AA17CR05

AS (2017) CR 05
Provisional edition

2017 ORDINARY SESSION

________________________

(First part)

REPORT

Fifth sitting

Wednesday 25 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.

(Ms Naghdalyan, Vice-President of the Assembly, took the Chair at 10.00 a.m.)

      The PRESIDENT – The sitting is open.

1. Receipt of credentials

      The PRESIDENT – We have received the credentials of the representatives and substitutes of the Iceland delegation, which were transmitted in accordance with Rule 6 of the Rules of Procedure, Document 14236 (addendum). The Assembly will be asked to ratify these credentials at the sitting on Thursday morning.

2. Change in the membership of committees

      The PRESIDENT – Our next business is to consider a change proposed in the membership of committees. This is set out in document Commissions (2017) 01 Addendum 3.

      Is the proposed change in the membership of the Committee on Political Affairs and Democracy agreed to?

      It is agreed to.

3. Joint debate: Online media and journalism: challenges and accountability, and Ending cyberdiscrimination and online hate

      The PRESIDENT – We now come to the joint debate on the reports from the Committee on Culture, Science, Education and Media and the Committee on Equality and Non-Discrimination. The first report is titled “Online media and journalism: challenges and accountability”, Document 14228, and is presented by Ms Gambaro. This will be followed by presentation of an opinion by Mr Cilevičs on behalf of the Committee on Legal Affairs and Human Rights, Document 14240.

      The second report is titled “Ending cyberdiscrimination and online hate”, Document 14217, and is presented by Ms Bilgehan on behalf of Ms Maij and the Committee on Equality and Non-Discrimination. This will be followed by presentation of an opinion by Mr Ariev on behalf of the Committee on Culture, Science, Education and Media, Document 14242.

      We will aim to finish this item by about 12 noon. We shall interrupt the list of speakers at about 11.25 a.m. to allow time for the reply and the vote. Is that agreed?

      That is agreed to.

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

      Ms GAMBARO (Italy)* – The first duty of journalists is to reveal the truth. In every democratic system we have the coexistence of truth and freedom of information. Given those two concepts, we cannot ignore what a fantastic tool the Internet is. It enables us to do away with – or at least reduce – distances. As far as news and information are concerned, however, it is a double-edged sword. On the one hand, online media have made it possible for worldwide public opinion to understand the human suffering that happens around the globe far more effectively than through traditional media, which sometimes do not follow such events. However, the Internet also offers possibilities that in some cases are contradictory to the right to information. In many cases there is a total lack of the scrutiny and control that are necessary to provide correct information.

      The fact is that the damage that can be caused by distorted news is enormous. Fake news has always existed, but never before has it been so widely and quickly available, and that is thanks to the Internet. Because of the debate on so-called post-truth, which some are annoyed about, we now have to face up to the facts on that question. In recent days, in my country, Italy, an idea that I find surprising has been floated: to set up an independent authority that would be responsible for monitoring and removing fake news. When it comes to discipline in the online world, as is the case offline, we would be better advised to use existing legal tools. Current legislation gives us the scope we need to protect personal information and to stop fake news. It is possible to use software to remove fake news or pornographic or violent content. That is the context in which the report is presented, and that underlines the need for better co-operation between countries in the online field.

      Another important aspect is the right to reply, the right to be forgotten, rules on privacy and removal of online content. On prosecutable behaviour, I remind you that journalists, in carrying out their jobs, should not be subject to civil or criminal proceedings in our national legal systems. However, to benefit from that right, they have to respect strict rules. Newspapers and traditional TV and radio channels clearly have editorial responsibility for their content. Online media are often far less transparent, however, particularly on editorial responsibility, ownership and registered offices. That poses a real problem to people who want to lodge an appeal against false or illegal information or against slanderous content broadcast online.

      That brings us back to the very concept of news – a concept that has evolved over time, particularly with the advent of new media and social media. We are talking about content generated by users, which is mixed up with infotainment – a mixture of entertainment and news – and often exploited for commercial purposes. By not drawing a clear distinction between professional news and random information broadcast on the web, we put ourselves in a risky situation. There are dangers in how people make use of that.

      At the beginning of my remarks, I spoke about the need to respect freedom of information. However, if people using the Internet simply believe everything they read online without being able to distinguish between what is true and false, we face an enormous danger, particularly when the subjects dealt with are, as is often the case, sensitive issues for society such as health. A very controversial and unscientific debate is under way in Italy about the value of vaccinations, for example. In such debates I have observed with a growing sense of unease the number of media campaigns targeting public opinion that have used intentionally false or biased information. Such campaigns are often accompanied by personal attacks, often against politicians, which is a scourge for our democracy.

      By examining such campaigns, we can see the danger there is in public opinion being manipulated by online media. It is clearly not a new danger. However, what is new is the scope of the media now; it is enormous, which enhances the risks. It is our duty to try to find an effective way to address that threat while journalism is going through a period of unprecedented crisis and the new media landscape is having an enormous impact on media funding in general.

      Free access to Internet content has also meant that many people no longer subscribe to online newspapers. Moreover, advertising revenue has shifted from generic advertising in the printed press or TV to advertising on the Internet. In many cases this is based on the collection of personal data – so-called big data, which is something the Council of Europe has talked about in a series of major hearings. They include one held last year that featured a video conference with Edward Snowden, which was broadcast here in the Council of Europe. Our Assembly has expressed concern about the threat posed to professional journalists by the transfer of advertising spending from traditional media to Internet media and by the exponential growth of online media that do not always comply with journalistic standards. Financial difficulties continue to have a major negative impact on human resources. The number of people working in newsrooms has dropped sharply. This has also led to a deterioration in working conditions for those in the journalism sector.

      To wind up, I repeat that there are good reasons for the press and media to be subject to rules and codes of conduct. Journalists do not just produce news, they also offer a service. It is our role as parliamentarians from the 47 member States of the Council of Europe to focus on this issue, and we can use this report to suggest some practical responses to the problem. First, member States should draw up a clear set of rules in legislation to encourage self-regulation and to underline the responsibility of the major Internet operators. Secondly, they should encourage the security forces and the judiciary to produce clear rules for the use of media. The Internet cannot become a lawless area because of user anonymity. Thirdly, we need a debate at national and Council of Europe level about the rules and regulations necessary to avoid the risk of news being distorted. Fourthly, we need to create a right of reply in legislation and practice that enables individuals to correct false information posted online. Finally, public TV and radio broadcasters should be on a level playing field when using the same technical means as Internet operators. Those broadcasters should be subject to the same high standards of editorial responsibility as they are for their TV or traditional broadcasts. In particular, public TV broadcasters should be very cautious when it comes to using user-generated content posted on their websites.

      Ladies and gentlemen, I think we are talking here about a battle of civilisation, and I am sure that our Parliamentary Assembly will feel a duty to offer its support in this. I hope that the quality of our media will enable both existing and new media to win the trust and confidence of their readers. I thank you for your attention. I also thank the Committee on Culture, Science, Education and Media and its staff for their enormous contribution in drawing up this report.

      The PRESIDENT – Thank you, Ms Gambaro. You have three and a half minutes remaining.

      I call Mr Boriss Cilevičs, the rapporteur, to present the opinion on behalf of the Committee on Legal Affairs and Human Rights.

      Mr CILEVIČS (Latvia) – On behalf of the Committee on Legal Affairs and Human Rights, I congratulate Ms Gambaro on producing a topical and timely report that highlights the numerous challenges posed for journalism by rocketing technological developments. While ensuring much wider access to information and opinion, and therefore promoting freedom of expression, this phenomenon also greatly increases the risk of fake reporting, distortion and manipulation. The Internet used to be called an area of freedom. Regulation of this area, including with regard to traditional media moving online, involves complicated legal issues, in particular the liability of Internet news portals and service providers for user-generated content and comments.

      The Committee on Legal Affairs and Human Rights fully supports the draft resolution. We have tabled several amendments, which are mainly aimed at complementing the report with references to definitions adopted by the Council of Europe and the relevant provisions of other Council of Europe documents, as well as the relevant case law of the European Court of Human Rights, which has developed quite quickly in recent years.

      Online media develops very fast and our Assembly will certainly have to continue its work in this field. Today’s report does not answer all the major questions, but it is definitely a substantive and valuable contribution in this extremely complicated area. Once again, I congratulate Ms Gambaro and call on the Assembly to support the draft resolution.

      The PRESIDENT – Thank you, Mr Cilevičs.

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

      Ms BİLGEHAN (Turkey)* – Two weeks ago in the Netherlands, a young person aged 15, Tharukshan, put an end to his life, having been intensely bullied over the Internet. His story is unfortunately not unique, per se; for every such tragedy, there are many other lives broken because of hate speech over the Internet.

      Today, the Internet is everywhere. It has made our lives easier, but at the same time it has profoundly changed the way we communicate with one another. “The other”, whether known or unknown, becomes closer and more accessible, but at the same time there is an additional distance put between us and the other, because of the screen that separates us, which therefore leads to a greater indifference towards the other. A climate has been fostered in which extremist discourse has in many ways become banal. It is against that backdrop that Ms Maij has prepared her report on putting an end to cyberdiscrimination and online hate. It is my great honour to present the report on her behalf today.

      Ms Maij’s report shows us how important it is to take note of this phenomenon. On the Internet, it would appear that any excuse is good enough to discriminate against another person: sex, gender, religion, whether real of pre-supposed, sexual orientation, migratory status, colour of skin or even gender identity – anything. If you are not convinced, I would invite you to take the time to read the comments under an online press article on, say, migratory flows. Take a look at the comments or the message boards. Look at the Twitter accounts of political women – there are quite a few political women in this Chamber, and I am sure you have experienced this in the kind of tweets you receive. Look at an anti-Roma Facebook page or talk to an online games designer who has to live under police protection because of cyber-threats.

      Some people appear to think that the Internet is like the wild west. Apparently, the usual rules do not apply to cyberspace. If you cannot cope – well, you should just stop using social media. If you cannot take the heat, do not use the Internet. However, that is to disregard the fact that the Internet has become such an essential tool in our day-to-day lives. For many people, the Internet is basically their main way of making a living, so you cannot just log off and stop using it. It is impossible in this day and age.

