AS (2014) CR 23



(Third part)


Twenty-third sitting

Wednesday 25 June at 10 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.

(Ms Brasseur, President of the Assembly, took the chair at 10.05 a.m.)

The PRESIDENT – The sitting is open.

1. Welcome to the President of the Parliament of Norway

The PRESIDENT – I have the great privilege and honour of welcoming the President of the Parliament of Norway, Mr Thommessen. Welcome to our house of democracy, Mr President. You have a very active delegation here. I just looked at the statistics and for participation in our plenary sessions, your delegation is ranked fifth, while for votes, I think it is ranked third. It is always among the top five, so congratulations to your delegation and members. That is an encouragement to all the other delegations to do as well as yours. Thank you very much. We will have the privilege and pleasure of talking to each other in my office later, but now I thank you for hosting the meeting of the speakers of the parliaments of the Council of Europe in September. I am looking forward to it. Thank you for all that you are doing and for your hospitality to the Council of Europe and the speakers of the 47 member States.

2. Time limits on speeches

The PRESIDENT* – I remind members that today the speaking time has been limited to three minutes.

3. Towards a better European democracy: facing the challenges of a federal Europe

The PRESIDENT* – The first item on the agenda is a debate on the report presented by Mr Andreas Gross on behalf of the Committee on Political Affairs and Democracy, “Towards a better European democracy: facing the challenges of a federal Europe”. To finish in time for the ceremony commemorating the 100th anniversary of the First World War, which will take place at 12.30 p.m., we must interrupt the list of speakers at about noon to allow time for the reply from the committee and the voting on the text. Rapporteur, as usual, you have 13 minutes, which you may divide as you wish between presenting the report and responding to the debate. You have the floor.

Mr GROSS (Switzerland) – I will make five or six points as an introduction.

We have to be aware that Europe is politically ill today. That is an institutional problem. Too many people no longer recognise themselves in what happens in Europe. They think that Europe does not defend the interests of the majority. That is why we need to think about the institutional framework of Europe.

This is a problem not only of Europe, but of democracy. Where people have democracy, they think that it is too weak. Where politics is strong, people think that they do not have democracy. That is why democracy needs a European push and why Europe needs a democratic push. That is exactly what the German or continental notion of federalism offers. Federalism is not centralism. That is the American tradition, which adopted the Anglo-Saxon word that goes back to Scandinavia. Federalism means a balance of power in a system that has different levels of power. Facing the challenge of federalism means facing up to the concentration of power in today’s Europe and thinking about how we can decentralise it so that people and the representatives of the people have a greater say.

      Why are we discussing this matter here? We are not the European Union – of course not! However, we have the legitimacy to discuss it because the Council of Europe was founded by people who wanted to have democratically constituted federalism in Europe. We were supposed to be the constitution-making body for that European identity. That is not just theory or history. The first President of this Assembly – perhaps the biggest and best predecessor of Ms Brasseur – was not a Luxembourger, but one of the best Belgian politicians since the Second World War, Mr Spaak. He was also the first president of the United Nations General Assembly. As the President of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe, he stepped down in protest in December 1951 when the Assembly did not become the constitution-making body that the biggest pioneers hoped it would be. I hope that you do not have to step down in protest, Madam President. Our history gives us the responsibility to think not only about the whole of Europe and the 47 member States, but about the parts of Europe. Not one of the 47 is unaffected by the illness in the structure of the European Union.

It is also legitimate for us to discuss this matter because a better balance of power concerns the parliamentarians of all countries, especially those who are in the European Union. We are in the place where the people of the European Union are represented, so we can think about these matters together. We should not doubt our raison d’être – the reason why we are here discussing this report. If there is a more precisely organised separation of power and a better balance, it will integrate our national parliaments too.

I hope that you read the report carefully, especially the draft resolution. I am totally aware that we cannot impose anything. The report is just an invitation to think about these matters. That is the point of it. Please take the invitation seriously and take it up. I hope that, when you are back at home, there will be reaction to this debate. People at home are interested in this matter because they are looking for an alternative. We have never had a European Parliament with so many nationalists. That is a reaction to the democratic deficit. People turn to the place where democracy should be, but it is too weak. In places that do not yet have democracy, people do not have the courage to think about integrating democracy. That is what we should do. I hope that this debate will take that forward.

The PRESIDENT* – Mr Gross, you have eight minutes left. In the debate, I call first Mr Saar on behalf of the Socialist Group.

Mr SAAR (Estonia) – Europe is dead; long live Europe. That is how I would summarise the exchange of views that we had yesterday in the Committee on Political Affairs and Democracy. We had a keynote speech from the hon. Michel Rocard.

“Europe is dead; long live Europe” would be my subtitle for the report, “Towards a better European democracy: facing the challenges of a federal Europe”. Luckily, I am not the rapporteur and we have the comprehensive report that has been prepared by Andreas Gross. I congratulate not only the rapporteur but the whole Assembly on this report.

Given the situation in Europe today, the discussion about a new vision or dream is not only essential, but should be the top priority of all interested Europeans, especially members of this Assembly. All too often, we do not take responsibility. We say, “It is not our business. Let the European Union and the European Parliament deal with it. It is their task.” Yes, it is their duty, but it is not theirs alone. It is our task as well; it is our duty. I hope that we do not make that mistake this time, but that we support the report, which provides a good basis for a fruitful discussion about how to organise the functioning of European democracy in modern times.

The report formulates the principles for a possible model to transform today’s treaty-based European Union into a constitution-based federal union. The guiding principle for the distribution of power within the federation must be subsidiarity. That means that responsibilities must be given to smaller decision-making units and that the solution to any problem must be sought as close to the citizen as possible.

I am grateful for the work that the rapporteur has done on the explanatory memorandum. It provides a good overview of the different concepts of federalism. Too often when we dispute federal Europe, we have totally different concepts of federalism in mind. I strongly believe that the report will help us to reach a mutual understanding in such discussions. We need to have these discussions if we are to stand for the core values of this house – the house of democracy.

I thank the rapporteur and encourage colleagues to support the report in its original version.

(Mr Mahoux, Vice-President of the Assembly, took the Chair in place of Ms Brasseur.)

The PRESIDENT* – I call Mr Németh to speak on behalf of the Group of the European People’s Party.

Mr NÉMETH (Hungary) – The European Union truly has problems. It is ill, as the rapporteur said. However, the European construction is still alive. There are two important new developments: the rise of radicalism, which was rightly pointed out by the rapporteur, and the growing need to redefine the competences.

I congratulate you, Mr Gross. As always, your report has very original ideas, like your report on autonomy in 2003. What unites your initiatives is that they all try to strengthen the substance of democracy. That is why I congratulate you. As a Swiss, you are on the one hand an outsider and on the other hand a very important part of the European construction.

      On some important points, I agree with you, and on some we disagree. We agree that no European State is desirable, with no ever closer unity and no “more Europe, less nation State” concept. The European competencies should be focused on transnational issues, as you rightly point out. The balance between unity and diversity is crucial and we have to employ the traditional techniques of transfer of competencies: subsidiarity, multiculturalism and decentralisation are the driving principles.

      I disagree with you about “federalism”, which is a term, and terms cannot be interpreted arbitrarily. The word is reserved for certain forms of State, describing their function. States are either unitary or federal and, usually, the federal level dominates. The European Union, however, as you say, is not a State. Neither the federal Europe nor the “Europe of nations” concepts will yet get broad acceptance. New terms, new solutions, instead of old debates between old religions – for example, “decentralism” or “subsidiarity” might be crucial in finding new terms to define future theory.

      As you say, the Council of Europe is an important and ideal bridge for such debates, because they are held between the national and European levels. We are also in the position of having both European Union and non-European Union countries able to discuss things here. Furthermore, the role of national parliaments is crucial in the Council of Europe. For that very reason, I agree that the Council of Europe is an ideal place for such debates.

      The PRESIDENT* – I call Mr Binley to speak on behalf of the European Democrat Group.

      Mr BINLEY (United Kingdom) – Andy Gross should be congratulated on courageously promoting an honest and open debate about the problems facing the European Union and the need for a new model of governance. The recent European elections should have made the growing dissatisfaction with the European Union in many national electorates abundantly clear. Andy’s report is opportune in that respect. To do nothing is not an option.

      Andy also has the foresight to point out where we are going wrong. He indicates that to call for ever closer union should be questioned and perhaps even opposed. He argues for nation States to be strengthened through the devolution of power. He highlights the dangers of the democratic deficit and the need to bring decision making closer to the people. He underlines the problems of a common currency disconnected from fiscal, economic and social policies. He is of course right in every respect. Those are some of the reasons why so many electors in so many countries have become disillusioned, and why they are increasingly attracted to populist politicians voicing 10-second soundbites.

      A highly respected polling organisation recently undertook some in-depth polling on those phenomena in the UK. It found that almost 50% of voters for the UK Independence Party defected from my centre-right Conservative Party. When asked how many of them would return at the forthcoming general election, 38% said that they would; when pressed further, they were found to be reasonably well-to-do middle class voters. Almost 50% of them, however, mostly working-class Tories, said that they would stay with UKIP; when pressed, they said that they felt left behind, that we the politicians did not listen to them, did not represent them and were not like them, and they especially cited the European Union and immigration as two major causes of discontent.

That is why Andy Gross’s paper is so important. We can argue with his view that federalism is the way forward – personally, I believe that there are other issues to consider in terms of future governance – but we cannot argue that his basic call for a serious debate that must lead to genuine change is not a good and courageous call. To do otherwise is to run the risk of an unthinkable future, and none of us can possibly countenance that in our continent again.

The PRESIDENT* – I call Ms Mateu Pi to speak on behalf of the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe.

Ms MATEU PI (Andorra)* – I congratulate Andy Gross on his report, which offers us some intellectually robust ideas. Many of the concepts contained in it have given rise to a thorough debate in ALDE.

      In 1948, the parliamentarians behind this Assembly started to talk about federalism, but the idea remained a dead letter. Former French Prime Minister Michel Rocard told us that practical considerations then came to outweigh ideals. He added that interests are negotiable and can be transacted, which is not the case for symbols, because those cannot be negotiated and exchanged. That, however, is exactly what has happened.

In the aftermath of the Second World War, our democracies dreamed of a federal Europe, but they were unable to make that dream a reality. Rather, they set up an economic organisation, the European Coal and Steel Community, which was the precursor of today’s European Union. To re-establish the primacy of human rights and the rule of law, they looked to the Council of Europe, while the ECSC became a supranational organisation.

What do we see now? After many years of disappointment, we find that a lot of our fellow citizens are disillusioned about democracy and democratic values. There is little convergence on the notion of moving towards a federal Europe and we even find a number of organisations and institutions refusing to work with one another, or to see themselves as complementary. They live isolated, parallel lives, and ordinary people are at a loss to understand how those organisations and institutions work, with many of them duplicating the work of our own Organisation.

In his report, Andy Gross suggests that we offer the European Union an opportunity to use our Assembly as the basis for a convention to draft a European constitution. That is a highly praiseworthy initiative, but there was a Convention on the Future of Europe, chaired by Valéry Giscard d’Estaing, whose work was shelved some years ago. In its stead, the choice was to opt for a minimalist treaty, namely the Lisbon Treaty.

What about European federalists? Are we consigned to irrelevance? Will we disappear? We need to engage with ideas about the future of Europe. We need a Europe that may converge towards federalism, but we are reserved about the means the rapporteur advocates for achieving that goal.

The PRESIDENT* – The last to speak on behalf of a political group is Mr Loukaides, for the Group of the Unified European Left.

Mr LOUKAIDES (Cyprus) – I congratulate Mr Gross on his efforts to accomplish a complex and difficult task. On behalf of the Group of the Unified European Left, I make it clear that, although we socialists are internationalists, we do not support unconditionally any form of international co-operation, unless its content, first and foremost, promotes the interests of the people and of the working class.

The European Union is going through a multifaceted crisis. The neo-liberal path it has pursued over the years, partly as a result of the global capitalist crisis, has led to 120 million citizens being on the poverty line. Some 43 million of them are unable to secure one meal a day, and 26 million are unemployed. The devastating memoranda imposed by the Troika, the imposition of the Lisbon Treaty, the institutionalisation of single economic governance, and the regulation concerning the surplus budgets of member States, are just some policies adopted without the necessary democratic legitimacy from the peoples of Europe, further exacerbating inequalities and social exclusion in the European Union.

      The European Union is increasingly and steadfastly developing into a union of austerity, poverty, unemployment, social marginalisation, enormous social and economic inequalities, and severe democratic deficits. It is developing into a union of the multinational monopolies directed against the interests of the people, workers and citizens, and thus against European integration and the European perspective. Figures from the recent European elections show significant increases for extreme right-wing, populist and Nazi forces. To a large extent, that is due to the antisocial policies that are being imposed on the people.

