Former Norwegian prime minister new Council of Europe general secretary

Photo: Arbeiderpartiet

9/29/2009 // Thorbjørn Jagland, the President of the Norwegian Storting (Norwegian parliament)and the chair of the Norwegian Nobel Committee was today, September 29, elected Secretary General of the Council of Europe by the organisation’s Parliamentary Assembly.

Thorbjørn Jagland, who is also both a former prime minister and a former foreign minister of Norway and has also been the leader of the Norwegian Labour party, obtained 165 votes in the Council of Europe’s parliamentary assembly. Jagland will start his five-year term in the Council of Europe on 1 October.

Norway’s Foreign Minister welcomes election of Mr. Thorbjørn Jagland to the Council of Europe top position.

“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” said Støre in a statement. 

“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.”, the Foreign Minister added.

Read the rest of the statement from the Norwegian foreign minister, Jonas Gahr Støre here

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