SP Senator Kox at the first World Forum on Democracy: ‘Take power back from financial markets’

8 October 2012

SP Senator Kox at the first World Forum on Democracy: ‘Take power back from financial markets’

'Building democracy costs a great deal of time, but we must nevertheless sink its roots all over the world. That demands freedom and equality. A mother in South Sudan must have the same chance to see her children grow up as has a mother in Sweden. We must move everywhere from instability to stability and from authoritarian regimes to democratic structures.’ With these words UN Secretary-General Ban-Ki-Moon today opened the first World Forum on Democracy.

This week in the Council of Europe building in Strasbourg, politicians, researchers and activists from throughout the world met to discuss the state of democracy in 2012. The Forum seeks to provide a counterpart to the World Economic Forum which takes place annually in Davos, Switzerland.

Ban-Ki-Moon went on to say that the Council of Europe, home of the only organisation in the world to have adopted the Universal Declaration of Human Rights as binding legislation, was a perfect place to hold the Forum. Turning to the Middle East, he called on all countries with any influence in the region to make a development towards democracy possible, including for the citizens of Syria, and to begin by putting an end to the supply of arms. He announced that a special envoy would be sent to the region this week in an attempt to find a solution to the bloody conflict.

In a debate on the relation between markets and democracy huge global differences emerged, with the German Minister of Finance Wolfgang Schäuble arguing that the one could not exist without the other, while leading politicians from Latin America responded that undemocratic markets often work against democratically-elected institutions. Many governments had been brought down by them. From Africa, it was pointed out that while the West laid much emphasis on free elections, often forgotten was that greater social equality was needed to help citizens in their development. And Western countries are, according to representatives from other parts of the world, often inclined to prescribe just how democracy should look. A former Honduran vice-president spoke about Western criticism of Venezuela’s President Chavez, noting that ‘however much you criticise, the people of Venezuela have re-elected him. You can’t ignore that. ‘

Senator Kox addresses the Forum

Tiny KoxSP Senator Tiny Kox participated in the forum on behalf of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe. He called today for attention to be paid to the present domination of democratic institutions by the financial markets. 'A World Forum on Democracy is important,’ he said, ‘in order to discuss both democratic ideas and democratic practices, which differ in different parts of the world. But it is important primarily that we notice that the financial markets are laying down to governments and parliaments how they should act. The financial markets have no telephone number, no email address, no face – yet they play the boss over governments and parliaments. That happens because we have in recent years liberalised the financial sector globally and have allowed things to get completely out of hand. This forum should in the days to come therefore discuss how to take back the power from the undemocratic financial markets and give it back to democratic institutions.’

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