      Under the weight of that indisputable reality, the trust of European citizens in the European Union has fallen to its lowest level – 30%. Is it therefore acceptable that the top priority is a discussion of whether we have more Europe and whether it is federalist or intergovernmental? Alternatively, as is self-evident, should the discussion be focused on another Europe, and on a radical revision of the nature and direction of European Union policies? The Group of the United European Left choose the obvious path, namely the need and the struggle for another Europe – a Europe of the peoples, democracy, peace, equality, solidarity, social justice and cohesion, growth, and labour and social rights.

For the left, full respect for the peculiarities and diversity that objectively characterise European Union member States on the national, economic and social level, also represents a self-evident prerequisite to progress to European integration. We do not agree with the levelling approach that prevails today within, for example, the context of single economic governance. We also do not agree with the transfer of member States’ powers to the directorate of Brussels and to a powerful club of nations of Europe, so that they can determine policies to serve the interests of the financial oligarchy of specific member States or all of them.

      The PRESIDENT* – Does the rapporteur wish to respond to what those speaking on behalf of the groups have said?

      Mr GROSS (Switzerland) – I believe I have been understood even by those who do not agree with all my propositions, but I have only three remarks to make, in order to avoid misunderstandings.

      Ms Mateu Pi described the history of what has happened. Mr Rocard could not say a lot on that, but the point is clear. When you want to make a constitution, you need to be sovereign and to have the power. After the war, Europe did not have power over itself. The Americans and the Soviet Union did not want a constitution. In addition, there was no majority within Europe on transferring sovereignty and achieving the balance at European level. At that time, a constitution was not possible, but it was possible from 1989 to 1992. Unfortunately, too many social democrats did not think enough about democracy. Afterwards, globalisation showed the need to install democracy at the transnational level so that we could have a people’s Europe rather than another type of Europe.

      My second point is that when I say “constitution”, I do not mean a constitution disguised as a treaty, which is what happened in 2005-06. A constitution cannot always be as precise as the American constitution. A constitution can be like other, less precise ones, but it must be voted in by the people. You can create a constitution only with the people. At the end, they will vote on it. When you present people with a 500-page paper that only lawyers can read, the people will always say no. That is why we must know from the beginning whether we want a treaty or a constitution. A written constitution is different from a treaty. My point is that, in the early 2000s, European leaders did not know what they wanted. They combined the treaty and the constitution and spoiled both of them. There is a big responsibility in Germany to underline the difference. A Belgian colleague once said that the difference is revolution. When there is a revolution, people are brought in and left out.

      I thank Mr Németh for his comment. I agree that we do not have to fight for some notions, but when it comes to democracy, freedom, constitutions and federalism, we should not give up. He said that the idea of federalism is to link unity and diversity, and to protect the diversity that the market undermines. We should take that idea and not leave it to those who discredit it because they do not want it. I take that into account not because I am Swiss, but because it would be helpful for Europe.

      The PRESIDENT* – You have five minutes left. I now give the floor to colleagues on the speakers list. May I remind you that you have three minutes to speak?

      Mr LE BORGN’ (France)* – The European Union is in the throes of a serious crisis – probably the most serious since the beginning of the movement towards integration 60 years ago. Is the crisis mainly about the type of organisation we want? I do not think so. What emerges from the fact that large numbers of people did not vote in the May elections, and from the success of populist and xenophobic parties, is first and foremost a sense of despair at the lack of results in tackling the economic crisis. We have said for years that the fight for jobs must be fought at the level of Europe and Europe-wide. Not only have we not provided the promised results, but all our peoples have taken on the firm conviction that Europe is unravelling and out of control, and that it is dismantling all the things that used to be organised collectively, such as public services and social welfare provision, all under the banner of a crazy, narrowly targeted neo-liberal philosophy.

      Europeans look to Europe to protect them, not to expose them to competition, which is often unfair competition. Therefore, how can we encourage people to support the European project when it is perceived as a threat, as a conglomeration of institutions that are distant and shadowy, and as an unseen, intangible but threatening power? How can they be encouraged to support Europe when they do not know where it holds sway or who is running things? Outside the circles of initiates and specialists, who understands the difference between delegated acts and implementing acts, which, in the most tangible, everyday fashion, are the core of the European Union’s legislative activity? Beyond the lack of results on the things that count for Europeans, the inscrutability of the decision-making process in the Union feeds people’s fears, giving rise to bogeymen and conspiracy theories of all kinds.

      I am a European federalist and always have been – it is not a forgone conclusion that a French person is a federalist. Federalism requires the recognition of the major role to be played by subsidiarity and the regions. I am ready for that and advocate both federalism and subsidiarity. Initiatives taken by the public authorities should be easy to understand and straightforward, and they must be built on universal suffrage and the principle of responsibility. No decision can or should be taken without checks and balances, and transparency. Therefore, federalism means the combination of economic governance, under the monitoring and control of the European Parliament, as a counterweight to the European Central Bank, as practised in the United States, a country whose federalism is an undeniable reality. Federalism means promoting thresholds for social rights and the environment, including, for instance, a European minimum salary adjusted by country. There can be no Europe without Europeans, no Europe without shared progress and no Europe without emotions and hard work. So, yes to federalism, which, through treaties and practice, should raise Europe from its knees.

      The PRESIDENT* – I do not see Ms Kovács, Mr Flego or Mr Nikoloski, so I call Mr Triantafyllos.

      Mr TRIANTAFYLLOS (Greece)* – I congratulate the rapporteur on a very useful document, and for the fact that he has decided to bring such an important subject to us for public debate in the current crisis.

      The elections have once again demonstrated something that we have already sensed in this Chamber and in our national parliaments: a growing climate of Euroscepticism and even Europhobia. That is true in several States and societies. The time has come to have an open discussion on whether we can offer answers to the new generations who feel that the European Union is not bringing solutions to their problems. In fact, they believe that the source of their problems is the overall integration process of the European Union. In recent years, the European Union has been characterised by a number of asymmetries, not only among member States but among its decision-making institutions.

We are being confronted with the old clichés of confrontation and nationalism. This is a dangerous phenomenon. Rather than putting on the stress on what unites us, we are focusing more and more on disunity and we are not taking advantage of diversity. We are not really responding to the pressing issues. Are we going to dissolve the European ideal? Are we going to go back to nation States or are we going to move towards more Europe – a federal Europe, a constitutional Europe?

My personal opinion is that we need more democratic legitimacy. That is absolutely essential. Democratic legitimacy means that policies would be more accepted. Policies are legitimate when they really meet the needs of citizens. Democratic legitimacy must be based on a narrowing of the gap between citizens and the taking of European Union decisions. It is in that sense that there is a lack of democracy. There is a democratic deficit that needs to be overcome. We need to have solutions at the heart of our policies; solutions that really meet the daily needs of our fellow citizens. Then we could make progress and move with resolution into the future and find the policies that really meet their needs.

      The PRESIDENT* – I do not see Sir Edward Leigh so the next speaker is Mr Maruste of Estonia.

      Mr MARUSTE (Estonia) – I very much welcome the initiative to restart discussion and debate on democracy in Europe. Needless to say, advancing democracy and making it more efficient and stable should be, by definition, a matter for our constant concern. This debate is justified for many reasons, but I will name only some.

      The European elections showed a clear rise of nationalist, anti-European sentiment and movements. This is a warning sign. The present sui generis treaty-based model of Europe does not meet the expectations that Europeans have, and that raises questions of legitimacy and casts doubt on democracy. Europeans do not know where it leads. Last but not least, the original idea in creating the Council of Europe was precisely the establishment of a democratic European federation. The Parliamentary Assembly was designed to be a constitution-making body of a European federation.

The legal doctrine of federation and federalism is unfortunately misunderstood and even demonised. Federalism as a concept has been discussed in Europe for centuries, and in countries where it is in use it works well. If truly interpreted and applied, constitution-based federalism relates mainly to the principle of organising different social and cultural entities by dividing and balancing powers between central federal powers and subjects of federation – member States. Federation implies the clear fixing of competencies and balancing them in a differentiated political order that enables unity and efficiency while guaranteeing diversity. The continuous search for a balance of power between European and national institutions could lead us to a more effective, democratic and stable Europe. This is what Europe needs.

      Ms MATTILA (Finland) – I, too, thank the rapporteur for the report. Unfortunately, I disagree with some parts of it. I am sorry but my country is so dear to me that I cannot but speak out. I am not a xenophobic person – far from it – but I am afraid of increasing bureaucracy in Europe. That is a threat to democracy, too.

      Democracy is also very dear to me. To improve democracy in Europe we need less, but better, European Union politics. On this I agree with the rapporteur: we need less of a political union. However, at the moment we are facing a crisis within the European Union itself that is threatening democracy to a large extent – the euro crisis. That is why I found the report so confusing. I hope I will get some answers here today.

      I would nevertheless like to thank the European Union for its peace project. Europe was rebuilt from the ruins of war. The rapporteur also referred to that development. I value peace highly, but I do not fully approve of current developments in the European Union. The economic crisis has developed into a democratic crisis in the euro countries. The solution to this crisis is not federalism. The euro is a political currency and its future is in great danger. That is why it is confusing to offer federalism as a solution to increase democracy. Complicated arrangements have been established to save the joint currency, but mostly it has saved banks and led to motions for increased integration or what we can also call federalism. In a banking union, it is unclear whether subsidiarity can be safeguarded as a part of federalism.

      The report also affords the option of federation. Can there be two different types of federation? Are we creating double standards? Secondly, how can a society that offers a supranational administration organise a decentralised democracy? My understanding is that federalism is not the answer to increasing democracy, but that federalism precedes democracy. That is why we are here today. We have the Council of Europe which, through the gathering of parliamentarians from independent States, forms a strong body to promote democracy in Europe.

      What practical measures are we proposing? Do we want the European Parliament to be bicameral and commissioners to be elected via indirect elections? That is a practical example. However, not all European countries are members of the European Union. The ideas contained in the report are good, but, in reality, they would be difficult to put into practice.

Ms DURRIEU (France)* – Europe, Europe, Europe. De Gaulle said it three times, jumping up and down on his chair. We created Europe because we wanted it after the war partly to gain independence from American domination. Now, after many crises, Europe faces the threat of break-up. There are more and more differences and disparities, both economic and social, which are bringing Europe to breaking point. Germany acts the way it does and each country is potentially a predator to its neighbours.

A few days ago, we said that Europe is dead, but the young people say, “Long live Europe!” What kind of social model do we want for Europe? How can we get out of the crisis? Is a European renaissance possible? To look at the institutional aspect of that, we need to ask whether Europe is to be federal or a community, but that is not the only debate. Our friend Andreas Gross rightly stressed that the reality we face is a democratic crisis in Europe. Nation States do not have the ability or will to renew the social contract and people question whether the European Union has that mission.

We are at an impasse. Europe has entered a vicious cycle of self-destruction, so what can we hope for? We can hope that positive pressure from public opinion helps us to deal with youth employment, financial disorder, the excesses of banks, technology and corruption. However, because there have been so many scandals, populist parties such as Marine Le Pen’s Front National in France and those in many other countries, such as the Netherlands and Greece, have been taking advantage of social indignation. We are told to be indignant, but can we hope for such indignation to take root in European society?

We face a real challenge. We need to reinvent a new Europe with obduracy as a matter of survival, because we are confronted with China and India – Asia as a whole – as well as South America. We need to be the master of our destiny for us and for our children and to protect ourselves with good security at our borders. The world is marching forward without Europe.

I thank Andreas Gross. He was the first to react when he said no to the end of Europe. If I may say so, on a lighter note, I did not expect those words from a Swiss, but he made it clear that we must reflect on this issue and get things right.

Mr MOTA AMARAL (Portugal) – The report is timely, as democracy in Europe faces a serious crisis. Across the continent, citizens feel that they are not represented adequately in their governing institutions. While traditional mechanisms of representative democracy are now considered insufficient, new direct and participatory democracy instruments have been introduced in several countries at different levels.

However, politics, politicians and political institutions seem to be less effective in facing and solving collective problems and economic and financial powers tend to overshadow the ability of legitimate democratic institutions to pursue their common goals. On the European Union, the perception has been growing that power has been captured by bureaucrats, with elected officials having less influence. In that context, voter abstention poses a serious threat to the vitality of democracy. The outcome of the recent European Parliament elections should sound an alarm bell for the leaders of the European Union and its member States.

This visionary report, for which I compliment and thank Andreas Gross sincerely, elaborates on measures to bring power in the European Union closer to its citizens. The solutions he envisages are described as the challenges of a federal Europe. Some may interpret them as an impulse to transform the European Union into a federal State on the model of the United States of America, yet the report and the draft resolution, which the Committee on Political Affairs and Democracy unanimously supports, proposes quite the opposite.

The rapporteur says that we need a federalist organisation of our European societies according to the principle of subsidiarity, which is one of the cornerstones of the classic theory of the State. Each collective problem should be solved as closely as possible to the people it concerns. Instead of a monstrous power at the top, we should have at that level only what cannot be done at lower levels, and we should reinforce the capacity of national States and regional or local authorities.

