AS (2016) CR 17



(Second part)


Seventeenth sitting

Thursday 21 April 2016 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.

(Sir Roger Gale, Vice-President of the Assembly, took the Chair at 3.30 p.m.)

      The PRESIDENT – The sitting is open.

1. Changes in the membership of committees

      The PRESIDENT – Our next business is to consider the changes proposed in the membership of committees. These are set out in document Commissions (2016) 04 Addendum 4.

      Are the proposed changes in the membership of the Assembly’s committees agreed to?

      They are agreed to.

2. Speaking time in debates

      The PRESIDENT – I am pleased to be able to inform you that, in view of the number of speeches in this afternoon’s debate, the speaking time will be increased to four minutes.

3. The humanitarian concerns with regard to people captured during the war in Ukraine

      The PRESIDENT – The first item of business this afternoon is the debate on the report entitled “The humanitarian concerns with regard to people captured during the war in Ukraine”, Document 14015 and Addendum, presented by Ms Kleinberga on behalf of the Migration Committee.

      We will aim to finish this item by about 5.30 p.m., so I will interrupt the speakers’ list at around 5.05 p.m. to allow time for the replies to the debate and the votes.

      I call Ms Kleinberga to present the report. During Ms Kleinberga’s speech, pictures will be displayed on the screens. Ms Kleinberga, you have 13 minutes in total, which you may divide between presentation of the report and reply to the debate. You have the floor.

      Ms KLEINBERGA (Latvia)* – It is very hard for me to talk today about the people who were taken prisoner during the war in Ukraine. It is particularly hard since I have met them and seen with my own eyes what conditions they were held in. Hardest of all is to talk about the 123 prisoners who are still behind bars and possibly being subjected to inhumane treatment and torture. I also think about their children, their parents, their families – their suffering must be boundless.

      I am presenting my report in Russian because I consider it essential for our Russian colleagues – who are, of course, not present, but are following our debates along with all the other Russians – to hear and understand that if we want peace in Europe we must put a stop to barbaric methods such as kidnapping people, seizing them and then finding them guilty on trumped-up, politically motivated charges.

      The Assembly is particularly concerned that our colleague, Ukrainian Nadia Savchenko, is one of the 21 Ukrainian captives who were taken prisoner and handed over to the Russian Federation’s law enforcement. Nadia was sentenced to 22 years’ imprisonment on falsified accusations. As the Parliamentary Assembly’s response to the unfair trial of Nadia Savchenko, I have prepared an addendum to my report in which I give a brief analysis of the court case and the reasons for our demand that she be set free urgently.

      I want to show the Assembly a few slides showing the places I visited while preparing my report, such as Severodonetsk. My attitude to this problem changed radically after I saw with my own eyes the underground basements where the separatists were holding their prisoners. I would never have imagined that in the 21st century one might witness such inhumane treatment, with torture and punishment of this sort.

      The person whom you see on the slide is Oleksandr Kononov. I met him in Severodonetsk. From the very beginning of the war, he and his wife Viktoria offered voluntary help to the Ukrainian armed forces and they were taken prisoner when visiting the front with humanitarian aid. They were both subjected to torture from the very first day in captivity. Viktoria was strangled and her face covered with a polythene bag until she lost consciousness. She was then tortured with electric shocks. Oleksandr was subjected to Russian roulette as they pretended that they were going to shoot him in the head, and he was in fact injured. Then they pretended that they were taking Viktoria to be shot. Three days later, he discovered that she was actually locked in the cell next to his. They spent three months imprisoned in that way, but what is most shocking is the fact that Oleksandr is a Soviet veteran and lost his right hand and left foot fighting for the Soviet Union in Afghanistan. How could they be so inhumane to a person of that calibre?

      The Ukrainian authorities, NGOs and civil society organisations have done a huge amount of work to secure the release of 3 015 prisoners who have been seized since April 2104. In spite of their efforts, 123 people are still held by the separatists and 693 are missing without trace.

      In the report, I also talk about the Ukrainian authorities holding fighters from the separatist movement, who are part of the terrorist acts that have been carried out by unofficial armed groups and against which Ukrainian security services have raised more than 3 000 court cases. They are being held in normal humane conditions.

      In Crimea, after the annexation by the Russian Federation, the local authorities have been seizing Crimean, Tartar and Ukrainian activists. Moreover, trumped-up criminal cases have been brought against them, supposedly in connection with crimes committed before Russia annexed Ukraine. There is an urgent need for medical, financial and other aid for these people who have been seized. Those who are still being held must be helped by the State, first by determining their legal status.

      In all the places where fighting is still under way it is very difficult even for the humanitarian organisations that are trying to help. We therefore agree that the new Ukrainian Premier was right to establish a ministry to deal with these temporarily occupied territories and with people who have been displaced by the fighting. Only in that way will they be able to help the civilian population in these occupied territories, including with the help of international humanitarian organisations.

      In the resolution we call on Ukraine, the Russian Federation and the separatist groups controlling the territory of Donetsk and Luhansk to stop dragging their feet and move to complete implementation of the Minsk Agreement as soon as possible, making a priority the need to release all prisoners and without linking that to any of the other points in the agreement.

      We insist that the Rome Statute be brought into play, allowing an international court to investigate all cases of violation of international law during the fighting in Ukraine. We propose that member States of the Council for Europe impose targeted sanctions, including banning visas and freezing the accounts of those who have been a part of the kidnapping of Nadia Savchenko. Similar measures are being considered in the cases of 20 other Ukrainian prisoners being held by the Russian authorities on fabricated charges. We demand that the Russian authorities conduct an effective investigation and prosecute those who are guilty of the kidnappings, and of torturing and killing, for political reasons, the Crimean Tatar activists in Crimea.

      Ukrainians have also been the targets of kidnapping, killing and torture. We call on all sides to work with the Ukrainians to co-ordinate lists and categories of people who are held in order for them to be exchanged under the Minsk Agreement, according to the principle of all for all.

      The Council of Europe has a special body to combat torture – the European Committee for the Prevention of Torture and Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment – which should be brought into play to deal with what is happening not only in the Russian Federation but in Crimea, in the so-called Donetsk People’s Republic and in the Luhansk People’s Republic. For those who live next to the front line or who have been released from captivity, such as the soldiers we met in the pillboxes on the front line who are engaged in the anti-terrorist operations that have taken the form of a covert war, it is necessary to make it clear that there needs to be political will on all sides if we wish to stop the war, to remove all weapons from the theatre of war and to re-establish peace in the region.

      I call upon you all to support the resolution and recommendation, and to ensure that the Ukrainian people, who do not want to live in a state of war, feel our support.

      The PRESIDENT – Thank you, Ms Kleinberga. You have three minutes remaining to summarise at the end of the debate. We now move to the speakers on behalf of the political groups. I call Mr Howell.

      Mr HOWELL (United Kingdom, Spokesperson for the European Conservatives Group) – I thank the rapporteur for producing a report that details the sad history of people captured during the war in Ukraine. Of course, the easiest solution to prevent the situation from continuing is for the conflict to cease. I therefore call on both sides to commit to stop the war. As the draft resolution makes clear “a solution to the problem of people captured…is not possible” unless that happens.

      The report is right to highlight again the case of Nadia Savchenko, who is a member of this Assembly. As it makes clear, and as international concern on both sides of the Atlantic has demonstrated, her liberation by the Russian authorities is still called for and is still being rejected. I am sure that the Assembly wishes to endorse those calls. The report clearly brings out the need for proper psychological assessment of those released, although it highlights the enormous cultural and medical difficulties of doing so, and it makes a major contribution by highlighting the great problems faced by those who have endured capture and, importantly, by their families, who suffer unimaginable levels of stress.

      Finally, the report calls for an end to the inhumane and degrading treatment of prisoners, and for an end to the use of torture, ill treatment and sexual violence. I fully agree with that. It also calls for the implementation of the Minsk agreements and the Geneva conventions, and access for international humanitarian organisations that we can all support. For Russia, keeping prisoners of war in captivity – which, from its point of view, is treated as common crime – does not exclude the possibility of international observers having access to those prisoners or the possibility of treating them with the highest respect.

      The report looks at the situation from the point of view of the Ukrainian authorities and I understand that. However, its call simply to end military actions in the east of Ukraine, withdraw all weapons and restore peace appears a little na´ve. It is a complex situation involving not simply Ukraine and Russia, but groups of separatists and war lords who at times appear to act with the knowledge of Russia and at times to act of their own accord. Simply urging those separatist groups to release all captured prisoners and stop violating civil rights is unlikely to cut much ice and will require the efforts of us all to solve it in a much more dynamic way. The report calls for the international community to be more involved in the process of the release of captives. I urge them to become more involved, too, in bringing genuine peace to the region.

      Mr MICHELOTTI (San Marino, Spokesperson for the Group of the Unified European Left)* – I congratulate Ms Kleinberga on her very good work that allows us to understand the seriousness of the situation in Ukraine. The Group of the Unified European Left supports the exchange of prisoners, and the release of hostages and all persons illegally detained in the context of the conflict in Ukraine, as it is a crucial cornerstone of the Minsk Agreement. The situation is urgent because, if war does not stop definitely and weapons do not surrender to dialogue, we will not find a final peaceful solution to the conflict or achieve the release of captured prisoners and hostages.

      The situation concerns not only people who were taken hostage by insurgents on both sides, but people who were arrested by the Ukrainian authorities and should be released. In order to protect and give freedom to all those who became victims of the ongoing conflict, demands must be made of both sides, including Ukraine. We learned that 20 more prisoners were released and that Nadia Savchenko is waiting for the conclusion of the negotiations about her release in exchange for two Russian prisoners. However, we must not let down our guard and the Council of Europe must not request: it should expect the release of all people who are still illegally detained – not only military prisoners, but civilians who just happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time.

      Amnesty International has declared that on both sides of the conflicting parties cruel violations of human rights were committed, including war crimes. The exchange of persons captured during the conflict in Ukraine should not lead us to forget what has happened there. We call on both sides to stop the ongoing violence. When all the international conventions are ignored and disregarded, including those that regulate and recognise a kind of ethics within an armed conflict, it means that civil society is losing one more challenge. This is why we must react strongly to prevent prevarication overrunning the democratic rules that hold us together. Thank you for your attention.

      Mr VAREIKIS (Lithuania, Spokesperson for the Group of the European People’s Party) – When anyone in the media asks whether the Minsk Agreement is working, the answer is generally yes: we have no major war in eastern Ukraine, we have no major conflict on the frontline and military equipment has been kept far away. In reality, however, the Minsk Agreement is not being implemented. One very important part of the Minsk Agreement is the exchange of detained persons and political prisoners. That is what the report is about.

      The report is, of course, wider than the Minsk Agreement, because it is also about Crimea. Crimea is also a part of the problem. When I read the report and see how the situation is developing, I can see that we need to demand the release not simply of Nadia Savchenko, who is just one of 21 reporters, but of all the people who are detained.

      We need to come forward with a very specific proposal. Although I am speaking on behalf of the EPP Group, I will use my own country as an example. Lithuania has brought forward specific measures. Two weeks ago, my country expressed solidarity with Ukraine and adopted the decision to introduce national restrictions against individuals who are responsible for the illegal detention, prosecution and conviction in the Russian Federation of the Ukrainian citizens Nadia Savchenko, Oleg Sentsov and Olexandr Kolchenko. We published a document that we call the “Savchenko, Sentsov and Kolchenko list”. Forty six people in the Russian Federation, who face visa restrictions and are prohibited from entering Lithuania, are included in the list. I hope it will become longer. If our countries can join in this action it would be helpful in solving the problem. I understand that this is a small step, but it is also a very important one. We encourage the representatives of other countries to get involved with similar measures.

      One important point for our western colleagues to understand is that in central and eastern Europe someone who has been on trial and put in prison will then have a criminal record. I do not want Nadia Savchenko to be released only to have a criminal record as a war criminal. These people must be released without any criminal record. They are not criminals. Maybe they are fighters for freedom or for their countries, but they are not criminals. Moral freedom is more than just physical freedom. We must think beyond the simple concept of their physical release.

      I thank the rapporteur for her important report, and I hope it will be approved by the Assembly. I look forward to the practical continuation of your work.

      The PRESIDENT – Thank you. Will all members please make sure that their mobile devices are either switched off or on silent mode? I call Ms Finckh-Krńmer.

      Ms FINCKH-KR─MER (Germany, Spokesperson for the Socialist Group)* – The report shows what happens when one set of violations is met on the other side with other violations. Two wrongs do not make a right; they just lead to an escalation of human rights violations. We welcome the fact that the report and the draft resolution focus on the destiny of the people who have been captured because of military operations in Astrakhan. Regardless of who did what to whom and what they are accused of, the people who have been captured should be under the protection of the European Convention of Human Rights. The Convention bans torture and inhumane and degrading treatment. It guarantees the right to a fair trial.

      The inclusion in the February 2015 Minsk Agreement of an agreement on the exchange of prisoners was a very important step. We are very happy to hear that Nadia Savchenko, who has been a member of our Parliamentary Assembly since January 2015, will be released under the agreement. Many of us have considerable doubts about whether she really did cause the deaths of the two journalists, Kornelyuk and Voloshin. We therefore feel it is essential to have a further investigation into how their deaths occurred. We hope the Ukrainian authorities will support such an investigation when Nadia Savchenko is released in exchange for other prisoners. It is worth noting that since the beginning of the conflict individual people and civil society groups have been very important in ensuring the release of a lot of people. This shows that many citizens are aware of the European Convention on Human Rights and take it more seriously than some State authorities. I am very happy to see that so many people in the so-called people’s republics of Donestk and Luhansk continue to be guided by the ECHR. Their attempts to secure the release of prisoners should be honoured by the Ukrainian authorities and not be considered as giving help to terrorists.

