On 16–17 May, the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Edgars Rinkēvičs, will take part in the 129th Session of the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe (CoE) in Helsinki, the capital city of Finland, the country holding the Presidency of the CoE.
The CoE is celebrating its 70th anniversary this year, which will also be marked by the Council of Ministers in a festive ceremony. The Ministerial Session will focus on crises and conflicts in Europe, and challenges to human rights, the rule of law and democracy faced by Europe, in the light of a report by the CoE Secretary General Thorbjørn Jagland titled “Ready for future challenges – Reinforcing the Council of Europe”.
The meeting will bring together foreign ministers and representatives from the 47 CoE member states as well as five observers (Canada, the Holy See, Japan, Mexico, and the USA), the European Union, and the OSCE.
The Committee of Ministers meets for its sessions annually in the country holding the Presidency of the CoE. In 2018, the session took place in Denmark, and in 2020 it will be organised by Georgia.
The Strasbourg-based Council of Europe was established in 1949, and it is the oldest political organisation in Europe, comprising 47 European countries. The goal of the Council of Europe is to build a common area of democracy and justice by ensuring that its fundamental values – human rights, democracy and the rule of law – are observed and protected. Latvia joined the Council of Europe on 10 February 1995.