The 70th anniversary of the Council of Europe marks 70 years of peace on the continent

On the occasion of the ceremony marking the 70th anniversary of the Council of Europe, organised at the Strasbourg Opera, the PACE President recalled the origin of the organisation, "born at the end of two world wars that have been a frightful human and moral tragedy for all of humanity".

"As Václav Havel wrote, there are times when we have to plunge deep into our misery to understand the truth. The Holocaust was indeed the bottom of our misery, from where we had to understand the truth and to do what needed to be done. We are here today to pay tribute to those who have understood the truth and acted accordingly," said the President.

"We are celebrating 70 years of peace on the continent today, a peace that has been preserved by an ever closer unity between European states and by defending the values we all share: human rights, democracy and the rule of law. Let's remember that after the fall of the Berlin Wall, these same values helped to reintegrate all European democracies into our big family,” said Liliane Maury Pasquier.

"But, beyond the political importance and the geographical scope of the Council of Europe's success, it is the concrete results of our cooperation that are even more important for the good of Europe's citizens," she said, recalling some of the historic advances in the field of human rights and the protection of fundamental freedoms, including the abolition of the death penalty.