Minister of Foreign Affairs of Ireland Simon Coveney, Prime Minister of Iceland Katrín Jakobsdóttir and Secretary General Marija Pejčinović Burić have all welcomed the Committee of Ministers’ decision to hold a Summit of the Heads of State and Government of the Council of Europe on 16-17 May 2023 in Reykjavik, Iceland.
The decision to convene a Summit – only the fourth in the organisation’s 73-year history – follows a report presented by a High-Level Reflection Group in October. Chaired by former President of Ireland Mary Robinson, and comprising senior political figures from across the continent, the group made thirty recommendations to enable the Council of Europe to respond effectively to the challenges presented by the war in Ukraine by redoubling investment in the organisation’s core competencies – the promotion of democracy, human rights, and the rule of law.
Minister Coveney, the Chair of the Committee of Ministers, said: “At the outset of Ireland’s Presidency of the Committee of Ministers in May, I called for a summit of the Council’s 46 Heads of State and Government to respond to the exceptional challenges raised by the war in Ukraine. In Ireland, our continent’s oldest multilateral organisation is considered ‘the conscience of Europe’; never, in our lifetimes, has Europe needed its conscience more. Having discussed plans with her in detail, I know that Prime Minister Jakobsdóttir will deliver a historic Summit that leads to concrete action to renew democracy and reinforce human rights across our continent”.
Prime Minister of Iceland Katrín Jakobsdóttir said: “It is a great honour for Iceland to be the host of the 4th Summit of Heads of State and Government. Iceland is convinced that the Council of Europe – the continent’s oldest and leading pan-European organisation – has a critical role to play as the region’s guardian of human rights, democracy, and the rule of law. Together, we must continue to ensure that the Council of Europe is fit for purpose to meet current and future challenges as well as the expectations of future generations. We applaud the Irish presidency for their in-depth work on the role of the Council and look forward to working with all the Council’s Member States to reaffirm our common commitment to the Council’s core principles”.
Council of Europe Secretary General Marija Pejčinović Burić stated: “The decision to hold a Fourth Summit of Heads of State and Governments is timely and right. I congratulate the Committee of Ministers on taking it. The Summit will be an opportunity for all our member states to recommit to the values that underpin democratic security in our fast-changing continent”.