Talman Andreas Norlén deltog den 24–25 oktober i Europarådets parlamentariska församlings talmansmöte – European Conference of Presidents of Parliament. Mötet ägde rum i Strasbourg, Frankrike.
Tre teman stod i fokus för diskussionerna mellan talmännen från de 47 medlemsländerna av Europarådet. Första dagen diskuterades frågan om Europarådets framtid mot bakgrund av att organisationen i år firar 70 år samt frågan om parlamentens roll i implementeringen av FN:s Agenda 2030 och dess hållbarhetsmål. Andra dagen diskuterades frågan om parlamentens roll i att motverka trakasserier mot kvinnliga politiker. Talmannen talade på första och tredje temat och betonade betydelsen av tillit för att kunna bygga och bevara en stark demokrati samt mäns ansvar i arbetet med att bekämpa trakasserier mot kvinnor i politiken.
Vid sidan av debatterna i plenum höll talmannen en rad bilaterala möten med talmän från andra medlemsländer. Talmannen höll även möte med europarådets nytillträdda generalsekreterare och träffade svenska tjänstemän som arbetar inom Europarådets organ.
Talmannens tal under sessionen på tema ”Vårt gemensamma europeiska hem: De kommande 70 åren” finns att läsa på engelska:
Madame la Presidente, Highly honoured Speakers and colleagues, Ladies and gentlemen,
Thank you for kindly allowing me to take the floor.
I have only been the Speaker of the Swedish Parliament for a year but have actually managed to become somewhat historic during this short time. I had the dubious honour of taking care of Sweden’s longest process ever of forming a government.
In Sweden, it is the Speaker's task to present a proposal for a new Prime Minister to the Riksdag. It wasn’t until the third attempt that I succeeded in getting support for a candidate. I am really pleased with this as I fear that the electorate's trust in the political system would have weakened if we hadn’t managed to deal with the results of an election in which more than 87 per cent of the electorate participated.
During the process of forming a government, I deliberated with each of the party leaders in the Riksdag seven times while they were also having talks with each other. In order to successfully conclude the process, three components were of central importance: Negotiation, confidence and broad support.
Negotiation to reach political agreements. Confidence to enable meetings to take place with an open mind. Broad support because our political parties are member-based democratic organisations. The process of forming a government was an example of democracy in practice.
When there is no broad support, there is no confidence. When there is no confidence, there is no trust. When there is no trust, democracy becomes weaker.
A high level of trust in a society can be compared with oiling the wheels of all types relations, whether they be human, economic or social. If we do not rely on each other, the result will be that all relations, transactions and actions will become more expensive, more difficult and more troublesome.
If people meet corruption, a lack of freedom and bad service in society, obviously they will have no trust in suppliers, in us as elected representatives and in social institutions.
When feelings of trust in democratic governments are undermined in this way, other forces may take over, the internal or external enemies of democracy. A society built on core values represented by the Council of Europe – democracy, human rights and the rule of law – must be founded on the trust of its citizens – and such societies in turn strengthen the trust of the citizens in societal institutions.
You cannot build a house and then believe that it is finished. Houses need to be renovated and maintained. This is also the case with “our common European home”.
Ladies and gentlemen,
Values such as democracy, trust and the rule of law are facing challenges, in Sweden and in Europe as a whole. Authoritarian regimes are once more gaining ground. Political extremists of various kinds are challenging our open societies. Also in this organisation there are member states where democratic institutions are being weakened or even destroyed. This organisation itself was a few years ago stained by corruption. This shows that we can never take democracy for granted.
The Council of Europe was formed in the aftermath of the Second World War as an association of the democracies of Europe. Let us stop to think for a moment when faced with this simple truth.
The democracies of Europe. It was the democratic countries of Europe who came together to create mechanisms that were to safeguard and strengthen the democratic systems of our countries and make them resilient to powers that wanted to challenge and fight democracy. Democracy means not only free and fair elections and the rule of law, but also respect for minorities and for human rights such as the freedom of expression, academic freedom, freedom to demonstrate and freedom of association.
I think that while being cautious not to exaggerate too much, one should at the same time be open when recognising the fact that there is a gap between the many states who wish to continue to develop, deepen and strengthen our democratic social model and the few countries where governments do not trust their own people and therefore cannot trust the innate power of democracy. However much we would want to restart or reset troubled relationships, we cannot pretend that that gap doesn’t exist.
Because of this, I cannot stress enough the importance of the tasks of the Council of Europe and the values we defend.
We must strengthen these important values and safeguard institutions such as the European Court of Human Rights and be proud of them – and be inspired by them. In consolidated democracies we have to win each new generation to the ideals of democracy. In the new, struggling democracies of Europe we must work tirelessly to strengthen democratic institutions. Because we care about the citizens of those countries, but also because it is in the interest of all of us. When the light of freedom was lit in 1989 throughout Eastern Europe after more than 40 years of darkness, that light shone across all of Europe.
By continuing to work with election monitoring and the close scrutiny of the state of democracy, human rights and the rule of law in all Member States and with continued promotion of human rights, we can make a substantial contribution to our common future European home.
The rule of law, human rights and development – these are the tools we used when we built our democratic home. They will also be used by the generations to come over the next 70 years. Thank you.