France reiterates support for European human rights court
European Union – Statements by M. Emmanuel Macron, President of the Republic, in his joint declaration with Mr Thorbjørn Jagland, Secretary General of the Council of Europe
Strasbourg, 31 October 2017
Thank you very much, Mr Secretary General of the Council of Europe.
I’m very happy, Mr Secretary General, ladies and gentlemen, to be with you today.
I actually had a meeting with Mr Jagland on 31 August in Paris, at the Elysée Palace, and I promised to come and see you today. In a few moments’ time, I’ll be going to the European Court of Human Rights.
The aim of my presence alongside you today, the discussion we’ve just had and the speech I’ll be delivering is to reaffirm France’s commitment to and support for to the action of the Council of Europe, its Secretary General and the European Court of Human Rights.
Our commitment, too, to its various bodies, like the Commissioner for Human Rights and the Venice Commission, which are essential watchdogs and whose work must continue to guide our action every day.
It’s also because I believe in the need for those bodies that France has put forward Pierre-Yves Le Borgn’s candidature for the post of Commissioner for Human Rights.
The European Convention on Human Rights guarantees the 830 million Europeans protection unequalled in the world. And in this regard it’s a model, a source of inspiration for the whole of humanity. That’s why, like you and as you’ve pointed out, I’m profoundly committed to ensuring that the Convention, and therefore the Council and the Court, should have the dominance they have today. And I think all those countries currently seeking to get out, isolate themselves, stop complying with the Convention, or thinking they could play their own role alone are taking a wrong turn, in my view.
In doing so they’re leaving Europe, they’re leaving this core set of values and protection of our nationals’ rights and depriving their inhabitants, their voluntary organizations and their civil society of the most basic rights, which are an achievement of our past 50 years.
So I’d like to support the Secretary General wholeheartedly in the work he’s been conducting for several months to safeguard the Council of Europe’s pan-European framework. We care about this shared organization which, as you’ve said, stretches from Lisbon to Vladivostok.
We also talked about the fight against terrorism, which must be conducted while steadfastly respecting the basic freedoms guaranteed by the European Convention on Human Rights. It’s in this spirit that we’ve decided to end, from tomorrow, the state of emergency established after the November 2015 attacks, which led us to invoke Article 15 of the Convention.
The act stepping up domestic security and the fight against terrorism in no way aims to perpetuate the state of emergency, as some people have said, but provides for the measures necessary to protect our compatriots; these are strictly defined, circumscribed and subjected to increased control by judges, which allows us to be both effective in the fight against terrorism and end the derogation procedure, which we began two years ago now.
I want to thank the Secretary General for our meeting; he can count on my full support in what he’s doing, in the contact with various particularly sensitive countries today. And I look forward to continuing our close cooperation with the Council of Europe, in particular looking ahead to France’s chairmanship of the Committee of Ministers in 2019.