AS (2014) CR 18
2014 ORDINARY SESSION
Friday 11 April 2014 at 10.00 a.m.
In this report:
1. Speeches in English are reported in full.
2. Speeches in other languages are reported using the interpretation and are marked with an asterisk.
3. Speeches in German and Italian are reproduced in full in a separate document.
4. Corrections should be handed in at Room 1059A not later than 24 hours after the report has been circulated.
The contents page for this sitting is given at the end of the report.
(Mr Giovagnoli, Vice-President of the Assembly, took the Chair at 10.05 a.m.)
The PRESIDENT – The sitting is open.
1. Refugees and the right to work
The PRESIDENT – The first item of business this morning is a debate on the report entitled “Refugees and the right to work”, Document 13462, presented by Mr Christopher Chope on behalf of the Committee on Migration, Refugees and Displaced Persons.
I remind members that the speaking time in each debate today is four minutes.
I call Mr Chope, the rapporteur. You have 13 minutes in total, which you may divide between your presentation of the report and your reply to the debate.
Mr CHOPE (United Kingdom) – The report is a very important one. The fact that no amendments have been tabled shows that it is not as controversial as some of the matters we have discussed this week, but that does not detract from its importance as part of the Assembly’s core business.
The report contains a quotation from Professor Louis Henkin, the United States delegate at the drafting of the 1951 Convention relating to the Status of Refugees: “Without the right to work, all other rights are meaningless.” The right to work is really important.
When I was a new member of the British Parliament, back in the early 1980s, I visited the United States and learned about its right to work campaign, which argues that everybody should be able to work and choose the price at which they sell their labour. That campaign is undermined in many of our member States, where we have minimum wage legislation and where we say that people can either work for nothing – as interns, for example – or work at the minimum wage, unless they are self-employed. We are not yet at the stage at which the State regulates the rate at which people are remunerated when they work for themselves. As we know, large numbers of self-employed people work for much less than the minimum wage. Against that background, I am delighted that the report enjoys so much support.
It seems to me that the last thing an asylum seeker or refugee wants to be is a burden on the State and the taxpayer. What they really want is a safe haven from their oppressors and the ability to contribute to the society that has granted that. Depriving them of the opportunity to engage in industrious employment in order to pay for their upkeep and that of any dependants is therefore absurd. That is why I think that every country that gives a warm welcome to asylum seekers or refugees should, as a matter of principle, give them access to the labour market.
Obviously one needs to distinguish between people in the categories I have described and those who are purely economic migrants, for whom we must have regulations and border controls. It is obvious beyond peradventure that if people come to a country, they should be given the right to work. Some countries say that it is not right to do that straight away and that people should not work until their applications are processed, but that can take a long time. When someone arrives in a foreign country, the sooner they are integrated, both economically and socially, the better.
As we know from the large number of young people who are unemployed, many of whom have not yet had their first job, the gap between the time a person should get their first job and the time they actually get it is normally a good guide of their future employability. When people arrive in a new country, we should encourage them to get employment straight away, at the earliest opportunity.
I look forward to hearing the other contributions and will reserve some time in order to respond to them.
The PRESIDENT – Thank you, Mr Chope. You have eight minutes left.
We turn now to the speakers’ list. I call first Mr Xuclà, who will speak on behalf of the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe.
Mr XUCLÀ (Spain)* – Mr Chope, I congratulate you on your report. The lack of tabled amendments should not be construed as indicating any lack of interest, but rather the degree of consensus that it commands. It will be extremely important in guiding our activities to integrate refugees.
Different types of refugees are increasingly taking their place in European societies. The protracted and cruel war in Syria, which has so far caused more than 130 000 deaths, has also caused a wave of refugees to seek haven in European countries. Many countries have taken in large numbers of them, whereas others have shown themselves to be less generous.
It is abundantly clear that we should allow refugees rapid access to the labour market, in order to allow them to live in dignity. Access to the labour market is possible, but it demands as a prerequisite a legal framework. As Mr Chope’s report correctly points out, the right to work must exist but practical measures must also be taken to allow people to enjoy that right.
We must also look at the degree of stress suffered by immigrants and refugees. People have to abandon their familiar social and professional environment with no preparation. They find themselves in a different country, completely isolated. That is why we have to look at alleviating the degree of pressure and stress on migrants and refugees.
Equally, we must make sure that our authorities have the proper instruments for integrating refugees: for example, by giving them language skills. One reason they become isolated is that they simply do not know the language of their host country. We should look in particular at paragraph 8 of the draft resolution and perhaps heed the recommendations in that regard.
As I said, there are different types of refugees. Some are political refugees. On occasion, we will find ourselves confronted by all kinds of paradoxical situations. For example, political prisoners and people who are subject to political persecution in their home countries can be seen as heroes abroad, but when they try to enter the labour market, there is not the same degree of recognition for them as when they were being persecuted. That is the paradox.
For example, we are familiar with the fate of certain political prisoners from Cuba. They were given assistance when they arrived in Spain to find a job. Clearly these individuals enjoy a certain esteem in their home communities and have difficulty integrating. However, as the rapporteur indicated in his introductory statement, there are different types of refugees, and political refugees are in the minority.
We should look very carefully at the thousands of anonymous refugees – for example, the Syrians whom we are taking in and whom we should integrate in our societies as a gesture of solidarity and a very small and inadequate response to the crisis in that country.
The PRESIDENT – I now call Mr Gross to speak on behalf of the Socialist Group.
Mr GROSS (Switzerland)* – On behalf of the Socialist Group, I thank Mr Chope very much for his report. He is quite right about most things, which is why there are no amendments. I am very pleased – and I rarely get to say this – that Switzerland has learnt on this score as well, and that finally the legal hurdles not just for refugees but above all for asylum seekers to find work are now being removed, and that everything is being made easier. In Switzerland we have seen that work for asylum seekers is possible, and that it is definitely the best way forward for their integration in society.
However, Mr Chope, I will still make your life a little more difficult. In your excellent report you mentioned the report that Mr Deseyn presented yesterday, to which you tabled amendments. Your amendments indicate why we have such difficulty in our countries in finding a majority for the ideas in the report that you are presenting today.
The argument is always put forward that we should not be an attractive country, because if we are too many refugees and asylum seekers will swarm towards us. The reason that this position is wrong but still tends to find a majority is that back home nationals are worried about getting or keeping their job. The British, the Swiss, the Germans and the French are worried about their jobs; that is why they do not want their governments to make it easier for asylum seekers or refugees to find a job. You confirmed that fear and tabled amendments that fortunately were rejected yesterday evening, stating that a lot of nationals are afraid that they will not be able to get a job or make a proper living.
