AA17CR03

AS (2017) CR 03
Provisional edition

2017 ORDINARY SESSION

________________________

(First part)

REPORT

Third sitting

Tuesday 24 January 2017 at 10.00 a.m.

In this report:

1.       Speeches in English are reported in full.

2.       Speeches in other languages are reported using the interpretation and are marked with an asterisk.

3.       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.

(Mr Agramunt, President of the Assembly, took the Chair at 10.05 a.m.)

      The PRESIDENT – The sitting is open.

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

      The PRESIDENT – This morning, the agenda calls for the election of two judges to the European Court of Human Rights in respect of Hungary and the Netherlands.

      I refer members to the list of candidates and biographical notices, which are to be found in Documents 14222 and 14215, and an opinion from the Committee on the Election of Judges to the European Court of Human Rights in Document 14231 Addendum 2.

      The voting for both elections will take place in the area behind the President’s Chair. At 1 p.m. the ballot will be suspended. It will reopen at 3.30 p.m. I shall close the ballot at 5 p.m. Counting will then take place under the supervision of four tellers.

      I shall now draw by lot the names of the four tellers who will supervise the counting of the votes.

      The names of Ms Liliana Palihovici, Mr Paul Schnabel, Mr Simonas Gentvilas and Mr Ján Marosz have been drawn – the name of Mr Bernard Fournier was drawn, but he is not present. The four tellers should go to the back of the President’s Chair at 5 p.m.

      I hope to announce the result of the election before the end of the sitting this afternoon. If needed, a second ballot will take place on Wednesday during the morning and afternoon sittings.

      I now declare the ballot open.

2. Address by Mr Johannes Hahn, European Union Commissioner for European Neighbourhood Policy and Enlargement Negotiations

      The PRESIDENT – We will now hear an address by Mr Johannes Hahn, European Union Commissioner for European Neighbourhood Policy and Enlargement Negotiations. After his address, Mr Hahn will take questions from the floor.

      Commissioner, let me welcome you most warmly to the Chamber of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe, which brings together members of parliament from all over Europe to support human rights, democracy and the rule of law. The bodies that we represent – the Council of Europe and the European Union – share these same values and perform complementary roles in their projects across the continent and beyond. Co-ordination, complementarity and coherence are indeed the three key pillars around which our co-operation has been built. Implementation of joint co-operation programmes aimed at strengthening democratic institutions in our member States and neighbourhood countries, and working together to fight violence against women and trafficking in human beings, are only some examples of the concrete steps that we have taken since the signing of the memorandum of understanding 10 years ago. Today, given the challenges that we have to face, we need to give new impetus to this co-operation. Your presence here today is therefore an opportunity to exchange ideas and to put forward some concrete proposals for the future. I am sure that many parliamentarians will be interested to hear your views on how we can progress further. Commissioner, it is my pleasure to give you the floor.

      Mr HAHN (European Union Commissioner for European Neighbourhood Policy and Enlargement Negotiations)* – President, Secretary General, fellow members of the Parliamentary Assembly, I am delighted to be here today to address you and exchange views with you. This is the first time that I have come to the Chamber in my current capacity, but in my previous role as a Commissioner responsible for sustainable development, I came here and discussed different topics and the main aim remains the same: to have an exchange of views and identify common viewpoints. I certainly believe that we have a lot of common ground and some positive interfaces.

The Council of Europe is an incredibly important partner for democracy, the rule of law, and human rights; it is recognised hugely for that and sets important standards. That expertise is paramount in implementing the so-called Copenhagen criteria for enlargement, which also serve as a yardstick for the pre-accession process for future European Union member States. That shows clearly – there is no doubt about this – that the Council of Europe and the European Union are not competing organisations. Far from it: we complement each other and we need each other.

      The Council of Europe and all its institutions set a series of basic values to which all its 47 members, including the European Union, have committed. At a time at which there is so much change, it is important for us to have this moral compass to enable us to draft common rules that must be complied with. Both the Council of Europe and the European Union must rise to significant global challenges to do with climate change, the economy, migration, terrorism and armed conflict, and we face those challenges together. The economic, social and political requirements to overcome these crises and challenges are very different. We cannot tar all countries with the same brush or apply the same solution to everything – in fact, it is impossible to do so. There are no easy solutions, but it is in all our interests to put together the right solutions to stabilise our neighbourhood through our neighbouring countries.

      When we in the European Union talk about neighbourhood policy, we have a slightly narrower definition than the Council of Europe, but we should not overlook the fact that the member States of the Council of Europe make up 11% of the world’s population and represent more than 26% of economic production, of which 22% is produced by the member States of the European Union. European Union member States make up 7% of the world’s population. We must work on the solutions to our challenges, but we can only do so if we build up the strength of both our organisations and harness our synergies with the members of the strategic partnerships we want to develop.

We want to achieve tangible results in south-east Europe and also in the southern and eastern neighbourhoods. I remind you that all countries are affected by enlargement and countries in the eastern partnerships, apart from Kosovo and Belarus, are members of the Council of Europe. Being a member of the Council of Europe means accepting the highest standards in democracy and human rights. Democracy, the rule of law and human rights are the bedrock of the new enlargement strategy and remain at the heart of our neighbourhood policy. That is why we wish to strengthen further our ties with the Council of Europe, to co-ordinate activities more and to make full use of your expertise to provide support for the reformed processes in our partner countries. It is not just about ensuring that we have a more coherent and consistent presence but about boosting our catalogue of values. That was the idea behind our agreement in 2007 and the memorandum of understanding that was signed in 2014.

      I want to mention the Council of Europe’s expertise in consolidating democratic institutions and in the rule of law. I thank the Venice Commission for its work and its commitment in Ukraine and Albania, which has played a key role in bringing about the necessary reform. The ring-fenced sum of €20 million a year for enlargement in the Council of Europe is well invested, because through the Council of Europe and our enlargement policy we have two well-oiled and co-ordinated transformation engines that play a key role in modernisation and accession to the EU.

Being an accession candidate means applying the highest standards and ensuring that they can be measured, even when there are difficult situations such as the one in Turkey. That can ensure that safety, security, stability and well-being are created for us all. The Council of Europe plays a key role in the neighbourhood policy as a strategic partner, not just from a financial point of view but through our successes and achievements. We have a budget of €37 million for this policy.

      I mentioned Ukraine, and I want to talk about the sustainability of our successes. In constitutional reform, human rights, decentralisation and judicial reform, co-operation has been excellent. An immediate contribution has been made to clamping down on corruption through the declaration of assets and vetting, and this is a concrete success. All politicians in Ukraine must declare their assets and estate as well as how they have developed their fortune, which has significant consequences. More than 1 000 judges from the former system have chosen not to be a part of the new system as a result of this rule and I am sure that that you can well imagine why.

I want to return to our main topic. The eastern neighbourhood policy will focus on four areas: strengthening the institutions and governments; mobility and people-to-people contacts; so-called interconnectivity; and economic development. A series of concrete measures have been designed to take on board those different focuses. This year, we will be marking the 30th anniversary of Erasmus, which is certainly one of the most successful programmes developed by the European Union. Millions of young students, and perhaps fewer young people as well, have experienced it. I have three colleagues in the European Commission who have done the Erasmus programme. It is wonderful, because it allows students to go to neighbouring and accession countries of the European Union. That is a very positive development and certainly an example of people-to-people contact and mobility.

      When it comes to the comprehensive challenges we have to rise to, we should not underestimate the vulnerability of individual States. I will give one example. Every year, Egypt has an annual population increase of more than 2 million. That concerns Egypt. In absolute numbers, we are talking about 2.2 million to 2.5 million more people every year, which throws up huge challenges that we, as Europeans, have to get to grips with. We cannot simply look away and do nothing, because if the economic situation in Egypt were not to improve and we were not to help improve things in the country, it could trigger a serious situation where there is significant movement towards Europe. I am therefore very grateful that this Assembly brings together countries that are very close to Egypt geographically, which ensures that Egypt is not at all overlooked.

      The Council of Europe and the European Union can play a key role if they ensure that their own strengths are brought to the fore in a co-ordinated fashion. We have a common set of values through conventions, agreements and treaties. It is down to all members of our organisations to adhere to and apply them. We should not shy away from complying with those standards and requiring that they are applied. We should step up our efforts to ensure that the common good is served, rather than our own individual interests. Strengthening democracy, the rule of law and human rights should be seen as not a luxury but the bedrock of a prosperous, peaceful society.

      I would like to thank you once again very much indeed for your attention. I am delighted to have been able to address the Chamber and to now have a discussion with you. You are the crucial link at a European and international level, and in these very difficult times, you have such an important role to play. Thank you for your comprehensive commitment.

      The PRESIDENT – Thank you very much, Mr Hahn, for your most interesting address. Members of the Assembly have questions to put to you. I remind them that questions must be limited to 30 seconds and no more. Colleagues should be asking questions and not making speeches. I will now allow one question from each of the political groups.

      Mr OMTZIGT (Netherlands, Spokesperson for the Group of the European People’s Party) – Thank you for coming here, Mr Hahn. Each year, the European Union pays €23 million into the Turkish prison system, to improve the deficiencies that the European Committee for the Prevention of Torture and Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment has indicated. You wrote to me to say that that is still going on. The CPT has written a secret report on the conditions in Turkish prisons. Have you seen that? Will you ask for the report, which was written just after the coup, to know whether you should continue paying €23 million a year to Turkish prisons?

      Mr HAHN* – I have not seen the report yet, but we will certainly demand to see it and I hope we will. We are aware of these problems, but it is in everybody’s interests to support Turkey in overcoming the aftermath of the coup. As I said before, we will try to ensure that the highest international legal standards are applied. That commitment derives from membership of the Council of Europe and, indeed, applying to join the European Union.

      Ms RODRÍGUEZ RAMOS (Spain, Spokesperson for the Socialist Group)* – Thank you for your participation, Mr Hahn. Co-operation from the European Union on migration and mobility has intensified over the past year through dialogue. When it comes to co-operation, visas and mobility association agreements with the Balkan countries or countries in North Africa, what commitments to promote such agreements and legal migration can you tell us about?

      Mr HAHN* – This is a work in progress. We have to distinguish between refugees and migrants. With regard to refugees, it is the aim of the European Union, and above all of the European Commission, to have a unified asylum policy. We have made provisions accordingly, which have now gone to the council. We welcome that. We are still quite a way from achieving a unified migration policy. One has to recognise that within Europe, different conditions prevail. Europe is not necessarily a region or a continent that promotes high levels of mobility. Only 3% of people in the European Union – 15 million people – live in another country than the one in which they were born. Even within Europe, there is an enormous potential for mobility to be increased. There are various shortcomings in certain countries in terms of skills.

      Mr PRITCHARD (United Kingdom, Spokesperson for the European Conservatives Group) – For context, I am a British Conservative. I voted to remain in the European Union, and I believe in the enlargement of Europe. Specifically on Macedonia and Georgia, can you give the Council of Europe an update on an indicative timetable for their accession to the European Union?

      Mr HAHN* – First, I would like to thank you for voting in favour of remaining in the European Union. We have made an extreme commitment with regard to “The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia”. More than two years ago, we negotiated an agreement that a European reform process should be supported. Part of the agreement was that early elections would be put back. That happened in December. Now that we have had those elections, it is about setting up a new government. I very much hope that there will be readiness in that country, at least in a transitional phase, to form a government that has a constitutional majority. If this is about enhancing European prospects, they will have to talk about the question of the country’s name. They will need a constitutional majority if the country’s leaders are serious about European integration, which they have assured me again and again – and, indeed, have said in public – that they are.

      On Georgia, I hope we can see visa liberalisation soon, as the citizens deserve that; they have been very committed. In December 2015, all the conditions were fulfilled, so granting them visa liberalisation soon would be a recognition throughout Europe of the European aspirations of that country and its citizens.

      Mr JOVANOVIĆ (Serbia, Spokesperson for the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe) – How would you respond to critics who argue that a rather technical approach to enlargement which also favours stability over democracy, the rule of law and media freedom has contributed to a further democratic recession in some candidate countries? What would be the European Commission’s reaction to, and what do you see as the likely consequences of, some of the acceding countries declaring a temporary moratorium on EU integration?

      Mr HAHN* – Once again, the rule of law is not negotiable; it has to be upheld and, above all, experienced. There cannot be any kind of discount granted in that regard, as the rule of law is an inalienable condition. I feel, and have always assumed, that economic development can very much improve the rule of law, because independent judges give legal certainty and all of this is an element that can attract external investors into a country; there has to be legal certainty and predictability, so economic development can also help to bolster the rule of law. Therefore, there can be no discounts or shortcuts.

      If a country withdraws from the negotiations, that is its prerogative; we will not say, “You are not a member. Do you want to be a member?” Whether a country wishes to become a member of the European Union has to be the concern of that country and its citizens. We have a policy of open doors, but if someone does not want to come in, we are certainly not going to force them, as we have seen with the example of Iceland.

