Valdai: Russia back in the Council of Europe (PACE) 2020?

Resuming the Spirit of Dialogue of the Nineties (in the Next PACE Session)

The adoption by the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) Committee on Rules of Procedure of a proposed resolution to return of the Russian delegation to full participation in the next June session is a signal of evolution of the attitude of most members of the council; only seven countries opposed it. 

Even more significant is the suggestion of the commission to allow a member under indictment to have its case pleaded before any decision is taken, in order to avoid exceptionally hasty exclusions.

More widely, the member states of international organisations need to pass a test of coherence; in fact, most if not all of them are also members of the UN, which according to its charter, remains the first source of legality regarding the behavior of each of its members. The regional organizations admitted and governed by the same chart need to respect the rules of the UN. In most of the statutes of these organizations as well in the periodical statements of their leaders, the UN is referred to as the most relevant body of rules and resources they count on for the implementation of their missions.

Even in the last NATO Strategic Concept, the UN is mentioned as the first strategic partner of the organization for the achievement of its goals. At present, when most influential Western magazines on international relations there are so many regrets and complains about the asserted ongoing crisis of the “liberal international order” as well as a search for its causes and responsibility, it would be rather useful to refer to the present main sources of legality that is the UNO. This would put a great question mark on the legality of the sanctions’ policy waged by many countries of the western world. But returning to the “readmission” of the Russian Federation to the Assembly of the Council of Europe this opening could allow to hope for the adoption of a more sound attitude by the Europeans which that could lead to the recovery of the visions on the basis of which it had been possible to put an end to the Cold War without resorting to the war violence. The formulas of the last dealings in the early 90ties have been the new international order, the equal footing and the Europe whole and free.

Today after almost 30 years if the question is what can be the present signification of these formulas we must be aware that the prerequisite for their re-proposition is the recreation of the spirit of confidence and hope that inspired the leaders of that time. Additionally none of them used to mention the individual interest of their countries, fully inclined as they were to achieve a global peace and dialogue.

In any case even if the set of concepts currently invoked by the today’s leadership has changed and the national interest is regularly mentioned as the main priority of policy by the western leader, the goal of putting an end to the present fragmentation of Europe and of its substantial new division must remain paramount and the imperative of all the real Europeanist must be this one.

If the national interest remains the priority of the policies waged by the current leadership of the European countries (perhaps now to be renamed “powers” according to their 19th century definition), then the balanced composition of the different interests remains the only way out of the present tensions avoiding the temptation to return to the balance of power and its historical failures.

In these perspectives the goal of achieving a Europe whole and free can be set as a first priority hoping that the others results will follow.

About Ove Svidén

Ove Svidén was born on March 10, 1937 at 12:15 in Stockholm, Sweden. M.Sc., 1960, Aircraft Engineering, KTH, Royal Inst. of Technology, Stockholm. B.A., 1980, Psychology, Education, Politics at Linköping University. Received a Ph.D. 1989, on Scenarios, Dept. Management and Economics, Linköping University. Futures Research 1988-91, Systems Engineering and Consensus Formation Office at Drive Project, DGXIII, Brussels. CEO at ARISEeeig on Road Transport Informatics, 1992-99, Brussels. President, World Peace Foundation from 2001-, Stockholm (
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