Skopje, 5 May 2009
Address by the President of the Assembly of the Republic of Macedonia, Mr. Trajko Veljanoski on the occasion of the 60th Anniversary of the Council of Europe
Distinguished President and Members of the Government of the Republic of Macedonia Distinguished Fellow Parliamentarians, Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen, "I perceive these twelve stars as a reminder that the world can become a better place if we sometimes have the courage to look up at the stars." These words were voiced by Mr. Vaclav Havel 19 years ago from the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe. Today, Dear Friends, 47 stars shine in the Council of Europe, uniting about 800 million Europeans. The idea for a united Europe and establishment of a representative body that would be authorised to speak and act on behalf of all Europe dates back to the XIX century. Following the end of the Second World War numerous movements and organisations emerged committed to the unification of Europe. In 1947 these groups united and established the International Committee of the Movements for European Unity whose aim was to coordinate the activities and strengthen the efficiency of various European movements. The result was the famous Hague Congress held on 17 May 1948, known as the Congress of Europe. A year later, 60 years ago, ten European countries - Belgium, Denmark, France, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Norway, Sweden and United Kingdom signed the Treaty of London, establishing the Council of Europe. The first step was thus made towards the realisation of a famous thought of one of the greatest European and world statesman, Sir Winston Churchill - "Let Europe arise"- voiced in his speech at the Zurich University in 1946.