Statement by Štefan Füle at the press conference with the Council of Europe

”My presence here today; the fact that I am about to speak to the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe, as well as my frequent meetings with President Mignon and Secretary General Jagland; all this just proves the high level and quality of the cooperation between the Council of Europe and the European Union – in particular when it comes to advancing the values of democracy, rule of law and human rights in our immediate and broader neighbourhood.

Shortly I will speak to the Assembly in detail about the challenges and opportunities of our cooperation in the enlargement area and in the Eastern and Southern neighbourhood.

This year, 2013, will be crucial for maintaining the momentum of enlargement to underline the credibility of the process and its transformative power.

It is also very important that all enlargement countries are associated to the on-going changes in economic governance of the EU.

On the Neighbourhood – I’d like to stress once again our commitment to accompany the transformation process there, based on the “more for more” principle and putting an emphasis on the implementation of the key recommendations as well as reaching out to the citizens, trying to make our offer more understandable and attractive to the people – especially in the Southern Neighbourhood.

To make a difference for citizens in the region in terms of improvements of the democratic standards, freedoms and rule of law, cooperation with the Council of Europe is indispensable.

The coordination between the EU and the Council of Europe is crucial for effective actions so that we can deal with the challenges and use the opportunities.

The overall aim of this is clear: to provide the best support for the democratic process in the partner countries and to advance our common objectives and shared values as far as possible.

Because ultimately, it is for the benefit of the citizens here in Europe and in the partner countries.”