Germany will today assume the presidency of the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe (CoE) for a six-month term.
The CoE was established after WWII to foster democratic development and rule of law in Europe while upholding human rights. Germany will now be responsible for directing the CoE’s agenda, replacing Greece.
A key issue during Germany’s term will be Russia’s territorial infringements in Georgia’s Abkhazia and Tskhinvali region, where its continued military presence has had destabilising affects. Recently, the CoE issued its seventh call urging Russia, a CoE member state, to withdraw its troops from Georgia as agreed upon in the 2008 Russia-Georgia Ceasefire Agreement.
Yet, since German-Russian relations are already strained over Russia’s support for Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko disputed election victory and Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny’s poisoning, the CoE is unlikely to convince Russia to withdraw from Georgia under German leadership. As Russia’s CoE voting rights were only recently restored after having been annulled for its 2014 Crimea annexation, the CoE could withdraw Russia’s voting rights again or expel its membership over its territorial violations. Yet, this will likely further deteriorate German-Russian relations and drive a larger wedge between the CoE and Russia.
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Trey is the Chief Editor of Foreign Brief's Analysis division. He specializes in Southeast Asia’s political, economic, and security environments, particularly as they relate to US and Chinese foreign policy strategies.