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Ukraine Foreign Ministry comment on the election of new Secretary General of the Council of Europe
27 June 2019 18:20

The newly elected Secretary General of the Council of Europe, Ms. Marija Pejčinović Burić (Croatia), assumes the office this fall at a time when the Council of Europe is facing one of the most serious crises in its history. This crisis was caused by systemic problems, which originated in the 90's and culminated in a complete discredit of one of the most important bodies of the Council of Europe - the Parliamentary Assembly.

As the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine has already stated, the Council of Europe lost its credibility with the decision to unconditionally return Russia to the PACE, and hence its ability to effectively defend the rule of law, human rights and democracy in all member states.

Unfortunately, previous Secretary General was unable to bring the Organization to a solution to the crisis, and most of his actions, on the contrary, led to its deepening. The Council of Europe failed to provide an adequate response to either Russia's aggression in Georgia or the migration crisis in Europe, and was politically weak in terms of continuing Russian aggression in Ukraine.

We will closely monitor the actions of the new Secretary General, analyze how they, unlike the previous Head of the Secretariat of the Council of Europe, will be able to create preconditions for restoring confidence in the Organization and, therefore, to return the Council of Europe to a leading role in promoting standards of democracy, rule of law and human rights on the continent.

We look forward to the Secretary General's specific steps to ensure that Russia meets the requirements of the Council of Europe's resolutions on ending Russian aggression against Ukraine, including the release of illegally seized Ukrainian sailors, Ukrainian political prisoners illegally detained in the occupied Crimea and in Russia, suspension of systematic persecution of Crimean Tatars and lifting of the ban on the activity of the Mejlis of the Crimean Tatar people on the temporarily occupied peninsula.

We propose that the new Head of the Secretariat of the Council of Europe develops a new strategy for the effective management of human, financial and administrative resources of the Organization, which will allow to get rid of squandering and ensure the effective functioning of its institutional mechanisms.

We consider it important that the vision of the reform of the Council of Europe, proposed before the election of the new Head of the Secretariat, is approached critically once again.

We call for a constructive cooperation and interaction of the Secretary General with the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe and its chairmanship, which carries out political leadership of the organization.

In this sense, the Foreign Ministry of Ukraine is ready to cooperate with the new Secretary General in creating conditions for the Council of Europe to get a chance on the path to restoring its authority. The Foreign Ministry will work closely with the next Georgian presidency in the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe to achieve these goals.

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