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You are here : Home > News > Speeches > May 2005 > OSCE, Permanent Council No 555: EU Statement in response to the High Commissioner on National Minorities, Ambassador Rolf Ekéus
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OSCE, Permanent Council No 555: EU Statement in response to the High Commissioner on National Minorities, Ambassador Rolf Ekéus

Date of Speech : 12-05-2005

Place : Vienna

Speaker : Jacques Reuter, permanent representative of Luxembourg to the OSCE

Policy area : General Affairs and External Relations

The EU welcomes Ambassador Ekéus back to the Permanent Council and thanks him for his comprehensive and detailed report.

The EU reiterates the importance it attaches to the rights of persons belonging to national minorities and underlines the vital multidimensional role that the High Commissioner fulfils as a true instrument of early warning and conflict prevention throughout the OSCE area. The EU supports in particular the High Commissioner’s efforts in the field of education which are an integral part of the conflict prevention policy that he pursues in all the countries where he is active.

In this context the EU supports the efforts of the High Commissioner in Central Asia over the last year.

The EU is particularly pleased with the fact that the High Commissioner was finally able to visit Turkmenistan last December where he met with President Saparmurat Niyazov and other officials. The EU hopes that this visit will mark a further step forward in his discussions with the Turkmen authorities concerning the nation-building programme that is being conducted in the country. In this context, the EU welcomes Turkmenistan’s readiness to participate in an international conference that the High Commissioner is organising later this year to promote regional cooperation on education and national integration in Central Asia.

On Kyrgyzstan, the EU takes a particular interest in the High Commissioner’s visits last March and April, in co-ordination with the visit of the Chairman-in-Office. The EU shares the High Commissioner’s view that finding the right balance between the different ethnic communities in the country is essential and that it constitutes one of the key challenges for Kyrgyzstan. The EU supports the High Commissioner’s efforts in continuing to develop educational policy and practice as a means of integration in the country. The EU also believes that there is an increased urgency to make progress on the issues of multiethnic policing for Kyrgyzstan. 

In Kazakhstan, the EU welcomes the authorities’ strong commitment to strengthen the educational system and notes with satisfaction the successful implementation of the High Commissioner’s pilot project to provide teaching in the State and Russian languages for Uzbek speaking children in order to assist them to take the national examination for entry in higher education. 

In Tajikistan, the EU notes that the urgent need to enhance and modernise educational provision in the country is being duly addressed by the Tajik authorities including through the organisation of a successful conference in Dushanbe in March this year focused on the issue of education as a means of integration in Tajikistan. 

The EU stresses its support for the High Commissioner’s efforts in South Eastern Europe.

In this regard, the EU welcomes the High Commissioner’s continued involvement in the South Eastern Europe University project in the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia as well as his support for the endeavours of the authorities in Skopje to ensure equitable representation of all communities in public services, an important aspect of the Ohrid Framework Agreement.

The EU is pleased to note the High Commissioner’s visit in February to Serbia and Montenegro, including Vojvodina and South Serbia. The EU supports the High Commissioner’s intention to focus his attention on education as a tool of long-term conflict prevention in South Serbia. 

In Croatia, the EU is pleased to note that the High Commissioner is closely following the implementation of the Constitutional Law on the Rights of National Minorities as well as different aspects of refugee return. 

On Georgia, the EU followed with interest the High Commissioner’s visit last week. We welcome the assurances of President Saakashvili and the Government to place minority problems in the country high on their agenda.

On Turkey, the EU notes that the High Commissioner visited Ankara on the 8th February and that his contacts enabled him to receive first hand information on the progress achieved on issues concerning the implementation of the reform process since his first visit in January 2003. In this respect, the EU attaches utmost importance to the fact that the High Commissioner and Turkey continue and enhance their dialogue.  

The EU will follow attentively the specific issues that were mentioned today by the High Commissioner in his report and may return to them in addressing issues of concern at future meetings of the Permanent Council.

The Acceding Countries Bulgaria and Romania and the Candidate Countries Turkey and Croatia* align themselves with this statement.

*Croatia continues to be part of the Stabilisation and Association Process

This page was last modified on : 13-05-2005

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