Save the Council of Europe

With the annex­a­tion of Crimea and the unde­clared war in Eastern Ukraine, the Russian lead­er­ship gravely violates the prin­ci­ples of the European peace order. In response, the Parlia­men­tary Assembly of the Council of Europe suspended the voting rights of the Russian dele­ga­tion. This is a question of self-esteem of an organ­i­sa­tion that is respon­sible for observing human rights, the refraine from the use of force and the equal souver­eignty of European states. Now together with its allies, the Kremlin tries to achieve a lift of sanctions without changing its policy. For the Council of Europe, this would mean giving up its normative basis. An open letter of public figures from all over Europe oposes such a step.

Open Letter

We, the under­signed, are strongly concerned about the possible demise of the Council of Europe (CoE), which can take place very soon.

In response to Russia’s illegal annex­a­tion of the Crimea and military aggres­sion in Eastern Ukraine the Council of Europe suspended the voting rights of the Russian dele­ga­tion. In its turn, Russia has turned to blackmail, having suspended member­ship fees to the Council of Europe and boycotting partic­i­pa­tion in the Parlia­men­tary Assembly.

In order to triumphantly return to the Parlia­men­tary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) in January next year without imple­menting demands contained in a number of PACE reso­lu­tions, Russia and its supporters decided to act by the principle: if you can not change the policy of the Council of Europe, change its rules. If changes to the current sanctions rules are made, it will be virtually impos­sible to apply sanctions in the future AGAINST ANY MEMBER STATE.

Such changes, resulting in the uncon­di­tional return of Russia to PACE, will have the following negative impact on the Council of Europe and situation with human rights in Europe:

1) by allowing Russia to succeed in black­mailing, the Council of Europe will compro­mise and discredit itself. A weak Council of Europe will lose its authority and influence in those parts of Europe where it is needed the most;

2) without the capacity to apply sanctions, the Parlia­men­tary Assembly of the Council of Europe will become a toothless orga­ni­za­tion, stripping itself of the only tool which could motivate an offender of the Council of Europe’s declared values — democracy, human rights and rule of law — to correct its policies;

3) it could trigger a full-scale crisis in the organization.

We call upon the ruling elites of all Council of Europe Member States not to allow the demise of the orga­ni­za­tion. History will judge harshly those who give in to blackmail from unde­mo­c­ratic societies where the rule of force is above the rule of law.

Signed by:
Toomas Hendrik Ilves, fourth president of Estonia (2006–2016)
Petras Auštre­vičius, Member of the European Parlia­ment, Lithuania
Eitvydas Bajarunas, Ambas­sador-at-Large for Hybrid threats, Lithuanian MFA,
Andrius Kubilius, Member of Parlia­ment, Prime Minister of Lithuania (1999–2000, 2008–2012)
Beatriz Becerra, Member of the European Parlia­ment, vice-chair of the European Parlia­ment Subcom­mittee on Human Rights, Spain
Rebecca Harms, Member of the European Parlia­ment, Germany
Anna Maria, Corazza Bildt, Member of the European Parlia­ment, Sweden
Ana Gomes, Member of the European Parlia­ment, Portugal
František Kopřiva, Deputy, Czech Pirate Party, Repre­sen­ta­tive to PACE, Czech Republic
Jan Lipavsky, Member of the Parlia­ment, Chamber of Deputies, Czech Republic
Werner Schulz, former MP and MEP, Germany
Hanne Severinsen, Danish Helsinki Committee, Former MP and PACE, Denmark
Marieluise Beck, Former Bundestag Member, Germany
Danylo Lubkivsky, Former Deputy Foreign Minister, Ukraine
Markus Meckel, Former Foreign Minister of the GDR; Vors. Stiftungsrat Bundess­tiftung Aufar­beitung, Germany
Paweł Kowal, Former member of the European Parlia­ment, Poland

