingly multicultural, and their peaceful development will depend on tolerance and respect between the various ethnic, cultural and religious communities. I am very happy about the progress that the Alliance of Civilizations initiative is making. We should all make a serious effort to implement its goals in our own countries and in our co-operation.

Over the past 60 years, the achievements of the Council of Europe have been impressive. It has contributed to making Europe a continent of democracy, human rights and the rule of law. It has built an excellent network of co-operation with the European Union, the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe and the United Nations.

Honourable members, I thank you for your work, I encourage you to further achievements and I promise you my sincere support. I am now ready for questions and comments. I am in your hands.


Thank you very much, Madam President, for your speech and for saying that you will accept questions from parliamentarians. Many want to put questions, and I remind colleagues that they have only 30 seconds to formulate their questions.

I give the floor to Mr Vareikis of Lithuania, who speaks on behalf of the Group of the European People’s Party.

Mr VAREIKIS (Lithuania)

Thank you. Madam President, Finland has a long history of co-operation and cohabitation with the Soviet Union and Russia. When you take the Chair of the Council of Europe, you will have to deal with some very specific Russian problems. You mentioned Protocol No. 14. There is the Russia-Georgia issue over the pipeline in the North Sea and in the Baltic Sea. Do you have some special instruments for Russia?

Mr Halonen, President of Finland

Finland was a part of Sweden for about 700 years and a part of Russia for about 200 years. We have now been independent for more than 90 years. We have never been a part of the Soviet Union; it never succeeded in occupying our country. We were neighbours with the Russians over the years of the war and the years of the peace. It is a challenging task for anyone to be a good neighbour. It has been for us, and it has been for the Russians. The situation is the same all over Europe. There used to be problems between France and Germany, but that is no longer the case. That is why I said that we should all try to be both active and open to reform in the areas of democracy, human rights and the rule of law. We should also not be too sensitive; we often say, “That’s okay for our neighbour, but not for us,” when addressing the common principles of the Council of Europe. Therefore, I say in answer to the question, that the rules should be exactly the same for everyone, and that we should respect each other and not be too sensitive. We should be patient and co-operative, and transparent and helpful to our neighbours, but we should also be ready to face such issues ourselves.

The questioner mentioned several future challenges to do with the gas pipeline. We in Finland are in the process of dealing with that issue. The decision will be taken purely on ecological grounds. Therefore, if the gas pipeline under the Baltic Sea is ecologically safe, it might be okay with us. We are serious about these issues, however.

Mr BENDER (Poland)

The new gas pipeline under the Baltic Sea between Russia and Germany is a great danger to the environment, especially because of the toxic substances that sank during and after the Second World War, and probably the First World War, too. Russia plans to ignore the warnings of environmental groups and scientists. Is Finland, a country with a long and difficult history of having suffered Russian aggression, going to support this pipeline? Both Poles and Finns know very well how dangerous and anti-environmental Russian technology can be. We must not forget that.

Mr Halonen, President of Finland

First, I want to say that Finland does not need this gas pipeline. We already have arrangements in place, so we are not participating in the project. However, Germany, the Netherlands and many central European countries need it. Currently, the Baltic Sea is very busy with the different kinds of ships that are needed for energy transportation, and if the gas pipeline is ecologically safe, it will be a good solution. Therefore, there is not a question of there being any pressure from the Russians, the Germans or anybody else; we say very clearly that if the pipeline is ecologically safe, we do not have any political reasons to resist it.

It was mentioned that there might be mines and mustard gas in the Baltic Sea; we have also heard that may be possible. We must know what exactly they are – and we must remember that they might be the responsibility not of the Russians, but of the other side – so that we can focus on them and discover whether they will be dangerous to us in the future. We must do what we can to guarantee as good a natural environment as possible for our children. Finland is very active in Baltic Sea protection – as I am as well. We have called on all the coastal countries to work with us, and I am happy to be able to say that their responses have been quite positive. We are waiting for the Swedish Presidency of the European Union; it will introduce its Baltic Sea strategy next autumn, and we hope that that will be beneficial both to the safety of the Baltic Sea and in other more general environmental regards.