      To respect the basic principles of the Council of Europe’s Convention on Human Rights, even when others violate them, is a sign of strength that reflects the values of our joint principles. I therefore encourage all those involved to be guided by these basic principles and to follow the recommendations of the report. If it is successful in bringing about the exchange of prisoners, it will be much easier to achieve the other objectives of the Minsk Agreement, and that will help both sides of the conflict.

      Mr CHIKOVANI (Georgia, Spokesperson for the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe) – I would first like to thank Ms Kleinberga for her report. We must recognise the work she has done to produce it in such a very swift manner. She had a clear understanding of the urgency required and it was produced in an unprecedentedly short time.

      With all due respect to the rapporteur, however, there are no words, no reports and no photos in the world that will express the suffering of the people we are talking about. We are talking about the humanitarian consequences. Yes, war brings a lot of tragedies with it. It destroys buildings, but it also destroys the lives and minds of the Europeans who live in Ukraine.

      We in the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe appreciate Ms Kleinberga ‘s work on the report and applaud her for it, but first and foremost we call on both sides to ensure that all the provisions of the Minsk Agreement are adhered to and finally implemented.

      I must mention the addendum to the report, which refers to the case of our colleague Nadia Savchenko. The irony is that we in the Migration Committee were discussing her case while she was a member of that committee and of the Assembly. After two years, all our efforts, resolutions and statements and those of many other European institutions or States have not achieved a real result. Nadia Savchenko is still in jail and still suffers from the situation in which she was placed illegally. We call on the Russian authorities to ensure that they release as soon as possible our colleague, who is protected by the conventions that we are all party to.

      Of course we all want to ensure that what has happened is clearly understood and that the matter is investigated in detail. We therefore call on the Ukrainian authorities to ensure that they swiftly ratify the Rome Statute in order to conduct that investigation. It is important to shine a bright light on the case and utilise absolutely every instrument at an international level to ensure that everyone knows what has been going on in Crimea.

      We also want to respond to the recent developments in which the Tatar Mejlis was declared a separatist organisation and to condemn that action by the Russian Federation. Everyone clearly understands that this is not about the restoration of the previous situation. The only purpose that is served by the Russian Federation’s actions is its imperial ambitions, and the Ukrainian people have to suffer because of this.

      Once again, on behalf of the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe, I want to say that we support the resolution and the report, and we call on absolutely everyone to ensure that we do everything we can to ensure that the suffering will stop and that we free our colleague Nadia Savchenko.

      Mr LOGVYNSKYI (Ukraine) – I would like to thank you all. I thank the leaders of the Parliamentary Assembly, the Commissioner for Human Rights, the rapporteurs, the Council of Europe and all those who help Ukraine and protect its citizens. I have a question: what can we do for the Council of Europe and what can Europe do for us? Every day, we are struggling for our independence, for our territorial integrity and for the rights of our citizens. Thus, we protect European borders to ensure the safety of your children and to demonstrate to the occupier how difficult it would be to continue such actions in other countries.

      The Ukrainian issue has long ceased to be strictly a national matter, and the international order is a hostage of this situation today. Today, we are all passing a kind of crash-test of the democratic institutions and human values. We just cannot afford to allow such a situation today, in the 21st century, when people disappear and are later found dead with traces of torture on their bodies and punctured eyes. All these facts are mentioned in the Turkish delegation’s reports and in Gerard Stoudmann’s report and reaffirmed by Nils Muižnieks, the Commissioner for Human Rights.

      I can assure you that if we allow a ban on the Mejlis, we will have a new wave of missing people on the occupied territory. Dissenters will simply disappear. What can you do for us? Vote for our amendments, support the imposition of sanctions, support a strong condemnation of the ban on the Mejlis and demand freedom for Nadia Savchenko. I hope that all representatives of 47 member States of the Council of Europe will share our feelings with more than 800 million Europeans. Let us speak with one voice in the fight against barbarism, a policy of tyranny and dictatorship. Together we can protect our standards and human rights.

      Mr SHPENOV (Ukraine)* – May I declare officially that our political group is the opposition in Ukraine and has consistently advocated a policy of supporting an exclusively peaceful settlement of the conflict in the east of the country. At present, despite all the problems and certified violations of the ceasefire regime, there is no alternative to the Minsk Agreement. Let us take the freeing of prisoners as an example. At the moment, the problem is being tackled by the Minsk humanitarian group, working with Ukraine’s security services. The Ukrainian party in that co-operation is represented by Viktor Medvedchuk and Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe member Iryna Gerashchenko. After a year’s work, they have succeeded in freeing 70 Ukrainian citizens – soldiers, civilians, volunteers and journalists. Since the winter of 2015, Viktor Medvedchuk’s participation has made it possible to free approximately 400 individuals.

      Our opposition, too, has been doing everything possible to implement the Minsk Agreement. We have already drafted and tabled legislation in the Ukrainian Parliament, and we insist that it be debated and hope that, after the resolution is adopted, it will be possible to start our work in adopting the laws necessary to implement the Minsk Agreement.

      Apart from implementing the Minsk Agreement, we must also ensure that Ukraine’s other international commitments are implemented, including by ratifying the Rome Statute and by implementing the Venice Commission’s recommendations. We consider that the proposal to defer ratification for three years, as proposed in the latest change to Ukraine’s constitution, is unacceptable.

      May I express Ukraine’s great gratitude to the Assembly for all the efforts made to help us? We are well aware that we need to push through reforms and combat corruption because we need to show our partners that all their efforts have not been in vain. We are grateful to our European friends and ask them not to abandon Ukraine to its problems.

      The PRESIDENT – As Mr Mullen is not here, I call Ms Taktakishvili.

      Ms TAKTAKISHVILI (Georgia) – I would like to express my sincere gratitude to Ms Kleinberga and all the members of the Migration Committee.

      Almost two years after the Russian military invasion and annexation of Crimea, we face yet another humanitarian crisis. The recent history of the 2008 Russia-Georgia war is being repeated: new illegally occupied and annexed territories in the Council of Europe; more than 1.5 million new internally displaced persons; new ethnic cleansing perpetrated against Crimean Tatars; killings, abductions and illegal detentions; and torture and ill-treatment of detainees. We have one of the most grave and mass human rights violations happening now in Ukraine: Nadia Savchenko, Oleg Sentsov, Oleksandr Kolchenko and many others are suffering from inhuman and degrading treatment in Russian prisons. Despite all our efforts, we have been hindered in trying to visit them in prison.

      While the Russian authorities behave as an international terrorist organisation in Ukraine, the activities of the Crimean Tatars Mejlis, their highest representative body, were criminalised and it was declared an extremist organisation. That is not acceptable. If we are not able to stop Russia’s ongoing military aggression against Ukraine and Georgia, who will be next? Which of the Council of Europe member States will it be?

      We should not be na´ve, nor should we oversimplify the options. We should not choose between having a war with Russia and doing nothing. Presenting the choice as such is profitable only for Russia. There are plenty of effective pressure mechanisms in the hands of the international community. For example, we should use individual sanctions against the persons involved in the kidnapping and illegal detention of Nadia Savchenko, Oleg Sentsov and others. We should impose travel bans and financial sanctions against Putin and his allies. We should expose the illicit incomes they hide in offshore activities. We should counter the lies and misinformation coming from the Russian propagandist media. We should talk about the bribed propagandists and politicians on Russia’s payroll in European capitals.

      We do not need to go to war with Russia. We need to be tough in negotiations, and we have to show our determination that we will not give up until international law is observed and respected by the Russian Federation. Dear colleagues, let me thank each and every one of you who demonstrated on Monday our unanimous solidarity with Nadia Savchenko. I am convinced that if we stand united as we were on Monday here in this Chamber, we can save her. We must do that.

      Mr VLASENKO (Ukraine) – I am addressing you right now as the substitute of Nadia Savchenko during this part-session of the Parliamentary Assembly. Her name has been mentioned several times. One year and eight months ago, she was captured in a pre-trial detention centre near Rostov in Russia without any conviction or correct accusations against her, and without her case going to court. After that, there was a trial, which was recognised by the international community as unfair and biased.

      Today, I have heard the suggestion that we should investigate whether Nadia participated somehow in the events mentioned in the Russian papers. During the trial, the defence lawyers presented to the court irrefutable evidence that she was not even in that place at that time, but the Russian court did not care. They are not interested in finding the truth or in negotiations. They are interested in convicting an innocent person and ignoring her international immunity as a member of this distinguished Assembly, which they have said nothing about. I call that “justice Russian-style”.

      I am sad to say that the negotiations are also being held Russian-style. Today, the Russian Federation is saying, “We are not participating in the situation on the eastern borders of Ukraine. We are the peacemakers. We are negotiating, and we are helping Ukrainians to negotiate between each other.” That is not true. There are no problems among the Ukrainians; there is not a civil war. Rather, there is aggression from the Russian Federation, and we should talk about that strictly and concretely. The Russian Federation is not a peacemaker but an aggressor. We should deal with it as we would an aggressor, not a State that is helping people to do something. How to solve the situation on the eastern borders of Ukraine is a key question.

      I want to say one more thing. On the eastern borders of Ukraine, there is no war between Russia and Ukraine. There is a war between the Russian Federation and international and European standards and values. We should understand that clearly and base our policy and our statements on that.

      Mr YEMETS (Ukraine) – I would like to start by informing you that a United Nations mission representative recently joined the list of hostages captured by terrorists led by Russian commanders recently. The fact that he has diplomatic immunity is not important for those terrorists. International law means nothing to them.

      The issue of the release of prisoners is important not only for humanitarian reasons but because it is one of the main items of the Minsk Agreement, which stipulates the “release and exchange of all hostages and illegally held persons, based on the principle of ‘all for all’”. Without the implementation of that paragraph, there can be no further progress in the implementation of the agreement. That point is the key evidence for which side really wishes fully to implement the agreement and end the conflict.

      As of today, 115 Ukrainians remain captured by Russian militants in occupied territories and 12 political prisoners are detained in Russian prisons. Among them is our colleague Nadia Savchenko. We ask all member States represented in the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe to support the Savchenko list and to impose sanctions against persons involved in the abduction and abuse of our colleague.

      Ukraine has consistently followed the Minsk Agreement. The new government includes a minister for temporarily occupied territories and internally displaced persons, as well as a vice prime minister for reintegration. Ukraine is addressing the problem of Donbass, including the humanitarian sphere, systematically and comprehensively. However, Russia and its puppets violate all paragraphs of the Minsk Agreement, without exception, whether they relate to security or humanitarian aid. We have no information about the exact location of dozens of captured people. The Red Cross mission is denied access to hostages kept in occupied territories. Terrorists openly blackmail Ukraine, demanding that we free murderers and bandits who were, for example, involved in terrorist acts in Odessa and Kharkiv.

      Hostages are being tortured. Those whom we are able to exchange talk about being beaten, tortured and suffering other forms of degrading and inhuman treatment. Some have been executed or sold into slavery. We expect Russia to ensure that their militants release all hostages. Those responsible for prisons in occupied territories and in Russia are in one place: the Kremlin. There can therefore be no negotiations about easing sanctions against Russia until all hostages are freed.

      Mr HERKEL (Estonia) – I thank Ms Kleinberga and congratulate her on this important report on the implementation of the Minsk Agreement on the exchange of prisoners.

      My first remarks on the reports are about emotions and painful memories. On page 9 of the explanatory memorandum, there is a description of what happened to Oleksandr Kononov and his wife, whom the rapporteur has met, as she described in a very touching way in her speech. Pro-Ukrainian activists were captured by separatist forces. There were beatings and Russian roulette in a cell of 8 square meters where there were 15 or 20 people. It is a throwback to the Stalin era – there is an exhibition outside the Hemicycle about the totalitarian past.

      My second point is that the report describes several high-profile prisoners, and we have a separate paper on Nadia Savchenko. Steps have been taken by all three parliaments and governments of the Baltic States. We pay attention to that case, but we also pay attention to the cases of Oleg Sentsov and others – I should also mention Crimean Tatar activists, including Ahtem ăiyg÷z, the deputy speaker of the Mejlis, whom Mr Stoudmann recently visited in prison in Crimea.

      My third point is on the recommendations made to all sides in the conflict. Unfortunately, I am very pessimistic about the willingness of the Russian Federation or the separatist side, but there are important recommendations for Ukraine. It should bring its national legislation into line with the provisions of international criminal law and ratify the Rome Statute.

      I conclude with remarks on the broader international context. We were not ready when it happened in Georgia in 2008. We were not ready when it happened in Ukraine in 2014. Last year, the Russian Federation started bombing in Syria, which was very counter-productive for finding solutions to that crisis. It is time to ask what the next crisis will be and whether we are ready. We unfortunately do not have exact answers.

      My conclusion is probably not a common one to combine with a report on human rights, but it is a realistic one: we simply need more NATO troops in Poland and the Baltic States.

      Mr ALLISON (Observer, Canada) – I thank the Assembly for giving me the opportunity to make comments today. I extend my gratitude to the rapporteur, Ms Kleinberga, for her report, which paints a troubling picture.

      Reports that military and civilian captives are being subjected to torture, ill-treatment and sexual violence in Ukraine’s conflict-mired regions of Luhansk and Donetsk reveal a clear disregard for international humanitarian law, including the Geneva Conventions. The rapporteur’s draft resolution emphasises the role that the international community, including this Assembly, must play in supporting the peaceful and durable resolution of the conflict in Ukraine. Such resolution requires the full and timely implementation of the Minsk Agreements, including those provisions covering the exchange of all prisoners. Their release must not be conditioned on the fulfilment of other provisions of the Minsk Agreements.

