Det Östliga partnerskapets tioårsjubileum uppmärksammades i riksdagen den 5 november med ett seminarium under talmannens värdskap. Temat för seminariet var parlamentens roll för utveckling och demokrati, dialog och pluralism och det Östliga partnerskapets framtida agenda.
Efter talmannens öppningsanförande ledde utrikesutskottets vice ordförande Hans Wallmark (M) en paneldiskussion om de tio år som partnerskapet verkat. I panelen deltog Christian Danielsson från EU-kommissionen, Tamar Khulordava och Otar Kakhidze, ledamöter i Georgiens parlament, Sahiba Gafarova och Asim Mollazade, ledamöter i Azerbajdzjans parlament samt Valery Voronetsky och Elena Anisim, ledamöter i Vitrysslands parlament.
Det östliga partnerskapets framtida agenda och utmaningar var temat för den andra paneldiskussionen, modererad av utrikesutskottets ordförande Kenneth G Forslund (S) med deltagande av Marcin Przydacz, Polens vice utrikesminister samt Zohrab Mnatsakanyan, utrikesminister i Armenien och Ani Samsonyan, representant för oppositionen, Dumitru Alaiba och Igor Vremea, ledamöter från det moldaviska parlamentet samt Vadym Prystaiko, Ukrainas utrikesminister och Hryhoriy Nemyria, representant för oppositionen.
Seminariet avslutades av tredje vice talman Kerstin Lundgren (C).
På svenskt och polskt initiativ lanserades det Östliga partnerskapet 2009 mellan EU och de sex partnerländerna Armenien, Azerbajdzjan, Georgien, Moldavien, Ukraina och Vitryssland. Det Östliga partnerskapet är en del av EU:s arbete med att främja bland annat demokrati, ekonomisk utveckling och säkerhet.
Talman Andreas Norléns öppningsanförande finns att läsa på engelska:
Ladies and gentlemen,
A warm welcome to the Swedish Parliament – the Riksdag.
And a warm welcome to the former First Chamber.
In this building and – more specifically in this very Chamber – an important step in the history of democracy in Sweden took place. Kerstin Hesselgren took up her seat in this very spot (peka mot plats 85) in January 1922.
She was one of the first five women to work in the Swedish Parliament. The only woman in the First Chamber. Five women, five pioneers. A historic moment, a breakthrough for Swedish democracy. The significance of this cannot be emphasised enough – and that applies just as much today as it did then.
Nor can this be celebrated enough. This is why we have now embarked on a 4-year-long celebration of one hundred years of Swedish democracy.
We started one year ago. Exactly one hundred years after the first decision was taken in Parliament to introduce universal and equal suffrage. We will celebrate until 2022. Exactly one hundred years after Ms Hesselgren entered through these doors and took up her seat in this Chamber.
This year, we are also celebrating the 30th anniversary of the fall of the Iron Curtain.
The year 1989 has become a historic landmark. This was the great year for democracy in Eastern Europe, a year that symbolises the end of oppression and the end of many totalitarian regimes. It was the year when people´s dreams of freedom, democracy and dignity triumphed over tyranny. The year when all efforts, advocacy, struggles, risks and sacrifices made by so many people finally came together in one of the great changes in European and world history.
Last – but not least – we are celebrating ten years of efforts to promote the development of democracy through the EU's Eastern Partnership.
Whether we are talking about 100, 30 or 10 years – we need to manifest our common desire for the development of democracy and we need to celebrate each significant step in the journey leading to the development of democracy and prosperity.
Ladies and gentlemen,
We are celebrating ten years, but since the Partnership was established, a lot has happened. The situation has changed both in the EU and in the countries in the partnership.
There are great challenges as far as the development of democracy is concerned. Values such as democracy, trust and the rule of law today face both changes and challenges in Sweden, in the European Union and in our Eastern Partnership countries.
There is also a challenge involved in maintaining our work with the Eastern Partnership and maintaining both an east-facing focus and an interest on the part of the EU, in a time when there are several complex issues on the agenda.
At the same time, we have a challenge in our immediate neighbourhood that affects the whole partnership and cooperation to the east.
We know where the challenges of the future lie. Therefore, we need tools just like those represented by our partnership. With our forces united and by means of dialogue, we can address questions of reform in the field of the rule of law, the struggle against corruption and for democracy.
Ladies and gentlemen,
I am proud that we are celebrating ten years with the Eastern Partnership. Particularly as the initiative originally came from Sweden and the then Minister for Foreign Affairs mr Bildt, together with the then Polish Minister for Foreign Affairs mr Sikorski.
Progress has been made in the Eastern Partnership in many areas – but I would like to share one very concrete example with you.
I recently visited the Riga School of Economics. A Swedish educational institution that was created in cooperation with Latvia and with scholarship holders from the partnership countries. I had the privilege of meeting students from several of these countries. They viewed the future with enthusiasm. They are passionate about moving change and development forward. They see the importance of doing this together.
Progress through cooperation. I see this as a key issue stemming from the time of the European Coal and Steel Community and continuing into our times. I also see this as the core of the Eastern Partnership and the whole of the EU's neighbourhood policy. Every country chooses its own way, but in many areas there are mutual advantages in taking these steps together.
Exchange, cooperation and trade instead of competition and conflict is something that all parties benefit from. Cooperation is all about common efforts concentrated on common interests, based on common values. This creates mutual benefit. For Sweden. For the EU. For the partnership countries.
Earlier, I spoke of Kerstin Hesselgren, the first woman in this Chamber, a real role model.
Sweden can today celebrate the democracy centenary thanks to the power and ingenuity that people like Kerstin Hesselgren displayed during the struggle for suffrage.
This applies particularly to us as parliamentarians, who work in what is at the heart of every democracy – the Parliament.
Today, democracy is an obvious part of Sweden, a part of the core values that characterise our society. A parliament and government based on the will of the people. The equal worth of all
Human rights and freedoms. The idea of a state governed by the rule of law in which public power is exercised in accordance with the law. This - if anything - is worth celebrating!
What happened all those years ago shows us all the value of both initiatives from individual people and common initiatives of many people together. The significance of this cannot be emphasised enough, even in today's society. This applies to Sweden, it applies to the EU and it applies to you, our partners.
The summit in Prague in May 2009 marked the beginning of the Eastern Partnership.
This year we are celebrating its continuation. Together we strive forward, as partners for democracy. For development. For the future.
Once again, a warm welcome to this afternoon's discussions on the role of parliaments and parliamentarians in the creation of the agenda for the Eastern Partnership in the future.