Also signed by:
Sonja Adelheid, member, Bündnis 90/​die Grünen, Germany
Hannes Adomeit, Senior fellow, Institute for Security Policy, UKIEL, Germany
Willem Alder­shoff, former head of unit, European Commis­sion, Analyst inter­na­tional affairs, Belgium
Jessikka Aro, Jour­nalist, Finland
Anders Åslund, Senior Fellow, Atlantic Council, Swedish citizen, resident in the USA
Dalia Bankauskaite, Head of the Media program at the Vilnius Institute for policy analysis, Lithuania
Kamil Basaj, Info Ops Project Manager, CEO at @Disinfo_Digest, Poland
Steven Blockmans, Senior research fellow, CEPS, Belgium
Olaf Boehnke, Advisor, Alliance of Democ­ra­cies, Germany
Tim Bohse, Political Scientist, Germany
Simon Bracey-Lane, Research Fellow, Institute for State­craft, UK
Alek­sandar Brezar, Editor, National RTV of Bosnia and Herze­govina (BHRT), Bosnia and Herzegovina
Pascal Bruckner, philoso­pher, France
Simas Čelutka, Head of European Security Programme at Vilnius Institute for Policy Analysis, Lithuania
Iulian Chifu, Professor, researcher; Conflict Preven­tion and Early Warning Center Bucharest, Romania
Carmen Claudín, Associate senior researcher CIDOB, Spain
Evan O’Connell, European Affairs commen­tator, France
Halyna Coynash, Kharkiv Human Rights Group, Ukraine
Eugene Czolij, Ukrainian World Congress, President, Canada
Haroldas Daublys, Head of Lithuanian Riflemen’s Union’s support group for Ukraine, Lithuania
Danilo Elia Rai, Public broad­caster of Italy /​ Jour­nalist, Italy
Urve Eslas, Adjunct fellow, CEPA, Estonia
Yevhen Fedchenko, co-founder, Ukraine
André Fesiak, Inde­pen­dent Researcher, France
Petr Fojtík, Analyst, Czech Pirate Party, Czech Republic
Ralf Fuecks, Center for Liberal Modernity, Director, Germany
Anna Garmash, Head of “Ukraine Action” (NGO), France
Alyona Getmanchuk, director, New Europe Center, Ukraine
Anke Giesen, Lecturer, Germany
Paul Goble, Former US Govern­ment Specialist on the Non-Russian Peoples of the Formber Soviet Space, USA
George Grabowicz, Professor, Harvard Univer­sity, United States
Gustav Gressel, Senior Policy Fellow; European Council on Foreign Relations, Germany
Iulian Groza, Executive Director, Institute for European Policies and Reforms, Moldova
Pavel Havlicek, Analyst at Asso­ci­a­tion for Inter­na­tional Affairs (AMO) in Prague, Czech Republic
Berta Herrero, MEP Advisor, European Parlia­ment, Spain
Maryna Iaro­shevych, Director of the Ukrainian World Congress Mission to Inter­na­tional Orga­ni­za­tions, Belgium
Jakub Janda, Director, European Values Think-Tank, Czech Republic
Kornely Kakachia, Georgian Institute of Politics, Georgia
Julia Kazdobina, Head, Ukrainian Foun­da­tion for Security Studies, Ukraine
Tamar Kintsurashvili, Director, Media Devel­op­ment Foun­da­tion (MDF), Georgia
Lino Klevesath, political scientist, Germany
Jana Kobzova, Advisor, Alliance of Democ­ra­cies, Belgium
Petr Kolář, Občané pro — Citizens for Czech Republic
Peter Koller, The Greens, Germany
Lyudmyla Kozlovska, President of the Open Dialogue Foun­da­tion, Belgium
Jacek Kuchar­czyk, President, Institute of Public Affairs, Poland
Kostiantyn Kvurt, Head of Board at Internews Ukraine, Ukraine
