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Minister Coveney Launches Ireland’s Presidency of the Council of Europe at Turin Ministerial

Minister for Foreign Affairs Simon Coveney T.D. will launch Ireland’s six-month Presidency of the Council of Europe’s Committee of Ministers in Turin on Friday 20 May.

The Minister will present Ireland’s Presidency priorities at a meeting of the Council of Europe’s 46 member states, where the continent’s Foreign Ministers will agree new steps to support Ukraine in the wake of Russia’s ongoing invasion. Ukraine’s Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba, a former Ambassador to the Council, will open the Ministerial, which is hosted by the outgoing Presidency Chair, Italy’s Foreign Minister Luigi DiMaio.

Home of the European Court of Human Rights, the Council of Europe is the continent’s leading human rights body. Under the European Convention on Human Rights, its 46 member states, including Ukraine, the UK, and Turkey, alongside the EU27 and others, are committed to promoting and protecting human rights, democracy, and the rule of law. In 1949, Ireland was one of the Council’s ten founding members and is assuming the Presidency for a seventh time, having last held it in 2000.

Speaking ahead of the meeting, Minister Coveney said:

“Ireland has always subscribed to the values of what we consider ‘the conscience of Europe’. In the wake of war on our continent, our goal as President is to reaffirm that conscience, ensuring the Council of Europe plays its part in protecting the human rights of Ukrainians and other European citizens, while holding Russia to account.

“We will use our mandate to reaffirm what we consider the Council’s founding freedoms, supporting the effective functioning of the European Court of Human Rights. Building on our experience with citizens’ assemblies, we will champion deliberative democracy and greater youth participation in the democratic process. Finally, framed around the concept of ‘Fáilte’, we will strive to foster a Europe of welcome, inclusion, and diversity. In doing so, we will draw on our own society’s experience of social change, which was spurred, in no small part, by the standards set by the Council.”

Whilst in Turin, Minister Coveney will hold a series of bilateral meetings with counterparts, including Minister Di Maio, UK Foreign Secretary Liz Truss, and the Foreign Ministers of Norway, Iceland, Serbia, and Armenia. He will also meet leaders of the Council of Europe’s key institutions, including Secretary General Marija Pejčinović Burić, President of the Parliamentary Mr Tiny Cox, and President of the European Court of Human Rights, Justice Robert Spano.

The Irish Presidency of the Council of Europe’s Committee of Ministers runs from 20 May to 9 November 2022. Further details are available on www.ireland.ie/coe

ENDS

Press Release

20 May 2022

Notes for editors

• Established in 1949, and headquartered in Strasbourg, the Council of Europe is the continent’s largest and oldest intergovernmental organisation.
• Ireland was amongst the organisation’s ten founding members. Today, following the expulsion of the Russian Federation on 16 March, it comprises 46 member states, including the 27 EU member states, the United Kingdom, Turkey and Ukraine.
• The organisation plays a leading role in the protection and promotion of human rights, democracy, and the rule of law across Europe and beyond – notably through the European Court of Human Rights, which ensures the observance by member states of their obligations under the European Convention on Human Rights.
• The European Convention on Human Rights is also a key element of the Good Friday Agreement. The Agreement saw the Convention’s incorporation into Northern Ireland law, ensuring citizens have direct access to the European Court of Human Rights.
• The Committee of Ministers is the principal intergovernmental decision-making body of the Council of Europe. Chaired on a rotating basis by member states over six month terms, Ireland has held the Presidency of the Committee on six previous occasions, most recently in 2000.
• Having assumed the Presidency in Turin, Minister Coveney will now represent Ireland as Chair of the Committee of Ministers until November.
• Over the course of those six months, Ireland will chair more than a dozen meetings of the Committee of Ministers in Strasbourg, strengthening standards across a range of key areas, from media freedoms to the protection of human rights in conflict zones. Ireland will also host more than thirty Council of Europe conferences and seminars across Strasbourg, Dublin, Galway, Kerry and Cork.
• Notable events include: a meeting of the Council’s 46 Justice Ministers in Dublin in September, at which Minister for Justice Helen McEntee T.D. will chair discussions on how to combat domestic, sexual and gender-based violence in all its forms. In July, meanwhile, Minister; the annual meeting of the Board of the Council of Europe’s Development Bank in Dublin in July; and two major conferences in Galway in September.

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