“Decent work for all” translates into German as “a job that everybody can live on”. It is a very good translation, and it is because people are resisting this work for refugees and asylum seekers – as you rightly suggest – that there is no consensus. Ye
Yesterday’s report is connected with this subject. If we can ensure that all nationals – Spaniards, Catalans, Germans and French – have job security in future, despite the crisis and globalisation, and that they still get a decent job from which they can make a living and which fulfils their requirements, only then will we have a parliamentary majority for a policy of solidarity towards asylum seekers and refugees. We cannot show solidarity with others if we deny that solidarity to our own people. That connection between the two reports is why I ask you to think critically about how you voted yesterday. Fortunately, you were in a minority then, but the way in which you behaved yesterday is preventing us from doing what you recommend in this report.
The PRESIDENT – Thank you, Mr Gross. I call Mr Spautz, who will speak on behalf of the Group of the European People’s Party. I have been told that today is your birthday, so happy birthday.
Mr SPAUTZ (Luxembourg)* – Thank you, President.
I congratulate the rapporteur on this excellent report. Clearly, the fact that no amendments have been tabled shows that everyone in the Chamber supports the report. Asylum policy is an increasingly important issue internally and must be part of any democratic State’s foreign policy. For the EPP, asylum and immigration policy relates principally to the fundamental principles of human rights throughout the world. This policy must be addressed in a multilateral and co-ordinated fashion. While member States apply differing and contradictory measures in respect of asylum seekers and refuges, we will be unable to find a consistent position.
Obviously, we must react to the cruelty and pain inflicted by civil wars wherever they occur in the world. We must help people to escape from oppression and attacks on the grounds of their different ethnic origin, sexual orientation or preference and religion. Clearly, such rights must be upheld, but we must also keep a grip on migratory flows and stamp out illegal practices linked to human trafficking. People who find refuge in democratic countries must feel safe and have decent lives there. They have a right to housing, social services and employment.
Asylum-seeker numbers have exploded since the Arab Spring and its consequences, and we must find an effective, transparent and rapid response. Every citizen has the right to work. Integrating refuges and asylum seekers involves training and the labour market. If such people are kept out of the labour market, we will be less competitive and it will cause problems with family stability, crime and poverty, for example. We need to consider training in the new technologies. Information and communication technology is always needed in today’s society. Craft industries also need skills. We must therefore take account of the economic requirements of our countries. Countries beset by civil war have large numbers of people with professional potential and aspirations who are unable to develop as they would wish. Developed countries always need skilled labour, and those refugees and asylum seekers could provide it. That would be a win-win solution.
The PRESIDENT – The rapporteur can reply at the end of the debate, but does Mr Chope wish to response now? That is not the case, so I call Mr Juratovic.
Mr JURATOVIC (Germany)* – I am delighted to speak for the very first time here this morning in the Parliamentary Assembly. In addressing the issue of refugees and the right to work, I should like to focus on three aspects. First, despite an international right to work, it is very difficult in reality for refugees to find jobs for the reasons rehearsed in the report. In Germany, we have enshrined some practical solutions in the coalition agreement. Asylum seekers are granted access to the labour market after three months in the country. Equally, they are given access to language training. We will improve the law on the recognition of professional vocational qualifications and increase our counselling and advisory services.
Secondly, we draw a distinction between refugees and asylum seekers at the moment, but that is not particularly helpful. We should be aware of the fact that most refugees and asylum seekers will stay in our countries for a long time. That is why it is pointless to keep them at arm’s length from society. Many refugees know that work is the only path to dignity and recognition and therefore to overcome the traumas that they have experienced.
Thirdly, we face a political dilemma. We all have many people who are unemployed or working in precarious conditions in our countries and an awful lot of competition for jobs. That is why every additional job seeker is often perceived as a threat. From the point of view of our jobless people, that is readily understandable. Nevertheless, we must continue to defend the right of refugees to work. Decisive action is needed. We must ensure that we create a level playing field for our own nationals as well as for refugees. It is our job as policy makers to ensure that there is no gap and that refugees are properly integrated.
To conclude, I should like share with you my personal experience. I know from my time as a factory worker that I was able, thanks to that work, to integrate into German society. We should defend not only economic interests but human rights interests. That is why the people who live in our countries must be given real opportunities to have access to work in our countries.
The PRESIDENT – Mr Matušić is not here, so I call Mr Díaz Tejera.
Mr DÍAZ TEJERA (Spain)* – I should like to put two things to Mr Chope in relation to his report. The first issue concerns nationality, and the second the type of work. The current legal order observed by all our countries provides that one must hold a specific nationality to apply for a job. Time and again, because of the fear so well described here, in time of crisis – first, it was financial, then economic, then social, and now it is a jobs crisis – we can see for ourselves that there is a dearth of employment, yet barriers are put up and people are told that they do not have the right to work if they do not have the required nationality.
Barriers are either being created or putting people off the direct track to find employment. I wish to underscore the fact that if we respected international agreements and the conventions that are supported and signed by Council of Europe member States, we would not need any more laws or legislation. The legislation exists already, but it must be translated into day-to-day reality for Europeans. Do we really need to come up with new laws to do away with the barriers that are now being put up?
My second point relates to the nature of the work concerned, which may also depend on the individual State or on the economy. I believe that the State should comply with labour agreements, and that proper conditions of work are required. I think the State must intervene to stop what would otherwise happen. Yesterday we heard about the 1 000 garment workers who died in Bangladesh, where there was no respect for international labour standards. Some people obviously find it useful to take some of their business to Bangladesh, throw up a gimcrack building and drive up their profit margin, but we must recognise that we are all members of the human race. It does not matter what someone’s nationality is or whether or not they are stateless – if they are another human being, surely their right to life should not be adversely affected by the economic interests of others. First we should live, then we may philosophise, once the right to life has been guaranteed.
I believe that we must look at proper dignified and decent working conditions, and we cannot achieve that without rules. You need rules, and that is where the State comes in. Some of us want the State to be smaller, and some larger, but at some stage the State is necessary to ensure that rules are complied with, particularly on the labour market. Surely, those who have the power must ensure that the State does its job in that regard. We must have compliance with the current legal order. If that were the case, we would not need to work on further legislation for tomorrow in this area.
