"The world may be changing, but the need for respect for human dignity remains as important as ever."
The President of the Republic of Slovenia Nataša Pirc Musar began the second day of her participation in the Fourth Summit of Heads of State and Government of the Council of Europe with a speech at the General Debate of the Summit.
Reykjavik, 17 May 2023
The President began by thanking the hosts for bringing together the Heads of State and Government of the Council of Europe for the first time in 18 years, and emphasised the importance of unity in upholding the shared values of human rights, democracy, and the rule of law. “These fundamental values have guided Slovenia since independence and joining the Council of Europe 30 years ago,” President Pirc Musar emphasised.
President Pirc Musar reiterated the strong condemnation of the Russian aggression against Ukraine and expressed solidarity with the people of Ukraine, to whom Slovenia will continue to provide the necessary assistance. She supported all efforts to hold accountable all those responsible for crimes committed in Ukraine. “The establishment of the Register of Damage is an important step in this regard,” said the President.
President Pirc Musar identified the trend of backsliding on democracy, the rule of law, human rights, and minority rights as the main issue of our time. “This is the crux of why we have gathered here in Reykjavik,” she said, adding that we had to do our utmost to reverse this trend, fulfil our obligations, and abide by our shared standards. “We must lend our full support to the Council of Europe as our continent’s leading and indispensable guardian of legal obligations and shared standards on the rule of law, minority rights and human rights.” The President highlighted the most critical obligation that was common to all member states of the Council of Europe, namely the full and timely execution of the judgments of the European Court of Human Rights. “Slovenia strongly supports the supervisory mechanism for the execution of judgements and all other independent monitoring mechanisms of the Council of Europe,” the President emphasised, pointing out that the growing trend of non-execution of the Court’s judgements was deeply concerning and unacceptable.
The President also highlighted the role of the Council of Europe as the standard-setter for current and emerging human rights challenges, such as the regulation of the use of artificial intelligence and the promotion of the right to a clean and healthy environment.
She concluded her address with the following words: “The world may be changing, but the need for respect for human dignity remains as important as ever. On behalf of my country, Slovenia, I am ready to help make sure that we conclude this summit with a strong and positive message for the future of the Council of Europe. And for all of us in Europe.”
President Pirc Musar will also take part in the closing session of the Summit, where she and other Heads of State and Government will adopt a political declaration to further strengthen democracy, human rights, and the rule of law. She will also hold a number of bilateral meetings later in the Summit.