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President of Swiss Confederation calls for new political momentum for the Council of Europe

“The crises we are going through today – foremost among them Russia’s military aggression against Ukraine - force us to question what we used to take for granted. They remind us of our duty to stand up for the values we hold dear, and that have been cherished by the Council of Europe since its inception," said Ignazio Cassis, President of the Swiss Confederation, addressing the Parliamentary Assembly. “By violating the most basic principles of international law, Russia has forced us to take action against a state that, in dealing one blow after another, has become a threat to European democratic values,” he added.

In his speech, Mr. Cassis reiterated Switzerland’s commitment to respect for international law, dialogue and bilateral and multilateral co-operation.

Pointing out that the Council of Europe’s geographical reach made it a unique organisation, the President of the Swiss Confederation expressed support for the idea of holding a 4th Summit of Heads of State and Government of the 46 member countries of the Council of Europe.

Such a Summit, he said, would provide an opportunity to, for example, reflect on how to maintain the existing political and geographical balance in the long term - or even enlarge it, to preserve the truly pan-European vocation of the Council of Europe -, to support the European Convention on Human Rights and the European Court of Human Rights, to showcase the work of the Parliamentary Assembly, whose democratic roots give the Council of Europe its legitimacy, to encourage synergies with other international organisations working for peace and stability across Europe, to identify thematic areas where the Council of Europe needs to develop expertise of its own, and an opportunity to refocus multilateralism on its core tasks, the ultimate aim being to maintain peace, democracy and the rule of law.