      Incidentally, the hate speech hate that you find online does not just disappear or dissolve into the ether just because you switch off your computer. On the contrary, it continues to have an impact and an effect on the real world. A child subjected to cyber-bullying because they are assumed to be gay; a female blogger whose telephone details and address are made public on the Internet after a campaign; a black journalist subject to racist attacks because of an article they have published – these are attacks on individuals and they are just as real as if the comments were made face to face. In fact, sometimes it is worse when it happens online. So, colleagues, we are all affected by this phenomenon.

      Of course, we need to preserve freedom of expression, both online and offline, as this is an essential premise for our democratic societies. It should always be possible to voice criticisms about others’ opinions or about the policies of our Governments. Without that, pluralism would simply disappear, and democracy would be dead in the water, so freedom of expression is of course essential. However, incitement to hatred clearly breaches the rules of freedom of expression. We have voluminous case law on this issue from the European Court of Human Rights, and our Governments should take inspiration from that when they look at their domestic legislation.

      One of the major contributions made by Ms Maij’s report is that she highlights the plurality of grounds that underlie hate speech online today. Fighting xenophobic speech and racist speech is essential, but it is not enough; we also need to tackle hatred based on other grounds or criteria, such as sex, migration status or gender identity. Generally speaking, our national legislation prohibits harassment, attacks and threats, but often our domestic legislation is not complete and cannot cover all scenarios that might arise on the Internet.

      In addition, in society as a whole, many in our police forces, magistrates, judges and prosecutors are not necessarily aware of the importance of these issues, and sometimes they refrain from prosecuting the perpetrators of these crimes. Ms Maij’s report makes an appeal that we ensure that international standards and domestic legislation are clearly applied to hate speech, harassment, stalking and threats made over the Internet. We want to ensure that all the relevant criteria are taken into account in this, and I call on all members in the Chamber to support what is proposed.

      There are forms of discourse that shock or hurt, but not every type of discourse is subject to criminal legislation or prosecution. We have very clear European legislation on that matter, but nevertheless Ms Maij reminds us forcefully that we should not say things online if we would not dare to say them face to face to whomever we are speaking to. That is why education and awareness raising are of such key importance. Some Internet service providers are now starting to understand that they have a responsibility in this area and that it is in their interest to ensure that the tools that they make available can be used without fear by anyone. We should encourage them to step up these efforts and to do better in future.

      Dear colleagues, Ms Maij’s report calls on us not to keep silent or to gag those with whom we disagree, but to be balanced and to create the right conditions on the Internet under which everyone can contribute freely in respect of the values of our societies. I thank Ms Maij for her report and I thank you in advance for your support.

      The PRESIDENT – Thank you, Ms Bilgehan. You have more than five minutes remaining.

      I call Mr Ariev, rapporteur for the opinion of the Committee on Culture, Science, Education and Media. You have three minutes.

      Mr ARIEV (Ukraine) – Dear colleagues, when surfing on the Internet, all users want to have access to convenient services, honest and objective news and tolerant discourse on social networks, but every coin has another side. Some groups of people – frequently controlled by illegal organisations, terrorist groups and, quite often, governments – are spreading on the web hatred, discrimination, war propaganda, aggressive misinformation and incitement to violence, destroying the idea of a free Internet and targeting individuals, people, communities or even entire ethnic groups or nations. Respecting the freedom of expression guaranteed by the European Convention on Human rights, the European Court of Human Rights has recognised that the protection of freedom of expression does not extend to racist or xenophobic speech, irrespective of the method of delivery. The report by my colleague Ms Marit Maij is therefore very timely, and it is an honour for me to be the rapporteur for opinion on this report.

      There are two leading international treaties on this subject: the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination of the United Nations and the additional protocol to the Council of Europe’s Convention on Cybercrime, concerning the criminalisation of acts of a racist and xenophobic nature. While the UN convention has been signed by all our member States, some have not yet signed the protocol to the Convention on Cybercrime. I believe that it is time for us to ask our governments to sign this protocol, if they have not yet done so.

      Some governments have taken additional initiatives. In Germany, for example, Facebook, Twitter and Google have agreed to remove hate speech from the Internet within 24 hours after such content has been reported. However, other web companies might be more reluctant to co-operate against hate speech, especially if their purpose is to spread hate. It is important to recall the standard set by the European Court of Human Rights in its Grand Chamber judgment on Delfi AS v. Estonia. Through this judgment, the Court established the responsibility of web companies to co-operate against hate speech. Therefore, I am surprised that the Committee on Equality and Non-Discrimination wishes, through a sub-amendment, to delete from our Amendment 6 the reference to this landmark judgment. I strongly ask all colleagues in the Chamber to reject this sub-amendment. If we take the fight against hate speech and cyber-discrimination seriously, we have to uphold the important standards set by our Court of Human Rights.

      In addition, I am puzzled that the Committee on Equality and Non-Discrimination does not want to mention the new and important “Media against Hate” initiative by the European Federation of Journalists and other leading media-freedom NGOs. If we wish to raise the ethical standards of online media and make them aware of their responsibilities, we must support this initiative by the biggest association of journalists in Europe. Therefore, I also urge you to vote in favour of Amendment 12.

      With these remarks, I thank Ms Maij for having put this very important subject on our agenda. Let us make sure that we stand united against cyberdiscrimination and online hate.

      The PRESIDENT – Thank you, Mr Ariev.

      We will now move to the list of speakers, beginning with those who speak on behalf of political groups.

      Ms JOHNSSON FORNARVE (Sweden, Spokesperson for the Group of the Unified European Left) – Thank you, Madam President. I thank the two rapporteurs, Ms Gambaro and Ms Maij, for their excellent reports.

      The Internet has meant that the ability of people to communicate globally has increased dramatically. It has also created an increased opportunity for people and media around the world to make their voice heard among a wider public. However, while the Internet has given us incredible opportunities, we have, on the other hand, experienced negative elements, such as Internet hate and misinformation. As we are aware, in recent years Internet hate has spread dramatically and become increasingly common. Sexism, hatred against women, racism, homophobia and transphobia have always existed, but today the Internet has provided another forum where hatred can be expressed both publicly and globally. It is very easy to send anonymous threats via the Internet.

      There are many who suffer – and all may encounter Internet hate – but it is clear that women are particularly vulnerable. Writers, journalists, politicians and artists may be subjected to death threats and sexual violence, but even schoolchildren and the cashier at the grocery may be affected. They have one thing in common: the vast majority are women. According to a study presented by the Swedish National Board for Youth Affairs in March 2014, it appears that as many as half of young people from 16 to 25 years old have been the victim of Internet hate. In a third of cases, these were hate crimes, such as harassment due to colour, sexual orientation, gender identity or faith.

      I agree with Ms Maij’s report that online hate is not just a private matter; it is a problem for society as a whole. Member States must work to improve international standards and strengthen both the content and the application of their national laws in this field. They must convince Internet intermediaries to work harder to prevent and remove online hate and ensure accountability. It is absolutely necessary to provide training to police, prosecutors and judges on the seriousness of all forms of online hate and to ensure that children and young people are educated at an early age about both the exceptional possibilities and the responsibilities of online exchanges. The best tool against misinformation is an educated and informed audience.

      It is crucial to ensure that victims’ complaints of online hate and misinformation are taken seriously and that they receive full support in dealing with its consequences. It would therefore be useful to establish a special ombudsman for the Internet. An Internet ombudsman should support and assist the victims of threats and violations online, which, among other things, means that they should be given the tools and opportunities to help the vulnerable, take responsibility for getting websites to remove offensive comments, photos and videos and offer support at the police report stage. Let us work together to build societies free of hate.

      Mr MUNYAMA (Poland, Spokesperson for the Group of the European People’s Party) – I congratulate the rapporteurs, Ms Gambaro and Ms Maij, on their reports. I support them in emphasising that freedom of speech is a foundation of our democratic societies and it is crucial to preserve it online as well as elsewhere. However, this must not lead us to trivialise online hate. Ross Mayfield once said that web 1.0 was mainly sales and business, whereas web 2.0 is the people who, through their smartphones, become the media. The web 2.0 revolution put the power of expression in the hands of ordinary people. In my opinion, the most important words about increased cyberdiscrimination and online hate were said by Walter Lippmann: the media not only show what we think but how we think about it. We must bear in mind that it is no longer media corporations that govern public discourse but ordinary people armed with social media and network access.

      The biggest problem arises when public figures heat up emotions in the virtual agora through posts and comments. By design, the Internet is a hotbed agora for freedom and democracy, but I agree with the report’s thesis that it has become a modern wild west where the discourse is filtered through hatred. Worst of all, this hatred goes into the real world. It is therefore necessary to tighten national laws on cyberdiscrimination and hate speech but above all the law should be ready to adopt contemporary realities so as to make it effective. I agree that intermediaries, such as Google, Facebook and Twitter, should improve their algorithms to eliminate all forms of hatred in the network. By not indexing those algorithms, they will condemn hate by simply not allowing the entry of specific phrases.

      In conclusion, Seneca emphasised that words teach, but examples involve. We must remember that the fish rots from the head, so this is about the example we set as leaders and the excitement that builds around the things we fight.

      Mr MAHOUX (Belgium, Spokesperson for the Socialist Group) – I congratulate the rapporteurs on their excellent reports, and it is important to note that they rightly stress the importance of including media education in school curriculums and of having awareness raising campaigns so that people are critical of content. We need alert systems for individuals who regularly post hate speech or other unacceptable things and there should be a right of response or something like that to make it possible quickly to correct untrue information that is disseminated online, to combat cyberdiscrimination effectively and so on.

      We have heard how often young people are on the Internet and on social networks. They can often be victims of hate speech or sensitive to it and they find it difficult to counter that. New technologies give our children all sorts of possibilities – access to culture and real information – but they can also promote the dissemination of cyberviolence, with harassment day and night that leads to severe psychological effects and even suicide. France has drawn up a protocol to combat harassment in schools, and in Belgium we have worked not only on prevention but on cyber-solutions. It would be interesting to have more information about measures taken by member States to deal with these problems.

      We also need to clarify the liability and accountability of intermediaries. The providers of Internet content should remove it when it is illegal and we have a law about managers of servers who are responsible for acting quickly to remove information or make access to it impossible. There is a press group called Roularta that has decided to cease the publication of comments at the end of articles on its website. It states that its mission is to inform and that as false information relayed on social networks is a huge problem, it needs to return to its fundamental mission of disseminating correct information.