Is a written European constitution needed for that purpose? The rapporteur thinks so, but I am afraid that that should remain an open question to be discussed in our Assembly and in other European forums over time as European peoples return to again believing strongly in, and committing themselves to, the founding fathers’ ideals of a united Europe.

Mr ROCHEBLOINE (France)* – It might seem paradoxical to discuss European federalism in an Assembly that is founded on the tradition of co-operation between States and one that includes States that have no desire to be part of the European Union’s political construction. However, I agree with our rapporteur that we should discuss our ideas and define our future course. The Parliamentary Assembly could be the right place for a measured discussion as our debates here have no legal influence on the functioning of the European Union’s institutions because this Organisation is open to European Union member States and their neighbours.

While I recognise that, I wonder whether the skill with which the report covers the different types of federal systems is enough to provide a realistic response to the question raised: is federalism the future of Europe? To be clear, I am faithful to the Christian Democrat political thinking that created European federalism as one of its main tenets. However, the reason why the great Christian Democrat leaders of the post-war period – Schuman, Alcide De Gasperi and Adenauer – were able to launch the European project was that, before they discussed institutions, they had an overarching political project for Europe in mind. Under that, they were going to establish a community whose economic, cultural and political future was clear. They moved forward step by step, as did their successors.

Do we have that same sense of purpose today? It is hard to say that, because we have allowed ourselves to get caught in the trap of discussing institutions, which should be subordinate to the pursuit of our political goals via European integration. Legal nit-picking kills the spirit of Europe and feeds Euroscepticism. We might wonder whether the different doses of federalism, as explained to us by Mr Gross, would have a different effect if we were talking about them in a broader space than this Parliamentary Assembly.

We should proclaim unceasingly that federalism is the only possible political solution in the long term for Europe, as only working closely together will give us back the unity that Europe needs to take its place in the world. For instance, if Europe does not have the courage to establish a shared policy towards the United States as an opponent or as an ally in the great international political debates, all the legal solutions in the world will not be enough to prevent Europe from becoming an empty shell. If we do have a common policy and we solve our institutional problems – which means reinforcing the federalist idea – we will have the toolbox that Mr Gross mentioned to provide well thought-out technical solutions. Let us hope that by tackling this issue at various levels we will be able to take the discussion forward in a democratic and reasonable way.

      Mr CLAPPISON (United Kingdom) – I congratulate Andreas Gross on bringing this whole subject out into the open, when many vested interests in Europe would rather have it swept under the carpet. It is right that we go back to the fundamental question of what the people want, and I am glad that Andreas did so at one point in his speech, because we are here to represent the people, and the question is whether a theoretical federal European government is what people actually want. That question also sheds light on whether European institutions as they operate today are what people want, or, as I believe, they would prefer to have decisions taken about how they are governed at a national level rather than a European level.

      People want a choice about how they are governed and they want an opportunity to get rid of a government if they so decide. The European Union as it operates today is simply not compatible with that wish. It is true that there is a democratic deficit at the heart of Europe, and I am afraid that giving more power to the European Parliament is not the answer to that – it would make it worse rather than better. If anybody needs evidence of that, they need only look at the results of the European elections. People have commented and pinned labels on how people voted, but the results were striking. They certainly were not an endorsement of further centralisation at a European level, but in some quarters that is how the elections have been interpreted.

      The project goes on regardless of what people say. People can vote all day long, but they will not change a single thing in Europe. I cannot ignore the results in my country, because they were clear. There was no exultation about the way that Europe operates. Instead, there was a clear wish – and I suspect this is true in other countries – for a fundamental reform of the European Union. Of course, I respect the fact that others may wish to take a different course – we must all respect the courses that others take – but I am clear that, from what voters in the United Kingdom say they want and what they vote for, the operation of the European Union as it stands today is incompatible with parliamentary democracy.

Bit by bit, law by law from the European Union, people see their right to vote, their right to democracy being taken away from them, because they cannot change a thing. That is not compatible with my idea of democracy. I am here to represent people in the United Kingdom and that is how they feel. Others may wish to take a different course, but the more I see of the European Union, the more convinced I am that the way it works today is not compatible with parliamentary democracy or the expressed wishes of the people.

The PRESIDENT* – I do not see Mr Kolman, so the next speaker is Ms Bourzai.

Ms BOURZAI (France)* – The report that Andreas Gross has submitted this morning is both theoretical and bold, and I congratulate him on it. He deftly juggles several concepts of political science, including federalism, democracy, balance of powers and even subsidiarity. His proposals are audacious in attempting to reflect on the future political form of the European Union while advocating the introduction of European federal democracy. He suggests that our Assembly constitutes an ideal public space for debating these issues. The report is a particularly rich one, but I wonder to what extent it is feasible at a time when the European Union is going through a profound, multifaceted crisis.

The report states the case for federalism at a time when we are seeing a resurgence of the nation State, not to say nationalism, in Europe. Not only has the sovereign debt crisis of the euro been dealt with at intergovernmental level, allowing the European Council to enjoy the limelight at the expense of more integrated Community institutions, but European citizens themselves can hardly have been said to have cast a supranational vote in the European elections on 25 May. Neither governments nor the people currently want a federal Europe, however much we may regret that. It is no surprise that it should be a Swiss national advocating it.

Discussing the institutional future of the European Union in the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe will not be a straightforward exercise, in that 19 member States of our Organisation are not members of the European Union. Although relations between the Council of Europe and the European Union have taken a definite turn in the direction of co-operation when compared with the past, I am not certain that the 28 will greet this proposal with any enthusiasm, although we can always give it a go. That said, the European Union requires new impetus. The European design has major achievements to its credit – it is an area of peace, a rules-based community, and a single market with a clear citizenship dimension, although the latter has not been sufficiently fleshed out. It has an original mode of functioning, with a central operation at the service of integrated projects.

Europe as we know it has been forged in times of crisis, and the solutions advocated by Europe testify to its dynamism and its ability to fight back, as we saw most recently on the occasion of the financial crisis that almost swept away the single currency. But Europe’s future is certainly not assured. It has fallen prey to a crisis of confidence on the part of its citizens who denounce its bureaucratic excesses and have been tempted to go in search of false solutions in populism. Member States have often turned their back on the European design and have not done what has been required to guarantee the success of the Lisbon strategy and convergence criteria. We need to reorient the European design, and the report by Andreas Gross will be a useful tool when it comes to starting work on that question.

The PRESIDENT* – The next speaker is Mr Chisu, Observer from Canada.

Mr CHISU (Canada) – I welcome the opportunity to speak on this matter, and I congratulate the rapporteur on his excellent work on the road ahead for Europe.

European integration is an ongoing project. The European Union today is the product of gradual reforms achieved through negotiation by the member States, as reflected in the current treaties culminating in the ratification of the Lisbon Treaty. Over the course of this project, the European Union has grown from a six-member economic union to a 28-member economic and political union. These changes have transformed the European Union from its original conception as essentially a trading bloc bound by an international agreement to an entity in its own right, with all the hallmarks of a federal State, including what is de facto a constitution in the form of the European Union treaties.

It is a remarkable achievement that 28 sovereign States have joined together to create a supranational entity endowed with significant legislative, executive and judicial powers, whose legislative acts have direct effect in the member States and whose court judgments are authoritative and binding. In doing so, member States have given up an unprecedented degree of sovereignty and agreed to be governed in significant areas of national and economic life by an entity of their own creation in which they have a voice in running its affairs.

What is even more remarkable is that the European Union is a resounding success on so many fronts: political, economic, social, cultural. Its success, I would argue, is based on its founding principles and fundamental values: respect for human dignity, freedom, democracy, equality, the rule of law and respect for human rights, including the rights of minorities. These values, of course, are now enshrined in the Treaty of the European Union, as cornerstones to guide European Union law making and policy development. It is these values that continue to hold out hope for many European countries that desire to become a part of the larger European project.

Although the rise of Euroscepticism and Eurosceptic political parties is a troubling development, it is worth recalling that there has always been a Eurosceptic strain in many countries. Nevertheless, the Eurosceptics have failed to weaken the European Union, because their parties are founded on intolerance, despair, negativity and exclusion. They are anathema to what the European Union symbolises for the people of Europe: freedom, hope, optimism and inclusiveness. The success – modest, it must be said – of Eurosceptics in the European Parliament elections is based on a foundation that is shaky at best, and it was achieved by playing to the fears that stem from the difficult economic situation Europeans have faced since the global financial crisis.

For most Europeans – the clear majority, in fact – the European Union and its institutions continue to offer them what they seek: freedom and opportunities to prosper.

The PRESIDENT* –  As a number of colleagues are absent, I have the rare privilege of being able to announce that if you exceed your speaking time, it will not be held against you. That is a rather exceptional situation for the Assembly, but nevertheless it is the case. I call Mr Ariev.

Mr ARIEV (Ukraine) – It is very important to discuss the future of Europe at a time, once again, of growing insecurity. The difficulties started with economic problems in the European Union, continued with the tension in Ukraine, and have been deepened by the results of the European Parliament elections. The main regret is the strengthening of Eurosceptic and nationalistic groups. There has been a lot of discussion about the reasons behind that, and it has grown from different sources, but I want to draw your attention to just one cause of the growing political problems in Europe.

The Kremlin is a new source of tension. This year, Putin got Weimar syndrome and found himself somewhere in Berlin in 1938. He has said clearly that he deeply regrets the USSR’s losing the cold war and he is now full of revenge. I call on you to be careful. By annexing Crimea and continuing to finance terrorists in eastern Ukraine, Russia has begun to be openly aggressive against a Europe that lacks foresight and thinks that Putin can stop himself. No, he cannot.

Let us follow the facts. Many nationalist parties of European Union countries took part in the observation of the so-called referendum in Crimea. They then released a statement about the “democratic” voting process, ignoring the fact that all possible laws and procedures were violated. French, Austrian, Hungarian and other nationalists recognised Crimea as part of Russia while the entire world was condemning Moscow for its aggression against Ukraine. I am sure that that stand by nationalists was not a display of their altruism and ideology; I suspect that the Russian intelligence service has given finance and support to them, and to all Eurosceptic movements – including nationalists and the radical left – in order to shake Europe loose. It has done the same in Ukraine, where it supported two radical wings in order to provoke clashes at a chosen moment.

      Do not let a terrible moment like the one Europe lived through in 1930s happen again. Putin’s Weimar syndrome is dangerous – very dangerous. Pay attention to new challenges to European security and resist the Kremlin’s attempts to ruin Europe’s foundations. Revenge is Putin’s motivation and goal. Europe should be ready to act symmetrically. The Putin regime should at least be recognised as a terroristic and dangerous one for the democratic world, and Europe should begin to defend itself from not only the outside but the inside – from organisations that are financed and supported by the Russian intelligence service. We are an open society, and terrorists and aggressive dictators make use of that. Please do not repeat old mistakes that were previously paid for by millions of lives. Thank you in advance.

The PRESIDENT* –  Mr Kamiński is not present, so I call Mr Díaz Tejera.

Mr DÍAZ TEJERA (Spain)* – I support the report in the same way I did in Athens when a number of colleagues recoiled in fear at the very word “federalism”. They are happy with the words “liberty” and “freedom”, but a lot of major historical mistakes were made in the name of federalism – Stalin’s system was federalist. Nevertheless, I support the report because it forces us to look into the future. We are trying to ensure that the report’s credibility does not lie only in its words – that it is not simply a rhetorical exercise. Rather, its credibility should be measured by its impact. We can talk about the Western Sahara, for example, or the wave of immigration in the south. I know from experience and from what I have read that it is part and parcel of the experience of a federal country.

I want to flag up a worrying situation. We continue to experience crises of democracy. Many federalist countries are experiencing deep-rooted problems, namely, political crises. What does that mean? If you ask people aged 20 or 30 what they think of politics, quite honestly, what do you expect them to say? They will say that they want freedom, but you can have freedom only if you have economic independence. The way to be independent is to have a proper job. Without economic independence, a person cannot be autonomous. That is why politics is currently deeply unattractive to young people; it is not even able to provide them with jobs. Politics is capitulating rather than doing what it is supposed to do.

We must say to our sons and daughters that we can guarantee their independence by guaranteeing their economic autonomy. We must realise that life is short and made up of a range of different experiences. We must ensure that activities are sufficiently attractive to young people. In Greece, as elsewhere, we are also seeing a crisis in democracy. If people are on the list of speakers but do not turn up to the Chamber for the debate, that discredits politics, so we should not be surprised that people are disaffected.

It is important that we move away from utopian ideas of federalism and look more practically at how we organise power. Only Australia and Canada are more decentralised than Spain; we are a highly federalised country in both spirit and practice. We must look at how we will live together in future. We must find more federal forms of co-existence. We must ensure that we give greater prestige to politics, because we have so many highly skilled and highly qualified young people, and when they look at their parliaments, democracies and political leaders, they are turned off. Politics is not in the least attractive to them. That is a huge generational problem. We must make politics attractive to young people.

