Delegation of the European Union to the Council of Europe

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Following the arrest of Nikanor Melia, Chairperson of the United National Movement - the largest opposition party in Georgia, political polarisation in the country has regrettably further deepened. This polarisation risks undermining Georgia’s democracy. The European Union urges all parties to step up efforts to de-escalate and come together to find common ground.

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Good afternoon,

Before I start, let me make a short point on the sad news that reached us during the [Foreign Affairs] Council: the attack on the World Food Programme convoy in Goma, in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).

The Council today adopted conclusions on the EU’s priorities in UN human rights fora in 2021. The conclusions reaffirm the EU’s commitment to respect, protect and fulfil human rights, democracy and the rule of law and to stand united in support of the UN human rights system as a cornerstone of its external action.

The EU strongly condemns the repression carried out by the Belarusian authorities since the falsified elections of August 2020. The unacceptable harassment of human rights defenders, media workers, trade union representatives, and defence lawyers has escalated in recent days. Yesterday, two BelSat journalists, Daria Chultsova and Katsiaryna Andreyeva, were both sentenced to two years’ imprisonment on groundless charges. Other media workers are facing a similar fate.

On 15 January 2021, the EU Delegation to the Council of Europe co-hosted a hybrid roundtable event on soft law in the 21st century, in cooperation with the Permanent Representation of Switzerland to the Council of Europe. The event consisted of two panel discussions focusing respectively on the concept of soft law and the opportunities and challenges arising from soft law against the background of human rights, democracy and the rule of law.

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In today’s world marked by major geopolitical and economic power shifts, multilateralism is the most effective mean to govern global relations in a way that benefits all. Growing global challenges, such as COVID-19 pandemic, climate change, conflicts and extreme poverty in many parts of the world, make all too evident the need for multilateral cooperation grounded on basic principles of international law and universal values.
In light of these challenges and opportunities, the European Commission and the High Representative are putting forward a set of policy proposals for a new multilateral agenda to deliver for all in today’s complex world.

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Today, the Commission and the High Representative put forward a new strategy to strengthen the EU's contribution to rules-based multilateralism. The Joint Communication lays out the EU's expectations of and ambitions for the multilateral system. Today's proposal suggests to make use of all tools at the EU's disposal, including its extensive political, diplomatic and financial support to promote global peace and security, defend human rights and international law, and to promote multilateral solutions to global challenges.

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Our world is in a period of transition, marked by major geopolitical and economic power shifts. Emerging players are creating new dynamics. Relations between major powers are increasingly confrontational and unilateralist. Competing visions and agendas on the global order are at play, which challenge established multilateral rules and organisations. Yet growing global challenges call for more multilateral governance and rules-based international cooperation.

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Our times are marked by major geopolitical and economic power shifts, with increasingly confrontational and unilateralist relations between major powers. Yet growing global challenges call for more multilateral governance and rules-based international cooperation. The COVID-19 crisis exemplifies the need for multilateral solutions: a major global threat, it has created much-needed momentum for a coordinated, global crisis response and has exposed the need to make multilateralism fit  to cope with the new challenges

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