      Of course, there is a problem with freedom of expression and when we come up with solutions that deny the citizen the opportunity to express themselves. However, this all shows how important it is to combat hate speech and discrimination on the Internet, particularly on social networks.

      Lord BLENCATHRA (United Kingdom, Spokesperson for the European Conservatives Group) – The draft resolution is dangerous, in my opinion. It calls on member States to initiate at the national level mechanisms “for preventing the risk of information distortion and manipulation of public opinion". If we are not sure how to do that, I suggest we could seek advice from Mr Putin or Kim Jong-il, who are experts at preventing the public from getting information from the Internet.

      Of course governments should seek to take down criminal or terrorist websites or communications on Facebook or Twitter, but the so-called "fake news" is not the sole domain of social media. Of course, if people are stupid enough to believe that the Pope voted for Mr Trump or that Hillary Clinton was a paedophile no amount of legislation can replace that stupidity. However, the mainstream media are equally guilty of "fake news" when they selectively distort issues to give a biased viewpoint. The Washington Post, among many lies about President Trump, reported that he would sack the black general commanding the Washington National Guard at exactly 12 noon as he was taking the oath of office. A seemingly nasty, racist thing to do, but it was the Internet and social media that revealed that the general himself decided to resign at that exact moment.

      In Europe, take the 1 200 sexual assaults in Cologne at the new year celebrations – all covered up by the regional government and police who described the event as "playful" and "peaceful." We have no idea how many women were raped but I am sure they would not describe their terrifying ordeal as "playful." It was social media which revealed the extent of the horror and forced the mainstream media and authorities to come clean that it was done by young men mainly of North African origin. Take the beautiful country of Sweden, which is probably the first in Europe to deliver full female emancipation, liberation and equality. Sweden has taken in more refugees per capita than any other country in Europe, and now it is known as the rape capital of Europe. You will find that out only from the hundreds of reports on the Internet and social media, because the Swedish Government has refused to publish any statistics on the link between excessive migration and crime since 2005. When the State lies and the mainstream media conspire to cover it up, social media, however imperfect, needs to expose it.

      The draft resolution must be opposed for another reason: it is based on the 2015 “Freedom of speech on the internet: promoting a uniform approach” report – wow! A uniform approach to freedom of speech is the dream of every dictator in history, especially if we let the State set out the “norms and mechanisms” that the resolution demands.

      I do not like social media. I do not use Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or Snapchat, but their free-for-all of conflicting fake news, which we can reject, is infinitely better than State-controlled and mainstream fake news, where we would have no choice.

      Mr COMTE (Switzerland, Spokesperson for the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe)* – Our media are going through a revolution. Some people have the impression that journalism is an endangered species. It is a highly difficult and unstable profession. Many journalists are forced to change jobs, given the gloomy prospects in the media.

      This revolution runs parallel to the technological revolution, which has brought profound change to journalists’ work in a world of non-stop news. Journalists are always fighting to be the first to publish news, which clearly reduces the possibility of verifying their sources. Enormous economic changes are also under way in the media. The financing models for media outlets are changing, and there are big changes in advertising spend. Just this week in Switzerland, for example, a newspaper closed down for financial reasons, which led to the redundancy of about 30 journalists.

      Clearly it would be wrong for us to fight against the technological revolution. The best thing we can do is to promote a critical spirit among citizens and young people in particular. An important measure referred to in the draft resolution is media education being part of school curricula. The youngest members of society should be taught to be wary and to develop a critical attitude. There is an increasingly critical attitude to traditional media. More and more people are saying that the traditional media are also guilty of lies, so we have to do our best to encourage a critical way of reading news from all media outlets.

      It must be stressed that media cannot be a legal no man’s land. Too many users have the impression that they can do whatever they want on the Internet, meaning that all sorts of unpleasant discourse, including hate discourse, is easily unleashed. That leads us to the question of online media users’ traceability. Sometimes it would be useful for us to know who is responsible for online statements. In certain cases, legal proceedings have been taken.

      Finally, it is important for us to stress the role that parliamentarians and elected officials have to play in spearheading the fight against hate. We have an important role to play as models for society. It is essential that we, as politicians, respect clear limits in what we say. We should certainly avoid indulging in any discourse that could be described as hate discourse.

      The PRESIDENT – Thank you, Mr Comte.

      I remind the rapporteurs that they will have a chance to reply at the end of the debate. Do Ms Gambaro and Ms Bilgehan wish to respond at this stage? That is not the case. We therefore proceed with the list of speakers.

      Ms ZIMMERMANN (France)* – First, I would like to take this opportunity to thank the rapporteurs for both the reports, which are excellent. The digital information revolution has led to substantial changes in the profession of journalism. Far from the image of great reporters risking their lives in the theatres of war of Syria or Iraq, journalists nowadays have to use multiple platforms and compete in a highly competitive environment.

      There are many challenges and huge responsibilities. In countries where freedom of expression is gagged, online media – in particular blogs – constitute the only source of independent information for citizens. The authors of those blogs are taking real risks, and are often risking their lives. In fact, some governments, including those of member States of the Assembly, have tried to combat social networks and access to the Internet. That shows how important these media are.

      In our democratic countries, this new type of journalism raises a number of questions. What kind of information are we to broadcast? What audience is it for, and for what use? With the development of Twitter and the various “gates” that have affected high-profile politicians, many have wondered about the need to establish a new charter or code of ethics that is adapted to the Internet age. In France, we have for the time being user guidelines relating to the web, but otherwise the 1918 charter on journalism is still applicable.

      We need to agree on clear principles. Information is only valuable if it is verified, and web journalists will only have credibility if they check their information. That is why we have to somehow reconcile exclusivity and truth. Online media, by their very nature, draw an immediate response from readers, which is why everyone should only publish reliable information, but that is not always the case. In fact, some people think that acting in haste is more important than checking one’s information; in other words, defamation can be more important than information. Credibility should remain at the heart of journalism.

      Web 2.0 is a synonym for instantaneous information, rapid broadcasting and, most importantly, globalisation. Sometimes we do not have really have control over the relationship between the web and the media. We do not have enough time to check content, which is why manipulators can cause great havoc. That is one of the major challenges of the global village of information we now live in, and particularly for those media that speak out against democratic problems.

      Transparency is fundamental. New technologies today mean that journalists can publish information while hiding their identity and the fact that they are professional journalists. We can understand that in the context of a totalitarian regime, but it is very hard to accept in a democracy. News agencies such as Agence France-Presse and Reuters have been very clear on that point. Finally, another ethical issue is whether or not we should prohibit live media coverage of hearings from courtrooms. As legislators, we will have to think about all these questions, including how we reconcile freedom of the press with online media and how we reconcile new journalism with democracy.

      Mr LE DÉAUT (France)* – I congratulate the rapporteurs on their work on this subject, which is of major concern. Progress in medical science has improved our lives in general. That is also true of the Internet. There is more communication among peoples. However, alongside that progress, especially in the field of the Internet, technology is not fully shared by all or kept under control. Any technological progress can be beneficial for society if it is kept under control and shared by all.

      On the Internet, there are attacks on our fundamental rights. There is intimidation, manipulation of information and insulting speech, which affects in particular our children and young people. Our rapporteurs have made that clear. Thanks to profiling on the Internet, people can find about the colour of someone’s skin, their sexual orientation and all sorts of other private information. Some are using the Internet for undemocratic purposes, and it can go even further; a number of algorithms make it possible to promote deep learning, but that kind of learning can be manipulated by pressure groups, because this amounts to grouping certain users on certain Internet groups. Some of the rapporteurs have said, “Well, everyone should take responsibility for what they do”, whereas others say it is up to national parliaments to regulate the Internet. I do not think either of those things is sufficient.

      What we see at the moment is that there is no worldwide regulation of the Internet, although an attempt was made to put in place world governance of the Internet, through an initiative from the United States involving the control of domain names, hosts on the Internet and their servers. So there is something an Assembly such as ours could ask for: the setting up of world regulation of the Internet under the aegis of the United Nations. For as long as we do not manage to do that, the Internet will be the wild west – it will be an area of lawlessness. It is a fantastic tool, but we need to regulate it, because otherwise there will be these shortcomings that we have heard about in the reports.

      Ms BARTOS (Hungary) – The fact that information is valuable and powerful has been proven several times by history. The fate of battles, wars and empires was determined by the content of news or on the news being received in time. Times are changing now; in the past, the news had a long way to travel to arrive and only a few people were affected, whereas nowadays it arrives in seconds and affects crowds of people. So the impact of information, irrespective of its content and reality, is enormous. I therefore thank the rapporteurs for reporting on these topics and for their thorough and extensive work. The phenomenon of online disinformation and manipulation, accountability for our own and third-party content, the responsibility of all actors, transparency and the issue of protecting privacy, and the self-regulatory content rule, are all crucial elements to address. We must protect our common values in the solutions.

      I share the opinions that we have heard, but I wish to emphasise two elements. First, the globalised world has been limited in time and space, but the obstacles have been eliminated by technological development and many people can be part of the online world in many ways. The earlier transparent systems changed into a multiplayer one, which is difficult to control. It is a multi-actor system and it presents a huge challenge, which goes across continents, countries, different social groups and generations. One of the report’s major achievements, therefore, is that it involves the majority of those affected in the solution. It formulates recommendations not only for member States, but for professional organisations and Internet users. That is the good way to obtain tangible results.

      Secondly, it is also necessary to highlight the issue of responsibility mentioned in the report. As the possibilities for individuals increase alongside those of organisations, their responsibility rises accordingly. However, it is not sufficient to fight for effectiveness in this area only with external regulators; internal regulators, such as education, the enrichment of our internal world and moral strengthening, have equal importance. Fortunately, there are several good initiatives taking place around the world, including in my country, Hungary. This is also the basis of democracy, and as we know, without morals democracy is at an impasse.

      Mr VENIZELOS (Greece) – Following the US presidential elections, Europe is obliged to face the threat of fake news, of the dominance of post-truth over truth, of well organised cyber-attacks on fundamental democratic institutions and how they function and of the possible distortion of the will of the electorate through the abuse of technological powers provided by the Internet under the veil of freedom of speech and information. A mobilisation is already taking place in some member States and at the level of the European Union, as well as at the level of the big Internet service providers such as Google and Facebook. We need strong international collaboration at not only the European level, but the global level, to deal with activities that have an extraterritorial character and that pose issues of jurisdiction for national courts or of effectiveness for regional mechanisms for human rights protection, democracy and the rule of law, such as the European Convention on Human Rights and the European Court of Human Rights.

