Croat minister Marija Pejcinovic Buric elected head of Council of Europe: official

Strasbourg (France) (AFP) –


Croatian Foreign and European Affairs Minister Marija Pejcinovic Buric was on Wednesday elected secretary general of the Council of Europe's parliamentary assembly for the next five years, the current head said.

With 159 votes from 268 members of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) meeting in Strasbourg, Pejcinovic Buric beat Belgian Foreign Minister Didier Reynders to the job, said PACE head Liliane Maury Pasquier.

Buric said the Council of Europe was a vital institution in Europe.

"We need more dialogue among the member States and within the Council of Europe. We need to preserve multeralism and this organization is one of the pillars of European multilateralism," she said.

Buric succeeds former Norwegian premier Thorbjorn Jagland, who served two terms, on September 18.

The Council of Europe, which is separate from the European Union, has no binding powers but brings together 47 European states to make recommendations on rights and democracy.

Its key institution is the European Court of Human Rights, to which citizens in member states can appeal if they feel their rights have been infringed.

Buric was elected to a five-year term and will be responsible for strategic planning, programme orientation and the Council's budget, which stood at 437 million euros ($500 million) in 2019.