Thorbjørn Jagland elected Secretary General of the Council of Europe

The President of the Norwegian Storting (Norwegian parliament) and the Norwegian Nobel Committee was today elected Secretary General of the Council of Europe by the organisation’s Parliamentary Assembly.

“On behalf of the government I wish to congratulate Mr. Jagland and thank both the members of the Parliamentary Assembly for their confidence in our candidate and all those who have worked to see this happen, Norway’s Foreign Minister Jonas Gahr Støre commented.

“I am very happy to see a Norwegian at the helm of the organisation for the coming five year term, and glad to see a Norwegian as secretary general in a major international organization for the first time since Trygve Lie’s period as the first secretary general of the UN”.

“The Council of Europe has the longest history of all the existing European cooperation organisations, and it is one of the most important inter-governmental organisations in Europe today. Its 47 member countries and 800 million European citizens need a strong and effective organisation. They need a strong leader who can renew and modernise the organization and strengthen its fundamental objective of preserving and promoting human rights, democracy and the rule of law.”

“I’m fully aware that this is a very demanding task, but I am also convinced that Mr. Jagland is the right leader as the organisation marks its 60th anniversary. As a former prime minister and foreign minister and as incumbent President of the Norwegian Storting and the Norwegian Nobel Committee, he is widely recognised as a leading European political figure. Mr Jagland – whom I have known and worked with for many years and whom I greatly respect – has clearly demonstrated over the years that he has the experience, integrity and visions required to guide the Council of Europe in the challenging years ahead”, the Foreign Minister added.

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