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Minister Zaorálek took over Council of Europe chairmanship in Nicosia

The Minister of Foreign Affairs, Lubomír Zaorálek, visited Nicosia, Cyprus, on May 18–19, 2017 to inaugurate the Czech Republic’s Chairmanship of the Council of Europe. From May until November 2017, the Czech Republic will be responsible for the overall direction and activities of the Council of Europe’s executive body – the Committee of Ministers. 

The inaugural session attended by representatives of 47 Council of Europe member states opened a discussion on a report concerning the state of democracy, human rights and the rule of law, published by the Secretary General, Thorbjørn Jagland, in April 2017. Council of Europe members called for ratification of the new Council of Europe Convention on Offences relating to Cultural Property. The Convention responds to the increasing volumes of cultural property, most notably from Iraq and Syria, being trafficked in Western markets. The proceeds are an important source of income for non-state armed groups and terrorist organizations that do not hesitate to totally destroy valuable archaeological sites in pursuit of financial gain. In addition, the Committee adopted revised Guidelines on the protection of victims of terrorist acts, and an Action Plan on Protecting Refugee and Migrant Children in Europe designed to improve the guardianship system and enhance the children’s integration.

On the occasion of the chairmanship handover, Minister Zaorálek thanked the Cypriot Chairmanship: “Let me also express my appreciation of the Chairmanship of Cyprus. This session shows, that Cyprus has achieved a number of concrete results,” he told the Cypriot Foreign Minister Ioannis Kasoulides. Minister Zaorálek underlined that in the early nineties, prior to the first Czech Chairmanship, many Czechs and other nations came to see the Council of Europe as a symbol of the democratic Europe to which they were returning. “We are keenly aware of the important role that the Council of Europe has played in shaping our transition process to democracy back in the 90’s.”


Ministr Zaorálek na Kypru - převzetí předsednictví RE