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At a defining moment in European history, the Reykjavik Summit will be an opportunity to unite around common values

Reykjavik, Iceland - Harpa

At a defining moment in European history, Council of Europe member states, at the highest political level, should “reaffirm their unity around common values and their unfaltering commitment to multilateralism based on international law”, PACE’s Political Affairs Committee has said.

Approving a draft recommendation based on a report by Fiona O’Loughlin (Ireland, ALDE), the committee set out its proposals for the Council of Europe’s Reykjavik Summit, which is due to bring together Heads of State and Prime Ministers from 46 European nations in May.

“The return of a large-scale war of aggression in Europe highlights that the solidity and resilience of European democracies, their respect for human rights and their adherence to the rule of law are the best guarantees for each other’s prosperity, security and peaceful future,” the parliamentarians said.

They hailed the decision to convene a fourth Summit, pointing out that while Ukraine and Ukrainians were the direct victims of Russia’s unjustified and unjustifiable aggression, its repercussions were felt worldwide.

“How to bridge the gap between people’s expectations and public delivery is a further test for European democracies,” they added. People were calling for their rights to be protected, a healthy environment, safe technology, a greater say in decision-making and corruption-free politics, as well as justice, equality and inclusion.

The parliamentarians urged “a forward-looking agenda for the Council of Europe, which put “people’s interests, concerns and expectations back to the forefront of the mission of the Organisation”, including their right to healthy environment and action against climate change.

A political declaration and action plan should provide “a new strategic vision, a fresh political impetus and new responses in the face of the present extraordinary challenges”, they said.

The Assembly is due to debate the report at its January plenary session in Strasbourg.