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Statement by the President of the Congress of Local and Regional Authorities Leen Verbeek on Europe Day 2022

Presidency Strasbourg, France 5 May 2022
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Statement by the President of the Congress of Local and Regional Authorities Leen Verbeek on Europe Day 2022

On this Europe day, it is even more crucial to defend the fundamental principles of the Council of Europe.

Europe was built on the ruins of the Second World War, a war that caused millions of deaths and terrible suffering for tens of millions of civilians. The European construction has enabled us to reconcile and make peace with the past.

Since its creation in 1949, the Council of Europe has been the major architect of post-war democratic developments in Europe and the herald of fundamental rights, democracy, and the rule of law in the continent and beyond.

In recent years, these common values are under strain and challenged too often.

The COVID-19 pandemic has added to the social, economic and political challenges thus amplifying the divide within our societies. Recent developments have further threatened the unity and peace of the European continent and highlighted the importance of safeguarding peace and protecting European fundamental values.

The Congress of Local and Regional Authorities of the Council of Europe stands with Ukraine and its people, as we stand united against any attacks on peace and on the values of the Council of Europe.

We will continue to help and support communities now and in the aftermath of the crises, to make societies stronger, more inclusive and more resilient.

The values of the Council of Europe are our common values as Europeans, and they must be preserved more than ever. United we shall overcome the hardships of today and build a peaceful future.

The Council of Europe counts 46 member States and celebrates Europe Day on the 5 May, date of the adoption of the Statute of the Council of Europe creating the Organisation. The European Union counts 27 member States and celebrates Europe Day on 9 May, date of the Schumann Declaration.