Thank you very much, President. You did not have to ring the bell for once. I will shut up now, because although it has been wonderful to have this opportunity to speak, I would like to listen to what colleagues have to say.

      Mr FLEGO (Croatia) – I am sorry that I was away for a few minutes earlier, Mr President.

      First, I thank the rapporteur for a comprehensive and provocative report. He has made us think about our lives and problems that we forget from time to time.

      I wish to present three short theses. The first is that, as the rapporteur reminded us, this is the birthplace of the European Union and a totally legitimate place to think about its future as well as ours. If we do not do that at a wider level than simply the member States of the European Union, we will be failing. The history of the European Union is one of enlargement and evolution – it is ever-changing.

      My second thesis is that democracy is not just important politically – it is much larger and more significant than that. It not only enables us but forces us into co-decision about ourselves. In spite of the fact that laws sometimes forbid certain behaviour, the process of introducing laws gives us freedom. Democracy enables human freedom, without which one cannot be happy. As long as I have understood political systems, I have known that democracy is the very basis of human freedom and human happiness. That implies that only democracy and the process of co-decision can answer certain open questions, particularly in a time of crisis. Mutual understanding and co-decision are therefore crucial for our lives and our future.

      My third thesis is about the enormous social differences that divide us, about which there is plenty of literature. People on opposing sides take different political positions, and it has been demonstrated in certain works that enormous social differences are not consequences but causes of political and social crises. Only democracy and democratically organised political communities can bridge such differences, and that is why I see a bright future for the ideas developed in the report, for which I once again thank the rapporteur.

      Mr TALIADOUROS (Greece) – Now more than ever, the role and future political form of the European Union is a matter of great comment. The economic crisis in Europe has led to the questioning of European integration, and Europe’s political order and the distribution of powers between the European Union and its member States are the theme of many political disputes and debates.

Today, the main challenge for Europe, besides the management of the fiscal and economic crisis, is to regain the trust of its citizens and create a better European democracy. There are many alternative ways of achieving that, and a federal Europe empowered with a federal democracy is one of them. We should not forget that the original goal of the creation of the Council of Europe and its Parliamentary Assembly after the Second World War was the establishment of a democratic European federation. In our time, democracy in Europe should be re-empowered, and the idea of a federal Europe should be a matter of discussion and examination at national and European level.

We should particularly bear in mind the following points. First, in a democracy, federalism helps to achieve unity and diversity at the same time. A federal Europe would mean not fewer nation States but a decentralised government with European competencies based on the will of European citizens. Secondly, the principle of subsidiarity would have a very important role in a federal Europe. Priority should be given to nation States and small units, because government should be as close as possible to citizens. Thirdly, European democratic federalism as a mode of organisation would be more compatible with the multinational character of societies in today’s European Union. It would enable a balance between integration and differentiation.

For those reasons, we should consider the challenges of a European federal democracy and evaluate ways to transform today’s treaty-based European Union into a constitution-based European federal union. An open discussion and debate is necessary, involving all interested Europeans, European institutions and States, including governments and parliaments. We should protect the power of the European Union while preserving its future.

Mr STROE (Romania) – I congratulate the rapporteur. As Mr Gross says, the main driver of this discussion is the integration process that takes place in the European Union. The decrease in citizens’ trust and the lack of efficiency at various levels of governance raise this question: how should we rethink the balance of power in a differentiated political order, with the aim of consolidating unity while guaranteeing diversity? Furthermore, how should we deal with the challenges to democracy in the European Union from a Council of Europe perspective?

There are a couple of challenges within the European Union today. Subsidiarity is the key word for effective and efficient governance, but it is not a one-way street. The answer is not simply to delegate more power to lower levels, but to delegate the right things. It seems to me, however, that the crisis of participation remains the main challenge. We have seen its results recently with the election of members of nationalist and even xenophobic parties to the European Parliament. It seems that people who vote for those parties no longer see the purpose of European integration, and some are tempted by populist discourse. Our answer to that cannot be limited to speeches in this Chamber; it should encompass the stimulation of participation in public life in our national constituencies.

      I dare to say that our political parties as institutions of democracy have their own responsibility to debate the federal project and the devolution of power back home at a national and local level. If we give up that responsibility, we will abandon the European project to political forces that want to take us back to the 19th century. Meanwhile, we should not forget that we are an Organisation with 47 members and that the non-European Union States are also affected by the transformations within the European Union. They are not indifferent to the anti-immigration discourse or to the policies that sometimes stem from that. I believe that this Assembly is the right venue for them to ask questions of the European Union nations, and they should not shy from responding to them.

Let this debate be a reference point in our discussions on democracy, the role of nation States, the future of the European project and the specific role of the Council of Europe and let me add my voice to the support for the draft resolution proposed by the rapporteur.

      Mr NICOLETTI (Italy)* – I thank our colleague, Andreas Gross, for his report. I appreciated its clear theory and balanced political proposals and I thank him for mentioning the contribution made by outstanding Italian federalists such as Spinelli as well as the very Europhile attitude of Italian Governments.

      A federal Europe is not just an odd idea that the Swiss came up with but part and parcel of our history. It is not just an ideal but a clear political manifesto to which some of our countries have signed up. We have heard various interpretations of the most recent elections to the European Parliament and I do not go along with many of them. The idea of a stronger federal Europe won out in those elections. Citizens are afraid of a Europe in which their say does not count. They want a more democratic Europe; I do not think they are calling for less Europe.

In a short while, we will commemorate the First World War and we will pay tribute to the major democratic achievements of the European nations. Idolatry of the nation State led to European wars and to civil wars. I live in a frontier region in northern Italy, which our colleague Mr Gross knows well, that has been able to find a solution only in the context of a pluralist, federalist and European perspective. To my mind, that is the only way to reconcile unity and diversity and to overcome the many issues that we need to take up.

One needs only to consider what is going on in Ukraine or Morocco. In all situations in which it is difficult for different groups to live peacefully side by side while respecting human rights, federalism is the solution. When we talk about federalism, we are talking not just about a free market but about a common cause and common values. We sign up to be bound by a shared future and to be destined to live together in a free community that is built from the bottom up. We are not talking about a dirigiste approach, about centralism or about superimposing various levels of bureaucracy but about empowering local communities.

There are obstacles to be overcome, but I think that the Council of Europe is the appropriate forum to commence the debate. That is the only way to enable Europe to overcome and resolve its internal problems, as it has in the past, so that it can attack the wider problems it faces. In 1919, in the aftermath of the First World War, Paul Valéry said that “an immense sort of terrace of Elsinore…stretches from Basel to Cologne, bordered by the sands of Nieuport, the marshes of the Somme, the limestone of Champagne, the granites of Alsace...our Hamlet of Europe is watching millions of ghosts.” The question is to be or not to be Europe and the only way to do that is to consolidate as a democratic and federal Europe.

      Mr ABAD (France)* – This debate is useful because it is important that the Council of Europe can develop its own vision of Europe and that the relationships between the institutions of the European Union and of the Council of Europe are strengthened. Before I was a French parliamentarian, I was a European Union parliamentarian and I know whereof I speak.

There are two points at stake in today's debate: federalism and democracy. The one does not necessarily go with the other, but the two are, of course, closely interlinked. It is possible to have federalism without democracy and vice versa. As far as federalism in Europe is concerned, I think that the debate about intergovernmental federalism is obsolete. Why? All European Union decisions, whether they are taken by the European Parliament or the European Council or whether they are proposed by the European Commission, contain aspects of federalism and of intergovernmentalism. No decision is taken without a majority in the European Council, so that is a federalist aspect of our approach. Federalism between 28 member States is also much more complicated than federalism between six, nine or 12 member States. Certain forms of reinforced co-operation make it possible to go further in certain areas and more budgetary integration is required. There needs to be a real European Union budget and real government of the European Union. Of course, that is even more the case for the eurozone.

As for democracy, we can see a paradox. European citizens reject the European Union as too technocratic and too foreign to their concerns at the same time as we have a crying need for more Europe. If people want to combat climate change, to put in place financial regulations or to have a voice in the international community, they turn to the European Union. The paradox can be resolved through more democracy in Europe and I hope that that will be the case. The new president of the European Commission will be appointed soon by the European Parliament, which is progress along the path of democracy. I hope that it will result in people having a sense of belonging to the European Union.

The European Union needs a face; it needs to be visible and it should not disappear into an inter-institutional debate. We will ensure progress in Europe and convince people of the European ideal through major projects whether they are in energy, in environmental protection or on social issues. Those major European projects need to be implemented, because Europe cannot be constructed against people and against States. We need debates such as this because Europe needs to make progress. When it has ideas, it advances. When it has real leaders, it advances. It is when the European Union has a vision that it becomes credible, not just within the union itself but outside its borders as well. We do not want a Europe of which we are ashamed. We should not use the European Union to hide behind it. The European Union is not an option; it is a necessity. Whatever form of organisation is put in place, we must all be on the side of Europe.

      (Ms Brasseur, President of the Assembly, took the Chair in place of Mr Mahoux.)

Mr MORENO PALANQUES (Spain)* – The European elections have now been held and we have a European Parliament that is possibly the most powerful in history but one that is split and contains a majority of Eurosceptics. It is worth pausing to ponder that fact. These are the first elections that have been held since the Lisbon Treaty entered into force. We were told prior to the elections that our votes would count in the election of the president, pursuant to a new article in the Lisbon Treaty. We are in the process of building Europe but we all have a single destiny. Our future, Mr Gross, is the United States of Europe. There are some people who want to stay in and others who want to head for the exit, but it is inevitable and will mean more integration at all levels. That will apply to social systems and health systems across all member States. Therefore, Mr Gross, you should not be surprised that some of us are a little surprised to be having this debate in this forum. We are not discussing the governance of a Swiss canton.

In terms of what is relevant to this Chamber, namely human rights, since we are talking about this issue we should be aware of one thing. We have a European Social Charter and, increasingly, there are clashes between European law and the European Social Charter, not because they are incompatible – they are not – but because, increasingly, various committees from outside the Council of Europe and outside the Parliamentary Assembly are interpreting the charter in a way that is creative, to put it mildly, but also progressive and dynamic. Worst of all, the members of these committees have no parliamentary legitimacy whatever. If there is something that we should be thinking about, it is precisely that.

It was the intention of the European Union to create an economic union. It is now an organisation that is becoming social and political. That is certainly the goal towards which we are working. I have no doubt that that is the direction of travel, notwithstanding these outbreaks of nationalism in some of our countries. However, if we are to lecture anyone on anything in this Chamber, we should start looking at our points of reference. The European Social Charter, which is being interpreted progressively and dynamically, is making life extremely difficult for many European countries. They are having huge difficulties complying with European law as well as with the way in which fundamental rights are interpreted in the charter. It is not about how those rights are enshrined in the charter but about how they are interpreted. Therefore, if we do not harmonise further, we will see greater incompatibility between these different instruments.

Mr COZMANCIUC (Romania) – I congratulate Mr Gross on this report on a very important topic that needs special attention in the current international context. All member States need to open their economies to the world, and Europe is the only entity capable of having an influence on international treaties or on the negotiation of competition rules when facing such powerful blocs as North America or Asia. The debate organised by the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe is admirable given current political, economic and social realities.

A basic principle of federalism is that the federal level is directly accountable to the individual citizens of the federation. Of course, the entities that are part of the federation play a role, too. That is, in a fully fledged European federation, all citizens would be as directly instrumental in determining the European government as they are in determining their own national, sub-national and local governments, as in all democratic federations around the globe. A European government would be the expression of the European voters and would be accountable to the European Parliament. However, a lot of constitutional fine-tuning would be necessary to prevent the formation of permanent majorities and minorities. In such a complex place as Europe, that would spell the quick death of any federal project. There is hardly any firmer ground for the development of a supranational and transnational democracy than the principle of direct accountability to the citizenry at each level of government.

Outside a federal framework, without a recognisable conceptual or political base that could be converged on and worked on, the goal of democracy beyond the nation State would be much more difficult to achieve and much more precarious. It would be something bestowed on people, rather than something with its own legitimacy.

Another principle of federalism is that even as the entities that make up the federation give up their sovereignty to the federal level in certain matters, they retain it to the full in those matters that do not pertain to the federation. Their powers are not devolved from the centre; nor can they be revoked in any way. That is why, historically, federalism has always been associated, especially on the continent, with freedom, autonomy, dispersal and the diffusion of power.

As Mr Gross very ably emphasises, democracy is a continuous process. Debates such as this are necessary and consequential events on that continuum.

Mr D’ARCY (Ireland) – Madam President, may I first congratulate you on your recent visit to Ireland? It went down very well and you raised awareness of the Council of Europe in our country. Your address to the senate, in particular, was inspiring. Well done.

On the draft resolution, I welcome the discussion on a federal Europe and I thank Mr Gross for all his work. Ireland has benefited greatly – politically, economically, socially and culturally – from its membership of the European Union. When we joined, there were 11 member States and now there are 28, so we have been there quite a while and we value our membership.

