Accountability for Ukraine and democracy top agenda of the Reykjavík Summit
Today, the Reykjavík Summit, the 4th Summit of Heads of State and Government of the Council of Europe member States, concluded with important decisions in support of Ukraine and the core values of the Council of Europe of human rights, democracy and rule of law. Most notably the international register for damages was established at the Reykjavík Summit of the Council of Europe with 44 States and the European Union signing a declaration in support of the register. The Summit has now come to a formal end and Latvia has taken over the Presidency of the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe.
The Reykjavik Summit was concluded in Harpa Hall this afternoon, also marking the end of the Icelandic presidency in the Council of Europe. The day began with a general debate, where leaders and other representatives of all the member states gave their national addresses and discussed their common future commitments. The adopted at the Summit, included, in addition to a commitment to establish the register of damage, a special declaration dedicated to support to Ukrainian children, including those that have been forcibly transferred or unlawfully deported by the Russian Federation. Volodymyr Zelensky's peace plan was also discussed at Summit, as well as the progress towards the establishment of a Aspecial tribunal for the crime of aggression against Ukraine.
The leaders also committed to counter democratic backsliding, including through the Reykjavik Principles of Democracy that work to secure and strengthen democracy and good governance at all levels throughout Europe. The Reykjavik Declaration also emphasises that the Council of Europe should aim to make the environment a visible priority and strengthen its work in relation to human rights and the environment (Reykjavík Process). It also included a special declaration emphasising the unconditional obligation of States to abide by the final judgements of the European Court of Human Rights in any case which they are parties.
“The Summit sends a clear message that democracy needs active strengthening and that we must counter the democratic backsliding we have witnessed in recent years. We also launched the Reykjavík Process at the Summit, furthering our work on the environment and human rights, which is an important step towards establishing the right to a clean, healthy, and sustainable environment. The outcome of the Summit also sends a clear signal of our unwavering solidarity with Ukraine”, Prime Minister of Iceland, Katrín Jakobsdóttir, stated.
The Summit also marked the establishment of an international register of damage caused by Russia’s aggression against Ukraine. Prime Minister of Iceland, Katrín Jakobsdóttir, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Iceland and President of the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe, Þórdís Kolbrún Reykfjörð Gylfadóttir Minister of Justice of Ukraine, Denys Maliuska, Dutch Prime Minister, Mark Rutte, and the Secretary General of the Council of Europe, Marija Pejčinović Burić, met in Harpa Concert Hall this morning to mark the establishment of the register for damages. Prime Minister, Katrín Jakobsdóttir, subsequently signed the declaration on the register of damages on behalf of Iceland. A total of 44 Member States and observers and the European Union signed the declaration.
“The register of damages is a contribution of the leaders of the Member States of the Council of Europe for the benefit of Ukraine, by which we have taken an important step towards ensuring accountability for the aggression of Russia against Ukraine. Therefore, today marks a turning point we have been working towards and I am immensely proud that this is happening here in Reykjavik” Minister for Foreign Affairs of Iceland, Þórdís Kolbrún Reykfjörð Gylfadóttir, said.
A press conference was held in Harpa this afternoon, where the Prime Minister of Iceland and Minister for Foreign Affairs of Iceland presented the main outcome of the Summit, along with Prime Minister of Ukraine, Denys Shmyhal, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Latvia, Edgars Rinkēvičs, and Secretary General of the Council of Europe, Marija Pejčinović Burić, At the end of the press conference, Þórdís Kolbrún Reykfjörð Gylfadóttir, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Iceland, presented a carved gavel by artist Sigríður Kristjánsdóttir to the Minister for Foreign Affairs of Latvia, Edgars Rinkēvičs, to mark the handover of the Presidency of the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe from Iceland to Latvia.