      The PRESIDENT – Thank you very much, Mr Hahn. Now we move on to the list of speakers. We will take three questions at a time and then the Commissioner will answer them. First, I call Mr Fournier.

      Mr FOURNIER (France)* – Turkey is a candidate for accession to the EU and has been for more than 10 years, yet it seems to be moving further away all the time from the EU’s standards, particularly on human rights. The Turkish Foreign Affairs Minister suggests opening chapters 23 and 24 to address this question. What is your opinion on that?

      Mr CEPEDA (Spain)* – I would like to ask you about something I am interested in, Commissioner. In Barcelona, in the Euro-Mediterranean Forum, a number of initiatives have been developed in relation to youth. You were mentioning a number of interesting plans, and I would like to know precisely what commitment it will be possible to make in the next few years to young people under 30, particularly those in the north of Africa and the euro-Mediterranean region, where one out of three of them has no job and this is an area of social confrontation?

      Ms KARAPETYAN (Armenia) – The mobility of citizens and the creation of conditions for the free movement of people is among the priorities of the Armenian and European Union agenda. The successful implementation of visa facilitation and readmission agreements with Armenia was a trigger to develop shared visions on visa liberalisation, and this was also reflected in the Eastern Partnership Riga Summit declaration of 2015. Where does the EU stand on this issue? Can we anticipate a launching of this dialogue in the near future, given that such dialogue is ongoing with eastern partners, such as Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine?

      Mr HAHN* – On the first question, of course we are very concerned about the current developments in Turkey and it is of paramount importance that dialogue continues. We need to exchange views and information on this. If the Turkish Foreign Minister and the Minister for Europe are calling for chapters 23 and 24 to be opened, we can only apply the methodology that is related to accession talks. We have applied that for the past few years, ever since it was established, and we are continuing to do so. We can begin with the opening of those chapters, which are not necessarily things with which you are familiar. They are related to the freedom of the media and the judiciary. These chapters are not only the first ones opened in this process, but the very last ones that will be closed at the end of it, because we want to be sure that there is indeed sustainable proof of development in these fields.

      I was recently in Barcelona and attended the Euro-Mediterranean Forum, where a focus was placed on youth. It is important that we focus on training and education, as Mr Cepeda was pointing out, but we must make sure we focus on the right form of training. It is clear that in some Mediterranean countries, as in Europe, a lot of people have academic qualifications but these are not in areas demanded by employers. That is why we are working with our partners in the southern Mediterranean countries, focusing on vocational training in technical fields. There is a lack of engineers and of skilled workers, so we should focus our efforts on those sectors. That is what we are doing, in consultation with the governments and representatives of civil society. The aim is also to heighten people’s awareness of exactly where the employment opportunities are and which fields need to be tapped into. Of course we have a very serious problem to overcome in this area, and I agree that there is a real issue to address on mass youth unemployment. That certainly applies in terms of euro-Mediterranean dialogue and the North African region, where more than half the population are under 30.

      Another point I wish to make is that we are currently involved in a dialogue and I am not sure exactly what the latest state of play is with regard to the different parties involved, but I assure members that we are very much interested in improving mobility for all people. From that point of view, I am confident that talks with Armenia will indeed be organised.

      Mr CSENGER-ZALÁN (Hungary) – Hungary remains a strong supporter of the EU enlargement process, and we look forward to the European Commission taking a proactive approach in promoting the integration process for the aspirant countries. However, as a result of the amended timeline for the annual enlargement package, we think it is necessary to bridge the upcoming 18-month communication and decision gap. What specific plans does the Commission have in that regard?

      Mr MARQUES (Portugal) – Mr Hahn, do you agree that the European policy on development and co-operation does not normally fall within the same scope as the neighbourhood policy? Are you able to change the scope, in order to spend this money on the countries where the migrants have origin and we are facing problems? Can we move this money from development and co-operation to the neighbourhood policy countries?

      Mr KÖCK (Austria)* – Over the past year, migration through the Mediterranean has been one of the biggest challenges to the European Union. Many people have died, and there are more and more human traffickers. The only solution seems to be to push people back to Africa. What is the European Commission doing with those countries to make that possible and to promote legal opportunities for migration?

      Mr HAHN* – To answer the first question, the progress report on enlargement was postponed from the autumn until the spring for technical reasons, but regular progress reports and interim reports for individual countries will be produced. I hope that this does not give rise to the impression that things are slowing down; we are simply altering our annual reporting period. There will be elections in the Commission in 2019, and we certainly hope that we will have a progress report to discuss by then.

      I will answer the second and third questions together. We have to do two things: strengthen our neighbourhood policy by endowing it with greater resources, and step up our efforts to provide help to the countries of origin of migration, particularly those in Africa. We must do what we can to support those economies, promote diversification and encourage European firms to invest in such countries. We have established a financial facility for that, and with the help of different partners, financial resources are being ring-fenced to give rise to a situation in which there is less migration and fewer reasons to want to migrate.

      We are trying to sign agreements with regard to sending people back to their countries. We want countries to take back people who cannot claim refugee status. Of course, that brings to the fore the whole issue that a large number of these people have no papers or documents with them, which means that, from a legal viewpoint, it is difficult for us to ask a given country to take them back. It is important to discuss such issues from an international point of view and to take a much more robust approach. I can imagine a situation in which we could agree on a common basis when it comes to assigning someone to a given country and ensuring that an agreement on the return of that person is signed, but that is more for the medium or long term.

      We must not overlook the fact that migration will be one of the main topics of the century, not just now and in the next few years. It is a topic that we – not just us, but our children and grandchildren – will grapple with for years and decades to come. There may be a huge number of migrants – up to 250 million – throughout the world, and that is a global issue for us to tackle. It is not just a European issue, but Europe is, of course, strongly affected by the phenomenon, and we must play a key and leading role on the international scene.

      Mr ARIEV (Ukraine) – Mr Hahn, Ukraine and Georgia met all requirements for receiving the visa liberalisation regime, but the European Union is delaying the final decision. Can Kiev and Tbilisi count on the European Union to find a solution to that? Also, when will you be done with the final ratification of the Ukraine-European Union Association Agreement?

      Mr HOWELL (United Kingdom) – Mr Hahn, how robust is your assessment of the economic development of aspirant countries and the effect that that development is likely to have on existing member States?

      Mr GHILETCHI (Republic of Moldova) – Mr Hahn, it is a well-known fact that EU membership conditionality is the key mechanism in influencing, transforming and changing domestic laws and regulations, but the recent developments in the EU suggest that no expansion is planned in the near future for countries such as Moldova, Ukraine and Georgia. How do you see the influence of the EU in those countries, where the carrot is practically gone and the stick is pretty small?

      Mr HAHN* – I have very much committed to pushing visa liberalisation forward. I am confident that we will get the decision through for both countries in the next two or three months. I see this as a duty – a commitment on the part of the European Union to stick to one’s promises once they have been uttered. We have agreed conditions with the countries concerned that certain criteria must be fulfilled. Georgia had to fulfil more than 40 criteria and Ukraine had to fulfil more than 140. Both countries have come good on that, so the member States and the European Parliament should make good on their promises.

      On the final decision on the Ukraine-European Union Association Agreement, the sticking point is the Netherlands. The parliamentary election there is in March. I think that there will be a vote in the first chamber before that, followed by a vote in the second chamber – the Senate – that will depend on the election. There will be a vote after that process, so I hope that we will move towards a decision subsequently.

      On the economic development of aspirational countries, look at the west Balkans as an example. We should not underestimate the economic potential of these countries; we are talking about maybe 20 million people. As in the case of Ukraine or Moldova, other eastern European neighbours, the growth rates are much higher than in the European Union. In the European Union, markets are relatively saturated but, in these regions, there is enormous potential. We should bear in mind that there are attractive sales markets for European companies in those areas. When I visit companies in Europe, I say, “Do you have any enterprises outside?” They often say that the older ones are in the European Union but that the newer ones are in eastern Europe, because those are the new markets. It is very important that we see that connection in order to support the jobs that already exist in the older markets in the European Union and to look towards the investments in south-eastern Europe. We must ensure that we can keep jobs in Germany, the Netherlands, Belgium, Austria and elsewhere in the European Union. I invite you to bear that in mind in your work and to put that point forward.

      With regard to the accession possibilities of other neighbours, I think we have to be passionate and patient at the same time. When looking at expansion, we have to strike the right balance and ensure we are realistic and pragmatic. We should not over-burden too many people – neither the people in the countries concerned, given their culture and historical circumstances, nor the citizens in the member States. It is important that we take it gradually, step by step.

      On the countries that you mentioned, we have a comprehensive free-trade agreement, which should allow them to connect more closely to the European Union, and there will also be visa liberalisation. Those measures have been or will be implemented, and we must now use and develop their consequences. We must look at how the economies develop in those countries and identify the next logical steps. It is important that we implement those measures, rather than just do something new every year. We must ensure that the agreements we have reached are embedded before we move on.

      On the eastern partnership, I mentioned mobility and connectivity. We need to ensure that transport routes and infrastructure are available, and we should encourage economic revitalisation. A lot of those countries are suffering because their economic development was one-sided, so they need diversification. Visa liberalisation can help with that, and also with flows of exports and the creation of jobs. My vision for Moldova, 25% of whose economy is now generated by exports, is that rather than exporting its population, it should develop its internal capacities and keep people there.

      Ms KALMARI (Finland) – Co-operation with the European Union and the Council of Europe promotes understanding and peace. Russia has been a member of the Council of Europe since it was established. Even now, work is continuing at all levels except here in the Parliamentary Assembly. Russia is a trade partner and a neighbour to Finland, as it is to many other countries. We do not have to agree with Russian policy but, from the perspective of the EU, is it time for us to negotiate, rather than pursue the current policy of isolation?

      Ms KOVÁCS (Serbia) – For aspirant countries such as Serbia, it is extremely important to remain consistently on the European path. In that regard, it is necessary to have a signal from the EU that membership of the EU is a common goal that contributes to the stability of the union itself. Mr Commissioner, what is your opinion of accelerating the process of integrating the western Balkan countries, bearing in mind that the integration of that part of Europe would contribute to peace and security in the region?

      The PRESIDENT – Mr Badea is not present, so I call Ms Christoffersen from Norway.

      Ms CHRISTOFFERSEN (Norway) – Mr Commissioner, you mentioned Macedonia in a previous answer. You played a central role in the EU and US-brokered effort to end the political crisis in that country. What do you think of the political situation now, after the early parliamentary elections in December? Will Macedonia be able to form a government and move forward?

      Mr HAHN* – To answer the first question, I am always in favour of dialogue because talking brings people more closely together. That is something that we believe very strongly in my country. However, we cannot overlook certain things that are occurring. If international laws or rules are being flouted, there have to be consequences and sanctions need to be imposed. I am always in favour of doing whatever we can to solve those problems, but that can be done only if we have proper dialogue. We cannot solve those problems with violent, armed solutions; we can do so only with political solutions, and there can be political solutions only if there are talks.

      I assure you that there has been a successful west Balkans process – the so-called Berlin process. An annual summit was held in Paris last summer, three weeks after the Brexit vote, and it was attended by all the countries concerned. Great emphasis was placed on the further enlargement of the EU, but that process will take some time. There need to be talks, and the candidate countries need to step up their efforts. We are not going to slow down the pace in those countries, but we need to make it clear to them that they have to make sustainable efforts to clamp down on corruption, for instance. It is not just about enacting a law on corruption; we must ensure it is properly implemented and produces concrete results. We need to place great emphasis on that. On Serbia, for instance, we managed to open up funding for the accession process quickly. I hope that that process will continue and will not be delayed.

      I gave an answer relating to “The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia” earlier. I certainly hope that a government will be formed on a solid foundation as soon as possible, and that it will be geared towards sustainable progress from a European point of view. I hope we will initiate accession talks soon, but conditions need to be met. I think that all parties are very clear about that. However, that can be done only if a parliamentary majority and the government are in favour of implementing the necessary measures.

      The PRESIDENT – I will take two or three more questions, because we still have two or three minutes. I call Ms Katsarava from Georgia.

      Ms KATSARAVA (Georgia) – Mr Commissioner, let me first express my gratitude and appreciation for your and the European Union’s support for Georgia and the democratisation process that it has been implementing successfully and proactively over the past few years. The European Union’s support for Georgia is crucial, and we remain fully committed to continuing on that path. What potential is there to expand further the European Union’s engagement with Georgia, including by creating programmes and projects to continue that meaningful reform agenda and bring Georgia even closer to the EU?

      Mr XUCLÀ (Spain)* – Thank you very much, Mr President, for being generous with the time.

      Mr Commissioner, there is an ambitious political plan called the Barcelona process that aims at the regional integration of the northern and southern banks of the Mediterranean. We have moved on from that to the Euro-Mediterranean group, which aims at integration and co-operation on six major projects in areas including energy and education. What is your assessment of the health of that Euro-Mediterranean process?

      The PRESIDENT – I call Mr Corlăţean from Romania. He is not in the Chamber. We must now conclude the questions to Mr Hahn. Commissioner, you have the floor to answer the last two questions.

