AA15CR04

AS (2015) CR 04

2015 ORDINARY SESSION

________________

(First part)

REPORT

Fourth sitting

Tuesday 27 January 2015 at 3.30 p.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. The text of the amendments is available at the document centre and on the Assembly’s website. Only oral amendments or oral sub-amendments are reproduced in the report of debates.

4.       Speeches in German and Italian are reproduced in full in a separate document.

5.       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 3.35 p.m.)

THE PRESIDENT* – The sitting is open.

I remind members and duly designated substitutes to place their voting cards in the slot in front of them to ensure that the electronic system works properly.

I remind members that the vote is in progress to elect two judges, for Bulgaria and Serbia, to the European Court of Human Rights. The poll will close at 5 p.m. Those who have not yet voted may still do so by going to the area behind the President’s chair. I ask those who have not voted to do so now.

The counting of votes will take place under the supervision of the tellers, Mr Omtzigt and Ms Marković, who were appointed by lot this morning.

I ask them to meet behind the President’s chair at 5 p.m.

The results of the election will be announced before the end of this afternoon’s sitting, if possible.

1. Changes in the membership of committees

THE PRESIDENT* – Our next business is to consider the changes proposed in the membership of committees, published in document Commissions (2015) 01 Addendum 2.

Is there any opposition to the changes? That is not the case.

The changes are agreed to.

2. Organisation of debates

THE PRESIDENT* – This afternoon’s business is very full. We will have to interrupt the list of speakers in the debate on the Memorandum of Understanding between the Council of Europe and the European Union at around 5.35 p.m. and interrupt the list of speakers in the debate on Montenegro at about 6.45 p.m., to hear replies from the committees and to vote on the texts. The free debate will begin at 7 p.m.

Are these arrangements agreed?

The arrangements are agreed.

3. The humanitarian situation of Ukrainian refugees and displaced persons – resumed debate

THE PRESIDENT* – The list of speakers was interrupted at the end of this morning’s sitting.

I call Mr Jim Sheridan, rapporteur, to reply. You have eight minutes.

      Mr SHERIDAN (United Kingdom) – Imagine that the Russian authorities claim that the accusations about their direct or indirect involvement are part of a wide conspiracy by the Ukrainian Government, the western media and respected organisations such as NATO. What really concerns me, however, is the fact that any conspiracy would require the support and co-ordinated co-operation of thousands of conspirators. What I have not heard during the debate is a robust, detailed defence regarding these accusations.

      During our trips, the non-governmental organisations we spoke with were in no doubt whatsoever about Russian involvement and support for the separatists. Indeed, the mothers of Russian soldiers confirmed that their sons and daughters were being sent to fight in Ukraine. To be fair to the Russian authorities, they are doing what they can to look after the IDPs and others, unlike the Ukrainian authorities, who could and should be doing far more. However, the bottom line is that displaced people, regardless of how well they are looked after, want to go home. We can understand that best by reading a letter I was given during our trip to Russia. When we visited a refugee centre, a young woman, while out of sight of the authorities, pressed a badly written letter into my hand. When I got home, which was just before Christmas, I had the letter translated by the House of Commons authorities.

      She wrote: “Dear Father Christmas, I want the war in Ukraine to stop – no more shelling, no more bombing and no more wars in Ukraine ever. It is very scary here, because people are dying and the bombs are hitting houses. I really want to come back home. I live in Donetsk region, in Chervonohvardisky district. There is constant shelling here, and I am asking you to stop all that. I want to go back to my grandma, my grandpa and my mum. I really want to go home. I am asking you to stop all that. I don’t want any presents. I want for me and all the other children to be able to come back to Donbass, to our own homes.”

      That is the level that the people of Ukraine are at. Let me also say that I really do not think that we can overestimate the strength of feeling, both within and outwith this Assembly, about the arrest and detention of Nadiia Savchenko. If this Assembly is to have any credibility whatsoever, we must demand her release or, at the very least, we must see what charges are levelled against her and deal with them. We cannot and should not allow a situation in which a woman and a member of this Assembly is imprisoned without any charges being brought.

      This report is about humanitarian issues, which means that it is about the people. While we debate who did what, when and where, the situation in Ukraine gets worse. People are terrified for their futures and their families. Neighbouring countries are also concerned about the direction of travel in that part of Europe. I sincerely believe that there is no appetite among the general public for more wars. However, that should not be seen as a green light for any further aggression or invasions of sovereign member States of this Assembly. I am sure that I echo the views of many in this Chamber in calling for all interested parties to enter into constructive dialogue and seek a conclusion to this unnecessary conflict.

      Colleagues, we must do what we can to bring to an end this totally unnecessary and costly conflict. It is our responsibility to do that, and I sincerely hope that we will do so today by supporting the report.

      THE PRESIDENT* – Does the committee’s chairperson wish to respond to what has been said? Mr Mariani, the floor is yours. You have two minutes.

      Mr MARIANI (France)* – Although politics are present in every line, this is not a political debate, but a humanitarian one. Our committee is responsible for the humanitarian consequences of the civil war. I salute the work done by the rapporteur, Mr Sheridan, and pay tribute to the work done this morning in the committee, in the presence of the Russian and Ukrainian delegations, which allowed us to have a debate – in order for there to be a debate, all parties must be present.

      We are in a civil war that, like all wars, has the same victims. There are always two victims in wars: the civilian population and the truth. On the civilian population, the figures speak for themselves: 920 000 IDPs in Ukraine, 520 000 refugees in Russia and, in neighbouring countries, 32 000 in Poland and a few more in Belarus. We have not seen a humanitarian crisis on this scale in Europe since Yugoslavia. This Assembly honours itself by looking into it, but the refugees are waiting for a solution. I hope that our Assembly will allow the treatment of the refugees to progress, because Ukraine and Russia today are in an economic crisis. As for the refugees, they are the victims of this situation. I pay tribute to the rapporteur’s excellent work and the very satisfactory work done in the committee, despite the varying views.

      THE PRESIDENT* – The debate is closed.

      The Committee on Migration, Refugees and Displaced Persons has presented a draft resolution, to which 37 amendments and seven sub-amendments have been tabled.

      I understand that the chairperson of the committee wishes to propose to the Assembly that Amendments 23, 17, 18, 27, 28, 9, 10, 11, 12, 2, 13 and 14 to the draft resolution, which were unanimously approved by the committee, should be declared as agreed by the Assembly.

      The committee also proposed that Amendments 22, 19 and 15, which were also unanimously approved by the committee, be declared as agreed by the Assembly. This is not possible as there are sub-amendments tabled to Amendments 22 and 19, and Amendment 15 is consequential on another amendment. We will therefore consider these amendments individually.

      Is that so Mr Mariani?

      Mr MARIANI (France)* – Yes.

      THE PRESIDENT* – Does anyone object? I call Mr Ariev.

      Mr ARIEV (Ukraine) – I want to say something about the discussions that took place during this morning’s sitting. Some orators from the Russian delegation made hate speeches and directed offensive remarks against the Ukrainian delegation. I ask you please next time to stop those kinds of speeches.

      THE PRESIDENT* – I take note of your declaration. There are no objections.

      Amendments 23, 17, 18, 27, 28, 9, 10, 11, 12, 2, 13 and 14 are adopted.

We come to Amendment 21, which has a sub-amendment. I call Mr Ariev to support the amendment. You have 30 seconds.

Mr ARIEV (Ukraine) – As it is important to be correct about the concrete location of the conflict in Ukraine and Donbass, I propose to add to the first paragraph a reference to “some parts of the Donetsk and Luhansk regions of Ukraine”. Less than a third of their territory is occupied by terrorist groups. I also propose to mention Russia as the country that is responsible for the conflict in Donbass.

THE PRESIDENT* – I call Mr Mariani to support the sub-amendment on behalf of the Committee on Migration, Refugees and Displaced Persons.

Mr MARIANI (France)* – The sub-amendment, which was voted for in the committee, removes the words “the fact of” from the amendment.

THE PRESIDENT* – Does anyone wish to speak against the sub-amendment? That is not the case.

The committee is obviously in favour of the sub-amendment.

I shall now put the sub-amendment to the vote.

The vote is open.

The sub-amendment is adopted.

THE PRESIDENT* – Does anyone wish to speak against Amendment 21, as amended? I call Mr Shlegel.

Mr SHLEGEL (Russian Federation)* – We are against the amendment as the conflict is an internal Ukrainian conflict and Russia has no direct connection with it at all.

THE PRESIDENT* – I shall now put Amendment 21, as amended, to the vote.

The vote is open.

We now come to Amendment 22, which has a sub-amendment. I call Mr Ariev to support the amendment. You have 30 seconds.

Mr ARIEV (Ukraine) – The amendment concerns the number of people displaced in the Donetsk region, but I have agreed to a sub-amendment as it comes from the United Nations website and the numbers there are much clearer.

THE PRESIDENT* – I call Mr Mariani to support the sub-amendment on behalf of the Committee on Migration, Refugees and Displaced Persons.

Mr MARIANI (France)* – The proposed figures do come from the United Nations website and the committee was unanimously in favour of this sub-amendment.

THE PRESIDENT* – Does anyone wish to speak against the sub-amendment? That is not the case.

What is the opinion of the mover of the amendment? Mr Ariev is in favour.

The committee is obviously in favour of the sub-amendment.

I shall now put the sub-amendment to the vote.

The vote is open.

The sub-amendment is adopted.

Does anyone wish to speak against Amendment 22, as amended? I call Mr Shlegel.

Mr SHLEGEL (Russian Federation)* – The figures in the report do not correspond to reality. The number of people in Russia at the moment is considerably greater, so I do not think we should support the amendment.

THE PRESIDENT* – I shall now put Amendment 22, as amended, to the vote.

The vote is open.

Amendment 5 falls as Amendment 22 has been adopted.

We come now to Amendment 6. I call Mr Aleksandrov to support the amendment.

Mr ALEKSANDROV (Russian Federation)* – We propose to include the following sentence: “According to the Federal Migration Service of the Russian Federation more than 450 000 Ukrainian nationals have sought asylum or applied for the right to reside in Russia”. That is more accurate information from a State source.

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

Mr ARIEV (Ukraine) – I think Amendment 22, as amended, answers all these questions.

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

Mr MARIANI (France)* – The committee is against the amendment.

THE PRESIDENT* – I shall now put the amendment to the vote.

The vote is open.

Amendment 6 is rejected.

      We come to Amendment 24, which has two sub-amendments.

I call Mr Ariev to support the amendment. You have 30 seconds.

      Mr ARIEV (Ukraine) – For the first time in its modern history, Ukraine faces the problem of IDPs, and the Ukrainian Government is doing its utmost to ensure that their needs are met. At the same time, the revitalisation of civil society and the volunteer movement in Ukraine have been highlighted by the media and international organisations. We need to support those forces and encourage them, because they have saved IDPs since the beginning.

      THE PRESIDENT* – We now come to Sub-amendment 1. I call Mr Mariani to support the sub-amendment on behalf of the Committee on Migration, Refugees and Displaced Persons.

      Mr MARIANI (France)* – Sub-amendment 1 generally praises the measures taken by the local authorities and the effective solidarity and work of NGOs.

      THE PRESIDENT* – Does anyone with to speak against Sub-amendment 1? That is not the case.

      The committee is obviously in favour of the sub-amendment.

      The vote is open.

      We come now to Sub-amendment 2.

I call Mr Mariani to support the sub-amendment on behalf of the Committee on Migration, Refugees and Displaced Persons.

      Mr MARIANI (France)* – The sub-amendment deals with the NGOs’ generosity.

      THE PRESIDENT* – Does anyone with to speak against Sub-amendment 2? That is not the case.

      The committee is obviously in favour.

      The vote is open.

      Does anyone wish to speak against Amendment 24, as amended? I call Mr Shlegel.

      Mr SHLEGEL (Russian Federation)* – As I said in the Chamber earlier today, most people in south-eastern Ukraine are seeking refuge not in western European countries, but in Russia.

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

      Mr MARIANI (France)* – The committee is in favour.

      THE PRESIDENT* – I shall now put Amendment 24, as amended, to the vote.

      The vote is open.

      We come to Amendment 26, which has a sub-amendment. I call Mr Ariev to support the amendment. You have 30 seconds.

      Mr ARIEV (Ukraine) – I want to attract attention to the brutal violation of international law that Russia is committing. The amendment relates to all the so-called humanitarian convoys that were sent to Donbass without the agreement of the Ukrainian Government and the Red Cross. These violations must be stopped.

      THE PRESIDENT* – We now come to the sub-amendment. I call Mr Mariani to support the sub-amendment on behalf of the Committee on Migration, Refugees and Displaced Persons.

      Mr MARIANI (France)* – The sub-amendment underscores the importance of humanitarian assistance and the fact that the Russian humanitarian convoys had illegally penetrated into Ukrainian territory.

      THE PRESIDENT* – Does anyone wish to speak against the sub-amendment? That is not the case.

      The committee is obviously in favour of the sub-amendment.

      I shall now put the sub-amendment to the vote.

      The vote is open.

      The sub-amendment is adopted.

      Does anyone wish to speak against Amendment 26, as amended? I call Mr Shlegel.

      Mr SHLEGEL (Russian Federation)* – I am sorry but this is a cynical amendment. How can you accuse Russia of not doing enough when there are no other ways to help these people? In this situation, the Russian Federation is virtually the only one who can provide help, and we should not stand accused because of that.

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

      Mr MARIANI (France)* – The committee is in favour.

      THE PRESIDENT* – I shall now put Amendment 26, as amended, to the vote.

      The vote is open.

      We come to Amendment 25. I call Mr Ariev to support the amendment. You have 30 seconds.

      Mr ARIEV (Ukraine) – We must emphasise the role of the Commissioner for Human Rights and his special mission to Russian-annexed Crimea and Eastern Ukraine. The amendment is fair and important.

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

      Mr SHLEGEL (Russian Federation)* – Unfortunately, the amendment says that the Assembly expresses its full support, but that is not possible because we have already pointed out that the figures published after the visit of the Commissioner for Human Rights to Crimea, for example, do not correspond to reality, so we cannot be objective in this situation.

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

      Mr MARIANI (France)* – The committee is in favour.

      THE PRESIDENT* – I shall now put the amendment to the vote.

      The vote is open.

       We come to Amendment 16. I call Mr Jónasson to support the amendment. You have 30 seconds.

      Mr JÓNASSON (Iceland) – Article 10 refers to fundamental rights that must be respected to ensure a sustainable political solution in Ukraine. There is a reference to the integrity of the State, but there is no reference to democratic rights, and the amendment is an attempt to rectify that. Such words must come from the Council of Europe.

      THE PRESIDENT* – Does anyone wish to speak against the amendment? That is not the case.

      What is the opinion of the committee?

      Mr MARIANI (France)* – The committee is against the amendment.

      THE PRESIDENT* – I shall now put the amendment to the vote.

      The vote is open.

      Amendment 16 is rejected.

      We come to Amendment 19, which has a sub-amendment. I call Mr Shlegel to support the amendment. You have 30 seconds.

      Mr SHLEGEL (Russian Federation)* – The amendment is self-explanatory.

      THE PRESIDENT* – I call Mr Mariani to support the sub-amendment on behalf of the Committee on Migration, Refugees and Displaced Persons.

      Mr MARIANI (France)* – The sub-amendment would delete the words, “irrespective of place of residence or nationality”.

      THE PRESIDENT* – Does anyone wish to speak against the sub-amendment? That is not the case.

      The committee is obviously in favour of the sub-amendment.

      I shall now put the sub-amendment to the vote.

      The vote is open.

      The sub-amendment is adopted.

      Does anyone wish to speak against the amendment, as amended? That is not the case.

      What is the opinion of the committee?

      Mr MARIANI (France)* – The committee is in favour.

      THE PRESIDENT* – I shall now put Amendment 19, as amended, to the vote.

      The vote is open.

      We come to Amendment 29. I call Mr Ariev to support the amendment.

      Mr ARIEV (Ukraine) – Humanitarian aid has no nationality, no political, racial or religious belonging. It is neutral if it is legal, and a population that suffers from armed conflict should receive humanitarian aid regardless of the sender. Pro-Russian separatist forces prohibit the delivery of international and Ukrainian aid to Donbass. They do not protect; they kill people and we must insist that paramilitary forces do not stop the delivery of international aid.

      THE PRESIDENT* – Does anyone wish to speak against the amendment? That is not the case.

      What is the opinion of the committee?

      Mr MARIANI (France)* – The committee is in favour.

      THE PRESIDENT* – The vote is open.

      We come to Amendment 30. I call Mr Ariev to support the amendment.

      Mr ARIEV (Ukraine) – We propose to change the word “implement” to “continue implementing” because the Ukrainian Government is already working on implementing the needs of internally displaced persons. The Ukrainian Parliament introduced special legislation, and a process is ongoing.

      THE PRESIDENT* – Does anyone wish to speak against the amendment? That is not the case.

      What is the opinion of the committee?

      Mr MARIANI (France)* – The committee is in favour.

      THE PRESIDENT* – The vote is open.

      Amendment 30 is agreed to.

      We come to Amendment 31. I call Mr Ariev to support the amendment.

      Mr ARIEV (Ukraine) – The fact that Ukraine has problems with IDP registration does not mean that those problems are caused by discrimination. Many people of different ethnic origins who lost their identity documents or did not collect the necessary papers often face such issues, and the Ukrainian Government should eliminate such difficulties for all people affected by the conflict who wish to register as IDPs. Special attention should, of course, be paid to particularly vulnerable groups, including Roma people.

      THE PRESIDENT* – Does anyone wish to speak against the amendment? That is not the case.

      What is the opinion of the committee?

      Mr MARIANI (France)* – The committee is against the amendment.

      THE PRESIDENT* – The vote is open.

      Amendment 31 is rejected.

      We come to Amendment 7. I call Ms Aleksandrov to support the amendment.

      Ms ALEKSANDROV (Russian Federation)* – We are asking for the inclusion of a phrase that calls for the implementation of the provisions of the Minsk agreement, not just by Russia but also by Ukraine. That would be more objective and is only right.

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

      Mr ARIEV (Ukraine) – This proposal is unfair because Ukraine insisted on the Minsk agreement all the time, and the pro-Russian side, including pro-Russian terrorists, rejected the inclusion of the Minsk agreement in their lives. It is some kind of panopticon and I thank Assembly members for not supporting the amendment.

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

      Mr MARIANI (France)* – The committee is against the amendment.

      THE PRESIDENT* – The vote is open.

      Amendment 7 is rejected.

      We come to Amendment 32, which has a sub-amendment. I call Mr Ariev to support the amendment.

      Mr ARIEV (Ukraine) – Recently, in Volnovakha, Donetsk and Mariupol numerous civilians were killed by so-called separatists – terrorists and Russian troops – which indicated clear signs of terrorism. I call on the Assembly to support this important amendment.

      THE PRESIDENT* – We now come to the sub-amendment. I call Mr Mariani to support the sub-amendment.

      Mr MARIANI (France)* – The sub-amendment would replace the words “terrorism in Ukraine” with the word “and”.

      THE PRESIDENT* – Does anyone wish to speak against the sub-amendment? That is not the case.

      The mover of the amendment agrees with the sub-amendment.

      The committee is obviously in favour of the sub-amendment.

      The vote is open.

      Does anyone wish to speak against Amendment 32, as amended? I call Mr Shlegel.

      Mr SHLEGEL (Russian Federation)* – We believe that the Russian party is observing the Minsk provisions and that the Ukrainian party is not. There has been a lot of shelling in Donetsk and other areas, and we do not support the amendment.