      In Crimea, Ukrainians and Crimean Tatars are being detained by their Russian occupiers under Russian anti-terror laws. Those illegal detentions are the tangible result of an annexation that was carried out by force, in violation of international law. Our concern extends to civilians and combatants who have been detained illegally on Russian territory. One of these detainees is a member of this Parliamentary Assembly – Nadia Savchenko was captured by separatists, smuggled into Russia and brought up on bogus politically motivated and trumped-up charges.

      I realise that there have been high-level discussions between Ukrainian President Poroshenko and Russian President Putin in recent days, and we all hope that Ms Savchenko will be released shortly. Let us not forget that, as a prisoner of war, her Geneva Convention rights were violated, but she was also denied the diplomatic immunity to which she is entitled by virtue of her membership of this Parliamentary Assembly.

      There can be no restoration of stability in Ukraine without full and consistent respect for international law, whether we are speaking of territorial integrity or the treatment of prisoners of war. To that end, I express my support for this Assembly’s adoption of the proposed resolution.

      Mr UYSAL (Turkey)* – After the illegal annexation of Crimea by Russia, the crisis in Ukraine has had a negative knock-on effect on security and peace in the whole region. It is the second anniversary of the illegal annexation. The report gives a detailed account of the situation of those who have been captured during the war in Ukraine, which is an important aspect of the crisis. To bring about a solution to this situation and lasting peace, the territorial integrity of Ukraine needs to be respected, all parties must respect the Minsk Agreements and all occupation forces must leave the occupied territory.

      Apart from Ukraine, we need to look at the violations of human rights in Crimea. The oppression of the Tatars in Crimea has been definitively noted thanks to the report of an unofficial Turkish delegation who visited the peninsula in April 2015. Mr Chubarov is one among other leaders of the Crimea Tatars who no longer have access to Crimea. Searches have been carried out on the Mejlis in Crimea, religious buildings and schools. Tatars continue to be transferred to Russia and held in Crimea. Ahtem ăiyg÷z, the Vice-President of the Mejlis of the Crimea Tatars, is also being held illegally. That is a specific example of the pressures being brought to bear against the Tatars in Crimea. Therefore, we very much appreciate that his name is in the report to underscore how far the rights of the independent Tatars have been violated in that annexed territory.

      We need to put the worrying violation of human rights in Ukraine and Crimea on the agenda. To put an end to the situation, it is essential that the recommendation presented in the report is implemented as soon as possible.

      Mr HONKONEN (Finland) – I thank our Latvian colleague for a comprehensive and important report. Now that Europe is in the midst of a refugee crisis, we should not forget the conflicts that our continent still faces. The European community has put its efforts into and given its attention to helping migrants. This debate therefore has a significant role in underlining our unsolved problems.

      The situation in Ukraine has not been settled, the Minsk Agreement has not been implemented and the conflict in Ukraine is not far from becoming frozen. Since the beginning of the crisis, more and more crimes have been committed against civilians. From the human rights perspective, the situation is untenable. As the report suggests, the parties should implement the requirements of the Minsk Agreement as soon as possible.

      Since 2014, the political atmosphere in Europe has been tense. The situation is distressing all Council of Europe member States and this Assembly. When dialogue seems impossible, there should always be attempts to revitalise it. The fundamental problems behind the concerns that the report considers cannot be resolved without a fair and honest dialogue including all parties that are involved in the crisis.

      Mr GONCHARENKO (Ukraine) – I have personal experience of so-called Russian justice. A year ago, I went to Moscow just to say goodbye to Mr Boris Nemtsov, one of the Russian opposition leaders, who was killed 100 metres from the Kremlin. After that, I was arrested for nothing and I spent half a day in a Russian police department. I was beaten. Lawyers and doctors were not allowed to visit me. I was released only after great international pressure and media coverage.

      Putin spits on immunity and Russia is currently a terrorist country. It is not only an aggressor, which occupied Crimea and part of the eastern Ukrainian Donbass, but a terrorist country. What other country takes hostages, retains them and tries to sell them for something?

      Today, one of Nadia Savchenko’s lawyers, Mr Ilya Novikov, is in the Chamber. He and two of his friends, Mr Feygin and Mr Polozov, tried to defend Nadia Savchenko for almost two years. They are courageous people because you cannot imagine what it is like to be in opposition or a lawyer for political prisoners in today’s Russia. The so-called court was not a court. If any Members are interested, I can put them in touch with Mr Novikov, who can tell them a lot about it.

      We are hoping that there will be agreement about Nadia Savchenko between President Poroshenko and President Putin. However, that has nothing to do with the Minsk Agreement. The Russian Federation does not dismiss the accusation against Savchenko. They will only agree – we hope – to exchanging Nadia. That is all. I repeat that it is not about the Minsk Agreement. The Russian leadership shows no good will towards fulfilling points 5 and 6 of the Minsk Agreement. Russian forces are still in Ukraine. This matter is not to do with the Minsk Agreement, but international pressure on Mr Putin’s regime, which we hope will yield results.

      You all represent different countries in Europe. I say to you that we need more sanctions against Russia. There are many Russian forces in different countries and there should be no question of softening sanctions against Russia because they are the only thing that holds Putin back from a bigger war. You need to understand that. If the sanctions are softened or removed, you can expect Russian war planes in your air space and Russian nuclear submarines in your waters. We can stop this empire’s aggressive behaviour only by applying pressure on them, and economic sanctions work.

      I thank the rapporteur because the report is a great piece of work. We need to put pressure on the regime until the last hostage is released.

      Mr SCULLY (United Kingdom) – It is a pleasure to follow Mr Goncharenko and to hear his personal example of what happened to him in Russia and his impassioned plea.

      I welcome the report and congratulate the rapporteur, Ms Kleinberga, on sharing the dreadful examples of abuse that she has seen and heard about in preparing the report. We keep hearing reports of the arbitrary detention of civilians, torture and disappearance, which have been alleged against armed groups and Ukrainian law enforcers. As we have heard, little progress has been made in achieving accountability for human rights violations committed in the context of the continuing conflict.

      The UK Government has raised many different cases on several occasions, including those of Oleg Sentsov and Olexandr Kolchenko. Of course, most notably, it has raised the case of Nadia Savchenko and her illegal trial and detention in Russia.

      This is my second part-session and the last time I was here I picked up the little blue passport that is supposed to allow us to go about our daily business. What is its value when one of our own Assembly Members is languishing on hunger strike in a Russian prison – a prison in the country of another member State? Papers, whether they are Council of Europe passports, ceasefires or weapons withdrawal agreements, are of use only if they are backed up by action.

      We need progress on all elements of Minsk, not just the political ones. Russia must use its considerable influence over the separatists so that they stop violating the ceasefire, respect the agreements on weapons withdrawal and give full and unhindered access to the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) monitoring mission. John Howell, the European Conservatives Group spokesman, was right when he explained the complexities of the matter and that the situation is not just binary, but about all of us using all our influence on all the various elements of the conflict.

      We will continue to support the German and French-led diplomatic efforts towards a peaceful settlement, but it is important to keep sanctions in place until Minsk is implemented.

      Mr WOOD (United Kingdom) – It is a genuine pleasure to follow so many outstanding contributions. I join colleagues in congratulating Ms Kleinberga on compiling such an excellent, comprehensive report.

      The conditions in which prisoners are confined are truly shocking, but surely it is equally shocking that the Russian Federation abuses anti-terrorism legislation to abduct and detain Crimean Tatar and Ukrainian activists. As the report highlights, those people are not being held following due process and a fair trial. These are political arrests followed by show trials that recall some of the darkest days of recent Russian history.

      Of course, our attention is focused most directly on our parliamentary colleague, Nadia Savchenko, but unacceptable as her illegal detention is, she is just one of many who have been confined without access to proper justice and with no real evidence against them of having committed a crime. This is not the behaviour of a functioning democracy within our family of nations. This is the behaviour of a thug-ocracy.

      We are proud that the Council of Europe represents certain values and that we defend democracy and human rights. At the moment it is clear that the Russian Federation does not subscribe to those values. I recognise the view sometimes expressed here that it is better to have countries within the Council of Europe so that we might influence their actions and steer them towards democracy and the values we represent and hold dear. Looking at the Commonwealth, people made similar arguments about Fiji when it moved away from democracy. But when Fiji was expelled from the Commonwealth, it returned to democracy. The time has come for the international community, starting with us here in the Council of Europe, to look at taking similar action against Russia.

      Of course, the Russian Federation chose not to nominate a delegation for this part-session of the Assembly. It is inconceivable that we could possibly allow Russia to return to this Assembly while it detains so many civilians and illegally occupies the sovereign territory of one of our member States.

      The PRESIDENT – Owing to the excellent restraint exercised by colleagues, we are actually ahead of time. That affords me the opportunity to ask whether any other member who has not put their name on the list would like to speak. Does any colleague wish to rise? No? In that case, I return to Ms Kleinberga for her response. Technically, Ms Kleinberga, you have three minutes but we can possibly extend that slightly in view of the time that we have in hand. You have the floor.

      Ms KLEINBERGA (Latvia)* – I thank everybody who participated in the discussion. These debates are of prime importance because they are about the lives of so many people. It is my hope that our advocacy will be heard and will help free so many people whose lives are still in danger.

      It is so good to have Yuri Tandit here today participating in our work. Mr Tandit is co-ordinating the process of prisoner exchange in Ukraine so I take this opportunity to thank him for his courage and invaluable efforts to try to free prisoners. I also send a message to Nadia Savchenko that her calls for all those prisoners to be freed have been heard throughout Europe. We all hope that Nadia Savchenko will return to this Chamber in the very near future and will be back alongside us voting for European values.

      In response to what distinguished colleagues said in the discussion, once again I call upon all parties to engage in dialogue. Ukraine, the Russian Federation and all the political groups, please do everything you can to implement the Minsk Agreements, particularly with regard to freeing all those who are in captivity. Thank you again for your participation in the debate. My gratitude goes particularly to the secretariat for all the help it has given in the preparation of this report.

      The PRESIDENT – Thank you, Ms Kleinberga. Does the Chairperson of the Migration Committee wish to speak?

      Ms GAFAROVA (Azerbaijan) – On behalf of the committee, I thank Ms Kleinberga for this very timely and important report. While most of the general attention is focused on the ongoing migration and refugee crises resulting from the influx of people from outside Europe, the ongoing humanitarian plight and the consequences of the conflict in one of our member States have been largely overlooked. The Migration Committee has been following the situation in Ukraine closely and has dealt with different aspects of the conflict, including the serious concerns with regard to missing and captured people. The committee has also tabled a motion on the humanitarian consequences of the conflict in Ukraine. We hope that the Bureau will refer it to the Migration Committee to enable us to appoint a rapporteur and closely follow the situation further.

      While the security situation in the region and the continued occupation of Crimea are of major concern, it is of the utmost importance to deal with the individual sufferings of missing or captured people without waiting for the final political settlement. It is particularly important in the case of our colleague and member of the Parliamentary Assembly and the Migration Committee, Nadia Savchenko, whose status qualifies her for immediate release. We hope for a positive outcome of the ongoing negotiations at the highest level, as revealed by President Poroshenko on Tuesday. At the same time, the Migration Committee calls on the Russian authorities to speed up her release. We must remember that although Ms Savchenko’s case is widely followed by the international community, there are more detainees in a comparable situation and we should not forget them. For these reasons, the report presented by Ms Kleinberga is very timely and I call on you to adopt the draft resolution.

      The PRESIDENT – Thank you, Ms Gafarova. The Migration Committee has presented a draft resolution, to which 10 amendments have been tabled. They will be taken in the order in which they appear in the Compendium and the Organisation of Debates. The Migration Committee has also presented a draft recommendation, to which no amendments have been tabled. I remind you that speeches on amendments are limited to 30 seconds.

      We will consider the draft resolution first. I understand that the chairperson of the committee wishes to propose to the Assembly that Amendments 1 and 2 to the draft resolution, which were unanimously approved by the committee, should be declared as agreed by the Assembly. Is that correct?

      Ms GAFAROVA (Azerbaijan) – Yes.

      The PRESIDENT – Thank you. Does anyone object? As there is no objection, I declare Amendments 1 and 2 adopted.

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

      Mr K▄ă▄KCAN (Turkey) – The purpose of the amendment is to have conceptual consistency in the text. International documents refer to “foreign fighters” rather than just one group of terrorists. That is why, in order to have a comprehensive understanding of the case, we propose using “foreign fighters” instead of “jihadists”.

      The PRESIDENT – Thank you, Mr KŘšŘkcan. Does anyone wish to speak against the amendment?

      I call Ms Taktakishvili.

      Ms TAKTAKISHVILI (Georgia) – I do not want to speak against it but are we dealing with Amendment 4? We are. If you allow me, I will explain the purpose of the amendment. I think there was a mistake because Mr KŘšŘkcan talked about a different one. The aim of Amendment 4 is to insert “illegal” before “annexation” because it is clear that we are dealing with the illegal annexation of Crimea.

      The PRESIDENT – Thank you for that very helpful clarification. Does anyone wish to speak against Amendment 4? That is not the case.

      What is the opinion of the committee?

      Ms GAFAROVA (Azerbaijan) – The committee is in favour.

      The PRESIDENT – The vote is open.

      Amendment 4 is adopted.

      The PRESIDENT – We come to Amendment 5.        I call Ms Taktakishvili to support the amendment.

      Ms TAKTAKISHVILI (Georgia) – This amendment would do what Amendment 4 does – insert “illegal” before “annexation”.

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

      What is the opinion of the committee?

      Ms GAFAROVA (Azerbaijan) – The committee is in favour.

