Tiny Kox: ‘Council of Europe must help Arab democratisation movement’

4 February 2011

Tiny Kox: ‘Council of Europe must help Arab democratisation movement’

The Council of Europe must, if requested, help in the process of democratisation in the Arab world. SP Senator Tiny Kox wants to see a debate on the question in the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE), in which he leads the United Left group. This would ensure the involvement of all European countries except Belarus and the Vatican, the continent’s only non-members. PACE will meet in Paris in March, and at its last meeting earlier this month it discussed the uprising in Tunisia. During the debate, the longstanding support of European governments for Arab dictatorships came under severe criticism and immediate backing for the democratisation movement was urged.

Senator Kox put his proposal on the agenda in his capacity as leader of the United Left, explaining that “after the fall of the Berlin Wall the Council of Europe offered all kinds of help to the Central and Eastern European countries in developing democracy and the rule of law. Numerous constitutions were written or adapted with such help. Later, the assistance of all sorts of experts from the Council of Europe was sought many times by the governments and parliaments in these countries. This sort of help could now be offered to the Arab countries which after years of dictatorial government seem to be on their way to more democratic systems and the construction of the rule of law.”

In addition to professional assistance in the writing of new legislation and a modern form of government, cooperation could also be instigated at parliamentary level with new democracies, says Kox: “We have recently begun to offer countries which meet certain democratic standards a ‘partnership for democracy’, and so far Morocco and Palestine have applied. The Moroccan request is currently being decided on, and I have been asked by the Assembly to report on the Palestinian application. I would think that a country like Tunisia could also come under consideration. And if the people of Egypt succeed in getting rid of the dictator Mubarak and forcing democratic elections, then the same kind of cooperation could again be a step in the direction of democratic government and the rule of law.”

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