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

      Mr MARIANI (France)* – The committee is in favour.

      THE PRESIDENT* – The vote is open.

      Amendment 32, as amended, is agreed to.

      We come now to Amendment 8.       I call Mr Aleksandrov to support the amendment.

      Mr ALEKSANDROV (Russian Federation)* – This is a technical point because the Russian Federation shoulders responsibility for respect for human rights in Crimea and Sevastopol, as it does in Moscow and St Petersburg and for other subjects of the Russian Federation.

      THE PRESIDENT* – Does anyone wish to speak against the amendment? That is not the case.

      What is the opinion of the committee?

      Mr MARIANI (France)* – The committee is against the amendment.

      THE PRESIDENT* – The vote is open.

      Amendment 8 is rejected.

      We come to Amendment 33. I call Mr Ariev to support the amendment. You have 30 seconds.

      Mr ARIEV (Ukraine) – Listening to the Russian speeches, I feel as though I am in the theatre of the absurd. The United Nations and the Council of Europe have declared that the annexation of Crimea is illegal. Under international humanitarian law, Crimea is considered occupied territory, with Russia as the occupying state. Consequently, it is Russia that must ensure the security of those who live under its temporary control and respect their human rights. As the Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights has said, the Russian Federation is failing to comply with that obligation, so I ask for the amendment to be supported.

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

      Mr SHLEGEL (Russian Federation)* – I think that you know our position. There was a completely legitimate referendum, which led to Crimea being included in the Russian Federation. I do not think that we need to make any comment on the amendment. As to the theatre of the absurd, I think that that is what is happening in Ukraine.

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

      Mr MARIANI (France)* – The committee is in favour.

      THE PRESIDENT* – I shall now put the amendment to the vote. The vote is open.

We come to Amendment 3. I call Mr Selvi to support the amendment.

      Mr SELVİ (Turkey) – We tabled the amendment because of the systematic discrimination against, intimidation of and intrusive searches of the homes, businesses and public and religious organisations of Crimean Tatars, which have been going on since the annexation of Crimean territory. The raids by local security forces on the Crimean Tatar Mejlis building in Simferopol on 16 September and the Yalta mosque on 22 September are cases in point.

      THE PRESIDENT* – Does anyone want to speak against the amendment? That is not the case.

What is the opinion of the committee?

      Mr MARIANI (France)* – The committee is in favour.

      THE PRESIDENT* – I shall now put the amendment to the vote. The vote is open.

      We come to Amendment 34. I call Mr Ariev to support the amendment.

      Mr ARIEV (Ukraine) – It is natural that some refugees want to return to their homeland in Ukraine, but the procedure for that is difficult in the Russian Federation because of local migration legislation. With this amendment, we call for the rendering of assistance to those Ukrainian refugees who wish to return to Ukraine from the Russian Federation.

      THE PRESIDENT* – Does anyone want to speak against the amendment? That is not the case.

      What is the opinion of the committee?

      Mr MARIANI (France)* – The committee is in favour.

      THE PRESIDENT* – I shall now put the amendment to the vote.

The vote is open.

      We now come to Amendment 36. I call Mr Ariev to support the amendment.

      Mr ARIEV (Ukraine) – The amendment does not need additional comment. It is a demand for the immediate release of prisoners of war, including a member of the Ukrainian Parliament and delegate to the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe, Nadiia Savchenko, and other Ukrainian citizens who remain illegally kept by the Russian Federation on its territory.

      THE PRESIDENT* – Does anyone want to speak against the amendment? I call Mr Shlegel.

      Mr SHLEGEL (Russian Federation)* – Everybody knows our argument on this. Savchenko is accused of heinous crimes in the Russian Federation. At the time, she was not a member of the Parliamentary Assembly or the Parliament, so we oppose the amendment.

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

      Mr MARIANI (France)* – The committee is in favour.

      THE PRESIDENT* – I shall now put the amendment to the vote. The vote is open.

      Amendment 15 falls because Amendment 36 has been adopted. We now come to Amendment 35. I call Mr Ariev to support the amendment.

      Mr ARIEV (Ukraine) – The amendment touches on initiatives of humanitarian assistance, to avoid the illegal so-called humanitarian convoys that are trespassing over the Ukrainian border. We have to be sure that all initiatives are in accordance with international legislation and the legislation of Ukraine.

      THE PRESIDENT* – Does anyone want to speak against the amendment? I call Mr Shlegel.

      Mr SHLEGEL (Russian Federation)* – Colleagues, I have already mentioned this. It would be completely wrong to ban or punish a country for affording help where there is no dialogue, so the Assembly surely cannot support the amendment.

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

      Mr MARIANI (France)* – The committee is in favour.

      THE PRESIDENT* – I shall now put the amendment to the vote. The vote is open.

      We come to Amendment 4. I call Mr Selvi to support the amendment.

      Mr SELVİ (Turkey) – There are clear manifestations of police oppression and intimidation against Crimean Tatars. Respecting the rights and freedoms of the Tatar community is essential for the preservation of peace and stability on the peninsula. The international community should continue to follow the situation there closely.

      THE PRESIDENT* – Does anyone want to speak against the amendment? That is not the case.

      What is the opinion of the committee?

      Mr MARIANI (France)* – The committee is in favour.

      THE PRESIDENT* – I shall now put the amendment to the vote.

The vote is open.

      We now come to Amendment 20. I call Mr Shlegel to support the amendment.

      Mr SHLEGEL (Russian Federation)* – We would like to add the phrase, “continue to offer protection to Ukrainian refugees who have requested it”. That is important.

      THE PRESIDENT* – Does anyone want to speak against the amendment? That is not the case.

What is the opinion of the committee?

      Mr MARIANI (France)* – The committee rejects Amendment 20.

      THE PRESIDENT* – I shall now put the amendment to the vote. The vote is open.

      Amendment 20 is rejected.

      We come to Amendment 37. I call Mr Ariev to support the amendment.

      Mr ARIEV (Ukraine) – The amendment would include a reference to simplifying the procedure for submitting an application to grant refugee status to Ukrainians who request it. At this moment, that is very important.

      THE PRESIDENT* – Does anyone wish to speak against the amendment? That is not the case.

What is the opinion of the committee?

      Mr MARIANI (France)* – The committee is in favour.

      THE PRESIDENT⃰ - The vote is open.

      We will now proceed to vote on the whole of the draft resolution contained in Document 13651 and addendum, as amended.

      The vote is open.

My congratulations to the rapporteur.

4. The implementation of the Memorandum of Understanding between the Council of Europe and the European Union

      THE PRESIDENT* – The next item of business is the debate on the report entitled “The implementation of the Memorandum of Understanding between the Council of Europe and the European Union”, Document 13655, presented by Ms Kerstin Lundgren on behalf of the Committee on Political Affairs and Democracy. I remind colleagues that we have already agreed that to finish by 6 p.m., we shall interrupt the list of speakers at about 5.35 p.m. to allow time for the reply and the vote.

      I call Ms Lundgren, rapporteur. You have 13 minutes in total, which you may divide between presentation of the report and reply to the debate.

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

      Ms LUNDGREN (Sweden) – Thank you for giving me this chance to introduce this report on the Memorandum of Understanding between the Council of Europe and the European Union, which was signed in May 2007. We wanted to achieve greater unity between the States of Europe through respect for shared values – the values of pluralistic democracy, rule of law, human rights and fundamental freedoms – as well as through pan-European co-operation, thereby promoting democratic stability and security.

      The memorandum was divided into seven priorities and outlined a new framework for enhanced co-operation and political dialogue between the Council of Europe and the European Union. It states that the Council of Europe should remain the benchmark for human rights, rule of law and democracy in Europe, and it is up to us – no one else – to make sure that we remain the benchmark. We have to enhance co-operation and avoid duplication. We are trying to search for added value and to make better use of resources. We agreed on priorities, including human rights and fundamental freedoms, the rule of law and legal co-operation, democracy and good governance, democratic stability, intercultural dialogue and cultural diversity, education, youth, human contacts and social cohesion. That was outlined in the Memorandum of Understanding.

      When it comes to human rights, the European Union’s accession to the European Convention on Human Rights will be essential. The memorandum covers co-operation on the protection of persons belonging to national minorities, the fight against racism, xenophobia and intolerance, and so on, but the human rights outlined in the Convention are the base or key for all of us. We had long hoped that before this debate there would be a good outcome from the European Court of Justice, but sadly that was not the case; its decision was not in favour of accession now. I will come back to that.

      On the rule of law, there is an endeavour to establish common standards, thus promoting a Europe without dividing lines; that is important. Obviously, a common space for human rights in Europe is one of the visions of not only this Assembly but of the European Union; that is something to work together on. The level and regularity of our consultations – both strategic and more structured – have improved; colleagues can see that in the report. The improvement is obvious. Aims relating to the European Union’s institutional presence here in Strasbourg, and ours in Brussels, have been fulfilled. There are now joint programmes for the first time; that is a long-term achievement. Between 2014 and 2020, there will be a long joint programme between the European Union and us. You can read more about that in the report.

      There is better visibility; many European Union reports refer to the Council of Europe and its standards. It is up to us to knock on the door and make sure that we are first, and are giving the European Union advice on the areas that we deal with. We welcome stronger European Union action in the field of justice and home affairs, the rule of law, human rights and democracy, but we must make sure that there is no forum shopping, because that could be a risk. We must keep ourselves well trained and well equipped. It is up to us to make sure that we shape our structures and centres of excellence and expertise in such a way that we are the front-runners in the areas that we deal with; otherwise, we will not in future be the benchmark for human rights, the rule of law and democracy.

      In the report, we ask the European Union to accede to our key conventions, of which there are several, but the key of keys is the European Convention on Human Rights. The European Court of Justice’s decision should be respected, but we all have to take steps quickly and resolutely to ensure that the negotiations do not stop, and are kept at the forefront, politically and in our organisations.

      If not, they will be left behind. The European Union is treaty bound and this Assembly has a long-standing agreement that the European Union and the Council of Europe should agree on the Convention.

It is up to us in the European Union member States to knock on doors and make sure that our governments keep the issue high on their agenda. It is up to this Assembly and the Committee of Ministers to make sure that we are on our toes, standing ready to get the negotiations up and running again. That is reflected in some of the proposed amendments, with which I fully agree and which are crucial to the future of human rights and our vision of making a common space in Europe without creating new dividing lines on the basic values of this body.

I urge colleagues to read the report, make use of it back home and to ask their governments to make use of it, too. For example, I want to raise the Convention issue as part of our discussion on the European Commission’s working programme. We can make use of it in different ways back home. I hope that colleagues will vote for both the resolution and the recommendation.

THE PRESIDENT – Ms Lundgren, you have four and a half minutes remaining. I call Mr Kolman, on behalf of the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe.

Mr KOLMAN (Croatia) – On behalf of The Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe (ALDE) Party, I thank and congratulate the rapporteur on dealing with this very important issue. This week we are discussing many important political issues and events, some of which deal with tragic losses of human life, terrorism, war and denials of basic human rights. That is exactly why the report is extremely important. By analysing co-operation between the Council of Europe and the European Union, we are addressing a fundamental question: how are we going to make sure that the values and standards to which we are committed fully come to life?

The Council of Europe is the home of human rights in Europe and the world, and it is only rational that the European Union draws on tradition and expertise in this and other fields. It is encouraging that co-operation is getting better and more structured, strategic and political. It seems that we are on the right path. The European Court of Justice ruling on the matter of the European Union joining the European Convention on Human Rights is certainly a disappointment, but it should not discourage further efforts towards that goal.

The fight for human rights and the rule of law, both of which constitute the foundations of our freedom, can never stop. Events around us prove that every day, and the Council of Europe is, and needs to remain, the reference point in matters of human rights, democracy and the rule of law. The partnership between the Council of Europe and the European Union needs to be a truly strategic one in terms of political dialogue, legal co-operation and concrete co-operation activities. Our policies need to be correlated and co-ordinated.

European Union legislation is an especially sensitive issue. The values and standards set up by the Council of Europe need to be reflected within it and it is good that there are regular consultations. However, as the rapporteur has rightly pointed out, there is still room for improvement. The process is still inconsistent and the European Convention on Human Rights and European law remain two separate entities, as reflected in the Court of Justice ruling of 18 December.

Joint programmes are another great way of strengthening co-operation and co-ordination. The focus on European Union enlargement countries, countries of the European Union Eastern Partnership and countries of the southern Mediterranean and central Asia gives real, tangible results and creates the synergies that are the desired effect of co-operation between the European Union and the Council of Europe.

It is obvious from the report that understanding and co-operation between the European Union and the Council of Europe are on the rise, which is a good thing. However, as the rapporteur rightly concluded, there is still a lot of work to do. The European Union can learn and benefit a lot from the Council of Europe, and both institutions can experience real benefits from ever-increasing communication. The process needs to continue, with the key words being co-operation and co-ordination.

THE PRESIDENT – I call Mr Clappison, on behalf of the European Conservatives Group.

Mr CLAPPISON (United Kingdom) – May I congratulate the rapporteur on her hard work on, and care for, the subject? I want to address the proposed accession of the European Union to the European Convention on Human Rights.

The rapporteur said that the implication of the European Court of Justice judgment on 18 December was that it was not in favour of accession now. I think we could go slightly further than that and say that the implication of the court’s opinion places a big question mark over when, if ever, the accession can take place. The ruling was that the provisional agreement for European accession to the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) is incompatible with the European Union treaties. There is no point in us tiptoeing around that. I know it was unexpected and that people have said it is going to take time to deal with it, but we have to face up to the full implications.

We have to accept that the grounds for the opinion were not trivial. In some respects, they could hardly be more fundamental, not least in respect of the finding of the European Court of Justice that the approach taken in the draft accession agreement of treating the European Union as if it were a state was fundamentally flawed. The court also expressed concern about safeguarding its autonomy from the constraints of another international legal order in the form of the ECHR, including in matters such as resolution of disputes, advisory opinions, the mutual trust principle and judicial review, all of which are very important legal subjects as far as the court is concerned.

If I may put it in common parlance, it would appear that the European Court of Justice wants to exclude the possibility of ever playing second fiddle to another court and to exclude itself from being made subordinate to another international legal order, which is a fundamental concern and obstacle in the way of accession of the European Union to the ECHR.

I want to address three brief points to those who will be taking the issue forward on behalf of the Convention and the Council of Europe. First, can we have openness about the procedure and course that will now be followed and an indication of the likely timetable? Secondly, can this Assembly have an opportunity, in due course, to debate any further proposals that may be made? It would be very strange if we did not have that opportunity. Finally, can we bear in mind the interests of those members of this Assembly that are not European Union member States? We have a particular obligation to them because their voice is not heard through the European Union; it can only be heard through this Assembly.

In summary, as we deal with the fundamental problems that have been put in the way of accession, we need openness and debate. It would be very strange for this Assembly not to have openness and debate, because that is what we are all about.

THE PRESIDENT – I call Mr Kox, on behalf of the Group of the Unified European Left.

Mr KOX (Netherlands) – I thank the rapporteur, Ms Lundgren, whose report and draft resolution are the result of fine co-operation with the committee. We are all concerned about the matter and we should all work together on it. I have been in the Assembly for 12 years and I see the relationship between the European Union and the Council of Europe as one in which they co-operate by living apart together. We need each other, but it is too difficult to live in the same house so we live apart together. There is nothing wrong with that, because we are different organisations of a different size and with different structures, means and goals. We should not try to unite the two organisations, but make them work together more, avoid the controversy of the past and achieve more synergy. That fine goal was set in 2005 at the Warsaw Summit of the Council of Europe. It led to the Memorandum of Understanding with the European Union in 2007. After that, we went through a period of regarding each other as operating at different ends. The European Union wanted to take over things that we thought should be ours. It thought, “What is the Council of Europe talking about? We have the means, the men and the ability to do that work.”

      The good news is that the report and the statements from the Deputy Secretary General of the Council of Europe show that things are developing positively. There has been more synergy in recent years. There has been more contact at the level of the Parliamentary Assembly and the Committee of Ministers, and there has been co-operation between the diverse organs of both institutions. That is positive. There has also been more co-financing, which is a major improvement. We should not complain that the European Union is now one of our grands payeurs. In this Assembly, we used to complain that we did not have enough money, and now the European Union is taking care of that in a considerable way.

      There are possibilities and risks. We can avoid misunderstandings about who is doing what and why. Knowing who is and who is not doing something will enable us to be more effective. The increased synergy means that there is less risk of duplication – a major topic for this Assembly – and good ideas can be funded. However, we must take care not to be overtaken by the European Union. We must ensure that we do not become the European Union’s best servant. We spend in a year as much money as the European Union spends in a day. The rapporteur is clear that that is a big threat, which is why my group can wholeheartedly support the proposal.

      THE PRESIDENT – On behalf of the Socialist Group, Mr Le Borgn' will take the floor.

      Mr LE BORGN' (France)* – Our debate on the implementation of the Memorandum of Understanding of 2007 between the Council of Europe and the European Union is taking place at a pertinent time. On 18 December, the European Court of Justice decided that the framework submitted to it about the accession of the European Union to the European Convention on Human Rights would not sufficiently protect the autonomy of the European Union’s legal system. It said that it was opposed to the accession under the proposed conditions.

      Is this the end of the road for accession to the convention? I do not think so. Although the court’s judgment is strict about certain things, it outlines ways in which an amended framework for accession could meet with the assent of the judges in Luxembourg. The conclusions of the Advocate General, Juliane Kokott, give some ideas about how to create a legal framework that would allow accession to succeed.

      Behind this debate is a major challenge: the need to avert the danger of the Luxembourg and Strasbourg courts making different interpretations of, for example, the Charter of Fundamental Rights and the provisions relating to the European Convention on Human Rights. We cannot have a two-speed Europe, in which access to human rights depends on where a person lives. Transferred or shared powers might allow individuals to have recourse to the ECHR. That is why it is important that the Council of Europe and the European Union work together.

      Your report, Ms Lundgren, highlights the progress that has been made since the memorandum was adopted in 2007. Nevertheless, we must recognise that there is still work to be done to establish a single, comprehensive framework on human rights in Europe. Thoughts and deeds on this matter cannot be left to the legal experts; they must be brought to citizens. We must raise European citizens’ awareness of the need for their rights to be better protected. On that, the Council of Europe, its institutions and its monitoring bodies can add bumper value.

      The complementary nature of standards protecting human rights requires the Council of Europe and the European Union to work even more closely together. The European Union could, for example, join GRECO – the group on corruption – the Venice Commission or the European Commission against Racism and Intolerance. The Council of Europe should think carefully about the scant resources of the European Court of Human Rights, which should be reassessed so the Strasbourg and Luxembourg courts can face the legal challenges that they will have to overcome with the same strength and ambition.

      THE PRESIDENT – I call Mr Omtzigt to speak on behalf of the European People’s Party.

      Mr OMTZIGT (Netherlands) – I thank Ms Lundgren for her clear report on the memorandum. The problem is not the memorandum, but, as Mr Clappison rightly pointed out, the negative opinion of the European Court of Justice, which clearly stated that accession is incompatible with the treaties. But, funnily, non-accession is also incompatible with the treaties, because the Lisbon Treaty clearly states that the European Union must accede. If both options are incompatible, what should we do?