      The PRESIDENT – The vote is open.

      Amendment 5 is adopted.

      The PRESIDENT – We come to Amendment 7. I call Ms Kleinberga to support the amendment on behalf of the Migration Committee. You have 30 seconds.

      Ms KLEINBERGA (Latvia)* – We suggest that paragraph 5 should be replaced by a new paragraph that makes clear the situation of Ukrainian prisoners in Russia and Crimea.

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

      The committee is obviously in favour.

      The vote is open.

      Amendment 7 is adopted.

      The PRESIDENT – We come to Amendment 8. I call Ms Kleinberga to support the amendment on behalf of the Migration Committee. You have 30 seconds.

      Ms KLEINBERGA (Latvia)* – Our proposal is that we add a new paragraph after paragraph 5. It will include some of the material in the addendum and require the Russian authorities to free Nadia Savchenko as quickly as possible. Incidentally, I would like to point out that Mr Novikov, Ms Savchenko’s lawyer, is in the Chamber.

      The PRESIDENT – I am sure that is not strictly in order, but I thank you for making that point. The committee is obviously in favour.

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

      The vote is open.

      Amendment 8 is adopted.

      The PRESIDENT – We come to Amendment 9. I call Ms Kleinberga to support the amendment on behalf of the Migration Committee.

      Ms KLEINBERGA (Latvia)* – Our proposal is that member States of the Council of Europe adopt targeted sanctions – travel bans and the freezing of accounts in particular – against individuals involved in the kidnapping, unlawful detention and unfair trial and conviction of Ms Savchenko. The sanctions we propose are similar to those we advocate in respect of the 10 other Ukrainian prisoners mentioned.

      The PRESIDENT – The committee is obviously in favour.

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

      The vote is open.

      Amendment 9 is adopted.

      The PRESIDENT – We come to Amendment 6. I call Ms Taktakishvili to support that amendment.

      Ms TAKTAKISHVILI (Georgia) – To be consistent with previously adopted amendments, Amendment 6 also clarifies the illegal nature of the annexation of Crimea.

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

      That is not the case.

      What is the opinion of the committee?

      Ms GAFAROVA (Azerbaijan) – The committee is in favour.

      The PRESIDENT – The vote is open.

      Amendment 6 is adopted.

      The PRESIDENT – We come to Amendment 3. I call Mr Shpenov to support the amendment. You have 30 seconds.

      Mr SHPENOV (Ukraine)* – The amendment clarifies that the recommendation is not simply to ratify the Rome Statute but to do it in the shortest possible time. Its purpose is for Ukraine to fulfil its international obligations to protect our citizens from the crime of genocide, inhumane treatment and so on. The context is the current proposal to amend the constitution, including a deferral of the ratification of the Rome Statute for three years. That is unacceptable.

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

What is the opinion of the committee?

      Ms GAFAROVA (Azerbaijan) – The committee is in favour.

      The PRESIDENT – The vote is open.

      Amendment 3 is adopted.

      The PRESIDENT – We come to Amendment 10. I call Ms Kleinberga to support the amendment on behalf of the Migration Committee.

      Ms KLEINBERGA (Latvia)* – The proposal is to delete paragraph 10.2.5, as the recommendation has actually been implemented by the new Ukrainian Government.

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

      The committee is obviously in favour.

      The vote is open.

      Amendment 10 is adopted.

      The PRESIDENT – We will now proceed to vote on the draft resolution contained in Document 14015, as amended.

      The vote is open.

      The draft resolution in Document 14015, as amended, is adopted, with 65 votes for, 0 against and 3 abstentions.

      The PRESIDENT – We will now proceed to vote on the draft recommendation contained in Document 14015.

      The vote is open

      The draft recommendation in Document 14015 is adopted, with 63 votes for, 0 against and 4 abstentions. 

4. After the Brussels attacks, urgent need to address security failures and step up counter-terrorism co-operation (debate under urgent procedure)

      The PRESIDENT - The next item of business this afternoon is the debate on the report entitled “After the Brussels attacks, urgent need to address security failures and step up counter-terrorism co-operation”, Document 14031, presented by Mr Emanuelis Zingeris on behalf of the Political Affairs Committee.

      We will aim to finish this item by 8.00 p.m., so I will interrupt the speakers’ list at around 7.20 p.m. to allow time for the replies to the debate and the votes. May I remind the Assembly that speaking time in all debates this afternoon is four minutes?

      I call Mr Zingeris to present the report. You have 13 minutes in total, which you may divide between presentation of the report and reply to the debate. Mr Zingeris, you have the floor.

      Mr ZINGERIS (Lithuania) – In front of us we have the usual, horrifying events. Usual is a bad word, but in the terrorist attacks at Zaventem airport and Maelbeek metro station on 22 March 2016, 32 people were killed and more than 300 were injured. As of today, 45 remain in hospital with extremely serious injuries. The resolution deplores the loss of innocent lives and expresses sympathy and solidarity with the families of victims and all those who suffered in those inhumane attacks.

      The Assembly expresses again the strongest condemnation of terrorism in all forms and recalls its previous resolutions relating to terrorism, including Resolution 2090 (2016) on “Combating international terrorism while protecting Council of Europe standards and values” and Resolution 2091 (2016) on foreign fighters in Syria and Iraq. In that context, the resolution notes that the barbaric terrorist entity known as ISIS or Daesh has claimed responsibility for the Brussels bombings.

      How can we proceed? Every time there are terrorist attacks against us, a critical mass builds, but there is not a critical mass of knowledge among our institutions. Law enforcement agencies are keeping their secrets within their countries’ borders. Every law enforcement agency, intelligence agency and counter-terrorism agency has had achievements in fighting terrorism, but they also have professional secrets. Yesterday I saw TV pictures of the last bombing; one of the terrorists involved had been employed for four years at Brussels airport, and trained for his future field of terrorist activities. Can you imagine that? He was employed like a person. The question is: where are our agencies?

      Our critical notes are not critical of Belgium. Do not think that we are criticising Belgium in particular or that there is a conspiracy to say few words about Brussels airport or to suggest that Belgium’s international networks in particular should make people safer in defending against possible terrorist attacks. The resolution is about everyone, but at the same time we cannot go from the first to the second, third, fourth and fifth reports talking about the most horrible ideology since Nazi ideology – the jihadist ideology, overloaded with hatred. We should also do something about where the terrorist attacks are planned, sometimes in the Middle East and sometimes in parts of our communities, and work closely in those environments. We must not lose our political correctness, but we must work like democrats – not limiting freedom of speech but putting in place concrete measures, and not being afraid about defending democracy.

      Democracy should be defended, because we do not want our classical party system to be destroyed. We have parties of the left and right, central parties, liberal parties and green parties, but all terrorist attacks have only one target, which is to find a niche and destroy our stable political life. All the things that have taken place since the French revolution and the declaration of the rights of man and of the citizen – the development of our secular, civil society, and of gender equality and human rights – are treasures in Europe, but they are now under attack. We should not panic or make a story of that, but we need to take measures, and the whole classical spectrum of our respectable political parties should be behind that.

      In writing the report about the Brussels attacks, we tried to say something encouraging. Our professionals should work more professionally and our governments should be more focused on the education front, not letting the ideas of the most horrible ideology since the Second World War into our communities. That ideology is against not only our societies but normal Muslim communities. The report was prepared in three days, and I would like to say thank you so much to the team behind it, to all the political groups who support it and to all of you for your very wise remarks.

      The PRESIDENT – Thank you, Mr Zingeris. You have six minutes remaining.

      We now come to the speakers on behalf of the political groups. I am conscious of the fact that the debate has started early and that one or two of the representatives of political groups came in late, not because they were late but because we started early. One representative is also not here. I will therefore reverse the order on the speakers’ list for representatives of political groups, which roughly chimes with the order in which people came in, in the hope that we can accommodate everyone. If the speaker from the EPP is still not present after that, I will move on to the main list, but we will seek to accommodate that speaker as soon as he arrives. I hope that is fair and satisfactory to everyone.

      Mr JËNASSON (Iceland, Spokesperson for the Group of the Unified European Left) – At the beginning of the session, the President asked us to stand in silence and show our respect and condolences for those who were brutally murdered in the terrorist attacks in Brussels. That was a good gesture to show our solidarity and resolve to prevent barbaric atrocities of this kind. Soon afterwards, we heard from Nils Muižnieks, the Council of Europe’s Commissioner for Human Rights, who reminded us of who we are and that the Council of Europe is the guardian of human rights, social justice and individual liberties.

      The report intends to do exactly that, because terrorism is an assault on those basic rights and principles. In that spirit, there is a reference to former declarations by the Assembly on the balance between increased policing and security measures on the one hand and defending individual liberties on the other. Here again I would like to refer to the words of Nils Muižnieks, the Human Rights Commissioner. He said that when it comes to strengthening security services, we should move slowly. But we are not doing that by preparing proposals over a few days, mostly to the effect of giving more consideration to security measures. There are references to the importance of increased social cohesion, and I welcome that, but I would have preferred a much more in-depth discussion and recommendations in that direction.

      The report says that our societies must be ready to pay a much higher price for security. In 1986, as a television journalist, I covered the Reagan-Gorbachev summit in Reykjavik. We noticed how the Soviets were more relaxed about the security around their leaders than were the Americans. Some wise people observed that it was because in the Soviet Union people who posed a threat to authority had all been locked up. In the United States, that was not the case. That was the weakness of western democracies, but also their strength.

      We are urged to fight terrorism in all its forms: let us do that whether it is terrorism by individuals and groups or by States. Here, a mirror could be a useful tool.

      Mr ÍNAL (Turkey, Spokesperson for the European Conservatives Group)* – I would like to begin by expressing my sadness about all of those who lost their lives in Ankara, Istanbul, Brussels and Paris, and my condolences to all of their families. It is very sad because Europe is today undergoing a very serious ordeal of terror and violence. Where violence exists, the human rights of all humanity are its targets. When we have such terrorism, we cannot live in safety and security, and we cannot experience our full modern human rights.

      It is important to review all the security measures that exist today, as well as the structural shortcomings of our State institutions. That is essential for developing international co-operation in the fight against terrorism. It is only thanks to shared attitudes and measures that we will be able to combat terrorism effectively.

      I also want to underscore the point that no distinction must be drawn between terrorist organisations. We need to be decisive and refuse to make any concessions to terrorist organisations. We also need good co-ordination and information sharing between countries. I note that one of the people who participated in the Brussels attacks had been deported from Turkey and, despite our warnings, had been released by the European authorities. We need to ask how we will evaluate the different information we receive about security and certain people who participate in terrorist organisations.

      We also need to be able to combat radicalisation. For years politicians have played that down. The reasons may be different – it may be opportunistic, a lack of awareness or other concerns, but that negligence means that radicalisation is a fact of life today. It is one of the main dynamics that feed terrorism today, and that is why we must combat it.

      Terrorism is a crime against humanity. It makes no exceptions. When it flourishes, we do not respect our human values. We must not just lump it all together and take a blanket approach to certain religions because of terrorism. Terrorists do not distinguish between people, and that is not justified by any “freedom fighting” ideology. When we are talking about terrorism, we need to be able to say that loud and clear.

      Mr DAEMS (Belgium, Spokesperson for the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe) – The ALDE Group is satisfied with the fact that we are having an urgent debate and with the resolutions as proposed by the committee. We wish to extend our gratitude to all the colleagues who have intervened in the debate, and specifically to the rapporteur, who has done a very good job.

      I wish to stress four points. The first is the fact that we say that our societies must be ready to pay a much higher price for security, but with the highest possible respect for individual freedom, privacy and our democratic values. Why is that? It is because the end goal of the terrorists is not just to kill people: it is to kill those values. If we allow ourselves to cut down on those democratic values – human rights and the rule of law – we will have lost the real war. That is why we are satisfied that that principle has been proposed by the committee.

      Secondly, we are happy that the resolution clearly states that we call “for a common European intelligence unit” for the purposes of counter-terrorism. It is important that the information gathered by secret services is shared on a timely and efficient basis, enabling any authority to take necessary action. Although we did not accept that information sharing should be mandatory – and I understand why – I express the hope, on behalf of the ALDE Group, that all the information will be shared if we can constitute a common European intelligence unit to combat terrorism.

      The third element that we want to stress is the big mistake that was made in abolishing the Western European Union, the European security and defence assembly. There is no diplomacy stronger than parliamentary democracy. The 47 Parliaments represented here are where we need to translate and defend the Council of Europe’s common values. We are happy that the resolution states strongly that we need to reactivate that sort of parliamentary diplomacy – something that allows our countries to sit together on a parliamentary basis and make recommendations to our Governments to do something practical on this issue.

      Last, but not least, it is important that in the resolution we say that we urge State leaders not only to make solemn statements after terrorist attacks, but to learn lessons and take resolute action. They should look in the mirror. Lessons may have been learned from what has happened, but too little action has been taken. Some things have been done, but they do not go far enough. Although the resolution contains some fierce criticism of my authorities, as the Belgian delegation leader I will table this resolution in my national Parliament for approval. If colleagues would do the same in all 47 countries and have this resolution approved in all the Parliaments of the member States, it would send out a real message to our authorities and, whether they liked it or not, they would need to comply with the recommendations that we make. To defeat terrorism, we should not be a paper tiger; we should be a real lion with teeth.

      Mr VAN DER MAELEN (Belgium, Spokesperson for the Socialist Group) – As your rapporteur on the report on foreign terrorist fighters, I would love to share with you my reflections on the Brussels attack.

      First, I hope that we are all aware that all intelligence information we have at the moment points in one direction: the more Daesh is under pressure in the Middle East, the more likely it is that it will plan and attempt new attacks in Europe. Those attacks could be in Paris or in Brussels, or they could just as well be another European capital.