I congratulate the rapporteur because I think that his know-how has been brought to bear on this important subject. Thank you, Mr Chope.
Mr COZMANCIUC (Romania) – First, I congratulate Mr Chope on his report which is on a very important topic that needs special attention in the current international context. In Romania, the purpose of government support that is granted to people who obtain some form of protection is to integrate them into Romanian society. The general objective of that integration policy is to help refugees to support themselves, to become independent from the support granted by the State or non-governmental organisation, and to be active participants in Romanian society from an economic, social and cultural point of view.
Government rule 44/2004, and a subsection 10 amendment, concerns the integration of foreigners who have received some form of protection in Romania, and those people have the same economic and social rights as Romanian citizens, which include the right to have a job, the right to a home, the right to health care and social security, and the right to education. In order to support the integration of that category of person, the Romanian immigration office implements integration programmes to grant support to refugees.
Accommodation is in one of the centres administered by Romanian institutions, which provide support, training in cultural orientation, social counselling, and Romanian language courses organised jointly by the Ministry of National Education and educational institutions. I strongly believe that member States should continue to strengthen their institutional capacity in the field of immigration by developing and implementing a national strategy, along with an assessment of the legal framework and the harmonisation of that framework with international standards. I also underline the fact that integration is a process of mutual adaptation between the host society and migrants, and it is essential for member States not only to provide economic and cultural benefits, but to ensure security and stability for the society and for all.
One of the main challenges of creating an effective integration policy is to ensure that it intersects with other major policy areas, including the protection of migrants, human rights, and equal opportunities in the employment and labour markets, as well as regional development, national security, social cohesion, public health, education, naturalisation and citizenship. In the end, I support the idea that a common legal framework for the destination country should be developed, to support a policy and strategy that promotes the social, economic and cultural inclusion of migrants.
Mr CASEY (Observer from Canada) – I thank you, Mr President, for allowing me to address the Assembly on the important issue of the right to work for refugees, and to offer some comments from a Canadian perspective.
Policy makers across the world are becoming increasingly aware of the need to remove barriers to the economic and social integration of refugees. Although international law provides for access to work for refugees, due to varying interpretations access to stable, secure jobs differs across countries. Refugees are not unique in this regard, as seasonal unemployment is a chronic problem in some regions of Canada. In support of our international obligations and priorities, Canada partners with international and civil society organisations to admit and resettle refugees from overseas. The Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees identifies Canada as a key partner in global refugee protection, and each year Canada welcomes thousands of displaced persons seeking a new life in a better country.
Canada, in particular, offers asylum to those with a well-founded fear of persecution, as defined in the United Nations Convention relating to the Status of Refugees, and extends protection to people facing the risk of death, torture, or cruel and unusual treatment or punishment. In that respect, Canada has established a system that supports and respects international humanitarian and compassionate efforts. For instance, and in the context of this debate, many asylum seekers in Canada can obtain work permits if the government determines that they cannot support themselves without employment while awaiting a decision on their claims. In other instances, and in some circumstances, asylum seekers may be immediately eligible for social assistance and other government benefits.
Each asylum seeker has the right to a hearing before the arm’s-length Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada. Once their claim has been accepted, refugees in Canada may access a broad range of settlement programmes, including support for language training and labour-market integration. More generally, Canada is working on removing barriers to employment for refugees and other immigrants by streamlining its foreign credential recognition process. This has proved be a particularly vexing problem.
In terms of outcomes, despite on-going challenges in finding well-paid and stable employment, research suggests that refugees gradually improve their participation in the labour force the longer they stay in Canada. Although refugees initially work less and access social assistance more than other immigrants or Canadian citizens, their employment and wages tend to approach those of other residents only a few years after moving to Canada. Our country continues to explore ways to maximise the social and economic integration of refugees in Canada. By working together, exchanging our experiences in debates such as this, and seeking improvements in our support for refugees’ right to work, we can all help displaced persons in their efforts to achieve success and fulfilment in their lives.
The PRESIDENT – Ms el Ouafi is not here, so I call the rapporteur.
Mr CHOPE (United Kingdom) – First, I congratulate Mr Juratovic on making his maiden speech and on enriching this debate with his personal experience. I also congratulate Mr Spautz, who is celebrating his birthday. I thank Mr Casey for giving us the view from Canada, which has been extremely useful and has helped to give a global perspective. I know that the members of the Committee on Migration, Refugees and Displaced Persons are full of praise for the work that Canada does with the UNHCR.
I do not know whether Andy Gross did this deliberately, but he obviously thinks that we need to fire up the debate a bit, so he tried to re-engage with the debate we had yesterday about decent work. I am going to rise to that challenge. My dear friend Andy Gross does not understand free market economics. The reason I was so opposed to some aspects of Mr Desyn’s report was that it was endorsing protectionism, rejecting free trade and supporting more regulation of the labour market. It was keen to interfere in the freedom of people to set their own price for their labour. It was also keen to promote trade barriers and non-tariff barriers. It was a sort of fortress Europe report that at the same time used the language of the importance of higher living standards for everybody.
I think that this report has the support of the Assembly because it does not go into protectionism. Rather it says that we should look at each individual who comes to one of our countries as an asylum seeker or refugee – as Mr Casey put it, as someone with a well-founded fear of persecution – and says that those people should be entitled to hold their heads up high and, if they are able, to go out and obtain employment, thereby contributing to the support that they and their families need.
As we know – the report refers to this – quite a lot of countries do not yet allow that. They talk the talk and say how humanitarian they are because they allow people to come to their countries, but will not allow those people to engage in that most fundamental of human rights, the right to work. That is what the report is about. The fact that it has so much support across the Assembly from people of all political parties shows that there is agreement on those principles.
I hope that along with the reduction in tariff barriers and trade barriers there will be an increasing reduction in the number of economic migrants – quite often, illegal migrants – who are spoiling the market for genuine refugees and asylum seekers. It is what we call the irregular migrants – the economic migrants – who are coming in very large numbers to the shores of Europe and are causing alarm among our citizens. I do not think you will find anybody in the United Kingdom – and probably not in Switzerland, either – who would say that they do not want to provide a refugee with the opportunity to work, and participate and integrate in their society as quickly as possible. The resentment comes when they see people jumping the queue, effectively, for economic migration – coming in and presenting themselves and then basically breaking the domestic rule book.
