The Council of Europe, the oldest European organisation, on Friday marked its 70th anniversary and adopted a political declaration which underlined its unique role in protecting human rights, democracy and rule of law in Europe, the Croatian Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs said in a statement.
The anniversary was celebrated at a ministerial meeting in Helsinki, which was attended by Croatian Minister of Foreign and European Affairs Marija Pejcinovic Buric.
The meeting marked the end of the six-month Finnish presidency and the start of the French presidency. The Council of Europe is based in Strasbourg and has 47 member states.
Pejcinovic Buric emphasised Croatia's commitment to the Council's fundamental principles and values, and called for strengthening the European convention system built on the Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms and on the European Social Charter, the statement said.
The two-day meeting discussed current challenges faced by the Council of Europe and adopted several decisions aimed at strengthening the organisation's efficiency and the unity of its members.
Also discussed, was the future role of the Council in combating social inequality in Europe, and a special meeting was held with the newly-elected President of the European Court of Human Rights, Linos Alexander Sicilianos.
A ceremony was also held making it possible for governments to sign a number of conventions and protocols. Pejcinovic Buric signed the Convention on the Manipulation of Sports Competitions and the Convention on an Integrated Safety, Security and Service Approach at Football Matches and Other Sports Events. She also deposited an instrument of ratification of the Convention against Trafficking in Human Organs.