Latvia prepares for stint in Council of Europe spotlight

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On May 9, the Latvian cabinet approved the priorities of the Latvian Presidency at the Council of Ministers of the Council of Europe (COE).

According to a government press release the three priorities will be: 1) strengthening of democracy and the rule of law; 2) promotion of freedom of expression, safety of journalists and digital agenda of the Council of Europe; and 3) advancing reforms of the Council of Europe.

"One of the main tasks of the Latvian Presidency will be to work on the practical implementation of the decisions of the Council of Europe’s summit in Reykjavik – strengthening the role and influence of the Council of Europe, addressing the current challenges in the field of human rights, providing the organisation’s support to Ukraine, including to achieve Russia’s international accountability for the crime of aggression in Ukraine," the release said.

The Latvian Presidency is to include 17 themed events, which will be funded from the 2023 budget, some organised with financial support from the Council of Europe.

Latvia will take over the Presidency at the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe on May 17 2023 during the 4th Summit of Heads of State and Government of the Council of Europe in Reykjavik, Iceland. This will be Latvia’s second Presidency since joining the organisation. Latvia assumes its Presidency for the period of six months, during which the Latvian Foreign Minister will be the Chair of the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe. The duties of the Minister of Foreign Affairs will include reporting to the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) on the work of the Committee of Ministers as well as providing answers to questions from the parliamentarians.

The Council of Europe, created in 1949, is the oldest political organisation in Europe and includes 46 European countries. It is not to be confused with the Council of the European Union – though both use the same flag. Latvia joined the organisation in 1995.

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