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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Council of Europe Tackles Rivalry

APForeign Minister Sergei Lavrov attending the Warsaw summit on Tuesday.
WARSAW -- European leaders called on the continent's major international bodies to eliminate rivalry and duplication of effort as Europe's top human rights watchdog wrapped up a two-day summit Tuesday.

The 46-nation Council of Europe wants political leaders to clarify its mandate at a time when the European Union is planning to establish its own human rights agency. A third body, the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, also overlaps with the council's role of promoting human rights and democracy.

"Given the changes that have occurred on our continent ... there is some duplication of effort, sometimes even rivalry in certain areas," said Luxembourg Prime Minister Jean-Claude Juncker, whose country currently holds the EU's rotating presidency.

"We don't always know who has what mission, who has what competence," he said. "We need to introduce some order in all of this."

The summit delegates adopted an action plan for the council's activities, urging the EU human rights agency, to be launched by 2007, to closely cooperate with the Council of Europe. Delegates also pledged to reform the European Court of Human Rights.

Meanwhile, Ukrainian President Viktor Yushchenko cut short his visit to the summit late Monday, saying he had a bad cold and high fever. He suggested he likely fell ill during Victory Day celebrations in western Ukraine last week but that he was on "the path of recovery."