CoE Warns of ‘Dwindling Trust’ in Institutions

The Secretary General of the Council of Europe (CoE), Thorbjørn Jagland, has said that human rights, democracy and security are threatened across Europe.


Council of Europe Secretary General Thorbjørn Jagland (L) shakes hands with Bulgarian President Rosen Plevneliev (L) during a visit to Sofia, 12 October 2015. Photo by BGNES

“Europe is currently struggling with many serious challenges, including terrorism, migration and conflict. This is being successfully exploited by nationalists and populists in many places, and trust in national and European institutions is dwindling,” Jagland said in his third annual report.

The report was released on Wednesday, ahead of next month’s session of the CoE Committee of Ministers in Sofia. Bulgaria currently holds the rotational chairmanship of the Committee of Ministers.

Recent terrorist attacks, which sent a shockwave through Europe, have combined with ongoing economic uncertainty to create “fertile ground for nationalists and xenophobes who seek to exploit public anxiety,” Jagland noted.

“At the same time, we still see many important gaps in the laws and practices that our member states have in place, and basic human rights including free speech, freedom of assembly and the right to privacy are increasingly being restricted,” he added.

The report also identifies as areas of concern political interference, corruption and the non-enforcement of judicial decisions, which affect the ndependence and impartiality of justice systems in Europe.

Initiation of national legislation, which risks contravening international standards, particularly in relation to the treatment of migrants and refugees, marks a “dangerous trend towards legislative nationalism”, Jagland says,

The report also underlines that almost half of the 47 Council of Europe member states do not satisfactorily guarantee the safety of journalists.


28 April 2016