      Mr HAHN* – On Georgia, all I can do is repeat what I said earlier: we are on the brink of visa liberalisation; the free trade arrangement, which is deep and comprehensive, will be implemented; and the resources of the European Union are being made available. Today, there is an increase in the number of exports of Georgian goods to Europe, so we are already seeing the first effects. In April last year, we took the comprehensive decision about our southern and eastern neighbours, in particular our eastern neighbours’ connection to the European transport network. We need to implement that, too. That was one of the points I referred to – interconnectivity – and I think everybody can see that the Georgians will be brought closer to the European Union.

      On the last question, all I can say is that I took a decision to focus on the union with the Mediterranean countries. That is the best platform to raise the point you mentioned and push it forward. There are all sorts of initiatives in the Mediterranean – virtually every ex-Minister set something up on their own – but I think we need a bit of streamlining. We need to focus on the structures that are best suited to progress. I think the union for the Mediterranean is the best-suited structure to push things forward.

      I cannot tell you in detail where we stand on the health issue, but I would assume that that is uncontroversial politically. It therefore ought to be possible to make some progress, but that is dependent on Ministers in the region pushing these initiatives forward. I will take this point away with me. As I said, I have just come back from the Barcelona conference, where education was very much emphasised, and what is possible in education should surely also be possible in health.

      The PRESIDENT – We must now conclude the questions to Mr Hahn.

      On behalf of the Assembly, I thank him most warmly for his address and for the answers given to questions.

      Thank you very much for that most interesting exchange of views. The Council of Europe and the European Union are natural partners in upholding a real international legal order based on the fundamental values and standards we share – our moral compass, as you rightly called it in your speech. Today, against the background of the challenges Europe faces – you mentioned them in your speech – we have to remind our citizens of the concrete benefits Europe has brought to our homes. I welcome the practical approach, and, as you said, mobility and people-to-people contacts, especially among youth. Youth are an excellent group to achieve this. You can count on the Assembly’s support on that front. Thank you very much, Mr Hahn.

      The ballots to elect judges to the European Court of Human Rights are still open. Those who have not yet voted may still do so by going to the area behind the President’s Chair. I hope to announce the results of the elections before the end of the sitting this afternoon.

3. Address by Mr Nicos Anastasiades, President of Cyprus

      The PRESIDENT – We will now hear an address by Mr Nicos Anastasiades, President of Cyprus. After this, President Anastasiades will take questions from the floor.

      Dear President, welcome to the Assembly Chamber. It is a great honour to have you here today. We met almost two months ago in Nicosia. At that time, the talks on the reconciliation of Cyprus had reached an impasse. As you come to the Chamber today, the auspices are more favourable. The resumption of negotiations earlier this month, which have already led to positive developments, conveys a message of hope for a longstanding peace not only for your country but for our entire continent. In your new year’s message to your people, you expressed the hope that Greek and Turkish Cypriots will soon feel safe and proud in a reunited homeland.

      I reiterate the full support of our Assembly and hope for a positive outcome to the negotiations. It would represent a strong signal for all Europe. It would be all the more meaningful if it came during your chairmanship of the Council of Europe, an Organisation that since its foundation has sought to protect and promote peace and human rights in all its member States. We are privileged and delighted to have you in this Chamber at this important juncture of history. Dear President, you have the floor.

      Mr ANASTASIADES (President of Cyprus)* – Mr President, Secretary General of the Council of Europe, esteemed members of the Parliamentary Assembly, ladies and gentlemen, please allow me to begin by expressing my particular joy. It is a great pleasure to be here, and I thank you for the invitation to address the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe. My joy is all the greater because we are in the middle of the Cypriot chairmanship of the Council of Europe. My presence here is proof of the importance that the Republic of Cyprus places on the Council of Europe and on the role that this institution plays in building and strengthening respect for the principles and core values of European culture.

      With the European Convention on Human Rights as a cornerstone, the Council of Europe has developed a number of bodies, at the forefront of which is the European Court of Human Rights, that play an essential role in the promotion and protection of respect for the individual rights and liberties of all those who live in Europe and outside it. The existence of European legal culture is one of the great achievements of European citizens, so the Republic of Cyprus places particular importance on the Court’s role as a guardian of the Convention and sees it as a unique mechanism for the protection of rights. The Court’s rulings have to be implemented completely and unconditionally by all member States; that is not only an obligation on them all but a necessary condition for the strengthening of the rule of law in the countries of the Council of Europe. A decisive role is played by the Parliamentary Assembly, as the only forum in which democratic dialogue takes place between the 47 members of the Council of Europe. It is a bridge between the people of Europe, embracing cultural diversity, promoting mutual understanding and forging consensus. We will push forward on that front during Cyprus’s chairmanship, to promote publicly the role that the Council of Europe can play in responding to the major challenges that Europe confronts collectively.

      Accession to the Council of Europe in 1961 was one of the first decisions of the newly formed Republic of Cyprus. It constituted an indication of a deep commitment to the principles and core values of the Council of Europe: the establishment of democratic institutions, the rule of law and the importance of solidarity between member States. Another important step for the Republic of Cyprus was the ratification in October 1962 of the European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms, which has been incorporated into national legislation of the highest importance. Since then, Cyprus has ratified more than 135 conventions of the Council of Europe. It voluntarily participates in all monitoring mechanisms, which has led to the strengthening of the rule of law and respect for human rights in Cyprus.

      The major challenges that Europe confronts today – the economic crisis, terrorism, waves of migrants – have created an atmosphere of insecurity and uncertainty among our citizens. Unfortunately, we have seen the resurgence of some frightening phenomena. Xenophobic and other kinds of hate speech, populism and extremist elements are on the rise. In that context, #NoHateNoFear – your initiative, Mr President, and that of the Parliamentary Assembly – and any actions in that direction are of particular importance, and I would like to take this opportunity to thank you.

      The particular message that the Republic of Cyprus wants to deliver during its chairmanship is one of strengthening democratic security in Europe. We have to work on the basis of common values to strengthen our democratic structures and the rule of law, create open societies that embrace pluralism and tolerance, and oppose any forms of fanaticism and intolerance. Cyprus’s chairmanship places primary importance on advancing those issues, which are the basic pillars of the Council of Europe and are also core values of the European Union.

      Esteemed President, with all the challenges that Europe has to confront today, the moment has come for us to be part of a constructive, creative dialogue, to look at our citizens’ concerns, take them to heart and find some way of solving our problems. Through our political actions, we have to make the concept of the active citizen a reality. Education is particularly important; educating citizens with democratic consciousness and awareness is another priority of our chairmanship. Dialogue, co-operation and the creation of a culture of peaceful coexistence are exceptionally important if we are to cultivate and instil the idea of an active citizen with a critical mind, a constructive approach, a democratic ethos, diligence, solidarity and tolerance of diversity. As our experience in Europe has shown, the promotion of those fundamental rights constitutes the essence of European identity.

      By strengthening European structures and investing in the process of European integration with absolute respect for the principles and values of Europe, our continent has succeeded in dealing with the numerous challenges that have emerged since the Second World War. The need for a deeper level of democratic security in Europe today requires maintaining that continuum of effective co-operation not only at a national but at a regional level and in co-operation with international organisations. Co-operation between the Council of Europe and the European Union has been particularly successful in promoting common values and aims, not only in the continent of Europe but in neighbouring regions. The Council of Europe’s co-operation with the UN, the OSCE and other international organisations is equally important and has added value to achieving those common goals.

      Mr President, esteemed members of the Parliamentary Assembly, I would like to express my absolute satisfaction and my warmest thanks, because the Assembly has adopted a whole raft of resolutions and recommendations for restoring justice and for a peaceful resolution of a problem that is truly European: the Cyprus issue. I cannot but point out the very important resolutions and recommendations issued by your body and the various rulings of the European Court of Human Rights that mention various facets of the Cyprus issue, such as the major humanitarian crisis, with individuals missing, trapped in enclaves or displaced; the closed zone of Famagusta; the destruction of cultural heritage; and the distortion and alteration of the democratic process because of settlers in the northern part of the island.

      

      I could not appear here before you without mentioning the new efforts being made right now in order to achieve some sort of resolution of the totally unacceptable state of affairs that has prevailed on Cyprus over the past 43 years. I would like to be clear on this. My intent is not to blame this, that or the next party. What I would like to do is inform you of the progress that has been achieved and the various problems we continue to confront. Over the past 20 months, we have made a new effort, and I must admit there has been progress on the chapters of governance, the division of authority, economy and the European Union and, to a lesser extent, the chapter on property. Although there has been considerable progress, there continue to be differences and different views on numerous issues that concern the aforementioned chapters, the most important of which involves the properties issue.

      Over the past couple of months we have focused our efforts on a discussion on two decisive chapters: territorial adjustments, and security and guarantees. On the issue of safety and security in Europe, allow me to pause on the chapter that concerns security and guarantees, which touches on the international dimensions of the Cyprus issue. One cannot mention Cyprus’s security without referring to the 1960 Treaty of Guarantee, signed by the Republic of Cyprus and Turkey, Greece and the UK, who were the guarantor powers. I also feel the need to mention, and I have to accept, that unfortunately the source of the problems that we confront today was just that: the Treaty of Guarantee, which unfortunately gave the impression to its custodians – the guarantors, as it were – that they had the right to intervene in the internal affairs of the newly established State. The culmination of that was the Turkish invasion of 1974. The pretext was to restore constitutional order following the coup d’état orchestrated by the junta in Athens; of course, that led to the Turkish invasion.

      Unfortunately, rather than restoring a constitutional order, Turkey violently took over the northern part of the island – 37% of the entire island of the Republic of Cyprus – forcing 167 000 Greek Cypriots, about a third of the population, to abandon their homes and move to the southern part of the island: the part under the control of the Republic of Cyprus. Given those events, we feel that similar such anachronistic adjustments can only create problems. They cannot constitute a response to any sort of concerns – justified or not – that may exist on either side. At the same time, and without ignoring the need for the security of one community not to constitute a threat to the other community, with that in mind we have submitted a comprehensive proposal that we feel effectively confronts the concerns of both communities.

      Allow me to focus on what has been agreed upon already – this will constitute a cornerstone of the final agreement on the resolution of the Cyprus issue. Among those points – these are points of convergence and core principles of the agreement – are that, first, the internal structure of the Republic of Cyprus will be on the basis of a bizonal communal structure with political equality of the two communities. Secondly, the independence and territorial integrity of the united Cyprus will be ensured totally on the basis of international law and the UN Charter – and, of course, since Cyprus is a member of the European Union, the acquis communautaire plays a role as well.

      Thirdly, there are constitutional provisions that will strictly prohibit succession or unification of part of the island by a third country. Fourthly, in order to secure bizonality, each of the constituent parts will have administrative limits. Fifthly, in order to secure bi-communality and political equality, it is not permitted for the federal government to intervene in the internal affairs of one or both of the constituent parts.

      Another element is for effective participation in governance of the State to be secured by both communities in order to have an effective decision-making structure. That has been set up in such a fashion that we will avoid having a situation in which one community imposes itself on the other. As a result, first, any sort of military guarantee – or, worse than that, the right to intervene militarily on the part of a third country – is not only unnecessary but would constitute an anachronism. Furthermore, that would violate the independence and sovereignty of an independent country that is a member of the UN, the EU, the Council of Europe and numerous other international organisations and violate the Charter of the United Nations and international law. Secondly, considering that the situation today is totally different from that in 1960 – or 1974, for that matter – any sort of presence of Turkish military forces or guarantee forces, or guaranteed rights for Turkey, would work contrary to the Greek Cypriot community; simply because of the strength and geographic distance of Turkey, that would be considered a constant threat to Greek Cypriots.

      Thirdly, putting one community or the other under the custodianship or influence of a guarantor would be a factor for instability that could create the possibility for succession and strengthen tendencies of an irredentist nature. That would create a total lack of the political balance that is desired, and there would be that sense of one community’s superiority over the other. As a result, we would have not consensus but rather essentially a dead-end and destabilisation. Furthermore, that is incompatible with the basic course of sovereignty and that of the international entity, which every single country has. In such a situation, it would be totally unacceptable if a third country were to be invited to intervene and violate the country’s independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity. I cannot provide clearer examples on that. It would be as if the Russian Federation were invited to guarantee the independence of Estonia or Latvia, or if one of the federal states of Germany asked for another country to be one of its guarantors. I think you can clearly understand what the problems are.

      In the immediate future, the steps taken on resolving the Cyprus issue will be extremely decisive. I am absolutely sure that if all of the parties involved and, specifically – I say this not critically – Turkey also come forward with creative and constructive proposals, we can achieve resolution of the Cyprus issue on the basis and within the framework of core European principles and values. I would like to repeat once again my determination to work towards achieving a resolution that would truly re-unify the Republic of Cyprus, but which, more importantly, would protect all its citizens, Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots, creating a modern State that is compatible with everything that is necessary and desired by the European Union and creating the prospects for peaceful coexistence between the inhabitants of the island. We are certain that a resolution of the Cyprus problem on the basis of the principles of the Council of Europe, respecting liberties and human rights, is a condition of creating democratic security and safety in Europe and the south-eastern Mediterranean region.

