Ambassador’s welcoming address

What is the role of the Council of Europe in the new European geopolitical and security paradigm?

Ambassador Claude Wild
Ambassador Claude Wild © FDFA

Dear visitor

The aggression launched by Russia against Ukraine on 24 February 2022 also threatens European security as a whole and the fundamental values of modern European civilisation. These values – democracy, the rule of law and human rights – are the very values that the Council of Europe safeguards, guarantees, and promotes.

The paradigm shift that Russia's aggression has created in Europe has made it incumbent on the Council of Europe's members to unite around their values and stand together in support of Ukraine. Indeed, the 4th Summit of Heads of State and Government of the Council of Europe was held in Reykjavik on 16 and 17 May 2023 to reaffirm their shared determination. The summit – the first since 2005 – paved the way for a consolidated, revitalised and innovative Council of Europe that must fully assume its role as a pillar of democracy, the rule of law and social justice for the people of Europe at a time of unprecedented challenges. 

Against this backdrop, the Council of Europe reaffirmed its determination to support Ukraine's current efforts to resist Russia's aggression and assist in its future reconstruction by adopting an action plan for Ukraine, establishing a register of damage caused by Russian aggression, and providing the highest level of protection for Ukrainian children against the consequences of the war. The Council of Europe also intends to build on the achievements that have made it unique. Its member states have reaffirmed their commitment to the European Convention on Human Rights system and their resolve to strengthen its tools to monitor the enforcement of the European Court of Human Rights' binding judgments.

In Reykjavik, the founding principles of democracy in the 21st century were also reaffirmed and the importance of the Parliamentary Assembly and the Congress of Local and Regional Authorities of the Council of Europe was highlighted. Indeed, a cohesive national polity must always be based on a vibrant democracy, well-functioning regional authorities and the local communities where people actually live their lives. The summit also broke new ground by drawing increased attention to the relationship between human rights and artificial intelligence on the one hand and between human rights and the environment on the other, taking full account of the new challenges posed by climate change.

The Council of Europe is thus in a phase of consolidation and transformation, both now and over the next few years, which will enable it to take the full measure of the epochal change brought about in Europe by Russia's aggression against Ukraine. It was in the context of this new geopolitical and security paradigm in Europe that Switzerland marked, on 6 May 2023, the 60th anniversary of its accession to this international organisation, which following the suspension of Russia's membership in 2022 now has 46 member states. Switzerland firmly believes that in these unstable times, the Council of Europe is more essential than ever to stem the advance of authoritarian regimes and uphold democracy, the rule of law and human rights in Europe to benefit its citizens and respond to the current challenges.

I invite you to visit the Council of Europe's website to learn more about this organization: Council of Europe

Kind regards

Claude Wild

Permanent Representative of Switzerland
to the Council of Europe

Last update 22.06.2023


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