Ambassador in Strasbourg
Dr. Daniel Ospelt
exclusiv in an interview
with Dr. Daniel Ospelt
Liechtenstein’s Permanent Mission
at the Council of Europe in Strasbourg
• You have been Liechtenstein’s
Permanent Representative at the
Council of Europe in Strasbourg since
10th September 2002. Mr. Ambassador,
what is your personal upshot
after four years?
For me it was fascinating to get to know the entire spectrum of the
Council of Europe’s works, and to experience how our small country
is respected on an equal basis in the circle of 45 other member
states, has a seat and voice just like the large member
states - and how I as the ambassador of a small state have been
accepted in sincere friendship within the circles of other ambassadors.
It impressed me to see how Liechtenstein experts are present in all of
the Council of Europe’s important working areas, and take away valuable
suggestions for our administration through their participation in
important sessions and the exchange of views with their colleagues from
the other countries. The benefit of such manifold contacts for our
country is often underestimated. But alone the fact that we appear an
equal footing with all the other states on the European stage
strengthens our sovereignty, and gives rise to the fact that we are
taken seriously by the others. Of course, I frequently had the
opportunity to correctly deliver the
image of our country in the foreign public and to correct cliché
notions about Liechtenstein.
• What does the daily routine of an
ambassador at the Council of Europe
After reading various newspapers early in the morning the ambassador
devotes his time to answering written as well as telephonic inquiries,
the study of files, the preparation and follow-up with regard to the
ministerial committee sessions that always take place on Wednesday, or
he takes part in one of the numerous other sessions from the council of
Europe’s committees. The daily maintenance of contacts with other
ambassadors and with officials in the Council of Europe’s secretariat
and the European Court of Human Rights also takes up quite a bit of
time, just like the numerous social events which necessitate regular
presence and are indispensable for certain degree of
information procurement. And so a normal day at the office
ends at about 7 p.m. With one or more receptions or a dinner it is also
midnight by the time the ambassador comes home.
• What were or are important moments
in your activity as ambassador ?
There would be quite a few important moments to enumerate. I would like
to mention the anniversary on the occasion of our country’s 25-year
membership in the Council of Europe, the ministerial sessions with
senior executive officer Dr. Ernst Walch on 5/6th November 2003 in
Chisinau/Moldavia as well as on 12/13th May 2004 in Stras-bourg. These
are partially very personal moments which I gladly think back on, just
like certain discussions and decisions in the parliamentary assembly.
Of special significance was the third summit meeting of the Council of
Europe on 16/17th May 2005 in Warsaw, which will go down in history as
the summit of European unity.
• What does the cooperation between
Liechtenstein and the host country
France look like?
The Permanent Mission at the Council of Europe in Strasbourg is
responsible for the relations with the Council of Europe and its bodies
and not for the bilateral relations with France. The contacts and the
cooperation with the officials in Strasbourg or Paris run smoothly. The
relations with France’s permanent mission at the Council of Europe and
in particular with my French colleagues deserve the rating
«outstanding». As a compliment to my host country I would like to quote
the following words of an ambassador: «Everyone has two native
countries - their own and France».
• What is especially important
to you as ambassador? What do you
wish for the future?
The Council of Europe is the oldest European-wide organisation in free
Europe. This organisation embodies like no other the unity of Europe in
the spirit of human rights. The council of Europe has accompanied us on
the path to a reunited continent of peace and neighbourly relations.
The Council of Europe is irreplaceable in the landscape of European
institutions. I wish this would also be perceived in the same way in
Brussels and in all EU member states. I wish that the Council of Europe
concentrates its effort on its vested domains and poses the utmost
demands on itself as well as its member states.
Moreover, I naturally also hope that Liechtenstein continues to derive
considerable benefit from the participa-tion in the efforts of the
organisation, and that active participation on the part of
Liechtenstein continues to portray an essential enrichment for our