Tuesday, June 25, 2024

UK calls for coordinated action at European meeting to tackle continent’s most pressing challenges

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  • UK Minister for Europe Nusrat Ghani attends Council of Europe meeting of Foreign Ministers in Strasbourg
  • Nusrat Ghani will urge European partners to sustain support for Ukraine to help them win the war and increase cooperation to tackle the drivers of illegal migration 
  • Minister will also highlight the UK’s global work on AI safety, which has included playing a leading role in supporting Council of Europe to create the world’s first global treaty on AI and human rights.

The Minister for Europe will today [16 May] say that the challenges we are facing, from Putin’s illegal invasion of Ukraine to illegal migration, cannot be solved without decisive and coordinated action with our neighbours from across the region at the Council of Europe foreign ministers meeting.

As the Council of Europe celebrates 75 years, she will underline the importance of innovative solutions to tackle the shared global challenge of illegal migration, while emphasising the importance of the European Court of Human Rights implementing the recently agreed improvements to Rule 39.

Nusrat Ghani will highlight the UK’s global leadership on AI safety following the agreement at the Council of Europe of the world’s first international treaty on AI and human rights, rule of law and democracy. The UK played a leading role in developing the treaty.  

Minister for Europe Nusrat Ghani will say: 

The Council of Europe has helped uphold the values of democracy, freedom and the rule of law across our continent for three quarters of a century.  

In a more contested and volatile world, we must out-compete and out-cooperate those who would seek to destroy that stability and undermine our democracies and freedom. 

The Council, which the UK is proud to be a founding member of, plays a vital role in defending these values, not least by holding Russia to account for the horrendous crimes that have been committed in Ukraine.” 

on the new landmark agreement on AI:

I am proud that the UK is once again leading the world at the forefront of this new technological frontier. 

This global agreement, the world’s first, will bring international partners together, protecting the rights while realising the benefits of this transformative technology. 

In the margins, the Minister will meet counterparts from across the continent as well as the heads of European institutions to ensure that we are working in tandem to stop the humanitarian disaster caused by illegal migration and highlight that individual measures to address this crisis must go hand in hand with international cooperation.  

The Prime Minister has made it one of his priorities to stop the boats. At the Council of Europe Leader’s Summit in Iceland last year, he and other European leaders committed to intensify efforts in the fight against the despicable people smuggling gangs endangering the lives of migrants.

That international work is part of the government’s wider plan to tackle illegal migration. In 2023, small boat crossings fell by a third on the previous year and returns of those with no right to be in the UK increased by two-thirds to 26,000. The UK also signed the biggest ever deal with France, which stopped 26,000 boats from launching and allowed both countries to jointly take down 82 gangs and doubled organised immigration crime funding for the National Crime Agency.

And last month, the UK’s landmark Rwanda Act came into force, allowing the government to put in place an effective deterrent to stop migrants from making perilous journeys across Europe and the Channel to the UK.

The Council of Europe was established 75 years ago following the Second World War to uphold peace, democracy and freedom in Europe as shown by its swift decision to expel Russia following the brutal invasion of Ukraine, the first time a country has ever been kicked out of the organisation.  

The launch of the Register of Damage for Ukraine at a summit of leaders in Iceland last year is already allowing individuals to file claims for loss, injury and damage caused by Russia’s illegal invasion, and is an important milestone in the pursuit of justice for the Ukrainian people. The UK chairs the Conference of Participants of the Register and is committed to working alongside European partners to hold to account those responsible for the suffering of Ukraine and its people. 

The Convention on AI will build on the legacy of the first AI Safety Summit hosted by the UK at Bletchley Park in November 2023, bringing together international governments, AI companies, academia, and civil society to advance global discussions on AI.

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