      My question to the rapporteur is this: how would you advise the Assembly to move forward and solve the conflict? I would have been in favour of joining the urgent debate that was proposed by a number of our colleagues on the court’s important opinion. I disagree with my colleague from Croatia, who said that it will go away. It will remain important, so we must work with it and find a solution. The solution should be the accession of the European Union to the European Convention on Human Rights for the reasons that the rapporteur pointed out clearly: there should not be double standards or the possibility of treaty shopping. There should be one standard for the whole of Europe, even for countries that do not foresee becoming members of the European Union. The way to do that is to ensure that the European Union accedes. The Lisbon Treaty was approved by all European Union member States, so there is no reason not to do that.

      The practical co-operation is going well. The European Union funds are working, and they should not make us dependent on the European Union. The co-operation with the agency in Vienna is going better than expected. That shows that a lot more can be done, and it should not be obstructed by a small fight about who plays first and who plays second fiddle. Human rights are too important for that.

      THE PRESIDENT – Ms Lundgren, do you wish to reply now?

      Ms LUNDGREN (Sweden) – Yes, please. I planned my flight assuming that this debate would start at 3.30 p.m. My plane takes off at 6.35 p.m., and I have to be at the hospital tomorrow morning, so I need to get home. I am sorry that I will not be able to stay for the whole debate, but I came here specifically for it and I would like to make some further comments.

      I wish I could answer Mr Omtzigt’s question, but it is not easy. We will have open debates in our parliaments, here and in different groups, because we need to look closely at this issue and discuss how to go further. As has been mentioned, the commitment on European Union accession to the European Convention on Human Rights is treaty-based. The European Union has that obligation. It is not up to us in the Assembly to handle how the European Union will sort that out. The European Union is bound by the treaty. It has to sort out how it will handle the situation. I will be glad to listen to those discussions.

      As has been said, we should try to work on other key conventions and groups, be it GRECO or others. There are ways to connect and go further. The idea is not to stop. This is not the end of the road, as colleagues have mentioned. The road is open. We must use it and do the best we can on this because our goals are not different, as Tiny Kox said. We have common values. Those goals must be reached together if we want to have a common space for human rights, democracy and the rule of law. We should achieve that safeguard through our own excellence. It is up to us to keep up the work and not drift away from the key issues and from what our excellent bodies are doing. It is up to us and the European Union to handle the situation on the treaties, the court decision and the decision on accession.

      I thank you all for your contributions. I will be listening to the debate. I hope that you will vote in favour at the end of the debate.

      THE PRESIDENT – Thank you, Ms Lundgren, for your report and your contributions to the discussion.

It is now 5 p.m. Does any member wish to vote in the election of two judges to the European Court of Human Rights? If so, this is the time to do it. If that is not the case, the ballot for the election is closed. The counting of the votes will take place under the supervision of two tellers, Mr Omtzigt and Ms Marković. I invite them to go at once to meet behind the presidential chair. The results of the election will be announced at about 6 p.m.

      I do not see Mr Díaz Tejera, so I call Mr Mignon.

      Mr MIGNON (France)* – I congratulate Ms Lundgren on her excellent report. I do not want this to be simply another memorandum that does not result in anything. Over the two years that I was President of the Parliamentary Assembly, I tried to do everything in my power to promote and foster relations between the European Union and the European Parliament and the Council of Europe and the Parliamentary Assembly. I managed to get Martin Schulz to make a presentation in the Chamber. It was not that easy but he did come and answer questions. We have managed to heighten awareness among our friends, cousins and colleagues from the European Parliament as to exactly what is happening here in this Chamber and what our knowledge, our experience and fields of expertise are compared with the European Union. We have been around since the late 1940s.

      The budget for the Court of Justice of the European Union is €355 million. That is more than the entire budget of the Council of Europe, which is €315 million. That includes voluntary contributions. We could ask a number of questions. One is related to the neighbourhood and enlargement policies of the European Union. It is regrettable that the European Union is not working in close co-ordination with the Council of Europe. All countries covered by the enlargement and neighbourhood policies are members of the Council of Europe. We are surely best placed, as a result of the work of the Council of Europe’s Monitoring Committee and the Venice Commission, to publish relevant opinions on the advisability of enlargement of the European Union.

      I hope that the document that has been presented, which is excellent, will be taken on board. The high-level exchanges between the presidents of the European Parliament and the Parliamentary Assembly have multiplied. Our Secretaries General have also multiplied their exchanges. However, what is the net result? We need to move to concrete action. It would be wrong merely to pay lip service to that. We elected representatives and parliamentarians must take action to ensure that our respective administrations follow suit and take action. Otherwise we will never extricate ourselves from this situation and we will meet in several years on another memorandum, we will look at the 2007 and 2014 ones and there will be nothing concrete at all. I hope that both the European Parliament and the European Union fully understand that they have to work with us, that we have knowledge that is at their disposal and that we feel as passionate about Europe as they do.

      Ms KOVÁCS (Serbia) – In this debate about the importance of strengthening the partnership between the Council of Europe and the European Union, I mention first that the Council of Europe has conducted extensive work in the past six decades and has developed legal standards and instruments that may serve the interests of the European Union as well. However, I am going to focus mostly on European Union enlargement, from the point of view of someone who comes from an European Union candidate country.

      My country, Serbia, is committed to pursuing its integration into the European Union. The European Council, as well as the Council of Europe’s monitoring bodies, acknowledge the considerable progress Serbia has made towards meeting the political criteria on accession. Bearing in mind that Serbia’s goal is to join the European Union, it has boosted a number of reforms in the rule of law, democracy and human rights. I would like to focus particularly on chapter 23 of the document on the accession negotiations and national minority rights.

      The Lisbon Treaty has extended the scope of European Union action to many areas where the Council of Europe already has significant experience and expertise. That has led to increased co-operation on issues such as the protection of minorities. European standards for the protection of the rights of persons belonging to national minorities are primarily set by the Council of Europe’s Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities. The Republic of Serbia is under the monitoring procedure of the Council of Europe. The Advisory Committee on the Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities has already approved three opinions on the implementation of that international document in Serbia. The third opinion of the Advisory Committee from last year has 47 recommendations for improving the position of national minorities in the country. On the other hand, the member states of the European Union accepted the screening report for chapter 23. Implementation of the recommendations is required to open the negotiations on that chapter.

      Usually, the European Council deals with the problems identified in the form of recommendations. In line with this, and since the European Union has no adequate legislation on national minority rights, in the field of general rights, the Republic of Serbia is expected to adopt a special action plan on the implementation of minority rights by the end of this year, taking into account the recommendations from the third opinion of the Advisory Committee on the Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities.

      All in all, there are an increasing number of European Union documents related explicitly to the standards and instruments of the Council of Europe. Council of Europe core business has become more central in European Union enlargement policy as well. The European Union relies on Council of Europe data and analysis to prepare its progress reports.

Mr HEER (Switzerland) – Thank you, Ms Lundgren, for your report.

Mr Clappison mentioned that not every country in the Council of Europe is a member of the European Union. Switzerland, for example, is a not a member of the European Union. I am a little sceptical about the ruling of the European Court of Justice. Of course, I can understand that the highest court in the European Union does not like to have a court above it, but it is up to the politicians in the European Union and the European Parliament to make legislation in this regard, so that we can find a solution with the European Union and the Council of Europe, so that they adhere to the European Convention on Human Rights.

Why is it important? If we have a double standard or a parallel organisation – in the Council of Europe and the European Union – one must ask, like Switzerland, Russia, Ukraine or Serbia, or any other country – “Why should we adhere to or accept the ruling of the human rights judges here in Strasbourg if the European Union does not?” This is a double standard which we do not like. In the end, if the European Union has its own standards, the Council of Europe will lose the importance that it has today; we will be a minor player and lose all the influence we still have, especially those countries that are not members of the European Union. Therefore I urge especially Council of Europe members from countries that are members of the European Union to seek a solution to ensure that the European Union adheres to the European Convention on Human Rights.

It is very important for countries outside the European Union. Switzerland only has this place to bring our points into the Council of Europe, since we are not a member of the European Union. Sadly, this is also valid for a lot of other countries. We have 28 member States in the European Union and 47 in the Council of Europe, so you should consider that non-European Union countries are today a minority. As you know, the Council of Europe stresses all the time that minorities must be treated nicely and decently. Therefore, for this reason it would also be appropriate if the European Union adhered to the European Convention on Human Rights. I urge you once again to look at this matter, so that we can find a solution. If we do not find one, the European Union will be too big and the Council of Europe will lose its respect and influence and, sooner or later, I guess that the Council of Europe will die. Then I would have to say that the European Union would be the undertaker of the Council of Europe. This we have to avoid.

(Ms Korenjak Kramar, Vice-President of the Assembly, took the Chair in place of Mr Flego.)

Mr BENEYTO (Spain)* – I think it was one of the founding fathers of Europe, Denis de Rougemont, who said that the existence of several Europes was a scandal – and that includes the existence of a Europe based on the Council of Europe and of one based on the European Union. It is unacceptable that this situation should continue. One way we can ensure that the standards of European Court of Human Rights are accepted, and therefore that this link between the Council of Europe and the European Union is established and strengthened, is of course the accession of the European Union to the European Convention on Human Rights.

The opinion of the European Court of Justice, handed down in December, says that the draft agreement which was negotiated contains a number of items that need to be clarified from the point of view of European law – of Community law – but, obviously, the constitutional mandate of the Lisbon Treaty and Article 6 make accession a compulsory requirement. Therefore the European Commission has to clarify these points, through its legal department, and produce a new agreement to comply with its own mandate. This obligation has been accepted by all member States in a Community treaty that has been ratified in a series of member States.

It goes without saying that our Parliamentary Assembly has to be involved in this debate and of course we need to strengthen the relations, particularly between the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe and European Union institutions at all levels: consultation groups, joint groups with the European Parliament and meetings between the presidents of both assemblies, which need to be extended to all different levels in both institutions. As Ms Lundgren’s report says, we need to make sure that the European Union is bound by Council of Europe conventions and that it accepts and bears in mind all the reports drafted by all the bodies of the Council of Europe, because we are talking about one single Europe here.

Jean-Claude Juncker, the President of the European Commission, produced a report in 2006 entitled, “Council of Europe – European Union: ‘A sole ambition for the European continent’”. Mr Juncker should, I think, come here and explain to us what he means by this title, which is still very valid today.

Lord BALFE (United Kingdom) – I want to add a few words to the arguments developed by my colleague Mr Clappison and Mr Kox. At the end of the court judgment is the significant rider: “Where the opinion of the court is adverse, the agreement envisaged may not enter into force unless it is amended or the treaties are revised.” So that is where we are today.

We can start by remembering that we have two very different courts with two very different jobs. I have appeared in the court in Luxembourg and I can tell you, they may know many things but they are certainly not human rights judges. They are used to dealing with the treaties and with commercial issues and, obviously, they are the guardians of the treaties, but they are a very different sort of judge. Yet they are increasingly charged with interpreting what are almost quasi-human rights. We saw, for instance, the pressure that the European Union brought to bear on the Government of Hungary over certain changes in its constitution, which were held to be in breach of human rights by some, but were also offensive to the European Union in the Council of Ministers and were dealt with internally. I think we are getting to a point where there is a certain amount of overlap which we have to look at.

Of course, when the European Court of Justice makes a judgment, there has to be a method of enforcement. When our European Court of Human Rights makes a judgment, there has to be a method of enforcement. But they are quite different. Sadly, far more judgments are unenforced in our Court than in theirs. I can see that probably one of their reservations would be about the enforceability of judgments.

I think the solution is that, since there is a clear mandate in the treaty for accession, the two sides now have to get together at a number of different levels: first, at court level, to see what the respective areas are going to be – that is fundamentally a technical decision. But they also need to get together at minister level – the Committee of Ministers and the Council of Ministers – to see how they are going to square this circle and how they are going to take into account such things as countries that are not part of the agreement, about which our Swiss colleague, Mr Heer, made a good point.

Finally, there is a need for us to get together at political level. I should hope that one initiative will be that our Bureau and the European Parliament Bureau seek to establish a very small working group to look at how we can carry forward a clear intention into a clear reality. That could help us get forward in this matter.

      Mr MOTA AMARAL (Portugal) – I congratulate the rapporteur, Ms Kerstin Lundgren, and thank her for the excellent documents she has prepared – the report, the draft resolution and the draft recommendation – with the support of the Committee on Political Affairs and Democracy and its competent secretariat. Our Assembly is debating an important subject, even though it might not have attracted as much media attention as others included in the agenda for this part-session.

      The co-operation between the Council of Europe and the European Union has been developing successfully, according to the rules in the Memorandum of Understanding signed in 2007. These two organisations, of which many of our countries are simultaneously member States, share common principles and goals, especially since the Lisbon Treaty made clear the involvement of the European Union in the endeavours of democracy and human rights. Both organisations are now acting in synergy across Europe to serve better the interests of European citizens.

      It is reasonable to avoid duplicating efforts and the consequent loss of human and financial resources, but it is mandatory to promote complementarity and coherence of standards in the very sensitive field of democracy and human rights. In her report, Ms Lundgren points out many areas where that co-operation is progressing. That path should be maintained. Under our direct responsibility is the dialogue and co-operation with the European Parliament. We are neighbours in Strasbourg, and much more could be done between both assemblies. Sometimes it looks as though we live and act back to back.

      The Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe is grounded on the strong democratic legitimacy of our national parliaments and deserves to be fully respected. I am sure that we will all welcome delegations of members of the European Parliament to participate in our plenary sessions and committee meetings, when appropriate. That was the usual practice in the Parliamentary Assembly of the Western European Union. If the European Parliament invites us to reciprocate, our Bureau would certainly make adequate provisions.

      The European Union has since acquired an international personality and applied it immediately by establishing an external diplomatic service that is full of former bureaucrats who have quickly been converted to ambassadors. I wish that it could now accede to the European Convention on Human Rights and even adhere and become a member of the Council of Europe. Both steps would benefit our fellow European citizens. In each of our national parliaments we should put some pressure on these items.

      Mr SASI (Finland) – I congratulate Ms Lundgren on a very good report. I fully agree that we must ensure the rapid accession of the European Union to the European Convention on Human Rights. However, as has already been stated today, the decision by the European Court of Justice on 18 December was very clear – I would even say that it was blunt. It states that, “the draft agreement on the accession of the European Union to the ECHR is not compatible with European Union law.” In fact, the court found many problems. If the decision stands, it will become practically impossible for the European Union to join the Convention. That is very interesting, because there is clear political will, as expressed in the Lisbon Treaty, for the European Union to join.

      I think that the attitude of the European Court of Justice, when analysed, is clear. It feels that only it has the right to interpret European Union conventions and laws and that no one else should interfere in its operations. The court does not want another body to be able to challenge it and give different opinions, or for there to be another court that could be above it.

      In fact, I do not understand the basic question, because the European Union member States are already party to the Convention and the European Union has judicial status. All European Union member States are party to the Convention. It is very clear that the organisation to which all those member States belong should itself be subject to the Convention. It does not make any sense. If the European Union rules are outside the control of the European Court of Human Rights, and even if the authorities in the European Union are outside that control, the States must be under that control. I think that there is clear political will not only among the European Union member States, but in this Assembly.

      The European Court of Justice sees the European Union too much like a superpower or supreme power, and that attitude is not healthy. Then there is a provision in the Lisbon Treaty that gives the right to accede to the Convention, so does that not give the European Union authorisation to join? The court’s fear is excessive. Today, the highest courts in all member States have a dialogue with the European Court of Human Rights, and even the European Court of Justice could have that dialogue. I think that the best opinion in future will decide which human rights we would apply in our countries.

      THE PRESIDENT – The next speaker is Mr Miller, Observer from Canada.

      Mr MILLER (Canada) – I thank the Assembly for this opportunity to speak about the implementation of the Memorandum of Understanding between the Council of Europe and the European Union. I also thank the rapporteur, Ms Lundgren, for her useful report.

      Canada values its relationship with both the Council of Europe and the European Union. We are proud that since 1997 we have held observer status with this Assembly. As stated in the report, the Council of Europe is the “benchmark for human rights, the rule of law and democracy in Europe.” In our capacity as observers, we consider it essential to participate in the work of its Parliamentary Assembly. The Canada-European Union relationship is fundamental for us. The European Union is Canada’s second largest trade and investment partner and a central actor on most global issues of interest to Canada. Canada and the European Union work together in numerous multilateral organisations. We also collaborate on a wide variety of issues. The European Union is a key ally for Canada.

      In August 2014, Canada and the European Union agreed on a complete text of the comprehensive economic and trade agreement – CETA – between the two parties. Its legal review and translation is now being completed before the respective ratification processes can begin. In September 2014, Canada and the European Union concluded their negotiations on a strategic partnership agreement and are now completing the legal review and translation of the text. The strategic partnership agreement will provide a new foundation for our political relations. It will also provide the mechanisms to engage and co-operate on issues of mutual interest.

      As the report explains, co-operation between the Council of Europe and the European Union has become more structured, strategic and political since the implementation of the memorandum of understanding in 2007. I support the priorities that both organisations have identified to strengthen their co-operation, based on the 2007 Memorandum of Understanding, because they relate to our shared values. The Memorandum of Understanding is a very useful instrument for third-country partners such as Canada, as it helps us better understand how both organisations work together and makes our interactions more efficient, whether with each organisation individually or with both working together.

      I would like to cite two examples of co-operation. In one case, Canada is providing substantial financial support to a Council of Europe project on media freedom in Ukraine. In the other case, Canada recently announced funding for religious freedom in Ukraine. These decisions were positively received by the Council of Europe and the European Union because they relate to joint priorities.

      I look forward to the implementation of the Canada-European Union strategic partnership agreement in the coming months. It will provide us with increased opportunities for dialogue and co-operation on issues where Canada, the Council of Europe and the European Union all have common interests.

      Ms DURANTON (France)* – Ms Lundgren’s excellent report gives us a comprehensive overview of relations between the Council of Europe and the European Union and rightly underlines their parliamentary dimension. The 2007 Memorandum of Understanding broke down the indifference and even suspicion that for far too long had characterised relations between the two leading European organisations. It is true that by adopting a Charter of Fundamental Rights and creating its own Fundamental Rights Agency, the European Union seemed to be duplicating the work of the Council of Europe and denying it its expertise in its core business and raison d'ętre. The 2007 text was therefore a positive step forward based on the recognition of complementarity. Underlining our Organisation's role as a benchmark in human rights, the rule of law and democracy has also helped to assuage some concerns in Strasbourg.

Such developments were positive and the resumption of political dialogue between the organisations can only promote the implementation of the Memorandum of Understanding. However, two pitfalls should be avoided in bringing the Council of Europe and the European Union closer together and to co-operating. First, we should not be too hasty. Some of us were perhaps too optimistic about the European Union joining the European Convention on Human Rights. Of course, it is a legal obligation pursuant to the Treaty of Lisbon, but in its opinion of 18 December 2014, the Court of Justice of the European Union cast a critical eye on a large number of points in the accession agreement signed in April 2013. Above and beyond questions of law, let us not kid ourselves. The opinion has clearly highlighted how extremely reluctant the court in Luxembourg is to have its autonomy reduced and to accept that it is subordinate to the case law of the Court in Strasbourg on human rights matters. The draft resolutions and recommendations sometimes show that excessive optimism. They mention the European Union joining the Council of Europe, but we are not yet there.

The second pitfall is almost the opposite. We should avoid the disappearance, if not the relinquishment, of the Council of Europe’s specific duties. Joint programmes have developed to some extent, but let us not overlook the disproportionate resources of the European Union and the Council of Europe and the risk of the latter being used by the former. The Council of Europe must not become an agency of the European Union. By the same token, the European Union has clearly not taken sufficient advantage of our knowledge of Ukraine and Russia as regards the conflict in Ukraine. Those countries are not members of the European Union, but they have a long-standing tradition of work with the Council of Europe and its Parliamentary Assembly. It is quite possible that if Brussels had taken greater account of the work carried out by the Council of Europe when approaching the Ukrainian dossier, a large number of analytical errors would not have been made.

