- Title: FRANCE: UDE CONFERENCE CRITICISES RUSSIA
- Date: 13th March 1996
- Summary: PARIS, FRANCE (MARCH 13, 1996) (RTV - ACCESS ALL) 1. LV/SV PARTICIPANTS GATHERED FOR PHOTOGRAPH (2 SHOTS) 0.08 2. LV UNION DEMOCRATIQUE EUROPEAN (UDE) (EUROPEAN DEMOCRATIC UNION) SIGN 0.18 3. SV FRENCH FOREIGN MIINISTER ALAIN JUPPE TALKING ABOUT COMMUNISM IN CENTRAL AND EASTERN EUROPE (FRENCH) 0.53 4. LV/SV CZECH REPUBLIC PRIME MINISTER, VACLAV KLAUS SPEAKING (ENGLISH) (2 SHOTS) 1.28 5. CUTAWAY OF MEDIA 1.30 6. SV EDU PRESIDENT ALOIS MOCK SPEAKING AGAINST TERRORISM (FRENCH) 1.59 SEQUENCE 4 TRANSCRIPT: KLAUS: "IF COMMUNISTS ARE IN POWER NOW, IT IS NOT BECAUSE OF THEIR STRENGTH, BUT BECAUSE OF THE WEAKNESS OF DEMOCRATIC POLITICAL PARTIES. SO WE HAVE TO IMPROVE OUR WORK AND BE STRONGER AND IN THIS RESPECT THE MEETING OF THE EUROPEAN DEMOCRATIC UNION WAS VERY USEFUL, VERY PRODUCTIVE. AND IF IT HAPPENS, IT IS OUR MISTAKE, NOT THEIR VICTORY." Initials Script is copyright Reuters Limited. All rights reserved.
- Reuters ID: LVA2I90236Z5V7G1QWSS518QYTHT
- Location: PARIS, FRANCE
- Country: France
- Duration: 00:02:00
- Story Text: INTRO: Democratic European Union conference issues statement criticising Russia, and seeks to limit resurgence of communism in former Eastern bloc countries.
------------------------------------------------------------- European conservative leaders lambasted Russia on Wednesday (March 13), saying it had no right to veto former eastern bloc countries joining NATO (North Atlantic Treaty Organisation) or to claim special status on human rights or the use of force.
Party chiefs from 29 European countries, at a one-day meeting of the Democratic European Union (UDE) hosted by French Prime Minister Alain Juppe, also pledged to do more to counter the resurgence of communism in central and eastern Europe.
NATO enlargement, the UDE said in a statement, was not aimed against any country or any specific threat and the Alliance would remain purely defensive.
Brushing aside Russian hostility to ex-communist eastern European countries joining NATO in future, the statement said: "Decisions on enlargement will be for NATO and the applicant countries themselves and should not be subject to a veto right of Russia".
But the 18-year-old UDE, 14 of whose 37 members are East European, stressed that all European countries wanted a strong relationship with "a democratic Russia" after the Cold War.
The Gaullist Juppe told a news conference that western European countries had themselves partly to blame for a reemergence of communist movements in the former East Bloc.
"A number of communist parties have come back to power. Perhaps that is a sign we underestimated the transition from communism to another system," he said.
"Perhaps we did not sufficiently take into account the social aspect. Even if many of our ideas, like privatisation, have gained ground, we must not relax our vigilance," he said.
Vaclav Klaus, prime minister of the Czech Republic added that communists were gaining power " not because of their strength, it is on the contrary because of the weakness of democratic political parties ".
Former communists have won elections in nations including Poland, Hungary, Bulgaria and Lithuania.
Bound by defence of democracy and free market, UDE members have been paying special attention to Eastern Europe since the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989, helping and advising fledgling conservative parties in former communist countries.
The UDE statement promised to scrutinise democratic institutions and policies in countries seeking EU membership.
The wide-ranging statement also called for a Europe-wide policy to fight drug abuse, and condemned the use of military force in Asia "to intimidate neighbours or promote national objectives" -- a reference to Chinese military exercises near Taiwan.
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