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The Council of Europe and its values ‘more relevant than ever’ after unprecedented setback of Russian aggression

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Council of Europe member States should recommit to the values, principles and standards of the Organisation at the highest political level, PACE has said – pointing out that these are more relevant than ever when they are being “openly challenged”.

In a resolution based on a report by Laima Andrikiené (Lithuania, EPP/CD), the Assembly said the notion of a Europe without dividing lines, which lay at the heart of the Organisation’s pan-European project, had suffered “an unprecedented setback” as a result of Russia’s unlawful, unprovoked and unjustifiable aggression against Ukraine.

This came on the heels of other challenges to democracy and security in Europe, such as “democratic backsliding, populism, organised disinformation, and as a consequence lack of trust in democratic institutions”, the parliamentarians said.

Facing these challenges, the Council of Europe should be strengthened to become the cornerstone of Europe’s political architecture, and to act as the guardian of shared European values, principles and standards, they added.

It should be given “the political, legal, technical and financial wherewithal to effectively carry out its mandate and have leverage on its member States”, in order to prevent the repetition of similar major infringements of international law and threats to peace and security.

Effective implementation of the European Convention on Human Rights should remain the top priority for the Organisation, the Assembly said, while it should also seek to be closer to the people, and have a stronger strategic partnership with the EU.