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  • NEWS 2006-2010

  • 5 May 2009

    60th Anniversary of the Council of Europe

    Joint statement by Secretary General Terry Davis,
    PACE President Lluís Maria de Puig and
    Committee of Ministers Chairman Miguel Angel Moratinos

     In the first sixty years of its existence, the Council of Europe has helped to reconcile a continent after decades of ideological divide, created a Europe-wide court in which individuals can seek protection of their human rights, outlawed the death penalty in Europe, and produced an arsenal of more than 200 international treaties to defend and extend the Council of Europe values of democracy, human rights and the rule of law. Political stimulus is provided through a Parliamentary Assembly which also elects the organisation's most important officials through an open and competitive vote. Grassroot democracy is cultivated by the Congress of Local and Regional Authorities.

    From the ten founding members in 1949, the Council of Europe today has 47 member states - all the European countries with one exception . The last remaining State  will hopefully soon embrace the Council of Europe values and join the all-European family.

    The mandate of the Council of Europe has not changed, but the circumstances in which we operate have changed dramatically. Technological, scientific, political, social and economic developments have brought about new opportunities, but also new threats to democracy, human rights and the rule of law.  The mark of the Council of Europe is a combination of robust and practical legal cooperation with strict respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms combined with positive measures to promote tolerance, dialogue and understanding between people.  That is how the Council of Europe has responded to threats such as terrorism, organised crime, trafficking in human being, sexual exploitation of children, cybercrime, violence against women and other threats to individuals and societies as a whole. The new generation of Council of Europe conventions is open to countries from other continents, and we are determined to improve our cooperation with the European Union, the OSCE, the United Nations and other partners in Europe and beyond.

    In a week's time, the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe will meet in Madrid to commemorate the important Anniversary which takes place this year and to chart the priorities for our future work. We have no doubt that the Council of Europe will be up to the task.




    Events commemorating
    the 60th Anniversary of the Council of Europe

    - 27 April (Strasbourg): The Parliamentary Assembly (PACE) will hold a commemoration ceremony at 12.45 pm which will include a video with extracts of the most important political speeches held at PACE. Following a statement by the PACE President, "Zythos" a brass quartet from the Strasbourg Conservatoire will play the European anthem.

    - 12 May (Madrid): 119th session of the Committee of Ministers - Declaration.

    - 16 May (Strasbourg): Night of Museums event where the Council of Europe will open its doors to the public in the evening to feature art donated by member states, to coincide with the "night of museums," an annual event in Cultural Convention countries which involves museums opening their doors until 1 am for the public.

    - June (Strasbourg - date tbc): A possible meeting of NGOs to discuss the Madrid ministerial conference will involve civil society in marking the 60th anniversary.

    - 22-26 June (Strasbourg): Awarding the first human rights prize of the Parliamentary Assembly and an examination of conclusions drawn in Madrid.

    - 20 September (Strasbourg): Open doors for the Human Rights Building as part of European Heritage Days.

    - September (Strasbourg - date tbc): Before the commemorative event on 1 October in the Assembly the Council of Europe may hold a "mini conference" involving academics to discuss the outcome document from Madrid.

    - 1 October (Strasbourg): Commemorative institutional event in the framework of the PACE session.

    - Also: Awards for an essay writing competition for young people aged 10-18 on a national level. Candidates will be asked to draft essays answering the question "How do you imagine the European citizen of the future?" Essay length should not exceed 1000 words. Member states decide in which language and form submissions can be made and a national jury likely to made up of parliamentary assembly and congress members will select a winning national essay for each of the 47 member states. Each national winner will be awarded a Council of Europe diploma and invited to receive it at the 60th anniversary commemorative event on 1 October.

    Programme of the 60th Anniversary of the Council of Europe

    1 January

    Joint statement by Council of Europe authorities marking the beginning of the 60th anniversary of the Council of Europe

    30 January 

    Opening of the judicial year of the European Court of Human Rights and seminar
    Launch of a new film on the Court

    26-27 February                   Moscow

    1st Council of Europe Conference of Ministers responsible for Social Cohesion

    20 April

    Launch of the 50th anniversary website of the Court

    27 April

    PACE ceremony marking the 60th anniversary during the April 2009 part-session

    5 May

    Launch of the Council of Europe 60th anniversary website
    Launch of "virtual open doors" (possibility to visit all of the Council of Europe premises online)

    11 May

    Cultural event

    12 May


    119th Session of the Committee of Ministers
    Meeting of the Bureau of the Assembly

    16 May

    "Open doors" day at the Palais de l'Europe combined with the "Night of Museums" - tour of the art collection of the Council of Europe (6pm-1am)
    Launch by La Poste in France of stamps commemorating the 60th anniversary of the Council of Europe and the 50th anniversary of the Court (2pm)


    28-29 May

    Council of Europe Ministerial Conference on the Media and New Communication Services


    10 June

    Congress' Standing Committee consideration of the follow-up to Madrid


    13 June

    Amicale - Council of Europe staff association - concert with the participation of the UNESCO Orchestra and Chorus (Hemicycle)


    16-17 June

    29th session of the Council of Europe Conference of Ministers responsible for Family Affairs


    18-19 June

    29th Council of Europe Conference of Ministers of Justice


    19 June

    Amicale festive commemorative celebration (Palais de l'Europe)


    22-26 June

    Award of first PACE Human Rights Prize on the occasion of the Assembly debate on Human Rights in Europe during the June 2009 part-session


    6-10 July

    Fourth Summer University for Democracy "Global challenges to democracy"


    11 September

    Conference "What future for the Council of Europe?", in association with the Political Affairs Committee of the Assembly with representatives of academia, civil society and youth.  Examination of the follow-up to Madrid.


    20 September

    "Open doors" day at the Human Rights Building (as part of the European Heritage Days)


    28 September-
    2 October 


    Possible debate by the Assembly of a report from the Political Affairs Committee on the proposals contained in the follow-up to Madrid


    30 September  Strasbourg

    Reception hosted by the Secretary General


    1 October

    Ceremony marking the 60th anniversary including institutional commemoration, award of the youth essay writing competition prizes, commemorative concert and festivities


    13-15 October

    Debate on local and regional democracy as part of the 17th session of the Congress


    21-23 October

    Forum for the Future of Democracy


    15-17 November  

    Conference of European Ministers responsible for local and regional authorities

    link to 60th Anniversary website of the Council of Europe


    Events commemorating the 60th Anniversary
    of the Council of Europe organised in Poland

    1. Conference "Central and Eastern Europe as an area of democracy, rule of law and protection of human rights (CoE influence on the transformation of systems 1989-2009)", Szklarska Poręba,17-18/04

    2. Press conference, Warsaw, 05/05

    3. The Council of Europe is a Guest of Honour of 54. International Book Fair in Warsaw, 21-24/05 [see more]

    4. Concert in the framework of the International Book Fair, Warsaw, 20/05

    5. Conference "Safety measures in internet", Warsaw, 22/05

    6. Promotion of Compasito manual and the seminar for teachers, Warsaw, 22/05

    7. Workshop "CoE standards in language teaching", Warsaw, 23/05

    8. Opening of the antidiscrimination campaign, Warsaw, 21/05

    9. Promotion of the book on the 60. anniversary of the CoE, Warsaw, 21-24/05

    10. Exhibition "Warsaw in Europe", Warsaw, May



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