      Secondly, the current terrorist threat is not constrained to national borders. In the investigations into the Paris and Brussels attacks, connections have emerged between individuals and hideouts across Europe, from Germany to Greece, and from Sweden to Italy, to mention only a few countries. Europe’s national security is a collective responsibility. International co-operation is indispensable. When terrorists cross borders, our counter-terrorist efforts should also cross borders. The challenge is global. A recent debate taught me that not all colleagues are convinced that we need something like a European CIA. I am a realist. However, in the meantime, we need to make more progress on solutions for real police and judicial co-operation, and there is a lot of room for improvement.

      Two weeks ago, we gathered in the Hague with presidents of commissions for foreign affairs and defence. There, we learned that, in the latest evaluation of the co-operation between the 28 member States with the Eurojust and Europol framework, only five countries have implemented what was agreed. I am proud to say that Belgium is one of those countries.

      Thirdly, the Brussels plot was not just an attack against Belgium. It was an attack against Europe and, more broadly, against our democratic values and societies. Our response should be to stand firm together. Bashing one country only serves to create divisions and dilute the sense of responsibility. As with all other attacks, the Brussels attacks have been followed by revelations. Warnings were ignored, and raw intelligence was not evaluated in a timely and effective manner. However, as the leader of our delegation said, we parliamentarians of Belgium are taking up our responsibility. We agreed in parliament on a parliamentary commission inquiry.

      I have learnt three new things. The first is that we need smooth information flow back and forth between local, national and international levels, because that is crucial to prevent attacks. Secondly, the presence of criminals in terrorist cells is a new phenomenon, which is why we need to link the databases on criminals and on terrorists. Finally, my biggest concern is the dark web, by which, with only a few clicks on a computer, terrorists can communicate anonymously with one another. The dark web is also used for fast-track radicalisation and recruitment of new jihadist terrorists. Those points deserve all our attention.

      Mr N╔METH (Hungary, Spokesperson for the Group of the European People’s Party) – We would not be having this debate if it were not for the horrible developments in Paris and Brussels. I express my deepest condolences and empathy to the relatives of victims. In this Chamber, we all know very well that we could, very easily, have been in the same situation as Europe was targeted. I congratulate Mr Zingeris, who knows very well, from his personal family history, what brutality is. We could not have selected a better rapporteur for this subject.

      Terrorism is not new. There has been a long history of it in Europe, including in Western Europe, but there is currently something new. There is a synergy between different serious security challenges to Europe, including the wars to the south and east and the process of migration. The synergy of those security challenges makes the situation we are confronted with unique. We face a complex problem that requires a complex solution, and we should not allow any politically correct approach that, for example, does not allow us to underline the deep relationship between migration and terrorism. External border protection in the Aegean with NATO troops, for example, is a helpful and important component to counter terrorism.

      The report refers to national and international co-ordination, centralisation and information sharing. However, we should be aware that on a national level many countries have too many organisations competing with one another. Hungary has just decided that, in the summer, it will establish a counter-terrorism unit, but many countries should be aware of creating a central unit on a national level. I welcome that the report envisages a European counter-terrorism unit. If an international unit is established, there might be a positive effect on each national one, and national agencies may be positively influenced by the creation of a European one.

      I compare the tragic events in Europe to 9/11 in the United States. It is time to arrive to terrorism consciousness as the United States did in 2001 and as we came to a nuclear consciousness after Chernobyl. It is high time for that in Europe, and it should help us to realise the importance of making the external reasons, root causes and wars in the neighbourhood of Europe extinct. We should separate appropriate resources for that purpose and realise that a Europe without hard power will not be successful in any of its policies and dreams.

      Ms KARAPETYAN (Armenia) – The ugly face of terrorism is shown in the barbaric and inhumane actions committed by such terrorist groups as ISIL, Al-Nusra and others. Those actions have kept us all shocked over the past few years. The terrorist groups have challenged the whole civilised world and the values and principles we cherish. They have generated a huge amount of outrage and galvanised a strong response to counter this scourge.

      What seemed to be far from Europe today knocks on the doors of the capitals of the continent, such as Paris and Brussels. Even before the terrorist acts in Europe, many experts in the field warned that the volunteers who joined ISIL and other groups, and received spiritual and military training in the Middle East bloodshed, would be tempted to export the violence – the “jihad” as they call it – to their countries of origin. This is what Paris and Brussels recently encountered, and this is what Armenia and Nagorno-Karabakh have faced at the beginning of April.

      All Europe was shocked by the horrific scenes we saw: civilians killed while enjoying dinner, a concert or the theatre; and people who were just going on with their journeys, flying home on business or for fun. We saw the pictures of them being killed. Was it their fault? What is the fault of all of us? How can we protect our civilians? The appalling images of elderly people being tortured, maimed and killed in their homes by special forces; the ISIS-style executions by servicemen and the beheadings videotaped and circulated on social media; the mutilated bodies of the soldiers; a kid killed in the schoolyard – all these horrible crimes were executed by the Azerbaijani armed forces against the people and defenders of Nagorno-Karabakh. The ISIL style is evident. The Nagorno-Karabakh authorities have credible reports that Azerbaijani forces with previous ISIL and Al-Nusra experience committed many of these monstrous acts. The similarities in the cruelty speak for themselves.

      The ability to commit crimes with impunity gives birth to new crimes. Ignorance of a scourge in one part of Europe may encourage the violence in others. Joint and concerted action is needed to eradicate it everywhere, once and for all. I send my deepest condolences to the victims’ families.

      Mr KORODI (Romania) – I congratulate my colleague Mr Emanuelis Zingeris on having prepared the report in a fair and objective manner, and in a very short time. I want to express my support for it.

      How safe is the world when our citizens are facing threats to their own security? A month after the attacks in Brussels and after the horrible episodes in Paris, it is a worrying question that concerns all of us. I express my solidarity with Belgium and the Belgian citizens in their fight against terrorism, but I would like to stress that such deplorable events should be tackled through a common response. In this context, there is a need to enhance regional and international co-operation with a view to combating terrorism and violent extremism. Nowadays, security issues involve new actors and require long-term strategies that should cover many different areas of decision-making. This week I paid a visit to Belgium, using the railway to get to Brussels. I was surprised to find that the security systems of France and Belgium are far from being correlated. I also saw several gaps in security.

      I want to draw attention to the lack of security in European countries. I have noticed that existing procedures are not being implemented. There is no need for new laws, but I call for the adoption of concrete measures based on the relevant legislation in the field of security strategy on counter-terrorism. European States must reinforce their co-operation and exchange of information between their intelligence services for a better aggregation and analysis of the information that is collected. We must do more to bridge the gap between the working methods of different member States to be more effective in countering terrorism, taking preventive measures, ensuring border security, safeguarding critical infrastructure that could be targeted by terrorists, and enabling a comprehensive and systematic exchange of information.

      The border security systems of our States should achieve a higher degree of integration to be able to face any terrorist threat. In adopting actions that are meant to combat terrorism, we have to adopt a balanced approach to ensure our citizens enjoy their full rights, in particular the right to a private life. That right could be hindered by disproportionate anti-terrorist measures.

      (Ms Gambaro, Vice-President of the Assembly, took the Chair in place of Sir Roger Gale.)

      Mr DESTEXHE (Belgium)* – I would like to thank the rapporteur, Mr Zingeris. I think he was the right person to produce this complex report. Throughout Europe, tragic attacks are affecting lives, projects and hope. No one is spared. A number of our countries have been struck, but who can say that his or her own country will not be struck tomorrow? This is a threat that hovers above us all: all our countries and all our citizens. I would like to stress that point.

      This threat is a burden we all share. The purpose of the report is not to pinpoint a particular country, but to combat the common threat. I am not denying responsibility. Let us be frank. There have been lacunae in Belgium and they will be analysed by an investigation committee, but who can say they would have reacted better? What country could be certain that it would have reacted to this tragedy more effectively? I ask our Conservative friends – they are our friends – to cease bashing a specific country. When our police forces dismantled a terrorist cell in the city of Verviers they were unanimously congratulated. Your press has the reputation it has and there is a certain way in which it drags Belgium through the mud. Many countries have been affected: France, Denmark, Turkey and many others. Of the jihadists in Syria, about 250 are of Belgian origin. According to the BBC, however, more than 800 people have gone from Great Britain to fight in Syria.

      Colleagues let us not give each other lessons, but see how together we can improve security in Europe. It is precisely for this purpose that the Council of Europe was set up: so that we can unite on the basis of the defence of human rights and fundamental freedoms, and be armed against war. What we are confronted with is a form of war, although we do not like the word. It is a war against our values and our rights. It is a war we did not envisage and did not seek. This is why it is fundamental that the report should be constructive in its approach, and that is indeed the case. It is important to find out how we can provide a co-ordinated and effective response to the challenges created by the terrorist threat.

      I congratulate the military, the police forces and the judges throughout Europe who sometimes risk their lives to combat terrorism. They deserve our support.

      Mr SHAHGELDYAN (Armenia)* – First, I would like to express my condolences to the families of those killed.

      Terrorism is on the increase throughout the world. Terrorist attacks kill thousands of men and women and the attacks are more savage because women and children are targeted. The world is becoming globalised with more transparent borders, and Europe has created a favourable liberal environment for terrorism. Some societies, countries and regions are more open than others to these problems, but we are not immune to this disease. Terrorist attacks in the 20th century show that international society must work much harder to find a generally effective approach to combat the problem. We must waste no time in finding such an approach.

      This report is very important. I can understand why Brussels is used in the title as a symbol for all cities attacked by terrorism. I was in Brussels on that very day of terrorism, and I saw great human tragedy, when people were struck by barbaric action. Terrorism is going through a new phase in its development. By controlling territory, it wants to create a State at the geographical heart of one of the world’s most ancient civilisations. The level of co-operation must be increased far more quickly and far more strategically. We must centralise all our efforts, resources, information and know-how better to combat this scourge. We must create anti-terrorist resources and networks. We need a “3P” mechanism of prosecution, protection and prevention. We need to combine all our efforts to combat this great disease of the 21stst century.

      Mr DIVINA (Italy)* – We in the Parliamentary Assembly are all representatives of nations and people, and our first duty is to guarantee the security of our electors. International terrorism is the primary risk that we face because it threatens everyone’s security. Things changed after 11 September 2001, when America called on the international community and we went after terrorism. Nearly all the countries that comprise the Assembly had military contingents in Afghanistan because it is where the terrorists hid, trained and organised themselves. They were called al-Qaeda at the time.

      Let us remember that we have combated international terrorism for 15 years, and we are still doing so, although we are just about to end that operation now that the terrorists are elsewhere. They are in Iraq and Syria, but they strike anywhere. They struck in France and Belgium – I would like to express my condolences to the victims’ families, as others have done – and they struck in Turkey and Tunisia. There is a genuine danger that such terrorism is spreading to Libya, Nigeria and elsewhere.

      We now risk making two serious mistakes. First, we should not think that we can export models of democracy all over the world – for example, by defeating Assad in Syria – without causing more destabilisation. We brought democracy to northern Africa. We got rid of Ben Ali, Gaddafi and Mubarak, but we have not created stability in that part of the world; we have done exactly the opposite. Secondly, we constantly make the grave mistake of distancing Russia from the international community. We have just voted on a resolution along those lines. Russia has shown itself to be the sole regional force in a position to combat terrorism effectively.

      We have expressed our solidarity with our Belgian colleagues, but is it enough to condemn terrorism and hold a minute’s silence or peace marches in commemoration? As we resolve some of the world’s major threats by combating terrorism in Afghanistan, we should continue to combat it not through words but in other ways and restore security for all our citizens, but in doing so, we must review our position on Russia’s role.

      Mr THI╔RY (Belgium) – I thank Mr Zingeris for his thorough report, to which the reaction has been generally positive. Of course we were all struck and appalled by the attacks in Brussels on 22 March. These terrorist attacks are appalling and disgusting, and they should have no place in a democratic society. The report could have been written after the attacks in Paris or Istanbul because the origin of this evil is not new. I will concentrate on prevention in my contribution to the debate. Of course, as we have heard, we need to learn lessons after the attacks and make good any shortcomings or dysfunction in our security systems to stop further attacks and ensure maximum security for the population. There is no point in castigating one or other member State for this or that shortcoming. We must realise that when a terrorist decides to attack in whatever place, he will do so. Only then will the State concerned realise the scope of the damage and whether it has the capacity to react swiftly and with the maximum efficacy.

      The terrorist threat can affect any of our States, so it is time to do everything we can to stop it in its tracks. We can do that only by working together – I stress the word “together” – to detect the threat before anything happens.

      During the debate in the committee this morning, I heard that the exchange of information between the security services of different States was out of the question. That is not just regrettable but terrible. It is not acceptable or ethical for certain States to hold information about terrorists and not to make it available to other member States when a threat is imminent. I want to stress that this is about our responsibility, our security and, indeed, the lives of our citizens. I cannot believe that, under the pretext of protecting State secrets and with modern technology, there is no way of pooling our information on any potential terrorists out there. Indeed, that pretext was the main cause of the slowness with which the European Union adopted the passenger name record after it was suggested in 2011. It was only adopted on condition that a parallel text was adopted on data protection. Again, it took Charlie Hebdo in Paris and Brussels for that to come about. Because of the sacrosanct idea of data protection, the text was still not as tough as it could have been.

      As we have heard, international institutions such as the Council of Europe were set up to try to unite us in defending our rights and fundamental freedoms and to stop war and terrorism. That has to involve an exchange of information about terrorists in our countries. In Belgium, we have currently neutralised 12 terrorists thanks to our security services and their research. We should congratulate them on that, but we probably all could intercept others through the exchange of information.

