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Ivan Datsenko from Ukraine is the leader of the Indians and the agent of the Soviet intelligence service

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The U.S. State Department: Russia prepares aggression against the USA by hand of Chukchi people

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The truth of history: Wehrmacht, just as SS, slaughtered and raped on a mass scale

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The USA and other organizers of anti-Russian sanctions stand up for Nemtsov's murder

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Piotr Switalski: “It is bad if the eurosceptics will get the majority…”

The director of political planning of Political department of the Council of Europe Piotr Switalski kindly agreed to communicate to the journalist of our portal and to answer the questions interesting us. Piotr Switalski is known for the openness, he happened to be in Russia more than once, perfectly knows a situation in our relations, but we addressed him the most different questions:

- Today it is much spoken and written about the East partnership in connection with the summit in Vilnius. Can you tell about what purposes and further prospects of East partnership?


- East partnership is the European Union project. As I understand, its purpose is to develop the relations with the countries which are in close proximity to the European Union. By the way, the invitation was sent also to Russia in due time …

I represent the Council of Europe. Has to tell that we cooperate with the European Union and we work together within East partnership. It is necessary to treat it, I would tell, with understanding — that is, to see that the geopolitical purposes aren’t behind this project. The program is aimed at helping the neighbours. For example, in questions of crossing of borders. That is, it is a question of human measurement — the Council of Europe is engaged in it.

Within East partnership we hold various events, seminars. They are directed on distribution of values which are close to all European countries.

Recently there were any political emotions round east partnership. But we lay it aside: from the point of view of the Council of Europe namely the partnership is important, as a work platform with the countries and the societies dividing the European values.

- Can you comment on fears existing in Russia that East partnership is intended for creation of new dividing lines in Europe. And these lines separate Russia from Europe today …


- I consider that the purpose is in preventing emergence of any lines of a break, to smooth possible contradictions. It works for improvement of the relations. The matter after all is about direct neighbours of the European Union therefore it is interested that it would be perceived well in these states, is interested in understanding of that there really occurs because there is no question of membership of these states in the European Union.

— If the speech came about perception, it would be desirable to set here such question. It is considered at us that the Council of Europe speaks about the facts of infringement of the rights of the Russian-speaking population in the Baltic States insufficiently. Do you agree with such assessment?

- I consider that Europe deals with this issue. In the Council of Europe the reports in the field of the rights of minority in all European Union countries are discussed, including such as Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania. There are Conventions of the Council of Europe which concern the rights of ethnic minorities and also language minority. Regular monitoring is carried out: each of the countries reports every 5 years as it carries out the relevant provisions. I participated in such discussions — sometimes there are very critical reports.

But they need to be discussed in essence, instead of in general … There are any problems, any questions which are connected with the rights of minority. Including, the so-called Russian-speaking population — it is practical problems. And they are discussed. There is no question of double standards or that there is no such problem. It is discussed and quite critically. Some reports are prepared.

— Such documents have, we will tell so, the resultant part?

- Yes, there are concrete recommendations. And if we look for the last 20 years, we will see that many of them were executed. So, this question is in the agenda. Nobody removes it, nobody tries to hide it somewhere.

— The question which interests many Russians is a question of visas. When it will be possible to travel from Russia to the European countries without visas?

- I don’t hide that personally I support that Europe was the continent without visa regime. I for that both Russians, and Ukrainians, and Turks, everyone who needs visas today, could go to Western Europe without visas.

I consider that if it is impossible today this purpose to carry out then politicians and heads of states have to tell then: yes, we want to go to it! I personally openly speak about it because I feel what is the psychological prize from it. For all of us! I consider that it is very important.

Even if today it is impossible for some reason, it is necessary to tell how it seems. It is difficult, especially in respect of a today’s situation. Western Europe is under pressure of a huge stream of migration. Distribution of a zone of Schengen is suspended, that is Bulgaria and Romania will be not included yet in the regime of Schengen. Since 2004 two million Poles moved to countries of Western Europe …

It is clear that in Western Europe now there is no such climate to tell that it is necessary to treat migration questions in a more open way. Many are excited by a question: how to behave with illegal migration? It is a question not only of political importance; it concerns still a number of important points.

We understand that negotiations are conducted slowly, from my point of view — too slowly. But it is necessary to understand the mood of the population of Western Europe. It is very difficult to tell now: let’s cancel visas and to receive the guests …

- Some political scientists, scientists already argue that the project of United Europe wasn’t successful. There are experts who predict even the euro disappearance … What is your opinion in this respect?


- I am the eurooptimist. I consider that Europe will stand in crisis and that it has a good future! But, of course, it is necessary to use this crisis in order that it is good to think, which Europe is necessary to us?! It is necessary to discuss our vision of Europe well: what is it? How do we see it? What are its borders?

I consider that such conversation doesn’t suffice to us. Politicians are occupied with important and painful problems — for example, it is necessary to resolve an issue of Union bank. It is very difficult question and it costs much.

But I am the optimist, I consider that the most difficult is already behind. We already passed it and we can develop. There are corresponding projects. Quite recently Spinelli’s group presented the book to some hundred pages about the project of Federal Europe. There are other concepts and projects — not necessarily it is a question of federalization.

It is necessary to discuss well all this, as there is not enough time. Next year the elections in European Parliament will take place. Also it would be very bad if the majority in it would be received by eurosceptics who deny the future of united Europe.

— The conflict subject in Syria remains dominating in the world mass media. Tell me, is there a united point of view on the events there in the Council of Europe?

- The Council of Europe doesn’t discuss a problem of Syria in the direct plan. Conversation goes more in the humanitarian plan. The Council of Europe isn’t engaged in political aspects, including, possibility of global settlement in Syria. It does the UN, mainly.

I consider that settlement is possible. And why, actually, isn’t present? If the international community, the main actors always acted together, from the coordinated positions if they showed necessary political will — yes, it is possible!

After all more difficult issues were resolved! But a problem that for two years the main actors, the permanent members of Security Council, had different views which didn’t manage to be coordinated.

The good moment consists today that for the first time in one and a half years the permanent members of the Security Council managed to coordinate a common position. And I hope that it not a ceiling, but only the beginning of common efforts.

Viewed : 835   Commented: 0

Author: Vladimir Kuzmenkin

Publication date : 24 December 2013 14:27

Source: The world and we

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