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Foreign Affairs | Support of the rule of law throughout Europe

To ask the Minister for Foreign Affairs the degree to which he continues to support the rule of law throughout Europe as appropriate with European Union colleagues and through the United Nations General Assembly throughout the developed work; and if he will make a statement on the matter.

Ireland is committed to the preservation and promotion of the rule of law both within the European Union and beyond. Ireland has consistently supported the development of a more comprehensive range of tools by the European Commission to ensure that EU Member States adhere to their rule of law obligations under the EU Treaties. This includes the Commission’s Annual Rule of Law Report and the Rule of Law budget conditionality regulation.

Ireland supports the continuation of the Article 7 Treaty on European Union process at the General Affairs Council in relation to Hungary and Poland. The process offers a welcome opportunity for peer dialogue on rule of law challenges. Ireland has participated actively in the hearings held to date and will continue do so.

Ireland broadly welcomes the recent agreement between Poland and the European Commission on milestones around the rule of law in relation to approval of Poland’s Recovery and Resilience Plan. Ireland also supports the Commission’s formal notification that the budget conditionality regulation will be activated in relation to Hungary. Our hope had been Hungary would engage constructively with those specific rule of law concerns identified by the Commission but regrettably this did not happen.

Alongside the promotion of democracy and protection of human rights, strengthening the rule of law is one of the three pillars of the Council of Europe. As part of our current Presidency of the organisation, Ireland has prioritised support for institutions through which the Council of Europe delivers that mandate, above all the European Court of Human Rights. The Taoiseach visited the Court on 7 June 2022 to affirm the importance we attach to rule of law. Ireland also recently announced voluntary financial contributions of over €865,000 to the Council, much of it directed to support the Court’s work.

Ireland is undertaking many initiatives through its Presidency to reinforce the rule of law across the European continent. The Chief Justice, Donal O’Donnell, will host the President of the European Court of Human Rights, Justice Robert Spano, its Vice President, Justice Siofra O’Leary, and other Justices from the Strasbourg Court for a two-day judicial conference in October 2022 to take place in Dublin City University.

Ireland has worked consistently to promote respect for the rule of law in our engagement at the United Nations, including in relation to a number of countries in Europe.

We play an active role in the annual sessions of the General Assembly’s Sixth Committee, which has responsibility for Legal Affairs, and the Third Committee, which considers Human Rights and Social Affairs. We support a range of General Assembly resolutions dealing with human rights and rule of law issues, some of which specifically address Europe. Ireland is, for example, a longstanding co-sponsor of the annual Ukraine-led resolution on the Situation of human rights in Crimea. Earlier this year, we supported three General Assembly resolutions that were tabled in response to Russia’s illegal invasion of Ukraine, including one that suspended Russia from the UN Human Rights Council.


Foreign Affairs

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