On 20 May 2022, the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Latvia, Edgars Rinkēvičs, took part in the 132nd session of the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe in Turin, Italy.
“We meet at the time when the values, principles and standards of the Council of Europe are under attack and must be protected more than ever. Russia’s unprovoked and unjustified aggression against Ukraine is an assault on all international laws. Latvia stands with Ukraine as it defends its freedom, sovereignty, and democratic future. We are helping and will help Ukraine and the Ukrainian people in every possible way. Latvia reiterates its strongest condemnation of Russia’s military aggression against Ukraine, daily attacks against civilians and civilian infrastructure. The Council of Europe has no place for a member illegally invading a sovereign country and committing horrifying war crimes. By excluding Russia from the organization, we showed our resolution and restored our credibility.
The Council of Europe must help Ukraine to rebuild its future through helping the country, among other things, become a member of the Council of Europe Development Bank. I also invite the Council of Europe to explore effective ways of invoking Russia’s accountability for the violations and crimes committed in Ukraine. The proposal by the Parliamentary Assembly to establish an ad hoc tribunal could be one of the ways forward,” Edgars Rinkēvičs said in his remarks.
The Minister drew the participants’ attention to the fact that in 2022 Latvia marks twenty-five years since it ratified the European Convention on Human Rights. Latvia intends to make a voluntary contribution to support the work of the Court. Latvia is also preparing for its chairmanship in the Committee of Ministers in 2023; therefore, work will be under way to align national priorities to the strategic priorities of the Council.
“We are committed to strengthening and protecting democracy, freedom of speech, civil society and the rule of law. We will support the reform process of the Council of Europe. This is a pivotal moment for the Council of Europe. A clear view on the enhanced role of the organization is a precondition of a possible summit. We must address the budgetary pressures that have deepened by Russia’s exclusion from the Council,” the Latvian Foreign Minister underlined.
During the 132nd session of the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe, Edgars Rinkēvičs signed the European Convention on the Abolition of Legalisation of Documents executed by Diplomatic Agents or Consular Officers. An international cooperation platform established by the Convention ensures a uniform legal framework and, by removing administrative hurdles, facilitates the circulation of public documents among its member states.
The Convention has currently been ratified by 25 countries: Austria, Belgium, Cyprus, the Czech Republic, Estonia, France, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, Malta, the Netherlands, Moldova, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey, the United Kingdom, and Russia.