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It is an honour for me to represent the Council of Europe at this landmark in time for Serbia as a member of our Organisation.
I already had an opportunity to mention to you this morning that Serbia no longer is a junior member of our family. A decade is a long and formative time in any partnership.
Indeed I do not think of Council of Europe membership as anything but a continuous commitment. It is a commitment entered into in sunny times while not always bearing in mind that there may be rainy spells too. But in the long run it is a relationship in the solid interest of the partners.
When it comes to Serbia this relationship has been decidedly positive.
A lot has been done during these 10 years. A lot has been achieved. But there still remains a lot of work to do together.
Standing here today I can definitely say that we have already come a long way together. Serbia is deeply involved with the work of our Organisation. Your country has ratified almost 80 of our treaties and more ratifications are in preparation. The cooperation with the Council of Europe Office in Belgrade is dynamic and far-reaching. Let me also add that Serbia is a member of practically all of our Partial Agreements. And the European credentials obviously do not end there. We should bear in mind that Serbia has been granted EU Candidate Country-status in 2012 and that the opening of accession negotiations was decided in June this year, which would not have been possible without a courageous and remarkable agreement between Belgrade and Pristina.
Dear President, dear friends,
I can only congratulate Serbia on the occasion of 10 full years as a member of the Council of Europe family. It is a solid partnership and, as you know, a solid and supportive partnership can reach very far indeed.