Former Prime Minister Alfred Sant said that today, the spirit of Helsinki needs to be revived, adapted to current circumstances, and framed into a new cooperation and security project for a Europe that fully includes Russia. Dr. Sant was addressing a Conference marking the 40 anniversary of the Helsinki Conference at the Hotel Phoenicia, Floriana. Dr. Sant said that over the years, the first outcome of the Helsinki process helped to undermine Soviet hegemony in Eastern Europe leading to the collapse of the Soviet Union itself. It also laid the margins within which the European Union developed its soft power, which eventually became quasi-hegemonic.
Dr. Sant said that at a first phase, this was instrumental in the immediate period post the Soviet collapse, to cushion its effects that could have triggered war. However the EU’s soft power also undermined the other Helsinki conclusion, allowing for a Russian diplomatic space in Europe. This has led among others to new conflicts as demonstrated by the crisis in the Ukraine.
Dr. Sant said that the Helsinki process forty years ago drew up a new diplomatic architecture for the whole of Europe. In first place, human rights, cultural and social issues in one sovereign state became a matter of legitimate interest to other sovereign states, even justifying outside intervention a state’s internal affairs. Secondly, the existence of the material interests of Russia, formerly the USSR, inside the European space was given full legitimacy and recognition, for the first time in European history.

Download Address by Dr. Sant at the 40th Anniversary of the Helsinki Accords

Maltese Version – ‘MEĦTIEĠA KOOPERAZZJONI ĠDIDA U SIGURTA’ GĦALL-EWROPA LI TINKLUDI LIR-RUSSJA’

L-Eks Prim Ministru Alfred Sant illum qal li l-ispirtu ta’ Helsinki għandu jitqajjem mill-ġdid, adattat għaċ-ċirkostanzi tal-lum u fi ħdan proġett ta’ kooperazzjoni ġdida u sigurta’ għall- Ewropa li tinkludi b’mod sħiħ lir-Russja. Dr Sant kien qed jindirizza Konferenza li tfakkar l-40 anniversarju mill-Konferenza ta’ Helsinki fil-Lukanda Phoenicia. Dr Sant qal li matul iż-żmien, l-ewwel effetti ta’ Helsinki għenu biex tiddgħajjef l-eġemonija Sovjetika fil-Lvant tal-Ewropa li wassal għall-kollass tal-Unjoni Sovjetika nnifisha. L-effetti ta’ Helsinki wasslu wkoll biex jifforma l-qafas li fiha l-Unjoni Ewropea żviluppat is-‘soft power’ tagħha – il-poter hekk imsejjaħ artab li tgawdi l-UE li ma jiddependix minn kemm għandek armi u suldati – li eventwalment sar kważi-eġemoniku.

Dr Sant qal li f’fażi bikrija, dan kien strumentali fil-perijodu immedjat wara l-kollass tal-Unjoni Sovjetika għax għen biex ittaffew l-effetti li setgħu wasslu għal gwerra. Madanakollu is-‘soft power’ tal-UE warrbet konklużjoni oħra ta’ Helsinki, dik li tagħti spazju lil diplomatiċi Russi fl-Ewropa. Fost affarijiet oħra, dan wassal għal kunflitti ġodda kif tixhed il-kriżi tal-Ukrajna.
Dr Sant qal li l-proċess ta’ Helsinki erbgħin sena ilu fforma pedament diplomatiku ġdid għall-Ewropa kollha. Fl-ewwel post, kien hemm id-drittijiet tal-bniedem, kwistjonijiet soċjali u kulturali fi stat sovran li qanqlu interess leġittimu fi stati sovrani oħra, anki ġustifikazzjoni għall-interventi esterni fl-affarijiet interni ta’ stat. Imbagħad, ġiet ifformata l-eżistenza tal-interess materjali tal-Russja, li qabel kienet il-USSR, fi ħdan l-ispazju ewropew li ngħatalu leġittimita’ u għarfien, għall-ewwel darba fl-istorja Ewropea.