      I call upon you, colleagues, to take particular notice of Amendment 10 to paragraph 10.2, which would enhance how we capture individuals suspected of belonging to terrorist networks. After all, the title of our report suggests there is an urgent need to address security failures and step up counter-terrorism co-operation. Does that not necessarily involve an exchange of information when it comes to prevention?

      The PRESIDENT* – I do not see Mr Liddell-Grainger, so I call Ms Dumery.

      Ms DUMERY (Belgium) – On Tuesday 22 March, we were again frightened by jihadi-inspired attacks, and this time in the heart of Europe in Brussels. Such attacks raise questions about the functioning of our security forces and our approach to jihadism. We will investigate whether we could have prevented that attack, and perhaps it will emerge that mistakes were made, but we must be realistic and realise that those will not be the last attacks in Europe. We cannot guarantee 100% security, because total security is an illusion, but we must do everything in our power to avoid such tragedies. That is what we are doing through anti-terror measures, but we have not just woken up. Members of the Belgian Parliament passed a first package of anti-terrorist measures in July 2015, many months before the attacks in Brussels. Recently, a second package was adopted unanimously.

      We all need to work together constructively towards the same goal, and we have to find a balance between security and freedom. We live in a constitutional State where there are rules and procedures, and our security services have to comply with them. However, criminals and terrorists do not care about rules, and that makes the fight uneven. If we can help our police and justice system by sacrificing some freedom, we should do that. Our actions do not stop there. We continue to work on additional measures to improve co-operation between the services and to expand the security services’ capabilities. We would like to learn from all our colleagues here about the best practices in their countries.

      At the European level, our Minister of the Interior, Jan Jambon, takes the lead on a number of projects within the Council of Ministers, such as better protection of external borders and more exchange of information between security services of different countries. Because Belgium unfortunately has significantly more fighters in Syria, we have built the necessary expertise. Let me make this clear: radicalisation is not specifically a Belgian phenomenon. According to the European Commission, there are about 6 000 European jihadists, and experts say the number is probably even higher.

      It is obvious that co-operation across borders is necessary. Fighting terrorism is one thing, but we must also take preventive action. In order to do that, it is necessary clearly to identify the causes of this kind of terrorism, especially since we have failed to do so in the past. There is, indeed, an “us versus them”, but it is not between Muslims and the rest of the world. The us/them border runs between those who cherish our fundamental rights and freedoms and those who reject them.

      Mr LIDDELL-GRAINGER (United Kingdom) – Let me first apologise to this honourable Chamber for my lateness. The debate started slightly earlier than I anticipated.

      This is, in many ways, a tragic debate. It shows how very vulnerable we all are, not as individuals but as countries and States, and that any of us, no matter how good or bad we are, can be affected by terrorism. I do not have to remind you what happened in Spain 12 years ago or what happened in London, in Paris more recently and, of course, in Brussels. I do not think anybody anywhere in the world takes this issue lightly. We have all been affected in one way or another. It does not matter what country we live in – at some point, people have decided they want to kill the citizens of our country.

      There is no higher responsibility of any government, parliament or parliamentarian than that of keeping the people of their country and nation safe. Of course there are failures, and of course things go wrong, but we must learn from that. My country spent 30 years fighting the Irish, and more recently the whole of Europe has faced problems in the Middle East and elsewhere, but at no stage have we stopped learning. We have learned from colleagues and intelligence services across the world and even from the very people who want to injure and kill us about their intentions, the way they operate, where they operate and how they operate.

      What happened in Belgium was nothing short of a disaster for us all. For years, people had been saying, “Please, please listen. We understand that you may not have the resources and that it may be politically difficult, but at the end of the day, you cannot walk away or turn your back on what the rest of Europe” – and sometimes, as in the case of Belgium, the rest of the world – “is saying.” It was not a case of saying, “You will,” or, “You should,” but rather, “Please understand.”

      What happened in Belgium showed us what happens when simple procedures are not followed. Those procedures include vetting employees, understanding what employees are doing or not doing, ensuring through CCTV that tube or metro stations are secure and ensuring that the people who are there to protect – the police, the ambulance service, the fire service and other members of civil society – know what to do. At each of those levels, it went wrong. The speaker before me said very eloquently that in Belgium, they did their best, but I know as well as you all do that sometimes our best is not the answer.

      This debate is important because we have to learn. We cannot walk away from the situation. Outside at the moment, you will see French troops and armed police on the ground. When the Turkish Prime Minister was here, there was even more security. Why? Because the French felt it was needed. This debate needs to be had in the cold light of day, with an understanding that the lessons must be learned, understood and carried forwards. I have been involved in some reports in my time, but this may be the most important. It is the fundamental right of every citizen of every country that we represent to live in peace and security.

      Mr BILDARRATZ (Spain)* – Mr Zingeris, as a Basque, I thank you for the report you have drafted for the Assembly. Throughout my life, since the moment I was born, I have lived with terrorism. Basques belong to a very small community, but for many years – too many years – we have suffered from terrorism. I was the mayor of a small town of 18 000 people. In that small town and my municipality, there were more than 26 deaths. Of course, delegates will understand that that caused an awful lot of suffering for every single family affected. There was pain and suffering for all the families and children of those who were assassinated. The fact that we have before the Council of Europe a report on terrorism is very welcome and I thank the rapporteur.

      I was also president of the federation of municipalities in my region. Do you know how many councillors have to have bodyguards to go out on the streets? More than 2 500 councillors have to have that protection. We are not talking about top politicians or VIPs but about councillors – ordinary local, municipal councillors. For all those reasons, I thank the rapporteur for his work.

      We have talked about failings, mistakes and errors. The only thing I would say in response is that there will always be problems. Of course, we intend to improve the situation, but the failings and errors that are difficult to manage are our errors – the errors of us as politicians – when we appear divided and do not stand united, and when we try to superimpose our spurious political interests on the interests of the people. We need those people to be with us to continue the struggle against terrorism. We need to work for socialisation and awareness-raising within our populations and among our citizens. It is important that our citizens are on our side. They need to oppose terrorism and we need to raise their awareness so that they can understand the measures we are forced to undertake to tackle terrorism efficiently. Most importantly, we need unity and agreement in the political sphere. We need to ensure that we convey to society and our citizens a clear and unambiguous message.

      I have one final point on the importance of information. As I said at the beginning of my speech, I am Basque, and we suffered a lot from terrorism. Our region has the highest number of police officers by population in Europe – there are 8 000 officers just for us. We are talking about total coverage. Compared with the rest of the regions, we have been in the vanguard when it comes to fighting terrorism. I refer the Assembly to paragraphs 10 and 10.2 in the report, which mention the importance of local police. In paragraph 10, the relevant agencies involved in the assessment of the situation should include regional and local police officers, who form part of the chain of information and are part of our strategy. I would like that to be emphasised.

      Mr HOWELL (United Kingdom) – I offer my condolences to the families of all those who were tragically killed in the Brussels attacks. I speak in the debate from a personal perspective. I am one of those members of the United Kingdom Parliament who have had to go to the police to seek particular protection against terrorist attacks, having been threatened specifically. I am very pleased to say that the police reacted very firmly in that situation and I was given the protection I asked for.

      The questions that must be asked are why there has been such a loss of life and what can be done to solve the problems that allowed the attacks to happen. There are two ways of looking at the problem. First, what were the specific problems that occurred in Belgium that allowed the attacks? We cannot get away from tackling that issue. The second question is a more general one: how can we deal with terrorism collectively in order to stop attacks in future?

      No State has a monopoly on the right answers, but as Mr Liddell-Grainger has already said, the United Kingdom has learned over the years from the experience of dealing with the IRA (Irish Republican Army) to process information and take it seriously. Has that affected our institutions? It has, but it has not affected our values. That is an important distinction, which I will talk about in a second.

      The thing that frightens me is the airline industry. It is easy to protect planes with physical security, but it is not very easy to protect them from the individuals who work in the airport – they have clearance to work there but do not have the necessary security checks done on them to ensure that their views on ISIS or Daesh are known by the people who employ them and those they work with.

      If this is a war – that is how it has been described – where is the unity of approach across Europe? Where is the effective co-ordination? Can the institutions and the different approaches we have in our many European countries be co-ordinated enough to deal with the problem? I do not know the answer to that, but I do know that we need to look at how our institutions are organised on the ground. It is possible to carry on with our lives in a full and productive way and not compromise the values that we hold dear, but we need a discussion on what those values are, how important they are to us, and how we can be better organised. We may operate different systems and have different approaches, but we need better integration across the continent of Europe in order to deal with terrorism.

      Ms PASHAYEVA (Azerbaijan)* – In the period since our part-session in January, many terrorist attacks have taken place, including in Istanbul, Ankara and Brussels. Hundreds of people lost their lives and were injured in those attacks, and I respectfully express my condolences to the families. I have spoken to those families and some of those who were injured. They expect us to conduct more serious work in the fight against terrorism. I take this opportunity to congratulate our rapporteur, Mr Zingeris, on having prepared such an important report.

      We must continue our struggle against terrorism. People are not happy with what is going on and want an end to terrorist actions. I come from a country that has suffered from terrorism and I have lost friends through terrorism. We cannot afford double standards in our struggle against it. The Council of Europe should condemn terrorism in all its forms and not discriminate between them, irrespective of the target.

Ms Karapetyan from the Armenian delegation has made some incorrect allegations against my country. We are discussing terrorism, and we must therefore point out that Armenia, not Azerbaijan, has conducted attacks. Azerbaijan has not occupied territories in Armenia; it is the other way around: Armenia has occupied Azerbaijan territory and 1 million people live under occupation. I say to Ms Karapetyan that members of my family and my friends were massacred during the occupation. They were civilians. More than 20 000 Azeris were massacred. Your soldiers carried out massacres in the city of Khojaly and killed most of the population in one evening. Your soldiers committed those terrible murders, so again I object to what was said about Azerbaijan. I am very sorry to say that terrorist activities continue in Azerbaijan, with the support of Armenia. Metros and buses have been blown up and hundreds of Azeris have lost their lives. Unfortunately, our European colleagues never showed us enough solidarity. We never felt that support. Hundreds of Azeris have died as a result of terrorist attacks and hundreds of mothers have lost their children.

Two days ago, the Turkish Prime Minister, Mr Davutoğlu, also spoke about this issue and said that it was not right to legitimise one terrorist organisation by pitting it against another. We should all support that because terrorism is a scourge of humanity. As a representative of a country that has suffered significantly from terrorism, I say that we must continue to fight it. Those who organise and carry out terrorist actions must be fought. We must work together and do away with double standards. Only then can we succeed,

      Mr SCULLY (United Kingdom) – I, too, would like to offer my condolences to the families of the victims of Brussels, Paris and other atrocities around the world. However, the report, which I welcome, is specifically about the atrocity in Brussels.

      The real starting date of the recent terrorist attacks in Brussels was 30 January 2010 when the then 23-year-old Ibrahim el-Bakraoui shot at police officers with his Kalashnikov machine gun. The then mayor of Brussels, from the French-speaking Parti Socialiste, called that level of violence a “fait divers” – a non-event; boys will be boys. This mayor is only one of 19 that Brussels has, together with six police zones. Brussels also has its own government, with eight ministers, and a regional parliament with 89 members. Belgium has a total of six governments, 55 ministers and 617 members of parliament, many with overlapping responsibilities, but nobody who appears to take responsibility.

      Despite being convicted and sentenced to 10 years’ imprisonment in 2010, Mr el-Bakraoui was released early, under conditions, in 2014. The following year, he was arrested at the Turkish-Syrian border, in clear violation of his conditions, and sent back. Despite warnings by the Turkish authorities that he was dangerous, Mr el-Bakraoui was not arrested upon arrival, and he returned to his home town of Brussels as a free man. He then disappeared off the grid until he left his home in Brussels on 22 March 2016, leading to the atrocious events of that day that we all know about.

      I am delighted that the report will come before the Belgian Parliament. However, given the fractured nature of the government, the police forces and the crime enforcement agencies, how will the lessons that we will learn from the report be disseminated across those various bodies? Much as I do not want to talk about a single country, its institutions and authorities, to solve a problem we must first acknowledge that that long-term, deep, structural problem exists. If we can get through that, hopefully we can work together.

      We are all at risk of terrorist attacks. We have heard from Mr Liddell Grainger and Mr Howell about how the United Kingdom has had considerable experience of dealing with Irish separatists, the IRA. Only last year, David Cameron, our prime minister, told a press conference at the G20 that our security services had foiled seven terrorist attacks last year. We are all very much in this together, and we must all work together, but let us all learn the lessons from this dreadful attack.

      Mr WOOD (United Kingdom) – As well as the victims of the horrific attacks in Brussels last month, we remember the victims of the many attacks around Europe in recent years: Brussels, Paris, Ankara, London and Madrid, and the very many elsewhere in the world, from the beaches of Bali to the towers of New York. Of course, tragically, nothing can bring back those who were murdered in those attacks, but we all have a duty to the victims, the survivors and the families to do everything we can to minimise the risk of future attacks, and to minimise the risk of future attacks being successful and causing further loss of life.

      There has always been a delicate balance between security and freedoms. Many of us will have a great deal of sympathy with the idea attributed to Benjamin Franklin that, “Those who would give up essential Liberty, to purchase a little temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety”, though I am sure that we all have our differing views on what constitutes those “essential” liberties.

      The world is changing. The way in which we communicate and the way we live is changing. What is appropriate now might be very different from what was appropriate 10, 20 or 30 years ago. Nowhere is that truer than in intelligence and surveillance. If we are to learn the lessons of all those terrorist attacks – Brussels and the many other cities that I named – we must consider whether we are doing everything we reasonably can to ensure that our own intelligence and surveillance is fit for the 21st century and the world as it is now, while being compatible with the essential liberties to which we are all so committed.

