United around our Values: The Reykjavik Declaration of the European Council

Now Latvia will chair the European Council for the next …

Now Latvia will chair the European Council for the next six months. mbl.is/Kristinn Magnusson

The Heads of State of the Council of Europe adopted the Reykjavík Declaration at their meeting in Reykjavík today and established an international damage register for Ukraine. Support for Ukraine, a resolution in favour of Ukrainian children, and the commitment of the states to human rights, democracy and the rule of law were the main focus of the Declaration.

The Declaration commits the Member States to fully implementing the decisions of the European Court of Human Rights. The European Council Summit has officially ended and Latvians have now taken over the presidency of the Council of Europe.

Denys Shmyhal, the Prime Minister of Ukraine in Harpa today.

Denys Shmyhal, the Prime Minister of Ukraine in Harpa today. AFP/Halldór Kolbeins

Situation in Ukraine of the highest importance

The European Council summit ended in Harpa this afternoon, which marked the end of Iceland’s Presidency of the Council. The day began with a general discussion, with the states’ representatives speaking and agreeing on their commitments for the future.

The issues of Ukraine were at the forefront, with the Council passing of a special resolution in favour of Ukrainian children, as Russians are believed to have taken many children away from their homes in occupied territories. The leaders expressed strong support for Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky’s proposals for a just peace and discussed the establishment of a special court for war crimes in Ukraine.

Reykjavík Declaration and Reykjavík Principles of Democracy

The leaders at the summit also committed themselves to countering the setbacks in world democracy by being guided by the principles of democracy which were agreed upon at the meeting and called the Reykjavik Principles of Democracy.

The Reykjavík Declaration also stresses that the Council of Europe is stepping up its work in relation to the human rights and environmental issues (the Reykjavik Process). The final declaration also includes a resolution that underlines follow-up of the judgments of the European Court of Human Rights.

The press conference at the end of the summit today.

The press conference at the end of the summit today. mbl.is/Kristinn Magnusson

“The meeting sends a clear message that democracy needs to be strengthened effectively to counter the setbacks that have occurred in recent years. It was also agreed that a so-called ‘Reykjavík process’ would be initiated in favour of environmental and human rights, which is an important step in consolidating the right to a healthy environment. Last, but not least, the outcome of the meeting is a decisive solidarity with Ukraine,” said Prime Minister Katrín Jakobsdóttir.

Establishment of the damage register

The meeting also marked the establishment of a special register for the damage caused by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. To mark this milestone, the Icelandic Prime Minister Katrín Jakobsdóttir and Minister Þórdís Kolbrún Reykfjörð Gylfadóttir, Minister of Foreign Affairs and President of the Council of Europe’s Committee of Ministers, Denis Shmyhal, Prime Minister of Ukraine, Denys Maliuska, Minister of Justice of Ukraine, Minister of Justice Mark Rutte, Prime Minister of the Netherlands, and Marija Pejčinović Burić , Director of the Council of Europe, were gathered in Harpa this morning.

Prime Minister Katrín Jakobsdóttir then signed a declaration on the damages register on behalf of Iceland as a result. A total of 45 member states and observers have signed the declaration.

“The damage register is a tangible contribution by the leaders of the Member States of the Council of Europe in Ukraine’s interests and with it we have taken a significant step to ensure accountability for violations of the Russian military presence in Ukraine. This moment therefore marks a turning point that we have worked on actively with the Council of Europe and many other nations, and I am very proud that this is taking place here in Reykjavík,” stated Minister of Foreign Affairs Þórdís Kolbrún Reykfjörð Gylfadóttir.

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