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Thorbjørn Jagland: member states have equal obligations and equal rights

Council of Europe Secretary General Thorbjørn Jagland has called on the Organisation’s member states to recommit themselves to fulfill their obligations and cooperate in good faith with the Council’s statutory bodies. He said “equal obligations – equal rights” was the only concept that would keep the family together.

The Organisation’s fundamental mission was to protect the individual against the arbitrary use of power by their own state, and conflicts such as the one between Ukraine and Russia over the annexation of Crimea should not prevent both parties being held responsible for protecting their people’s rights. Mr Jagland identified a number of serious threats to the Council’s values and authority, including the rise of populism and the suspension and reduction of payments to the Organisation’s budget.

He warned that budget payments should not be used as a political tool, and the ultimate price for such challenges would be paid by Europe’s citizens. He welcomed the establishment of an ad hoc Committee to examine the harmonisation of the Organisation’s rules, and called on PACE members to help preserve the unique legal space created by the European Convention on Human Rights.