“This Europe Day, we are all thinking about the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic throughout our continent and around the world.
Every individual has been touched by this crisis, but our greatest sympathies are with those who have lost friends or loved ones.
At an institutional level, we are striving to do what is right, appropriate and within our means to help Europe recover.
The Council of Europe and the European Union have different roles and responsibilities, but as close members of the European family, we have a great deal in common.
When it comes to the Coronavirus – and all matters – we share a conviction that the answers to our problems must be grounded in our fundamental values: human rights, democracy and the rule of law.
That it is on this basis that we will find greater unity in Europe, even and especially in times of adversity.
More broadly, and because we share this outlook, today we continue to work together in many areas and through a series of joint programmes, funded in large part by the EU, and run at an operational level by the Council of Europe.
Through these, we are together tackling corruption, reinforcing justice, protecting minorities, and so much more, across our continent.
This Europe Day also occurs in an important anniversary year for both our organisations.
The 9thof May marks the 70thanniversary of the Schuman Declaration.
And on the 5thof May, when the Council of Europe celebrates the signature of the Treaty of London and the creation of our organisation, we will be also thinking about the 70 years that have passed since the European Convention on Human Rights was opened for signature.
That document – setting out the basic rights to which every European is entitled – has been transformative for those who live in our continent.
It has transformed, improved, and even saved lives, and it has demonstrated its value as a cornerstone for both our organisations.
So, on this Europe Day, I will reflect not only on the deep problems facing us, but on our common heritage, common values, and common resolve to overcome the current crisis, and work together for greater strength and unity in the years ahead”.