The Parliamentary Assembly has put all its political weight in support of the Summit, pushing for it to be held and providing a substantive input to it though a host of texts, including its Recommendation 2245 (2023) on ‘The Reykjavík Summit of the Council of Europe - United around values in the face of extraordinary challenges’. On the eve of the gathering, members of parliament from the 46 member States of the Council of Europe, represented by the Standing Committee, as well as members of other delegations to the Assembly, were part of this process and held a discussion on two themes which will be at the heart of the Summit’s deliberations.
“We are gathered here on the eve of what is likely to become a truly historic Summit. It is a reminder that it was our Assembly which has long called for this Summit, especially since the beginning of Russia’s large-scale aggression, and I am happy to stress that many of the decisions to be taken here in the 4th Summit are in line with the many ideas that were generated within our Assembly in the past year,” said PACE President Tiny Kox, opening the meeting.
After introductory remarks by Birgir Ármannsson, Speaker of the Alþingi (Parliament of Iceland), Ruslan Stefanchuk, Speaker of the Verkhovna Rada (Parliament of Ukraine), Bjarni Jónsson, Chairperson of the Icelandic delegation to the PACE, and Bjørn Berge, Deputy Secretary General of the Council of Europe, the meeting was followed by two discussion panels. The first focused on “The Council of Europe as a key player of the multilateral architecture”, with the participation of Þórdís Kolbrún Reykfjörð Gylfadóttir, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Iceland; Sylvie Bermann, former Ambassador of France to Beijing, London, and Moscow; and Alice Bergholtz, Vice-Chair of the Advisory Council on Youth of the Council of Europe.
The second panel focused on “The Council of Europe as a pioneer of human rights protection: the new generation of rights”, with the participation of Katrín Jakobsdóttir, Prime Minister of Iceland; Ilze Brands Kehris, United Nations Assistant Secretary-General for Human Rights; Nathalie Smuha, Institute for European Law, KU Leuven, expert on Artificial Intelligence; and Tinna Hallgrímsdóttir, youth representative in the Icelandic Climate Council. The exchange of views with members of the Assembly concluded with a statement by Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya, leader of the Belarus democratic opposition, and final remarks by Icelandic Prime Minister Katrín Jakobsdóttir and PACE President Tiny Kox.