      The jurisprudence of the Court is rich and balanced, and takes fully into account the specificities and the power of the Internet compared with the conventional media, but that is not enough. The procedure is very slow and fragmentary, whereas the phenomena are moving with great speed and flexibility at the global level. Are the existing provisions of the European Convention, such as Article 10 and Article 8, sufficient, or is there a need for an additional protocol to it to deal with the issues of cyberspace and the functioning of democracy and the rule of law under conditions of coexistence with the dynamics of the Internet? That is the main legal, constitutional and political question. Perhaps we need an additional protocol to the European Convention. We should answer that question with insightfulness and caution, knowing that the legal and institutional solutions are not only European, as the problem is truly global.

      Ms FATALIYEVA (Azerbaijan) – I congratulate the rapporteurs on their timely and important reports. The issues they raise are on the agenda throughout the world, in every country.

      Today, online media is used for manipulating activity on a global scale to promote and disseminate ideas in the mass consciousness. Such activity is focused on forming public opinion by submitting and spreading false facts and misleading the audience, especially the younger generation, thus creating virtual myths. Reflecting correct and truthful information, especially in areas of conflict, is a great responsibility, but unfortunately not all websites follow those rules. In all of Armenia’s portals one can easily find falsified facts about Nagorno-Karabakh, and its history and cultural heritage, and even about recent events there, such as the brutal activity of Armenian military forces, their atrocities and so on. All of that serves as another obstacle to solving the conflict, and in many cases media activities are at the core of the spread of radicalisation, intolerance and extremist ideas.

      As one of the Council of Europe’s general rapporteurs on children, I am very concerned about the growing threats to the safety of children in cyberspace. Social network sites and blogs have increasingly become breeding grounds for anonymous online groups that attack women, minorities and children. Such attacks include rape threats, privacy invasions, defamation, and technological attacks that silence victims. Victims go offline or assume pseudonyms to prevent future attacks, so online dialogue is impoverished and victims are deprived of the social and economic opportunities associated with a vibrant online presence. Although social and legal norms have dampened offline discrimination, the Internet’s wild-west culture and architecture invites bigots to move their hatred to cyberspace.

      The Internet facilitates anonymity, loosening social norms that constrain noxious behaviour. It brings people together, which is a benefit when used for good purposes, but is especially dangerous when cyber-mobs band together. Moreover, unlike offline hate, which loses its impact with time, online hatred can be permanent. These are serious problems. None the less, the public pay little attention to cyber-hate. Law enforcement routinely trivialises the cyber-harassment of women, minorities and children, deeming it ranting that victims can, and should, ignore. Police officers often refuse to pursue cyber-harassment complaints on the grounds that the conduct is legally insignificant. Victims often do not pursue legal claims for fear that they will not be taken seriously or that no law protects them. That is an unfortunate result of false information and mistaken assumptions.

      The law criminalises cyber-harassment and may provide compensation for online discrimination. The law has an important role to play, but the existing legal framework can only take us so far. Other institutions can and should tackle cyberdiscrimination, including online intermediaries, educators and interest groups.

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

      Ms BRASSEUR (Luxembourg)* – Five years ago, more than 70 people – mostly young people – lost their lives as a result of the terrible attacks in Utřya and Oslo carried out by one man fuelled by hatred. In the wake of that attack, a youth initiative was mounted to fight online hate speech. That is how the movement here in the Council of Europe came about. It was then supported in 2015 by the creation of a parliamentary alliance against hate speech, to which a number of our members signed up. As things stand, 43 member States of the Council of Europe and beyond have joined the alliance, and France is poised to join the movement this afternoon at 4 o’clock.

      Above and beyond political circles, we should fight this battle because we cannot really draw a line between hate speech and other acts. The Internet is a terrific platform for disseminating lies and hatred against politicians – they might be in the firing line – and celebrities, including people from the worlds of showbusiness and sport, or even the most vulnerable people in our societies. Sowing fear and hate is a precursor to a dictatorship, so let us be very wary, as the Internet is the prime forum for doing this.

      If you are the first to realise something, you may copy some people in order to be different from others. However, in seeking to do so, you all end up being identical because you have exclusivity, which leads to originality in other fields but which, in the case of the Internet, leads to standardisation and uniformity. I have with me a book dating back to 1996 – before the Internet era – by Pierre Bourdieu. It is about television and I recommend it to everyone. Essentially, the Internet is now having a multiplier effect, which is why I urge you all to join the movement against hate speech. I am proud to have been appointed the ambassador of the movement, so I encourage you to promote the movement in all your countries, to say no to hate speech and to say yes to freedom of expression, but there is obviously a line that we must not cross.

      Thanks for your support and thanks to the rapporteurs. It goes without saying that I will very much support the reports, but that is not enough. We need to spread the message loud and clear back home.

      Mr O’REILLY (Ireland) – I congratulate our rapporteurs on the timely and important reports. I will start by speaking from my country’s perspective, before making a few general remarks.

      Ireland attaches great importance to the promotion of human rights online and to initiatives that combat cyberdiscrimination and online hate. Given that so many Internet corporations have headquarters in Ireland, the country feels strongly about promoting best practice in the field. In September 2016, the Law Reform Commission of Ireland published a report recommending new criminal offences and a powerful oversight agency to combat online abuse, cyber-bullying and revenge porn. I commend the idea of similar initiatives to each country in the Council of Europe. Further recommendations include expanding the definition of harassment to specifically include online activity, such as posting fake social media profiles, and making stalking a specific offence.

      The recommendations have been taken on board by the minister, who has committed to legislation implementing those initiatives. That legislation is imminent. Up until now, the traditional media have been a central element of our democracy. They are regulated and journalistic standards apply, but the recent exponential growth in online media means that there may be disinformation and no journalistic standards. Online media can include bullying, revenge porn and so on, which must be criminalised and stopped. We are well aware of the advantages of social media, which facilitate instant communication and can be used for good. Of course, it is perfectly acceptable to use social media for good, including for friendship and normal human interaction, but it is important to criminalise the malpractice.

      My country went through a very deep recession, as did many other member States represented here, over the course of five or six years. During that time, due to specific legislation going through parliament, a number of my colleagues were the victims of online hate messages that greatly troubled them, and adversely affected their families. Online media need regulation in all our countries, so this is an extremely timely discussion.

      Ms SANTERINI (Italy)* – We are all concerned by the dissemination of online hate speech. It is difficult to tackle such an enormous phenomenon, so I thank the rapporteurs for their excellent work on a subject that the Council of Europe has been addressing for some years now – for example, with the campaign against hate speech that Ms Brasseur told us about.

      The whole issue is one of the key foundations of our democracy, as can be demonstrated by the recent fake news controversy in the US election campaign. We already have rules and regulations. For example, the European Union’s 2008 framework decision on racism and xenophobia that provides a European legal basis on which to fight illegal online content. The web is not a no man’s land. The same rules should apply to the online world as those that apply to traditional media. We can all be targets of hate speech – Jews, Muslims, Roma, people that we do not like and women. There has been lots of homophobic hate speech.

      Some people are cautious about this issue because they do not want to limit the freedom of speech, but that is paradoxical, as it is clear that Article 10 of the European Convention on Human Rights does not cover it. There are two actions that the Council of Europe can take. First, it should promote self-regulation for the major social media operators – YouTube, Facebook, Google and so on. In 2016, they signed a legally binding code of conduct with the European Commission, which obliges them to examine cases and remove hate content within 24 hours, but an assessment of the measure’s implementation demonstrated that they removed only 30% of the requested information. In other words, the implementation of rules matters as much as the rules themselves.

      Secondly, we must fight hate speech and support the bloggers, associations, sports groups and schools and that play a high-profile role in fighting hate. We should recognise those organisations. That can be done as part of the No Hate Parliamentary Alliance’s work on the fight against racism. All colleagues should be encouraged to report cases of hate speech to the No Hate Parliamentary Alliance. We should focus on dialogue and persuasion. There are those who produce hate on the Internet, but also people who remove it. Hate speech is like a shout; we should respond with measured words.

      Mr KOVÁCS (Serbia) – I congratulate both rapporteurs on this excellent report. They emphasised the dangerous side of the Internet and online media content, and suggested some solutions. We must not forget that hatred is always a political construct; it is the product of policies that manipulate irrational fears and prejudices. The Internet is merely a technological intermediary for such policies. Hate speech and the spread of discriminatory attitudes in virtual reality is not exclusively a technological issue; it is a serious social problem.

      It is everyone’s task to work to improve international standards. We must adopt a legal framework that promotes the responsible use of technology and eliminates hate speech from Internet platforms. Technology may be used to promote both positive and negative content. Therefore, it is important that we devise strategies for using social networks as a means of fighting violent extremism and promoting positive ideas. Social media are a powerful tool for disseminating hatred and intolerance and inciting violence. The widespread use of social networks means that a large number of people are exposed to such content and need to learn how to react to Internet violence, which is why it is important that we train the users of Internet platforms to develop their critical thinking and oppose narratives of violence and intolerance. In Serbia, we are successfully eradicating acts of hate speech in the media and on social networks, and introducing procedures for protecting people against hate speech.

      Cyber-bullying among children and young people is unfortunately not recognised as a separate type of child exploitation in Serbia. It is important that we recognise and identify that type of electronic violence in the legal framework for two reasons. First, we need to be able to inform and educate children and young people in the school system. Secondly, we must provide adequate assistance and protection to the direct and indirect victims of cyber-bullying. I believe it is necessary to include the issue of protection against electronic violence and related practical training in the regular education programme. The only way to effectively address that problem is to constantly discuss it with our children and their parents and teachers. Together, we must continue to protect our fundamental values, including the dignity and equality of all human beings, the safety and security of our societies, and the wellbeing of all.

      Ms BULIGA (Republic of Moldova)* – I am grateful to the rapporteurs, whose report deals with a very sensitive, topical subject. Internet technologies are progressing in the modern world. They generate many advantages but also a lot of risks, which we must take into consideration. Consider how difficult it is to ensure the objectivity of information while protecting human dignity and personal data on the Internet. The information space is fragile and can present risks. Changes in the media landscape, the vulnerability of Internet content and the consequences of the financial difficulties of the press mean that we all have to pay more attention to freedom of the press, objectivity of information and the impact of the media on users. We are concerned about those issues.