      In closing, let me thank and congratulate you warmly on the ever so arduous task that you perform. The work that you do here in the Assembly is extremely valuable. The Republic of Cyprus will continue to give its support and to contribute in every possible way to achieve those common goals for a Europe that we all dream of – a Europe of democracy, freedom, liberty and justice, but also a human Europe: a Europe of culture and tolerance. Ladies and gentlemen, thank you very much.

      The PRESIDENT – Thank you very much, Mr President, for a most interesting address. Members of the Assembly now have questions to put to you. I remind them that questions must be limited to no more than 30 seconds. Colleagues, you must please ask questions, not make speeches. I will now allow one question from each of the political groups.

      Mr OVERBEEK (Netherlands, Spokesperson for the Group of the Unified European Left) – Mr President, thank you for your informative presentation. As you made clear, one of the key issues is security. You also made it clear that the existing guarantor system can no longer function in the future. It is to be expected that the United Nations will have a role to play in the future arrangements. Could you please elaborate on the various scenarios that are being discussed – the Kosovo scenario, the Northern Ireland scenario, and so forth?

      The PRESIDENT – Thank you, Mr Overbeek. I ask members to keep to 30 seconds.

      Mr ANASTASIADES* – I fully agree with you. As I mentioned, under the comprehensive proposal to deal with the various concerns of one community or the other, it is of course foreseen that the UN Security Council will have to adopt a very strong resolution indeed, under Article 7, so that all citizens feel that the international community is following and at the same time intervening, if necessary of course, to secure peace and adhere to the various principles adopted by both constituent parties for the respect of human rights.

      Mr VAREIKIS (Lithuania, Spokesperson for the Group of the European People’s Party) – Mr President, we are closely following the talks and your attempts to secure unification and security of the country. A few months ago we faced the coup d’état in Turkey. How did the measures that the Turkish Government took to restore order in their country influence your talks with the communities about the future of the country?

      Mr ANASTASIADES* – First, I must condemn this coup d’état and of course send my condolences to those who lost their lives. On the other hand, if some sort of body has been put together to investigate the persecution of individuals, that is important. In answer to the question, no difference was noted in the Turkish Cypriot position. In other words, the situation did not deteriorate. Through dialogue, the position of the two sides will be made clear, in an attempt to resolve the issue overall.

      Ms DURRIEU (France, Spokesperson for the Socialist Group)* – We had strong hopes for a possible agreement in Geneva. There is no agreement and we are disappointed. Is this a crisis or a stalemate? Is it only a matter of thinking that questions of security and the withdrawal of Turkish troops were a priority? You talked about a few months or a few years, so this is my question. When would our next meeting be, and do you still believe in reunification of the island?

      Mr ANASTASIADES* – I am unhappy about this, because there was great disappointment after that first meeting in Geneva, following certain hopes and ambitions that existed. There was no reason for that, because it was just a beginning for us to move forward on this particular front – in other words, to resolve the Cyprus issue – so I feel that this initial disappointment was not really necessary. The fact that we met was a success. It has not come to an end. We are continuing along this path of dialogue between the two sides and involving the guarantors of the Republic of Cyprus. Specifically, the two communities are very concerned about the guarantees. They want to see progress of such a nature that would allow us to arrive at a final resolution of the Cyprus issue.

      Mr HOWELL (United Kingdom, Spokesperson for the European Conservatives Group) – Mr President, I want to ask you an economic question. To what extent will the development of offshore gas resources with Israel benefit the whole of Cyprus and how widely will those benefits be spread?

      Mr ANASTASIADES* – There is no doubt whatever that this will be for the benefit of all on Cyprus. Of course, any sort of reserves would pertain to the State, and the State belongs to its people, who are made up of Turkish Cypriots and Greek Cypriots. Thus, if a solution is to be found, the benefit will be for the entire island and all the people on it, and will play an important role in boosting the economy of the country in numerous different ways. Also, the exclusive economic zone of the Republic of Cyprus and its use by neighbouring countries is something from which Cyprus will reap great benefits. We feel that Cyprus will become a major economic centre in the region and play an important role in European energy security. Taking into consideration Cyprus’s geopolitical position and, more specifically, its geographic position vis-à-vis the various reserves of natural gas and possibly other energy sources – oil, for example – the benefit will undoubtedly be important and, once again, for the benefit of all on the island.

      Ms OEHRI (Liechtenstein, Spokesperson for the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe) – What is happening with the property of the expelled Cypriots in both parts of Cyprus and how are you going to deal with that property in case of a possible union? What is the situation with regard to the cultural heritage in the Turkish part of Cyprus?

      Mr ANASTASIADES* – That is our aim. Without of course ignoring the fact that there are properties which for the public good may not be returned, what is important and has been agreed upon is that we recognise the right of ownership. In order to deal with the rights of property owners, agreements have been forged with regard to five remedies: partial restitution; full restitution; alternative properties; exchange of properties; and other similar such mechanisms. In this fashion, we will find the best solution to these very complicated property issues, which are linked to the territorial adjustments in that particular chapter. I would like to hope that there will be an agreement on the property issue. In other words, I hope that we will have the return of the considerable properties under the Turkish Cypriot authority which, since 1974, have not been in the hands of their legal owners, so I hope for a certain amount of return.

      The PRESIDENT – We will now have groups of three questions. The first will be from Mr Rouquet.

      Mr ROUQUET (France) – Last night in New York, the United Nations chief negotiator expressed the hope that it will be possible in the next few weeks to convene another multilateral conference on the future of the island. He referred to negotiations needing to take place at several levels: the constitutional level; on external security and internal security; and on the mechanisms for ensuring enforcement of a possible agreement. Can you tell us more about this, Mr President?

      Mr COMTE (Switzerland) – A few years ago, the first agreement was attempted by the two communities in Cyprus. What lessons have been learned by the Republic of Cyprus from this first attempt, which came to nothing? Have the fears and hopes of the Cypriots been better taken into account since then? Do you think that the agreement being offered now is better than the one that was rejected?

      Sir Roger GALE (United Kingdom) – Mr President, the Assembly wishes you well in your determined efforts to achieve a reunification of Cyprus. In your view, is external involvement helping or hindering the process? Should it not be left to the two communities on the island – the Turkish and the Greek Cypriot communities – to determine what package should be put in referendums to their respective peoples?

      Mr ANASTASIADES* – As concerns the statement made by Mr Eide, it simply confirms what I said earlier. In other words, things do not end with Geneva; that was the beginning of a dialogue between the guarantors, the Republic of Cyprus and the two communities – not excluding the European Union, because the Republic of Cyprus is a full member of the European Union. Thus, there is nothing for me to comment beyond expressing my hope that, in the end, it will be possible within the next couple of weeks or months to achieve a certain amount of convergence and that an agreement will be forged as has been stated in the communiqué of the United Nations. In other words, it can happen only under the condition that the security of one community will not pose a threat to the security of the other community.

      On the question posed by Mr Rouquet of France, on what lessons we learned from the first effort to resolve the Cyprus issue in 2004 – the Annan plan – there are numerous different things that we can draw from that. First, it is impossible for third parties to find a solution to problems that are better known by the parties on the ground, who are directly involved. That is one lesson that we can draw. That created a kind of negative atmosphere and it resulted in a plan that was imbalanced and that created among the people a sense of a lack of certainty. People felt that they had not been done justice. There were numerous different elements in that plan that created that atmosphere.

      On the question asked by Sir Roger Gale, the dialogue that is taking place now is between Cypriots, without foreign intervention. For that reason, one side can better understand the concerns of the other side. We lived in peaceful co-existence for decades, let us not forget, and we have the same life experiences. It was the intervention of third parties that led to the situation that prevails today – a situation that is unacceptable for Turkish Cypriots, for Greek Cypriots, for all. This joint effort aims to find a common solution that would allow us finally to come up with something that would be 100% acceptable to both communities. Our decisiveness is there, and efforts are being made in order to avoid the impression of victors and vanquished. It is very important for us to adhere to this particular idea and to the principles of the European Union and of the Council of Europe. All of this will allow us to live peacefully together over time and create a state that will finally create an environment of stability, peace and hope for the long-term future.

      On the third question, which was on the intervention of third parties, which Sir Roger Gale also mentioned, I think that I have responded to that. What must be respected in negotiations on the property issue is that there must be no foreign intervention. The only intervention that could take place would be on the part of the Security Council of the United Nations, and only where necessary to find some sort of solution or to implement whatever is necessary to ensure a smooth transition to a new status quo, based on that which had been agreed upon.

      The PRESIDENT – We will now have three more questions. The first was to be from Ms Naira Karapetyan, from Armenia, but she is not present. Therefore, I call Mr Bildarratz.

      Mr BILDARRATZ (Spain) – Given the clear example of the obvious problems created when it has not been possible to abide by the calendar that was set, I would like to ask the following question. Do you consider that the agreement should be submitted to a referendum in both parts of the island when these peace negotiations are far from creating unanimity, or do you think that a different sort of strategy should be opted for to avoid any further division?

      Mr BILLSTRÖM (Sweden) – Thank you, Mr President, for coming here today, and I look forward to visiting your lovely island in a few weeks as the head of a delegation from the Swedish Parliament. My question is very short. What are the major stumbling blocks in the reunification of your lovely island?

      Mr TILKI (Hungary) – Hungary welcomes the efforts of the leaders of the Greek and Turkish Cypriot communities to reach a comprehensive settlement on the reunification of Cyprus. Mr President, how would you evaluate the results of the latest multilateral conference in Geneva? Will you tell us a little about your thinking and about where you are on that?

      Mr ANASTASIADES* – In response to the first question, on time and whether there is faith in a positive result from any referendum, any agreement will result in simultaneous referendums and I feel that we must achieve two positive results accepting the solution. It all depends on the content of the solution, and numerous different factors play a role; it depends to a certain extent on the level of respect for human rights and to what extent people feel that the Republic of Cyprus will be secure and safe. Progress has been considerable, but if we transcend our problems we will be much more successful in our negotiations. I thank the Swedish authorities for facilitating the dialogue process.

In Cyprus, religion has never – I repeat never – played a role, regardless of the fact that there is a religious difference. The Turkish Cypriots are Muslim, the Greek Cypriots are Christian, but there has never been a problem with that. There was always mutual respect and a broad acceptance on both sides of the confessional differences. As I mentioned, the major problems are with the need for a just resolution of the territorial adjustment and property issues, for the ridding of any foreign forces or occupying forces from the country, and for banning any third country from intervening militarily. We want an operational country with respect for human rights, because we do not want to create a dysfunctional State that will not be durable. One basic facet of an agreement is the guaranteed smooth operation and implementation of its different aspects. There is an implementation issue, too.

      The third question was about the Geneva results, and we find ourselves at the beginning of the process with a long way before us. We still have not had a clear differentiation of the various positions, so it is difficult for me to express optimism or pessimism at this point. Turkey had until now never expressed any desire to discuss guarantees, and any adjustment that would create disturbance in the constitutional order of the country would have to take into account the reverberations for one community or the other – creating an atmosphere of security for one community while creating insecurity for the other would be unacceptable.

The question now is about Turkey’s decision on the guarantee system and whether it will remove its occupying forces on the island. A lot hangs on that. One must take into consideration the fact that there are only 40 nautical miles between Turkey and Cyprus. One argument about guarantees is that the presence of foreign troops on the island must be considered, as must terrorism. If we want territorial integrity and sovereignty for this new State, it must be quite clear through a guarantee that such a situation should not exist. Let us not forget the region we are talking about. Lebanon, Israel and Jordan are all our neighbours, and we have friendly ties with them so there is no reason to suppose that there might be some sort of military intervention or foreign military presence from anywhere else. The decisiveness we and, more importantly, the Turkish Government will display will play an important role in the evolution of events on the island.

      Mr ARIEV (Ukraine) – I have read several statements from Cypriot politicians containing willingness to lift EU sanctions against the Russian Federation. Do you think that that will help to stop Russian aggression towards neighbours and other States – both past aggressions and future ones?

      Ms KAVVADIA (Greece)* – Mr President, welcome. We have been following the negotiations with great interest, and the people of Cyprus – Turkish Cypriots and Greek Cypriots – appear to be moving along more decisively than ever. Of course, your role has been extremely important in that. The situation right now is not the best because there is an existential crisis in the air, particularly given that the core principles and values of the European Union are being tested. Do you feel that a reunified Cyprus will create a wonderful example of tolerance for the rest of Europe?

      Mr SABELLA (Palestine, Partner for Democracy) – Mr President, there was talk about a role for Cyprus, given its problems, in resolving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and for practical arrangements to be made between Cyprus and the Gaza Strip under the Palestinian National Authority. Is this realistic or simply wishful thinking?

