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Dear Vice-President Tajani,
Dear Mrs Costa,
Dear Members of the European Parliament,
It is a great pleasure to open the exhibition of the Council of Europe's cultural routes here in the European Parliament today.
It is especially fitting to be here today as we embark upon a new phase of the Enlarged Partial Agreement on Cultural Routes. This exhibition is an occasion for our two organisations to congratulate one another on our successful co-operation.
The programme would not have been a success without the unfailing support of the European Parliament.
As members of the European Parliament, you have helped us enormously to bring the cultural routes to a new level of visibility and relevance.
Vice-President Tajani, I would like to thank you personally for your own firm belief in our programme and for your active engagement in promoting it.
We are committed to work towards the European Union's full membership of the Enlarged Partial Agreement on cultural routes as soon as possible. This will enable us to forge even closer links between the European Parliament, the Commission and the Council of Europe.
It is also a great pleasure to meet three managers of Cultural Routes of the Council of Europe in which parliamentarians have expressed a particular interest:
The "Via Francigena"
the "Hansa Route" and
the "Route of Ceramic Heritage".
These three are very different routes by their structures and themes.
Together, however, they represent very well the diversity of the routes, and through them the diversity of our European identities. A path of pilgrimage; cities linked historically by the sea; others by the product of the earth on which they are built — all of them illustrate how Europe has evolved through exchanges between people, inspired by a shared vision and common heritage.
I look forward to seeing the photos and reading the messages that will be recorded during the exhibition!