Ms ZIMMERMANN (France)* – The Council of Europe, set up in 1949, laid the foundations of the European Union, which was only created in 1957. It gave it its flag and many ideas, but the child has grown taller than its parent and today we are desperately seeking the recognition and support of the European Union.

The sequence of events can sometimes be cruel and we are examining this report one month after the Court of Justice of the European Union, in its opinion of 18 December 2014, brought the accession of the European Union to the European Convention on Human Rights to a worrying standstill. For instance, the court alleges that the mutual monitoring system set up by the European Convention on Human Rights would be contrary to the spirit of mutual trust of the Union. In other words, the requirement under the Lisbon Treaty that the European Union accede to the Convention would be contrary to European law. That obstacle is difficult to overcome, and the building of a common European space for the protection of human rights appears more and more remote. In 2006, Jean-Claude Juncker was already calling for it, emphasising that it had been on the books for a long time.

Progress has been made, of course. For instance, high-level contacts have developed and programmes financially supported by the European Union have been streamlined and made more lasting. The truth is that the Council of Europe is still increasingly dependent on the European Union at a time when member States are distancing themselves from our Organisation. The draft resolution is a long catalogue of requests addressed to the Union that illustrate that dependence. The risk is that, in applying the Charter for Fundamental Rights, the European Court of Justice might develop a case law that is more autonomous. The risk is that apart from high-level symbolic meetings there will be no genuine common action between the European Parliament and our Assembly. The risk is that the Council of Europe will gradually turn into a subcontractor for the Union, with little more influence than an NGO.

We have some assets, but it is urgent that we develop them in concrete terms, whether they are the European Committee for the Prevention of Torture and Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment or the Venice Commission. I am raising the alarm because I am very attached to this Organisation. Let us react before it is too late.

      Mr KORODI (Romania) – The time is right: we have a comprehensive draft resolution on the implementation of the Memorandum of Understanding between the Council of Europe and the European Union. It is necessary to strengthen the partnership between the two organisations. The report addresses a number of recommendations to the European Union as well as to the Assembly and the Committee of Ministers with a view to continuing to build a common space for human rights protection. We know about the decision of the European Court of Justice, but that should not block us definitively.

We cannot accept that the European Union should be a space only for economic co-operation. We cannot accept that some citizens of the European Union should have greater opportunities than others. We cannot accept that our flagship organisation, the European Union, should limit the implementation of the rule of law, democracy and human rights to the majority ethnic communities in its member States, saying that national minority rights are a local matter .

We know that in a continuously consolidating European Union, the fundamental international conventions must be implemented clearly as the member States slowly give up their rights to make decisions to Brussels. As a member of the community of the 1.5 million national minority people in European Union member States, I want the Memorandum of Understanding to be very clear about the Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities. Colleagues, you know very well that there are many differences between the national minority protection instruments in European Union member States. It is not normal to create international standards for trade but not for national minorities and we need common action in this field between the Council of Europe and the European Union.

      THE PRESIDENT – That concludes the list of speakers.        The rapporteur has already spoken, so I call the vice-chairperson of the committee, Ms Khidasheli. You have two minutes.

      Ms KHIDASHELI (Georgia) – We have had an interesting debate. I could not have agreed more with Mr Omtzigt when he spoke about the continuous debate on the way forward, and the rapporteur underlined the importance of continuing this job and the debate on these issues. Mr Mignon outlined the co-ordinated effort to strengthen capacity, especially for neighbouring countries, and that is vital. European Union and Council of Europe joint programmes, especially with southern Mediterranean countries and eastern partnership countries, have already laid down some of the foundations.

      Most importantly, I completely agree with Mr Beneyto and Lord Balfe when they spoke about avoiding double standards for human rights, especially in European Union and Council of Europe countries – hence the necessity to overcome the obstacles identified by the European Court of Justice, as outlined in Amendment 3, which covers the spirit of our discussions in the Committee on Political Affairs and Democracy today and which is in line with the Lisbon Treaty as well.

      Let me say once again that probably the most important part of this entire document is nicely emphasised in Amendment 3, which summarises the spirit of the entire resolution: the Assembly is convinced that the European Union’s accession to the European Convention on Human Rights can ensure legal co-operation, enhance legal standards and provide a unique framework for human rights, democracy and the rule of law in Europe. We shall welcome the draft association agreement reached following the April 2013 negotiations. The obstacles identified by the European Court of Justice in its opinion must be overcome as soon as possible and in line with the political commitments made by all sides, as reflected in the Lisbon Treaty.

      We therefore invite those member States of the Council of Europe that are also members of the European Union to exercise their influence to resume without delay the negotiations on the European Union’s accession to the Convention and to give high political priority to this process. That was the spirit of the discussions in the Committee today, and I believe that we can work towards achieving these aims.

      THE PRESIDENT – The Committee on Political Affairs and Democracy has presented a draft resolution to which nine amendments have been tabled, and a draft recommendation to which one amendment has been tabled.

First, we will consider the draft resolution. The amendments will be taken in the following order: 3, 4, 5, 1, 2, 7, 8, 9 and 10.

      I understand that the Vice-Chairperson of the Committee on Political Affairs and Democracy wishes to propose to the Assembly that Amendments 3, 4, 5 and 2 to the draft resolution, which were unanimously approved by the committee, should be declared as agreed by the Assembly. Is that so Ms Khidasheli?

      Ms KHIDASHELI (Georgia) – Yes.

      THE PRESIDENT – Does anyone object? As there is no objection, I declare that Amendments 3, 4, 5 and 2 to the draft resolution have been adopted.

      We will therefore now consider Amendment 1. I remind you that speeches on amendments are limited to 30 seconds. I call Ms Kovács to support the amendment.

      Ms KOVÁCS (Serbia) – We suggest adding a reference to the Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities and the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages. The Council of Europe is the leading international organisation in protecting national minority rights. That is why we want to stress the importance of these two important conventions.

      THE PRESIDENT – Does anyone wish to speak against the amendment? That is not the case.

      What is the opinion of the committee?

      Ms KHIDASHELI (Georgia) – The committee is against the amendment.

      THE PRESIDENT – I shall now put the amendment to the vote.

      The vote is open.

      Amendment 1 is rejected.

      We come to Amendment 7. I call Ms Sotnyk to support the amendment. She is not here, so I call Sir Roger Gale.

      Sir Roger GALE (United Kingdom) – Although the proposers of these amendments are absent, I have studied them carefully and believe that they are sound. They would contribute significantly to the strength of the report.

      THE PRESIDENT – Does anyone wish to speak against the amendment? I call Mr Kox.

      Mr KOX (Netherlands) – I question whether the amendment is in order because it has nothing to do with the essence of the report on the memorandum. It would not be wise to spoil a good report and resolution with such amendments. They might belong in another report, but they do not belong in this report on the Memorandum of Understanding. I will make the same statement on the other amendments.

      THE PRESIDENT – What is the opinion of the committee?

      Ms KHIDASHELI (Georgia) – The committee is against the amendment. In fact, the signatories have withdrawn the amendment.

      THE PRESIDENT – I shall now put the amendment to the vote. I call Mr Kox on a point of order.

      Mr KOX (Netherlands) – I heard the vice-chair of the committee say that this and probably other amendments had been withdrawn.

      THE PRESIDENT – I call Ms Khidasheli on a point of order.

      Ms KHIDASHELI (Georgia) – Amendments 7, 8 and 10, not 9, were withdrawn by the signatories, but according to our procedural rules, they will be voted on. The committee was against all three of those amendments.

      THE PRESIDENT – Thank you for that explanation. I call Mr Rochebloine on a point of order.

      Mr ROCHEBLOINE (France) – When I raised the same question in the committee, I was told that we should vote in the committee because, if these amendments were moved in the Chamber, there would be a statement by the chair of the committee and the rapporteur. As the amendments have been withdrawn, I really do not see why we are voting on them here. It is surely a mistake.

      THE PRESIDENT – I should explain that we have had no notification of that the amendments have been withdrawn, so I suggest that we proceed to vote on each amendment. I call Ms Khidasheli on a point of order.

      Ms KHIDASHELI (Georgia) – That is exactly the point. The amendment was withdrawn verbally but not officially, so we should vote on it.

      THE PRESIDENT – I shall now put the amendment to the vote.

      The vote is open.

      Amendment 7 is rejected.

      We come to Amendment 8. I call Sir Roger Gale to support the amendment.

      Sir Roger GALE (United Kingdom) – I wish to see the amendment put to the vote for precisely the same reasons. We must take every opportunity to send a very clear message that the Russian invasion and annexation of Crimea cannot be tolerated.

      THE PRESIDENT – Does anyone wish to speak against the amendment? I call Mr Kox.

      Mr KOX (Netherlands) – Sir Roger Gale said that we must use any opportunity to send a message, but that is not how the Assembly should work. We are dealing with Ms Lundgren’s excellent report on co-operation between the European Union and the Council of Europe, so I ask that we vote against the amendment.

THE PRESIDENT – What is the opinion of the committee?

      Ms KHIDASHELI (Georgia) – The committee is against the amendment.

      THE PRESIDENT – I shall now put the amendment to the vote.

      The vote is open.

      Amendment 8 is rejected.

      I call Mr Ariev to support Amendment 9.

      Mr ARIEV (Ukraine) – The Ukrainian delegation tabled the amendment to support the efforts of the Ukrainian Government in making reforms to fix the current situation. In all negotiations with the European Union, Ukraine is the No.1 topic at the moment. The amendment could be accepted, but of course it is not as important as it was. I would be pleased if the Assembly accepted the amendment.

      THE PRESIDENT – Does anyone wish to speak against the amendment? That is not the case.

      What is the opinion of the committee?

      Ms KHIDASHELI (Georgia) – The committee is against the amendment.

      THE PRESIDENT – The vote is open.

      Amendment 9 is rejected.

      I call Mr Ariev to support Amendment 10.

      Mr ARIEV (Ukraine) – This is again about reforms in Ukraine. The Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe made numerous statements in support of reforms in Ukraine, and we proposed that that should be mentioned in the text. These reforms are on the agenda of all meetings of the European Union and now also the Council of Europe.

      THE PRESIDENT – Does anyone wish to speak against the amendment? I call Mr Kox.

      Mr KOX (Netherlands) – This report deals with the Council of Europe and the European Union, not with one of the 47 member States of the Council of Europe or the 28 member States of the European Union. It does not make sense to include one country in the resolution, and the mover of the amendment knows that. Why are we playing these games? It is not good for the image of the Assembly, and I humbly ask Assembly members not to accept the amendment.

      THE PRESIDENT – What is the opinion of the committee?

      Ms KHIDASHELI (Georgia) – The committee is against the amendment.

      THE PRESIDENT – The vote is open.

      Amendment 10 is rejected.

      We will now proceed to vote on the whole of the draft resolution contained in Document 13655, as amended.

      The vote is open.

      We come now to the draft recommendation, to which one amendment, Amendment 6, has been tabled. I understand that the Vice-Chairperson of the Committee on Political Affairs and Democracy wishes to propose to the Assembly that Amendment 6 to the draft recommendation, which was unanimously approved by the committee, should be declared as agreed by the Assembly.

      Is that so Ms Khidasheli?

      Ms KHIDASHELI (Georgia) – That is correct.

      THE PRESIDENT – Does anyone object? As there is no objection, I declare that Amendment 6 to the draft recommendation has been agreed.

      We will now proceed to vote on the whole of the draft recommendation contained in Document 13655, as amended.

      The vote is open.

5. Election of judges to the European Court of Human Rights

      THE PRESIDENT – Before we move to the next item on the agenda, I have to announce the results of the ballot in the election of two judges to the European Court of Human Rights in respect of Bulgaria and Serbia.

      
Bulgaria

      Numbers of members voting: 202

      Blank or spoiled ballot papers: 15

      Votes cast: 187

      Absolute majority required: 94

      The votes were cast as follows:

      Mr Yonko Grozev 108

      Ms Tanya Kutsarova-Hristova 57

      Mr Viktor Soloveytchik 22

      Accordingly, Mr Grozev having obtained an absolute majority of votes cast, is elected a judge at the European Court of Human Rights for a term of office of nine years, to commence on 1 March this year, or in any event no later than three months after his election.

      Serbia

      Numbers of members voting: 202

      Blank or spoiled ballot papers: 3

      Votes cast: 199

      Absolute majority required: 100

      The votes were cast as follows:

      Mr Branko Lubarda 78

      Mr Branko Rakić 87

      Ms Spomenka Zarić 34

      No candidate having obtained an absolute majority of votes cast, a second round of voting will be held on Wednesday 28 January from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m., and from 3.30 p.m. to 5 p.m., and only a relative majority will be required.

6. The honouring of obligations and commitments by Montenegro

      THE PRESIDENT – The next item of business is the debate on the report entitled “The honouring of obligations and commitments by Montenegro”, Document 13665, presented by Mr Kimmo Sasi and Mr Terry Leyden on behalf of the Committee on the Honouring of Obligations and Commitments by Member States of the Council of Europe.

      I remind you that we have already agreed that in order to finish by 7 p.m. we shall interrupt the list of speakers at about 6.45 p.m. to allow time for the reply and the vote. I call Mr Sasi and Mr Leyden, co-rapporteurs. You have 13 minutes between you in total, which you may divide between presentation of the report and reply to the debate.

      MR SASI (Finland) – I remind the Assembly that, when we adopted Resolution 1890 in 2012, we identified five key areas in which we expected Montenegro to make progress: the independence of the judiciary; the situation of the media; the fight against corruption and organised crime; the rights of minorities and the fight against discrimination; and the situation of refugees and internally displaced persons.

      I thank the Montenegrin delegation and authorities for their excellent co-operation during the years we have been monitoring the country. The visits have been well prepared. In fact, when we have visited the country, there has been a file of 150 to 200 pages explaining what the country has done to fulfil the criteria that we set. We have had smooth co-operation with both the majority party and the opposition and I thank the country for asking for the opinion of the Venice Commission several times and, indeed, for trying to follow those opinions.

      I also thank the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees for securing our visits to the Konik camp, which is very close to the capital, Podgorica. The camp has accommodated thousands of refugees and internally displaced persons – a legacy of the wars in the former Yugoslavia. Indeed, Montenegro has opened its doors to more than 125 000 refugees and IDPs.

      Since the last resolution, we have paid tribute to the country. To show what kind of progress has been made, let me give a few examples. The country adopted constitutional amendments on the judiciary in July 2013, guaranteeing that there must be a qualified majority to elect the most important judicial persons. That caused some problems, especially in relation to the supreme State prosecutor, but finally the parliament was able in November 2014 to elect the prosecutor. There are on-going preparations on a number of laws pertaining to the implementation of constitutional amendments. Those are well on the way.

      On the media, the country set up in December 2013 a commission for monitoring the actions of the competent authorities in the investigation of cases of threats and violence against journalists, including the assassination of journalists, and attacks on media property. The process has been very useful. Indeed, there are 12 special cases, which should be resolved – to date, two cases have been resolved. The consequence is that there have been hardly any attacks against journalists and media houses since last January, when the commission was established.

      Corruption remains a serious problem in Montenegro, as has also been pointed out by the European Commission. However, we can take note of current plans to establish an agency for the prevention of corruption as of 2016. That was done in co-operation with the European Union, with the idea of concentrating resources so that the fight would be as effective as possible. It is important that the authorities should provide all the necessary means to the agency so that it can properly conduct its duties. Importantly, the agency also controls the financing of political parties and election campaigns, the handling of whistle blower complaints and whistle blower protection and the application of the law on lobbying. The process to establish a special public prosecutor on corruption and crime is now in parliament. That prosecutor will play a major role and we expect that the future law will comply with the Venice Commission recommendations.

      On the rights of minorities and the fight against discrimination, the country has taken a very proactive approach, as public attitudes are not very good. There have been three pride parades, which the police have protected very well – there were no attacks.

      There are still 16 000 refugees and IDPs, over 70% of whom have applied for legal status in Montenegro. We expect the authorities to find a solution for refugees who are not yet citizens of the country.

      Montenegro has made great progress in its attempts to fulfil our criteria. The country is now concentrating on the European Union, which means that the focus has shifted from us to the European Union. It is good that there is a strong cross-party consensus for integration in the European Union, as that strengthens what the country will do in that respect.

      The Council of Europe Committee of Ministers has stopped the monitoring process in relation to Montenegro. We would very much like the country to focus on democratic standards, consultation, the rule of law and enhanced transparency and accountability, so that we can overcome the polarisation there. There is a strong opposition and a strong government who find it difficult to negotiate and agree. That is a problem for the country.

      Despite the progress, some things still need to be done to fulfil the obligations and commitments to the Council of Europe. It is important that the country implements the legislation that the national parliament has approved. The Assembly decided in October 2014 to reform the monitoring and post-monitoring procedures, which means that there are new guidelines and new deadlines, including a deadline of two years for post-monitoring dialogue. We have made a road map for what the country should do. If it does not follow the road map, it will be returned to the monitoring procedure.

      I emphasise that in the light of the progress made and the political will shown by Montenegro, the Monitoring Committee proposes ending the monitoring procedure for Montenegro. We express confidence in the determination and ability of the authorities to pursue and complete the reforms that are very much expected. A number of requirements are made of the authorities in paragraph 13 of the draft resolution. I will let Mr Leyden explain the road map that would enable the country to come out of the post-monitoring dialogue.

      Mr LEYDEN (Ireland) – I should like to express my thanks for Mr Sasi’s great co-operation; we very much worked together on this report, and on the unanimous decision to recommend to the Assembly that we move to post-monitoring in Montenegro. I thank Ms Sylvie Affholder from the Council of Europe for her great support; she was very efficient and effective in organising our comprehensive visits to Montenegro. We received tremendous support from the leaders of the Montenegrin delegation and from the Montenegrin Opposition. We were received by the President of Montenegro, ministers, officials and non-government people, too. The visits were extremely good and worthwhile. Mr Sasi and I are both former ministers, so we were open-minded. You will see that the report is comprehensive.

      We want the independence of the judiciary to be strengthened. A number of important laws are currently being debated in the Parliament. They need to be fully in line with the recommendations adopted by the Venice Commission in December 2014. Justice needs to be effectively and professionally administered. The position of the newly elected supreme state prosecutor needs to be strengthened. He must be held accountable for bringing to court cases motivated by sound and reasoned indictments. At a political level, we invite the parliament and the authorities further to build trust in the electoral process. Notably, we received great co-operation from the Montenegrin Parliament, which we visited, and which functions very well indeed, to my mind. There is a need to implement the law on the funding of political parties and electoral campaigns, and regulations on the use of administrative resources during electoral campaigns, in line with GRECO recommendations. We feel strongly about that. I say to our colleagues from Montenegro that this practice must be wiped out. Using the powers of the State in electoral campaigns is not acceptable. Measures should be taken fully to involve local authorities and local political leaders in building trust in the electoral process at a local level.

      We expect the authorities to deliver more in the fight against corruption, by implementing the law on the prevention of corruption and the law on the prevention of conflict of interest, and by ensuring that the future agency for the prevention of corruption implements efficient preventive policies and has the capacity properly to control the funding of political parties and electoral campaigns. A new law on the special prosecutor on corruption and organised crime is currently being debated. Again, we want this law to comply with the recommendations of the Venice Commission. We expect this special prosecutor to have all the necessary human and financial resources to ensure co-ordination with the other agencies active in the field of corruption, so that they can duly and diligently prosecute cases of corruption. That is vital. We met the special prosecutor.