Mr KAIKKONEN (Finland)

I would like to ask about Belarus. It is the only state that is missing from our European family in this plenary hall. We all know the reasons for that: problems with democracy, human rights and the rule of law. We must also admit that our policy of isolation has not made any real progress so far. How do you see the situation of, and the future in, Belarus; what kind of a policy towards Belarus do you prefer, and how do you think that the Council of Europe should organise its relations with Belarus?

Mr Halonen, President of Finland

Belarus belongs in Europe; it is a European country. A policy of isolation has seldom been an effective means of teaching either peoples or countries. We have our values and principles. I have already held discussions with people here at the Council of Europe, but it is, of course, your duty to decide what you will do. I would welcome any steps that would give us an opportunity to have Belarus back. I am sure that most of us would be willing to take her back if she were willing to fulfil the criteria of the Council of Europe, but Belarus must be seriously willing to do so. I therefore wish all the best to even the smallest such steps if co-operation can be established with that country.

Mrs GAUTIER (France) (interpretation)

said that many had forgotten that, between 1991 and 1994, Finland had undergone a bad economic crisis. This had been caused by the collapse of the USSR, a general recession in Europe accompanying the fall of the Berlin Wall and the bursting of the consumer bubble. Debt had risen from 10% to 65% and growth had fallen. She asked how the Finnish recovery from this situation had been effected, and what relevance this had to present circumstances.

Mr Halonen, President of Finland

Thank you. We have faced these issues several times recently. Countries rightly want to learn from the past. It is true that we suffered from a bad stagnation in the early 1990s; I would even go so far as to say that we had a financial crisis, including difficulties with our banking system. One lesson that we learned is that the condition of the state, enterprises and families must be made better in the good times, and that we must put in place networks that enable us better to face any future difficulties.

The current situation is different, of course; it is a global financial crisis, so it is not only happening to us, or even only to Europe. We need suitable strategies. One of them is a strategy that we used in the 1990s: not only saving money, but investing for the future. Although we used to have a very one-sided industrial sector – we had paper, pulp and metal – we invested more in the bad times of the early 1990s in technology and IT, and that created a new start and a new boom in that sector – may I mention the famous name of Nokia? There are other similar companies that are also well known now. So we made it at that time, which meant that we were ready for the good times. It is very important that we think about not only surviving through the bad times but about finding ways nationally, internationally at the European level and even globally to prepare for the better times. My customary answer is, in short, education, education, education, but it also involves different forms of co-operation between the private and the public sectors and, increasingly, co-operation between different countries.

I would also like to say that we are no longer living in the 1990s; we need to look at the international situation. Let us hope the best for the recovery of the American economy as it is so big. Let us also hope that the Americans are able to do some good work economically by themselves, but in order to avoid the kind of difficult economic circumstances that we are experiencing today, we also need to work together with them, the Europeans and other countries on the international financial architecture. It will take more time, but I am hopeful, because our European leaders have gathered together and their co-operation with America is getting better and better. As I have said, then, we need co-operation at the national and the international level, and we also need not just to survive this period, but to be prepared for the future.

Mr VOLONTE' (Italy) (interpretation)

said he was grateful that the President had come to the Assembly. There had been an urgent debate at the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe on 4 March regarding hostility in Europe towards Christianity, and he asked Mrs Halonen for her views on anti-Christianity in Europe.

Mr Halonen, President of Finland

It is a very difficult issue. I have some experience, some of it negative, some positive. We all remember the pain, fear and panic from which people suffered after 11 September. At that time, I was already President of my country. I invited representatives as the “Sons of Ibrahim”, which includes Christian, Jewish and Islamic believers, to come and discuss the issues with me. I told them that I very much respected the views of people who try to see the universe and understand the place of mankind in the universal system, which is what those religions do. We should also allow the same rights to our fellow citizens. What I learned from this and subsequent meetings was that the representatives of these religious communities had done many positive things in Finland. They all respected the right to have different religious views and the right of people to choose their religious beliefs, while also accepting the principles of human rights declarations and conventions. Let us try to work together in that way.