      Mr ANASTASIADES* –       On the question of getting rid of the sanctions, the first point is that we must respect the territorial integrity and sovereignty of each country. I understand that right now we have the Normandy process. The Minsk process is also ongoing, which is extremely important. It is very important that there is respect for what has been decided upon up until now. Ongoing dialogue can bear much more fruit than anything else. That does not mean we are to ignore the resolutions or decisions that have already been made by the European Union.

      Furthermore, I repeat that dialogue is absolutely imperative, because sanctions alone are not enough; they do not bear the result that one would like, and I do not know if they are completely effective. Look at what has happened in the meantime, irrespective of the sanctions – I am talking about Crimea. It is necessary for all to respect the sovereignty of the United Nations and the independence of nations, but dialogue is imperative. We should reassess efforts that have not resulted in anything and find new ways.

       In the crisis that Europe is confronting, will resolution of the Cyprus issue constitute an example? I think it will, to a certain extent. It would be a success story for Europe because it is a European problem. At the same time, it would serve as a model for peaceful resolution of different types of problem, particularly those in the broader region, and for peaceful co-existence. If we look at what is going on in the region, and the conflicts between Christians and Muslims or confessions overall, Cyprus would serve as an example of stability. Furthermore, it would be a factor of stability. That is ever so important in the circumstances that prevail right now in Europe.

      With regard to Gaza and the Palestinians, as I have said on other occasions, we have excellent relations with the Palestinian Authority, but that does not mean we do not have good relations with Israel; we have fine relations with Israel as well. We try in every way to serve as mediators, to the extent that we can, in order to resolve the Gaza issue. One of our principles is that a solution can be found only on the basis of recognition and implementation of United Nations resolutions and recognition of the Palestinian State and that of Israel. The efforts of numerous countries, including member States of the European Union, will bear fruit if there is mutual understanding and a more profound understanding of the problems and the causes of them.

      The PRESIDENT* – As Mr Villumsen is not here, I call Mr Destexhe, from the Republic of Belgium –

      Mr DESTEXHE (Belgium)* – Not yet.

      The PRESIDENT* – Sorry; the Kingdom of Belgium.

      Mr DESTEXHE (Belgium)* – Mr President, I would like to ask about the situation of Greek and Christian Orthodox heritage in the northern occupied part of Cyprus. You referred to it in your address, but I would like to know a little more.

      Mr FOURNIER (France)* – More than two years ago, the European Union adopted several different types of sanction, including economic sanctions, against the Russian Federation. That decision was linked to Russian activities considered to be acts of destabilisation during the Ukrainian crisis. The question of whether the Minsk agreements are fully implemented will decide whether the sanctions are to be lifted or renewed. There is ongoing debate on that in the European Union. What is Cyprus’s attitude to that rather thorny issue?

      Mr ÇAĞLAR (Representative of the Turkish Cypriot Community)* – With a historic mission, Mr Akinci has moved forward over the past 21 months with great courageousness in this negotiation process, and I would like to congratulate you both. Various issues have been discussed in Geneva and the technical committees, which bring together the guarantors. That has been extremely valuable. When do you feel those discussions will resume? Who will be the federal president of this particular State? What sort of rotating system will exist? Those are my questions, but above all I would like to congratulate you and Mr Akinci on the efforts made.

      Mr ANASTASIADES* – I have to say that the situation concerning cultural heritage in the occupied part of the island is not that which we would all like. A number of steps in the right direction have been taken through the restoration and preservation of monuments. There is a technical committee, which has done considerable and important work. I would like to believe, on the basis of what we have agreed, that Christian places of worship will be returned, as a number have already, in the occupied area. Religious services now take place. Although a number of steps still have to be taken in order for us to speak about total restoration or respect of cultural heritage, I feel we are at least on the right path.

      I have already responded with regard to the position of Cyprus on the sanctions against Russia. We must continue with the Normandy process, which has begun, and the Minsk dialogue, on the basis of what has already been agreed; we must continue along that path. Here, we speak about respect of the territorial integrity and sovereignty of Ukraine. It is absolutely necessary for that to be part of it. Upon that foundation, dialogue ought to continue.

      To my Turkish Cypriot compatriot, after the election of Mr Akinci there is indeed better understanding of the problems that exist, but the most important thing is our decisiveness and will to achieve some sort of solution to the Cyprus issue. That will allow both communities to move forward and to benefit from the situation that we hope will be created. The technical committees will continue their work, in order for us to move forward and reassume negotiations at the political level, where decisions will finally be made. I cannot say what period is necessary for convergence and agreement. A meeting is scheduled with Mr Akinci and representatives from the United Nations, to arrange for the dialogue process to be re-initiated and for us to move forward. However, I do not want to make any specific statement on the matter. That may have a negative effect in terms of the special climate that prevails between us and the negotiating parties. Any issues or differences will have to be resolved at the negotiating table, but my will and that of Mr Akinci is there and we have the necessary precondition for us to be able to forward for peace, stability and security, and for the long-term prospects of the citizens on our island.

      The PRESIDENT – Thank you, Mr President, for your most inspiring address and for your support for the Council of Europe and the European Convention on Human Rights. Our fundamental standards and values are part of the European legal culture and our European identity, which, as you say, is solidly based on the principles of tolerance, respect for diversity and humanity. We also really value your support for our #NoHateNoFear initiative, and I thank you most sincerely for that. We will still be interested in your vision for the settlement of the Cyprus issue and the reunification of the island. I greatly appreciated our discussion in my office this morning, and let me assure you that you can count on our full support, our tools and our expertise. Thank you very much indeed. I wish you all the best, Mr President.

      The ballots to elect judges to the European Court of Human Rights are still open. Those who have not yet voted may still do so by going to the area behind the President’s Chair. I hope to announce the results of the elections before the end of the sitting this afternoon.

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

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

      Mr ARIEV (Ukraine) – I am just wondering about the distribution of materials in the Chamber promoting me while the President of Cyprus was speaking to the Assembly; despite some misinterpretation of my words, I want to thank Ms Zourabian, from Armenia, for doing that. But we have seen an attempt to pressurise me as the rapporteur, and I do not accept it. All those who want to pressurise me should remember that that is an absolutely useless action.

      The PRESIDENT – Thank you, Mr Ariev, for your point of order. The President has no comment to make on this; I think you have given us the information.

4. Free debate

      The PRESIDENT – We now come to the free debate. This debate will be split into two parts. The second part will take place on Friday morning.

      I remind members that this debate is for topics not already on the agenda agreed on Monday morning. Speaking time will be limited to three minutes.

      The free debate will finish at 12.45 p.m.

      Mr LE BORGN’ (France, Spokesperson for the Socialist Group) – In this free debate, I wish to draw the Assembly’s attention to the issue of poverty, which strikes an increasing number of children in Europe. Our Chamber is already familiar with this subject; we have Resolution 1995 (2014) and Resolution 2044 (2014) on eradicating poverty for children in Europe. Fortunately, a majority of us agree that fighting child poverty should be a priority for our Organisation and for each of our member States. Child poverty can be measured in terms of unbearable inequality in health, education and family links. All those subjects are linked to children’s fundamental rights, which are enshrined in a number of international instruments and treaties, including the Council of Europe’s. The crisis hits children hard, so do austerity policies. Evicting a family from their house creates profound trauma in children, and is a threat to their personal safety and self-esteem. What has the Council of Europe been doing for the past three years, since our last debate on this subject in the Chamber and since the Commissioner for Human Rights presented a road map in 2014 on the crisis and the human rights of children? I am not passing judgment here, but we need to receive specific, accurate information on how effective the policies that we have recommended have proven.

      I have read a recent report from Save the Children, an organisation to which I wish to pay tribute. The report says that poverty and exclusion in childhood often means poverty and exclusion throughout life. Poverty has a lasting effect on children when it comes to their expressing their emotions, relating to others or finding their place in society, for example, as parliamentarians or as citizens. As a father, I cannot be content with taking a back seat and doing nothing. The fight against child poverty must be one carried out in the name of children’s rights, and the redistribution of wealth based on solidarity should be a hallmark of our policies. The poverty of thousands of children here is something we must react to. Let us unite so that, on behalf of Europe, we can win this fight.

      Lord BLENCATHRA (United Kingdom, Spokesperson for the European Conservatives Group) – I suggest that this year this Assembly should mount an exhibition to commemorate the 100 years since the first socialist Government was created following the Bolshevik revolution of 1917 and the many variations of socialism that have been adopted in more than a score of countries around the world since. It should recognise that the ideals of socialism, based on “from each according to his ability, to each according to his need”, are noble and meritorious sentiments. It should acknowledge that the ideal of socialism has inspired a rich plethora of socialist systems, but all characterised by State ownership and government control of the means of production, as well as the political ideologies, theories and movements that aim to establish them.

      The exhibition should list all the countries where socialism was implemented: the Soviet Union, Germany, China, Cambodia, North Korea, the Democratic Republic of Vietnam, Ethiopia, Bulgaria, East Germany, Cuba, Angola, Albania, Laos, Bolivia, Venezuela, Argentina, Zimbabwe, Ecuador and Chile, among others. Then it should list the 130 million people it slaughtered by genocide, democide and politicide, as well as the countless millions tortured in gulags and forced labour camps. The principal areas to showcase would be: the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, where about 35 million were killed; the National Socialist Workers Party under Hitler, which killed 6 million Jews in the Holocaust and 20 million others in world war 2; the Communist Party of China, which killed about 65 million; the Cambodian Khmer Rouge and Pol Pot, who killed 2 million; North Korea, where 3.6 million died; and the about 5 million others who died in the dozen other countries that ran socialist regimes. It should confirm that the Holocaust was the greatest crime committed against humanity, but that socialism is the greatest criminal system of government ever inflicted on humanity. It should point out that the death, destruction and despair brought about by socialism is fundamentally flawed and based on completely faulty principles that do not respect individualism and cannot nurture the human spirit, but rather kills and destroys it.

      In this 100th year of the disastrous experiment of socialism, this Assembly should resolve that socialism destroys hope and creates fear, and that the word “socialism” is toxic and should be de-legitimised. I suggest that we pronounce that decent left-of-centre political parties that believe in a form of social democracy are in danger of being tainted if they include the words “socialism” or “socialist” in their name or political philosophy. The Assembly should call on all political parties and groups that support freedom of the individual, the rule of law, democracy, liberty and free speech to remove the words “socialism” and “socialist” from their parties’ and groups’ lexicons and join in worldwide condemnation of its evils.

      Ms LUNDGREN (Sweden, Spokesperson for the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe) – We are all here due to the lessons that our forerunners learnt from history. Oppression by elected or unelected autocratic rulers towards people’s freedoms, fair justice, inclusive rights for majorities and minorities and the balance of power ends up in conflict and the loss of both hope and prosperity. The conclusions that our forerunners drew from our European history enabled them to build norms and systems for the benefit of us and our prosperous future. We developed their achievements and enjoyed the fruits of their work, but now it is up to us to make decisions and draw conclusions that will define Europe for our children and grandchildren.

      Will we address the growing new autocratic populist developments or will we hide in fear of being accused of bashing some countries, giving those autocrats shelter to grow their models? For us as liberals and democrats, the answer is obvious. We have to take up the torch from our predecessors and fight to develop our norms and standards against all those arguing for and initiating different kinds of so-called illiberal democracies, abandoning and installing new European orders. Freedoms and human rights are restricted or even stepped on when checks and balances are eroded, and when the media are stopped or censored. We must step up our efforts to speak and act. We all have a choice. We all know of the three monkeys: see no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil. That may be one choice, but I urge everyone to choose to speak for those who cannot and to listen to the alarm bells calling us to action. Fight for democracy, the rule of law and human rights. In other words, fight for our liberal values.

      The PRESIDENT – As Mr Kürkçü is not in the Chamber, I call Mr Feist.

      Mr FEIST (Germany, Spokesperson for the Group of the European People’s Party)* – Europe and the countries represented in the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe have become much less safe and more insecure as they face the threat of terrorism and terrorists more frequently. As a German citizen, I still relive the horror I experienced when the terrorist attack was carried out on the German Christmas market in Berlin, when people who had gone there to celebrate were killed in cold blood. Given the situation, we must give clear thought to exactly what measures should be taken to guarantee security without placing restrictions on freedom. Safety and security are important to us all, but we do not want overly to restrict freedom. It is important for us to agree on the standards that we want to apply to our own citizens, and that those standards apply to everyone.

      We just cannot understand someone who travels through Europe under 14 different identities to carry out a terrorist attack, and we need to clarify the situation. Safety and freedom are both important, and we must invest in training and educating young people. We need to portray an objective image of exactly what the situation is in Europe. History should not be seen in just one way; all the different aspects need to be taken on board.

      Young people need to be given a chance of a secure education and training. If we can do that, we will educate a whole generation that will be outward-looking, rather than only inward-looking. They will be there for other people. That is my real hope. The principles that we are here to champion and adhere to in the Council of Europe, including societal participation, will be fully applied. In other words, young people will play an active role in ensuring that Europe becomes a much better continent. That is my wish and, I think, our wish in the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe. We must come to an agreement on that. I call on all colleagues from different countries to do whatever they can to promote education and training to improve young people’s prospects.

