Welcome speech to Mr Ban Ki-Moon, Secretary General of ONU
Let me wish you a very warm welcome in this Pan-European Assembly which brings together elected representatives of 47 European nations.
It is a privilege for us all to receive you today. It is also a special pleasure for me to welcome you in Strasbourg, after having had the chance to meet you in New York a year ago.
This year, as we are marking the 70th anniversary of the end of the Second World War, we are also celebrating the 70th anniversary of the United Nations. This anniversary is crucially important for the Council of Europe, which shares the United Nations' political goals to consolidate peace, promote international justice and foster co-operation, on the basis of the fundamental values that bind our societies together – Human Rights, Rule of Law and Democracy.
Today, these values are challenged in many ways as new threats to international peace, security and development emerge.
Intolerance, discrimination, hate, violent extremism and terrorism are on the rise, and we have to combat these together.
The space for fundamental rights and freedoms shrinks dramatically, as democratic political processes are challenged by authoritarian trends.
When his Holiness Pope Francis addressed our Assembly November last, he spoke in relation with the migration drama about globalisation of indifference. Since then, unfortunately things have become worse and we now see a shift from the globalisation of indifference to the globalisation of rejection.
It is our duty to stop this trend.
The refugee drama and the migration phenomenon call for more solidarity and responsibility sharing. We need a global solution to this global problem where the UN must have the lead, but where Europe has to play an active role.
A new sustainable development agenda is needed, in particular, to end poverty, reduce inequalities, promote sustained, inclusive and sustainable economic growth, combat climate change, build peaceful and inclusive societies, ensure accountability, respect the rule of law and to ensure access to justice for all.
Since your election as Secretary-General in 2007, you have invested time and efforts in leading the United Nations' action in these as well as many other areas.
Your diplomatic efforts in the field of peace-building and conflict prevention, as well as your commitment to humanitarian action, deserve our applause.
You have been very outspoken on human rights issues, taking clear and bold positions in support of the values we share.
You have taken the lead on reforming the United Nations at a difficult historic moment in order to make the Organisation more efficient and responsive to the new challenges.
It is therefore with great interest that we look forward to listening to your address and I hope that our exchange of views will help us better identify the ways in which we can join efforts to address the many challenges we are facing.
I can assure you, Secretary-General, that the Council of Europe and our Assembly are eager to act as solid partners of the UN. You can count on our support and now I give you the floor.