In recent years, we have experienced some difficulties. When we speak about the rights and fundamental freedoms of the people, it is based on everybody’s conviction that universal rights are stronger. We need somehow to keep at the forefront of our minds that freedom of expression and our rights to choose our religious, ethnic or cultural identities are all pieces of the same entity. I think that some difficulties can be caused in this area.

Another issue is that some countries, including my own, have been quite homogeneous in the past. We had only small minorities of Orthodox believers, while the majority were Lutherans, yet we had good co-operation. We also had a racial mix, which included some of the old Tartars, but they are very much integrated. Now we face the new Christians, the new Islamists and new types of religious people. There was some difficulty for them in seeing what was based in religion and what was based, more broadly, in culture. Of course, Christians, Muslims or Jews from different parts of the world have the same faith in the same God, but they have very different cultural frameworks. That is why it is so important to have these forums to discuss freely not only in the tradition of our own religion, but in that of other religions.

I often say that, in order to be tolerant and to see the value of the faith or cultural thinking of our fellow citizens, we should sometimes be less modest with our own beliefs. If we think about equality, it should be possible for one person to be proud to be a Christian and for another person to be proud to be Jewish or Islamic. We are just at the start of these discussions, but I am hopeful, which is why I mentioned in my speech an initiative about the Alliance of Civilizations, I am also happy that the Secretary-General of the United Nations, Mr Ban Ki-Moon, has shown a special interest in this initiative – he also joined us in the meeting that I mentioned. It is not yet done; there is a lot more work ahead.

Mrs DURRIEU (France) (interpretation)

said that in Finland the level of incarceration of people was now among the lowest anywhere. It used to be the highest. She asked how Finnish prisons had been emptied without a concomitant increase in the crime rate.

Mr Halonen, President of Finland

I wanted to be precise. This is a very interesting issue and it would be better if the Minister for Justice were here. I used to be a Minister for Justice in the 1980s and 1990s. The question is how to deal with people who do not accept the laws, conventions and regulations of society. Of course, imprisonment or putting them in jail should be the last resort and prisons should be places that people never come back to. I think we can all agree on that, but we know that, in fact, about 70% or 80% of people who have been in jail might well end up there again.

In common with other Nordic countries, we have tried to find ways to avoid automatically putting people into prison. We have already achieved quite good figures, partly because we looked for various alternatives. I am afraid that I do not know the exact terms, but I will try to explain in English what we did. We had community service, which meant that, for smaller crimes, people could be punished by making them work in society under the control of the authorities instead of putting them in jail. We also sought various ways of encouraging the courts to give people shorter prison sentences. We hope that this will help with rehabilitation. It helps with some people. We are always trying to find more open systems. It is a sad and interesting fact that although some people learn to be good prisoners and behave well in jail, as soon as they come out, they do not behave well.

We must work together in the Council of Europe. We need to think about good governance, social circumstances and many other issues. I look forward to discussing what we can do together in Europe. International co-operation is particularly strong in this regard. I feel that there should be much stronger co-operation between Ministers of Justice and all the authorities to deal with professional criminals and crimes such as trafficking, which I mentioned in my speech. It is impossible to achieve a permanent solution to such problems, but I thank you for your compliments, and look forward to our discussions.

Mr VYATKIN (Russian Federation) (interpretation)

said that one of the most important issues for the Council of Europe was the protection of minority languages. For example, in Russia that would include Latvian, Lithuanian and Estonian. The matter did not seem to be a problem for the Swedish-speaking minority in Finland. He asked how Finland had managed to succeed in this area.

Mr Halonen, President of Finland

I described our history earlier. As I said, Finland was once part of Sweden, and we are still close neighbours. We used to have a large minority of Swedish-speaking people, but now it is only 5% or 6%. I think it is important for all countries to respect the rights of minorities, and language is important in that context, because it is the home of the mind: it is where we create our identities and communicate with others.

When we declared our independence in 1917, there were more Swedish-speaking people in our country than there are today. It is important to me that the people of Finland, both the Swedish and the Finnish speakers, were the founding fathers and mothers of our state. I have great respect for them, which is why I am doing my best – as, I hope, are others – to give the same rights and services to both groups. It is true that more money must be invested in minorities than in majorities. We have seen that in all countries. It is necessary to invest more in order to guarantee equal rights for human beings – for individuals.

