The Reykjavík Summit of the Council of Europe last week marked the end of Iceland’s Presidency of the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe. Latvia has now taken over the Presidency.
“From the moment we took over the Presidency last November, we have taken our role and responsibility seriously. Our biggest task was to reinforce and strengthen the core values of the Council of Europe – democracy, human rights and the rule of law, and I am proud that Iceland was able to contribute to the important decisions made for Ukraine at the Summit in Reykjavík last week,” says Thórdís Kolbrún Reykfjörd Gylfadóttir, Minister for Foreign Affairs.
Iceland took over the Presidency in November last year, in the wake of the brutal war of aggression against Ukraine. Support for Ukraine became front and centre during Iceland’s Presidency as well as the reinforcement of the core values of the Council of Europe – democracy, human rights and the rule of law. Other priorities of the Icelandic Presidency were the environment, equality, and children and youth.
Iceland’s Presidency has been eventful, with many topics having been on the agenda in Strasbourg, Iceland and further, as part of Iceland’s Presidency programme. Strengthening the core values of the Council of Europe and support for Ukraine were at the centre of Iceland’s Presidency and of the Reykjavík Summit. Furthermore, Iceland has hosted events on the right to a clean, healthy and sustainable environment, and on the topic of children and the Barnahús-model to mention a few. Iceland also emphasized LGBTI+ rights during its Presidency and hosted the annual IDAHOT+ forum in Reykjavík earlier this month, one of the most important platforms for the assessment of rights of LGBTI+ persons in Europe.
Lastly, Iceland ran a diverse cultural programme in Strasbourg during its Presidency, where the people of Strasbourg were invited to attend Icelandic cultural events on literature, cinema, children’s theater, gastronomy and more.
Latvia has now taken over the Presidency of the Council of Europe from Iceland. This was the third time Iceland held the Presidency since it joined the Council in 1950, the last ones in 1955 and in 1999.