Mr Gross refers to “advancing the process of democratisation” and that is important. However, freedom is also important. After 800 years of British domination in Ireland, which ended only in 1922 and for only part of our country, we would like a little more time on our own before we become part of another empire, however benign it may be.

Seriously, the proposal to move further towards a federal Europe must be evaluated before any decision is made to support it. For all the rhetoric, it is an historical fact that after the initial period of transfer, which usually involves a significant surrender of competences, those at the periphery end up, if not vassal components, certainly of less significance and with a great deal less control over their affairs than they might wish. That is an historical reality.

I value a Europe of equals. I believe that that can best be achieved through an advanced form of confederation, with as much real independence of decision making as possible and not simply devolved powers under a European Union constitution, which in time could be amended to take away those powers. That would be the thin end of the wedge.

Already, national budgets must be supplied to the European Union for scrutiny before they are presented in national parliaments and plans that relate to structural deficits must be agreed to. In addition, the 18 largest banks in Europe will, by November 2014, come under the single regulatory authority of the European Central Bank. The only real economic competence that is left to the nation State is taxation. There have been attempts in the European Union to make that matter the subject of qualified majority voting. Only our Taoiseach, Enda Kenny, had the courage to stand up to Mr Sarkozy. If he had not, Ireland would have lost its 12.5% corporation tax rate.

Ireland loves Europe and is committed to Europe, even though you no longer vote for us in the Eurovision song contest. Mr Flego said that the European Union is a story of enlargement. That is so and that is good. Science tells us that that is also true of the universe – it is getting bigger all the time – and that, at some point, it will get smaller and contract into a sub-atomic particle. I hope that the power in Europe does not contract into a sub-atomic particle of federal power. We should certainly look at a federal Europe, but festina lente.

Mr KENNEDY (United Kingdom) – If you will forgive me, Madam President, I will not follow my Celtic cousin’s sub-atomic particle-ism, although, as a British Liberal Democrat, I might be forgiven for feeling that way politically these days. Indeed, as a pro-European British Liberal Democrat, that feeling becomes ever more pronounced. The fact that my Conservative colleagues from the House of Commons have broad smiles tells you all you need to know about the veracity of that statement.

Perhaps it takes a report by a Swiss socialist to give us a sense of perspective in this debate. In British politics, where the word “federalism” is concerned – my goodness, Madam President – that sense of perspective is decades overdue. Even our government is questioning whether it is appropriate for the Council of Europe to discuss the future structures and developments of the European Union. I find that an altogether perverse observation.

The meaning of federalism has been perverted by large aspects of the British media and that has polluted the world of politics. The definition is well summed up on the front page of the excellent report that we are debating in the summary: “Rather than constituting a model for an ever closer political union or a European State, federalism implies a process of balancing power in a differentiated political order which enables unity while guaranteeing diversity.” Most continental politicians would recognise that description. Federalism, in the context of everyday political and media usage in Britain, means the creation and imposition of a European super-State, centralised in Brussels. That stands in stark contrast to the definition that I have just read out.

The British Government has observed of this paper and this debate that, as the Dutch subsidiarity review concluded, “It should be nation States wherever possible and Europe only where necessary.” My ALDE colleagues and I very much concur with the principle of subsidiarity. The report states: “A European federal democracy, therefore, would not mean more Europe and fewer nation States.” In other words, “D’accord!” This apparent argument between Britain and the rest of Europe, including the wider Europe that encompasses the Switzerlands of this world that are outside the European Union, is like an argument of two ships passing in the night – the same word means, politically, utterly contradictory things. That goes to the heart of the difficulty in British politics of discussing Europe rationally.

The situation might be made worse by what is going on within the United Kingdom constitutionally. My country, Scotland, is about to have a referendum on independence. Here is the Kennedy nightmare scenario. Scotland votes for independence – which I would very much regret – and leaves the rest of the United Kingdom. In due course, there is a referendum on Europe in the rest of the United Kingdom and, because of the predominance of England, people vote to withdraw from the European Union. That is the nightmare scenario, and it might yet happen.

We need less theoretical debate and more practical application and acknowledgement of what Europe can and does do, so that it is brought home to people in a relevant way. In Britain in particular, but with encouragement from outside, we need more responsible groups and leading individuals to put their heads above the parapet and make that positive, constructive pro-European case.

Our friend the Observer from Canada made me think of the words of Robert Burns: we should “see ourselves as others see us”. We have been given the view of Europe and the European Union from Canada. It was extremely positive and supportive, and very dismissive of the siren voices of Euroscepticism that, sadly, will make their presence felt in the European Parliament over the next five years. We should be alert to how others see us – as a force for good in the world, however democratically imperfect – and work with that grain, rather than give up in despair.

The PRESIDENT* – That concludes the list of speakers. I call Mr Andreas Gross, rapporteur, to reply. You have five minutes.

      Mr GROSS (Switzerland) – I thank all 21 colleagues who spoke. The quality of the debate was high. I should now make a new report including everyone’s remarks, although I could not do justice to all of them.

      Perhaps the biggest misunderstanding that I have to address, Arcadio, is that Stalin was not a federalist. Stalin’s Russia was not a federation. It was called a federation, but it was centralised, totalitarian and authoritarian; it had nothing to do with federalism. Today’s Russia is also called a federation, but it is an authoritarian, centralistic State. It is misusing the term. I am also grateful to our friend from Ukraine that he did not open a third element for discussion: the misuse of the term today by Russia to disorient developments in Ukraine. What you said about Putin’s Weimar syndrome perhaps should be discussed tomorrow. Nevertheless, in another contribution to the later debate, we should have the wisdom not to react as people did after the First World War, creating the Weimar syndrome, because that led to a further catastrophe. We have to learn not to make the same mistake, but that, you are right, is something for tomorrow morning.

      The second point that I want to address was made by our Italian colleague. Some people talk about things being theory only, or utopian, but that is not true. Our Italian colleagues have not told you that in their country they have already voted once in a referendum about a European constitution, in 1989. The question was whether Italy was in favour of the creation of a European federal constitution. The majority – more than 70% of Italians – voted yes. That was in 1989, so it has happened already. It might be a utopia lost, but it was a reality. Why did we not hear more about that? You might argue that we had more important things to deal with – the Berlin Wall came down and Europe came together again – but that is why such things are forgotten, and we should not forget them. The proposal is not as utopian as you might think. It is true that we have to be more realistic, but making something realistic is our responsibility. Politicians need not only follow their citizens; they should not forget their citizens, but they should also convince them, especially when they are under the influence of a press that always discredits Europe, such as in Britain, as Mr Kennedy has just mentioned.

      Thirdly, Mr Clappison, I agree that the people want to make decisions and to influence them. The art is knowing the level at which decisions have to be made without losing the influence of citizens. The point is that, to meet the big challenges of today’s world, the nation State is too small. That is the biggest difference between the mainstream, Conservative British position – the majority of the Swiss are on your side, but that does not concern me, because they are pluralistic and accept me as well – and what I am convinced of. Globalisation of the economy has made our democracies like a ship in the water, but one in which the rudder no longer touches the water. That is why we have to lengthen the rudder – not to put it in the garbage, but to lengthen it. That is why we need genuine European democracy that does not replace the British Parliament, but supplements it. What you cannot do in the British Parliament has to be done in Europe, but only that, and not everything. That is why some things have to go back to the parliaments, because they are too far away from the citizens. In order to restore that transnational democratic level, we need to think about rebalancing political power. We have to be open to such a move, however, because the nation State alone cannot do it any more. If you are against that, you get the bureaucracy that you do not like. It is either bureaucracy or transnational democracy, but you cannot be against both.

      My last point is important and I do not want to be misunderstood. Yesterday, Mr Rocard said that Europe should not become a big Switzerland. In Der Spiegel yesterday or today, an important German historian said that Germany was too big to become a Switzerland. What are they saying? Switzerland is a very good democracy, but it is a country without ambition to control its own destiny. That is why it closed itself and does not open itself to others. I do not want Europe to be like that, because, as Mr Flego insisted, freedom is not the right to choose between Pepsi or Coca Cola; freedom is the capacity to act on your own destiny. Life is not only a destiny, but a common endeavour. To do that, you need the instruments and the power. That is why Rocard said that Europe is dead: Europe no longer has the power to control its future in a world that is controlled by other powers. That is why we need to strengthen Europe, but we can only do so when it is more legitimate and closer to the people. That is the purpose of the report, and I am grateful that you gave it a good welcome.

      The PRESIDENT* – Would the vice-chair of the committee like to take the floor?

      Ms GILLAN (United Kingdom) – The report reflects the work of the Committee on Political Affairs and Democracy at its best, stimulating thought and debate not only here, but in wider arenas. I thank Andreas Gross for the work that he has put into the report and I thank the secretariat, which I understand from him has been very supportive throughout the preparation of the report.

      The subject of European development certainly divides opinions, countries, regions and/or parties across the board, but having this debate in this forum has great validity, not least because this institution is one of the oldest in Europe, and because its membership is so much wider than that of the European Union. The report represents a strong desire in all our countries for self-determination at a national level and a demand for subsidiarity. It also reflects the tension created by the constant search for a modus vivendi between nations that involves the pooling of the sovereignty of our countries. Following the European elections, not only the economic crisis occupies our citizens; they are demanding change because of the remoteness of the European Union and the perceived growth of the democratic deficit, which is fracturing and challenging the existing model. This Assembly is rightly addressing that issue.

      I again express my admiration for the work of Andreas Gross. He has placed the Council of Europe at the heart of this debate.

      The PRESIDENT* – The debate is closed.

      The Committee on Political Affairs and Democracy has presented a draft resolution to which 11 amendments have been tabled. They will be taken in the order in which they appear in the Compendium and in the order to which they apply to the text. I remind colleagues that speeches on amendments are limited to 30 seconds.

      We come to Amendment 1, tabled by Sir Roger Gale, Mr Girzyński, Mr Walter, Mr Zbonikowski, Mr Clappison, Dame Angela Watkinson, Mr Binley, Baroness Wilcox, Lady Eccles, Mr Liddell-Grainger, Mr Neill, Mr David Davies, Mr Kamiński, Mr Bağiş, Mr Gülpinar, Mr Denemeç, Ms Erkal Kara and Mr Selvi, which is, in the draft resolution, paragraph 4, to replace the words "a strong transnational European democracy. For this purpose, several alternatives are available, including that of a federal Europe empowered with a federal democracy" with the following words: "sovereign nation States and their national governments, as represented through the Council of Ministers".

      I call Sir Roger Gale to support Amendment 1.

      Sir Roger GALE (United Kingdom) – Mr Gross has certainly raised an important issue and we owe him a debt of gratitude for that. Unfortunately, he has come up with the right question, but the wrong answer. The clear message of the European elections was that Europe wanted a return to the sovereignty of the nation State. For that reason, this amendment and the other ones have been tabled in an endeavour to steer the report in the direction that the European Democrat Group believes that the report ought to be going.

      The PRESIDENT* – Does anyone wish to speak against the amendment? I call Mr Gross.

      Mr GROSS (Switzerland) – I urge members to vote against the amendment, which would take out the heart of the report. We have to think about a stronger transnational European democracy that is along the lines of the one that I described in the answer that I have just given to Mr Clappison. If we accept the amendment, we close the question before discussing it. I do not want to close the question, and I ask you to keep it open.

      The PRESIDENT* – What is the opinion of the committee?

      Ms GILLAN (United Kingdom) – The committee is against the amendment.

      The PRESIDENT* – The vote is open.

      Amendment 1 is rejected.

We come to Amendment 2, tabled by Sir Roger Gale, Mr Walter, Mr Clappison, Dame Angela Watkinson, Mr Binley, Baroness Wilcox, Lady Eccles, Mr Liddell-Grainger, Mr Neill, Mr Bağiş, Mr Gülpinar, Mr Denemeç, Ms Erkal Kara, Mr Selvi, Mr Girzyński, Mr Kamiński and Mr Zbonikowski, which is, in the draft resolution, paragraph 5, to delete the following words: “these alternatives for”.

I call Sir Roger Gale to support Amendment 2.

Sir Roger GALE (United Kingdom) – Mr Gross has just said that he wants to keep the question open and not to close it. The removal of the words “these alternatives for” would do precisely what he wants, and make the question and the consideration broader, not narrower. That is what we are seeking to do.

The PRESIDENT* – Does anyone wish to speak against the amendment? I call Mr Gross.

Mr GROSS (Switzerland) – If Sir Roger really wants to discuss questions, it is important to have alternatives. We need alternatives to stimulate debate and reflection. I ask the Assembly not to delete the reference to alternatives.

The PRESIDENT* – What is the opinion of the committee?

Ms GILLAN (United Kingdom) – The committee is against the amendment.

The PRESIDENT* – The vote is open.

Amendment 2 is rejected.

