Speech by Katalin Novák at the Council of Europe Summit in Reykjavík
Presidents, Prime Ministers, Secretary General, Colleagues,
At first, thank you. Thank you to the hosts, the government and the people of Iceland for welcoming here. I think we normally don't sleep much so we very much appreciate and take advantage of this short night. So thank you for your hospitality and also thank you, the Council of Europe for putting together this leading and this very deciding moment. The setting could not be better for such an important meeting that takes place almost two decades after the summit in Poland.
This should have been a summit of celebration. Our economies have never been so developed as they are today. We successfully recovered it from the pandemic. We learned how to strenghten our common values, and how to cope with the cultural, historical, linguistic diversity that makes Europe so unique and valuable. Yet there are a multitude of new and old challenges that call for our urgent attention and action.
There is a brutal war raging on the continental Europe and the peaceful way of our living is under attack. Russia’s insane decision of attacking Ukraine, the direct neighbor to Hungary, turned our world, upside down. Therefore, we need to take unified and firm position. The armed attack and aggression against the sovereign state is unacceptable. War crimes must be investigated. War criminals need to face the might of the justice system. As a Christian conservative politician and as a mother, my most important goal is to find the path toward our ultimate goal, which should be undoubtadly a just peace. When all conditions of a just peace are met, conditions which permit not only a cease fire, but a real long-lasting peace accompanied by reconciliation.
Ladies and gentlemen, dear colleagues,
We need to reaffirm that all people have a right to live, even people who happen to be caught in a war zone have the right to live. The Council of Europe is at the forefront in the protection and promotion of human rights and has done a great deal to facilitate respect for democracy, human rights and fundamental liberties over the last decades. That is why this is a proper time and place to formulate a strong message, the message of the right to peace. We as heads of state and government of the member states of the Council of Europe have a special kind of responsibility to promote and guarantee the peace for our citizens. I personally welcome that more and more leaders are willing to voice their support for a fair and just peace, which is a universal desire of all of our citizens.
Our main international organizations which have historically been devoted to peace should also do their utmost to restore and reaffirm peace whenever it is broken. Finally, let me conclude and to draw your attention to the situation of ethnic and national minorities in Ukraine. You all know that we have an issue concerning the minority in Ukraine. We are there to help, Hungary welcomed almost two million refugees since the outbreak of the war. We should in the meantime pay a special attention that the fight for freedom should not mean the denial of rights of ethnic communities.
The respect for minorities is one of the core values on which the European cooperation lies on, we shouldn't discard it. I hope that the next Summit of the Council of Europe will find us in a peaceful, strong, unified Europe of stable nation states.
Thank you for your attention!