Foreign Affairs | Support of rule of law throughout Europe
To ask the Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs the degree to which he continues to support the rule of law throughout Europe as appropriate with EU colleagues and through the UN General Assembly throughout the developed work; and if he will make a statement on the matter.
Respect for the rule of law is a cornerstone of liberal democracy and, as such, integral to Ireland’s foreign policy. As Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs, I am committed to its promotion at home, throughout Europe and beyond.
The European Union is inherently a community of values. Collectively these values underpin the EU’s strength, integrity and coherence, particularly in the face of external threats such as we now face. As we celebrate Ireland’s fiftieth year as an EU member state, it is incumbent on us to recognise where such core values are threatened and to engage constructively to address them. To that end, Ireland has supported the European Commission in developing a comprehensive range of tools to reinforce the rule of law across the EU. We contribute actively to regular Rule of Law discussions at the Council in Brussels. Recognising that protecting the rule of law requires continual reform, we also welcome objective assessment of our own record in the area. In that context, we look forward to engaging with the European Commission in the months ahead as it conducts its annual independent assessment of the Rule of Law in each of the EU’s Member States.
Ireland advances the rule of law across other multilateral forums, including the Council of Europe, the leading pan-European organisation for its protection and promotion. As Presidency of the Council of Europe last year, Ireland reinforced the organisation’s founding freedoms, prioritising support for the European Court of Human Rights. Having visited the Court in Strasbourg myself last year, I look forward to welcoming its President, Judge Síofra O’Leary, to Dublin on 1 February, to reflect on how, through the Council of Europe, Ireland can do more to renew democracy, human rights, and the rule of law across our continent.
Our engagement on this critical issue is not limited to Europe, however. At the United Nations in New York and Geneva, we champion the rule of law, supporting the independence of the judiciaries who enforce it and the free press and civil society who hold states accountable for its implementation. Equally, through our international development programme, to which over €1.2 billion has been allocated this year, Ireland funds a range of projects to promote good governance and combat corruption, aiding our partners in reinforcing the rule of law.
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