An unprecedented event took place at the conference on youth policy of the members of the Council of Europe. The declaration on the rights of the youth was not signed. It happened so because Russia refused to sign the document, as members of European delegations suddenly set forth a new paragraph, trying to make it the key one in the whole declaration. The paragraph was about the rights of homosexual individuals. The Europeans took a strong position and refused to compromise.
The conference of the ministers of the member-countries of the Council of Europe took place during the first two days of the week. At first, the conference on youth policy was going well. The original paragraphs of the declaration were distributed to all members of the event on the first day. The declaration contained general provisions concerning the rights of young people for political and social activities, as well as for employment and education.
However, at the end of the first working day of the conference, an unexpected suggestion was made. Swedish Minister Nyamko Sabuni, who deals with the issues of gender equality, and Education Minister of the Flemish community of Belgium on youth and equal opportunities, Pascal Smet, demanded an additional paragraph should be added to the final text of the declaration. The paragraph was about the rights of homosexual individuals. This idea found supported with almost all foreign representatives.
The Russian side refused to accept the addition and pass the document in the form proposed by the European Ministers. The Ministry for Education withholds comments about the decision. However, Alexander Stradze of the Education Department (an assistant to the minister for education) described Russia’s position in his Twitter. He wrote that Russia opposed the declaration of the ministerial conference, because Russia fundamentally disagreed with the new provisions. The Russian Federation delegation believes that the issue does not fit in the list of priority tasks about the implementation of youth policy, because the priorities are different.
Stradze also said that Russia observes all the principles of the Convention, relating to human rights and prohibiting discrimination against sexual minorities, so the discussion can be continued. European ministers reacted harshly to Russia’s move and flatly refused to sign the documents without the new paragraph.
For the first time in the history of the conference, the declaration was not approved. Nyamko Sabuni spoke in a rather harsh tone after the meeting, having said that the document would not be signed, if it had no paragraph about the inadmissibility of discrimination based on sexual orientation. According to him, the failure to approve of the final declaration was the decisive factor that became the stumbling block for the Council of Europe. The incident was quite a surprise to all participants of the event. This conference is held every three years, and it ends with signing the declaration defining the youth policy in the member-countries of the Council of Europe for the coming years, before the conference is held again.
The previous conference took place in 2008 in the capital of Ukraine. The issue of gay rights was not on the agenda in such a persistent form. Perhaps the reason is that the initiator of these controversial amendments is Pascal Smet, who is a person with an untraditional sexual orientation. Before the conference, he personally took part in the event which was organized by the LGBT community of St. Petersburg. Pascal stated that he did not have any problems at home in Belgium, just because he was gay.
It is clear that his engagement is based on his orientation, but many other European representatives at the conference also expressed their concerns about the absence of the principles of gender and sexual discrimination in the final declaration. Olga Lenkova, a communications manager of public organization “Exit” told Gazeta.Ru that tolerance towards the LGBT community actually refers to international standards. Also, she noted that Russia allegedly once again demonstrated its homophobic beliefs on a high international level. She added that the Council of Europe was left without the resolution for the coming three-year period due to the organizers’ fault.
Spokespeople for Russia’s Ministry of Education and for the Council of Europe do not comment the possible consequences of the failure to approve of the final document. However, experts working in the field of international relations, stick to the opinion that the failure of the conference will not lead to serious consequences. Timofei Bordachev of the Centre for International Studies believes that the incident will not result in lamentable consequences for the Russian Federation in terms of the relations with the European countries. In his view, the failure to accept the declaration fully demonstrates the absolute futility and senselessness of such international gatherings. According to him, the idea to create grand negotiating platforms has outlived itself a long time ago.
If Russia had not opposed the new paragraph, someone else would have done that instead, because Russia is not the most clerical state in Europe. Greece and Poland, for example, would never ratify such a document.
Yekaterina Kuznetsova, the director of European programs, told Gazeta.ru that the organizations of the Council of Europe do not set the tone in international and youth policies. According to her, they should be engaged in more important issues related to the European youth. One of them is unemployment, since it is one of the main problems in Europe at present. In crisis-affected countries, unemployment reaches 50 percent, so the youth policy should be linked to the economic component. Declarations can not solve the problem, she concluded.
The crisis exacerbates many European problems, both old and new ones. The demographic problem is no exception. The indigenous European population is aging, young people do not want to have children and choose career instead. According to statistics, the number of native Europeans under the age of 15 years will reduce by 30 percent in 40 years. And last but not least, the demographic problems of the Old World are largely associated with the so-called sexual tolerance of Europe. Such a thing as gay marriage becomes a norm in many European countries. Gay marriage has been legalized, for example, in the Netherlands, Belgium, Spain, Sweden, Norway, Portugal, Iceland and Denmark. Where will this take people, and what kind of children such “families” can raise – this is an open question. The voices of homosexual communities of Europe get louder and stronger while the voice of reason gets weaker. All this does not contribute to the growth of the European population, but rather leads to slow degeneration of the Europe that we once knew.
As they say, the holy place is never empty. Migrants from other, less prosperous countries of the world began to arrive on the European continent in the middle of the last century in search of better life. The migrants were mainly coming from the Islamic countries, where families usually have many children. As a result, according to demographic studies, the number of Muslim migrants in France already accounts for about nine percent of the population. In Germany – about four percent, in the UK – about five percent. In terms of numbers, it goes about a lot of people indeed. “Thanks” to the “fertility” of the migrants, they will double in number in 20-30 years. The growing number of migrants, as experience shows, means a higher crime level, reduced levels of education of the European population, the growth of religious and multicultural intolerance.
Apparently, the Council of Europe is not preoccupied with the solution of the economic and demographic problems, as well as the problems associated with the growing number of migrants. The participants of youth conferences believe that the issue of gay rights is much more important…
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