Council of Europe Civil Society Summit (The Hague, 28 February – 1 March 2023)

The Civil Society Summit on the Council of Europe (CoE) took place in The Hague on 28 February and 1 March 2023 ahead of the Council of Europe Summit of Heads of State and Government on 16-17 May 2023 in Reykjavík.

The Summit was convened and organised by the Campaign to Uphold Rights in Europe (CURE) and the Conference of International NGOs of the Council of Europe (CINGO), and supported by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Netherlands, the German Federal Foreign Office and the European Union.

The Summit gathered 105 participants from 27 CoE member states and 2 non-member states in The Hague, and 57 online participants from 20 CoE member states and 1 non-member state. People active in 38 European networks on human rights, democracy and civic participation were present.

The event included two panel discussions, several plenary sessions and 12 thematic working groups, focusing on particular areas of concern.

The Summit participants elaborated three outcome documents – The Hague Civil Society Declaration on Council of Europe Reform, a statement on the situation in Turkey and a statement on the role of the Council of Europe in ensuring accountability for international crimes committed by Russia in Ukraine.

The outcome documents contain problem analysis and specific recommendations to the CoE and its member states. The outcome documents were presented and handed over to the Council of Europe leadership at the concluding session of the Summit.

The CoE Civil Society Summit was held just ahead of a meeting of the Standing Committee of the PACE (The Hague, 2-3 March 2023), allowing for interaction with PACE members and representatives of other Council of Europe bodies.

The event also celebrated the 75th anniversary of the Congress of Europe, which took place in The Hague in 1948 and played an important role in the emergence of both the Council of Europe and the European Economic Community, the forerunner of the European Union.

See the full agenda of the event here.

The Hague Civil Society Declaration on Council of Europe Reform is open for endorsements by NGOs and National Human Rights Institutions (NHRIs) from all over Europe. Please send your endorsements to css(at)