Soini and Jagland: Russia as a challenge during Finland's Council of Europe Presidency
Minister for Foreign Affairs Timo Soini and Council of Europe Secretary General Thorbjørn Jagland met on 8 November to discuss the upcoming Finnish Presidency of the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe. The website of the Finnish Presidency was opened on the same day.
The Secretary General of the Council of Europe, Thorbjørn Jagland, met Foreign Minister Timo Soini during his visit to Finland on 8 November. The visit was related to Finland's Presidency of the Council of Europe, which will start on 21 November. Finland’s Presidency of the Council of Europe will last until the end of May 2019.
The topics of discussion included Russia’s continued non-payment of its budget contributions and its right to take part in the work of the Council of Europe. The aim is to find solutions to these during Finland's Presidency. Both Soini and Jagland stressed that it is hoped that Russia will stay in the Council of Europe, because it is in the interest of both the Russian Federation and its citizens.
The priorities of Finland's Presidency are: strengthening the system of human rights and the rule of law in Europe; supporting equality and women's rights; openness and inclusion; and young people and the prevention of radicalisation. The Presidency will also raise questions relating to new technologies' human-rights impacts, and an international conference on artificial intelligence and human rights will be organised in Helsinki on 26–27 February 2019.
The Ministry for Foreign Affairs opened the website of its Presidency of the Council of Europe on the day of Secretary General Jagland's visit to Finland at um.fi/council-of-europe-finlands-presidency-2018-2019. Finland's Permanent Representation to the Council of Europe opened its new website at finlandabroad.fi/coe.