Ireland’s Minister of State for European Affairs, Thomas Byrne, has given his backing to a fourth summit of Council of Europe Heads of State and Government to take place in Reykjavik as part of Iceland’s forthcoming presidency of the organisation’s Committee of Ministers.
Addressing the Parliamentary Assembly in Strasbourg, Minister Byrne urged parliamentarians from across Europe to call on their governments to do the same.
“Let Reykjavik be the place to reaffirm Europeans’ rights and renew our democracies, and let this be the time,” he said.
Minister Byrne said the substance of the summit should reflect the recent recommendations of the High-Level Reflection Group – chaired by former Irish President Mary Robinson – and a forthcoming report from the Parliamentary Assembly on the future of the Council of Europe.
He also underlined the vital importance of the European Court of Human Rights and the importance of states implementing the Court’s judgments, however challenging they may seem.
“A Court ruling is not only a human right infringed. It is societal progress delayed,” underlined Minister Byrne.