Council of Europe Member States meet for first time in 18 years

Council of Europe Member States meet for first time in 18 years
Credit: Belga / Benoit Doppagne

The Council of Europe Summit will unite its Heads of State and Governments on Tuesday and Wednesday. The last time such a meeting took place was in 2005.

The Heads of State and Governments of the 46 Member States of the Council of Europe – the main European human rights organisation which also upholds democracy and Rule of Law – will meet in Iceland's capital Reykjavík for their first summit in 18 years, and the fourth time since its creation in 1949.

Russian's invasion of Ukraine prompted a working group to publish a report in the autumn of 2022. The report focused on the Council of Europe's role in a continent and world in transition. It was requested by Secretary-General Marija Pejcinovic Buric and asked Member States to stop the "democratic decline" in Europe.

Another of the working group's recommendations was to convene a summit, labelling it a "historic opportunity" for European leaders to "reaffirm their common commitment to the Council of Europe’s core values and to refocus its mission in the light of new threats to human rights and democracy," including climate change and artificial intelligence.

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In a statement, the Council added that a summit would also provide the opportunity to "further support Ukraine through concrete measures to help achieve justice for the victims of the Russian aggression." Last year, Putin's invasion resulted in Russia being excluded as a member.

Headquartered in Strasbourg, the Council of Europe was founded in 1949, shortly after World War 2. Previous summits of Heads of State and Government were held in Warsaw in 2005, Strasbourg in 1997 and Vienna in 1993. Belgian Prime Minister Alexander De Croo will also be attending the summit this week.

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