Croatian deputy prime minister and minister of foreign and European affairs Marija Pejčinović Burić has been elected Secretary General of the Council of Europe (CoE) for a five-year term beginning on September.
Mrs Pejčinović Burić obtained 159 votes, while her opponent, Belgian foreign minister Didier Reynders, gained 105 votes.
Prime Minister Andrej Plenković said that the election of Mrs Pejčinović Burić is Croatia’s biggest ever diplomatic success and confirmation of the country’s strong position in foreign affairs.
“I think we have earned the image of a country that can make a contribution,” he said.
Mrs Pejčinović Burić emphasised the importance of dialogue both among CoE member states and within its main bodies, so as to ensure the accomplishment of the two founding goals of the organisation: peace and prosperity.
Mrs Pejčinović Burić is the second woman to become the secretary general in the 70-year-long history of the council.
“I will pay special attention to all non-discrimination issues, particularly to women and children,” she said, adding that it is necessary to strengthen the role of women in modern society and acknowledging that the Council of Europe “is now for gender equality.”