You mentioned some of your neighbours. The question of neighbourhood has arisen again! We are interested in what will happen to the speaking of Finnish in Sweden, and I think that German speakers, for instance, are interested in what will happen to the speaking of German in other countries. The Council of Europe plays an important role in this respect, and we also have the minority language convention. I encourage every one of you to accept and implement the important protocol to that convention.

All the models that we have discussed should be tailor-made for individual countries. I understand that, so far, Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania – I am not sure about Ukraine; I know its southern neighbours better – have fulfilled all their duties to the Council of Europe and its agreements, and I am glad about that.

Let me say something about the approach that we should adopt. All of us – not just neighbouring countries, but everyone – should bear in mind the European heritage, which means that countries have more than one language and more than one culture. Let us work to preserve that European culture. You all do important work in the Council of Europe, and seem to share my view that we should think less about what is good for us than about what is good for our neighbours. I hope that you all respect the rights of minorities, but the Finnish model may not be worth exporting: your countries will have to adopt their own models.

Mr IWINSKI (Poland)

The visit of our longstanding Strasbourg colleague confirms the wisdom of the French saying “On revient toujours a ses premiers amours”.

My question concerns relations between the Council of Europe, the European Union and the OSCE. How will it be possible to reduce competition and strengthen co-operation, particularly in relation to the division of labour?

Mr Halonen, President of Finland

Dziekuje – which is “thank you” in Polish. I still remember some of the words! We used to be colleagues here.

One of my advisers, Ambassador Aleksi Härkönen, was our ambassador to the OSCE when we held the presidency last year. I tried to learn what we could do to promote integration. I know that the Council of Europe co-operates well with the OSCE, but I also know that there is competition between the OSCE and not just the Council of Europe, but the EU and sometimes others. Given that resources are limited everywhere, I encourage the Secretariat and also you, the politicians, to put in more work.

Let me return to a comparison that I used to make here. I used to say that the OSCE was like a fire brigade. Once the fire was at least almost out, the countries which the brigade had helped wanted to put the brigade out as well. The Council of Europe should be more like a lifetime partner, while the OSCE can provide us with an interesting and fast-moving networking system.

Countries sometimes attempt what could be described as forum shopping. When they are asked to discuss issues with the Council of Europe, they say, “Yes, Mr President, we see the problem, but this is not the right forum in which to discuss it. It would be better discussed with the OSCE or the UN.” We should stop that forum shopping. We should co-operate. If a country needs help, encouragement or guidance, it should not be able to avoid international co-operation, and it should be made to feel that that means partnership rather than punishment.

I know that members of parliament in both the OSCE and the Council of Europe are almost the same people. At least they are colleagues from the same parliament. My advice is that we should also co-operate more strongly at a national level so that when we go back to Moscow, Stockholm, Helsinki or wherever, colleagues from different organisations such as the OSCE and the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe can decide to speak in the same way and try to co-operate on a national level as well.


Madam President, we appreciate the role played by Finland in promoting our common values in Europe; I am thinking especially of your country’s active contribution to the activities of the Council of Europe, the OSCE and the European Union. As you said, your country chaired the OSCE.

Given Finland’s experience in the EU and other organisations, how do you think the Council of Europe can play its role in the future of Europe, especially in respect of cultural dialogue?

Mr Halonen, President of Finland

First, I congratulate my Turkish friends. They held an excellent meeting a while ago in Istanbul, at which were present not only we Europeans but President Obama. It was a good start for the new President of the United States of America. He saw the broad variety of opinions in Europe and how we are trying to find a way to speak with one voice. He also saw a very warm welcome from an Islamic society.

The flagship of the Council of Europe, of course, is the European Court of Human Rights and everything in jurisprudence concerning human rights. However, as we all know, it would be artificial to be limited to just this juridical side and let the other organisations do the other work. So I hope that the main expertise will be in the hands of the Council of Europe in future, so that the European Union and the Luxembourg court, for example, could use the expertise of the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg.

The membership of the Council of Europe is broader than that of the European Union, so in an international sense it gives rise to equal discussions with a broader European perspective. The OSCE, of course, is also involved but it does more structural work. I hope that the others will respect the work of the Council of Europe in building the architecture and structures of European democracy. It is not always in the first front on the news and on television, but it diminishes the amount of difficult news on television. I hope that this House will become stronger and stronger in that role.

