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The future of the Council of Europe depends on respect for its underlying precept – “effective multilateralism”

“For the future of the Council of Europe to be secured, we must respect its underlying precept of ‘effective multilateralism’, in other words the process of seeking solutions together with due regard for international law”, said Jean Asselborn, Luxembourg’s Minister of Foreign and European Affairs, speaking today before the Assembly.

He believes that for member States this “effective multilateralism” entails both rights, including that of taking part in elections to the Organisation’s key posts, and collective obligations. “Paying one’s share of the budget, properly respecting and executing the Court’s judgments and co-operating in good faith with the Council of Europe bodies all form part of this,” said the Minister.

Mr Asselborn added that the crisis that the Council of Europe was currently going through could be explained above all by the questioning of the Organisation’s values in some member States. “Through their domestic reforms, these states are distancing themselves more and more from the principle of the rule of law. Reforms in some countries, mainly to the judicial system, are calling into question the independence of the judiciary and the principle of the separation of powers,” he said, expressing concern that this increasing remoteness from the Council has been accompanied “by a worrying rise in populist movements virtually everywhere in Europe” and forms of national isolationism.