STRASBOURG, FRANCE — THE Council of Europe has proposed an all-European parliament to deal with security and cooperation in the new Europe. The recommendation came on the eve of today's meeting in New York of the 35 foreign ministers of the Conference on Security and Cooperation in Europe (CSCE).
The Council proposes an all-European parliament based on its Parliamentary Assembly, which voted overwhelmingly in favor of the motion.
The Strasbourg meeting ``marked the first parliamentary CSCE debate ever,'' said Anders Bjork, president of the Parliamentary Assembly.
The 241-to-13 vote included delegates from newly elected legislatures in Eastern Europe and the Soviet Union as well as Western members.
The vote was marked by the Canadian delegation's abstention and by the conspicuous absence of a US delegation. The delegations from the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe voted unanimously for the resolution.
This plan ``is very ambitious,'' said Terry Clifford, leader of the Canadian delegation in an interview. ``They're talking about being architects of a new Europe, a pan-European federation from the steppes of Russia to the Atlantic.... I keep reminding them that the `common European home' wouldn't be complete without Canada and the United States.''
Council of Europe officials say the decision to sponsor a parliamentary debate of the CSCE members on the eve of today's foreign ministers' meeting is a bid to stake out a new role for the Council, which has been known primarily for its human rights activities.
While the idea of a parliamentary wing for the CSCE based on the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe was initially proposed by the White House on July 6, following the NATO summit, the US Congress failed to send a delegation to Strasbourg. Council officials and Mr. Clifford say congressional leaders resented the White House's failure to consult with them prior to making the proposal.