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Austria’s National Council President leads string orchestra performance at PACE

The Parliamentary Assembly today marked the 75th anniversary of the Council of Europe at a ceremony during which the President of the National Council of Austria, Wolfgang Sobotka, directed a chamber orchestra in a performance of the Ode to Joy, and addressed the parliamentarians, meeting in plenary session.

“Since its creation, the Council of Europe has adopted more than 200 conventions, which are an essential basis for peaceful cohabitation and democratic ‘living together’ in Europe. The Parliamentary Assembly has been and will continue to be the driving force behind democracy in political matters,” Mr Sobotka said. “However, peace cannot be taken for granted; it requires the commitment of all of us, and we must defend it”, he stressed, highlighting examples of many deficits in democracy.

“In order to have the history, we need to have symbols that deeply influence people, give motivation, and uphold our values. This is why the Council of Europe decided to have its own symbols – its flag, its day, and its anthem,” said PACE President Theodoros Rousopoulos, welcoming Mr Sobotka.

Underlining that the idea of the anthem took a long path, M. Rousopoulos recalled that in 1971, the Parliamentary Assembly adopted the Ode to Joy – in the fourth movement of Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony – to be the European anthem, on the basis of the arrangement by Austrian conductor Herbert Von Karajan.

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