The report therefore distinguishes between the genuine asylum seeker or refugee and the economic migrant. It is quite clear that the volume of economic migrants is an issue that needs to be addressed. Yesterday we were debating decent work for all. One way of ensuring that is to reduce trade barriers. I thought it was great news that the European Union suddenly decided to reduce a whole lot of tariff barriers with regard to Ukrainian goods. One might ask why it did not do so before, because if it had that would have given a big boost to the Ukrainian economy.
Free trade is not a zero-sum game – it contributes to increased employment opportunities and growth right across the globe. I have said this before in this Assembly, but another good friend of mine – I have more than one friend – is Lord Chris Patten, who used to be a European Union commissioner. When asked what could be done to reduce the number of people coming to the United Kingdom – the same reasoning applies to France or Italy – from north Africa, he said that we must start buying their tomatoes. In fact, we should be removing all those barriers that effectively force people in countries outside those privileged enough to be members of this Parliamentary Assembly to have lower standards of living than they would be able to enjoy if they could compete freely in the global marketplace.
I will not take any lessons from Mr Gross on this issue. I realise that it will be a long time before all the old socialists have changed their ways. In the meantime, the socialist approach of centralisation, regulation and control will continue to be a bit of a cancer upon our economic fortunes. The United Kingdom has great growth in jobs at the moment because we are deregulating. France has rising unemployment because it continues to increase regulation.
Leaving that to one side, I think we have all found common cause in saying that if somebody comes to our shores and is in need of humanitarian assistance as an asylum seeker or refugee, we ought to enable them to hold their head up high and engage in our labour market. It may be that at first they cannot sell their labour for as much as other people because they have various disadvantages – linguistic disadvantages, for example. Why not allow them to sell their labour at less than what might be regarded by some people here as the minimum wage? All the interference in wages is a potential barrier to the opportunity for employment for those people who have chosen or have been forced to move from one country to seek asylum in another.
I am grateful to everybody who has participated in the debate. I hope that we will be able to send out a strong, economically liberal message stating that we think the best way to ensure that we have real growth in employment in our countries and that there are more opportunities for people who have fallen on hard times or who have been driven abroad as asylum seekers is to allow the market to work.
The PRESIDENT – Thank you, Mr Chope. Does the chairman of the committee wish to speak?
Mr ROUQUET (France)* – On behalf of the Committee on Migration, Refugees and Displaced Persons and its chairperson, Mr Mariani, who has had to leave us, I would like to thank the rapporteur, Mr Chope, for preparing an excellent report on an issue that is very sensitive, particularly in this time of crisis and recession that we are experiencing. I pay tribute to him for taking a very discerning approach and highlighting the importance of refugees’ right to work in a host country.
It is important that refugees have the right to work; it gives them dignity, enhances their self-respect and, crucially, enables them to be independent, have financial autonomy, and integrate more easily in the host country. We also have to stop them being forced to work in the parallel economy, and in unregulated, dangerous and degrading conditions. Preventing them from working at all opens the doors to criminal gangs, with all the consequences that has. There are countries where refugees encounter obstacles and difficulties, especially if they do not have the necessary language skills, or the country does not have sufficiently streamlined administrative procedures. I encourage those concerned to make improvements in that regard.
I commend the report. Granting the right to work to refugees and asylum seekers reduces the risk of their becoming a financial burden on the host State. As was said, and as I am sure Mr Chope will agree, the right to work can only be of advantage to all. Thank you.
The PRESIDENT – The debate is closed.
The Committee on Migration, Refugees and Displaced Persons has presented a draft resolution, to which no amendments have been tabled. We will now proceed to vote on the draft resolution in Document 13462. A simple majority is required.
The vote is open.
Congratulations, Mr Chope.
2. Ending child poverty in Europe
The PRESIDENT – The next item of business is the debate on the report entitled “Ending child poverty in Europe”, Document 13458, presented by Ms Sevinj Fataliyeva – I hope my pronunciation is correct – on behalf of the Committee on Social Affairs, Health and Sustainable Development. I call Ms Fataliyeva, rapporteur. You have 13 minutes in total, which you may divide between presentation of the report and your reply to the debate.
Ms FATALIYEVA (Azerbaijan) – Child poverty would perhaps not be the first problem mentioned if we asked people about the main challenges for European societies todays. Nevertheless, the problem is real, is increasing in the economic crisis facing Europe, and is not to be underestimated. According to the latest estimates for the European Union 27, some 27% of all children were at risk of poverty and social exclusion in 2011. UNICEF affirmed in 2012 that about 13 million children lacked basic items. Our own research, undertaken through the European Centre for Parliamentary Research and Documentation, has shown that the situation is at least as critical in eastern European countries.
Child poverty is not about just a few children going under-nourished in poor families, namely families where parents are unemployed, or in single-parent households. Too many children in our society are affected by the problem, and they often go unnoticed because children do not have a voice that is strong enough to be heard by all in our societies. Child poverty is therefore often a very silent form of suffering. It is an urgent problem, because children, as human beings with full human rights, are entitled to well-being in the present, and not just in the future.
Dramatic reports on the situation of disadvantaged children have recently reached us from countries across Europe. They include reports on the resurgence of child labour in Portugal, on under-nourished school children in Greece, and on children left on their own without parental care by migrating parents in countries such as Moldova and Romania. Even wealthier nations, such as Germany and the United Kingdom, cannot deny that between 15% and 20% of children are at risk of poverty. I could go on providing examples at length.
Child poverty is not just about the deprivation of material resources such as food, drinking water, health care, shelter or education. Poor children are also more at risk of becoming victims of violence, exploitation or trafficking. Child poverty is not only an urgent problem for those children lacking the basics or being threatened by harm today, but a long-term challenge relating to social inequality in our societies. Poor children and their families are often trapped in what we call the cycle of poverty: lessened chances of development are often transmitted from one generation to the next. Recent studies have shown that in many countries, poor children perform less well at every stage of education and suffer from poorer health during their lifetime.
Although we need to avoid stereotyping – not all poor children produce poor results at school, and not all children in single-parent households are disadvantaged – poor children need special attention if they are to be granted equal opportunities. Supporting poor children and families is not easy in these times of economic and budgetary crisis, although it is precisely in those conditions that families need support more than ever. Governments are struggling, to various extents, to maintain previous levels of family-oriented benefits, or the quality of family-oriented services. One of my key proposals in the draft resolution is therefore that we assess social expenditure cuts with regard to their possible impact on the well-being of children.