      Mr MIGNON (France)* – Like many parliamentarians at the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe, I am sorry that we have been deprived of an urgent debate on Turkey. The request was presented by the Monitoring Committee and the Committee on Political Affairs and Democracy, but we have been deprived of a real debate. It is a shame that, once again, we are not brave enough to address a subject that is difficult, but that it is our duty to address. We are here to discuss all subjects, especially those that concern human rights.

      I say to our Turkish friends that we here in the Assembly have unanimously condemned the coup that took place in Turkey. We are not here to act as judges or prosecutors. We do not use an urgent debate to condemn. We want to understand, analyse and provide our contribution to the settlement of a situation that cannot go on for ever. It is a shame that our Turkish friends – I say our Turkish friends, because they are co-founders of the Council of Europe – feel attacked every time we talk about Turkey. That was the case this morning during the discussions of the Committee on Political Affairs and Democracy. There are a number of things we cannot say without them automatically feeling under attack.

      Turkey is not the only State to be in a state of emergency today. My own country, France, has declared a state of emergency, and I voted on it in the French Parliament. That does not mean that we cannot hear what others have to say. We are here to help each other. I am convinced that the debate that we should be holding this week under the urgent debate procedure would have helped our Turkish friends to uphold democracy. I have read the co-rapporteurs’ report, and I ask our Turkish friends to be particularly cautious about the legislative reforms that are under way.

      We need to have that debate in the next part-session, although I have some misgivings, and I wonder what arguments are going to be put forward to dissuade us from holding it. If this Parliamentary Assembly is to retain its credibility, it has to be brave enough to address all subjects, including the difficult ones. We have done so in the past. That is our purpose – our raison d’être – so let us be brave.

      Mr FARMANYAN (Armenia) – It is no secret that the integrity of our house of democracy has been shaken by the recent scandal involving our former colleague, Mr Luca Volontè. For your information, Mr Luca Volontè admitted that he accepted more than €2 million to help the Azerbaijani delegation deal with the issue of political prisoners here. Several media outlets are already using a special name: Luca Volontism.

      We are facing manifestations of that during every part-session. This morning, we discussed a report on freedom of expression and freedom of the media by Mr Ariev. We should all bear in mind that we are electing judges to the European Court of Human Rights to be guardians of justice. We launched GRECO to hold international organisations to account in their work against corruption. We should also take into account who will deal with this house of democracy and how when its image is seriously damaged. We need a cross-party alliance that clearly states that there is no room for corruption here in Strasbourg. I know that the Socialist Group has discussed that issue. The EPP has debated it for more than two hours and we are going to come back to it tomorrow. We should do whatever we can to restore the image of this house of democracy.

      I do not blame our Azerbaijani colleagues. Let us be frank: they do not care about democracy, human rights and media freedom in Azerbaijan. They needed to get a piece of paper stating that Nagorno-Karabakh is a part of Azerbaijan to show to their public and to please President Aliyev.

      We should say clearly that there is no room for corruption here. We should appoint a special rapporteur to investigate the claims of corruption involving Luca Volontè, Milica Marković, Bob Walter and perhaps some other figures. If we do not do so, corruption will continue to damage the image of this organisation. Let us stop it, colleagues.

      The PRESIDENT – Thank you. I remind you that the President said yesterday that we must respect each other. Respect should be shown in this house of democracy. I call Ms Crozon from France.

      Ms CROZON (France)* – Almost 70 years ago, the very first resolution of the United Nations set out the goal of eliminating atomic weapons from national armaments. The end of the Cold War gave us hope of seeing a world free of the threat of non-conventional – chemical or nuclear –weapons, but nothing of the sort happened. Worse, the threats are becoming more diverse. There is now the very serious risk that materiel or technologies will be disseminated to non-State actors, be they mafia or terrorists, against whom our classic deterrent doctrines are completely ineffectual.

      The world is more dangerous, and we have to regret the fact that there has been a stalemate for more than 20 years in the international negotiations on disarmament. Of course, some nuclear powers that have undertaken unilateral de-escalation policies, such as France or the United Kingdom; some have embarked on bilateral negotiations, such as the USA and Russia; and some have achieved tangible results, such as Iran, which has respected its commitments and obligations under the Non-Proliferation Treaty. Since the 1996 Nuclear Test Ban Treaty, which has never been properly implemented, no new chapter in multilateral negotiations has been opened up.

      It is therefore all the more remarkable that the General Assembly voted for resolution L41, which seeks to set up a new disarmament conference in 2017 with the aim of winning a final victory against nuclear weapons. I welcome the initiative by our friends from Austria and Ireland, along with others from Mexico, Brazil and South Africa, which was supported by 123 countries. Since 2010, NGOs have been united under the banner of that humanitarian initiative. I also salute the courage of our Dutch friends, who alone among the 28 members of NATO broke rank and supported the negotiations.

      It is a matter of great regret that so many countries in the northern hemisphere are isolated in that respect and are still stuck in the mindset of the post-Second World War world, with a model for disarmament that is no longer appropriate, but I remain hopeful. The fact that India and Pakistan abstained and that Japan announced that it is ready to participate in the conference is positive. Just because some countries have built their defence on nuclear deterrents does not mean that they cannot be a part of that proposal. We do not want to remain isolated. We must go back to our countries, take up this matter with our governments and explain to them how important it is that we too participate in the conference.

      The PRESIDENT – As Sir Roger Gale is not here, I call Ms Pashayeva from Azerbaijan.

      Ms PASHAYEVA (Azerbaijan)* – First, I would like to express my thanks to the Secretary General, Mr Jagland. In December, he called for the return of the body of Chingiz Gurbanov from the Armenia-Azerbaijan border. Unfortunately, there have been no positive developments, although the Red Cross has offered to facilitate the return. We want Mr Jagland’s statement to become a reality as soon as possible.

      We would like to thank President Agramunt and the Secretary General, Mr Jagland, for calling for the return of the two hostages, Dilgam Askerov and Shahbaz Guliyev, as soon as possible. The families of those individuals want that, and we would like the Council of Europe to reiterate the importance of returning those individuals. This is what we call for on behalf of the entire Azerbaijani delegation. We call for any information regarding this matter to be delivered to all.

      Dear friends, we find ourselves in very turbulent times: as well as the economic crisis, war, tension and terrorism along Europe’s borders are on the increase. This is cause for great concern. We have to think about the future of Europe. It is very important that how we confront the crises engulfing Europe, including the rise in terrorism, is taken up by the Council of Europe.

      We pay great attention to tolerance and the mutual co-existence of various religious groups. To promote transigence and tolerance, 2016 was declared a year of multiculturalism in Azerbaijan. A number of symposia, conferences and seminars were organised, and the President of Azerbaijan opened the Baku International Multiculturalism Centre, a centre for co-existence and tolerance.

      Mr RZAYEV (Azerbaijan)* – I will speak Russian.

      We have all been witness to what Mr Farmanyan, our colleague from Armenia, said. He said some very unjustified words about Azerbaijan. Unfortunately, everything he said about Azerbaijan was an effort to the draw the world’s attention away from Armenia’s underlying policies.

      There is no such thing as a situation where there is no choice. There is always a choice. We need to help our peoples to make the right choice and to ensure that things are better tomorrow than they are today. In that respect, distinguished colleagues, I would like to draw to your attention the fact that in November 2016 in Baku, we organised a platform for peace between Armenia and Azerbaijan. We invited our colleagues and comrades from Armenia. Three types of people – politologists, journalists and writers – came to Azerbaijan from Armenia. Although very little time has passed since we created our platform, we want to attract more people. Seven people have now visited Baku from Armenia. We look forward to hosting even more. We have the support of international organisations and it is very important for us to receive the support of all our distinguished colleagues here today in the Chamber. May I request that you take a look at the platform we have established and support us in our hopes to strengthen all the efforts to achieve peace in our region?

      Peace is so fragile in our region. We should all keep the principles of international law at the forefront of our minds – UN Security Council decisions from 2005 right through to 2014 and decisions taken here in Strasbourg. That is the best way to help our peoples and to give them the positive impulse to do what needs to be done to make the Southern Caucasus a new economic platform of prosperity for the two peoples, who have lived side by side for so long, to continue to co-exist peacefully. I hope my voice will be heard.

      Ms DURRIEU (France)* – France has taken a number of initiatives to promote the Israeli-Palestinian peace process. The most recent initiative took place on 15 January 2017 in the form of the Paris conference, which brought together 75 States and institutions. All the Geneva players were there. All the European Union member States were represented, as were all the States of the Arab League.

      The aim is to put a stop to the current impasse in the process and to take a clear position on the creation of illegal settlements. The political context has changed. On 23 December, UN Resolution 2344, which condemned the creation of settlements by Israel on Palestinian territories, was passed. For the very first time, the United States abstained. Israel continues to hold a very intransigent position. The new United States President, Mr Trump, has an unknown but very disquieting position. The situation in Palestine – there has been an upsurge in violence – is giving us cause for concern. It is very important for us to continue to advocate a two-State solution based on the 1967 borders. Only in these conditions will peace and stability in the Middle East be guaranteed.

      Mr CSENGER-ZALÁN (Hungary) – For our democratic institutions, the task we face in our work largely depends, directly and indirectly, on the outcome of elections worldwide. For all our member States, the outcome of an election that results in a new government has a special importance when it takes place in a neighbouring country. We greet the new Romanian Government and hope for a fruitful co-operation with the Council of Europe.

      In Mr Melescanu, who is in charge of Romanian Foreign Affairs, we are welcoming back a highly skilled statesman. He held that office previously, when Romania became a member of our Organisation. Today, I am asking the Assembly to assist the new Romanian Government, in particular Mr Melescanu and President lohannis, to make it possible for Romania to honour the obligations it made to the Council of Europe in 1993.

      I will quote only one paragraph from the obligation signed and ratified by Romania 24 years ago, which remains unfulfilled in a number of respects. Paragraph 8 of Opinion No. 176 (1993) states: “The Assembly calls upon the Romanian Government to return property to the churches and to permit the establishment and operation of church schools with a particular view to teaching children of minority groups in their own mother tongue.” According to his written declaration of 22 June 1993, Mr Melescanu confirmed that: “Romania wishes to honour its commitments and to be monitored in accordance with Assembly Order No. 488 (1993).”

      The former Prime Minister Victor Ponta also confirmed that Romania would honour its obligations when he delivered his speech here in this Chamber four years ago. If the Romanian Government fully honoured its obligations, it would also strengthen its credibility and respect not only in the Council of Europe, but worldwide.

      The present and the future depend on us working for the respect and dignity of the Council of Europe. I respectfully ask the Assembly to take on a facilitating role in this matter. Thank you for your kind attention.

      Mr BYRNE (United Kingdom) – At 10.41 a.m. today, the British Supreme Court ruled that the United Kingdom Government must consult parliament in order to trigger article 50 and begin the country’s departure from the European Union. A Bill will soon be laid and no doubt passed. But I speak for millions of people across the United Kingdom when I say that we are determined that this will not be the moment at which we turn our back on Europe, but the moment at which we set out our determination to redouble our effort to build a Europe that is stronger in the face of the challenges we confront: the challenges of peace, the challenges of poverty, the challenges of populism, the challenges of migration and the challenges of keeping our climate safe for generations to come.

      We in the United Kingdom have to recognise that, although for us this may be the end of a federal project, it may be the beginning of a confederal project – a new era of co-operation. We know that we have to transform our co-operation on security, because, like many of our neighbours across the continent of Europe, we face security challenges, whether they may be from Russia or Syria. We know that we have to transform our co-operation in the field of economic policy, because we have too many people unemployed and too few entrepreneurs, while the wealth we create together is channelled to too few at the top of our society.

      We know that we have to transform our collaboration in the fields of science and technology, because we are now losing leadership to the United States and, increasingly, to China. We know that we have to transform our collaboration in trade, because in the year since the collapse of the Doha trade round, we have not yet collectively invented a better way to trade together. We have to transform the way we inform social rights together, because we cannot have a race to the bottom that profits none of us. We have to transform the way we work together to power international development and aid around the world. Crucially, we have to transform the way we work together to keep our climate cooler.

      On 17 August 1949, our former prime minister Winston Churchill came to Strasbourg to address the Council of Europe. He called on the Council of Europe to move beyond the old language of formula and mechanisms and embrace a new spirit. He said that it is “by the growth and gathering of the united sentiment of Europeanism…that we shall succeed…in taking a leading and active part in the revival of the greatest of continents”. At a time when we risk division, those words from the past – those words of unity – are great words to guide us.

      The PRESIDENT – I must now interrupt the list of speakers. We will return to the free debate on Friday morning for 30 minutes.

      The ballot for electing the judges in respect of Hungary and the Netherlands to the European Court of Human Rights is now suspended until this afternoon’s sitting. Voting will reopen at 3.30 p.m. and close at 5 p.m.

5. Next public business

      The PRESIDENT – The Assembly will hold its next public sitting at 3.30 p.m. with the agenda that was approved on Monday morning.

      The sitting is closed.

