Foreign Ministers of the 47-member states of the Council of Europe met in Helsinki, Finland, on 16 and 17 May 2019, in the context of the 70th anniversary of the creation of the Council of Europe. The Congress was represented by Anders KNAPE, President of the Congress, and Gunn-Marit HELGESEN, President of the Chamber of Regions.
The President of the Chamber of Regions participated in the commemorative ceremony organised on 16 May by the Finnish authorities, in the presence of the President of the Republic of Finland, Mr Sauli NIINISTÖ. On the same day, she also participated in a "treaty event" which enabled the governments of the various countries to sign and ratify a number of Council of Europe conventions.
The President of the Congress addressed the Foreign Ministers on 17 May and presented the Congress' contribution on the future of the Council of Europe. This text, adopted by the Congress at its 36th Session on 2 April 2019, recalls that local and regional democracy is an essential pillar of European democracy and that, in the face of democratic crises, local institutions occupy a strategic place to rebuild the link between citizens and the institutions that represent them.
At the end of the ministerial session chaired by the Finnish Minister of Foreign Affairs, Timo SOINI, Finland handed over the chairmanship of the Committee of Ministers to France, following which the French Secretary of State for European Affairs, Amélie DE MONTCHALIN, presented the priorities of her country's Presidency.