Press releasse - 938(2008)

2009: the year of the celebration of the 60th anniversary of the Council of Europe

Statement by Spain’s Minister for Foreign Affairs and Co-operation, Miguel Ángel Moratinos, Chairman of the Committee of Ministers, Lluís Maria De Puig, President of the Parliamentary Assembly, and Terry Davis, Secretary General of the Council of Europe, on the occasion of the launching of the 2009 celebration of the Council of Europe’s 60th anniversary

“The Council of Europe was created 60 years ago with the aim of achieving greater unity between its members. Its core objective is to preserve and promote human rights, democracy and the rule of law. The coming year, 2009, is an opportunity to mark this anniversary and to look towards the future and the challenges it brings.

We are proud that this Organisation, bringing together 47 member States, has defended and promoted human rights and fundamental freedoms for six decades. The most significant achievement is the European Convention on Human Rights, together with its unique control mechanism, the European Court of Human Rights, which guarantees the fundamental rights and freedoms of 800 million Europeans and will also commemorate this year its 50th anniversary.

The Council of Europe has made a major contribution to democratic processes all over Europe, not least through its standard-setting, its advisory role in constitutional matters and the monitoring of elections.

It has defended and extended the rule of law with over 200 treaties drawn up by its member States in co-operation, as well as through support for an independent and efficient judiciary in member States, and efforts to fight phenomena such as corruption, organised crime and money laundering. The Organisation is constantly responding to new challenges.

2009 will see a number of events being organised to celebrate this important anniversary. A major event will be the 119th Session of the Committee of Ministers, bringing together the Ministers of Foreign Affairs of member States in Madrid on 12 May.

At the dawn of this 60th anniversary year, we wish to stress the essential role that the Council of Europe will continue to play in the future, since the values and principles it was created to defend and promote cannot yet be considered as fully guaranteed in our region. We hope that 2009 will bring with it significant developments as regards those values, in Europe and beyond, and we are fully confident in the strength of the Council of Europe, with its values and capacities, to contribute decisively to that objective.”

Council of Europe Press Division
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