Federal Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle issued the following statement today (1 May) on the occasion of tomorrow’s 60th anniversary of Germany’s full membership in the Council of Europe:
“Sixty years ago the Federal Republic of Germany attained full membership in the Council of Europe. Germany thereby re-found its place as a fully-fledged member of 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. The key values of the Council of Europe are also anchored in the German Basic Law. With its work to help the whole of Europe grow together on the basis of these values, the Council of Europe is just as important today as it was at the time of its founding.
We view this anniversary as a reminder of our responsibility to continue to do everything possible to support the work of the Council of Europe, which has now grown to encompass 47 member states. We support the reforms currently underway in the Council of Europe and the European Court of Human Rights, which will enable both institutions to act 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 legal area of human rights, democracy and the rule of law. The Federal Government is emphatic in its support for this process. I assured our European Council partners of this during my visit to Strasbourg on 4 October 2010. Strong protection of human rights in Europe requires a strong Council of Europe.”
The Council of Europe was founded in Strasbourg on 5 May 1949, the first of the major European post-war organizations. It is dedicated to the promotion of human rights, democracy and the rule of law throughout Europe. On 13 July 1950, the Federal Republic of Germany was accepted into the Council of Europe, initially as an associate member and later as a full member (on 2 May 1951).