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Speech to the Standing Committee FR

Speech to the Standing Committee
Madrid, Friday 10 March 2017


Ladies and Gentlemen,

Good morning to everyone and welcome to a new meeting of the Standing Committee of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe.

As I said yesterday at the meeting of the Bureau, it is particularly gratifying to be able to hold this meeting in Spain.

It is the second time that the Standing Committee has met here in Madrid since Spain became a member of the Council of Europe 40 years ago.

The other occasions when the Standing Committee held its discussions here were in July 1980 and November 2008.  Therefore, almost ten years have passed since the Standing Committee last came to my country.

I would also like to thank the Speaker of the Senate, Mr Pío García Escudero, who is with us here today, for his support and kindness in enabling the Parliamentary Assembly to hold its current meetings in the Spanish Senate.

40 years ago, Spain chose to embrace democracy after several decades of dictatorship and at the same time embraced with genuine commitment the values and principles which the Council of Europe represents.

Democracy in Spain has been a success and the process of Spanish democratic transition has served as a model for many countries.

Evidence of this commitment to the Council of Europe on the part of Spain and its highest institutions is the audience granted to us by His Majesty King Felipe VI, which shall be taking place shortly.

Never before has a body of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe been received by the Spanish Head of State.

Our work will conclude tomorrow with the laying of flowers to mark European Day of Remembrance of Victims of Terrorism.  The Assembly wishes to be a part of this commemoration by paying due tribute to all such victims and, in line with the aim pursued by the #NoHateNoFear initiative, we shall seek to defeat fear and hatred.

Thank you.