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Standing Committee meetings open in The Hague

The Hague - Family photo

"Seventy-five years ago, on the 9th of May 1948, the Congress of The Hague took place, the reason you are meeting here today. The Congress of The Hague is considered as the birthplace of the Council of Europe: the future and structure of the Council of Europe were discussed, and one year later the Council of Europe was founded to protect the European values of human rights, democracy and rule of law," today said Jan Anthonie Bruijn, President of the Dutch Senate (Eerste Kamer) in his opening speech to the PACE Standing Committee meeting being held in The Hague. 

"There have been challenging times in the past," he added. "But I dare say that this past year has been unprecedented, with the war in Ukraine that led to the exclusion of Russia from the Council of Europe. Unknown grounds have been explored, and decisions were taken that we never deemed necessary before 24 February 2022," he added.

Democracy is "a work in progress", Mr Bruijn concluded, "that benefits from continuous discussions within the institutions and takes into account challenges from the outside. Therefore, I very much welcome that the future of the Council of the Europe is at the heart of your meeting here in The Hague, and also later this year in Reykjavik, during the Fourth Summit of the Heads of State and Government of the Council of Europe."

Tom van der Lee, Vice-President of the House of Representatives (Tweede Kamer), underlined that "the work of the Assembly is not always visible or valued in the Netherlands, but as a member of the Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs of the House of Representatives, I greatly appreciate your work."

75 years ago, he added, the founding fathers of the Council of Europe "came together here in the Netherlands in the wake of the Second World War with the goal of upholding human rights, democracy and the rule of law. I am proud to welcome you all here today to discuss these fundamental issues."