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Parliamentary Assembly Session: 4 to 8 October 2010

Guido Westerwelle addresses rise of “nationalist” politics, need to focus Council of Europe’s mission

Guido Westerwelle

[04/10/2010]  In his address before the Parliamentary Assembly on 4 October, Guido Westerwelle, Deputy Federal Chancellor and Federal Minister for Foreign Affairs of Germany, warned of an increasing nationalism in politics. ''It may get you applause back home'', he said, but it is ''irresponsible''. Judgments in the European Court of Human Rights against Germany, for example, should not be interpreted as defeats, he said, in truth, the citizens of Germany win. Westerwelle also urged the Council of Europe to ''chuck overboard dead weight'' and focus on human rights protection. ''I understand the temptation to adopt wider roles, but we have to accept financial restrictions and resist this temptation'', he said.''If international organisations blur their profile, they can weaken their action''. He brought forth examples of the Council of Europe’s core mission, including fighting for Roma rights, fighting against human trafficking, dealing with new human rights challenges in the Internet era and support for the Court of Human Rights. Marking 60 years of the European Convention on Human Rights and 60 years since Germany became an associate member of the Council of Europe, Westerwelle thanked the citizens of Europe for their ''trust in'' and ''support for'' German democracy, 20 years after the reunification of the former East and West Germanys, which he called a ''European reunification''.