Statement at the Council of Europe Ministerial Meeting

Statement by Minister of Foreign Affairs Ine Eriksen Søreide at the Council of Europe's Ministerial Session (digitally).

Chairman Varvitsiotis,
Madame Secretary General,
ladies and gentlemen,
dear colleagues,

More than a year has gone by since our ministerial in Helsinki. Our societies have had to face unprecedented circumstances due to the pandemic.

The core values of our organisation have been challenged in a fundamental way. All our countries have had to cope with the pandemic, including by introducing state of emergency measures. As a consequence, the lives of our citizens have been altered and their freedoms limited. This should not become a new normal. Emergency measures must be limited in time and checks and balances have to apply. Fundamental principles of legitimacy and proportionality must be respected.

During the pandemic, we have also seen a discouraging increase in violence against women and in domestic relations in many countries. We should remind ourselves of the useful platform created by the Istanbul convention. Protecting the most vulnerable in our societies is more important than ever.

Let me express my appreciation to the Secretary General and to the Georgian and Greek presidencies, as well as the Commissioner for Human Rights and the various monitoring bodies for clear and coherent guidance and advice. This advice is much appreciated and have been very well received. As a strong advocate for multilateral cooperation, Norway welcomes the Secretary General’s message on the importance of multilateralism in her first annual report.