Many European organisations and institutions pay constant attention to the problem of child poverty. For example, Eurochild, a European child protection agency, regularly points out the problem. It is organising a conference, to be held later this year, entitled “Better Public Spending for Better Outcomes for Children and Families”. One of the main documents that deserve our attention is the EU recommendation of February 2013, “Investing in children: breaking the cycle of disadvantage”, which provides concrete policy guidelines on how best to tackle child poverty. It recommends that children and families be ensured access to adequate resources and to affordable, quality services, including good early childhood education, and that children have the right to participate in decisions concerning them. I strongly believe that we need not reinvent the wheel, as responses to the problem are so evident, so I suggest that all member States of Greater Europe take inspiration from these excellent recommendations.
Other proposals in the resolution include improving data collection and the monitoring of the situation of children; strongly involving local authorities, which are often the first point of contact with children and families; and ensuring good co-operation between different government departments and services. Finally, in the draft recommendation that my committee is submitting to the Assembly, I suggest that child poverty be given more attention in Council of Europe activities aimed at promoting the implementation of European standards. Great goals such as those in the Council of Europe’s Strategy for the Rights of the Child will not be implemented effectively if we do not take into account the fact that poor children have special needs, and that public resources for child-oriented policies are scarce at the moment.
I invite all colleagues to support the text that we are submitting, in order to send the strong message to all European governments that child poverty should be granted a top place on political agendas across Europe. Thank you for your attention.
The PRESIDENT – Thank you, Ms Fataliyeva. You have seven minutes remaining.
In the debate, I call first Mr Cozmanciuc, who will speak on behalf of the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe.
Mr COZMANCIUC (Romania) – I congratulate the rapporteur on a great report. Child poverty needs special attention from the Council of Europe and all international organisations and combating it needs the support of all members of the Assembly. It needs to become a thing of the past.
The draft resolution states: “Child poverty is creeping back into Europe. The Parliamentary Assembly is appalled about the regular reports coming from various countries of Europe about undernourished children, children being left without parental care by parents who are obliged to find employment abroad, and the resurgence of child labour, not to mention lower participation and performance rates of many children in secondary education.” We need to fight child poverty and to challenge the States that do not support children and families.
The PRESIDENT – Thank you. I call Mr Jónasson, who will speak on behalf of the Group of the Unified European Left.
Mr JÓNASSON (Iceland) – I thank the rapporteur for this report on child poverty and support its recommendations. It is important that child poverty is discussed by the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe so that we are reminded of how widespread it still is in Europe today and that we are compelled to take action. The excellent report describes how large numbers of children in some countries are left without parental care while their poor parents are obliged to seek work abroad and how even more children are under-nourished and do not have access to health care and education. The report proposes that member States should ensure that ending child poverty is given priority in political and budgetary decisions on health care and education. The report invites “the Congress of Local and Regional Authorities of the Council of Europe to contribute to activities in this field alongside the governmental sector and the Parliamentary Assembly, given that local and regional authorities are important stakeholders when it comes to implementing social policies and services aimed at families and children.”
Poverty is bad, and it is bad to be poor, but child poverty is even worse. What happens to you as a child stays with you all your life, so it is good that the Council of Europe is prioritising the elimination of child poverty.
The PRESIDENT – Thank you. I call Mr Díaz Tejera, who will speak on behalf of the Socialist Group.
Mr DÍAZ TEJERA (Spain)* – I thank the rapporteur and the team behind the report.
One reason I am here is in my capacity as a Spanish magistrate. Years ago, I had to send some grandparents and then the grandchildren to prison. It was terrible to see how some people were living. They were beset by various ills, including family breakdown and social exclusion, and were victims of a breakdown in the courts. People sometimes have to go to prison, but such people often tend to be from the same social background or to have the same social characteristics. We need to consider our social policies carefully, which is why these reports are necessary. When faced with such a report, we are forced to become more committed to fighting hard for social rights. Some people have everything, but social policies are not for them; social policies are for the most vulnerable and fragile in our societies. That is what I fight for. Elderly people may be physically fragile, but it is important that we focus our efforts on children because they do not have much life experience. I want to break social determinism and the only remedy is action by States, along with voluntary and civil society organisations, to make improvements possible and to ensure that children have better prospects.
It has taken a year for the report to get to the Chamber, and I am worried that saying that there should be no barriers in society will lead to more child poverty. If parents cannot get decent work, their children will likely not be in a position to work in future. That is why it is important to condemn certain types of behaviour. There must be tough love. Sometimes you have to say no. The crisis is exacerbating poverty among the most vulnerable sections of society – children and young people.
The PRESIDENT – Thank you. I call Ms Johnsen, who will speak on behalf of the Group of the European People’s Party.
Ms JOHNSEN (Norway) – I thank Ms Fataliyeva for this important report. Child poverty is serious and we need to end it in Europe. It is something we associate with conditions during the great wars in Europe and during and before the industrial revolution.
It is said that it takes a village to raise a child. It requires proper economic resources, proper education and health care, safe environments and the support of a family. The report states that child poverty is creeping back in Europe. Country-specific information collected by Eurochild in 2011 shows that the financial crisis had a severe impact on children and families. Families have been affected by cuts to things such as child benefits. Consequently, many children in Europe live in poor families or are at risk of poverty. It is appalling that so many children are under-nourished, left behind by immigrant parents or exploited for child labour. Many are victims of violence or abuse. Children can easily become victims of trafficking, and many are lured into criminal activity. Migrant children, disabled children and children who live in remote rural areas are particularly vulnerable. Child poverty is a vicious cycle that is difficult to escape because access to education and health services is not equal. We must prevent poor children from becoming poor adults. The report cites information about children in Greece and Portugal, and recent reports from the United Kingdom show that child poverty is rising. Poor children tend to perform badly in education, suffer from poor health and have low life expectancy.
Member States should prioritise ending child poverty in their political and budgetary decisions. Protecting children and upholding their fundamental rights are among the priorities of the Council of Europe. Governments must address poverty when they implement the Council of Europe's Strategy for the Rights of the Child beyond 2015. However, we must do more than create strategies; we need action. When governments prepare action plans to apply the Strategy for the Rights of the Child beyond 2015, they must survey and consult children. Children are affected by this issue, so they must be able to participate. It is important that children are empowered in the fight against child poverty. As parliamentarians, we must take the fight against child poverty to our home parliaments. Discussions and good intentions are not enough.
The PRESIDENT – Thank you, Ms Johnsen. The rapporteur will respond at the end of the debate. Does Ms Fataliyeva wish to respond at this stage? That is not the case. I call Ms Magradze.
