Vladimir Putin: Good afternoon,
I am glad to welcome the participants in the Conference of European Justice Ministers at the Kremlin.
Integration into the European Community is one of the priorities of Russian policy. So it is very important for us that this conference is being held in the Russian capital.
Russia is taking part in the building of the Greater Europe, and we hope that it will be taking an ever more active part in the future. This process has many components. However, the foundation is the European legal system. Much still remains to be done to finally form that system, as I think you would agree with me. And besides, ever new challenges are appearing.
I can’t help recalling the events in the US on September 11, which influenced the agenda of your Conference. The issue of terrorism was added to the agenda, and I know that you had a substantive discussion on this topic today. In recent years Russia has repeatedly called on the international community to combine efforts in fighting terrorism. We did it in expert meetings, such as the one being held today, and at the political level.
Now, after the tragic events in the US, countries and international institutions are working out new approaches to rise to the challenge of the situation in which we live and of which we have become aware. All this calls for improvements in the legal framework, and for uniform standards in anti-terrorist legislation, which should then be included in national legal systems.
The position of European Justice Ministers, their view of the international legal documents required to fight terrorism are very important. Obviously, it is true to say that we are facing an international threat, so combining our efforts is an imperative. Not a single task in this sphere can be solved without it.
You know that a tragedy has occurred in this country. A civil aircraft appears to have crashed, and it may be due to a terrorist act.
I would like to say a few words on the original topic of your conference. Enforcing court rulings is a fairly sensitive issue for Russia, as our specialists, and not only specialists, know very well. Businessmen and ordinary citizens are very keenly aware of it.
Until several years ago court rulings often remained on paper. It was a real scourge of the court system in the Russian Federation. The introduction of the institution of court bailiffs has dramatically changed things, but it has not solved all the problems in this sphere. The reason is above all that these problems are closely linked with the overall situation in the judiciary. You will know that Russia is in the midst of reforming its judiciary system. We intend to change the situation for the better very soon. And that applies to the enforcement of court decisions. There is a dire need for uniform European standards in this sphere. While in the criminal sphere many problems are successfully tackled at the international level, common European standards are clearly insufficient in the civil law sphere. So it is very important that the justice bodies of European countries are working together on this problem. Of course, every country looks for its own means and methods of enforcing court decisions proceeding from its needs, traditions and available resources.
The overall goal of European justice is to follow precisely and fully the legal standards sealed in the European Convention on Human Rights. It is an undoubted priority for the Russian Federation too. It is important that we work all together towards that end and understand that the territories where civilised law is powerless become “terrorist havens”. It is from there that the threat of terrorism comes, and not only to neighbouring countries but to the whole world.
The work of your conference is sure to be fruitful, we have no doubt about it. It involves experts of the highest legal qualifications and people who are vested with powers and responsibilities.
I wish you successful work, I wish success to all those who have come together with you, successful work for our common good.
Thank you for your attention and I would be glad to take part in your discussions.