      (The sitting was closed at 12.55 p.m.)

CONTENTS

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

2. Address by Mr Johannes Hahn, European Commissioner for European Neighbourhood Policy and Enlargement Negotiations

Questions: Mr Omtzigt, Ms Rodríguez Ramos, Mr Pritchard, Mr Jovanović, Mr Fournier, Mr Cepeda, Ms Karapetyan, Mr Csenger-Zalán, Mr Marques, Mr Köck, Mr Ariev, Mr Howell, Mr Ghiletchi, Ms Kalmari, Ms Kovács, Ms Christoffersen, Ms Katsarava, Mr Xuclà

3. Address by Mr Nicos Anastasiades, President of Cyprus

Questions: Mr Overbeek, Mr Vareikis, Ms Durrieu, Mr Howell, Ms Oehri, Mr Rouquet, Mr Comte, Sir Roger Gale, Mr Bildarratz, Mr Billström, Mr Tilki, Mr Ariev, Ms Kavvadia, Mr Sabella, Mr Destexhe, Mr Fournier, Mr Çağlar

4. Free debate

Speakers: Mr Le Borgn’, Lord Blencathra, Ms Lundgren, Mr Feist, Mr Mignon, Mr Rouquet, Mr Farmanyan, Ms Crozon, Ms Pashayeva, Mr Rzayev, Ms Durrieu, Mr Csenger-Zalán, Mr Byrne

5. Next public business

Appendix / Annexe

Representatives or Substitutes who signed the register of attendance in accordance with Rule 12.2 of the Rules of Procedure.The names of members substituted follow (in brackets) the names of participating members.

Liste des représentants ou suppléants ayant signé le registre de présence, conformément à l’article 12.2 du Règlement.Le nom des personnes remplacées suit celui des Membres remplaçant, entre parenthèses.

ÅBERG, Boriana [Ms] (GHASEMI, Tina [Ms])

AHMED-SHEIKH, Tasmina [Ms]

ANDERSON, Donald [Lord]

ARDELEAN, Ben-Oni [Mr]

ARIEV, Volodymyr [Mr]

ARNAUT, Damir [Mr]

BADEA, Viorel Riceard [Mr] (ZZ...)

BAKOYANNIS, Theodora [Ms]

BALFE, Richard [Lord] (DUNDEE, Alexander [The Earl of] [ ])

BALIĆ, Marijana [Ms]

BAYDAR, Metin Lütfi [Mr] (KOÇ, Haluk [M.])

BAYKAL, Deniz [Mr]

BEREZA, Boryslav [Mr]

BERNACKI, Włodzimierz [Mr]

BĒRZINŠ, Andris [M.]

BEUS RICHEMBERGH, Goran [Mr]

BILDARRATZ, Jokin [Mr]

BİLGEHAN, Gülsün [Mme]

BILLSTRÖM, Tobias [Mr]

BRASSEUR, Anne [Mme]

BROPHY, Colm [Mr] (CROWE, Seán [Mr])

BRUYN, Piet De [Mr]

BÜCHEL, Roland Rino [Mr] (HEER, Alfred [Mr])

BUDNER, Margareta [Ms]

BULIGA, Valentina [Mme]

BUTKEVIČIUS, Algirdas [Mr]

BYRNE, Liam [Mr] (CRAUSBY, David [Mr])

CATALFO, Nunzia [Ms]

CENTEMERO, Elena [Ms]

CEPEDA, José [Mr]

CHRISTODOULOPOULOU, Anastasia [Ms]

CHRISTOFFERSEN, Lise [Ms]

CHUGOSHVILI, Tamar [Ms]

CILEVIČS, Boriss [Mr] (LAIZĀNE, Inese [Ms])

COMTE, Raphaël [M.] (FIALA, Doris [Mme])

CORLĂŢEAN, Titus [Mr] (TUDOSE, Mihai [Mr])

CORSINI, Paolo [Mr]

COWEN, Barry [Mr]

COZMANCIUC, Corneliu Mugurel [Mr] (ZZ...)

CROZON, Pascale [Mme] (BAPT, Gérard [M.])

CRUCHTEN, Yves [M.]

CSENGER-ZALÁN, Zsolt [Mr]

CSÖBÖR, Katalin [Mme]

DALLOZ, Marie-Christine [Mme] (MARIANI, Thierry [M.])

D’AMBROSIO, Vanessa [Ms]

DAVIES, Geraint [Mr]

DEBONO GRECH, Joseph [Mr]

DESTEXHE, Alain [M.]

DI STEFANO, Manlio [Mr]

DIVINA, Sergio [Mr]

DOBEŠOVÁ, Ivana [Ms] (MARKOVÁ, Soňa [Ms])

DOKLE, Namik [M.]

DURANTON, Nicole [Mme]

DURRIEU, Josette [Mme]

EẞL, Franz Leonhard [Mr]

EVANS, Nigel [Mr]

FATALIYEVA, Sevinj [Ms] (SEYIDOV, Samad [Mr])

FAZZONE, Claudio [Mr] (BERNINI, Anna Maria [Ms])

FEIST, Thomas [Mr] (WELLMANN, Karl-Georg [Mr])

FENECH ADAMI, Joseph [Mr]

FENECHIU, Cătălin Daniel [Mr]

FISCHER, Axel E. [Mr]

FOURNIER, Bernard [M.]

FRANKOVIĆ, Mato [Mr]

FRIDEZ, Pierre-Alain [M.]

GAFAROVA, Sahiba [Ms]

GALE, Roger [Sir]

GAMBARO, Adele [Ms]

GATTI, Marco [M.]

GENTVILAS, Simonas [Mr] (ŠAKALIENĖ, Dovilė [Ms])

GERASHCHENKO, Iryna [Mme]

GHILETCHI, Valeriu [Mr]

GILLAN, Cheryl [Ms]

GIRO, Francesco Maria [Mr]

GODSKESEN, Ingebjørg [Ms] (WOLD, Morten [Mr])

GOGA, Pavol [M.] (PAŠKA, Jaroslav [M.])

GOLUB, Vladyslav [Mr] (GONCHARENKO, Oleksii [Mr])

GONÇALVES, Carlos Alberto [M.]

GORGHIU, Alina Ștefania [Ms]

GOSSELIN-FLEURY, Geneviève [Mme] (KARAMANLI, Marietta [Mme])

GOY-CHAVENT, Sylvie [Mme]

GROTH, Annette [Ms] (WERNER, Katrin [Ms])

GROZDANOVA, Dzhema [Ms]

GÜNAY, Emine Nur [Ms]

GUTIÉRREZ, Antonio [Mr]

HALICKI, Andrzej [Mr]

HETTO-GAASCH, Françoise [Mme]

HOFFMANN, Rózsa [Mme] (VEJKEY, Imre [Mr])

HONKONEN, Petri [Mr] (ANTTILA, Sirkka-Liisa [Ms])

HOPKINS, Maura [Ms]

HOWELL, John [Mr]

HÜBNER, Johannes [Mr]

HUNKO, Andrej [Mr]

HUOVINEN, Susanna [Ms] (GUZENINA, Maria [Ms])

HUSEYNOV, Rafael [Mr]

HUSEYNOV, Vusal [Mr] (MAMMADOV, Muslum [M.])

IBRAHIMOVIĆ, Ervin [Mr] (ĆATOVIĆ, Marija Maja [Ms])

JANSSON, Eva-Lena [Ms] (GUNNARSSON, Jonas [Mr])

JENIŠTA, Luděk [Mr]

JENSEN, Mogens [Mr]

JENSSEN, Frank J. [Mr]

JOHNSEN, Kristin Ørmen [Ms] (VALEN, Snorre Serigstad [Mr])

JOHNSSON FORNARVE, Lotta [Ms] (OHLSSON, Carina [Ms])

JORDANA, Carles [M.]

JOVANOVIĆ, Jovan [Mr]

KALMARI, Anne [Ms]

KANELLI, Liana [Ms] (TZAVARAS, Konstantinos [M.])

KARAPETYAN, Naira [Ms] (ZOURABIAN, Levon [Mr])

KARLSSON, Niklas [Mr]

KASIMATI, Nina [Ms]

KATSARAVA, Sofio [Ms]

KAVVADIA, Ioanneta [Ms]

KERESTECİOĞLU DEMİR, Filiz [Ms]

KIRAL, Serhii [Mr] (LABAZIUK, Serhiy [Mr])

KLEINBERGA, Nellija [Ms] (LĪBIŅA-EGNERE, Inese [Ms])

KÖCK, Eduard [Mr] (AMON, Werner [Mr])

KORODI, Attila [Mr]

KOVÁCS, Elvira [Ms]

KOX, Tiny [Mr]

KROSS, Eerik-Niiles [Mr]

KÜÇÜKCAN, Talip [Mr]

KÜRKÇÜ, Ertuğrul [Mr]

KYRIAKIDES, Stella [Ms]

KYRITSIS, Georgios [Mr]

LAHAYE-BATTHEU, Sabien [Mme] (VERCAMER, Stefaan [M.])

LANGBALLE, Christian [Mr] (BORK, Tilde [Ms])

LE BORGN’, Pierre-Yves [M.]

LE DÉAUT, Jean-Yves [M.]

LEITE RAMOS, Luís [M.]

LESKAJ, Valentina [Ms]

LEŚNIAK, Józef [M.] (ARENT, Iwona [Ms])

LOGVYNSKYI, Georgii [Mr]

LOUCAIDES, George [Mr]

LUCHERINI, Carlo [Mr] (CHITI, Vannino [Mr])

MADEJ, Róbert [Mr]

MAHOUX, Philippe [M.]

MARKOVIĆ, Milica [Mme]

MAROSZ, Ján [Mr]

MARQUES, Duarte [Mr]

MARTINS, Alberto [M.]

MASSEY, Doreen [Baroness] (SHARMA, Virendra [Mr])

MAURY PASQUIER, Liliane [Mme]

MEALE, Alan [Sir]

MELKUMYAN, Mikayel [M.] (ZOHRABYAN, Naira [Mme])

MENDES, Ana Catarina [Mme]

MIGNON, Jean-Claude [M.]

MIKKO, Marianne [Ms]

MOŻDŹANOWSKA, Andżelika [Ms] (TRUSKOLASKI, Krzysztof [Mr])

MULARCZYK, Arkadiusz [Mr]

MÜLLER, Thomas [Mr]

MUNYAMA, Killion [Mr] (POMASKA, Agnieszka [Ms])

NAGHDALYAN, Hermine [Ms]

NĚMCOVÁ, Miroslava [Ms] (BENEŠIK, Ondřej [Mr])

NÉMETH, Zsolt [Mr]

NENUTIL, Miroslav [Mr]

NICOLETTI, Michele [Mr]

NOVIKOV, Andrei [Mr]

NOVYNSKYI, Vadym [Mr] (L OVOCHKINA, Yuliya [Ms])

OBRADOVIĆ, Marija [Ms]

OBRADOVIĆ, Žarko [Mr]

OEHRI, Judith [Ms]

OMTZIGT, Pieter [Mr] (SCHRIJVER, Nico [Mr])

OOMEN-RUIJTEN, Ria [Ms]

O’REILLY, Joseph [Mr]

PALIHOVICI, Liliana [Ms] (NEGUTA, Andrei [M.])

PALLARÉS, Judith [Ms]

PANTIĆ PILJA, Biljana [Ms]

PASHAYEVA, Ganira [Ms]

PECKOVÁ, Gabriela [Ms] (KOSTŘICA, Rom [Mr])

PODERYS, Virgilijus [Mr] (ZINGERIS, Emanuelis [Mr])

PODOLNJAK, Robert [Mr] (HAJDUKOVIĆ, Domagoj [Mr])

POLIAČIK, Martin [Mr]

POPA, Ion [Mr] (ZZ...)

POSTOICO, Maria [Mme] (VORONIN, Vladimir [M.])

PREDA, Cezar Florin [M.]

PRESCOTT, John [Mr]

PRITCHARD, Mark [Mr]

PUPPATO, Laura [Ms] (BERTUZZI, Maria Teresa [Ms])

RAWERT, Mechthild [Ms] (DROBINSKI-WEIß, Elvira [Ms])

RIGONI, Andrea [Mr]

ROCA, Jordi [Mr] (BARREIRO, José Manuel [Mr])

RODRÍGUEZ RAMOS, Soraya [Mme]

ROJO, Pilar [Ms]

ROSETA, Helena [Mme]

ROUQUET, René [M.]

RZAYEV, Rovshan [Mr] (HAJIYEV, Sabir [Mr])

SALLES, Rudy [M.] (ROCHEBLOINE, François [M.])

SALMOND, Alex [Mr]

SAMMUT, Joseph [Mr] (SCHEMBRI, Deborah [Ms])

SANTA ANA, María Concepción de [Ms]

SANTANGELO, Vincenzo [Mr]

SANTERINI, Milena [Mme]

SCHENNACH, Stefan [Mr]

SCHIEDER, Andreas [Mr] (KORUN, Alev [Ms])

SCHNABEL, Paul [Mr]

SCHNEIDER-SCHNEITER, Elisabeth [Mme] (LOMBARDI, Filippo [M.])

