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Human Rights discussions in Strasbourg

2009/11/24

At the European Parliament in Strasbourg. The Swedish delegation room is crowded today, as no less than seven Ministers are present. Parliament is becoming increasingly important, in particular as the Lisbon Treaty will shortly enter into force. This makes the Presidency’s presence important, and it shows that we take Parliament’s work very seriously.

Today I have met Torbjörn Jagland, former Norwegian foreign minister and now Secretary-General of the Council of Europe. Among other things, we discussed the Human Rights situation in Russia and Belarus. Hopefully, Russia will shortly ratify the protocol to the Human Rights Convention simplifying the work of the European Court of Human Rights.

We also discussed the relations between the EU and the Council of Europe. In accordance with the Lisbon Treaty, the Union will adhere to the European Convention on Human Rights, which means greater protection for EU citizens. Referring to the increased EU focus on human rights issues, the Secretary-General made very clear that the Union must not be seen as a competitor to the Council of Europe. I totally share this view. The Council of Europe, with its wide membership and the various conventions binding Member States plays a key role, and will be complemented by the European Union’s Human Rights work.

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