      Tomorrow, our Assembly will debate protection of the freedom of the media. In Montenegro, progress is still needed on guaranteeing freedom of expression and the media, and on solving the 10 remaining cases of attacks on, threats to, and murders of journalists being dealt with under the auspices of the commission that was created. The editor of the publication Dan was assassinated. We extend our sympathies to his family, and to all those who have suffered as a result of the Charlie Hebdo situation in Paris. The editor of Dan was not, to my knowledge, assassinated by an Islamic fanatic; I think the assassination was more related to the internal situation in Montenegro. I hope that efforts will be made to resolve the crime. All the State authorities must ensure that whoever is responsible is brought to justice; we recommend that strongly. The State must not leave attacks on human dignity in the media unpunished, but should also increase professional standards and media self-regulation. We discussed that with the authorities.

      We encourage Montenegro to continue its efforts. The proposal to end the post-monitoring procedure is recognition of the progress made. At the same time, initiating the post-monitoring dialogue will send out the strong message that we trust that Montenegro will stay on the right track and continue to show commitment to coming closer to Council of Europe standards and democratic practices. Under the new procedure set up by the Assembly, we should evaluate the progress made by 2017. Should the Montenegrin authorities fail to meet the commitments identified in the resolution by the end of 2017, the Monitoring Committee would consider whether Montenegro should be returned to the full monitoring procedure.

      Throughout the years, Montenegro has played a positive role in the stabilisation of the region and has remained a reliable and constructive partner. Let us hope that by 2017, after 10 years of membership of the Council of Europe, Montenegro will be in a position to fulfil the remaining commitments. We invite members of the Parliamentary Assembly to support the draft resolution, as well as the three amendments and sub-amendments tabled to the report. I wish the people of Montenegro every success for future membership of the European Union; I think that they will be successful. I also thank the Chairman of the Monitoring Committee for his support. I thank the president of the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe for nominating me for this position; it was my first time monitoring on behalf of the Council of Europe. Monitoring a country was a great experience, and the support, efficiency, effectiveness and ability of the Assembly’s staff made the job that much easier.

      THE PRESIDENT – Thank you, Mr Leyden. You used up all your time. I hope that at the end of the debate, you may still have a minute or two to respond, if you wish to. We will proceed with the debate, and will hear first from the speakers on behalf of the political groups. I call Mr Chope on behalf of the European Conservatives Group.

      Mr CHOPE (United Kingdom) – It is a pity that the rapporteurs have used up all their time, because the whole idea of a debate is that they should be able to answer some of the points and concerns raised by members. Following what Mr Leyden said, may I emphasise the importance of the issue of the abuse of administrative resources in elections? I led a Council of Europe ad hoc committee that observed the parliamentary elections in October 2012 and the presidential election in 2013, and following both those elections, we made very clear in our report the great concern about the abuse of administrative resources.

      Paragraph 54 of the report before us today says: “We expect the Law on Funding of Political Parties…to strictly regulate the use of administrative resources”. A law that was to have had that effect was adopted in February 2014; it was then struck down by the constitutional court. A working party was then set up, which apparently completed its work in November last year. It is really not enough to say “We expect”. What are the guarantees that this will happen? This has been a continuing concern since I was there in 2012. I would have hoped that our rapporteurs could give a more definitive view, and would have got some guarantees of action, rather than just expressions of hope that something would be done.

      There was talk of the state electoral commission needing funding, but what guarantee is there that it will get funding? That was another issue raised: complaints were made to the state electoral commission, but it did not have sufficient resources to investigate those complaints. I am not arguing against ending the monitoring and entering post-monitoring, but it would have been preferable to have had more guarantees about what would happen in future, rather than just expressions of hope. The same considerations apply to the issue of corruption, which is absolutely fundamental. It is eating into the rule of law and democracy.

      The report highlights all the things that are wrong and should be put right, but it does not say that there is a guarantee that any of them will be put right. Paragraph 37, for example, mentions a “draft” law on prevention of corruption; it does not say that the law is in place. Paragraph 40 mentions a “draft” law on confiscation of assets and paragraph 41 a “draft” law on amendments to the law on prevention of conflict of interest. Paragraph 44 centres on the extraordinary situation whereby the unique, 13-digit birth numbers were removed from tax administration registers, but there is no guarantee that any of those things are going to be put right when we get to the post-monitoring scenario. It is disappointing that the rapporteurs will not have time to allay my concerns or, I am sure, those of many others.

      THE PRESIDENT – Thank you, Mr Chope. I am convinced that the rapporteurs will have a few minutes to respond at the end of the debate. I call Ms Jonica, on behalf of the Socialist Group.

      Ms JONICA (Montenegro) – My role today is to speak not only on behalf of the Socialist Group, but as a representative of the opposition in Montenegro.

First, I express my gratitude to the co-rapporteurs for their balanced proposed resolution and explanatory memorandum on the situation in Montenegro. The fact-finding visits of the co-rapporteurs and previous recommendations helped Montenegro choose its priorities. The Venice Commission has also contributed significantly with its opinions on how to improve the quality of laws.

The resolution gives a good overview of the situation in Montenegro. The monitoring procedure has had a beneficial influence on improving democracy in Montenegro and I believe that post-monitoring dialogue will play the same important role.

The three amendments that suggest additional recommendations to Montenegro will be very important in further improving human rights and freedoms: the first suggests changing Article 45 of Montenegro’s Constitution; the second suggests improving the position of people with disabilities; and the third suggests adopting legislation that facilitates the recognition of Montenegrin citizenship. We believe that the recommendations proposed by the resolution and the three amendments represent a good road map for developing democracy in Montenegro. The key problem in Montenegro is implementing legislation that has been adopted. That must be a priority for the post-monitoring period.

Montenegro has made two great steps in reform of the judiciary, namely constitutional reform and electing the State prosecutor. There will be five laws relating to the judiciary on the agenda at next week’s session of parliament. We hope that the parliament will adopt the laws, in line with the opinion of the Venice Commission, and strengthen the position of the supreme State prosecutor.

More has to be done to build trust in the electoral process. Amendments should be made to the law on Montenegrin citizenship and, among others, the laws on the register of temporary residence and on foreigners.

On the media, in 2012 Montenegro decriminalised defamation, but it soon became obvious that it had had the opposite effect. More efforts should be made to fill in gaps in legislation and especially to improve professional and ethical standards in journalism.

Finally, we support the co-rapporteurs’ priorities, which will be followed up by post-monitoring dialogue, so we hope the resolution will be adopted.

THE PRESIDENT – I call Mr Mayer, on behalf of the Group of the European People’s Party.

Mr MAYER (Austria)* – I thank the rapporteurs for their excellent report. We have heard about the situation in 2012 and the corruption in the judiciary and the media – on which a certain amount has been achieved – and about the situation of refugees and internally displaced persons. Since 2012, Montenegro has genuinely tried to get to grips with the situation and has at the same time played a positive role in stabilising the whole region. That is something that Austria, as a partner in the western Balkans, specifically welcomed.

We have to recognise that Montenegro has seriously tried to do its homework. It has done so with the assistance of the Council of Europe and the European Union in order to improve its democratic standards. It is, therefore, understandable that the rapporteurs now suggest that the monitoring procedure be closed in order to move into an era of post-monitoring until the end of 2017.

Action is still required, however, on the independence of the judiciary. Prosecutors should not be the ones passing the law; there has to be a clear separation of duties. The training available to the judiciary, the police authorities and the State prosecutor’s office also has to be overhauled.

We also have to address election law and political party funding, and look at how electoral rolls are compiled. The Act on fighting corruption needs to be properly implemented, because there is a real problem with corruption and organised crime.

Media freedom and freedom of opinion have to be properly implemented. Threats are still being made against journalists. There are many cases of journalists living under threat and examples of persecution not being properly investigated.

If Montenegro fails to fulfil its obligations by the end of 2017, the rapporteurs’ specific proposal is that we should revert to the monitoring procedure. It goes without saying that my political group fully supports the report.

THE PRESIDENT – I call Mr Xuclŕ, on behalf of the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe.

Mr XUCLŔ (Spain)* – I thank Mr Sasi and Mr Leyden for the excellent job they have done in providing Montenegro with the opportunity to move from a monitoring to a post-monitoring period. Montenegro has been monitored for eight years, and in the past three years, five big deals have been worked on.

I wish to address the situation in the judiciary, media plurality and freedom of speech, and minority rights. The minority in Montenegro is a huge and relevant minority. The same coalition of parties is in power now as when Montenegro became independent in May 2006, and that affects the minority.

There is a perception of corruption in Montenegro. It is 76th on the list, so it is evidently necessary to improve the standards and laws on fighting corruption. On the judiciary, the quality of members appointed to the constitutional court needs to be improved.

Let me address something that is not directly within the competence and capacity of the Council of Europe, but which is relevant. There is a European perspective to Montenegro and I am convinced that its efforts to integrate into the European Union and NATO will improve the quality of the process of moving from the monitoring to the post-monitoring stage. Montenegro is a unique piece of land between Gibraltar and Turkey on the north coast of the Mediterranean – although I am a Spanish member, I will not start a discussion about Gibraltar. It is not in NATO. Montenegro’s future membership of NATO, which I hope will be accepted next year, is relevant to the security and stability of the region.

      Finally, the mechanism for passing from monitoring to post-monitoring with 2017 as a horizon is creative, and it will perhaps inspire other cases. I thank the rapporteurs, and I hope that we see Montenegro pass to post-monitoring.

      Mr SEKULIĆ (Montenegro) – I thank the co-rapporteurs, Mr Sasi and Mr Leyden. The report welcomed Montenegro’s progress in amending legislation in numerous areas and in fulfilling its obligations and commitments to the Council of Europe and the European Union. Overall, Montenegro continues to comply with international human rights instruments.

      Most importantly, our international partners, the Council of Europe and the European Union, showed trust in our ability to meet international democratic standards and democratise Montenegrin society, which resulted in the publication of proposals for closing the monitoring procedure and engaging in a post-monitoring dialogue with the Council of Europe. Montenegro has opened 16 chapters of its accession negotiations with the European Union. I reiterate that Montenegro is fully dedicated to fulfilling all its obligations as a member of the Council of Europe.

      THE PRESIDENT – Mr Nikoloski is not here, so I call Mr Le Borgn'.

      Mr LE BORGN' (France)* – The report on Montenegro’s honouring of its obligations and commitments illustrates the value added by the Council of Europe’s mechanism for monitoring democracy and the rule of law. Three years on from the adoption of Resolution 1890, we have seen tangible progress on the five priority areas on which our Parliamentary Assembly called for efforts and results from Montenegro, which included independence of the judiciary. We should welcome the adoption of the constitutional amendments of 2013, which made a qualified majority vote an obligation when electing judges to the constitutional court, the supreme State prosecutor and members of the judicial council. The supreme State prosecutor was elected recently. Decriminalisation of defamation in 2012 benefited freedom of the media. Montenegro’s ratification of the United Nations Convention on the Reduction of Statelessness in 2013 was welcome, and it improved the rights of refugees living in the country.

      Given that Montenegro has met those conditions, it is right that we close the monitoring procedure and embark on a post-monitoring dialogue. We must acknowledge its efforts and reward it for its progress. To ensure that the post-monitoring dialogue is a success, we should list our priorities and the action we expect of the Montenegrin authorities. We should start with the need to create a more peaceful, or at least less Manichean, political scene. For the people to recognise the institutions of the State, which would consolidate the rule of law and transparency, the political forces must respect different positions and ideals, and engage in a positive exchange. It is in the interest of Montenegro to do that, as it aspires to join the European Union. The fact that that aspiration rallies people across party lines proves that it is possible to promote unity.

      Much remains to be done in the fight against corruption, which is the scourge of the rule of law and democracy. It is important that Montenegro establishes the anti-corruption agency envisaged in Podgorica and gives it all the resources it needs to fulfil its mission. We also need to beef up the legislative framework, with a view to protecting whistle blowers and investigative journalists. The Montenegrin Parliament would gain from playing an active role on the anti-corruption platform that our Assembly recently established, which is an opportunity to pool projects and exchange best practice. It is also important that Montenegro consolidates the rights of minorities and does more to fight discrimination. I am thinking, in particular, of the situation of Roma and the fight against the hateful attitudes shown towards the LGBT community.

      Mr FOURNIER (France)* – The excellent report by our colleagues Terry Leyden and Kimmo Sasi welcomes the undeniable progress made by Montenegro since it joined the Council of Europe eight years ago, just after it regained its independence. It is important to bear in mind that timeline and the context of the wars in the Balkans in order to properly and objectively assess the situation in the country. Montenegro was more or less able to avoid getting embroiled in the tragic conflict in the region. It preserved a multi-ethnic society without rejecting refugees from neighbouring countries. That courageous attitude is once again to be found in Montenegro’s bold position vis-ŕ-vis Moscow. Montenegro is applying all the European Union’s sanctions against Russia, despite the fact that Russia is its No. 1 trading partner.

      This preliminary positive evaluation does not do away with the fact that Montenegro must meet certain challenges to show that it fully respects the values of our Organisation. I fully share the European Union’s views in that regard. Montenegro has been a candidate for accession since 2010, and the negotiations are centring on justice and fundamental rights. The European Commission’s progress reports, like ours, are lukewarm, but it could not be otherwise for a small country that lacks administrative capacity and a civil service. It is a country of 620 000 inhabitants, and it has 10 000 civil servants, of whom 5 000 serve in the police and the armed forces. The guidelines and the action plans must be properly implemented, but Montenegro lacks the administrative and/or political resources to do so.

      The reform of the judiciary has not yet been completed, as there has not been the necessary vote in parliament to appoint the State prosecutor general. A qualified majority is required to do that. That is worrying, in view of the fight against organised crime and high-level corruption. Recently, judgments were quashed in a property case involving the Budva city hall and the half-brother of the vice-president of a Montenegrin political party, and in a money laundering case linked to drug trafficking. Those are bad omens. There are two ways of understanding those decisions. The first is to look at the corruption of the judiciary, and the other is to look at the structural problem of the quality of the training for judges. An academy for training judges has been set up, but it will not solve all the problems. The report sets 2017 as the end point for implementing the reforms, and I subscribe to that approach.

      Mr LEYDEN (Ireland) – On a point of information, the supreme State prosecutor was appointed by the Montenegrin Parliament last November.

      THE PRESIDENT – Thank you for that explanation. The next speaker is Mr Šehović.

      Mr ŠEHOVIĆ (Montenegro) – I thank the co-rapporteurs for their comprehensive report on the honouring of obligations and commitments by Montenegro and for their efforts in monitoring the activities that Montenegro has undertaken to meet the recommendations contained in Resolution 1890, which the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe adopted in June 2012. Montenegro has made progress in five key areas mentioned in the 2012 resolution and it is determined to continue the reforms within the framework of the accession negotiations with the European Union. Therefore, the report proposes the closure of the monitoring procedure and engagement in a post-monitoring dialogue.

      In 2012, the Parliamentary Assembly noted five “key issues”. We have taken those issues seriously, have undertaken reforms and will continue to do so. The first phase, which was a precondition for the others, was the adoption in July 2013 of the constitutional amendments on the judiciary, which introduced qualified majorities for the election of the judges to the constitutional court, the supreme State prosecutor and members of the judicial council. The amendments also introduced anti-deadlock mechanisms.

      The supreme State prosecutor was elected in November 2014. In our parliament, we are now discussing the law on the judicial council, the law on the courts, the rights and duties of judges, the law on the constitutional court and the public prosecution office, taking into account all the recommendations of the Venice Commission. The discussions are constructive and there is a high level of consensus on the reforms that should be introduced. This is an excellent opportunity to emphasise the great co-operation that we have had with the Council of Europe, especially the Venice Commission. Since 2012, many of the adopted opinions on essential legislation have been valuable to us.

Rooting out corruption is one of our priorities. I emphasise that Montenegro, through the fulfilment of the recommendation made by GRECO, is fully committed to that. Anti-corruption laws stipulate the establishment of a high-quality institution to prevent and combat corruption: the anti-corruption agency that will be established by the Parliament of Montenegro. That will consolidate and strengthen the competences of the preventive authorities of the special prosecutor’s office.

      As far as the fight against corruption and organised crime is concerned, we are discussing the law on the special public prosecutor on corruption and organised crime. Its adoption and implementation will be necessary to tackle the problem of high-level corruption. Last year, we also adopted the amendments to the anti-discrimination law and the law on the protection of human rights and freedoms.

      From all the improvements mentioned above, it is evident that the decision to close the monitoring procedure is grounded on the real growth of Montenegrin society in embracing democratic standards, implementing them and sometimes making hard but necessary decisions to ensure the rule of law in a stable, secure country. I emphasise the will of the executive, legislative and judicial authorities in Montenegro to continue, in collaboration with international partners, to implement reforms and adopted laws to meet all the recommendations and to respect all the values proclaimed by the Council of Europe and the European Union.

      Mr FLOREA (Romania) – I commend Mr Sasi and Mr Leyden for their report and pay tribute to them for their work. I appreciate the significant internal reforms undertaken by Montenegro’s authorities last year. Maintaining a good pace in the internal transformations will have a positive impact not only on the post-monitoring phase within the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe, but on the process of Montenegro’s accession to the European Union and NATO.

      I emphasise that Montenegro’s efforts on reform need to be continuously encouraged. There were positive developments in 2014, such as the nomination of the State prosecutor and the adoption of laws relating to the proper functioning of the judiciary, the rule of law, the fight against corruption and organised crime, including the law on preventing corruption. Also adopted were the law on the special prosecutor’s office, amendments to the law on courts, the law on the public prosecutor’s office and the law on the constitutional court. There is in Montenegro strong consensus on integration into the European Union. Progress in sensitive fields such as the rule of law, fundamental rights, the judiciary, the fight against corruption and organised crime, respect for freedom of expression and the media, are also highly relevant to the European Union accession process.

      Experts from my country offered technical support to the Montenegrin authorities and we constantly highlighted, during the dialogue with Montenegrin officials, the need for a national political agreement among all the political forces in Montenegro to ensure internal stability and a constructive attitude. Such co-operation is essential to maintain a fast pace in implementing the reforms required, including for European Union and NATO accession.

      Mr JURATOVIC (Germany)* – I thank the co-rapporteurs for this realistic report. All too often, I read reports that have been written through rose-tinted spectacles. I welcome the fact we have a realistic report which shows Montenegro and its partners a clear picture of the situation.

      We have heard descriptions of the positive developments and progress that have been made in Montenegro. The fact that the Council of Europe has accompanied Montenegro in that process has been important. Through the criteria that have been laid down, there has been a reorientation within that society. It is easier for democratic forces now to lay down parameters for a fully functioning democratic society. That is a good thing for the people who live in the country.

      I have a few criticisms of the report. Freedom of the media is meagre. Often, I get messages making critical points. Every second contribution from the opposition says that journalists are not in a position freely to exercise their profession. A number of basic rights are being violated: freedom to exercise one’s opinion and freedom of assembly. We must send this message to the government: we need a free media and free political debate in Montenegro. That is a requirement of the Council of Europe and the European Union. When we talk about media freedom, we are talking about assuming responsibility.

      We need freedom of the judiciary. That is important for the country. I am thinking in terms of economic development. No investor is going to invest in Montenegro if the rule of law is not secure. It is important that the rights of minorities, including the Roma, be shored up. There are social issues. If we want equality of opportunity and of access to employment, we must do away with discrimination. We must start there.

