Addressing the PACE Standing Committee today in Copenhagen, at the invitation of the Folketing, Stella Kyriakides said the Danish Chairmanship was beginning at a crucial moment for the Council of Europe “as we face the political and financial consequences of the Russian Federation’s decision to suspend the payment of the remainder of its 2017 contribution, and the announcement by Turkey of their intention to discontinue their status as a major contributor to the Council of Europe’s budget”.
While addressing the financial consequences of these steps, she said, we should not forget about their political implications for the Organisation’s ability to deliver its statutory objectives – that is, to promote European unity and co-operation around a set of shared values.
“All 47 member states and both Statutory Bodies should co-operate fully and constructively towards achieving this objective. Therefore, as PACE President, I would like to assure you that the Assembly stands ready to actively contribute to the search for ways to overcome the problems we are facing, in a spirit of constructive co-operation and dialogue,” Mrs Kyriakides added.
Referring to the objectives of the Danish Chairmanship of the Committee of Ministers, the President said the European Convention on Human Rights system was under huge pressure today, which explained the first priority of the Danish Chairmanship: "the European human rights system in a future Europe".
“Clearly, the main responsibility for guaranteeing the rights under the Convention lies with national authorities and courts. It is therefore essential to improve the national implementation of the Convention and the execution of the Court’s judgments. As you are aware, the Assembly is actively involved in building up the capacity of national parliaments to play an active role in the implementation of the Convention,” she said.
“We are looking forward to sharing this experience with the Danish Chairmanship and contributing to the process of reflection on the future of the Court beyond 2019. Therefore, you can count on our support for and contribution to the high-level ministerial meeting which the Danish Chairmanship plans to hold in April 2018,” Mrs Kyriakides added.
Finally, the PACE President also welcomed the other priorities of the Danish Chairmanship: equal opportunities, changing attitudes and prejudice about persons with disabilities, and increasing the democratic involvement of children and young people, which the President described as being among her “top priorities”.