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Didier Reynders: "Strengthening co-operation on disturbing developments"

“The Ukrainian crisis remains at the heart of our concerns. The serious failures to comply with fundamental and democratic principles have led the population to reject categorically the established order. The annexation of Crimea, the ongoing violence and the recent increase in the military presence in the east of Ukraine – despite the agreement reached between the parties – jeopardises the stability and security not only of Ukraine but also of the whole of Europe. I shall shortly be travelling to Ukraine and Russia, as Chairman-in-Office of the Committee of Ministers,” said Didier Reynders, Minister of Foreign and European Affairs to the PACE Standing Committee today.

He said that during this visit, he would be paying particular attention first of all to the efforts taken by the Council to foster domestic reform, and second to the existing and potential synergy between the organisations active in the field in the same areas.

“The standards passionately defended by the Council of Europe and its member states cannot be considered as being achieved once and for all. In the relations both between the member states of the Council and between states and their citizens, recent months have highlighted the many challenges we must take up in order to continue to defend the values in which we believe. Faced with the worrying developments we have seen, both within and between states, we must reject inward-looking attitudes and step up international co-operation to uphold our values,” he said.

He also said that a ministerial conference would be held in May to optimise and reinforce the role of the Council of Europe. “The Conference will also serve as an opportunity to go forward in the concretisation of a new Summit focusing on “Democratic Security” in Europe. Ten years after the Warsaw Summit and the Juncker Report, the member states of the Council of Europe need to clearly set out their vision of the future of the Council,” he concluded.