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Council of Europe Convenes Member State Leaders for the First Time in 18 Years

Council of Europe Convenes Member State Leaders for the First Time in 18 Years

The Council of Europe convenes for the first time in 18 years the leaders of its 46 member states. The organisation says that the unprecedented summit, which will take place in May next year, is necessary now that democracy, human rights and the rule of law are under pressure.

The summit on May 16 and 17 in Reykjavik will be only the fourth in the history of the Council of Europe. Previous summits have been devoted to major changes, such as the disappearance of the Iron Curtain. The new summit in the Icelandic capital is intended to “renew the conscience of Europe”, according to the current president of Ireland, the host country and the council’s secretary-general.

The summit was suggested by a ‘committee of sages’, which includes former government leaders. They had been tasked with finding an answer to the war in Ukraine.

The Council of Europe is separate from the European Union. The organisation was established after the Second World War to, among other things, watch over the European Convention on Human Rights. So, for example, the human rights court in Strasbourg is part of it.

Almost all European countries are members of the Council of Europe, but that does not apply to Russia and its ally Belarus. This spring, Russia withdrew its membership after it became clear that the other member states wanted to expel the country because of the war against Ukraine.

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