Latvia joined the Council of Europe on 10 February 1995. It was important for Latvia to become part of the European family of democratic nations in order to begin negotiations on Latvia’s accession to the European Union.
From May to November 2023, Latvia held the Presidency of the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe for the second time. The national priorities of the Latvian Presidency were the strengthening of democracy and the rule of law; promoting freedom of expression, safety of journalists and the digital agenda of the Council of Europe; and the advancement of reform of the Council of Europe.
The work of the Latvian Presidency of the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe took place at a difficult time, during Russia’s war of aggression against Ukraine. Latvia’s main task was to ensure that all possible support is provided to Ukraine, including within the framework of the Council of Europe. The Latvian Presidency paid particular attention to the issue of Russia’s accountability, notably the establishment of the Council of Europe’s Register of Damage to document loss and damage caused by Russia’s war of aggression against Ukraine. Launching the Register of Damage is one of the most important achievements of the Latvian Presidency. This is a major step towards establishing an international compensation mechanism.
The Council of Europe, the oldest political organisation in Europe, sees its 75th anniversary this year. It was established in 1949 with the aim of creating a common democratic and legal space to ensure respect for, and safeguard its fundamental values – human rights, democracy and the rule of law. The Council of Europe currently has 46 members.