Ms MAGRADZE (Georgia) – I thank Ms Fataliyeva for raising this issue, to which we urgently need to find a solution. I agree with Mr Díaz Tejera: what we do today for our children determines what kind of tomorrow we will have.
The report cites data on child poverty in Georgia from 2012. When the new government came to power in Georgia in October 2012 it said defending children’s rights would be one of its main priorities. It declared 2014 to be the year of children’s rights. The reduction of child poverty is our main goal. The majority of children in Georgia still experience poverty, which often has far-reaching implications for their health, education and psychological development. Children are society’s main asset, but if they grow up poor it is difficult for them to achieve their potential and escape poverty in adult life.
Many countries aim to reduce child poverty by focusing on breaking the inter-generational transmission of poverty. The Government of Georgia intends to review current spending by conducting a child-sensitive analysis of public expenditure and its impact on child poverty and deprivation. Research shows that in Georgia only 16% of children from poor families are enrolled in kindergartens or pre-school programmes, compared with 30% of children from rich families. The former Government of Georgia privatised many kindergartens, and required parents to pay fees for those that remained in public hands. In September 2013, the new Parliament of Georgia passed a law to make childhood services free of charge. In addition, since September 2013, the new government has provided free textbooks to all school students, which is a great assistance for poor families who previously spent approximately one month’s income on textbooks. The government also introduced merit-based scholarship for poor students.
Georgia still suffers from consumer-based child poverty and housing deprivation. However, child poverty associated with health care and access to education has been significantly reduced. In 2013, the new government launched a universal health care insurance system, which allows all citizens of Georgia to receive medical services free of charge. It has already had a positive effect on children’s health care.
Pensions, health insurance and targeted social assistance are important poverty reduction tools. In 2013, the new Government of Georgia increased pensions from $50 to $100, which will reduce extreme child poverty from 9% to 7%, and increased TSA benefits by 100%. Extreme child poverty will be reduced from 9% to 6% and relative child poverty from 25% to 18%. The Georgian Government is working with UNICEF to introduce a universal child benefit. We will try to allocate from our budget 20 to 30 GEL – approximately $15 – a month for every child under 16, which we expect will reduce extreme child poverty from 9% to 3% and relative child poverty from 25% to 15%. We will try to find those finances.
It is clear that children living in poverty tend to suffer owing to many factors caused by the country’s economic problems. However, even with limited resources, the government’s efforts will have a positive impact on reducing child poverty. That should be the main goal for our governments.
(Ms Brasseur, President of the Assembly, took the Chair in place of Mr Giovagnoli)
Ms GAFAROVA (Azerbaijan) – First, I thank my colleague, Ms Fataliyeva, for the instructive report, which is full of useful information. The issue we are discussing today is very important. Poverty is the most serious killer in the world. More people die because they are too poor to survive than from illness. Poverty is intolerable in anywhere in the world because it has multidimensional, damaging consequences for people, regardless of age and sex. We cannot allow children to face the unacceptable consequences of child poverty.
It is impossible to speak about child poverty without emotion, because every child must be happy. Children are the future of their parents, their family and their country. Children who are born and grow up in poor families have difficulty succeeding in adulthood. Child poverty is a great challenge for all countries; statistics show how serious the problem is. It must be tackled with human and economic development. Child poverty has been a problem for a very long time. We must do everything possible to end it and prevent the number of people it affects from increasing.
The report cites information about my country, which I will not repeat. I will make just one point. There are 1 million refugees in Azerbaijan from Armenia’s occupation of 20% of the country’s territory. The majority are children, who live in poverty. As the report mentions, refugees are now provided with all they require, including schools for their children. Houses are being built for them. However, despite economic wealth, largely drawn from the oil industry, Azerbaijan still faces challenges regarding the well-being of refugees’ children. Children must not live in conditions of war. They must not be refugees.
If we stop poverty, we will save many children's lives. Poverty destroys many children’s dreams and it is time to say stop. Life is so hard and if we do not help these children, who will? Let us support this cause because that is the way to see smiles on children's faces and make children's dreams come true. It is time to come together for one cause because these children need us. It is time to show that we understand how serious the problem is. Let us help them before it is too late.
The PRESIDENT* – Thank you.
Ms Catalfo is not here, so I call Mr Downe.
Mr DOWNE (Observer from Canada) – You will be pleased to know that I did not travel all the way from Canada to lecture my European colleagues on how to reduce child poverty, but I want to share with you some of the initiatives that we have taken in Canada to deal with poverty.
In 1989, a unanimous motion was passed in Canada’s Parliament to eliminate child poverty by 2000. Although we have failed in that effort, Canadians are reminded of that objective by civil society groups each year, and we continue our efforts to reduce child poverty.
Canada has, however, been more successful at reducing its elderly poverty rate, which has fallen by 25% since 1976, and the lessons from that success can be applied to reducing child poverty. The decrease in senior poverty can be largely attributed to the Canada pension plan. Combining universal benefits and income-targeted cash transfers has also been effective in reducing senior poverty in Canada. Elderly poverty rates tend to be highest among women; pension allowances have traditionally been linked to employment history. Canada’s old age security benefits and guaranteed income supplement establish an income floor for all, regardless of participation in the work force.
Canada’s achievements in reducing its elderly poverty rate provide clear evidence that government taxes and transfers can reduce poverty. To this end, for children, the federal government has provided tax relief for all families, topped up by a refundable credit to assist low-income families in particular. When introduced in 1998, those programmes provided a low-income family with two children with a maximum of €2,000 annually. That amount more than doubled by 2008 and continues to increase. Some commentators see these tax policies as the foundation for a “guaranteed annual income” for children.
The percentage of children who are living in poverty in Canada has declined from a high of 17.4% in 1996 to just over 14% in 2011. There are, however, considerable variations across Canada, from a low of just over 10% in Alberta to more than 22% in some other regions, and across population groups, with a particularly high rate of poverty among Aboriginal children and among children being raised by one parent.
Governments in Canada at all levels and of all political stripes have tried to invest in the best possible start for young children, particularly those from the weakest groups in Canadian society, and in providing income support to their families. Much more needs to be done and we support the report’s recommendations. Although we are a long way from eradicating child poverty in Canada, we will continue to pursue its elimination. Thank you for your attention and good luck in reducing child poverty in Europe.
Mr POPESCU (Ukraine) – I thank and congratulate the rapporteur, Ms Fataliyeva, for this excellent report. Children are our future and if we do not set up the conditions for them to prosper, we will not be able to ensure they have a good future.
