Secretary General Thorbjørn Jagland is in Madrid today to speak at the opening of an event in the Spanish Parliament to celebrate the 40th anniversary of Spain´s accession to the Council of Europe, on 24 November 1977.
The Secretary General said that “over the last 40 years Spain has developed a modern, open democracy and, through cooperation, has benefited from the Council of Europe´s standards and expertise”.
“Spain has contributed substantially to strengthening and implementing the Council of Europe’s values and standards. Its commitment and contribution have been remarkable in several areas, for example in preventing and combatting violence against women, fighting terrorism and caring for the victims of terrorism, and in the integration of Roma”, he added.
The Secretary General also stressed the need for European states to face together challenges such as migration and the social consequences of the economic crisis, as well as xenophobia, racism and other populist trends.
Prior to the event, the Secretary General had an audience with His Majesty the King of Spain.
Held under the theme “40 years of Rule of Law”, the event brought together politicians, academics and legal professionals to discuss the political and historical circumstances of Spain’s accession to the Council of Europe. Other topics on the agenda are the protection of human rights and the diversity of European legal culture, and the threats that representative democracy faces in Europe today.
Speakers include the Spanish Minister for Foreign Affairs and Cooperation, Alfonso Dastis Quecedo; the President of the Constitutional Court, Juan José González Rivas; the President of the Supreme Court, Carlos Lesmes Serrano; the Minister of Justice, Rafael Catalá Polo, and the President of the Venice Commission, Gianni Buquicchio.
In the context of the anniversary, a ceremony will be held in the afternoon for the launch of a Spanish version of the European Court of Human Rights Court’s case-law database HUDOC.
Spain and the Council of Europe