We come to Amendment 3, tabled by Sir Roger Gale, Mr Walter, Mr Clappison, Dame Angela Watkinson, Mr Binley, Baroness Wilcox, Lady Eccles, Mr Liddell-Grainger, Mr Neill, Mr Bağiş, Mr Gülpinar, Mr Denemeç, Ms Erkal Kara, Mr Selvi, Mr Girzyński, Mr Kamiński and Mr Zbonikowski, which is, in the draft resolution, paragraph 5, to delete the following words: "and more specifically the challenges of opting for a European federal democracy, given that".

I call Sir Roger Gale to support Amendment 3.

Sir Roger GALE (United Kingdom) – Once again, the amendment is designed to keep the question as wide open as possible and to remove the focus from a federal solution.

The PRESIDENT* – Does anyone wish to speak against the amendment? I call Mr Gross.

Mr GROSS (Switzerland) – This is the other part of the heart of the draft resolution that Sir Roger wants to take out. We must have courage. When we think about the Italian referendum, it is legitimate to speak about federal democracy and to say precisely what we understand by it. We should not just delete the reference to it.

The PRESIDENT* – What is the opinion of the committee?

Ms GILLAN (United Kingdom) – The committee is against the amendment.

The PRESIDENT* – The vote is open.

Amendment 3 is rejected.

We come to Amendment 4, tabled by Sir Roger Gale, Mr Walter, Mr Clappison, Dame Angela Watkinson, Mr Binley, Baroness Wilcox, Lady Eccles, Mr Liddell-Grainger, Mr Neill, Mr Bağiş, Mr Gülpinar, Mr Denemeç, Ms Erkal Kara, Mr Selvi, Mr Girzyñski, Mr Kamiñski, Mr Zbonikowski and Mr Czelej, which is, in the draft resolution, to delete paragraph 5.1.

I call Sir Roger Gale to support Amendment 4.

Sir Roger GALE (United Kingdom) – The deletion of paragraph 5.1 is designed to correct an error. The foundation of the Council of Europe was based not upon a democratic federation, but upon a confederation.

The PRESIDENT* – Does anyone wish to speak against the amendment? I call Mr Gross.

Mr GROSS (Switzerland) – What Sir Roger says is not true. Many had the idea of creating a federal democratic Europe. The difference between federation and confederation is too theoretical. Switzerland has one name but it is the other. I did not invent Mr Spaak. Mr Spaak made his protest by retiring because what he wanted did not happen. Please do not deny the Council of Europe’s sources. It created the European Union. The political idea stuck when the focus was on the economy. Today, we must put both on the same level, and not just focus on economic matters.

The PRESIDENT* – What is the opinion of the committee?

Ms GILLAN (United Kingdom) – The committee is against the amendment.

The PRESIDENT* – The vote is open.

Amendment 4 is rejected.

We come to Amendment 5, tabled by Sir Roger Gale, Mr Walter, Mr Clappison, Dame Angela Watkinson, Mr Binley, Baroness Wilcox, Lady Eccles, Mr Liddell-Grainger, Mr Neill, Mr Bağiş, Mr Gülpinar, Mr Denemeç, Ms Erkal Kara, Mr Selvi, Mr Girzyński, Mr Kamiński, Mr Zbonikowski and Mr Czelej, which is, in the draft resolution, to delete paragraph 6.

I call Sir Roger Gale to support Amendment 5.

Sir Roger GALE (United Kingdom) – We sought to find a way of amending paragraph 6 but were unable to do so. Paragraph 6 states: “Rather than constituting a model for an ever closer political union or a European State, federalism implies a process of balancing power”, but that statement is quite simply incorrect. The whole resolution is designed to drag Europe towards a federal united States. We do not agree with that.

The PRESIDENT* – Does anyone wish to speak against the amendment? I call Mr Gross.

Mr GROSS (Switzerland) – I understand that Sir Roger does not like federalism, but let us define it as we see it, and root it in the history of the term. It was never closed to Britain because Britain took the definition from the United States. We need a definition to prevent misunderstandings. The sentence Mr Kennedy quoted is exactly a consequence of the definition.

The PRESIDENT* – What is the opinion of the committee?

Ms GILLAN (United Kingdom) – The committee is against the amendment.

The PRESIDENT* – The vote is open.

Amendment 5 is rejected.

We come to Amendment 6, tabled by Sir Roger Gale, Mr Walter, Mr Clappison, Dame Angela Watkinson, Mr Binley, Baroness Wilcox, Lady Eccles, Mr Liddell-Grainger, Mr Neill, Mr Bağiş, Mr Gülpinar, Mr Denemeç, Ms Erkal Kara, Mr Selvi, Mr Girzyński, Mr Kamiński, Mr Zbonikowski and Mr Czelej, which is, in the draft resolution, paragraph 7, to delete the following words: "within a federation".

I call Sir Roger Gale to support Amendment 6.

Sir Roger GALE (United Kingdom) – Paragraph 7 states that “the guiding principle for the distribution of powers within a federation is subsidiarity”. There is a clear conflict in that statement. By removing the words “within a federation”, we would establish the principle that I believe the people who voted in the European elections wanted, namely that the guiding principle should be subsidiarity.

The PRESIDENT* – Does anyone wish to speak against the amendment? I call Mr Gross.

Mr GROSS (Switzerland) – I do not believe that people voted in the elections with such subtleties in mind. I regret that, but the point is that, when we look at the explanations behind subsidiarity and federation, we find that they are brothers and sisters. In our understanding of federation, subsidiarity is the brother or the sister. We cannot take out one. Otherwise, we would have too much centralisation.

The PRESIDENT* – I call Mr Saar on a point of order.

Mr SAAR (Estonia) – As a member of the Committee on Political Affairs and Democracy, I know that the committee rejected all the amendments unanimously, but everyone else in the Chamber would like to know the committee’s position, so I would like the vice-chair to speak up.

The PRESIDENT* – I asked the vice-chair to speak up, but unfortunately she did not speak into the microphone. She is replacing the committee president and is not used to the procedure. I ask her to stand up and state loudly the committee’s position.

What is the opinion of the committee?

Ms GILLAN (United Kingdom) – The committee is against the amendment. I am sorry that the microphone was not picking up my words.

The PRESIDENT* – The vote is open.

Amendment 6 is rejected.

We come to Amendment 7, tabled by Sir Roger Gale, Mr Walter, Mr Clappison, Dame Angela Watkinson, Mr Binley, Baroness Wilcox, Lady Eccles, Mr Liddell-Grainger, Mr Robert Neill, Mr Bağiş, Mr Gülpinar, Mr Denemeç, Ms Erkal Kara, Mr Selvi, Mr Girzyński, Mr Kamiński, Mr Zbonikowski and Mr Czelej, which is, in the draft resolution, to delete paragraph 8.

I call Sir Roger Gale to support Amendment 7.

Sir Roger GALE (United Kingdom) – We sought to find a way of amending the paragraph rather than deleting it, but because the paragraph is precisely the reverse of our objective, which is moving away from a federal Europe and towards the sovereignty of States, amending it simply was not possible. We therefore recommend the deletion of paragraph 8.

The PRESIDENT* – Does anyone wish to speak against the amendment?

I call Mr Gross.

Mr GROSS (Switzerland) – I ask the Assembly to keep the paragraph because it is the second part of the definition. It shows why we speak of federalism as we do. We want to link diversity and unity. We want to make unity possible and not to destroy diversity. By the way, when we leave the market unbalanced by political institutions, we kill diversity. As our Italian colleague has said, diversity is our richness, and we must take care of it.

The PRESIDENT* – What is the opinion of the committee?

Ms GILLAN (United Kingdom) – The committee is against the amendment.

The PRESIDENT* – The vote is open.

Amendment 7 is rejected.

We come to Amendment 8, tabled by Sir Roger Gale, Mr Walter, Mr Clappison, Dame Angela Watkinson, Mr Binley, Baroness Wilcox, Lady Eccles, Mr Liddell-Grainger, Mr Neill, Mr Bağiş, Mr Gülpinar, Mr Denemeç, Ms Erkal Kara, Mr Selvi, Mr Girzyński, Mr Kamiński, Mr Zbonikowski and Mr Czelej, which is, in the draft resolution, paragraph 9, first sentence, to replace the words "Such a European democratic federalism" with the following words: "European recognition of the sovereignty of the nation State".

I call Sir Roger Gale to support Amendment 8.

Sir Roger GALE (United Kingdom) – Quite simply, the removal of the words “these alternatives” broadens rather than narrows the argument and the basis for discussion. On the assumption that Mr Gross wants the broadest possible base for discussion we hope that he might be able to support this.

The PRESIDENT* – Does anyone wish to speak against the amendment? I call Mr Gross.

Mr GROSS (Switzerland) – In the debate, many colleagues stressed the point that federalism is appropriate, because a centralised structure would not respect the multidimensional, multicultural and multinational character of our societies. We need the first sentence to make that point.

The PRESIDENT* – What is the opinion of the committee?

Ms GILLAN (United Kingdom) – The committee is against the amendment.

The PRESIDENT* – The vote is open.

Amendment 8 is rejected.

We come to Amendment 9, tabled by Sir Roger Gale, Mr Walter, Mr Clappison, Dame Angela Watkinson, Mr Binley, Baroness Wilcox, Lady Eccles, Mr Liddell-Grainger, Mr Neill, Mr Bağiş, Mr Gülpinar, Mr Denemeç, Ms Erkal Kara, Mr Selvi, Mr Girzyński, Mr Kamiński, Mr Zbonikowski and Mr Czelej, which is, in the draft resolution, paragraph 10, first sentence, to delete the following words: "to consider the challenges of a European federal democracy and".

I call Sir Roger Gale to support Amendment 9.

Sir Roger GALE (United Kingdom) – Once again, the removal of these words would broaden the basis of the discussion, which at present seems to be centred solely on federalisation. If this debate is to take place, it needs to be broad-based, not narrowly defined.

The PRESIDENT* – Does anyone wish to speak against the amendment? I call Mr Gross.

Mr GROSS (Switzerland) – I ask you not to deny what we just did, which was to consider federal democracy. We should also write what we did. We consider it; we do not impose it on anybody. But we think we should consider it and we should say that we are doing so.

The PRESIDENT* – What is the opinion of the committee?

Ms GILLAN (United Kingdom) – The committee is against the amendment.

      The PRESIDENT* – The vote is open.

      Amendment 9 is rejected.

We come to Amendment 10, tabled by Sir Roger Gale, Mr Walter, Mr Clappison, Dame Angela Watkinson, Mr Binley, Baroness Wilcox, Lady Eccles, Mr Liddell-Grainger, Mr Neill, Mr Bağiş, Mr Gülpinar, Mr Denemeç, Ms Erkal Kara, Mr Selvi, Mr Girzyński, Mr Kamiński, Mr Zbonikowski and Mr Czelej, which is, in the draft resolution, paragraph 10, first sentence, to replace the words "constitution-based European federal union" with the following words: "loose confederation of nation States based upon the principle of free trade".

I call Sir Roger Gale to support Amendment 10.

Sir Roger GALE (United Kingdom) – By removing the words “constitution-based European federal union” and substituting them with “loose confederation of nation States based upon the principles of free trade”, we believe that a Council of Europe report would be properly reflecting the views of the European electorate.

The PRESIDENT* – Does anyone wish to speak against the amendment? I call Mr Gross.

Mr GROSS (Switzerland) – I understand that Sir Roger wants to reduce Europe to free trade, but in this report we do not speak about free trade. We speak about more than free trade. We discussed the constitution-based European federal union and we discussed a constitution, so let us keep that in. When you want to reduce Europe to free trade, you have to write another report that is based on free trade.

The PRESIDENT* – What is the opinion of the committee?

Ms GILLAN (United Kingdom) – The committee is against the amendment.

The PRESIDENT* – The vote is open.

Amendment 10 is rejected.

      We come to Amendment 11, tabled by Sir Roger Gale, Mr Walter, Mr Clappison, Dame Angela Watkinson, Mr Binley, Baroness Wilcox, Lady Eccles, Mr Liddell-Grainger, Mr Neill, Mr Bağiş, Mr Gülpinar, Mr Denemeç, Ms Erkal Kara, Mr Selvi, Mr Girzyński, Mr Kamiński, Mr Zbonikowski and Mr Czelej, which is, in the draft resolution, throughout paragraph 11, to delete the word "federal".

I call Sir Roger Gale to support Amendment 11.

Sir Roger GALE (United Kingdom) – This is a final attempt to seek to reflect the views of the European electorate, which quite clearly are moving towards the powers of sovereign States and away from federalisation. We therefore recommend the removal of the word “federal” throughout this paragraph.

The PRESIDENT* – Does anyone wish to speak against the amendment? I call Mr Gross.

Mr GROSS (Switzerland) – This is my last attempt to try to show you that federalism is not against the sovereign State. One could perhaps even say that you need federation to protect it. Somebody referred to the Swiss cantons, which only exist because they are part of a federation. In a European State like the United Kingdom, they would not exist any more. I would like to come to Britain and discuss this with you. I am sure we can convince the people who voted for the nationalist party and not your party that that was an error – but based on this report, not by deleting what we ask for.

