Ceremony for the 60th Anniversary of the Council of Europe

Strasbourg , 

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Our story is an inspiring story. It is a story about moving from desperation and poverty to comfort and prosperity. It is a story about moving from misgivings and wars to trust and peace. It is a story about moving from intolerance and unfairness to righteousness and justice.

Today we pay tribute to the handful of people who laid the foundation for our work. To the great men and women who 60 years ago drafted our Statute, knowing that they were acting on behalf of millions of their fellow Europeans. They showed us that with courage, hope and faith, dreams can come true.

Today, we celebrate the great achievements of the Council of Europe. In promoting and protecting democracy, in defending human rights and in building the rule of law in Europe.

I am proud of the way in which this Organisation has supported countries in the daunting task of democratic transformation. I am proud of how we have assisted in building just and fair societies. I am proud of how we have helped individuals to gain what is rightfully theirs.

But our task is far from completed. We must continue to reflect and adapt to the changes our societies are undergoing and must retain our ability to ensure that democracy, human rights, justice and solidarity are respected – everywhere and every time.

We are the depositaries of the great vision of the great persons who created the Council of Europe 60 years ago. With that come responsibilities for the sake of 800 million people, the generations of today and those yet unborn. Those who aspire to live in a peaceful society respectful of the rights of each and every fellow person.

Tonight we have travelled together on a journey through the history of our Organisation. I thank you for having accompanied us on this trip, which will continue towards an even more united Europe. We have moved forward a great deal and I count on all of you to pursue further until we have achieved the noble goals we set for ourselves 60 years ago.

Now let us celebrate and before we part tonight, let me leave you with someone who also knows about dreams (Alexander Rybak).