Federal Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle issued the following statement today (13 July) on the occasion of the 60th anniversary of Germany’s membership of the Council of Europe:
“60 years ago today, the Federal Republic of Germany became a member of the Council of Europe. This was a major foreign policy step for our country: Germany re found its place amongst the European community of nations which share the fundamental values of the Council of Europe: respect for human rights, democracy and the rule of law. With its work to help the whole of Europe grow together on the basis of these values, the Council of Europe is in just as much demand today as it was 60 years ago. For us, the anniversary therefore means a commitment to continue to support the work of the Council of Europe fully.
The Council of Europe and the European Court of Human Rights it went on to establish today face comprehensive reforms to make both institutions work more effectively. With the European Union’s plans to accede to the European Convention on Human Rights, we will move closer to our goal of creating a pan European area of human rights, democracy and the rule of law. The Federal Government is emphatic in its support for these processes.”
The Council of Europe was founded on 5 May 1949, the first of the major post-war European organizations. Today all European states are members with the exception of Belarus and Kosovo.
Since its founding, the Council of Europe has worked steadily to promote human rights, pluralist democracy and the rule of law in Europe. Its competence and unique set of instruments in these spheres are recognized worldwide.