The PRESIDENT* – What is the opinion of the committee?

Ms GILLAN (United Kingdom) – The committee is against the amendment.

      The PRESIDENT* – The vote is open.

Amendment 11 is rejected.

We will now proceed to vote on the whole of the draft resolution contained in Document 13527.

The vote is open.

I thank the rapporteur and congratulate him and I thank the vice-chairperson of the committee.

4. Commemoration Ceremony of the 100th Anniversary of the First World War

The PRESIDENT* – The next item this morning is the Commemoration Ceremony of the 100th anniversary of the First World War.

      In three days we will celebrate the 100th anniversary of the assassination of the archduke in Sarajevo. In just a few weeks, that assassination resulted in an unprecedented war in terms of geographical scope, the number of victims and the macabre nature of the technology used. Yet the war is not described in the same way in the history books of the various European States. In the collective memory of France and England it is referred to as the Great War, because so many people died. In Russia, the First World War was interrupted and eclipsed by another upheaval: the October Revolution and the horrors of the civil war that followed it. The First World War also precipitated the dissolution of great European empires. It redrew the map of Europe and resulted in the loss of independence of many States.

The First World War was a common tragedy for the European continent as well as a premonition. According to Eric Hobsbawm, the great historian, the First World War marked throughout Europe a collapse of the civilisation of the 19th century and resulted in what he described as “The Age of Extremes”.

The peace treaty, concluded in Versailles in 1919, brought the First World War to an end, but it did not lay the foundations for a durable peace. The new international order resulted in the collapse and humiliation of Germany, which opened the way for the rise of Nazism and the Second World War: the second nightmare of the 20th century. At that time, our predecessors had learned from Versailles that it is not possible to make durable peace through humiliation. An international dialogue with mutual respect was necessary, and it was on that basis that the founding fathers of the Council of Europe sought to build a new international order that would guarantee durable peace in Europe, protect Europeans’ fundamental rights from being undermined and protect them from the suffering of future wars.

Conflict has continued in Europe nevertheless. In the former Yugoslavia, the North Caucasus, Cyprus, Northern Ireland, the South Caucasus and now Ukraine, violence is continuing to tear our continent apart. The rise of the extremism, nationalist populism, xenophobia and intolerance that we observe today must remind us of the climate of chauvinism that preceded the First World War and that made it possible for war to break out. In that context, there is the risk that we will forget the lessons learned at such a great human cost.

If we do not want to betray those who sacrificed their lives for our peace and freedom, we must leave no stone unturned in our work to continue to guarantee fundamental rights to all Europeans and, especially, the right to peace, freedom and living without fear. That is why the Council of Europe was founded and why its mission today is more important than ever. That is why we are all committed to the cause and values of the Council of Europe.

      I call the Secretary General of our Organisation, Mr Thorbjørn Jagland.

      Mr JAGLAND (Secretary General of the Council of Europe) – Madam President, President of the Norwegian Parliament, just imagine if Austria’s Archduke Franz Ferdinand had simply decided not to go to Sarajevo on 28 June 1914, or if the itinerary for his route had not been published in advance, or if he had not travelled in an open car, or if he had decided not to continue on the route after the first assassination attempt, or if the head of security had not stopped the first two cars in the convoy, or if his bodyguard had been sitting on the other side of the car, facing the crowd and not the empty road – if, if, if, if.

Yes, there was a lot of bad blood in the outbreak of the war, but we know that the war did not come about by accident; it was planned. The decision to go to war was made by all concerned with sober calculation: calmly, coldly and sometimes cynically. The astonishing arsenal of modern weaponry led to unexpected and unprecedented destruction.

Europe had enjoyed a long period of peace. The turn of the 20th century was characterised by optimism. The peace congress in Vienna issued a declaration that there would be no more wars in Europe. The first Nobel peace prizes were awarded and the atmosphere was filled with so much hope and optimism that the German Kaiser Wilhelm II started to celebrate the turn of the century one year early. The period was called “la belle époque”. The people were blissfully unaware of what was to happen only 14 years later.

Then the war came. The war that nobody wanted started – the war to end all wars, but actually it was the beginning of a new era of war. We had half a century of war on this continent and the beginning of the Cold War, which ended in 1989. We still struggle with the consequences of that century: the conflicts in the Balkans and the Caucasus show how difficult it remains to be rid of war in Europe. Even now as we speak Europeans are killing each other in the eastern part of Ukraine, so the message from us must be: stop that killing.

The 100th anniversary of the start of the First World War should be used as a reminder that all those responsible should do their utmost to stop the hostilities in Ukraine before it is too late. As Winston Churchill said, “It is easy to start a war, but difficult to end one.”

To avoid new wars we need to start with empathy and history. You get that when you go to Verdun, or when you travel from here to Paris and see all the graveyards on the route. We must understand what happened and bring that to the new generations. That is the starting point for avoiding new wars. I am glad that we have this commemoration here today. Similar commemorations will take place throughout Europe, but the Council of Europe has a role to play in bringing this terrible history to new generations.

The PRESIDENT* – I call Mr Gross, Chairperson of the Socialist Group.

Mr GROSS (Switzerland)* – Silence seems to be the most appropriate way to express our feelings about the horror that grips us when we think back to what started off on this continent 100 years ago. Silence leads to stillness, which is the greatest contrast to the unimaginable noise of exploding grenades, bombs and gunfire, as houses collapsed and trees were crushed to the ground. In the following three decades in Europe, and later throughout the world, 150 million people died: an unimaginable number of people killed by other people.

It was not just the First World War that started 100 years ago, but a period of 31 years in European history with a second war and, strictly speaking – although not for all, and not always to the same extent – that period could be said to have lasted 75 years, or for a short 20th century, if you like.

The year 1914 was a caesura. The old Europe of empires – in which power trumped human rights and with their self-serving elites and the many yearning, suffering, powerless masses – went under in an unimaginable total war, with violence and massacres. A Pole used the term “genocide” and others talked of “crimes against humanity”. For Norbert Elias it was a breakdown in civilisation.

      One wonderful poet was to realise that although it was said that one could always learn from a disaster, the real art consisted of being able to learn in the absence of disasters. The first catastrophe that hit us in the last century was not enough, and we needed another one. It was only after 1945 that human dignity was no longer to be entrusted to States, but rather to be entrusted to a revolutionary supranational body – our European Court of Human Rights, the pearl of the Council of Europe. At least human rights are now protected against the abuse of State power.

      At the end of the third third of the catastrophe that lasted 100 years, what belonged together came together, but it still did not prove possible to recognise old enemies in the context of systemic transnational progress that would secure peace, freedom and democracy, and relapses into violence have been the price that we have had to pay. This achievement still needs work, and we have to do that in the absence of any further disasters. We need a transnational community bound together by the same values that will protect the rights of all individuals against the abuse of authority. It is only that that can prevent others, in 150 years’ time, from saying that silence is the best option because we did not prove to be in a position to prevent the suffering that started 100 years ago.

      The PRESIDENT* – The next speaker is Mr Agramunt, Chairperson of the Group of the European People’ Party.

      Mr AGRAMUNT (Spain)* – These days, everybody thinks that it is unlikely that there will be a third world war in Europe. People thought the same thing in 1939, because they thought that the war that had broken out in 1914 was the war to end all wars. Nevertheless, the Second World War was fought and cost 2% of the world’s population their lives. As Mark Twain said, history does not repeat itself, but it does rhyme. If we can cast off our blinkers and realise that there are revealing parallels between 1914 and the present day, we will see that history offers us some valuable warnings.

      A nation that lost a war 25 years ago – the Cold War – is dissatisfied with its position in the world and seeks legitimacy through expansionism. I regret very much the fact that Russia appears to have forgotten some of the lessons that have been taught to us by history and that its delegation to the Assembly supported military aggression against the territorial integrity of Ukraine. Before and after the First World War there were States that wished to unite Europe with a form of hegemony and, in 1939, as Europe stood on the verge of a devastating war, the same was true.

Now we are threatened by the exclusionary nationalism of the anti-European parties, which have managed to gain a foothold in the European Parliament and will have an influence on social, economic and external policies in Europe. In France, Spain, Belgium, Denmark, the United Kingdom, Greece and Hungary, these parties stand for values that are at odds with those we champion here in the Council of Europe. We stand for inclusive values and the fight against intolerance, racism and xenophobia. Nationalism, however, is not synonymous with a political blueprint that unites Europeans beyond diversity. Nationalism leads only to selfishness, and that leads to confrontation, which is why it is essential that we arrive at a genuine realisation of Europe’s common interests. We need to counterbalance the defence of national interests, and Europe’s common interest now cannot simply be an inability to make decisions and all the wrangling surrounding the appointment of the new president of the European Commission.

Twenty years ago, we were unable to prevent the massacre in Bosnia, and we have been unable to prevent blood from being spilled in Ukraine, so we have not learned from the last 100 years. In her prize-winning work, Barbara Tuchman wrote that there were similarities between 1914 and other periods of history, including a failure to prepare for the worst-case scenario. That is what is happening now. Confusion, complacency and over-confidence led to a cataclysm that erupted at devastating speed, and the world was never the same again.

I do not want a Europe that resembles the Europe of 1914 and that is why I am fighting for radical change in Europe. We need dialogue and common action for that to come to pass. Ortega y Gasset said that the absence of war is not enough to live in peace. Three years later, the Council of Europe was born. We need to pool our common interests and principles to avoid the disaster we saw 100 years ago. We must counter the demoralisation of Europe. What we have now are populist and anti-European movements that are a challenge to peace and the status quo, and they want to bring down everything that we have built. Sixty-five years ago, only 10 countries were represented in this Organisation and now there are nearly 50.

The experience of the Council of Europe has contributed to bringing democracy to central and eastern Europe, and there is still work to be done. Not all countries are yet members of our Organisation, but on the centenary of 1914, we should think about how vulnerable we are to human error, to sudden disasters and to chance. That is why we must learn the lessons of the past and make sure that in all corners of the continent we are genuinely fighting for peace and for European countries to develop all of their capacities in all contingencies. We should ensure that our children and grandchildren live in integrated States and that we co-exist peacefully.

The PRESIDENT* – The next speaker is Mr Chope, Acting Chairperson of the European Democrat Group.

Mr CHOPE (United Kingdom) – As a member of the United Kingdom Parliament and on behalf of the European Democrat Group, I am privileged to add a few words to this important commemoration. It is impossible to comprehend the sheer enormity of the carnage – 9 million lives lost, including 1 million servicemen and women from Great Britain and the Commonwealth. In this Assembly of parliamentarians, we can put those figures in context – 42 members of the two houses of the United Kingdom Parliament were killed in action, as were 94 sons of members of Parliament. At this time, when we are celebrating a festival of sport in Brazil, let us remember that of the 30 players in the England-Scotland rugby match in 1914, 11 had been killed in action by 1918.

Every city, town and village in the United Kingdom and elsewhere in Europe suffered to a similar extent. Some of the most evocative stories of the Great War centre on the 1914 Christmas truce. Battle-hardened men left their trenches to exchange snaps and cigarettes. When they met their adversaries, they saw that, like them, they were human beings. Unsurprisingly, their bosses, both military and political, did not want that to happen again in 1915, and it did not. But it is that spirit of the 1914 Christmas truce that this Assembly must continue to promote – mutual respect for humanity transcending all other divisions. I find it disappointing that our Committee of Ministers representing the 47 member countries of the Council of Europe has been unable to agree a text for this commemoration. That is a timely reminder that we still have a long way to go on the road to reconciliation and understanding in order to ensure a lasting peace in Europe.

A whole generation of young people died in the First World War. Their patriotism, selflessness, courage and willingness to make the ultimate sacrifice in the cause of freedom will forever be engraved on our hearts. We will remember them.

      The PRESIDENT* –  I call Mr Xuclà, Chairperson of the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe.

      Mr XUCLÀ (Spain)* – In Sarajevo 100 years ago on 28 June, an assassination precipitated a conflict and the end of an era. The novel “Embers” by Sándor Márai is a brilliant evocation of the end of that era. From today’s vantage point, knowing the consequences, it is surprising to realise what a febrile climate there was 100 years ago. Ernst Jünger, the German intellectual who fought in two world wars, described it in immortal words in “Storm of Steel”. He said that we had grown up in a climate of security, so we were attracted to the unusual and the dangerous and that it had seemed to us like a virile event – a sort of merry shooting match on a flower-filled meadow, on which blood was the dew.

      In 1914, a catastrophic chain of events commenced that did not end until 1945. Winston Churchill called the conflict that erupted in 1914 the second Thirty Years War. It gave rise to trench warfare, devastating, suffocating gases, bolshevism and fascism, war thunder and the various genocides of the 20th century. From Sarajevo to Auschwitz, we saw the worst in ourselves; we witnessed pure evil.