      We need that intelligence and surveillance for those crossing our borders and travelling into our countries. Sadly, in recent years, the balance has tipped a bit too far from security in too many instances, especially in terms of sharing intelligence, not only between European countries, but others, whether in north America or the Far East. Surely it is unacceptable that it took nearly a decade after 9/11 for the European Union to find a sensible and workable solution that allowed for passenger name records to be shared with the United States. Even harder to justify is the fact that a comprehensive system has been agreed by MEPs for sharing those details among European Union States only in recent days.

      Of course, we also need to tackle intelligence at home. In my own parliament we are considering further changes to investigatory powers – a hugely controversial subject. Previous changes to investigatory powers have been criticised and in some instances even overturned by the European Court of Human Rights. Of course, it is essential that we have the right safeguards but I hope that the Court will recognise the importance of making sure that the surveillance and intelligence-gathering is there and that agencies are not only allowed but encouraged to share it where necessary to prevent further loss of life. After all, life is the greatest right that any of our citizens can enjoy.

      Mr MILEWSKI (Poland) – I express my sincere condolences to the families of the victims of terror attacks. The attacks in Paris and Brussels were very dramatic for our whole European community but they were most dramatic for the families of the victims. No one can bring back those who died but we can protect thousands and millions of others.

      Today we are discussing the need to extend security co-operation. We are feeling attacked but we do not know how to defend ourselves. We are at war. The front of this war is not only where the terrorists attacked last time – Paris or Brussels – the victims of this war are also, for example, the Christians who are murdered in the Middle East. The task of European civilisation is to help those who live in the most bloody but also the most important front in the current fight against terrorism. Today evil is fighting under the black flag of Islamic State in the Middle East as well as in Europe.

      This issue also affects many Europeans in relation to the immigration crisis. The fact that the terrorists were not able to assimilate does not prove that it will be the same with other immigrants, but can we be sure? What about the enthusiasm with which refugee communities received the information about the attacks in Paris and Brussels? We cannot separate the problem of terrorism and the immigration crisis because they have their beginnings in the same place: the sands of the Middle East. We are victims of the same war.

      We must talk about how to defend ourselves from danger but the discussion should not be just about how many soldiers and policemen should be on the streets. This is not only about security in its basic meaning. It is about the shape of European cities in future. This time we have not only a military war but a civilisation war. We can win it but only by protecting our civilisation.

      Mr MİROĞLU (Turkey)* – I start with some good news. Today one of the perpetrators of the Ankara train station bombing was apprehended. I pay my respects to those who have lost their lives in terrorist attacks.

      This is the first time I have joined the work of the Council of Europe. I come from the city of Mardin in south-eastern Turkey, where Syriacs, Arabs, Kurds and Turkish people have lived together in peace for centuries. I represent the city. I spent six and a half years in Diyarbakir Prison during the military coup in Turkey and I was banned from politics for 20 years. I have written 10 books about the Kurdish issue in Turkey and I have written columns for 16 years in various newspapers. I have lost many friends and relatives to terrorist actions. Ten years ago, I was sentenced to six months in prison on the grounds that I was campaigning for the elections in Kurdish. I applied to the European Court of Human Rights and the Court ruled in my favour. I tell you all this because two days ago I was very happy to be able to vote in the election of judges to the European Court of Human Rights. It was ironic and a great surprise and twist of fate that I was able to vote for a judge who will serve in the Court where I had sought justice many years ago. I felt that my vote was very important in contributing to the values of Europe.

      It is due to strengthening democracy in Turkey that I am here in this Chamber representing my city. Through the reforms of the AKP Government in Turkey we were able to overcome those difficulties, where there were many political bans. The contributions of the European Union in this respect will continue to be very important.

      Today we are conducting a very difficult fight against PKK violence and terrorism in many cities in Turkey, including Mardin. The PKK has been using the developments in Syria as an excuse to continue to wage violence and terror, despite the fact that 80 MPs were elected to the parliament from the HDP in the elections in June last year. The PKK has dug trenches and killed hundreds of Turkish people – soldiers, police and civilians. It continues to fight against our country.

      So far 3 244 people who were considered to have connections to Daesh have been deported from Turkey and 2 037 people have been prevented from entering Turkey in our determined fight against terrorism. We have been telling our European friends that we have to continue to fight terrorism by protecting and defending the legitimate and natural rights of people. Today we have to continue to work together in this respect.

      It is very important to pay respect to the memory of those people who have lost their lives in Brussels, Paris, Ankara and Istanbul due to PKK or Daesh attacks. We have to work together against global terrorism with a global conscience. The issue is not sharing intelligence and establishing security measures. We have to involve our society as a whole in fighting terrorism. We must fight this fight so that we can offer something to the generations of the future. We have to find realistic answers to these questions and we have to look at the political, social and cultural aspects of terrorism.

(Ms Mateu, Vice-President of the Assembly, took the Chair in place of Ms Gambaro.)

      The PRESIDENT* – That brings us to the end of our list of speakers. I now invite the rapporteur to reply. Mr Zingeris, you have six minutes available.

      Mr ZINGERIS (Lithuania) – We have had some very useful exchanges. I thank you for refusing to use this very sensitive issue to gain popularity and votes. I especially thank those who were at the meeting of the Political Affairs Committee this morning. The discussions on the amendments were not overheated. Each side listened to the other, and amendments were withdrawn if people felt that they were an overreaction, even from their personal point of view.

      I am extremely happy to have this report and your remarks. The basic remarks made by my Belgian friends were about the proposal for all our delegations to show the paper to our governments and ask them to implement it. That would be good to have for all our reports, not only this one. I hope the members of the European Parliament will have this report on their desks very soon. Remarks were made to the effect that freedom of speech should not be restricted following the attacks, which were against our system of values and freedom, and the governance in Europe built after the Second World War.

      We should not hold a beauty competition about which country has the most jihadists; I am sorry to say something humorous, although it is a tragic humour. However, we have to work out the problem with jihadists personally and with their ideology. In this Chamber, we firmly confirm our attachment to key documents and human rights declarations and all the documents relating to the foundation of this Organisation. This Organisation and the European Union, which is in our sight, are under attack.

      I agree that it is a pity that the Western European Union ceased to exist a few years ago. Our colleague Mr Pittenger from the United States Congress has been organising many meetings between Congress and our national Parliaments about this issue – in Vienna, Berlin and Capitol Hill. We are joining all those initiatives. We need to address basic issues to do with the defence of our education and the civil values outside our education systems. We will follow extremely carefully how our system and other systems work. We were talking about elements of jihad in the education systems of some countries. I say to our Muslim colleagues that the values of mainstream Muslim communities are also under attack from jihadists.

      I thank everyone very much; I think the oral amendments show our willingness to compromise and work together. I apologise to my British friends for my enthusiasm for building the European Union; on 23 June, I am sure that you will be thinking about the unity of Europe.

      The PRESIDENT* – Thank you. I now call Mr Gar­arsson, the vice-chair of the committee. You have two minutes.

      Mr GARđARSSON (Iceland) – First, I want to express my deepest sympathy and condolences to the families and victims of the Brussels attacks and other terrorist attacks. We are all shocked by the loss of many innocent lives and the brutal and cruel nature of these attacks.

      I thank the rapporteur Mr Zingeris and the secretariat of the committee for their work on this report. Their task was not easy and the time frame for drafting the report was very short. Some 32 innocent people were killed and 340 were injured in terrorist attacks in Zaventem airport and Maelbeek metro station in Brussels on 22 March. This report is about those attacks, the fight against terrorism and the security threats faced by member States of the Council of Europe. We must realise that the bombings in Brussels are not the first and will probably not be the last terrorist attacks in Europe. We must be aware of the threat and member States must make a realistic assessment of possible security gaps.

      Our duty is to protect the lives of our citizens and the values of democracy. At the same time, we must respect individual freedom and the right to privacy. Better co-operation between member States when combating terrorism is essential. The sharing of information is vital, as is co-ordination. The work must also go beyond Europe. Countries in other regions of the world must be involved in the fight. It is not enough for officials and politicians to talk about the problem. Firm action is needed, and we must learn the lessons from the Brussels attacks.

      The report calls for a number of steps to be taken as a matter of priority. Terrorism respects no borders and it is our responsibility to fight it in every possible way. That is the least we can do for the victims of terrorism, not only in Brussels but elsewhere.

      The PRESIDENT* – Thank you. The debate is closed.

      The Political Affairs Committee has presented a draft resolution, to which 17 amendments have been tabled. They will be taken in the order in which they appear in the Compendium and the Organisation of Debates.

      I understand that the chairperson of the committee wishes to propose to the Assembly that Amendments 6, 11 and 12, which were unanimously approved by the committee, should be declared as agreed by the Assembly.

      Is that so, chairperson?

      That is the case.

      As there is no objection, I declare that Amendments 6, 11 and 12 adopted.

      We now come to Amendment 1. I remind you that speeches on amendments are limited to 30 seconds. I call Mr Dişli to support the amendment.

      Mr DİŞLİ (Turkey) – As various colleagues have mentioned, the Brussels attacks followed those in Paris, Ankara and Istanbul, and we would like to make that clear.

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

      What is the opinion of the committee?

      Mr GARđARSSON (Iceland) – The committee is in favour.

      The PRESIDENT* – The vote is open.

      Amendment 1 is adopted.

      The PRESIDENT* – We come to Amendment 2. I call Mr Dişli to support the amendment. You have 30 seconds.

      Mr DİŞLİ (Turkey) – It is a technical amendment replacing the word “It” with “The Assembly”.

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

      What is the opinion of the committee?

      Mr GARđARSSON (Iceland) – The committee is in favour.

      The PRESIDENT* – The vote is open.

      Amendment 2 is adopted.

      The PRESIDENT* – We now come to Amendment 3, which is in the draft resolution, paragraph 5, after the word “Brussels”, insert the following words: “and other member States”. I call Mr Dişli to support Amendment 3. You have 30 seconds.

      Mr DİŞLİ (Turkey) – As the first amendment stated, the danger of terror exists for all member States, so we would like to add the words “and other member States” after “Brussels” in paragraph 5.

      The PRESIDENT* – I call Mr Zingeris to support Sub-Amendment 1 on behalf of the Political Affairs Committee.

      Mr ZINGERIS (Lithuania) – My technical remark is that the sub-amendment was approved by the Political Affairs Committee.

      The PRESIDENT* – What is the opinion of Mr Dişli?

      Mr DİŞLİ (Turkey) – I am in favour.

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

      The committee is obviously in favour.

      The vote is open.

      Sub-Amendment 1 is agreed to.

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

      What is the opinion of the committee?

      Mr GARđARSSON (Iceland) – In favour.

      The PRESIDENT* – The vote is open.

      Amendment 3, as amended, is adopted.

      We come to Amendment 14, which is, in the draft resolution, at the end of paragraph 5, add the following sentences: “This Assembly also urges Belgium to profoundly reform the Brussels Capital Region, with its 8 ministers, 89 Members of Parliament, 19 mayors and 6 police zones for a population of about 1 million inhabitants. This level of fragmentation and lack of coordination has proven to be too dysfunctional to respond to modern security needs.”

      I call Mr Liddell-Grainger to support the amendment. You have 30 seconds.

      Mr LIDDELL-GRAINGER (United Kingdom) – This amendment was drafted in conjunction with our Belgian colleagues. I hope that it tightens up the resolution. It allows us and the rapporteur to explore much more deeply some of the questions we face, which I think so many speakers eloquently put in the debate. I ask for the indulgence of the Assembly.

      The PRESIDENT* – We now come to the sub-amendment, tabled by the Committee on Political Affairs and Democracy, which is, in Amendment 14, replace the sentences with the following words: "Coordination in the Brussels Capital Region has not proven sufficiently functional to respond to modern security needs and therefore needs to be profoundly reformed." I call Mr Zingeris to support the sub-amendment.

      Mr ZINGERIS (Lithuania) – I repeat that the sub-amendment was approved by the Committee on Political Affairs and Democracy in order to reach a consensus.

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

I call Mr Daems.

      Mr DAEMS (Belgium) – I drafted the amendment with my British colleagues. There was almost consensus with the sub-amendment, which is concise and still contains the criticism of the Belgian authorities. I will carry that to my country.

      The PRESIDENT* – That means that you agree with the sub-amendment.

      What is the opinion of the committee?

      Mr GARđARSSON (Iceland) – In favour.

      The PRESIDENT* – 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 GARđARSSON (Iceland) – In favour.

      The PRESIDENT* – The vote is open.

      Amendment 14, as amended, is adopted.

      We now come to Amendment 7, which is, in the draft resolution, paragraph 6, replace the last sentence with the following sentence: “It also notes with concern that the deteriorating position of Daesh in the Middle East may lead to a surge in jihadist recruiting and terrorist activities on the European continent.” If this amendment is agreed to, and the sub-amendment is not agreed to, Amendments 8, 4 and 9 fall.

I call Mr Van der Maelen to support Amendment 7. You have 30 seconds.

      Mr VAN DER MAELEN (Belgium) – As I said, all intelligence services agree with the conclusion that as the situation for Daesh is deteriorating in the Middle East, they expect a surge in jihadi recruitment and more attempts at attacks in Europe. We think that the amendment is a useful addition to the resolution.