Of course, this is a challenge and there are dangers. Many families do not have children because they are poor. If children in families suffer, society suffers. Orphans have all sorts of problems. Therefore, the role of society and the State is important. We need to ensure that families are kept together, that there is access to nutritious food, education and leisure, and that orphans and children who have been rejected by their parents are also looked after. We need to use resources to ensure that children do not live in poverty. It is important for States to co-operate with each other on social security to help the families of the children.
In Ukraine, in Chernivtsi Oblast, there is a monastery. Mykhailo Zhar, the priest there, has looked after more than 400 children, including disabled children and children with AIDS. Those children have now been integrated into society. They go to a normal school. Those who are talented go on to higher education. Those who have grown up and started their own families help to organise weddings and to ensure that the children who graduate get jobs. The State allocates resources to the monastery. It is important to ensure that all these children get the necessary resources so that they are able to get a job.
I give that example because it is important to show solidarity. The bishop who initiated that system is now old and ill. He has managed to help so many children and give them a future. He is helped by society, the monks and people around the monastery. We can draw on that example of best practice.
I call on all of you, whenever possible, to give even a small amount of help to children. Please do that and God will see it and sooner or later everyone will benefit as a result. Let us show solidarity with Father Mykhailo and the bishop, who now need a lot of support from us.
The PRESIDENT* – That concludes the list of speakers.
I call the rapporteur to reply to the debate. You have seven minutes.
Ms FATALIYEVA (Azerbaijan) – I thank colleagues for their valuable comments on the core problem that is raised in the report. I am grateful for the opportunity to bring the report to the Assembly for discussion because no country in the world can say that the problem of child poverty does not exist in their country.
In the Council of Europe one of our main goals is to defend child rights. Every nation is struggling to secure prosperity. To achieve that, we must act today and we should start with our children, our future citizens, those who will continue building our societies. Providing quality conditions for children today will provide a decent living for the whole nation. The best way to create an era of genuine responsibility – a genuine commitment to families and the values they reflect – is to begin with those to whom we owe the greatest responsibility and whom we most value: our children. Let us not just talk about it – let us put children first.
I thank the secretariat for its support in preparing this report. I give special thanks to Ms Maren Lambrecht-Feigl and Angela Abela, associate professor at the University of Malta, for their huge contribution to this study. I also thank everyone who has stayed in Strasbourg for this last debate on an important issue. Let me conclude with the words of John Kennedy: if a free society cannot help the many who are poor, it cannot save the few who are rich.
The PRESIDENT* – Thank you, Ms Fataliyeva. Would the chair of the committee like to reply? You have two minutes.
Mr GHILETCHI (Republic of Moldova) – I congratulate Ms Fataliyeva on behalf of the committee on presenting her first report to the Assembly. She deserves our support and our votes for a very good report that touches on a sensitive but relevant issue for our member States. Poverty is a big problem, but child poverty is an even bigger problem. It is a big concern for us, as it should be. As Mr Díaz Tejera said, we need to be concerned with social rights, especially when it comes to those parts of our society that are fragile. They need our attention and support, so I thank Ms Fataliyeva again and assure the Assembly that the Committee on Social Affairs, Health and Sustainable Development is following these subjects closely.
It is important that we get behind our children and protect their interests. As many speakers mentioned, they are our future – the future of our countries. I thank Mr Popescu for raising an inspiring example that is worth following. As the report says, we do not have an ideal solution for this problem, but as Ms Fataliyeva also said, the report could serve as an inspiration. Our member States could take it on board in tackling the problem in our own countries, so I thank her once again. Let us support this report, which I believe will bring added value to national parliaments in our member States when we deal with child poverty.
The PRESIDENT* – I thank the chair of the committee and the rapporteur, and I congratulate her on her first report. The debate is closed.
The Committee on Social Affairs, Health and Sustainable Development has presented a draft resolution to which three amendments have been tabled and a draft recommendation to which no amendments have been tabled.
I understand that the Chairperson of the Committee on Social Affairs, Health and Sustainable Development wishes to propose to the Assembly that Amendments 1, 2 and 3 to the draft resolution, which were unanimously approved by the committee, should be declared as agreed by the Assembly under Rule 33.11.
Is that so Mr Ghiletchi?
Mr GHILETCHI (Republic of Moldova) – Yes.
The PRESIDENT* – Does anyone object? As there is no objection, I declare that Amendments 1, 2 and 3 to the draft resolution have been agreed.
The following amendments have been adopted:
Amendment 1, tabled by Ms Fataliyeva, Ms Kyriakides, Mr Chernyshenko, Ms Maury Pasquier, Mr Dobbin, Mr Timchenko and Ms Bonet Perot, which is, in the draft resolution, at the end of paragraph 4, insert the following words:
“This will also be essential to interrupt the ‘cycle of poverty’ that many families are caught in, thus passing on the conditions of poverty and a lack of equal opportunities from one generation to the next.”Am
Amendment 2, tabled by Ms Fataliyeva, Ms Kyriakides, Mr Chernyshenko, Ms Maury Pasquier, Mr Dobbin, Mr Timchenko and Ms Bonet Perot, which is, in the draft resolution, at the end of paragraph 5.3.1, insert the following words: “, including through appropriate levels of social benefits”.
Amendment 3, tabled by Ms Fataliyeva, Ms Kyriakides, Mr Chernyshenko, Ms Maury Pasquier, Mr Dobbin, Mr Timchenko and Ms Bonet Perot, which is, in the draft resolution, paragraph 5.7, after the word “migrants”, insert the following words: “and refugees”.
We will now proceed to vote on the whole of the draft resolution contained in Document 13458, as amended.
The vote is open.
The draft resolution in Document 13458, as amended, is adopted unanimously, with 36 votes for, 0 against and 0 abstentions.
We will now proceed to vote on the whole of the draft recommendation contained in Document 13458, as amended.
The vote is open.
The draft recommendation in Document 13458, as amended, is adopted unanimously, with 36 votes for, 0 against and 0 abstentions.
Once again I congratulate the rapporteur. I hope you have just as much success in your forthcoming report.
3. References to committees
The PRESIDENT* – The Bureau has proposed a number of references to committees for ratification by the Assembly. They are set out in Document AS/Inf (2014) 07. Are there any objections to the proposed references to committees?
There is no objection, so the references are approved.
