Minister Tuomioja's speech at the meeting of the Council of Europe Foreign Ministers

Minister Tuomioja's speech at the meeting of the Council of Europe Foreign Ministers

Foreign Minister Erkki Tuomioja's speech at the meeting of the Council of Europe Foreign Ministers in Vienna, 6 May 2014

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State of democracy, human rights and the rule of law in Europe – report by the Secretary General

Mr Chairman,

The Secretary General’s first report on the state of democracy, human rights and the rule of law in Europe of today provides important – and quite alarming - information on the situation in Europe. Discrimination, racism, corruption, just to mention few, are wide-spread problems on our continent.

The report very effectively helps us to focus our attention on the key human rights challenges in Europe. We must be ready to tackle – and annually evaluate - the concrete challenges outlined in the report.

At the same time, the report also gives recommendations on how to strengthen the functioning of the Council of Europe instruments and mechanisms. We should consider ways to enable these mechanisms to respond even more effectively and quickly to crisis situations.



The current crisis in Europe

Mr Chairman,

Turning to the current crisis in Europe:
The Annexation of Crimea to Russia by a unilateral action is against the fundamental principles of sovereignty, territorial integrity;  as well as many binding international agreements.

Acting against the Council of Europe principles and commitments is damaging for the long term stability, security and prosperity of all member states and their people.

The Council of Europe’s support for democratic institutions, protecting human rights and building confidence in Ukraine is crucial. The organization has a significant role – together with the OSCE - both during the current crisis and ensuring the necessary reforms in Ukraine. 




The Council of Europe with its instruments and mechanisms is particularly well-placed to support Ukraine in strengthening the rule of law, implementing constitutional and economic reforms and fighting against corruption.

New initiatives such as the International Advisory Panel are valuable to the confidence building. Finland also supports the immediate measures package the Council of Europe has prepared. The Council of Europe should also take the lead in ensuring that the shootings on Maidan in February as well as the horrible arson in Odessa last week are impartially and independently investigated and the perpetrators brought to justice.

The Council of Europe with its instruments and mechanisms is particularly well-placed to support Ukraine in strengthening the rule of law, implementing constitutional and economic reforms and fighting against corruption.

Mr Chairman,



We support the concept of an inclusive national dialogue as a vital element for peaceful resolution of the crisis in Ukraine.

Thank you for your attention!


Euroopan neuvosto