Philippe De Lara, assistant professor of political science at Paris 2 univer­sity, France
Marius Lauri­navi­cius, Senior expert, Vilnius Institute for Policy Analysis, Lithuania
John Lough, Associate Fellow, Russia & Eurasia Programme, Chatham House, the United Kingdom
Jeff Lovitt, New Diplomacy, Chair, UK and Czech Republic
Oleksiy Makukhin, Ukraine Crisis Media Center, Ukraine
Jens Mattern, Jour­nalist, Poland
Olek­sandra Matviy­chuk, Head of Center for Civil Liberties, Ukraine
Daniel Mazur, Project Manager; Charles Univer­sity, Czech Republic
Martin Mycielski, Brussels Corre­spon­dent, Gazeta Wyborcza, Belgium
James Nixey, Head, Russia and Eurasia Programme, Chatham House
Ghia Nodia, Chairman, Caucasus Institute for Peace, Democracy and Devel­op­ment (CIPDD), Georgia
Robert van der Noordaa, inves­tiga­tive jour­nalist, the Netherlands
Oxana Pachlovska, Professor, Univer­sity of Rome, Italy–Ukraine
Massi­m­il­iano Di Pasquale, Jour­nalist and writer, Italy
Tetiana Pechonchyk, Human Rights Infor­ma­tion Center, the head of board, Ukraine
Nicolas De Pedro, Senior fellow, Institute for State­craft, Spain
Christian Pieper, Judge, Germany
Iryna Pieper, Teacher, Germany
Tetiana Pushnova, Inde­pen­dent media consul­tant, former Chief Producer of inter­na­tional TV Channel UKRAINE TODAY, Ukraine
Antje Rempe language teacher; president of the Part­ner­schaftsverein Charkiw-Nürnberg, Germany
Igor Reshet­nyak, Researcher, EPFL, Switzerland
Ben Robinson, Senior Fellow, Institute for State­craft, UK
Giedrius Sakalauskas, Res Publica, Lithuania
Olaf Saxegaard, Consul­tant, Norway
Alya Shandra, editor, Euro­maidan Press, Ukraine
Anton Shekhovtsov, Institute for Euro-Atlantic Coop­er­a­tion, Ukraine
Kristian Magnus Skarsvåg, IT consul­tant, Norway
Maria Slesazeck, DRA e.V., Germany
Vladimir Socor, Senior Fellow, Jamestown Foun­da­tion, USA /​ Germany
Susan Stewart, German Institute for Inter­na­tional and Security Affairs (SWP), Germany
Alice Stollmeyer, Executive Director, Defending Democracy, Belgium
Dovile Sukyte, Policy Analyst, Eastern Europe Studies Centre, Lithuania
Sergiy Sydorenko, Editor, European Pravda, Ukraine
Joanna Szostek, Lecturer, Univer­sity of Glasgow, United Kingdom
Wolfgang Templin, Publicist, Germany
Lasha Tughushi, Chairman of the Georgian national platform, EaP Civil Society Forum, Georgia
Reinhard Weißhuhn, Robert-Havemann-Gesellschaft, Germany
Robert Werner, CEO, Germany
Kataryna Wolczuk, Associate Fellow, Chatham House, United Kingdom
Anna Yavorska, Advocacy Officer, Open Dialogue Foun­da­tion, Belgium
Volodymyr Yermolenko, philoso­pher, jour­nalist, editor at, Ukraine
Borys Zakharov, Human­i­tarian Studio Khvylia, Head of the Board, Ukraine
Bjørn Johan Berger, Norway
Anzhela Prazd­nich­nykh, Belgium
Malvin Nygård, Norway
Dr. Ječmínek Jan Martin, Czech Republic
Antonina Demenko, Norway
Even Jahr, Norway
Jaroslav Froněk, Czech Republic
Ondřej Moravčík, Czech Republic

Der offene Brief kann weiterhin hier unterze­ichnet werden. Dort ist auch die aktuelle Unterze­ich­n­erliste einzusehen. Textende

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