Ambassador in Strasbourg Dr. Daniel Ospelt

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   
   look like?

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 country.