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Secretary General

Mr Thorbjørn Jagland is the 13th Secretary General of the Council of Europe.

The Secretary General has the overall responsibility for the strategic management of the Organisation. Mr. Jagland was elected in September 2009.  In June 2014, he was re-elected, and his second term in office commenced on October 1, 2014.

The former Prime Minister and Foreign Minister of Norway, Thorbjørn Jagland, aged 65, was also the President of the Storting (Norwegian Parliament) and the leader of the Norwegian Labour Party. He is a member of the Norwegian Nobel Committee.

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Speeches Speeches

Signature of the Istanbul Convention by the European Union

Strasbourg 13 June 2017
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As delivered


Commissioner Jourova, Ambassadors, Distinguished Participants,

It is a great pleasure to welcome you here today and to witness the European Union’s signature of the Istanbul Convention.

I congratulate the EU on its decision to take this step.

I thank Ambassador Filletti, whose country holds the Presidency of the Council of the EU, for your presence here today.

And you, Commissioner, on your commitment to making it happen.

The Istanbul Convention is the world’s most comprehensive international treaty on combatting violence against women and domestic violence.

It recognises violence against women as an explicit human rights violation.

And it addresses the problem through measures aimed at preventing violence, protecting victims, and prosecuting the perpetrators. 

Far from eroding traditional family values, as some have suggested, it in fact does the opposite.All EU member states have signed the Convention.

The decision of the European Union itself to join them confirms the institutions’ commitment to combat violence against women within its territory.

This signature constitutes a major step towards creating a coherent European system equipped to deal with appalling crimes that are still widespread in Europe today.

The next step is ratification.

And we, in turn, stand ready to assist you as you move forwards.

Ladies and gentlemen, last month in Nicosia, the Council of Europe’s Committee of Ministers agreed that EU participation in our instruments is a way of achieving “coherence, complementarity and promoting synergies in Europe”.

Well, in the EU today:

One in three women has experienced physical or sexual violence by an adult during childhood;

One in three women has experienced psychological abusive behaviour by a partner;

And one in twenty has been raped.

So we need solutions now.

The Istanbul Convention is a major part of that effort.

And the coherence and synergy achieved by EU participation will be a very welcome milestone on the road to a safer future for all women.


Thank you.