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.

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".

Atrás Javier Solana Madariaga

Dr. Francisco Javier Solana Madariaga, born in 1942 in Madrid, is a Spanish physicist and socialist politician. He received a doctorate in physics and was a teacher at Madrid University before joining the Socialist Party in 1964 and becoming a member of the Parliament in 1977. From 1982 to 1996 he held several cabinet posts (Minister of Culture, Minister of Education and Science). In 1992 he became Minister of Foreign Affairs and was appointed three years later as NATO Secretary General in a period of intense involvement in the Balkans. He led under his mandate especially the Founding Act with the Russian Federation and the Euro-Atlantic Partnership (1997).

In 1999 Dr. Solana became Secretary General of the Council of the EU and its first High Representative for the Common Foreign and Security Policy for ten years (CFSP). He has meanwhile held the post of Secretary-General of the Western European Union (WEU, 1999-2009) and Head of the European Defence Agency in Paris (2004-2009). In 2003 the first security strategy paper was unanimously approved by the EU-members, to provide the Union a more influential role on the international stage. He also represented the EU in the Quartet from 1999 to 2009 within the framework of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict as well as in the Mitchell Commission between 2000 and 2001.