Ceremony for the opening for signature of the Additional Protocol to the Council of Europe Convention on the Prevention of terrorism

Riga , 

Dear Ministers,
Distinguished Guests,

I am going to keep my remarks short – because you all have to listen to me again later, when we officially open our Conference. 

For now, let me pay tribute to the member states gathered here today.

Rarely has a Treaty or Protocol seen such unanimous support from the very beginning. Today 17 states, plus the European Union, will sign – and the others, I know, will follow.

A Protocol which was negotiated in just 7 weeks – which must be a record for an international legal instrument of this kind.

This show of commitment sends a powerful signal to all would-be terrorists:

Europe is closing in.

We are not waiting for you, we are coming for you.

We are closing the gaps you exploit, through the law, and in a way which upholds our values and safeguards human rights.

Together, the Convention and the Additional Protocol criminalise the recruitment, financing and training of terrorists and, crucially, for the first time in international law, we are criminalising the act of seeking out these things.

The early preparations for terrorist acts.

And our governments are joining forces to create a new, robust system of co-operation and information sharing which will operate 24 hours a day, and 7 days a week to stop violent extremists from slipping across our borders and to prevent our young people from leaving home to join brutal groups like Da’esh.

It is an act of swift and welcome leadership.

I want to thank all of you for engaging so constructively to get here – including, of course, the European Union, here to sign both the Convention and its Protocol.

This represents a genuinely pan-European approach keeping our continent at the forefront of the global fight against terror.  

I thank you for that, and I hope that others will follow your lead.