Friday, 19 November 2010
United Kingdom Signals Its Priorities For CoE Leadership
On 18 November, during a House Of Lords debate on the Council of Europe, Lord Howell of Guildford, speaking on behalf of the government, said: “We are looking to push down the costs of the Council of Europe, to make efficiency savings where possible and to ensure that work undertaken by the organisation is essential and relevant.
“The organisation and its work must continue to focus on what it does best: it must continue to protect and promote human rights, the rule of law and democracy in Europe.
“Therefore, the organisation's work must reflect and contribute to these areas of strength and expertise. We oppose the Council of Europe straying into other areas of work for which other international organisations are better equipped.”
The United Kingdom will take up the chairmanship of the Council of Europe’s Committee of Ministers next November.
Lord Howell, the UK's Minister of State at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, also pointed to future changes in the workings of the European Court of Human Rights. He declared: “The court serves a valuable purpose, but it is essential that it be reformed. It is overburdened and weighed down by a staggering backlog of over 140,000 cases. This cannot carry on.
“We will fully support and seek to advance the court reform process, which came out of the high-level conference at Interlaken in February 2010. We are also considering ways in which we might make the court more nimble in its operation in both the consideration and the judgment of cases brought before it.”