The Ministers for Foreign Affairs of the Council of Europe’s 47 member States met in Sofia on 18 May.
The session was chaired by Daniel Mitov, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Bulgaria and Chairman of the Committee of Ministers. Rossen Plevneliev, President of the Republic of Bulgaria, addressed the session at its opening.
The items on the agenda adopted by the ministers at the opening of the session were:
- Democratic security for all in Europe in challenging times:
- Secretary General’s report on the state of democracy, human rights and the rule of law: a security imperative for Europe
- Tackling violent extremism and radicalisation leading to terrorism
- Responding to the refugee crisis
- The key role of democracy, human rights and the rule of law in conflict resolution
- Securing the long-term effectiveness of the system of the European Convention on Human Rights
- Council of Europe policy towards neighbouring regions
- Cooperation with the European Union.
At the end of the session, Minister Mitov presented the stocktaking of Bulgaria’s chairmanship over the past six months and handed over the Chairmanship to Marina Kaljurand, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Estonia, who presented the priorities of her country’s chairmanship.
A press briefing with Ministers Daniel Mitov and Marina Kaljurand and Thorbjørn Jagland, Secretary General of the Council of Europe, was held after the session.
Minister Mitov and Secretary General Jagland also spoke at a press conference to present the General Policy Recommendation on Combatting Hate Speech, developed by the Council of Europe anti-discrimination body the European Commission against Racism and Intolerance (ECRI).
Interviews were organised on the spot.