      Moldova has adopted a number of legislative measures with a view to creating a legal framework that ensures freedom of expression, freedom of the press and freedom of information. Much remains to be done, based on good practice from elsewhere in Europe. I agree with the rapporteurs that the rapid development of new technologies has put a lot of pressure on the press. That is true in the Republic of Moldova, where the press is confronted with certain challenges and has very little time to adapt to the new landscape. Unfortunately, in many countries, the balance of freedom of expression, access to information and the need to ensure its accuracy is still shaky. That is why we, as elected representatives, must take into account in our legislative activates the reports of non-governmental organisations that specialise in the media.

      We have to monitor how the media ensure plurality of opinion. They must respect the law when it comes to providing accurate, objective and pluralistic information, and the activities of the press – including online media – must be more balanced. That would improve the media’s credibility in the eyes of the public. Consumers of the media would be able to avoid receiving erroneous information, especially if they obtain their information from several sources. Indirectly, that would discourage media manipulation and propaganda, which occur in a number of countries in the public space and the virtual space.

      Mr WILK (Poland) – When talking about this issue, we must carefully balance two values: safety and freedom of expression. New technologies, especially the Internet, are wonderful tools that enable us to communicate, exchange information and express different views – including political views, of course – but they can also be used for illegal activities, such as crime, pornography and terrorism. On the other hand, such threats are often used by governments as a pretext for limiting freedom of expression on the net. In some cases, that may even take the form of censorship and the blocking of the government’s political or ideological enemies.

      Taking those issues into account, we must always remember a few fundamental rules. First, we cannot switch off the Internet; it is technologically impossible. Secondly, regulation of the Internet by the secret services should be allowed only in special circumstances, such as to prevent serious crimes. Thirdly, the investigation of people should be allowed only with the agreement of a court. Fourthly, such investigations must be time-limited. Fifthly, freedom of expression should be controlled by civil, rather than criminal, courts.

      Mr R. HUSEYNOV (Azerbaijan) – We live surrounded by miracles. We have become so accustomed to them that they do not amaze us anymore. Almost anybody can serve as their own editorial office and information agency. Anyone can, from their own home, can go on air directly, and deliver their message to any part of the world. Millions of people on the Internet and social networks are beyond any control. This is an ideal opportunity for freedom of expression and thought, but one that has its shortcomings and threats.

      Like atomic energy, this technology has both a positive and a terrible side. With atomic energy, there are global mechanisms that control its application. The Internet, however, is an uncurbed, free space where the virtual exchange of information takes place via online media. It is therefore capable of throwing up all kinds of complications. If the equivalent of the universal and magnificent power of nuclear energy is at the disposal of genuine journalists, scholars and writers, then we can say that the equivalent of nuclear weapons of mass annihilation can be used at will, with the same flexibility and ease, by terrorists and those who are morally corrupt.

      Internet provision covers the entire territory of Azerbaijan. It is not without reason that I emphasise the full freedom of our Internet space. I have personally observed the limits of serious usage in various countries. As in other places, I have seen the spread of fraud, slander, instigation and insults in our Internet space, including information circulated by the online media. However, efficient mechanisms for the operative, resolute and fundamental prevention of these undesirable trends do not yet exist.

      Online media can play both a constructive and destructive role. In view of everything I have said, the only true way to enable the natural progress of online media is to constantly engender a sense of accountability and tell everybody to follow developments as an impartial juror and a conscientious editor, as well as being an ordinary reader, listener and spectator.

      The Internet and online media are part of our universal wealth. For the sake of humanity, let us prevent our wealth turning into a horror that works against us.

      Ms DURANTON (France)* – I congratulate the rapporteurs on their excellent work. The reports we are debating this morning deal with a fundamental freedom that is defended by our Organisation: freedom of expression.

      Thanks to the Internet, we have seen the emergence of new media, including social networks. Today, anyone can both produce and receive information in this new era. That is progress, for sure. Yet can the Internet be a completely unregulated space for expression? Does freedom of expression mean that you can say whatever you like on the Internet – that you can even propagate lies or hate speech over the Internet? The answer has to be no. The usual rules of the real world must also apply to the Internet. We must therefore be able to identify hate speech online and condemn it.

      At a meeting of the No Hate Parliamentary Alliance, which I sponsored together with my colleague Pierre-Yves Le Borgn’ in Paris last September, we realised that our fight against hate speech has to focus on the Internet. For that, we need to be given the tools to act. We need to be equipped. We need criminal legislation that recognises that some forms of messages are actually offences. The police and the justice system need to be shored up to be able to deal with these offences. Online media and social networks also need to be involved in prevention. Any kind of abusive language, racism or defamation should be pointed out to the publisher and the publisher should withdraw that information. We need the co-operation of the online media.

      When it comes to the professional press online, we are very worried about the current state of affairs. Advertising is now devoted to online articles, but it is hard for that advertising revenue to compensate for the loss of money due to a drop in subscriptions. In addition, advertising revenue has gone over to social media. Search engines mine data and establish profiles for users. Professional media outlets face competition from new sources of information that broadcast information that is, without any warning, more like disinformation. There seems to be a sort of free-for-all on the Internet, where information that is portrayed as reliable is actually nothing but lies that serve a political purpose. We saw that recently in France, with disinformation campaigns launched by the extreme right against some politicians. There is also sometimes product placement masquerading as the truth. Users need to be informed about that.

      As you can see, colleagues, there are many subjects we need to address when we talk about freedom of expression on the Internet. We need to provide security for Internet users and reliability of information if we want to this tool to still constitute progress.

      Ms DURRIEU (France)* – I thank the rapporteurs for their excellent reports.

      We have now entered a new era – the era of hybrid wars. This new era brings with it a new set of threats. Which parts of the world are affected? All parts of the world. Some countries are more offensive in addressing this problem. I could cite China, Russia and Turkey as examples of that. Those affected by these attacks are also very diverse: companies, countries, banks and political parties. In the US election campaign, the Democratic Party’s email servers, and those of Ms Clinton, were hacked. Of course, the media are also targets.

      When it comes to this cyber-war, I think we have all said pretty much the same thing this morning. There are three main characteristics of this cyber-war. There is the war via the news and the war against news. This involves all types of propaganda and disinformation. Russia, for example, financed the Sputnik organisation. Let us call a spade a spade: terrorists – Islamic State in particular – are very organised when it comes to conducting propaganda and trying to create new converts. We have also seen how Russia uses disinformation. The Russian media are leading a campaign of historical revisionism. They have completely changed the way they talk about the First World War. They also suggest there are no Russian troops present in neighbouring countries, in particular Ukraine. This disinformation war is a genuine war with enormous political stakes. It affects many countries who are conducting this war via their respective intelligence services.

      The war against information is also a war that exists everywhere. Turkey is a prime example. It is regrettable that we were not able to have an urgent debate yesterday, given that it would have preceded today’s debate on the media. There are an enormous number of journalists in prison in Turkey. That has an effect on democracy and we simply cannot turn a blind eye to it. Countries spend enormous sums of money on improving their profiles in foreign media. For example, Russia has spent €1.2 billion. Our Moldovan colleague talked about this. I have seen myself that Moldova has very much been targeted by that campaign.

      The Internet is a space of freedom. However, that freedom comes with a very real threat, which is why we have to create greater security.

      The PRESIDENT* – Thank you, Ms Durrieu.

      I must now interrupt the list of speakers. The speeches of members on the speakers list who have been present during the debate but have not been able to speak may be given to the Table Office for publication in the Official Report. The texts should be submitted electronically, if possible.

      I call Ms Bilgehan to reply. You have five minutes to respond to the debate.

      Ms BİLGEHAN (Turkey)* – Dear colleagues, I thank you for all your contributions and remarks about Ms Maij’s important report. You have touched on some very important issues.

      There is a pressing need to include courses on Internet use in school curricula. When drafting the report, we held many meetings and listened to experts; representatives from significant platforms with millions of subscribers came and spoke to us. We always need to pay the utmost attention to hate speech. The representatives and experts have told us that they are following up on it, but unfortunately the complaints raised about hate speech have not been resolved to any great extent.

      What about ordinary citizens? They are not in a strong position vis-ŕ-vis the platforms. As an ordinary citizen, I might not know how to fight against hate speech; first I would have to make an application to the platform, then go to court and hire a lawyer – it is quite difficult to obtain a result. We have to find more efficient ways of fighting hate speech.

      There is a fine line between freedom of expression and hate speech. That fine line is sometimes abused; for certain governments, as in George Orwell’s novel “Animal Farm”, some people are more equal than others. For example, the defamation of statesmen can sometimes be used to justify imposing disproportionate sanctions on ordinary citizens. We have to consider the jurisprudence of the European Court of Human Rights, which has always underlined the importance of politicians being more tolerant of criticism.

      We cannot prevent the dissemination of information. Last week, in the Turkish Parliament, we were discussing a constitutional amendment package, and unfortunately the parliamentary debates were not published or broadcast on television. But what happened? Parliamentarians became journalists and used their mobile devices to broadcast the debates online. It is impossible to censor information or prevent it from being published; what is important is to provide correct information, as was raised during our discussions yesterday. It is important that journalists provide correct information, but unfortunately we see many bad examples. Journalists have to abide by professional ethics.

      This is a very important report. The secretariat, as usual, has been excellent. I convey Ms Maij’s best regards to you on her behalf, and I thank you for your support.

      The PRESIDENT* – Thank you, Ms Bilgehan.

      Does the Chairperson of the Committee on Equality and Non-Discrimination wish to reply? Ms Centemero, you have the floor for two minutes.

      Ms CENTEMERO (Italy) – Dear colleagues, last September a young Italian woman, Tiziana, committed suicide after months of sexist harassment on the Internet. Tragic stories like hers have happened all over the world. Each of them is deeply shocking. For every life tragically lost, many more have been forced off the Internet by online attacks. As parliamentarians, we are well aware that the Internet has become a significant part of people’s daily lives, but we also see many people saying things on the Internet that overstep all acceptable bounds.

      Ms Maij’s report reminds us that free speech is vital and must be protected, but it also reminds us that not all forms of expression are covered by the protection of free speech. It calls on us to play our part in ensuring that people are as safe online as they are offline. Our laws must prohibit online hate and provide effective remedies against it, just as they must do offline. We must educate children and young people to refrain from online hate. We must teach them how to respond when they see other Internet users engaging in it. Internet companies must ensure that the environments they create are safe for all and free from hate.

