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Taoiseach’s Statement for General Debate Council of Europe Summit, Reykjavik, Iceland

A year ago, Ireland assumed the Presidency of the Committee of Ministers at a point of crisis for our continent.  Recalling that the Council was established in the wake of war; arguing that, now in the midst of war, leaders needed to meet again

  • to recommit to the Council’s founding values,
  • to renew it for a digital age,
  • to refocus its energies on better supporting Kyiv,
  • and to hold the Kremlin to account.

Ireland is proud to have laid the first steps on the road to Reykjavík, but it is Iceland who ultimately brought us together. 

Prime Minister Jakobsdóttir,

A millennium ago, Icelanders would meet at the Lögberg (Lug-perk) - or Law Rock.  Law was the bedrock of your society then, as rule of law and the European Convention on Human Rights are for our democracies in Europe today. 

The Convention and the Court remain the conscience of Europe. For Ireland, they are core also to our peace process and to the Good Friday Agreement, whose twenty fifth anniversary we celebrated last month.

Ireland was amongst the first states to accept the Court’s compulsory jurisdiction - and we’ve always abided by it.  Through the decades, we’ve had our share of judgements. Some were historic.  Several, at their time, contentious. But all were respected.  Because a ruling ignored is a right infringed. Abiding by rulings against your state may not be easy. But it’s always right. 

We owe it to our citizens to ensure implementation of Court judgements is a legacy of this Summit.


We need to resource the Council of Europe politically – to ensure more Ministers at the Committee of Ministers.

We need to resource the Council financially.   If we want Strasbourg to deliver, including for Ukraine, we must equip it and match our rhetoric today with resources tomorrow.

So, in the home of the Althingi, one of the world’s oldest parliaments, let’s promise to protect our democracies.

By recommitting to our continent’s conscience, by supporting Ukraine, and by doing these, we reinforce the institutional rock on which all our freedoms stand.