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Council of Europe turns 60

2009/10/01

Tonight I will have the great honour to participate at the Commemorative ceremony for the 60th Anniversary of the Council of Europe in Strasbourg. Among the participants at the ceremony you find the newly elected Secretary General of the Council of Europe Thorbjorn Jagland, the President of Slovenia Danilo Türk, Mikhail Gorbachev, José Manuel Barroso and yes, the winner of the Eurovision Song Contest 2009 Alexander Rybak.

The Council of Europe was founded in 1949 with the purpose to develop common democratic principles throughout Europe on the basis of the European Convention of human rights. In this stuggle a lot remains but the Council of Europe has done an imprerssive and important work.

I feel its important to give attention to a day like today. The work of the Council of Europe to protect human rights, and facilitate democracy in Europe by backing political and constitutional reform is as important today as 60 years ago. The EU will continue its active support to the Council of Europe within the scope of its core values.

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