      The PRESIDENT* – We now come to the sub-amendment, tabled by the Committee on Political Affairs and Democracy, which is, in Amendment 7, replace the words "paragraph 6, replace the last sentence with the following sentence" with the following words: “at the end of paragraph 6, add the following sentence". If the sub-amendment is agreed to, amendments 8, 4 and 9 do not fall. I call Mr Zingeris to support the sub-amendment

      Mr ZINGERIS (Lithuania) – I repeat that the sub-amendment was approved by the Committee on Political Affairs and Democracy in order to reach a consensus.

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

      What is the opinion of Mr Van der Maelen?

      Mr VAN DER MAELEN (Belgium) – I agree.

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

      Mr GARđARSSON (Iceland) – In favour.

      The PRESIDENT* – The vote is open.

      The sub-amendment is adopted.

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

      What is the opinion of the committee?

      Mr GARđARSSON (Iceland) – In favour.

      The PRESIDENT* – The vote is open.

      Amendment 7, as amended, is adopted.

      We come to Amendment 8. If the amendment is carried, Amendments 4 and 9 fall.

I call Mr Destexhe to support the amendment.

      Mr DESTEXHE (Belgium)* – We feel that there is no point in picking on Brussels and Belgium in particular, so we would like to replace that part of the resolution with “certain areas in European cities” because the situation is the same in Britain and certainly in France, and in Malm÷ in Sweden.

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

      What is the opinion of the committee?

      Mr GARđARSSON (Iceland) – Against.

      The PRESIDENT* – The vote is open.

      Amendment 8 is rejected.

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

      Mr DİŞLİ (Turkey) – The word “jihadist” is creating a wrong image in European people’s minds. Such anti-religious thinking is creating further danger of Islamophobia. Therefore, instead of “jihadist recruiting”, we could say “recruiting foreign terrorist fighters”.

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

      What is the opinion of the committee?

      Mr GARđARSSON (Iceland) – Against.

      The PRESIDENT* – The vote is open.

      Amendment 4 is rejected.

      We come to Amendment 9. I call Mr Daems to support the amendment.

      Mr DAEMS (Belgium) – Since 2010, more than 140 terrorist cases have been brought to court with more than 85 convictions. The Belgian Verviers terrorist cell has been annihilated. We now have 12 of the terrorists in prison. So the phrasing of the resolution does not reflect reality. The impression given is that Belgium is a safe haven for terrorist activity, and that is simply not true. That is why I tabled the amendment, which, by the way, was approved by the committee.

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

      What is the opinion of the committee?

      Mr GARđARSSON (Iceland) – The committee is in favour.

      The PRESIDENT* – The vote is open.

      Amendment 9 is adopted.

      We come to Amendment 15. With the agreement of Mr Liddell-Grainger, I call Ms Dumery to support the amendment.

      Ms DUMERY (Belgium) – I did not sign this amendment and I am not in a political group. I am from the Belgian delegation, but I am convinced that this is a good amendment. It states that “The accusations by former Belgian Justice Minister Marc Verwilghen that some of his colleagues deliberately blocked any anti-terrorist and anti-radicalisation measures out of political opportunism should be investigated”. I have here a newspaper article by Mr Verwilghen, saying that when he was Justice Minister between 1999 and 2003 – after 9/11 – he warned that there were problems in Brussels and that something should be done.

      The PRESIDENT* – You only had 30 seconds. Does anyone wish to speak against the amendment?

      I call Mr Van der Maelen.

      Mr VAN DER MAELEN (Belgium) – My colleague omits to say that this dates from 2002. All those who were elected members then will remember that many European Parliaments discussed whether to implement measures such as those contained in George Bush’s Patriot Act. In all our Parliaments, we concluded that it would be better not to do that. The same happened in Belgium. This Minister got a majority in the Belgian Parliament. If we add the amendment to the text of the resolution, we should also add the names of all the other politicians who pleaded for such measures in 2002.

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

      Mr GARđARSSON (Iceland) – The committee is against.

      The PRESIDENT* – The vote is open.

      Amendment 15 is rejected.

      We come to Amendment 10. I call Mr Daems to support the amendment.

      Mr DAEMS (Belgium) – The amendment calls for the mandatory exchange of information between secret services. This was debated in the committee, and although I am not convinced that those against are 100% correct, I have to live with the fact that the committee did not accept the amendment because of the mandatory element. I will not vote against it, but I will abstain out of respect for the majority view of the committee.

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

      What is the opinion of the committee?

      Mr GARđARSSON (Iceland) – The committee is against.

      The PRESIDENT* – The vote is open.

      Amendment 10 is rejected.

      We come to Amendment 5. I call Mr Dişli to support the amendment.

      Mr DİŞLİ (Turkey) – Again, in our speeches, most of us underlined the word “together” and agreed that with better co-ordination we might prevent some of these deadly attacks. That is why we would like to add the words of the amendment.

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

      What is the opinion of the committee?

      Mr GARđARSSON (Iceland) – The committee is in favour.

      The PRESIDENT* – The vote is open.

      Amendment 5 is adopted.

      We come to Amendment 13. I call Mr Daems to support the amendment.

      Mr DAEMS (Belgium) – I am particularly glad that the amendment was agreed by the committee because we specified that the European Security and Defence Assembly – the former Western European Union – should be reactivated in some way. I believe that to be the wish of a large majority in this Assembly.

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

      What is the opinion of the committee?

      Mr GARđARSSON (Iceland) – The committee is in favour.

      The PRESIDENT* – The vote is open.

      Amendment 13 is adopted.

      We come to Amendment 16. I call Mr Liddell-Grainger to support the amendment.

      Mr LIDDELL-GRAINGER (United Kingdom) – I talked to my Belgian colleagues overnight and we felt that the amendment was a step too far at this point at time, so I do not wish to press the amendment.

      The PRESIDENT* – Amendment 16 is not moved.

      We come to Amendment 17. I call Mr Bernacki to support the amendment.

      Mr BERNACKI (Poland) – The amendment would insert the following paragraph: “In conclusion, this Assembly stands ready to help Belgium to restore the Rule of Law on its entire territory and assist in any way it can to review objectively the democratic institutions to make them more functional and efficient.”

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

      I call Mr Daems.

      Mr DAEMS (Belgium) – As I stressed in committee, it is obvious that the rule of law is in effect in our country, so the impression given is not appropriate. On top of that, I invited all my colleagues in our national Parliament to help me make it more functional and efficient. The amendment is not appropriate.

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

      Mr GARđARSSON (Iceland) – The committee is against.

      The PRESIDENT* – The vote is open.

      Amendment 17 is rejected.

      We will now proceed to vote on the whole of the draft resolution contained in Document 14031, as amended.

      The vote is open.

      The draft resolution in Document 14031, as amended, is adopted, with 65 votes for, none against and two abstentions.

5. Next public business

      The PRESIDENT* – The Assembly will hold its next public sitting tomorrow morning at 10.00 a.m. with the agenda that was approved on Monday.

      The sitting is closed.

      (The sitting was closed at 7.00 p.m.)


1. Changes in the membership of committees

2. Speaking time in debates

3. The humanitarian concerns with regard to people captured during the war in Ukraine

Presentation by Ms Kleinberga of the report of the Committee on Migration, Refugees and Displaced Persons, Document 14015 and addendum

Speakers: Mr Howell, Mr Michelotti, Mr Vareikis, Ms Finckh-Krńmer, Mr Chikovani, Mr Logvynskyi,

Mr Shpenov, Ms Taktakishvili, Mr Vlasenko, Mr Yemets, Mr Herkel, Mr Allison, Mr Uysal, Ms Honkonen,

Mr Goncharenko, Mr Scully, Mr Wood.

Draft resolution contained in Document 14015, as amended, adopted.

Draft recommendation contained in Document 14015 adopted.

4. After the Brussels attacks, urgent need to address security failures and step up counter-terrorism co-operation (debate under urgent procedure)

Presentation by Mr Zingeris of the report of the Committee on Political Affairs and Democracy, Document 14031.

Speakers: Mr Jˇnasson, Mr Ínal, Mr Daems, Mr Van der Maelen,Mr NÚmeth, Ms Karapetyan, Mr Korodi,

Mr Destexhe, Mr Shahgeldyan, Mr Divina, Mr ThiÚry, Mr Liddell-Grainger, Ms Dumery, Mr Bildarratz, Mr Howell, Ms Pashayeva, Mr Scully, Mr Wood, Mr Milewski, Mr Moroğlu.

Draft resolution contained in Document 14031, as amended, adopted.

5. Next public business

Appendix I

Representatives or Substitutes who signed the Attendance Register in accordance with Rule 11.2 of the Rules of Procedure. The names of Substitutes who replaced absent Representatives are printed in small letters. The names of those who were absent or apologised for absence are followed by an asterisk



Brigitte ALLAIN*

Jean-Charles ALLAVENA*

Werner AMON*


Lord Donald ANDERSON*

Paride ANDREOLI/Augusto Michelotti


Sirkka-Liisa ANTTILA*



Volodymyr ARIEV*




David BAKRADZE/Chiora Taktakishvili

GÚrard BAPT*


JosÚ Manuel BARREIRO/ Teˇfilo De Luis

Meritxell BATET*


Guto BEBB*

Marieluise BECK*





Włodzimierz BERNACKI

Anna Maria BERNINI*

Maria Teresa BERTUZZI*




Tobias BILLSTRÍM/ Boriana ┼berg

Oleksandr BILOVOL

Ľuboš BLAHA*

Philippe BLANCHART/ Dirk Van Der Maelen

Maryvonne BLONDIN*

Tilde BORK*

Mladen BOSIĆ*


Piet De BRUYN/Hendrik Daems

Margareta BUDNER*

Valentina BULIGA*






Vannino CHITI*







Katalin CSÍBÍR*

Geraint DAVIES*







Aleksandra DJUROVIĆ*

Namik DOKLE*

Francesc Xavier DOMENECH*

Jeffrey DONALDSON/ Mike Wood



Alexander [The Earl of] DUNDEE*


Josette DURRIEU*

Mustafa DZHEMILIEV/Andrii Lopushanskyi


Lady Diana ECCLES*

Franz Leonhard EẞL*

Markar ESEYAN*

Nigel EVANS/Paul Scully



Cătălin Daniel FENECHIU*

Doris FIALA*

Daniela FILIPIOV┴*





Pierre-Alain FRIDEZ/Elisabeth Schneider-Schneiter

Martin FRONC*


Sir Roger GALE*








Mihai GHIMPU/Alina Zotea

Francesco Maria GIRO

Pavol GOGA*

Carlos Alberto GONăALVES


Rainer GOPP*

Alina Ștefania GORGHIU/Maria Grecea




Gergely GULY┴S*

Emine Nur G▄NAY



Antonio GUTI╔RREZ*




Andrzej HALICKI/Tomasz Cimoszewicz

Hamid HAMID*

Alfred HEER/Roland Rino BŘchel

Gabriela HEINRICH*





Anette H▄BINGER*

Johannes H▄BNER*

Andrej HUNKO*


Ekmeleddin Mehmet İHSANOĞLU*







Andrzej JAWORSKI/ Daniel Milewski

Michael Aastrup JENSEN*

Mogens JENSEN*


Florina-Ruxandra JIPA*


Aleksandar JOVIČIĆ*

Anne KALMARI/Petri Honkonen










Bogdan KLICH/Aleksander Pociej


Haluk KOă

Željko KOMŠIĆ/Saša Magazinović





Elvira KOV┴CS*

Tiny KOX*

Borjana KRIŠTO*


Eerik-Niiles KROSS*

Talip K▄ă▄KCAN

Ertuğrul K▄RKă▄*


Yuliya L OVOCHKINA/Dmytro Shpenov

Inese LAIZĀNE/Nellija Kleinberga

Pierre-Yves LE BORGN’*

Jean-Yves LE D╔AUT*


Valentina LESKAJ*






Franšois LONCLE*


Philippe MAHOUX/Petra De Sutter

Marit MAIJ*






Alberto MARTINS*

Meritxell MATEU/SÝlvia Elo´sa Bonet

Liliane MAURY PASQUIER/Manuel Tornare

Michael McNAMARA*

Sir Alan MEALE*



Ana Catarina MENDES*

Jasen MESIĆ*


Jean-Claude MIGNON*

Marianne MIKKO

Anouchka van MILTENBURG




Thomas M▄LLER/Hannes Germann



Marian NEACȘU*


Zsolt N╔METH

Miroslav NENUTIL


Aleksandar NIKOLOSKI*

Johan NISSINEN/Markus Wiechel




Judith OEHRI




Joseph O’REILLY*




Florin Costin P┬SLARU*


Agnieszka POMASKA

Cezar Florin PREDA*






Mailis REPS/Andres Herkel

Andrea RIGONI*



Helena ROSETA/Paulo Pisco





Nadiia SAVCHENKO/Sergiy Vlasenko




Ingjerd SCHOU




Predrag SEKULIĆ*

Aleksandar SENIĆ*








Arturas SKARDŽIUS/Egidijus Vareikis



Olena SOTNYK *




Ionuț-Marian STROE*


Damien THI╔RY




İbrahim Mustafa TURHAN/Burhanettin Uysal


Konstantinos TZAVARAS*

Leyla Şahin USTA

Dana V┴HALOV┴*

Snorre Serigstad VALEN*

Petrit VASILI*





Vladimir VORONIN/Liliana Palihovici

Viktor VOVK


Draginja VUKSANOVIĆ/Marija Maja Catović

Karl-Georg WELLMANN*

Katrin WERNER*

Jacek WILK


Morten WOLD*

Gisela WURM

Jordi XUCL└



Tobias ZECH*

Kristřna ZELIENKOV┴*


Emanuelis ZINGERIS*

Naira ZOHRABYAN/Mher Shahgeldyan

Levon ZOURABIAN/Naira Karapetyan

Vacant Seat, Cyprus*


Representatives and Substitutes not authorised to vote






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