Council of Europe now has greater relevance - fewer activities, more action to follow

Secretary General Thorbjørn Jagland called on Delegates to the Assembly to play their part in the Council of Europe’s political reform to make the whole Organisation more politically relevant, effective and influential.

He said that the Organisation was now quicker and more focused in its response to external and internal challenges facing Europe. The offer of relevant Council of Europe expertise to the Tunisian, Moroccan and Egyptian authorities in the wake of events there, and proposals to address the possible massive arrival of asylum seekers and migrants in member States showed this.

In Istanbul next month, Ministers will discuss a new Council of Europe Neighbourhood policy. The policy is intended to facilitate democratic political transition in neighbouring countries in the East and in Central Asia, to promote good governance, and to reinforce Council of Europe regional action in combating trans-border and global threats such as trafficking in human beings, cybercrime, organised crime and terrorism.

Jagland spoke of the challenge of cultural diversity in Europe and looked forward to the report and recommendations of the Group of Eminent Persons, chaired by Joschka Fischer. He underlined the importance of a successful reform of the European Court of Human Rights, as well as the need to concentrate resources on key issues: trafficking in human beings, terrorism, cybercrime, internet security and money laundering, corruption, migration, Roma, domestic violence. He said the new Convention on preventing and combating violence against women and domestic violence, to be opened for signature in Istanbul, was a historic opportunity to make a real difference.

- Speech