During the second day of the Autumn Session the President of Czech Republic addressed the Assembly on issues of human rights, economic diplomacy, migration and his opposition to sanctions against Russia which are a “lose-lose strategy” instead of “win-win”.
On behalf of the UEL group, UEL chair Mr. Tiny Kox stated that Mr. Zeman spoke relevant words about the inadequacy of sanctions in Europe, and asked: “What would be your road map to get the European Union and the Russian Federation away from this dangerous confrontation and towards a better co-existence on this continent? To say only that sanctions do not work is not enough. What is your road map to overcome these difficulties?”
Mr. Zeman answered that people-to-people communication is needed and suggested that the Council of Europe organizes workshops, conferences and seminars that the ideological diversion in Europe can be seen.
The Czech President stressed that the Russians are “able to hear and they have their own arguments, and we must be able to hear those arguments, too. The founder of my State, Tomáš Masaryk, said, “Democracy is discussion.” Let us discuss.”
In his address, Mr. Zeman also noted: “Why try to divide the political structure of Europe if you would be against the division of European culture? That is why I believe that the Council of Europe’s endeavour towards friendship and not hostility and hatred among European nations – including Russia – will be successful in the long term.”