Norway has stopped financially supporting NGO’s in Hungary: Olemic Thommessen
President of the Norwegian Parliament Olemic Thommessen on the last day of the European Conference of Presidents of Parliament, spoke to The Oslo Times International News Network’s Editor-in-Chief Mr.Hatef Mokhtar, about the points discussed at the conference and Norway’s stance in the protection of Human Rights.
The Excerpts below are a concise version of the interesting talk that followed.
What is the European Conference of Presidents of Parliament about and how did the Conference go, were you satisfied with its outcome?
This conference is organized every two years for parliamentary presidents from all the member countries of the Council of Europe, as you probably know the Council of Europe mainly deals with questions concerning democracy and human rights.
I personally feel that it was a very interesting meeting because along with debates and informal discussions between different countries it was also a melting pot of ideas where we could openly have bilateral meetings between countries.
Are you satisfied with the conference?
I am very happy with the conference. I also think it was a very important conference, especially because many Europe countries today are not witnessing positive development. There are big challenges with the Ukraine conflict, human rights in Hungary and the development of human rights in many other parts of Europe are in danger too.
We also have the same problem in the middle east which is influencing Turkey, so it’s a moment when should discuss and come to an understanding of how we can mitigate the current challenges.
So, I really think it was an important conference and I feel everyone that was here was very satisfied with it.
What was Norway’s message to country’s violating democratic norms and freedom of speech like Hungary?
Norway has stopped financially supporting Hungarian NGO’s and other organisations, because the Hungarian government has been pressing charges against these organisations and there have been police raids at such organisations. So, there will be protests against that of course.
The main message from me is support the anti-Hate Speech and Terror campaign. The president of parliament of the Council of Europe and myself have called for 22nd July to be marked as a memorial day for victims of terror from hate.
I hope the other presidents present here will support this idea so we can memorialize this day.
Also, nif you noticed, I had three event speeches first of all it was a message concerning the Ukraine Russian conflict where we protested against the violence from the Russian side and then it was about the NGO’s that I mentioned and then it was this-the anti-hate speech and terror campaign.
Coming to Ukraine, the situation in Ukraine is still not stable. If the aggression by Russia increases day by day, what will be the position of the Norwegian Authorities?
Well, Norway will follow the sanctions that have been instigated by the EU and we will coordinate our foreign policies accordingly in agreement with the European Union.
However, we hope the situation there will improve and the ceasefire will help bring the two nations to an agreement on how to mitigate this problem.
Last but not the least, the US is creating a policy against the IS, do you Norway, support this policy against the so called Islamic States?
I think the foreign minister should answer this question, because it is the foreign ministry that handles foreign policy, but I am quite sure that we will mainly support American ideas because it will also be a NATO strategy so we will probably work together on it.