Friday, 21 May 2021, Free and Hanseatic City of Hamburg, Germany: Hamburg’s First Mayor Dr. Peter Tschentscher and German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas welcomed high-ranking representatives of the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe to Hamburg City Hall and opened the 131st session of the Committee of Ministers. Germany had taken over the chairmanship of the Committee of Ministers from the Hellenic Republic on 18 November 2020 in Strasbourg and will pass it on to Hungary at the meeting in Hamburg.
Germany’s priorities as Chair of the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe were the implementation of rulings by the European Court of Human Rights, consistently anchoring human rights in the digital space as well, taking action against hate and incitement online, and improving the protection of minorities, especially the Roma. The European Foreign Ministers discussed these and other topics today at their virtual meeting in Hamburg.
In the words of First Mayor Dr. Peter Tschentscher: “The Council of Europe is an important voice for human rights and the rule of law in Europe. As an independent international organisation, it monitors the observance of citizens’ fundamental rights and works for peace and security – from Iceland to Russia, from Scandinavia to the border with the Middle East. The Council of Europe stands for understanding and exchange between the states of Europe and thus fits in well with the Free and Hanseatic City of Hamburg, which, according to its constitution, acts as a ‘mediator between all continents and peoples of the world’.”
This year’s meeting of the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe took place predominantly digitally. In addition to Foreign Minister Heiko Maas, Hungary’s Foreign Minister Péter Szijjártó (future Chair) and the heads of the various Council of Europe institutions partook in person in the Hamburg City Hall, including the council’s Secretary-General Marija Pejčinović Burić. All other participants will be connected virtually, including the Secretary-General’s successor as chief of Croatian diplomacy, Gordan Grlić-Radman.
The Council of Europe is an independent international organisation based in Strasbourg. It was founded in 1949 and works to protect human rights, democracy and the rule of law. The Council of Europe has 47 member states. The Committee of Ministers is the decision-making body of the Council of Europe and is formed by the foreign ministers of the member states. At its annual session, decisions are adopted and put into force. The most important conventions of the Council of Europe include the European Convention on Human Rights, the Convention against Torture and the European Social Charter.
The European Court of Human Rights, which was founded in 1959 by the member states of the Council of Europe, watches over the observance of human rights. The court’s judgements are binding upon all member states.
For further information:
Government of Hamburg: https://www.hamburg.de/pressearchiv-fhh/15078614/2021-05-21ministerkomitee-des-europarats/
Council of Europe: https://www.coe.int/en/web/sogi/newsroom
Government of Hungary: https://abouthungary.hu