Prime Minister warns against developments that are weakening democracy

Prime Minister Erna Solberg underlined the importance of safeguarding democratic values when she spoke to participants from over 100 countries at the World Forum for Democracy in Strasbourg today. The Forum is hosted by the Council of Europe.

Prime Minister Erna Solberg at World Forum for Democracy in Strasbourg 7 November 2016.
Prime Minister Erna Solberg at World Forum for Democracy in Strasbourg 7 November 2016. Credit: Office of the Prime Minister

‘In its recent history, Europe has experienced the tragic alternatives to democracy: the complete opposite of cooperation among nations, and a total lack of respect for every individual’s inalienable rights. This has resulted in wars and in the loss of tens of millions of lives’, said Ms Solberg. 

Developments in Europe were among the topics discussed by Ms Solberg and the Secretary General of the Council of Europe, Thorbjørn Jagland. The Secretary General’s latest annual report points out that democracies rarely go to war against each other, and that democracy protects states from internal strife.  

‘The report paints a disturbing picture of the situation in Europe. Freedom of the press and the independence of the judiciary are being curtailed in a number of countries. The developments in Turkey are a case in point,’ said Ms Solberg.   

In her speech, Ms Solberg, who is Co-Chair of the group of Sustainable Development Goals advocates, highlighted the key role of the Council of Europe and its member states in promoting democracy, the rule of law, and inclusive societies. 

‘The rule of law is essential for achieving sustainable development. Without the predictability and security created by the rule of law, private enterprise grinds to a halt along with foreign trade and investments,’ Ms Solberg said.

While she is in Strasbourg, Prime Minister Solberg will also meet the Council of Europe’s Commissioner for Human Rights, Nils Muižnieks, and she will visit the European Court of Human Rights.