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PES President’s blog

40 years on from the Helsinki Act

Helsinki_Act_event.jpgThis week, we European Socialists and Democrats marked 40 years of the Helsinki Act, which facilitated dialogue between East and West and brought a certain security in Europe.

I gave a speech at a conference on the Helsinki Act organised by the Socialists and Democrat Group in the European Parliament. I told those present that Europe is once again in crisis and we need to renew those values enshrined in the act. During the speech I called for the role of the OSCE as facilitator and coordinator to be reinforced.

The values of the Helsinki Act – of openness, dialogue, and cooperation, are intrinsically social democratic values. Yet, these principles which we in our party struggle for every day are now under threat, not only in Russia and Central Asia – but also in Europe itself.

We can only find a way out of this crisis, if we maintain an open dialogue with Russia and find a way to cooperate together. Our security is our common security. In this globalised world, violence is not local, it is global. The OSCE is the appropriate body to find such compromise.

The best example of the need to maintain open dialogue is Iran – years and years of painstaking negotiation and discussions led to an agreement which many thought would never be possible.

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