On the situation of the Roma, we know that huge collective efforts are required throughout the region. Laws are being enacted, which is welcome, but those laws must now be put into practice. That may require our assistance. It is our responsibility to give Montenegro support. It should have support from neighbouring countries. Co-operation with sister parties would also be welcome. Strong countries require strong parliaments.

      THE PRESIDENT – The last speaker is Mr Chisu, Observer from Canada.

Mr CHISU (Canada) – President, I thank you for this opportunity to speak about Montenegro’s honouring of obligations and commitments. I also thank the co-rapporteurs for their report on the monitoring of these obligations and commitments.

First, allow me to praise Montenegro for having made great progress in fulfilling its commitments and obligations as a member State of the Council of Europe. In particular, I add my voice to that of the co-rapporteurs in thanking the Montenegrin authorities for their continuous efforts, in co-operation with the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, and the international community, to host and integrate refugees and internally displaced persons.

As noted in the report, Montenegro is a reliable and constructive partner of the Council of Europe. It plays a positive role in the stabilisation of the region. I should also note that since its accession to the Council of Europe in 2007, Montenegro has made continuous progress in fulfilling its commitments and obligations.

In 2012, this Assembly identified five key issues on which improvement was needed from Montenegro: the independence of the judiciary; the situation of the media; the fight against corruption and organised crime; the rights of minorities and the fight against discrimination; and the situation of refugees and internally displaced persons. Montenegro has made significant advances on these issues. However, as noted in the report, Montenegro needs to pursue policies focusing on democratic standards, consolidation of the rule of law, enhanced transparency and accountability of public institutions and the equitable representation of minorities.

The report also underlines the importance of effectively implementing legislation already adopted by Montenegro. It states the Assembly’s expectation that by the end of 2017 the country will implement a series of reforms pertaining to the electoral process, the independence of the judiciary, the fight against corruption and organised crime and the situation of the media.

Freedom of the media remains a particular concern. As noted in the report, a “Commission for Monitoring the Actions of the Competent Authorities in the Investigation of Cases of Threats and Violence Against Journalists, Assassinations of Journalists and Attacks on Media Property” was created in December 2013. I welcome this positive initiative and hope that it will help in rendering justice and restoring trust between investigative journalists and the authorities.

I encourage Montenegro to implement without delay the series of reforms identified by the co-rapporteurs, within the framework of the negotiations on accession to the European Union. It is encouraging that Montenegro is determined to continue its reform process in this framework and that Montenegrin society strongly supports accession to the European Union.

THE PRESIDENT – That concludes the list of speakers.

I call Mr Leyden and Mr Sasi, rapporteurs, to reply. You have two minutes each.

Mr SASI (Finland) – Thank you, President. As I said earlier, there is the goodwill to draft good legislation in Montenegro and there is also a will to implement legislation. In such situations you always ask whether there are enough resources, and that is always a political question. For example, we visited the office of the supreme State prosecutor, which was not very big. Of course, there is always a lack of resources. We should especially like things that guarantee human rights to have resources, so such institutions should get enough financing.

I have some comments to make to Mr Chope, who, as chair of the delegation, has twice observed elections in Montenegro. There has been misuse of State resources. In a well-known tape-recording case, the leading party discussed how to use State resources to attract votes. It has been said that three ways of doing so were discussed: by giving employment to people voting for the party; by giving them social benefits for voting for the party; and by some people buying IDs so that opposition supporters could not vote in the elections. In fact, there has been a process to increase trust in the electoral process, one consequence of which is that there will be an electronic voters’ list. The situation and the mood are much better today.

A law on funding political parties has been adopted by the parliament, but it is true, as Mr Chope said, that the constitutional court stated that some articles were not in accordance with the constitution and were struck down. Now they have to see how to write those articles. However, the whole law has not been struck down. I think that there will be a good result, finally. In that sense, there will be better control in future for party financing, so I think that the situation will very much improve.

Mr LEYDEN (Ireland) – Members of the Assembly have made wonderful contributions. It is particularly encouraging that both opposition and government representatives here in the Council of Europe are positive about the report and are prepared to implement, as far as possible, what we have recommended.

I was particularly impressed by the treatment of refugees. Some 5 700 refugees from Kosovo and 845 from Bosnia and Herzegovina and Croatia are resident in Montenegro, and there is not a great demand to return. On the financial side, the Council of Europe is providing funding for housing and apartments, and I was very encouraged to see that construction has started.

I was also impressed by the fact that the Roma population from Kosovo is being treated well and are being educated. Their approach to this issue could give an example to a lot of other developed countries, because it is a very difficult issue. I always differentiate by saying that Romanians are not Roma. The Roma are a separate entity, a separate ethnic group, who are nomads travelling around Europe. They are everywhere: let us be honest about it. I commend a small country like Montenegro – we met the Minister there – for doing that. Mr Sasi and I, and Ms Affholder, visited the camp. The people there came to us as we walked through. We were open to contact with people, who did not express big complaints. They are actually very positive and happy to be in Montenegro. So, well done, Montenegro.

THE PRESIDENT – I thank both rapporteurs very much for their contributions.

Does the chairperson of the committee, Mr Schennach, wish to speak?

Mr SCHENNACH (Austria) – As chairman, I thank both rapporteurs. We heard Mr Terry Leyden say that he dived deep into the heart and soul of Montenegrin society. We saw that our rapporteurs are doing an excellent job. As chairman I thank the whole office, because this was extraordinary work.

Yes, Terry Leyden and Kimmo Sasi made a lot of critical points. Mr Juratovic mentioned the media in Montenegro: it is in the top five with the worst situation in Europe regarding the media.

The Monitoring Committee changed the rules last year. We can ask whether the glass is half full or half empty. Under our new regulation, we take the risk and we trust Montenegrin politics and society. This is not a never-ending story.

As chair, I stand behind the proposals of our rapporteurs. This has been going on now for three years and if it was not working, despite giving our trust and our support – because we decided on having two new rapporteurs under the post-monitoring procedure – we would decide immediately what to do. Hand in hand, together, with that trust, I hope Montenegro uses this big chance. The post-monitoring is now only for three years and Montenegro is the first case under this new procedure. I hope that it will, at the end, be successful for the Montenegrins. Good luck.

THE PRESIDENT – The debate is closed.

The Committee on the Honouring of Obligations and Commitments by Member States of the Council of Europe has presented a draft resolution to which three amendments and three sub-amendments have been tabled.

I understand that the Chairperson of the Committee wishes to propose to the Assembly that Amendment 3 to the draft resolution, which was unanimously approved by the committee, should be declared as agreed by the Assembly.

Is that so Mr Schennach?

Mr SCHENNACH (Austria) – That is correct.

THE PRESIDENT – Thank you very much. Does anyone object? There is no objection.

The remaining amendments will be taken in numerical order.

      We come to Amendment 1, which has a sub-amendment. I call Ms Jonica to support the amendment. You have 30 seconds.

      Ms JONICA (Montenegro) – The amendment is about promoting equality and inclusion for people with disabilities and using money for their professional rehabilitation and employment.

      THE PRESIDENT – We now come to the sub-amendment, tabled by the Monitoring Committee. I call Mr Sasi to support the sub-amendment on behalf of the committee.

      Mr SASI (Finland) – The committee proposes replacing the words “to use all money in the Fund for the professional rehabilitation and employment of people with disabilities in line with the law – only for those people” with the following words: “to ensure that the Fund for the professional rehabilitation and employment of people with disabilities be exclusively used for disabled persons, in line with the law”. That is a clearer explanation, and that is the only reason for tabling the sub-amendment.

      THE PRESIDENT – Does anyone wish to speak against the sub-amendment? That is not the case.

      What is the opinion of the mover of the main amendment, Ms Jonica?

      Ms JONICA (Montenegro) – I accept the sub-amendment.

      THE PRESIDENT – The committee is obviously in favour of the sub-amendment.

      The vote is open.

      The sub-amendment is adopted

      Does anyone wish to speak against Amendment 1, as amended? That is not the case.

      What is the opinion of the committee?

      Mr SCHENNACH (Austria) – In favour.

      THE PRESIDENT – The vote is open.

      We come to Amendment 2, which has two sub-amendments. I call Ms Jonica to support the amendment. You have 30 seconds.

      Ms JONICA (Montenegro) – The amendment makes a recommendation about adoption facilities in the procedure for granting Montenegrin citizenship, according to Resolution 1989 on access to a nationality and the effective implementation of the European Convention on Nationality.

      THE PRESIDENT – If Sub-amendment 1 does not pass, Sub-amendment 2 will fall.

      I call Mr Sasi to support Sub-amendment 1 on behalf of the Monitoring Committee.

      Mr SASI (Finland) – I propose that Amendment 2 should be placed after paragraph 13.2.3, because it would then be included in the road map for Montenegro. The original proposal placed it in the description of what the country has done, but I think that the road map is the right place for it.

      THE PRESIDENT – Does anyone wish to speak against the sub-amendment? That is not the case.

      What is the opinion of the mover of the main amendment, Ms Jonica?

      Ms JONICA (Montenegro) – I accept the sub-amendment.

      THE PRESIDENT – What is the opinion of the committee?

      Mr SCHENNACH (Austria) – It is only a technical sub-amendment, so the committee is in favour.

      THE PRESIDENT – The vote is open.

      We now come to Sub-amendment 2. I call Mr Schennach to support the sub-amendment on behalf of the Monitoring Committee.

      Mr SCHENNACH (Austria) – This is a technical sub-amendment. It would delete the words “encourages the Montenegrin authorities to”.

      THE PRESIDENT – Does anyone wish to speak against the amendment? That is not the case.

      What is the opinion of the mover of the main amendment, Ms Jonica?

      Ms JONICA (Montenegro) – I accept the sub-amendment.

      THE PRESIDENT – The committee is obviously in favour.

      The vote is open.

      Does anyone wish to speak against the Amendment 2, as amended? That is not the case.

      What is the opinion of the committee?

      Mr SCHENNACH (Austria) – In favour.

      THE PRESIDENT – The vote is open.

      We will now proceed to vote on the whole of the draft resolution contained in Document 13665, as amended.

      The vote is open.

      (Ms Brasseur, President of the Assembly, took the Chair in place of Ms Korenjak Kramar.)

7. Free debate

      THE PRESIDENT* – We now come to the free debate. I remind members that this debate is for topics not already on the agenda on Monday morning. Speaking time will be limited to three minutes. The debate will finish at 8 p.m. I ask speakers please to start by identifying the topic they wish to raise.

      The first speaker on the list is Mr Jónasson, who speaks on behalf of the Group of the Unified European Left. Mr Jónasson is not here, so I call Mr Geraint Davies, who speaks on behalf of the Socialist Group.

      Mr G. DAVIES (United Kingdom) – I ask the Council of Europe to support the motion for resolution in my name for a moratorium on fracking across Europe. The world stands on the brink of environmental catastrophe: if just one fifth of the available fossil fuels are burned, global temperatures will grow beyond the 2°C tipping point that could send the world into irreversible climate change, with storms, floods, tidal waves, major disruption to our future food and water supplies, forced migration and conflict as growing populations are displaced and compete for scarce resources. Yet the dash for shale gas continues, egged on by a hunger for austerity provoked by a financial crisis caused by the irresponsibility of unregulated bankers.

As fracking pours energy into the faltering world economy, oil prices will plummet, emissions will grow and green energy will become less economical to develop. In the United States, President Bush’s exclusion of fracking from the clean air and water regulations allowed the industry to power forward without counting the environmental costs, which might turn out to be astronomical. That is no surprise, as hundreds of chemicals, many toxic and some carcinogenic, are pumped as lubricants with water and sand into shale rock, sometimes releasing radioactivity. They produce a deadly cocktail of contaminated water, half of which is left underground. The rest, other than that which leaks through burst pipes, becomes waste water which is virtually impossible to make safe to drink.

Much has been dumped or spilt, putting public health at risk in the United States. Meanwhile, air pollutants include volatile organic compounds and diesel particulates that can cause cancer, respiratory irritation and endocrine disruption, even affecting unborn babies. That comes on top of methane, which is so harmful to our ozone layer, and carbon dioxide, which increases global warming. Add to that the local environmental damage as the transportation of millions of gallons of water, both clean and contaminated, fills our roads with lorries, congestion and noise.

      I speak as a Labour MP on behalf of the Socialist Group, but none of us in any party in the Council of Europe can stand aside and watch our environment – the water that we drink, the air that we breathe – being contaminated in an unregulated rush to scar and poison our lands in the name of fracking. That is why there are bans or moratoriums in Holland, Germany and France as well as Québec and New York State. Let us speak with one voice and call for a moratorium on fracking across all of Europe now to avoid a reckless risk to public health and once more take global leadership to avert a climate change catastrophe that threatens to engulf our world and all our futures.

      THE PRESIDENT – I call Ms Quintanilla to speak on behalf of the Group of the European People’s Party.

      Ms QUINTANILLA (Spain)* – I draw members’ attention to the fact that, on 11 May 2011, the Council of Europe adopted the Istanbul Convention, which instructed all member States to combat violence against women and came into force in August 2014. It is the only legal instrument that is binding on all countries in the world, but to date it has been signed and ratified by only 15 countries, 22 having signed it without ratifying it and 10 countries in this Parliamentary Assembly having done neither. It is extremely important that we as parliamentarians press our governments to ensure that the convention is signed and ratified. The rights of women are still being violated and undermined around the world and these are human rights.

Around the world, 30 million girls under 15 years of age will suffer female genital mutilation. In Mosul, the largest city controlled by Islamic State, they have adopted a law that means that girls between the age of 11 and 26 will be subjected to genital mutilation. In Iran, a law has been adopted that will allow adults to marry young girls. There is also a law that fosters sexual violence.

We are the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe, which values and respects human rights and speaks of freedom and democracy. Today, your governments must sign and ratify the Istanbul Convention. It covers forced marriages and honour crimes, which happen even within Western Europe and the European Union – in civilised Europe. You can speak. You have the strength to ensure that the Istanbul Convention is signed and ratified by the 47 member States of the Council of Europe. We are the mirror for millions of girls and women who wish to live in freedom and want to ensure that their human rights are not undermined.

THE PRESIDENT – I call Mr Xuclŕ to speak on behalf of the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe.

Mr XUCLŔ (Spain)* – The recent publication of a book on Guantánamo hit the headlines as it gives the first-hand account of the life of a prisoner who has been there for 12 years without being tried, Mohamedou Ould Slahi. He is one of 122 such prisoners, and they are being held in pre-trial detention.

This is the home of human rights and the rule of law, so it behoves us to remind ourselves that this is happening. It might be happening a long way from here, in Cuba, but nevertheless it concerns us all. We are seeking to fight jihadist terrorism and at the same time to guarantee the rule of law, but I also think that it is appropriate in this debate to recall the striking testimony of the Guantánamo detainee. He has spent 12 years in pre-trial detention with no prospect of a trial, but his is not an isolated case. Some 122 prisoners are in an identical situation, so those of us in this Chamber who champion the rule of law must recognise that Guantánamo is a violation of its standards and brings shame on us all. Of course, we must fight all forms of terrorism, but not at any price. That fight must be based on the rule of law. Waiting 12 years to be brought to trial is not justice; it is clearly an injustice.

THE PRESIDENT – I call the Earl of Dundee to speak on behalf of the European Conservatives Group.

      Earl of DUNDEE (United Kingdom) – I should like to focus my remarks on regionalism in Europe and briefly to connect three themes. First, an internal expedient is the shared method of political devolution that, in assisting regionalism, also succeeds in maintaining the integrity of nation States. Secondly, an external expedient is the opportunity to form partnerships and working synergies between certain regions and cities of our 47 Council of Europe States to their mutual advantage. Thirdly, the fostering of citizens’ well-being in Europe no longer conflicts with other aims of State policy in the way that it used to in the past.

      Political devolution is taken to be the transfer of powers, as appropriate, from a centre such as Westminster to regions and cities within the United Kingdom, including those in Scotland, thereby avoiding an anomaly. For example, this would occur if instead too much power were to be transferred from Westminster to Edinburgh. Although Edinburgh is the capital of Scotland, it is not a region or locality; it is just another administrative centre. Within Bosnia and Herzegovina, there is a strong case for devolution. As a result, responsibility for government would simply be taken over by the cities and their surrounding regions.

      With international support for democratic citizens’ movements, the stranglehold of the nationalist parties could well be broken at local levels. Guarantees of cultural rights would be embedded in local democracy. International political pressure to achieve these objectives could be applied through the process of qualification for membership of the European Union, through consultation and collaboration with citizens’ movements and through the powers of the High Representative. In the countries concerned, such good results occur internally. They arise from political devolution where more power is transferred within the State from its centre or capital to its cities and regions.

      Next, there are external examples. The latter are not produced by devolving power within the State. Instead, they demonstrate how regionalism can be strengthened through working partnerships between different places. The Council of Europe already encourages such external links through its Centre of Expertise for Local Government Reform. There are many advantages. Local economies benefit from direct trade between the partners, as do apprenticeships and jobs through education and cultural exchanges. Currently, a number of developing initiatives are designed to bring together certain localities within Croatia and the United Kingdom. As a parliamentarian here and as Scottish Consul for Croatia, it is a great pleasure for me to be able to help with some of them.

      Among other expedients, internal devolution and external partnerships are thus two notable processes that can build up regionalism. Its furtherance can only improve the well-being of Europe’s citizens. Previously, such a direction was held to upstage or undermine the role of nation States. Fortunately, it no longer is. Instead, regionalism is now recognised as enhancing quality of life, especially through the grass roots by reviving respect for democracy and not least, within our Council of Europe affiliation, by assisting the protection of human rights and stability.

      Ms MAGRADZE (Georgia) – A point of view presented here has become even more important and timely after the recent terrorist attacks in Paris. First, I express my condolences to the French people and the world. We have all been shocked by the occurrences in Paris and the increased threat of terrorism in the world. We can suggest many causes – problems with freedom of speech and expression, a disrespectful approach towards fundamentalist Islam, provocation on behalf of the publishers or, worse, a hidden and highly dangerous process of clashes between religions – but whatever we say is happening, we are dealing with cruel, well-planned homicide against humans. It is called terrorism, and it has nothing to do with the ideology of any religion.

      Anyone can become a victim of terrorism, even those with radical viewpoints and those who are family and friends of the terrorists. Therefore, we should be even more careful when we discuss religious topics in the media, since the latter could resonate and have an effect of information war.

      The suggestion that terrorism is caused by globalisation is one of the biggest myths, and the reality is even more difficult if we consider that the modern globalised world is hungry for tragic news and stories about terrorism. We still do not understand how the population of the world is influenced by graphic images of terrorism. We have in front of our eyes the modern myth of the information culture, which, with its values and clashes of cultures and civilisations, has taken a totally new form and shown the far-reaching power of information and bloody violence.

      Today, the weapons against homicide resonate only when power over information is in our hands. It may sound like a paradox, but terrorists and their political or financial lobbyists count on acquiring power and ownership over media and information. We ordinary human beings have become so used to the news that we live in a pseudo-mythic virtual prime time and are so enchanted with the power of information and the media that we have neither time nor place for real religion or to form our own direct and personal approaches towards religion.

      Clearly, for terrorists and their lobbyists, other people’s lives only represent media material – a flash that can create a buzz and noise and can be used to replace information structured by the State. The recent brutal terrorist acts in Paris have shown us that refined State power has been opposed by virtual power for its good. The era of the power of information has started. International companies can successfully manage politics and economic processes, westernisation and a general deterioration of ethnic, religious and cultural identity. The instrument for all this is information technology, through which it is very easy to manipulate society and change its structure.