      Dear colleagues, the draft resolution and draft recommendation propose important measures to help to achieve these aims. The Committee on Equality and Non-Discrimination unanimously approved them in December, and I warmly invite you to support them today.

      The PRESIDENT* – Thank you. Ms Centemero.

      Ms Gambaro, as rapporteur of the Committee on Culture, Science, Education and Media, you have the floor for three minutes.

      Ms GAMBARO (Italy)* – I thank all colleagues who took the floor in this debate. Each and every one of them brought something new to the discussion and came forward with solutions to this new challenge that we face. We must rise to that challenge; measures need to be taken. I apologise that I do not have time to respond to every contribution, but I will pick out some of them.

      Ms Johnsson Fornarve described how women are often the targets of hate speech campaigns. Mr Munyama spoke about improving algorithms to deal with online hate speech campaigns, which I think would be a very good solution. Mr Mahoux reminded us that this is a problem for young people, because they are the main victims of such campaigns – sadly, the case that Ms Centemero cited reminds us that far too many people take their own lives as a result. Lord Blencathra said that newspapers too are responsible. We cannot lay all the blame on the Internet, but we must remember that this debate is about challenges online, so that is the challenge that we have to address. I agree with Mr Comte that we should set an example by not engaging in any kind of violent speech. In our day-to-day political lives, we should refrain from aggressive language. We are political representatives, so we should be setting an example.

      I was interested to hear Ms Zimmerman speak about a code of ethics for the web. Mr Le Déaut, who I know is an expert in the field, suggested that we should try, via the United Nations, to regulate and bring some order to the lawless environment on the Internet. Ms Fataliyeva rightly pointed out the need to guarantee the safety of children who are often left alone, exposed to the Internet. I also thank Ms Santerini and other members for all of their work on the Council of Europe’s “No Hate Speech” campaign, to which Ms Brasseur encouraged all members to sign up. Ms Duranton and Ms Durrieu talked about the importance of prevention and gave examples from their countries, for which I am grateful. All of you made a significant contribution to the debate.

      The fact of the matter is that if we do not start regulating, it will be the survival of the fittest, if you like. It will be “might is right”, because wherever you have an absence of law you find that the strongest prevail. That is why we have got our work cut out in this field.

      The PRESIDENT* – Thank you, Ms Gambaro.

      Does the Chairperson of the Committee on Culture, Science, Education and the Media wish to reply? You have two minutes.

      Mr ARIEV (Ukraine) – Colleagues, have you ever encountered information on the Internet that immediately confused you with its brutal lies, which have nothing in common with reality? I think most of us have done so – we witness that worldwide. I thank the two rapporteurs for their joint work. Ms Gambaro and the secretariat of our committee did a huge amount of work on collecting information and preparing the report.

      This matter is currently very important as we have seen hybrid warfare being used by one country against another. We have seen that in the United States of America, and now France and Germany have decided to prepare and adopt measures to prevent attacks on their web systems and to prevent the distribution of misinformation online, despite the fact that we know its sources. Yes, we know that the main sources are the Russian Government and terrorist groups from the Middle East. We must react to hybrid war and its consequences as Ms Maij’s report says, and in light of the legal opinion prepared by the Committee on Legal Affairs and Human Rights and the opinion of our committee. We now need drastic, complete measures to fight against this challenge, because this is the main challenge for the world for the future.

      The PRESIDENT* – Thank you, Mr Ariev. The debate is closed.

      The Committee on Culture, Science, Education and Media has presented a draft resolution, Document 14228, to which seven amendments have been tabled.

      I understand that the Chairperson of the Committee on Culture, Science, Education and the Media wishes to propose to the Assembly that all seven amendments to the draft resolution, which were unanimously approved by the committee, should be declared as agreed by the Assembly. Is that so, Mr Ariev?

      Mr ARIEV (Ukraine) – Yes.

      The PRESIDENT* – Does anyone object?

      As there is no objection, I declare that all seven amendments to the draft resolution have been agreed.

      Amendments 1 to 7 are adopted.

      The PRESIDENT* – We will now proceed to vote on the whole of the draft resolution contained in Document 14228, as amended. A simple majority is required.

      The vote is open.

      The draft resolution in Document 14228, as amended, is adopted, with 127 votes for, 2 against and 5 abstentions.

      Congratulations – that is a really good score.

      The Committee on Equality and Non-Discrimination has presented a draft resolution, Document 14217, to which 12 amendments and three sub-amendments have been tabled, and a draft recommendation, Document 14217, to which two amendments and one sub-amendment have been tabled.

      The amendments will be taken in the order in which they appear in the compendium and the organisation of debates. I remind you that speeches on amendments are limited to 30 seconds.

      I understand that the Chairperson of the Committee on Equality and Non-Discrimination wishes to propose to the Assembly that Amendments 3, 5, 7, 8, 9 and 10 to the draft resolution, which were unanimously approved by the committee, should be declared as agreed by the Assembly. Amendments 4, 6 and 11 were also unanimously approved by the committee, but as there are sub-amendments proposed, we will consider them. Is that so, Ms Centemero?

      Ms CENTEMERO (Italy) – Yes.

      The PRESIDENT* – Does anyone object?

      Amendments 3, 5, 7, 8, 9 and 10 are adopted.

      The PRESIDENT* – We come to Amendment 1. I call Mr Ghiletchi to support the amendment.

      Mr GHILETCHI (Republic of Moldova) – The amendment aims to strike the balance between censoring illegal speech on the one hand, and freedom of expression on the other. It essentially recalls the European Court of Human Rights case Handyside v. the United Kingdom. It is ironic that the rapporteur rejected the amendment while accepting another that says that we need to emphasise the court case. I ask you to be consistent. Let us accept the amendment, which will bring that balance.

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

      Ms BİLGEHAN (Turkey)* – The rapporteur is against the amendment because it provides too much detail at this stage in the resolution, because we are only really looking at general principles. It does not provide any substantive additions, because there are references to ECHR case law in the body of the resolution. The rapporteur is therefore against.

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

      Ms CENTEMERO (Italy) – Against.

      The PRESIDENT* – The vote is open.

      Amendment 1 is rejected.

      We come to Amendment 4, which has a sub-amendment. I call Mr Ariev to support the amendment. You have 30 seconds.

      Mr ARIEV (Ukraine) – Cyberdiscrimination and online hate are specifically addressed by the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination, as well as the additional protocol to the Council of Europe’s Convention on Cybercrime, so the legal gold standard should be applied.

      The PRESIDENT* – We now come to the sub-amendment, tabled by the Committee on Equality and Non-Discrimination. I call Ms Bilgehan to support the sub-amendment.

      Ms BİLGEHAN (Turkey)* – We want to replace “and” with “including”, because inciting violence is not distinct from hate speech; it is a form of hate speech. Indeed, it is possibly the only type of speech that all states agree constitutes hate speech.

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

      Ms SPADONI (Italy)* – I want to talk about the order in which we are proceeding, because I gather that Ms Maij, the rapporteur for cyberdiscrimination, is not here. I want to know whether the absence of the rapporteur from a debate in the Chamber creates a precedent and whether it is even in order under the rules.

      The PRESIDENT* – I do not have any problem with it. Ms Bilgehan is standing in for the rapporteur, as she is absent. She is speaking under the authority of the chair of the committee. I do not see a problem with that. You were not speaking to the sub-amendment. I want to hear the opinion of Mr Ariev, the author of the amendment, about the sub-amendment.

      Mr ARIEV (Ukraine) – I personally have no objections, but I should stress that we have not reached a decision as a committee on the sub-amendment.

      The PRESIDENT* – Thank you. I shall now put the sub-amendment to the vote.

      The vote is open.

      The sub-amendment is adopted.

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

      What is the opinion of the Committee?

      Ms CENTEMERO (Italy) – In favour.

      The PRESIDENT* – The vote is open.

      Amendment 4, as amended, is adopted.

      We come to Amendment 6, which has a sub-amendment. I call Mr Ariev to support the amendment on behalf of the Committee on Culture, Science, Education and Media. You have 30 seconds.

      Mr ARIEV (Ukraine) – In its Grand Chamber judgment in the case of Delfi AS v. Estonia, the European Court of Human Rights clarified the responsibility of Internet service providers for hate speech posted by third parties. It is useful to recall this landmark judgment and to call for national legislation to be consistent with the case law on this issue, as it completely corresponds to the spirit of the report.

      The PRESIDENT* – We now come to the sub-amendment, tabled by the Committee on Equality and Non-Discrimination. I call Ms Bilgehan to support the sub-amendment.

      Ms BİLGEHAN (Turkey)* – Ms Maij asked me to present her report for her and also gave a view on the amendments. Our sub-amendment would delete the text at the end of the amendment, because even though the judgment is extremely important, it is not appropriate to refer to just one ECHR judgment in the resolution. That is the view of the rapporteur.

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

       Mr ARIEV (Ukraine) – As I have said, it is important to recall the standards set by the European Court of Human Rights in this case. Through its judgment, the Court established the responsibility of web companies to co-operate in tackling hate speech, which is something directly referred to in paragraph 7.

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

      Ms CENTEMERO (Italy) – In favour.

       The PRESIDENT* – I shall put the sub-amendment to the vote.

      The vote is open.

      The sub-amendment is adopted.

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

      What is the opinion of the committee?

       Ms CENTEMERO (Italy) – In favour.

      The PRESIDENT* – The vote is open.

      Amendment 6, as amended, is adopted.

       We come to Amendment 2. I call Mr Ghiletchi to support the amendment.

      Mr GHILETCHI (Republic of Moldova) – This amendment is not about a particular case, but about an important principle that would balance the resolution. My amendment would add “recalling the importance of safeguarding the right of freedom of expression”. We need to stress that freedom of expression is a fundamental right. When we talk about hate speech, we need to keep in mind the need to safeguard freedom of expression.

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

      Ms BİLGEHAN (Turkey)* – Ms Maij is against the amendment. She thinks it is unnecessary and would make the text repetitive, as there are already sufficient references to Court’s case law in the text.

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

      Ms CENTEMERO (Italy) – Against.

      The PRESIDENT* – The vote is open.

      Amendment 2 is rejected.

      We come to Amendment 11, which has a sub-amendment. I call Mr Ariev to support the amendment on behalf of the Committee on Culture, Science, Education and Media. You have 30 seconds.