SCHOU, Ingjerd [Ms]

SCHWABE, Frank [Mr]

SCULLY, Paul [Mr] (DONALDSON, Jeffrey [Sir])

ŠEPIĆ, Senad [Mr]

SILVA, Adão [M.]

ŠIRCELJ, Andrej [Mr]

SOBOLEV, Serhiy [Mr]

SOTNYK, Olena [Ms]

STOILOV, Yanaki [Mr]

STRENZ, Karin [Ms]

STRIK, Tineke [Ms] (MAIJ, Marit [Ms])

STROE, Ionuț-Marian [Mr]

SUTTER, Petra De [Ms] (DUMERY, Daphné [Ms])

TARCZYŃSKI, Dominik [Mr]

THIÉRY, Damien [M.]

TILKI, Attila [Mr] (GULYÁS, Gergely [Mr])

USTA, Leyla Şahin [Ms]

VÁHALOVÁ, Dana [Ms]

VAREIKIS, Egidijus [Mr]

VEN, Mart van de [Mr]

VENIZELOS, Evangelos [M.] (MEIMARAKIS, Evangelos [Mr])

VILLUMSEN, Nikolaj [Mr]

VLAHOVIĆ, Sanja [Ms] (SEKULIĆ, Predrag [Mr])

VOVK, Viktor [Mr]

WALLINHEIMO, Sinuhe [Mr] (PELKONEN, Jaana [Ms])

WIECHEL, Markus [Mr] (NISSINEN, Johan [Mr])

WILK, Jacek [Mr]

WINTERTON, Rosie [Dame]

WOJTYŁA, Andrzej [Mr]

WURM, Gisela [Ms]

XUCLÀ, Jordi [Mr] (RODRÍGUEZ HERNÁNDEZ, Melisa [Ms])

YAŞAR, Serap [Mme]

YEMETS, Leonid [Mr]

ZECH, Tobias [Mr]

ZELIENKOVÁ, Kristýna [Ms]

ZIMMERMANN, Marie-Jo [Mme]

ZOTEA, Alina [Ms] (GHIMPU, Mihai [Mr])

Also signed the register / Ont également signé le registre

Representatives or Substitutes not authorised to vote / Représentants ou suppléants non autorisés à voter

AST, Marek [Mr]

BESELIA, Eka [Ms]

CORREIA, Telmo [M.]

EFSTATHIOU, Constantinos [M.]

GOGUADZE, Nino [Ms]

LIDDELL-GRAINGER, Ian [Mr]

LOPUSHANSKYI, Andrii [Mr]

LUNDGREN, Kerstin [Ms]

MAGAZINOVIĆ, Saša [Mr]

MANNINGER, Jenő [Mr]

MASIULIS, Kęstutis [Mr]

MAVROTAS, Georgios [Mr]

MIKADZE, Gela [Mr]

OVERBEEK, Henk [Mr]

ÖZSOY, Hişyar [Mr]

ROSENKRANZ, Barbara [Ms]

RUSTAMYAN, Armen [M.]

SANDBÆK, Ulla [Ms]

SHARMA, Virendra [Mr]

SPADONI, Maria Edera [Ms]

TROY, Robert [Mr]

VARVITSIOTIS, Miltiadis [Mr]

WILSON, David [Lord]

ZAVOLI, Roger [Mr]

ZINGERIS, Emanuelis [Mr]

Observers / Observateurs

LARIOS CÓRDOVA, Héctor [Mr]

Partners for democracy / Partenaires pour la démocratie

ABUSHAHLA, Mohammedfaisal [Mr]

ALQAWASMI, Sahar [Ms]

LEBBAR, Abdesselam [M.]

SABELLA, Bernard [Mr]

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

the Parliamentary Assembly)/ Représentants de la communauté chypriote turque

(Conformément à la Résolution 1376 (2004) de l’Assemblée parlementaire)

Mehmet ÇAĞLAR

Erdal ÖZCENK

Appendix/Annexe II

Representatives or Substitutes who took part in the ballot for the Election of Judges to the European Court of Human Rights in respect of Hungary and the Netherlands

Liste des représentants ou suppléants qui ont participé au vote pour l’élection de juges à la Cour européenne des droits de l’homme au titre de la Hongrie et des Pays-Bas

AMON, Werner [Mr] /KÖCK, Eduard [Mr]

ANDERSON, Donald [Lord] 

ANTTILA, Sirkka-Liisa [Ms] /HONKONEN, Petri [Mr]

ARDELEAN, Ben-Oni [Mr] 

ARNAUT, Damir [Mr] 

BAKOYANNIS, Theodora [Ms] 

BALIĆ, Marijana [Ms] 

BAPT, Gérard [M.] / CROZON, Pascale [Mme]

BARREIRO, José Manuel [Mr]/ROCA, Jordi [Mr]

BEREZA, Boryslav [Mr]

BEUS RICHEMBERGH, Goran [Mr] 

BİLGEHAN, Gülsün [Mme] 

BILLSTRÖM, Tobias [Mr] 

BOSIĆ, Mladen [Mr] 

BRASSEUR, Anne [Mme] 

BUDNER, Margareta [Ms] 

BULIGA, Valentina [Mme] 

BUTKEVIČIUS, Algirdas [Mr] 

CENTEMERO, Elena [Ms] 

CEPEDA, José [Mr] 

CHRISTODOULOPOULOU, Anastasia [Ms]        C

CHRISTOFFERSEN, Lise [Ms] 

CRUCHTEN, Yves [M.] 

CSENGER-ZALÁN, Zsolt [Mr] 

D’AMBROSIO, Vanessa [Ms] 

DEBONO GRECH, Joseph [Mr] 

DESTEXHE, Alain [M.] 

DOKLE, Namik [M.] 

DONALDSON, Jeffrey [Sir]/SCULLY, Paul [Mr]

DROBINSKI-WEIß, Elvira [Ms]/RAWERT, Mechthild [Ms]

DUMERY, Daphné [Ms]/SUTTER, Petra De [Ms]

DUNDEE, Alexander [The Earl of] /BALFE, Richard [Lord]

DURANTON, Nicole [Mme] 

EẞL, Franz Leonhard [Mr] 

FARMANYAN, Samvel [Mr] 

FENECH ADAMI, Joseph [Mr] 

FENECHIU, Cătălin Daniel [Mr]

FIALA, Doris [Mme]/COMTE, Raphaël [M.]

FISCHER, Axel E. [Mr] 

FOURNIER, Bernard [M.] 

FRANKOVIĆ, Mato [Mr] 

FRIDEZ, Pierre-Alain [M.] 

GATTI, Marco [M.] 

GERASHCHENKO, Iryna [Mme] 

GHASEMI, Tina [Ms]/ÅBERG, Boriana [Ms]

GHILETCHI, Valeriu [Mr] 

GILLAN, Cheryl [Ms] 

GONÇALVES, Carlos Alberto [M.] 

GONCHARENKO, Oleksii [Mr] /GOLUB, Vladyslav [Mr]

GROZDANOVA, Dzhema [Ms] 

GULYÁS, Gergely [Mr]/TILKI, Attila [Mr]

GUNNARSSON, Jonas [Mr]/JANSSON, Eva-Lena [Ms]

GUTIÉRREZ, Antonio [Mr] 

GUZENINA, Maria [Ms]/HUOVINEN, Susanna [Ms]

HAJDUKOVIĆ, Domagoj [Mr]/PODOLNJAK, Robert [Mr]

HALICKI, Andrzej [Mr] 

HEER, Alfred [Mr]/BÜCHEL, Roland Rino [Mr]

HETTO-GAASCH, Françoise [Mme] 

HUNKO, Andrej [Mr] 

JENIŠTA, Luděk [Mr] 

JENSEN, Mogens [Mr] 

JORDANA, Carles [M.] 

JOVANOVIĆ, Jovan [Mr] 

KARLSSON, Niklas [Mr] 

KASIMATI, Nina [Ms] 

KAVVADIA, Ioanneta [Ms] 

KORODI, Attila [Mr] 

KORUN, Alev [Ms]/SCHIEDER, Andreas [Mr]

KOSTŘICA, Rom [Mr]/PECKOVÁ, Gabriela [Ms]

KOX, Tiny [Mr] 

KYRIAKIDES, Stella [Ms] 

KYRITSIS, Georgios [Mr] 

LABAZIUK, Serhiy [Mr]/KIRAL, Serhii [Mr]

LAIZĀNE, Inese [Ms]/CILEVIČS, Boriss [Mr]

LE BORGN’, Pierre-Yves [M.] 

LEITE RAMOS, Luís [M.] 

LESKAJ, Valentina [Ms] 

LĪBIŅA-EGNERE, Inese [Ms]/KLEINBERGA, Nellija [Ms]

LOMBARDI, Filippo [M.]/SCHNEIDER-SCHNEITER, Elisabeth [Mme]

MAIJ, Marit [Ms]/STRIK, Tineke [Ms]

MAMMADOV, Muslum [M.]/HUSEYNOV, Vusal [Mr]

MARKOVÁ, Soňa [Ms]/DOBEŠOVÁ, Ivana [Ms]

MAROSZ, Ján [Mr] 

MARQUES, Duarte [Mr] 

MEALE, Alan [Sir] 

MEIMARAKIS, Evangelos [Mr]/VENIZELOS, Evangelos [M.]

MIGNON, Jean-Claude [M.] 

NAGHDALYAN, Hermine [Ms] 

NEGUTA, Andrei [M.]/PALIHOVICI, Liliana [Ms]

NÉMETH, Zsolt [Mr] 

NENUTIL, Miroslav [Mr] 

NISSINEN, Johan [Mr]/WIECHEL, Markus [Mr]

OBRADOVIĆ, Marija [Ms] 

OBRADOVIĆ, Žarko [Mr] 

OEHRI, Judith [Ms] 

OHLSSON, Carina [Ms]/JOHNSSON FORNARVE, Lotta [Ms]

OOMEN-RUIJTEN, Ria [Ms] 

O’REILLY, Joseph [Mr] 

PALLARÉS, Judith [Ms]

PANTIĆ PILJA, Biljana [Ms]

PELKONEN, Jaana [Ms]/WALLINHEIMO, Sinuhe [Mr]

POMASKA, Agnieszka [Ms]/MUNYAMA, Killion [Mr]

PREDA, Cezar Florin [M.] 

PRITCHARD, Mark [Mr] 

PRUIDZE, Irina [Ms] 

RIGONI, Andrea [Mr] 

ROCHEBLOINE, François [M.]/SALLES, Rudy [M.]

RODRÍGUEZ HERNÁNDEZ, Melisa[Ms]/XUCLÀ, Jordi [Mr]

RODRÍGUEZ RAMOS, Soraya [Mme]        R

ROJO, Pilar [Ms]        Š

ŠAKALIENĖ, Dovilė [Ms]/GENTVILAS, Simonas [Mr]

SANTA ANA, María Concepción de [Ms]        S

SCHEMBRI, Deborah [Ms]/SAMMUT, Joseph [Mr]

SCHENNACH, Stefan [Mr] 

SCHNABEL, Paul [Mr] 

SCHOU, Ingjerd [Ms] 

SCHRIJVER, Nico [Mr]/OMTZIGT, Pieter [Mr]

SCHWABE, Frank [Mr] 

SEKULIĆ, Predrag [Mr]/VLAHOVIĆ, Sanja [Ms]

ŠEPIĆ, Senad [Mr] 

SILVA, Adão [M.] 

ŠIRCELJ, Andrej [Mr] 

SOBOLEV, Serhiy [Mr] 

SOTNYK, Olena [Ms]

STOILOV, Yanaki [Mr] 

THIÉRY, Damien [M.] 

TRUSKOLASKI, Krzysztof [Mr]/MOŻDŹANOWSKA, Andżelika [Ms]

TZAVARAS, Konstantinos [M.]/KANELLI, Liana [Ms]

VÁHALOVÁ, Dana [Ms] 

VAREIKIS, Egidijus [Mr] 

VEJKEY, Imre [Mr]/HOFFMANN, Rózsa [Mme]

VEN, Mart van de [Mr] 

VILLUMSEN, Nikolaj [Mr] 

VORONIN, Vladimir [M.]/POSTOICO, Maria [Mme]

WELLMANN, Karl-Georg [Mr]/FEIST, Thomas [Mr]

WINTERTON, Rosie [Dame] 

WOLD, Morten [Mr]/GODSKESEN, Ingebjørg [Ms]

WURM, Gisela [Ms] 

YEMETS, Leonid [Mr] 

ZELIENKOVÁ, Kristýna [Ms] 

ZINGERIS, Emanuelis [Mr]/PODERYS, Virgilijus [Mr]

ZOHRABYAN, Naira [Mme]/MELKUMYAN, Mikayel [M.]

ZOURABIAN, Levon [Mr]/KARAPETYAN, Naira [Ms]

Vacant Seat, Romania / BADEA, Viorel Riceard [Mr]