Mr GROSS (Switzerland)

Madam President, given that you have worked so hard and long in the Parliamentary Assembly, I am sure that you are the head of state with the biggest empathy with the Assembly. As President you have seen us suffering and not getting the credit that we deserve. What ideas do you have to improve the respect for, and visibility of, our work?

Mr Halonen, President of Finland

I have to confess that the years I spent in the 1990s in the Council of Europe were among the happiest of my political career. I was happy then, and also afterwards, because this is a very free democratic place. I mean that we should fully use the potential to be creative. When you are back in your home countries, whichever they are, there are all these rules concerning government and opposition and this and that agreement and how to deal with things. Furthermore, of course, there is more publicity around you. Most of you will have felt the problem of your voters saying, “Yes it is fine that you are doing international work, but it would be better to be in your own constituency.”

That is the contradiction: if you are always travelling to Strasbourg, your public think, “Ah! They are there again in that beautiful city, but they are not with us and our problems.” One of the tricky issues is getting them to see the entity and the fact that you are working for them as well as for Europe. However, I give this encouragement: sometimes, the thanks do not come at the time but afterwards. It is better if you remember what you have done, and if there is a national issue you can say that you have discussed it in Strasbourg and tell of your experience, the co-operation and the questions of colleagues which you bring back. I will do that also after this visit, having had discussions with the Secretary General and other excellencies about what they expect Finland to do.

Here, you see the picture of your own country from more points of view than is possible with most organisations. The thanks do not always come at the time, as I said. But there is also a good side to the media not being just around the corner. We should always have good quality media helping us. That is important, and we have discussed it. Like all other human beings, some journalists are good and some are not quite so good. How do we carry out an information strategy with one person, our blocs, our country and the countries of Europe? That is a very important issue. As I said, the good news in development does not come often in the evening news, which offers only three minutes. The negative things and the difficulties, rather than the positive developments, can easily be pushed to the fore in those three minutes.

People have good memories as a matter of fact, much better than you might believe. That becomes evident as time passes. The situation is not hopeless. Hard work is required, but I want to encourage you. If you work well now, you will see what you have done in the future. That has also been seen during the past 60 years of this institution.

Mr REIMANN (Switzerland) (interpretation)

said that Finland had an outstanding energy policy, particularly with regard to hydro and clean nuclear power. Dealing with nuclear waste required national solutions. He asked whether Finland had experienced any significant problems in this area.

Mr Halonen, President of Finland

When you are close to the picture, you see that it is many-sided, so we see a lot of challenges. It is in the Finnish character to reply to those who visit our beautiful country and say, “Oh! What a beautiful house!”, “Yes, but you do not realise that the roof is not too good.” We are very self-critical.

We live in the north and have very energy-intensive industries, so we have to concentrate seriously on energy issues. We all know that we Europeans are dependent on gas and oil and face many other challenges, but it is very important that each country has its own national energy plan. Members of the European Union will see how the European common approach fits with those plans, and will try to find the best partners to work with them.

Yes, we make use of nuclear energy and we have not been as strict as some other EU countries close to us in that regard, but in practice we do not use more than they do. There should be a good energy mix that looks to the shorter term and to the longer term. In the short term, we have to realise that climate change will affect us negatively, which is why nuclear energy, for instance, in the modern technical form, can be part of the answer.

Secondly, we should work increasingly with renewable energy resources – and, by the way, if you will allow me an advertisement, we are not too bad in that regard. Using these new types of energy is a means of handling the issue in a more decentralised way, and they could also help developing countries to achieve a decent standard of living.

Thirdly, we need to be economic and effective with energy; European countries have a lot to do.

All in all, we should be patient, strong in our co-operation and do our own homework. However, we should also be ready for the open markets and for co-operation in energy, because that will also be best for Europeans.

Thank you for your question.


Thank you, Mrs President, for your statement and for your answers to the questions. On behalf of all of us, thank you also for encouraging the members of this Assembly to continue to follow our work for Europe and its citizens, and for your support for our institution.