Minister Coveney addressed the Standing Committee of the Council of Europe’s Parliamentary Assembly
Press release31 May 2022
Minister for Foreign Affairs Simon Coveney T.D. today addressed the Standing Committee of the Council of Europe’s Parliamentary Assembly, which met in Dublin under Ireland’s six-month Presidency of the continent’s leading human rights body.
42 senior parliamentarians, representing 34 Council of Europe member states, including Ukraine, were present for the exchange, chaired by the President of the Parliamentary Assembly, Dutch senator Martinus ‘Tiny’ Kox.
The Minister detailed Ireland’s priorities for our six-month Presidency term, focussing, in particular, on the steps the Council should take to support Ukraine and reaffirm ‘the Conscience of Europe’, following the expulsion of the Russian Federation. In that context, he argued that a Summit of the Council’s 46 Heads of State and Government should be convened as soon as practicable. Recalling that Ireland was one of the Council’s ten founding members in 1949, the Minister remarked:
‘‘The Council of Europe was founded in the wake of war on our continent. And in the wake of war, it’s time for our Heads of State and Government to reconvene. To reaffirm their shared commitment to Europe’s conscience. To spur the EU’s ratification of the European Convention on Human Rights. To write the next, peaceful chapter in our continent’s long history.’’
Following his address to the Standing Committee, the Minister met President Kox to discuss how best to advance this objective.
The Irish Presidency of the Council of Europe’s Committee of Ministers began on 20 May and runs to 9 November 2022. Further details are available on www.ireland.ie/coe
31 May 2022
Note for Editors
- Established in 1949, and headquartered in Strasbourg, the Council of Europe is the continent’s largest and oldest intergovernmental organisation.
- Ireland was amongst the organisation’s ten founding members. Today, following the expulsion of the Russian Federation on 16 March, it comprises 46 member states, including the 27 EU member states, the United Kingdom, Turkey and Ukraine.
- The organisation plays a leading role in the protection and promotion of human rights, democracy, and the rule of law across Europe and beyond – notably through the European Court of Human Rights, which ensures the observance by member states of their obligations under the European Convention on Human Rights.
- The European Convention on Human Rights is also a key element of the Good Friday Agreement. The Agreement saw the Convention’s incorporation into Northern Ireland law, ensuring citizens have direct access to the European Court of Human Rights.
- The Committee of Ministers is the principal intergovernmental decision-making body of the Council of Europe. Chaired on a rotating basis by member states over six month terms, Ireland has held the Presidency of the Committee on six previous occasions, most recently in 2000.
- The Parliamentary Assembly is the second of the Council’s key statutory organs. It comprises 324 parliamentarians from the national parliaments of the 46 member states. The Standing Committee comprises the President and Vice-Presidents of the Assembly, the chairpersons of political groups, the chairpersons of national delegations and the committee chairpersons, totalling some 60 parliamentarians.
- Having assumed the Presidency in Turin on 20 May, Minister Coveney will now represent Ireland as Chair of the Committee of Ministers until November.
- Over the course of these six months, Ireland will chair more than a dozen meetings of the Committee of Ministers in Strasbourg, strengthening standards across a range of key areas, from media freedoms to the protection of human rights in conflict zones. Ireland will also host more than thirty Council of Europe conferences and seminars across Strasbourg, Dublin, Galway, Kerry and Cork.
- Notable events include: a meeting of the Council’s 46 Justice Ministers in Dublin in September, at which Minister for Justice Helen McEntee T.D. will chair discussions on how to combat domestic, sexual and gender-based violence in all its forms. In July, meanwhile, Minister; the annual meeting of the Board of the Council of Europe’s Development Bank in Dublin in July; and two major conferences in Galway in September.