The Slovenia Times

Council of Europe Celebrates 20 Years of Slovenia's Membership



The president also visited the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) and addressed the concert honouring the anniversary of Slovenia's membership.

He said in the address that the CoE was most important after the fall of the Berlin Wall, as new countries were settling into the political "architecture of Europe".

The CoE was an "irreplaceable lesson for newly established democracies at a time when they were negotiating and preparing for their membership in the EU," the president said.

Slovenia owes the CoE an invaluable lesson because the organisation has honed Slovenia's European character and behaviour. "The CoE is also where Europe got used to Slovenia," he added.

"Our continent faces numerous new challenge and the CoE came to be on the basis of experience that showed that old and new challenges are best tackled together," said Pahor.

The ceremony was also addressed by Jagland, who focused above all on the issue of the erased, thousands of former Yugoslav citizens who were deleted from Slovenia's permanent residents registry in 1992, losing all social rights.

He said that the best way to celebrate Slovenia's 20 years in CoE would be to undo the injustice suffered by the erased. The ECHR ruled last year that Slovenia had to compensate the erased and come up with a compensation scheme by June.

Jagland is aware that it is hard to pay compensation in a crisis, however this is of vital importance. It is an investment in democratic stability and cohesion, he said, adding that repairing the wrongs from the past was the best way to avoid injustices in the future.

Touching on the economic crisis, Jagland said that Slovenia would be able to resolve its problems and get back on its feet. He said the country should do as its president, who recently pulled a muscle but that did not stop him from taking a long journey, Jagland said.

In his address, the CoE secretary general recited the words of Slovenia's national anthem, saying that the poem could as well be the European anthem.

Before the ceremony - following the meeting with Pahor -, Jagland told the press that Europe was not divided to countries that have no human rights issues and such that have many. All CoE members have certain problems and they still have a lot of work to do.

He expressed satisfaction that Slovenia was one of the members that work hard to resolve the existing problems. Slovenia's and the CoE's agendas are quite similar, focusing on efficiency and independence of judiciary, fight against corruption and discrimination, Jagland said.

The CoE secretary general said Slovenian president assured him that Slovenia resolved the issue of the erased. The ECHR ruled last year that Slovenia had to compensate the erased and come up with a compensation scheme by June.

According to Jagland, Pahor said that Slovenia will not be able to meet the deadline, however an appropriate law is to be put in place by the end of the year.

When asked whether he was concerned about the situation in Slovenia's judiciary and the fight against corruption, Jagland said that corruption was one of the main problems in Europe in general and that he was worried every time he saw a corruption-related issue.

But in Slovenia, efficient instruments have been set up and justice is top priority, said Jagland, but added that he could not comment any cases in individual member states.

Pahor meanwhile told the press that he was "a bit sentimental", as he remembered the time when 20 years ago Slovenian flag was raised in front of the CoE building for the first time. At that time, Pahor was the head of Slovenia's delegation in CoE Parliamentary Assembly.

He pointed out that the CoE was the first multilateral parliamentary institution in which Slovenia became a full-fledged member on 14 May 1993.

After meeting Jagland, Pahor visited the ECHR, where he was received by ECHR President Dean Spielmann.


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