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Statssekretær Hagens tale til Europarådets ministermøte i Helsingfors

Statssekretær Hagen (for utenriksministeren). Norges innlegg på Europarådets ministermøte i Helsingfors 17. mai 2019

Ladies and gentlemen,

The mission of the Council of Europe is just as important today as it was 70 years ago. To protect and promote human rights, democracy and the rule of law.

In this anniversary year, as we struggle to address external threats and face more divisive internal debates, let us remember that the Council’s three pillars must be protected and upheld if we are to truly fulfil our vision of peace and stability across the whole of Europe.


The Council of Europe works to protect the fundamental rights and freedoms of 830 million individuals.

In order to ensure that the Council can fulfil its mandate effectively, we must continue to reform the organisation.

But no Secretary General can do this without the proper tools, authority and resources.

We, as political leaders from the member states, collectively own the Council.

It is our responsibility to ensure that all member states honour their financial obligations.


In Norway’s view, greater transparency and openness will increase the legitimacy and effectiveness of the Council of Europe.

Meaningful interaction with, and input from, civil society is vital for any modern human rights organisation, and the Council is no exception. We fully support the initiative to strengthen the Council’s cooperation with NGOs.


In Norway’s view, the Council of Europe should focus on issues that fall under its mandate. Other organisations can address territorial conflicts and security concerns more effectively.

Having said this, it is important to stress that fundamental rights and freedoms apply to individuals in all areas of the member states, including grey zones, and regardless of territorial status.


I would like to finish by commending Secretary General Jagland for all his work in this important pan-European organisation.

His latest report provides us with a long-term work programme.

As we move this agenda forward, we must first and foremost focus on the added value the Council of Europe can provide.

Because there can be no lasting peace and stability without respect for the rule of law and human rights, and without true democracy that ensures that all minorities are protected.

Thank you.







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