4. Voting champions
The PRESIDENT* – I am pleased to be able to announce the names of our voting champions – those members who have taken part in the most votes in this part-session. They are: Mr Ghiletchi, from the Republic of Moldova, Mr Gross, from Switzerland, and Mr Koç, from Turkey. I congratulate all three. Please come up at the end of the sitting to receive a small gift.
This is perhaps going above and beyond my role as President, but I would like to add, as a member of Luxembourg’s Parliament, that the whole of the Luxembourg delegation is present in the Assembly. I congratulate the parliamentarians from Luxembourg.
5. Closure of the 2nd part-session
The PRESIDENT* – We have now come to the end of our business.
We have had a very tough week. It has been intense. There has been a lot of tension, in the light of the agenda and the decisions we have had to make. I would like to thank all colleagues for the way in which they have conducted themselves when speaking. Despite all the tension, debates have always taken place in an atmosphere of mutual respect. I thank everybody for showing each other that respect.
Yesterday we took the decision to remove the Russian delegation’s voting rights, but we decided not to annul their credentials. The vast majority of members of this Assembly reached the conclusion that, despite all the difficulties we are facing, we should continue to co-operate, and in order to co-operate we must all be present. It is much better to talk with each other, rather than about each other. But in order to co-operate and talk we need them here. It cannot be a one-way street. I hope that that co-operation can continue so that together we can find solutions to this grave crisis, in the interests of the populations of Ukraine, Crimea and, indeed, Russia. I think that in our debates we have shown great dignity, which the subject deserves.
That has been possible as a result of the excellent work of the Secretary General of the Assembly and his team, whom I thank most warmly on everyone’s behalf. All our plenary sittings are difficult, but yesterday’s was particularly fraught. Thank you, Mr Sawicki, for all your work. [Applause] The applause is well deserved. I would also like to thank the interpreters, because without their contribution we would be unable to make ourselves understood or have any dialogue. It is so important to listen to others, and it is so much better to be able to speak in our mother tongues and listen to languages we understand. I congratulate the interpreters on the quality of their work.
The third part of the 2014 session will be held from 23 to 27 June.
I declare the second part of the 2014 session of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe closed.
The sitting is closed.
(The sitting was closed at 11.40 a.m.)
1. Refugees and the right to work
Presentation by Mr Chope of the Committee on Migration, Refugees and Displaced Persons, Document 13462
Speakers: Mr Xuclà, Mr Gross, Mr Spautz, Mr Juratovic, Mr Díaz Tejera, Mr. Cozmanciuc, Mr Casey
Draft resolution in Document 13462 adopted
2. Ending child poverty in Europe
Presentation by Ms Fataliyeva of the report of the Committee on Social Affairs, Health and Sustainable Development, Document 13458
Speakers: Mr Cozmanciuc, Mr Jónasson, Mr Díaz Tejera, Ms Johnsen, Ms Magradze, Ms Gafarova, Mr Downe, Mr Popescu
Amendments 1, 2 and 3 adopted
Draft resolution in Document 13458. as amended, adopted
3. References to committees
4. Voting champions
5. Closure of the 2nd part-session
Representatives or Substitutes who signed the Attendance Register in accordance with Rule 11.2 of the Rules of Procedure. The names of Substitutes who replaced absent Representatives are printed in small letters. The names of those who were absent or apologised for absence are followed by an asterisk
Alexey Ivanovich ALEKSANDROV*
Miloš ALIGRUDIĆVesna Marjanović
Lord Donald ANDERSON*
Paride ANDREOLI/Gerardo Giovagnoli
Francisco ASSIS/Ana Catarina Mendonça
Egemen BAĞIŞ/Suat Önal
Gerard BARCIA DUEDRA*
José Manuel BARREIRO/Ángel Pintado
José María BENEYTO*
Anna Maria BERNINI*
Ľuboš BLAHA/Darina Gabániová
Anne BRASSEUR/Claude Adam
Irakli CHIKOVANI/Guguli Magradze
Carlos COSTA NEVES*
Joseph DEBONO GRECH*
Armand De DECKER*
Manlio DI STEFANO*
Arcadio DÍAZ TEJERA
Peter van DIJK
Alexander [The Earl of] DUNDEE*
Lady Diana ECCLES*
Tülin ERKAL KARA*
Franz Leonhard EßL*
Joseph FENECH ADAMI*
Cătălin Daniel FENECHIU*
Axel E. FISCHER
Gvozden Srećko FLEGO*
Sir Roger GALE*
Tamás GAUDI NAGY*
Francesco Maria GIRO*
Alina Ştefania GORGHIU*
Fred de GRAAF*
Patrick De GROOTE*
Mehmet Kasim GÜLPINAR*
Françoise HETTO-GAASCH/Marc Spautz
Adam HOFMAN/Zbigniew Girzyński
Ali HUSEYNLI/Sahiba Gafarova
Florin IORDACHE/Corneliu Mugurel Cozmanciuc
Denis JACQUAT/André Schneider
Michael Aastrup JENSEN*
Frank J. JENSSEN*
Kateřina KONEČNÁ/Pavel Holík
Unnur Brá KONRÁÐSDÓTTIR*
Jean-Yves LE DÉAUT
Trine Pertou MACH*
Meritxell MATEU PI*
Liliane MAURY PASQUIER*
Sir Alan MEALE*
Ermira MEHMETI DEVAJA*
José MENDES BOTA*
Rubén MORENO PALANQUES*
João Bosco MOTA AMARAL
Baroness Emma NICHOLSON*
Mirosława NYKIEL/Iwona Guzowska
José Ignacio PALACIOS
Eva PARERA/Jordi Xuclà
Stanislav POLČÁK/Simeon Karamazov
Marietta de POURBAIX-LUNDIN
Cezar Florin PREDA*
Maria de Belém ROSEIRA*
Ingjerd SCHOU/Kristin Ørmen Johnsen
Urs SCHWALLER/Elisabeth Schneider-Schneiter
Björn von SYDOW/Jonas Gunnarsson
Lord John E. TOMLINSON*
Ahmet Kutalmiş TÜRKEŞ
Snorre Serigstad VALEN*
Klaas de VRIES*
Dame Angela WATKINSON*
Morten WOLD/Ingebjørg Godskesen
Kristýna ZELIENKOVÁ/Ivana Dobešová
Barbara ŽGAJNER TAVŠ/Andreja Črnak Meglič
Vacant Seat, Cyprus*
Representatives and Substitutes not authorised to vote
Partners for democracy