      Mr ARIEV (Ukraine) – Paragraph 7.5.3 refers to co-operation between Internet intermediaries and law enforcement authorities, but makes it subject to “data protection requirements as defined by law”, which, given the differences in national legislation, pending harmonisation, would hamper legal co-operation and assistance between law enforcement authorities. Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights and Article 9 of the Convention for the Protection of Individuals with regard to Automatic Processing of Personal Data recognise that the right to protection of personal data is absolutely right, so please support the amendment.

      The PRESIDENT* – We now come to the sub-amendment, tabled by the Committee on Equality and Non-Discrimination. I call Ms Bilgehan to support the sub-amendment.

      Ms BİLGEHAN (Turkey)* – Our sub-amendment would replace “international standards on data protection” with “the Convention for the Protection of Individuals with regard to Automatic Processing of Personal Data”. We believe it is better to spell out exactly what standard we are talking about.

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

      What is the opinion of the mover of the amendment?

       Mr ARIEV (Ukraine) – In favour.

      The PRESIDENT* – I presume that the Committee on Equality and Non-Discrimination is also in favour, so I shall now put the sub-amendment to the vote.

      The vote is open.

      The sub-amendment is adopted.

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

      What is the opinion of the committee?

       Ms CENTEMERO (Italy) – In favour.

      The PRESIDENT* – The vote is open.

      Amendment 11, as amended, is adopted.

      The PRESIDENT – We come to Amendment 12. I call Mr Ariev to support the amendment.

      Mr ARIEV (Ukraine) – Dear colleagues, some journalists’ organisations and communities have started the Media Against Hate campaign, which is funded by the European Commission. Such initiatives should be welcomed and mentioned in order to encourage synergetic co-operation with the campaign as well as with other stakeholders outside the European Union. I propose that we adopt this amendment.

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

      Ms BİLGEHAN (Turkey)* – The rapporteur is against this amendment. She thinks that there are already many worthy initiatives, so it is not appropriate to single out only one in an Assembly resolution.

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

      Ms CENTEMERO (Italy) – Against.

      The PRESIDENT* – The vote is open.

      Amendment 12 is rejected.

      We will now proceed to vote on the whole of the draft resolution contained in Document 14217. A simple majority is required.

      The vote is open.

      The draft resolution in Document 14217, as amended, is adopted, with 143 votes for, 6 against and 7 abstentions.

      We move on to the draft recommendation. There are two amendments and a sub-amendment to the recommendation.

      I understand that the Chair of the Committee on Equality and Non-Discrimination wishes to propose to the Assembly that Amendment 13 to the draft recommendation, which was unanimously approved by the committee, should be declared as agreed by the Assembly. Is that so, Ms Centemero?

      Ms CENTEMERO (Italy) – Yes.

      The PRESIDENT* – Does anyone object? As there is no objection, I declare that Amendment 13 to the draft resolution has been agreed.

      Amendment 13 is adopted.

      Amendment 14 was also unanimously adopted by the committee, but it has a sub-amendment, so it will be debated as usual. I call Mr Ariev to support Amendment 14 on behalf of the Committee on Culture, Science, Education and Media.

      Mr ARIEV (Ukraine) – Dear colleagues, Amendment 14 was proposed by one of our colleagues on the committee. It is about protecting children from online hate and discrimination, because they are targeted as a most sensitive audience.

      The PRESIDENT* – We now come to the sub-amendment, tabled by the Committee on Equality and Non-Discrimination. I call Ms Bilgehan to support the sub-amendment.

      Ms BİLGEHAN (Turkey)* – Our sub-amendment proposes that the word “launched” be replaced with the words “step up”, because the Council of Europe is already extremely active in the fight against racism and hate speech, notably through the No Hate Speech Movement, so we are talking not about launching activities but about stepping them up.

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

      What is the opinion of the mover of the amendment?

      Mr ARIEV (Ukraine) – No objections.

      The PRESIDENT* – I presume that the Committee on Equality and Non-Discrimination is also in favour. I shall now put the sub-amendment to the vote.

      The vote is open.

      The sub-amendment is adopted.

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

      What is the opinion of the committee?

      Ms CENTEMERO (Italy) – In favour.

      The PRESIDENT* – The vote is open.

      Amendment 14, as amended, is adopted.

      We will now proceed to vote on the whole of the draft recommendation contained in Document 14217, as amended. A two-thirds majority is required.

      The vote is open.

      The draft recommendation in Document 14217, as amended, is adopted, with 144 votes for, 5 against and 6 abstentions.

      I congratulate the rapporteurs from both committees.

(Mr Agramunt, President of the Assembly, took the Chair in place of Mr Rouquet.)

4. Address by Mr Klaus Werner Iohannis, President of Romania

      The PRESIDENT – We will now hear an address by Mr Klaus Werner Iohannis, President of Romania. After this, President Iohannis will take questions from the floor.

      Dear President, on behalf of the Parliamentary Assembly, I would like warmly to welcome you here today. Your presence speaks of your personal commitment to the promotion of the democratic values that we share. This Assembly highly appreciates member States that devote efforts to the advancement of education, and we know that you personally attach significant value to strengthening the links between education, research and innovation. Speaking yesterday at the ceremony to mark the International Day of Commemoration in Memory of the Victims of the Holocaust, you made a clear link to the importance of education for this memory. Your country has also highlighted this in your exhibition on the Holocaust in Romania. Education plays a key role in the promotion of tolerance and the fight against radicalisation, and you have stressed more than once the need to turn today’s challenges into opportunities, and that in order to reach this goal, we must stand together and defend with greater strength our European values.

      I am sure that our members are keen to hear your position on this and other important matters. It is a pleasure for me now to give you the floor.

      Mr Klaus Werner IOHANNIS (President of Romania) – Mr President, dear members of the Parliamentary Assembly, Mr Secretary General, excellencies, ladies and gentlemen, I warmly thank President Agramunt for the invitation to be here today and for his very kind introduction.

      I am truly honoured to address this distinguished Assembly. My presence is one more proof of the deep attachment and respect Romania nurtures towards the Council of Europe, the first major international organisation to which my country acceded after the fall of communism. Our accession to the Council of Europe in 1993 was one of the first major steps in the process of democratic transition in Romania. It also played a key role in the European and Euro-Atlantic integration of my country. Romania’s 10-year EU membership, which we celebrate this year, can be also considered a result of the tremendous transformative power of membership of the Council of Europe.

      The Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe greatly contributed to developing the rule of law in my country and strengthening respect for human rights, and those things characterise present-day Romania. In this context, I stress the importance of the Council of Europe’s legal instruments in consolidating a democratic State. Convinced of this fact, Romania has ratified 107 of the Council of Europe’s conventions.

      Through constant dialogue with the Council of Europe, Romania also became a model – I speak about this from my personal experience – in protecting and promoting the rights of persons belonging to national minorities. The successful Romanian intercultural model is recognised as such at a European level and this genuine model of inter-ethnic relations entails the active involvement at all levels, whether local or national, of national minorities’ representatives in the decision-making process for not just the minority in question but society as a whole. It involves not only the mere co-existence of minority groups with the majority population, which defines the so-called multicultural model, but the interaction of minority and majority groups, thus fostering an intercultural project. It is a project that enriches our society and civic spirit through cultural diversity and proves the virtues of interaction and tolerance. In my view, national minorities represent a true, enriching asset of a nation and contribute to building solid bridges between States.

      As for the Roma minority and their social inclusion, we can see that our step-by-step multi-institutional approach over the past 15 years has produced tangible results. Of course, there are still things to be done, but the confirmation of our results can be found, among other things, in the rise of the political participation of Roma, the efficiency of the strategies implemented and the figures published, for instance, by the EU Agency for Fundamental Rights. I want to reaffirm in this context Romania’s strong support for the work of the Council of Europe in this area and our commitment to further work towards the social inclusion of Roma both in Romania and in Europe more generally.

      As for the keystone of human rights protection in Europe, the European Convention on Human Rights, it is obvious that the continued efforts of the Strasbourg Court alone are not enough. States party to the Convention should be the first protectors of human rights. At the same time, we can neither ignore nor tolerate situations in which judgments of the Court are not implemented in certain member States. On the other hand, Protocol 16 to the Convention will contribute to the better implementation of the Convention standards through judicial dialogue. Romania has already signed Protocol 16 and we are in the process of drafting the piece of legislation necessary to introduce in our procedural framework the possibility of the highest national courts asking for advisory opinions. However, the effort started in 2010 regarding the reform of the Court, which has already showed concrete results, should continue so as to streamline further its activity and improve its overall efficiency. Romania will do its best to support the accomplishment of this goal.

      Present-day Europe is faced with multiple crises unprecedented since the end of the Cold War and capable of undermining our core values. In this complex context and as a result of their capacity to regenerate and modernise, the Council of Europe’s standards and institutions are even more relevant. In this sense, I commend the activities not only of the European Court of Human Rights, which I have already mentioned, but of the Commissioner for Human Rights, the Committee for the Prevention of Torture, the European Commission against Racism and Intolerance, the Venice Commission, the Group of Experts on Action against Trafficking in Human Beings, MONEYVAL and, not least, this Assembly.

      I want to dedicate a special word to the Venice Commission, whose relevance nowadays cannot be emphasised enough in the light of various evolutions in some European democracies. We benefited a lot from its expertise, from its opinion on the first democratic Constitution of Romania of 1991 to the assistance with so many essential pieces of legislation to uphold the rule of law in Romania. Its activity needs to be backed as it performs its duties as guardian of democracy through law, and Romania will continue to support its efforts.

      I am therefore pleased to inform you that on 6 April I, together with Secretary General Jagland, will open in Bucharest an international conference co-organised with the Venice Commission on the role of the majority and the opposition in a democratic society. It is a highly topical subject given the background of certain changes in some member States. I praise the initiative of the Secretary General, who asked the Venice Commission to elaborate guidelines on the matter.

      We need solid democratic societies, in which majorities do not abuse their otherwise legitimate rights just because they are a majority and the principle of loyal and constructive co-operation between and among democratic institutions works without failure. In a democratic society, normal criticism from the opposition cannot be seen as a destructive element or interpreted as a lack of acceptance of the results of democratic elections. It is just part – as legitimate as the effort and activity of the democratic majority – of a sound liberal democratic system, which we all need if we want to cope successfully with the challenges of our times.

