Foreign Affairs Ministers of the 47 Council of Europe member states have agreed on a Strategic Framework for the organisation for the next four years at their annual session. The Ministers underlined the Council of Europe’s role and responsibility for ensuring the implementation of its conventions, developing new legally-binding standards in response to new challenges, and providing assistance to member states through its co-operation programmes.
They also recalled the importance of the Council of Europe co-operating with its main international partners and, when it comes to unresolved conflicts, working together towards political solutions in conformity with the norms and principles of international law.
According to the strategy, the Council of Europe’s objectives will include:
- the European Union’s accession to the European Convention on Human Rights, to ensure that the Convention applies in a comprehensive and uniform manner across Europe;
- securing the long-term effectiveness of the European Convention on Human Rights system, in particular by further enhancing the supervision of the execution of judgments from the European Court of Human Rights;
- a review of Council of Europe monitoring mechanisms with a view to enhancing their efficiency;
- pursuing the ongoing consideration of the European Social Charter system;
- vigorously pursuing the participation of civil society in Council of Europe activities.
The Ministers stressed the Council of Europe’s important standard-setting work on protecting human rights in the digital age and acknowledged that digital development and artificial intelligence bring significant benefits to societies and their citizens but also pose many new challenges.