In his address to the Assembly today, the President of the French Republic Emmanuel Macron paid tribute to the “70 years of battles and conquests that are all part of the Council of Europe’s wealth of experience”. “The Council of Europe has advanced respect for fundamental rights, democracy and the rule of law in Europe. It has led to the almost total eradication of the death penalty on the European continent, a reduction in torture, the adoption of texts on the protection of children and the prevention of violence against women. It gave rise to the European Convention on Human Rights, providing for a court responsible for ensuring, with binding force, that states comply with its judgments. It has furthered social rights, guaranteed by the European Social Charter and made our continent more democratic through the observation of elections, the fight against corruption and the defence of freedom of expression,” said President Macron.
“Together, spurred on by the supreme spirit of European fraternity, we have crafted a common architecture with the will to build our ‘common European home’,” he said, stressing the need to ensure that the unity of our continent is re-established on the basis of our common values, as we face the challenges to fundamental rights and see the walls of this common home beginning to show some cracks. “I sincerely believe that it is at the Council of Europe that the divisions of our continent can be healed because it is the place where European consciousness is formed and debated,” he added.