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     First of all, please accept my best wishes for the new year. May 2018 be a year of peace and serenity full of strong and important moments, always positive ones. We need a united Europe and we are working to make it that. I wish you energy and courage to face the challenges and success in your daily actions. The session of the Conference of INGOs is approaching and we will open together a new working year . As you can see in the annual Activity Report, 2017 was very rich. I am pleased to see that the impulse given to the development of the Conference has provided visible and coherent results, highlighting the expertise arising from our activities. Thank you very much for your trust! 

However, I am convinced that we can do more, provided that the expertise and actions of each INGO are known and recognised, and above all, visible within the Conference of INGO. The Standing Committee will coordinate the communication of the work processes involved so that each INGO representative can consult with its members and join thematic committees on specific activities. The Conference of INGOs is you!  So please, be proactive and contact the persons in charge of activities within the Conference of INGOs.

Important events will take place during this Session. First the elections which will take place on Wednesday, January 24 at 2.30pm. The INGOs will elect the President and the members of the Bureau of the Conference of INGOs. I invite you to consult the web page with information on the candidaes in French and in English. Each INGO with participatory status has the right to vote according to the rule: one INGO equals one vote. (...)

The Thematic Commissions will adopt their roadmaps for the next three years. All INGOs have the opportunity to participate in a consultation meeting on Monday 22 January at 2.30pm to express their interest and possible contribution to these work programmes. The actions and expertise of the INGOs are most visible within the Thematic Committees and their working groups. Do not miss this chancet! If you are unable to be present, send your contribution by e-mail to the Chairs and Vice-Chairs of the Committees. (...)

The INGOs not only contribute to the activities of the Council of Europe, through the Conference of INGOs, but are also committed to the implementation of the legal instruments and programmes elaborated by the Council of Europe. (...) The values of the Council of Europe need to be defended and promoted, because nothing is ever acquired forever.