In co-operation with the Turkish Chairmanship of the Committee of Ministers (November 2010 – May 2011), Thorbjørn Jagland proposed to create a Group of Eminent Persons in order to prepare a report within the context of the Pan-European project ''Living together in 21st century Europe'', on the challenges arising from the resurgence of intolerance and discrimination in Europe.

The group consisted of 9 high-ranking individuals with a specific expertise and a particular interest in the subject. Joschka Fischer was the Chairman. Edward Mortimer was the rapporteur responsible for preparing the draft report.

The other members were: Timothy Garton Ash (United Kingdom), Emma Bonino (Italy), Martin Hirsch (France), Danuta Hubner (Poland), Ayse Kadioglu (Turkey), Sonja Licht (Serbia), Vladimir Lukin (Russia), Javier Solana Madariaga (Spain).


In the first part of its report and referring to the principles of the European Convention on Human Rights, the Group highlights eight specific risks to traditional Council of Europe values:

  • rising intolerance
  • rising support for xenophobic and populist parties ;
  • discrimination ;
  • the presence of a population virtually without rights ;
  • parallel societies ;
  • Islamic extremism ;
  • loss of democratic freedoms ;
  • a possible clash between "religious freedom" and freedom of expression.
The response The response

In the second part of its report, the Group begins by setting out 17 principles which it believes should guide Europe's response to these threats, starting with the statement that "at a minimum, there needs to be agreement that the law must be obeyed, plus a shared understanding of what the law is and how it can be changed".

  • It then goes on to identify the main actors able to bring about the necessary changes in public attitudes: educators, mass media, employers and trade unions, civil society, churches and religious groups, celebrities and "role models", towns and cities, member states, and European and international institutions.
  • The report then concludes with 59 "proposals for action".

Danuta Hübner

Professor Danuta Hübner is a Polish economist, academic and policy maker. Born in 1948, she received her Masters degree from the Foreign Trade Department at the Warsaw School of Economics (1971) and a PhD in 1974. She is still teaching at the Warsaw School of Economics and was awarded honorary doctorates in economies and law by several universities including Sussex University and Economic University in Poznan.

Before becoming an advisor to the Deputy Prime Minister in Poland in 1994, she has been engaged in building the new Polish economy after communism. As a Polish Advisor, Vice-Minister or Minister, she has promoted a new approach to industrial policy as well as the development to prepare Poland's entry in the European Union and in the OECD. Ms. Hubner became the first Polish Minister for European Affairs and the first Polish member of the European Commission (regional policy).

Since 2009, she has been a Member of the European Parliament, where she uses her experience in international institutions, for instance as Undersecretary General for the United Nations (Economic Commission for Europe in Geneva between 1998 and 2000).