“Religion can be a powerful and positive force for social cohesion, allowing communities of different origins to work for the common good, in line with their belief”, said Secretary General Thorbjørn Jagland, during his opening speech at the Abbaye de Neumunster in Luxembourg.
The event, organised by the Committee of Ministers, at the invitation of the Luxembourg government, gathers representatives of religious communities, together with media professionals as well as experts, academics, NGOs operators, and representatives of international organisations.
The two-day conference analyses priorities of the Council of Europe political agenda, such as diversity in today’s Europe, including the gender dimension, and the role of traditional and new media in democratic societies.
Moreover, the Exchange underlines the balance Europe needs to strike at the crossroads of fundamental rights: freedom of expression and religious freedom, including the right not to be subject to violence, hatred or discrimination on the grounds of one’s religion.
“As the stabilisation of the Euro is surely the most acute short-term challenge in Europe right now, our biggest long-term challenge is how to manage diversity”, has mentioned Jagland in Luxembourg, while presenting the “Living Together” report.
The Secretary General also conducted a working visit in the Grand Duchy, where he met with the Prime Minister Jean-Claude Juncker, the long-time advocate of the Council (“Juncker report”). On the agenda, Council of Europe’s action to support the countries of the “Arab Spring”, the reform of the European Court of Human Rights, and the question of the European Union accession to the European Convention on Human Rights.
Thorbjørn Jagland has also signed together with the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs, Jean Asselborn, the treaty establishing the Cultural Routes Enlarged Partial Agreement (EPA) headquarters in Luxembourg. (more...)