Finland hosts Session of Council of Europe’s Committee of Ministers in Helsinki

The Session of the Committee of Ministers, to be held at Finlandia Hall on 17 May 2019, will mark the end of Finland’s Presidency of the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe. At the meeting, Finland will hand over the Presidency to France. More than 30 ministers from the member States of the Council of Europe will attend the meeting. The meeting will be chaired by Foreign Minister Timo Soini.

The topics of discussion will cover the political, economic and institutional challenges facing the Council of Europe. The situation is challenging because of the question of Russia’s continued non-payment of its budget contributions and its right of participation in the work of the Parliamentary Assembly (PACE). Ministers will also handle the organisation’s reform and economic capacity and protection of the operation of civil society, for instance. 

“The meeting will handle matters that are very important for Europe as a whole. We will also have a discussion on the organisation’s role in the resolution of conflicts and crises and in protecting human rights,” Minister for Foreign Affairs Timo Soini says.

A day before the Session of the Committee of Ministers, on 16 May, the Council of Europe will celebrate its 70th anniversary at Finlandia Hall. The Council of Europe was founded in 1949 and to date its most significant achievements include the European Convention on Human Rights and the European Court of Human Rights. 

Finnish Presidency’s priorities included prevention of radicalisation

Finland’s priorities for its Presidency of the Committee of Ministers were: strengthening of the system of human rights and the rule of law in Europe; supporting equality and women's rights; openness and inclusion; and young people and the prevention of radicalisation. During its Presidency, Finland has promoted these themes actively.

One of the main events was a High-Level Conference on the impacts of artificial intelligence, human rights and the rule of law, held in Helsinki in February 2019. The conference dealt with both the positive impacts of AI on human rights and the challenges posed by the new technologies for the materialisation of human rights. In events organised during the Presidency, Finland addressed the shrinking space of civil society and human rights defenders’ position, and promoted the rights of the Roma, equality, the rule of law, sign language and human rights and democracy education. 

Inquiries: Riikka Taivassalo, Special Adviser to the Foreign Minister, tel. +358 46923 4581, Nina Nordström, Director of Unit, tel. +358 295 350 104 and Merja Lahtinen, Desk Officer, tel. +358 295 350 971.

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