      Let us look at well-organised and formed public opinion that seems so spontaneous and independent. Let us consider towards what this public opinion is directed: towards religious sentiments and vividness giving terrorists the basis for brutal terrorist acts and violence? Not at all. First, public opinion is directed towards finding the faults. No one thinks of finding the real basis of what is happening and how to free people from it. That is one of the problems connected to terrorism.

      THE PRESIDENT – I must remind you that you must stick to three minutes. There are many names on the list of speakers and a lot of people will not be able to express themselves, as we have to finish at 8 p.m. Mr Rzayev is the next speaker on the list, but he is not in the Chamber. Mr Connarty is here, but he does not want to speak, so I call Mr Rochebloine.

      Mr ROCHEBLOINE (France)* – My statement will bear on the religious aspect of political conflicts that are currently compromising peace and security in the Middle East and, as we can clearly see, beyond. I am not talking only about oppression and the persecution of the Christian minorities of Syria and Iraq, but about the need to understand the exact reasons for those conflicts, while setting aside any prejudices or taboos.

      What exactly is the doctrine that is causing misguided but methodical individuals to establish a so-called Islamic State on the ruins of the most basic human liberties? In Nigeria, Muslim leaders do not really understand the origin of the anti-Christian violence. What is the source of inspiration of such violence? Who is pulling the strings? I think that we are talking about a systematic political enterprise; even its instruments are misguided fanatics, often with a chaotic personal history. This enterprise diametrically opposes the values of freedom and democracy that are promoted by the Council of Europe. That is why it is important that we take time to get to grips with that mindset. That presupposes a frank and open dialogue, particularly with countries in the Mediterranean area, our partners for democracy, about the meaning that we and they attach to freedom of opinion and freedom of religion. To that debate, I would add a question about the reality behind the secular façade that is Turkey today.

      We must be clear in our own minds about what we mean when we talk about religious freedom and how it is exercised in the today’s world. Are we talking about the rights of individuals to have their own beliefs or religious convictions, or are we talking about a collective public activity that neither encroaches on the political arena nor is limited by it? Do religions have an original contribution to make to public debate? If so, what are the limits when public order is not endangered? The answers to those questions are not self-evident.

      We are seeing various currents that could have an influence on secularism, tolerance and mutual respect. A secular ideology is necessary and should be encouraged by public authorities, but it is for religious leaders to determine the content of that debate if it is to get anywhere. In the months to come, I hope that we can hone our skills on all those subjects and increase our ability to play our role fully in defending and promoting the freedom of thought and religious conviction.

      Mr KOLMAN (Croatia) – I wish to talk about a proposal for the Council of Europe, as well as our national parliaments and international institutions, to recognise 5 November as the international day of the Romani language. That date was recognised as the international day of the Romani language by the Croatian Parliament in 2012 with a unanimous vote, and since then it has been officially marked every year. The initiative was started by the Roma community in Croatia, and led by the member of parliament who represents the Roma in the Croatian Parliament. The idea behind the initiative is to introduce Romani chib – the Romani language – to the broader public, raise awareness of that language, preserve the cultural and national identity of the Roma people, and support education and literacy. The general goal, in line with the fundamental values of this great Organisation, is to promote understanding and respect among us all.

      Language is a cultural value that defines people. It forms borders but also helps bring borders down. Language is an ambassador of peoples, and without language identity we have no identity at all. The Roma people live in many countries and among different cultures, but they do not want to forget their own identity. A standardised language is a prerequisite for education and communication. There is lively publishing activity surrounding the Romani language, with a Romani-Croatian dictionary, children's books, grammar, poetry and literature. We are in the process of establishing a centre of Romani studies, and at the faculty of philosophy at Zagreb University, students can enrol on a course called “Introduction to Romani language”.

      Roma people across the world use a language diasystem composed of around 60 dialects that are often very different from each other. However, most Roma people use Romani chib, which was pronounced the official language of the Roma at the 1st World Roma Congress, held in London in April 1971. Because the Romani language is not standardised and its dialectal fragmentation impedes a higher level of sociolinguistic integration, we can easily say that it is an endangered language. Today, I ask you to think about that proposal and to take home the idea of the international day of the Roma language as a symbolic gateway to understanding, education and integration while keeping one's own identity alive. The Council of Europe was founded on the idea of human rights, and keeping the Romani language alive and making it an equal member of the community of national languages would be a further step in the right direction.

      Mr ABBASOV (Azerbaijan) – The modern world can be characterised by changes to the political map generated not only by the collapse of the socialist camp, but by the emergence and deepening of a range of global problems that affect various areas of public affairs. Problems relating to the degradation of moral values rose up along with economical, ecological and demographic problems. In some cases, separatist groups use a religious factor to justify their activities, which are frequently interrelated with terrorism. In such instances, the establishment of dialogue between cultures and religions, which is aimed at the preservation of cultural diversity and humanity, becomes an immediate issue, and the experience of countries and regions with strong traditions of tolerance and religious coexistence can be exemplary. In that respect, Azerbaijan enjoys strong traditions of co-existence, and the collaboration of numerous nations and religious faiths.

      The Azerbaijani experience of the establishment and reinforcement of interreligious dialogue and co-operation has been assessed highly and won acceptance abroad, and the historic visit to Azerbaijan of John Paul II, the head of the Roman Catholic Church, served as a proof of that. During his visit, the Pontiff stressed the historical traditions of religious tolerance in Azerbaijan – namely that the first Christians persecuted by Roman authorities found refuge there. In Azerbaijan, freedom of belief is strongly observed, and not only do different faiths have legal security, but the religious values of various religions are also protected. That is a significant issue because the manipulation of religious values through uncontrolled treatment can provoke unforeseen consequences.

      In September 2005, the Danish paper Jyllands-Posten decided to express its attitude to the dispute about Islam and self-censorship by publishing a series of 12 caricatures of the Islamic Prophet, portraying him in the most unallowable way. That resulted in protests and unrest in the Muslim world and in the murder of more than 100 civilians. That was followed by the events relating to the magazine Charlie Hebdo which shook the entire world. Having noted those facts, I remind my colleagues that by politicising differences in religious trends and trying to use them to find a solution to economic problems, we create deep cracks among nations and there will be no place for dialogue. Today, all efforts should be directed towards the implementation of joint actions and events among various faiths. Traditional religious trends of Islam and Christianity share common human values that we should defend and safeguard.

      Mr PINTADO (Spain)* – I want to raise an issue that has been widely debated in the Chamber as well as in various committees. I sit on the Committee on Migration, Refugees and Displaced Persons and in the plenary, and I want to talk about the migratory pressure being experienced by all countries in southern Europe. There are ebbs and flows depending on the situation, but media coverage also ebbs and flows in the same way. In my country, there is a certain amount of controversy because the Council of Europe’s Commissioner for Human Rights recently visited Spain, and there were a variety of different interpretations regarding the application of international law and the convention relating to the status of refugees, and the way that countries should deal with illegal migrants.

      We are clearly talking about a humanitarian tragedy and the flow of migrants from sub-Saharan Africa who are driven by the prospect of a better economic life. They seek to get to Europe because they think it is some kind of paradise. However, we as representatives of the member States of the Council of Europe are duty bound to protect our borders and ensure that international law is applied. Regardless of how international law and international rights are interpreted, one could not be so irresponsible as to simply throw open a country’s borders and allow in illegal migrants who are not from other European countries but from third countries. A few times in recent years, governments have decided to open their borders, but that has led to problems in the countries of destination. The World Health Organization thinks that a real health emergency is going on – indeed, that has been objectively found. The Government of Spain had a visit from the UNHCR, and there was a meeting in Stockholm. I know there are 38 different measures and five different planks to the programme of action to try to deal with the problem of illegal migration, but ever since 2006, when all the boats were arriving on the shores of the Canaries, we have had a programme. Of course, the Government of Morocco is involved, and it is crucial that we face up to this crisis.

      Ms FATALIYEVA (Azerbaijan) – The occupation of Azerbaijani lands has lasted for more than 25 years, and as a result there are 1 million refugees, orphaned children, people who have lost their parents, brothers, sisters or children, and those who live with a desire to return to their homes and want their children to walk on the same streets that they used to walk along. There are children who have never seen their homelands in Karabakh and who wish to visit the graves of their ancestors. Those feelings are common to all, regardless of nationality, age or gender. Some of the people who went to visit the graves of their parents in Kalbajar – one of the seven occupied districts surrounding Karabakh – included Hasan Hasanov, Dilgam Asgarov and Shahbaz Guliyev. Hasan Hasanov was killed by Armenian forces, and the other two were detained. A criminal case was filed against them, and the so-called court of a non-existent, unrecognised country sentenced Asgarov to life imprisonment and Guliyev to 22 years in prison.

      The territorial integrity of Azerbaijan is recognised by the international community and all international organisations, including the United Nations. According to international law, military aggression qualifies as a crime, and the occupation of Nagorno-Karabakh and seven surrounding districts is a fact. Four resolutions of the United Nations Security Council and two resolutions of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe prove that it is an occupation. The United Nations Security Council demanded, in its Resolution 822, the immediate cessation of hostilities and the immediate withdrawal of Armenian occupying forces from Kalbajar. Dilgam Asgarov and Shahbaz Guliyev did not breach the border of any country or defy any law. Nevertheless, they became hostages.

      A regime of separatism and occupation arranging the trial of hostages does not fit any legal norms. By these actions, Armenia is manipulating the rule of law, once again ignoring and cruelly violating norms and principles of international law and the United Nations Charter. Armenia is responsible for these actions, taking Azerbaijani citizens as hostages, torturing them and arranging a fake trial. That cruelly violates the European Convention on Human Rights and international humanitarian law. My country raised the issue of releasing the hostages before international organisations and the OSCE Minsk Group co-chairs.

      Human rights are common to the values of all mankind and the foremost question on the agenda of all international organisations. Thus we call on the member states and the Organisation in general to force the Armenian leadership to fulfil its obligation to international organisations and respect international law.

      Mr ALEKSANDROV (Russian Federation)* – Seventy years ago, at great cost, Russian troops liberated Auschwitz, Europe and the world from fascism. Seventy years ago, we lifted the blockade of Leningrad – I am not sure whether you are aware of it, but it was a terrible tragedy for Russia and the whole world. Today’s date is being marked by all progressive people. Seventy years ago, in Russian Crimea, at Yalta, there was a conference between the United States, the United Kingdom and Russia – at that time known as the USSR – which condemned fascist Germany and began a peace process in order to overcome fascism and Nazism. Enormous amounts of blood had to be shed.

      Today, anti-Semitism, cruelty and terrorism are again raising their heads in Europe and the world. People are not only killing others but are using lies and distorting history and the realities of today. That can turn into a massive catastrophe. Just look at the tragedy in Ukraine and the hero-worshipping of fascism and the positive assessments of Bandera and the people who worked with the SS. Yaroslav Galan referred to this seventy years ago. When he spoke about Bandera’s supporters, he was appallingly slaughtered. People are being persecuted for using the Russian language or for having Russian family members. Europe paid a high price for its indifference to Hitler’s crimes in the 1930s and 1940s and it all ended in a catastrophic world war. We very much want to ensure that that is not repeated today. We need to remember Julius Fučík, a famous anti-Nazi fighter, who said that people who dream of supremacy pose a massive danger to humanity. Let us recall those words today.

      Ms BİLGEHAN (Turkey)* – Today, as we commemorate the 70th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz, I would like to share with you an anecdote and a letter from the historical archives of the Turkish Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Turkey managed to remain at the margins of the Second World War but, as we heard yesterday in the tragic testimony of a survivor, in France, as in other countries of Europe, under the occupation, a number of Jews were arrested, among whom there was even a Prime Minister, Léon Blum, the famous President of the Council in the Popular Front. He was imprisoned and his son was sent to a concentration camp in Lübeck. Desperate, Léon Blum called the Turkish ambassador in Paris, asking for the assistance of the President of the Republic, İsmet İnönü, who enjoyed a good reputation internationally. Blum asked whether he could help him to save his son. Miraculously, İnönü intervened and managed to have Léon Blum’s son released.

      Blum wrote a letter of thanks to the Turkish ambassador from his prison cell in Bourrassol. It is dated 22 February and says: “Ambassador, please accept my warmest thanks for the care taken to communicate the good news brought by President İnönü. I would like you in particular to express my profound gratitude to President İsmet İnönü. It comes as a great relief to me in my present circumstances. What further adds to my satisfaction is that his friendly intervention benefited not only my son but all his comrades, with whom he shares a common fate. Yours gratefully and most sincerely, Léon Blum”. Léon Blum’s signature is on the letter. This rather touching letter has particular meaning for me, because President İnönü was my grandfather.

      This evening, we pay our respects to all victims of the Holocaust and all those who survived, who lived through difficult times, who resisted and who managed to save lives. Thinking of them once again, I think that we would all join in saying, “Never again”.

      Ms A. HOVHANNISYAN (Armenia) – I had prepared a speech on a particular subject that is very important to me but, before coming to that, allow me to make a minor remark about the intervention of my neighbour in Azerbaijan. Her speech came as no surprise to me. It was full of distortion, substituting fact and fiction. I may disappoint those who liked it by saying that speeches from the Azerbaijani delegation are a bad copy of those of their president, who is a real master at falsifying everything. We witnessed that here back in June 2014. Let me note that the persons referred to are not hostages. They murdered civilians and have been brought to justice. The Nagorno-Karabakh parties are fully committed to international humanitarian law and actively co-operate with the International Committee of the Red Cross in any cases involving hostages, but that is not the case here – they are criminals.

      Let me turn to my topic. As many of you know, this year the civilised part of humanity will commemorate the centenary of the Armenian genocide, committed in Turkey by Turkey – a genocide that after 100 years still terrifies by its savageness and atrocity. The first genocide of the 20th century was indeed a reality and was indeed a genocide. It was a genocide whose victims, survivors and their descendants, even after 100 years, wait for recognition and justice. The genocide was committed by Turkey, which persists in its denial. Moreover, it puts those who dare to speak about the Armenian genocide in jail, accusing them of insulting Turkishness, whatever that might mean. Despite many people wondering and not understanding the reasons for this persistent and enduring denial, the deep reasons are obvious to the trained eye. It is the endurance of the genocide itself – the endurance in the same lands, in the same country, by the same country and by the same people. Do not kid yourselves. Do not be hypocritical by saying that today's Turkey is guilty of nothing, that they are almost Europeans and that the genocide is a thing of the past.

      Hrant Dink, a prominent Armenian journalist, was shot dead by a Turkish nationalist. We are still waiting to see the perpetrators of that crime receive their just punishment. Almost every monument of the immense Armenian cultural heritage in western Armenia, which is called by the invented name “Anatolia”, has been erased from Turkey, while the Turkish ruler is offended when called an Armenian.

      Moreover, Islamic State recently blew up an Armenian church in Deir ez-Zor in Syria, allegedly with the support of Turkey. To drive the world’s attention away from events in Armenia and overshadow the memory of the Armenian genocide, the day of commemoration of the Armenian holocaust has been made to clash with the day commemorating the Western Allies’ defeat at Gallipoli, which is usually commemorated in March.

      Today, our neighbour and European Union membership hopeful Turkey is committing another atrocity – the genocide of Yazidis, Christians, Assyrians, Shia, Alawites and other minorities in Iraq and Syria – by supporting the so-called Islamic State, whose atrocities are comparable only to those committed by the Ottoman armies against Armenians in the 20th century. Here in the centre of the open European tribune of free speech, I call on you, dear colleagues, to press those of your governments that have not yet officially recognised the Armenian genocide to call it by its name, in order to show defiance. Recognise the Armenian genocide.

      THE PRESIDENT – I repeat that everyone has three minutes in which to speak, so that everybody can take the floor.

      Ms DURRIEU (France)* – . I thank Ms Bilgehan for her moving testimony.

I would like to talk about Libya, where today there was a tragic major terrorist attack in which several people were killed. The country is a source of serious political concern, not only domestically, but for the whole region and all of Europe. Libya is plunging into chaos. The legal parliament, elected in June 2014, is suffering from a dearth of legitimacy and has taken refuge in Tobruk. Tripoli, the capital, is controlled by a coalition dominated by Islamists. Today in Libya, there are two governments and two parliaments, and the confusion is total.

      Islamist or otherwise, factions are establishing fragile alliances, and the situation is becoming inextricable. The collapse of the Libyan State is marked by conflicts raging between the various factions. It is destabilising neighbouring States in the Sahel region, and risks being a jihadist sanctuary at the gates of Europe. The question of a new intervention is arising, four years after a NATO military coalition under a United Nations mandate toppled the Gaddafi regime. Last December, five States of the Sahel solemnly called on the United Nations Security Council and the African Union to intervene to neutralise the armed groups. In August 2014, the Tobruk authorities themselves called for foreign military intervention against the coalition that had just seized power in Tripoli, before changing their minds. That volte face illustrates the difficulty of intervening. States in the region are divided into interventionists and those who prefer to wait and see. The Tobruk authorities are now calling for the international community to equip the Libyan army.

      We should ask whether military intervention is advisable. A unilateral operation is ruled out, and it seems almost impossible to establish an international coalition, given the absence of the United States, which is overwhelmed by the fight against Islamic State, and Russia’s hostility to the idea. Moreover, it is unlikely that the necessary stabilisation of Libya can be brought about by military intervention. The solution can therefore only be political. There is a need to foster broad dialogue between the different factions. UN mediation to establish a government of national unity is under way. It must be supported. A series of meetings between the Libyan parties has resumed in Geneva; this chance of reaching a cease-fire and a political solution must be seized.

      Mr STROE (Romania) – I want to address the Assembly today on a matter of great importance to all citizens of our member States. Freedom of movement has traditionally been a pillar of a united Europe, under which people sharing the same values could easily meet, exchange views, and build a prosperous future. The European Union has set up, through its Schengen agreement, an area where cross-border threats are managed jointly; the agreement also allows individuals to enjoy a number of benefits and contributes to our sense of togetherness. In addition, visa-free regimes have been set up, enabling the citizens of a number of non-European Union countries to be part of the same European family, in which people can freely travel and meet.

      In the wake of terrorist attacks such as those in Paris, a number of voices in populist political movements have asked for the reintroduction of border controls between European Union countries. The same voices have long argued against migration and scapegoated minority populations. My plea to the Assembly today is this: let us reconfirm our commitment to and determination for a united and tolerant Europe in which we can travel freely. Let us be stronger than the populists and maintain the achievements we have made so far. Let us, at the level of the European Union, complete the Schengen area by admitting Romania and Bulgaria into it. Let us also work with non-European Union countries to extend the benefits of freedom of travel to people who share our fundamental values. Let us, in one word, show that we do not want to live in fear or give up our freedoms when faced with such attacks.

      Ms KARAPETYAN (Armenia) – We were all shocked by the horrendous attack committed in Paris against Charlie Hebdo magazine. It was a direct and violent assault on freedom of expression, which is a cornerstone of democracy. These barbaric acts are unacceptable, and we condemn them in the strongest terms.

      We are also very much appalled by the fact that this pattern of barbarism has become repetitive. Eight years ago, on 19 January, a prominent Turkish-Armenian journalist, Hrant Dink, was assassinated in Istanbul near the office of the Agos newspaper. "We are all Hrant Dink" was the slogan in those days. Hrant Dink was assassinated because of his views and his courageous efforts to tell the truth about the Armenian genocide. He was a victim of Turkish propaganda, which portrayed him as an enemy of Turkey who insulted Turkish identity. That whole chain of events fitted well with Turkey’s traditional policy of denial.