The age of la belle époque came to an end in 1914, and we were faced with a collective breakdown of governments, diplomacy, conservatives, socialists and liberals. However, as Europeans, we have managed to salvage some lessons from such disasters. Even countries that did not take part in the First World War, such as Spain, have learned lessons. Spain suffered from a civil war that served as a kind of test bed for the Second World War. We have all learned that the only response, after those millions of deaths and that moral desolation, was to build peace. We responded by building European institutions – by establishing the Council of Europe.

Having managed to learn all these lessons, we have realised that it is not so much a matter of striving for good, which has given rise to such abominations, as much as of avoiding evil. Tzvetan Todorov, a French philosopher and historian of Bulgarian origin, explains that brilliantly in his essay “Memory of evil, temptation of good”. We must strive to avoid evil while at the same time being very wary of some of the prophets of good. We should honour the dead, whom we are commemorating today, and never again give in to the temptation of the memory of evil. We should commit to societies of free men and women with rights protected by law who can live their lives in dignity. Never again do we want to see war between brothers – only freedom and democracy.

The PRESIDENT* –  I call Mr Kox, Chairperson of the Group of the Unified European Left.

Mr KOX (Netherlands) –  In the military graveyard in Vladslo in the Belgian province of Western Flanders, two intensely grieving parents look out over the graves of more than 25 000 fallen soldiers. One of those soldiers is Peter Kollwitz, and the grieving parents are his father and mother, Karl and Käthe Kollwitz. Peter died on 24 October 1914. He was 19 years old. A volunteer full of ideals and patriotism, he was called into the service of Germany against the French and British, yet he got no further than the little River Yser in Belgium. He has been there now for a hundred years.

I have just described a sculpture by Käthe Kollwitz, in which Peter’s parents look towards him every day and night, grieve over him, and feel forever a share in the guilt for his death. After all, they had supported a war – as did so many parents elsewhere – started by their governments, politicians and militaries. Together, between 1914 and 1918, they sent their children into the First World War and out of life. Peter Kollwitz went to war for his ideals and his fatherland, but after his death his mother understood that war is, in its very nature, pure madness. Her dead son gave her and her husband a wound that would never heal, and an understanding that that was how it should be.

We say now that the war began in 1914 and ended in 1918, but for millions of mothers, fathers and children it never ended. Even today, millions of people visit the vast First World War graveyards throughout Europe. They are full of Europeans – Russians, Germans, French, Britons, Italians, Romanians, Turks, Bulgarians, Belgians and so many more. The war pervaded even the world beyond Europe, and soldiers and civilians died – Americans, Africans, Asians. The First World War was nevertheless principally a European war, fought out in the part of the world that liked to be seen as the most civilised.

The First World War was not a natural disaster but a catastrophe of humanity's own making. Nowadays we have available to us countless studies explaining how it came about and how it unfolded, but no explanation whatsoever can offer exoneration for this human-made disaster. We people carry the responsibility for it, and principal amongst the guilty are politicians.

Ten months before the outbreak of the First World War was the official opening of the Palace of Peace in The Hague in the Netherlands. The Russian Tsar had devised it, an American steel magnate had financed it and the Dutch Government had found a place for the palace, in which an International Court of Arbitration would henceforth deal with all international conflicts and, by so doing, prevent wars. At that time Norman Angell's book “The Great Illusion”, an explanation of why war between civilised, developed societies made no sense and served no purpose in modern times, was being read and praised throughout the world. In 1913, it was already in its fourth edition, and in 1933 its author was awarded the Nobel peace prize. By then, however, the First World War had demonstrated that he had not been listened to, and the Second World War was already approaching, proving that he was still not being listened to.

While the Palace of Peace was being opened and “The Great Illusion” was being seen as having the significance of Darwin's “The Origin of Species”, the worldwide arms race continued. Across the globe, short-sighted military alliances were being forged that, from June 1914, would lead to a catastrophic chain reaction as a result of which millions of people would be killed or seriously wounded, four empires would be brought down, peoples would be divided, countries would be torn apart and human civilisation would be crushed.

The Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe can and should provide an important platform where, on a permanent basis, elected representatives of the people of every member State can meet and discuss how we can promote the rule of law, defend human rights and develop and expand democracy, in order to prevent all or part of this continent from being confronted again by the madness of armed conflict and war, and in order that we might find a peaceful solution to the consequences of the many armed conflicts that have taken place and those that will continue to divide and tear apart people and countries.

If we want to prevent war, we must talk about peace, however difficult that sometimes is. To fail is not an option—the price is simply too high. As we commemorate the First World War, we must also celebrate the European Convention on Human Rights, and we must all commit ourselves to upholding its rights throughout Europe, for each and every citizen.

The PRESIDENT* – I invite you now to please stand for a minute’s silence in memory of all the victims of the war.

(A minute’s silence was observed.)

I invite you to please remain standing for the European anthem.

(The European anthem was played.)

      I thank you for your participation in the commemoration ceremony of the 100th anniversary of the First World War.

5. Next public sitting

      The PRESIDENT* – The Assembly will hold its next public sitting this afternoon at 3.30 p.m. with the agenda which was approved.

      The sitting is closed.

      (The sitting closed at 1.05 p.m.)


1. Welcome to the President of the Parliament of Norway

2. Time limits on speeches

3. Towards a better European democracy: facing the challenges of a federal Europe

Presentation by Mr Gross of report of the Committee on Political Affairs and Democracy in Document 13527

Speakers: Mr Saar (Estonia), Mr Németh (Hungary), Mr Binley (United Kingdom), Ms Mateu Pi (Andorra) and Mr Loukaides (Cyprus)

Reply: Mr Gross (Switzerland)

Speakers: Mr Le Borgn’ (France), Mr Triantafyllos (Greece), Mr Maruste (Estonia), Ms Mattila (Finland), Ms Durrieu (France), Mr Mota Amaral (Portugal), Mr Rochebloine (France), Mr Clappison (United Kingdom), Ms Bourzai (France), Mr Chisu (Canada), Mr Ariev (Ukraine), Mr Díaz Tejera (Spain), Mr Flego (Croatia), Mr Taliadouros (Greece), Mr Stroe (Romania), Mr Nicoletti (Italy), Mr Abad (France), Mr Moreno Palanques (Spain), Mr Cozmanciuc (Romania), Mr D’Arcy (Ireland) and Mr Kennedy (United Kingdom)

Replies: Mr Gross (Switzerland), Ms Gillan (United Kingdom)

Draft resolution in Document 13527 adopted

4. Commemoration Ceremony of the 100th anniversary of the First World War

Address by Mr Jagland, Secretary General of the Council of Europe

Speakers: Mr Gross (Switzerland), Mr Agramunt (Spain), Mr Chope (United Kingdom), Mr Xuclà (Spain) and Mr Kox (Netherlands)

5. Next public sitting

Appendix I

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*

Jean-Charles ALLAVENA*

Werner AMON*

Luise AMTSBERG/Frithjof Schmidt

Lord Donald ANDERSON


Khadija ARIB

Volodymyr ARIEV

Francisco ASSIS*

Danielle AUROI/Maryvonne Blondin


Egemen BAĞIŞ



Taulant BALLA*

Gérard BAPT*


Doris BARNETT/ Mechthild Rawert

José Manuel BARREIRO*


Marieluise BECK

Ondřej BENEŠIK/Marek Černoch

José María BENEYTO*




Anna Maria BERNINI/Claudio Fazzone

Maria Teresa BERTUZZI




Ľuboš BLAHA*



Jean-Marie BOCKEL*

Eric BOCQUET/ Bernadette Bourzai

Mladen BOJANIĆ/Snežana Jonica


Mladen BOSIĆ/ Ismeta Dervoz

António BRAGA*

Anne BRASSEUR/ Marcel Oberweis

Alessandro BRATTI*




Nunzia CATALFO/Maria Edera Spadoni

Mikael CEDERBRATT/Mikael Oscarsson


Lorenzo CESA/Milena Santerini


Vannino CHITI/Luis Alberto Orellana

Tudor-Alexandru CHIUARIU/Viorel Riceard Badea

Christopher CHOPE


Desislav CHUKOLOV*



Henryk CIOCH


Deirdre CLUNE/Olivia Mitchell

Agustín CONDE





Jonny CROSIO/Giuseppe Galati



Katalin CSÖBÖR



Armand De DECKER/Dirk Van Der Maelen





Peter van DIJK


Aleksandra DJUROVIĆ






Alexander [The Earl of] DUNDEE*



Lady Diana ECCLES


Franz Leonhard EßL*



Cătălin Daniel FENECHIU*

Vyacheslav FETISOV*

Doris FIALA*

Daniela FILIPIOVÁ/Pavel Lebeda



Gvozden Srećko FLEGO



Jean-Claude FRÉCON


Martin FRONC

Sir Roger GALE





Francesco Maria GIRO

Pavol GOGA*

Jarosław GÓRCZYŃSKI/Zbigniew Girzyński

Alina Ştefania GORGHIU


Sandro GOZI*

Fred de GRAAF/Tineke Strik

Patrick De GROOTE*

Andreas GROSS


Mehmet Kasim GÜLPINAR

Gergely GULYÁS/Bence Tuzson

Nazmi GÜR





Carina HÄGG


Andrzej HALICKI*

Hamid HAMID/Mustafa Karadayi

Mike HANCOCK/Charles Kennedy


Alfred HEER





Jim HOOD/Geraint Davies



Johannes HÜBNER

Andrej HUNKO*





Igor IVANOVSKI/Imer Aliu

Tadeusz IWIŃSKI*

Denis JACQUAT/Damien Abad

Gediminas JAKAVONIS*




Michael Aastrup JENSEN*

Frank J. JENSSEN/Kristin Ørmen Johnsen


Aleksandar JOVIČIĆ





Marietta KARAMANLI/Gérard Terrier

Ulrika KARLSSON/Kerstin Lundgren

Jan KAŹMIERCZAK/ Łukasz Zbonikowski


Bogdan KLICH/Marek Borowski

Serhiy KLYUEV*

Haluk KOÇ*


Kateřina KONEČNÁ/Miroslav Krejča


Attila KORODI/Corneliu Mugurel Cozmanciuc




Tiny KOX

Astrid KRAG

Borjana KRIŠTO*



Jean-Yves LE DÉAUT


Christophe LÉONARD*

Valentina LESKAJ*




François LONCLE/Pierre-Yves Le Borgn'



Trine Pertou MACH/Nikolaj Villumsen


Philippe MAHOUX



Meritxell MATEU PI




Michael McNAMARA

Sir Alan MEALE





Jean-Claude MIGNON/Jacques Legendre

Philipp MIßFELDER*





Melita MULIĆ


Philippe NACHBAR*



Marian NEACŞU*


Baroness Emma NICHOLSON*



Aleksandar NIKOLOSKI

Mirosława NYKIEL*



Judith OEHRI


Joseph O'REILLY/Jim D'Arcy

Lesia OROBETS/Olena Kondratiuk


Aleksandra OSTERMAN*

José Ignacio PALACIOS*


Eva PARERA/Jordi Xuclà


Foteini PIPILI

Stanislav POLČÁK/Gabriela Pecková



Cezar Florin PREDA

John PRESCOTT/Linda Riordan


Gabino PUCHE


Mailis REPS/Rait Maruste


Andrea RIGONI*


Maria de Belém ROSEIRA*



Rovshan RZAYEV*

Indrek SAAR


Kimmo SASI



Ingjerd SCHOU/Tore Hagebakken



Laura SEARA/Alejandro Alonso



Aleksandar SENIĆ



Jim SHERIDAN/Michael Connarty



Arturas SKARDŽIUS/Algis Kašėta



Lorella STEFANELLI/Gerardo Giovagnoli



Ionuţ-Marian STROE


Björn von SYDOW



Vyacheslav TIMCHENKO*

Romana TOMC*




Ahmet Kutalmiş TÜRKEŞ


Konstantinos TZAVARAS/Spyridon Taliadouros



Olga-Nantia VALAVANI

Snorre Serigstad VALEN/Hans Fredrik Grøvan

Petrit VASILI*

Volodymyr VECHERKO*


Mark VERHEIJEN/Marjolein Faber-Van De Klashorst


Anne-Mari VIROLAINEN/Sirkka-Liisa Anttila

Vladimir VORONIN/Constantin Staris

Klaas de VRIES*


Draginja VUKSANOVIĆ/Damir Šehović

Piotr WACH/Grzegorz Czelej



Karl-Georg WELLMANN*

Katrin WERNER*

Morten WOLD/Ingebjørg Godskesen

Gisela WURM*

Tobias ZECH*

Kristýna ZELIENKOVÁ/ Ivana Dobešová

Marie-Jo ZIMMERMANN/ Pascale Crozon

Emanuelis ZINGERIS

Guennady ZIUGANOV*



Vacant Seat, Cyprus*


Representatives and Substitutes not authorised to vote






Corneliu CHISU



Nachman SHAI

Partners for democracy


Mohammed AMEUR

Mohammed Mehdi BENSAID

Abdelkebir BERKIA


El Mokhtar GHAMBOU


Representatives of the Turkish Cypriot Community (In accordance to Resolution 1376 (2004) of the Parliamentary Assembly)