      Yet another example of this notorious policy is the shameful attempt of the Erdoğan government to cast a shadow over the commemoration of the 100th anniversary of the Armenian genocide. To meet this end, the Turkish authorities are planning to use the 100th anniversary of the Allied attempt to invade Turkey in 1915. Year by year, Turkey is improving the tools of its distortion of history. This year, Turkey will for the first time mark the anniversary of the battle of Gallipoli on 24 April, although it began on 18 March 1915 and lasted until late January 1916. It is a historical fact that the Allied landings at Gallipoli began on 25 April; that is the day on which Australia and New Zealand mark Anzac day. Only two years ago, Abdullah Gül, then President of Turkey, marked the 98th anniversary of this Great War battle on 18 March 2013. What is this, if not a naďve yet insidious attempt to distract the attention of the international community from events commemorating the centenary of the Armenian genocide? Turkey has a much more important obligation towards its own people and all of humanity, namely the obligation to recognise and commemorate the Armenian genocide.

      Notwithstanding its innovative and refined policy of denial, the Turkish authorities should understand that peace and friendship hinge on having the courage to confront one’s past and historical injustices. Each of us has a duty to transmit the real story so that future generations can prepare the ground for rapprochement and future co-operation between neighbouring peoples.

Sadly, I must conclude that 100 years of a policy of denial means that we have a situation in which the genocidal Islamic State army operates in the same killing fields. Our response must be to stand firm on our shared values.

THE PRESIDENT* – The final speaker today will be Ms El Ouafi from Morocco, Partner for Democracy.

Ms EL OUAFI (Morocco)* – I am delighted to be able to share with the Assembly my thoughts on the vexed subject of immigration. We can see from the press that it is a controversial issue of concern to countries, public authorities, researchers, international organisations and national parliaments, regardless of the fact that the 2012 report of the United Nations Development Programme emphasised the prime role played by migrants in enriching countries and pointed out that we must face the challenge together.

Morocco is no longer just a transit country. It is, rather, a country in which migrants settle, but we hope to be able to treat migration as an opportunity while at the same time dealing with the challenges in a rational way. Morocco is Europe’s prime interlocutor on migration and the central role it plays means that it can serve as a regional platform for dialogue between Africa and Europe in order to encourage various stakeholders in political, social and governmental circles.

I am delighted to say that our parliament has decided to address this complex issue by considering the sorts of migration policies we should adopt and the implications for Morocco and its position in Africa and the region, particularly against a backdrop of tension and political fragility. That is why it is important that Morocco has bilateral and multilateral relations with the European Union, as well as with the region of Africa in general, with regards to the models used in our approach to immigration.

We are a rich country. We have already welcomed migrants and we have multiculturalism and pluralism. The Jewish community is well integrated: its members are citizens whose rights are enshrined in the new constitution of 2011. The government has underscored the joint responsibilities required when it comes to co-operation between Morocco and the European Union on migration. The situation was strengthened by the signing of the agreement on 7 June. We have a responsibility to face up to the challenges together, particularly on the social and economic levels.

THE PRESIDENT* – That concludes the list of speakers. All those who were on the list of speakers but who were unable to speak and were present in the Chamber for the debate may submit their typewritten contributions for publication in the Official Report. We would prefer it if you submitted them in electronic form.

8. Next public business

THE PRESIDENT* – The Assembly will hold its next public sitting tomorrow morning at 10 a.m. with the agenda that was approved on Monday morning.

I remind delegates to ensure that they remove their passes from the voting slots and take them with them when they leave the Chamber.

The sitting is closed.

(The sitting was closed at 8.05 p.m.)

CONTENTS

1. Changes in the membership of committees

2. Organisation of debates

3. The humanitarian situation of Ukrainian refugees and displaced persons – resumed debate

Replies: Mr Sheridan (United Kingdom) and Mr Mariani (France)

Amendments 23, 17, 18, 27, 28, 9, 10, 11, 12, 2, 13, 14, 21 as amended, 22 as amended, 24 as amended, 26 as amended, 25, 19 as amended, 29, 32 as amended, 33, 3, 34, 36, 35, 4 and 37 adopted.

Draft resolution in Document 13651 and Addendum, as amended, adopted

4. The implementation of the Memorandum of Understanding between the Council of Europe and the European Union

Presentation by Ms Lundgren of report of the Committee on Political Affairs and Democracy in Document 13655

Speakers: Mr Kolman (Croatia), Mr Clappison (United Kingdom), Mr Kox (Netherlands), Mr Le Borgn' (France) and Mr Omtzigt (Netherlands)

Reply: Ms Lundgren (Sweden)

Speakers: Mr Mignon (France), Ms Kovács (Serbia), Mr Heer (Switzerland), Mr Beneyto (Spain), Lord Balfe (United Kingdom), Mr Mota Amaral (Portugal), Mr Sasi (Finland), Mr Miller (Canada), Ms Duranton (France), Ms Zimmermann (France), and Mr Korodi (Romania)

Reply: Ms Khidasheli (Georgia)

Amendments 3, 4, 5 and 2 adopted

Draft resolution in Document 13655, as amended, adopted

Amendment 6 adopted

Draft recommendation in Document 13655, as amended, adopted

5. Election of judges to the European Court of Human Rights

6. The honouring of obligations and commitments by Montenegro

Presentation by Mr Sasi and Mr Leyden of report of the Monitoring Committee in Document 13665

Speakers: Mr Chope (United Kingdom), Ms Jonica (Montenegro), Mr Mayer (Austria), Mr Xuclŕ (Spain), Mr Sekulić (Montenegro), Mr Le Borgn' (France), Mr Fournier (France), Mr Šehović (Montenegro), Mr Florea (Romania), Mr Juratovic (Germany) and Mr Chisu (Canada)

Replies: Mr Sasi (Finland), Mr Leyden (Ireland) and Mr Schennach (Austria)

Amendments 3, 1 as amended and 2 as amended adopted

Draft resolution in Document 13655, as amended, adopted

7. Free debate

Speakers: Mr G. Davies (United Kingdom), Ms Quintanilla (Spain), Mr Xuclŕ (Spain), Earl of Dundee (United Kingdom), Ms Magradze (Georgia), Mr Rochebloine (France), Mr Kolman (Croatia), Mr Abbasov (Azerbaijan), Mr Pintado (Spain), Ms Fataliyeva (Azerbaijan), Mr Aleksandrov (Russian Federation), Ms Bilgehan (Turkey), Ms A. Hovhannisyan (Armenia), Ms Durrieu (France), Mr Stroe (Romania), Ms Karapetyan (Armenia) and Ms El Ouafi (Morocco)

8. Next public sitting

Appendix I

Representatives or Substitutes who signed the Attendance Register in accordance with Rule 12.2 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

Pedro AGRAMUNT

Alexey Ivanovich ALEKSANDROV

Brigitte ALLAIN/Jean-Claude Frécon

Jean-Charles ALLAVENA*

Werner AMON*

Luise AMTSBERG/Gabriela Heinrich

Liv Holm ANDERSEN

Lord Donald ANDERSON

Paride ANDREOLI

Khadija ARIB*

Volodymyr ARIEV

Egemen BAĞIŞ*

Theodora BAKOYANNIS*

David BAKRADZE/Chiora Taktakishvili

Taulant BALLA*

Gérard BAPT*

Gerard BARCIA DUEDRA/Josep Anton Bardina Pau

Doris BARNETT/Annette Groth

José Manuel BARREIRO/Ángel Pintado

Deniz BAYKAL

Marieluise BECK*

Ondřej BENEŠIK/ Gabriela Pecková

José María BENEYTO

Deborah BERGAMINI/Giuseppe Galati

Sali BERISHA*

Anna Maria BERNINI/Claudio Fazzone

Maria Teresa BERTUZZI*

Andris BĒRZINŠ

Gülsün BİLGEHAN

Brian BINLEY/Lord Richard Balfe

Ľuboš BLAHA*

Philippe BLANCHART*

Jean-Marie BOCKEL

Olga BORZOVA

Mladen BOSIĆ

António BRAGA

Anne BRASSEUR/Marc Spautz

Alessandro BRATTI*

Piet De BRUYN/Petra De Sutter

Beata BUBLEWICZ

Gerold BÜCHEL

André BUGNON

Natalia BURYKINA/Robert Shlegel

Nunzia CATALFO*

Elena CENTEMERO*

Irakli CHIKOVANI

Vannino CHITI*

Tudor-Alexandru CHIUARIU/Viorel Riceard Badea

Christopher CHOPE*

Lise CHRISTOFFERSEN

Henryk CIOCH*

James CLAPPISON

Agustín CONDE/Carmen Quintanilla

Telmo CORREIA*

Paolo CORSINI*

Carlos COSTA NEVES

Celeste COSTANTINO*

Jonny CROSIO*

Yves CRUCHTEN

Zsolt CSENGER-ZALÁN/Jenő Manninger

Katalin CSÖBÖR

Joseph DEBONO GRECH*

Reha DENEMEÇ

Alain DESTEXHE

Manlio DI STEFANO*

Arcadio DÍAZ TEJERA

Peter van DIJK/Tuur Elzinga

Şaban DİŞLİ

Aleksandra DJUROVIĆ

Ioannis DRAGASAKIS*

Elvira DROBINSKI-WEIß

Daphné DUMERY/ Hendrik Daems

Alexander [The Earl of] DUNDEE

Nicole DURANTON

Josette DURRIEU

Mustafa DZHEMILIEV*

Mikuláš DZURINDA*

Lady Diana ECCLES*

Tülin ERKAL KARA

Franz Leonhard EßL/Edgar Mayer

Bernd FABRITIUS*

Joseph FENECH ADAMI*

Cătălin Daniel FENECHIU

Vyacheslav FETISOV*

Doris FIALA/Eric Voruz

Daniela FILIPIOVÁ/Miroslav Antl

Ute FINCKH-KRÄMER*

Axel E. FISCHER

Gvozden Srećko FLEGO

Bernard FOURNIER

Hans FRANKEN

Béatrice FRESKO-ROLFO*

Martin FRONC

Sir Roger GALE

Adele GAMBARO

Karl GARĐARSSON

Iryna GERASHCHENKO

Tina GHASEMI

Valeriu GHILETCHI

Francesco Maria GIRO*

Pavol GOGA

Carlos Alberto GONÇALVES

Alina Ştefania GORGHIU

Svetlana GORYACHEVA/Olga Kazakova

Sandro GOZI*

Fred de GRAAF/Pieter Omtzigt

François GROSDIDIER/Jacques Legendre

Andreas GROSS

Dzhema GROZDANOVA

Mehmet Kasim GÜLPINAR*

Gergely GULYÁS*

Jonas GUNNARSSON

Nazmi GÜR

Antonio GUTIÉRREZ/Jordi Xuclŕ

Maria GUZENINA/Sirkka-Liisa Anttila

Márton GYÖNGYÖSI*

Sabir HAJIYEV/Sevinj Fataliyeva

Margus HANSON

Alfred HEER

Michael HENNRICH*

Martin HENRIKSEN*

Françoise HETTO-GAASCH

Oleksii HONCHARENKO/Svitlana Zalishchuk

Jim HOOD/David Crausby

Arpine HOVHANNISYAN

Anette HÜBINGER

Johannes HÜBNER

Andrej HUNKO

Ali HUSEYNLI/ Aydin Abbasov

Rafael HUSEYNOV

Vitaly IGNATENKO*

Florin IORDACHE/Daniel Florea

Tadeusz IWIŃSKI*

Denis JACQUAT*

Gediminas JAKAVONIS/Dalia Kuodytė

Gordan JANDROKOVIĆ*

Tedo JAPARIDZE/Guguli Magradze

Michael Aastrup JENSEN*

Frank J. JENSSEN

Florina-Ruxandra JIPA*

Ögmundur JÓNASSON

Aleksandar JOVIČIĆ*

Josip JURATOVIC

Antti KAIKKONEN

Mustafa KARADAYI*

Marietta KARAMANLI/Rudy Salles

Niklas KARLSSON

Andreja KATIČ*

Charles KENNEDY*

Tinatin KHIDASHELI*

Danail KIRILOV*

Bogdan KLICH/Helena Hatka

Haluk KOÇ

Igor KOLMAN

Unnur Brá KONRÁĐSDÓTTIR*

Ksenija KORENJAK KRAMAR

Attila KORODI

Alev KORUN

Rom KOSTŘICA

Elena KOUNTOURA*

Elvira KOVÁCS

Tiny KOX

Borjana KRIŠTO*

Julia KRONLID*

Marek KRZĄKAŁA/Killion Munyama

Zviad KVATCHANTIRADZE*

Athina KYRIAKIDOU

Serhiy LABAZIUK

Inese LAIZĀNE

Olof LAVESSON

Pierre-Yves LE BORGN'

Jean-Yves LE DÉAUT*

Igor LEBEDEV

Valentina LESKAJ*

Terry LEYDEN

Inese LĪBIŅA-EGNERE

Georgii LOGVYNSKYI

François LONCLE/Marie-Christine Dalloz

George LOUKAIDES

Yuliya L'OVOCHKINA*

Jacob LUND

Trine Pertou MACH/Nikolaj Villumsen

Saša MAGAZINOVIĆ

Philippe MAHOUX

Thierry MARIANI

Soňa MARKOVÁ

Milica MARKOVIĆ

Meritxell MATEU PI

Ana MATO

Pirkko MATTILA/Mika Raatikainen

Frano MATUŠIĆ*

Liliane MAURY PASQUIER

Michael McNAMARA

Sir Alan MEALE*

Ermira MEHMETI DEVAJA*

Ivan MELNIKOV

Ana Catarina MENDONÇA

Attila MESTERHÁZY*

Jean-Claude MIGNON

Philipp MIßFELDER*

Olivia MITCHELL

Igor MOROZOV*

Joăo Bosco MOTA AMARAL

Arkadiusz MULARCZYK

Melita MULIĆ

Oľga NACHTMANNOVÁ

Hermine NAGHDALYAN

Piotr NAIMSKI

Sergey NARYSHKIN*

Marian NEACŞU/Florin Costin Pâslaru

Zsolt NÉMETH

Miroslav NENUTIL

Baroness Emma NICHOLSON*

Michele NICOLETTI*

Aleksandar NIKOLOSKI

Marija OBRADOVIĆ

Žarko OBRADOVIĆ

Judith OEHRI

Carina OHLSSON

Joseph O'REILLY*

Maciej ORZECHOWSKI/Michał Stuligrosz

Sandra OSBORNE/Michael Connarty

José Ignacio PALACIOS

Liliana PALIHOVICI*

Ganira PASHAYEVA

Waldemar PAWLAK/Ryszard Terlecki

Foteini PIPILI*

Vladimir PLIGIN*

Cezar Florin PREDA

John PRESCOTT*

Gabino PUCHE

Alexey PUSHKOV*

Mailis REPS*

Andrea RIGONI

François ROCHEBLOINE

Soraya RODRÍGUEZ*

Alexander ROMANOVICH

Maria de Belém ROSEIRA

René ROUQUET

Rovshan RZAYEV*

Indrek SAAR*

Ŕlex SÁEZ

Vincenzo SANTANGELO*

Milena SANTERINI*

Kimmo SASI

Nadiia SAVCHENKO*

Deborah SCHEMBRI

Stefan SCHENNACH

Ingjerd SCHOU

Frank SCHWABE

Urs SCHWALLER/Elisabeth Schneider-Schneiter

Salvador SEDÓ

Predrag SEKULIĆ

Ömer SELVİ

Aleksandar SENIĆ

Senad ŠEPIĆ

Samad SEYIDOV*

Jim SHERIDAN

Bernd SIEBERT*

Valeri SIMEONOV

Andrej ŠIRCELJ

Arturas SKARDŽIUS

Leonid SLUTSKY

Serhiy SOBOLEV

Olena SOTNYK

Lorella STEFANELLI/Gerardo Giovagnoli

Yanaki STOILOV*

Karin STRENZ*

Ionuţ-Marian STROE

Valeriy SUDARENKOV

Krzysztof SZCZERSKI

Damien THIÉRY

Lord John E. TOMLINSON

Antoni TRENCHEV*

Konstantinos TRIANTAFYLLOS*

Mihai TUDOSE/Corneliu Mugurel Cozmanciuc

Goran TUPONJA/Snežana Jonica

Ahmet Kutalmiş TÜRKEŞ

Tuğrul TÜRKEŞ

Konstantinos TZAVARAS*

Ilyas UMAKHANOV/Anton Belyakov

Dana VÁHALOVÁ

Olga-Nantia VALAVANI*

Snorre Serigstad VALEN/Tore Hagebakken

Petrit VASILI*

Imre VEJKEY/Rózsa Hoffmann

Stefaan VERCAMER

Mark VERHEIJEN/Tineke Strik

Birutė VĖSAITĖ/Egidijus Vareikis

Anne-Mari VIROLAINEN

Vladimir VORONIN*

Viktor VOVK

Klaas de VRIES*

Nataša VUČKOVIĆ

Draginja VUKSANOVIĆ*

Piotr WACH

Robert WALTER

Dame Angela WATKINSON/Baroness Judith Wilcox

Tom WATSON/Geraint Davies

Karl-Georg WELLMANN*

Katrin WERNER

Morten WOLD

Gisela WURM*

Maciej WYDRZYŃSKI

Leonid YEMETS*

Tobias ZECH*

Kristýna ZELIENKOVÁ

Sergey ZHELEZNYAK*

Marie-Jo ZIMMERMANN

Emanuelis ZINGERIS

Guennady ZIUGANOV

Naira ZOHRABYAN/Naira Karapetyan

Levon ZOURABIAN/Mher Shahgeldyan

Vacant Seat, Cyprus*

Vacant Seat, France*

Vacant Seat, Republic of Moldova*

Vacant Seat, Republic of Moldova*

Vacant Seat, ‘‘The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia’’/ Vladimir Gjorchev

ALSO PRESENT

Representatives and Substitutes not authorised to vote

Jan RZYMEŁKA

Observers

Eloy CANTU SEGOVIA

Corneliu CHISU

Larry MILLER

Partners for democracy

Mohammed AMEUR

Nezha EL OUAFI

Mohamed YATIM

Appendix II

Representatives or Substitutes who took part in the ballot for the election of judges to the European Court of Human Rights in respect of Bulgaria and Serbia

Pedro AGRAMUNT

Brigitte ALLAIN/Jean-Claude Frécon

Liv Holm ANDERSEN

Egemen BAĞIŞ

Deborah BERGAMINI/Giuseppe Galati

Beata BUBLEWICZ

Christopher CHOPE

Carlos COSTA NEVES

Yves CRUCHTEN

Cătălin Daniel FENECHIU

Axel E. FISCHER

Fred de GRAAF/Pieter Omtzigt

Nazmi GÜR

Antonio GUTIÉRREZ/Jordi Xuclŕ

Maria GUZENINA/Sirkka-Liisa Anttila

Rafael HUSEYNOV

Frank J. JENSSEN

Attila KORODI

Jacob LUND

Liliane MAURY PASQUIER

Joăo Bosco MOTA AMARAL

Melita MULIĆ

Alexey PUSHKOV

Deborah SCHEMBRI

Frank SCHWABE

Salvador SEDÓ

Senad ŠEPIĆ

Valeri SIMEONOV

Serhiy SOBOLEV

Imre VEJKEY/Rózsa Hoffmann

Anne-Mari VIROLAINEN

Robert WALTER

Vacant Seat, ‘‘The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia’’/ Vladimir Gjorchev