      Another challenge that we in Europe all face, unfortunately, is the rise of populism, radicalism, xenophobia and europhobia. Europhobia is not only against the values of the European Union; it also very much against the fundamental values, principles and norms of the Council of Europe. This Organisation has a key role to play in fighting those pernicious phenomena, which attack the very basics of our democratic societies. We have to fight them with all the forces, instruments and mechanisms available to us. Romania will not spare any effort to do so.

      I am glad that the latest parliamentary elections in Romania, held in December, did not bring any europhobic, xenophobic or radical political parties into the Romanian Parliament, which shows eloquently the maturity of Romanian society. I hope that the results of the various elections that will take place this year in Europe will prove the same maturity of European citizens, against all odds.

      Alongside serious European internal challenges, we face another major threat: violent extremism and radicalisation leading to terrorism. The Council of Europe has taken up an important role in fighting terrorism by strengthening its legal instruments and improving its bodies. Romania firmly condemns all terrorist attacks and reiterates its firm support for combating any form of terrorism. Our common efforts aimed at countering the phenomenon of foreign fighters should remain grounded in our need to protect and reinforce our values. That is why Romania and Spain launched in 2015 an initiative on the creation of an international court against terrorism in order to prevent, deter and punish terrorist crimes. I invite you all to support that initiative. It is also why Romania signed in March 2016 the additional protocol to the Council of Europe Convention on the Prevention of Terrorism and will ratify it soon.

      In a broader context, I would also like to underline that Romania supports every joint action against cybercrime. That is essential for combating terrorism, organised crime and human trafficking. As host State of the Council of Europe’s Cybercrime Programme Office, which became operational in Bucharest in 2014, Romania acknowledged the growing need of States to strengthen their capacity to properly combat cybercrime.

      As members will know, Romania is also a staunch supporter of the democratic process in its vicinity. In that context, the role of Parliamentary Assembly members in consolidating democracy is fundamental. Romania has strongly supported the Republic of Moldova’s democratic development since its declaration of independence in 1991. Romania was the first State in the world to recognise the independence of the Republic of Moldova. After 26 years, we hold firmly that the only path that can bring long-term prosperity to our neighbouring State is that of European integration. That goal can only be reached through a profound reform process based on ensuring domestic political stability and the responsible involvement of all political and institutional factors in consolidating the process. That is essential for the State’s modernisation and the support of its European course, to the direct benefit of its citizens. I therefore strongly encourage the Council of Europe community to continue its support for the Republic of Moldova, while keeping in view the next parliamentary elections in 2018, which will be crucial for the democratic future of the country.

      As for Ukraine, Romania strongly supports the sovereignty, territorial integrity and unity of our neighbour. The Minsk agreements are the best tool for solving the crisis and should be fully implemented. The Council of Europe has a major role to play in the reform process in Ukraine, and Romania remains a strong supporter of all these efforts.

      The situation in the Western Balkans is still marked by a certain degree of insecurity, originating in the difficult economic situation, the rise of nationalism, organised crime and the threat of religious radicalisation. The strategic importance of the Western Balkans in Europe should motivate us to overcome those difficulties and persevere in projecting our values of democracy, the rule of law and prosperity. To achieve that aim, the EU enlargement process needs to continue and, as appropriate, the European Union should consider assuming more creative means and a broader approach. The Council of Europe’s complementary role has proven crucial in that pursuit. We are grateful for its involvement in monitoring respect for human rights, protection of the rights of persons belonging to national minorities and respect for democratic principles.

      My presence here coincides with the commemoration in memory of the victims of the Holocaust. I took part in an event yesterday and inaugurated an exhibition called “Education and Remembrance: the Holocaust in Romania”. This is taking place while my country holds the chairmanship of the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance. Raising awareness of the Holocaust and teaching younger generations about the tragic events that occurred during the Second World War has been a top priority for Romania in recent years.

      With the chairmanship of the Alliance, we have strived to provide support to educational establishments and to educators on how to use the lessons learned from the tragedy of the Holocaust to promote knowledge and tolerance in our society. Students across my country have had the opportunity to attend workshops, lectures, study trips and contests which are meant to equip them with knowledge and skills to adequately relate to this tragic historical episode. Furthermore, Romanian institutions have also established international partnerships for training civil servants and law enforcement personnel in combating anti-Semitism, Holocaust denial, racism, xenophobia, discrimination and hate speech in the public sphere. In 2015, Romania introduced in its criminal legislation one of the most modern sets of legal provisions in Europe banning extreme nationalism, racism, xenophobia, negationism and anti-Semitism. This new legislation allows for the prosecution of such actions even if they were performed on social networks.

      I would like to underline here the importance of combating the threat of the spreading of hate speech on social networks and the need for effective institutional instruments to follow and ban this type of action. I call on all of you to act against this menace. These kinds of measures, as taken by Romania, are instrumental in providing the correct reaction when faced with attempts to deny or distort history or to "promote" people who are guilty of crimes against peace and humanity. This approach should be followed by all Council of Europe member States. In May 2016, a working definition on anti-Semitism was adopted on the occasion of the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance plenary meeting in Bucharest. This was a great achievement, but keeping the memory of the Holocaust alive, and fighting anti-Semitism and all forms of racism, discrimination and xenophobia, is a collective endeavour. I once again praise the activity in this field of this distinguished Assembly and of all the other Council of Europe institutions.

      Ladies and gentlemen, I am sincerely convinced that the Council of Europe and this Assembly, in particular, must and will remain a major player in upholding the rule of law and safeguarding human rights, against the background of the current challenges. A new Council of Europe Summit, in 2019, would constitute an endorsement, at the highest political level, of the key role that the Council of Europe plays for the future of our continent. As future holders of the Presidency of the Council of the European Union, in the first semester of 2019, Romania stands ready to contribute to a successful Summit of the Council of Europe, if the member States decide to organise it.

      In Romania’s view, the work of the Council of Europe is vital for maintaining and safeguarding our democratic values and principles. I assure you that Romania will continue to make every effort necessary in supporting this essential mission. You may count on me, you may count on Romania. Thank you.

      The PRESIDENT – Thank you very much, Mr President, for your most interesting address. As I said before, 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 KOX (Netherlands, Spokesperson for the Group of the Unified European Left) – Thank you very much, President Iohannis, for your most interesting speech, in which you elaborated on the relationship between Romania and Moldova. Your country was the first to recognise Moldova, but since then the relationship has been, to put it mildly, rather complex. At this moment, your ideas about the future of Moldova and of EU integration are quite different from those of newly elected President Dodon, who is not in favour of the association agreement with the EU and pleads for the neutrality of his country. Nevertheless, you both share an interest in solving the divide in Moldova. How can Romania help to overcome that divide between Transnistria and the rest of Moldova? Could you be of any help? What do you think of President Dodon’s new proposal?

      Mr IOHANNIS – Thank you for your question. I guess you all know that Moldova is of the utmost importance to Romania, not only because it is our neighbour, but because of historical, cultural and linguistic links, and of course our common desire to build strong democratic systems. Romania has been a fair, reliable partner for Moldova during all these years. Romania and Moldova managed together to build programmes destined to strengthen the rule of law and to reform the judicial systems. The political systems became stronger. As is natural, this process has its ups and downs, but Romania is determined to continue to be a strong, reliable partner for Moldova. During the last month, in Romania we analysed our relations with Moldova, including in the light of the latest elections in Moldova, and we decided to become an even closer ally for Moldova. We therefore decided to extend our aid programmes and to continue, for example, with important financial aid for the Republic of Moldova. We are going to continue to help local communities to rebuild and to modernise schools, hospitals, local transportation, and to be involved in a very constructive way in the promotion of the much-needed reforms in Moldova. That is what we are going to do; no matter who is going to be elected in which position, we are going to stay as a partner for Moldova.

      In our opinion, the one sustainable path for Moldova is the European path. On the other hand, we know very well that Moldova has very specific problems, one of which you mentioned – the Transnistrian problem. Romania’s opinion is that that problem can be solved only through diplomacy; no other solution is thinkable or viable. Negotiations take place in the 5 + 2 format, but the negotiations got stuck a couple of years ago. The Germany presidency of the OSCE managed to move things towards a new phase of dialogue, which I appreciate very much. It is a good sign in this complicated situation. If you are a friend of Moldova, be sure that we are a friend of Moldova. Together, we can solve problems.

      Mr VAREIKIS (Lithuania, Spokesperson for the Group of the European People’s Party) – When you became the president, you expressed the very strong will to fight corruption. New results from Transparency International today show that Romania scores 48 on a scale from zero to 100, so there has been an improvement, but it is quite modest. What are your comments on that? Is the mission to fight corruption possible and what would you suggest to our countries in the Council of Europe?

      Mr IOHANNIS – Thank you so much for that question. You have touched on one of my favourite themes: fighting corruption. Fighting corruption in Romania is not an easy task. It is very complicated, but I believe in Romania and in the capacity of Romanians to build a solid, mature democracy. I believe that corruption in Romania can be eradicated, but there is a long way to go from that belief to the fact. We are determined to go that way and we are currently fighting corruption with good results. Corruption is an endemic problem in Romania – I hope that it is not in your countries and that everybody is fine – and if somebody imagines that it could be eradicated in one, two or 10 years, I can tell you that he is wrong.

      Fighting corruption is a long, painful and ugly process that brings up the ugliest facets of a democratic society. The fact that we are successfully fighting corruption leads to daily breaking news, saying, for instance, “Ex-politician charged with corruption” or “Public employee charged with mismanaging public money”. That is extremely stressful for society and for politicians, and the results come, but they come slowly. That is why corruption cannot be fought in the short term. It can be fought, and probably eradicated, if we believe in the fight and keep going until we win. If not, the other guys will win, and that is not something that I can imagine for Romania.

      Mr SCHENNACH (Austria, Spokesperson for the Socialist Group) – Pictures of and information about your country over the past weeks and months have made us worried that the sickness of Macedonia has arrived in Romania, with recordings, videos, documents and illegal distribution by the intelligence service and others. That does not paint a good picture and puts pressure on the justice system. Are you behind the parliamentary investigation of that, and will personal and legal decisions be taken?

      Mr IOHANNIS – We all know that the media are part of political life, but we also know that media reports are not designed as proof of guilt or, on the contrary, lack of guilt. No matter how interesting and important media reports are for us as politicians, we should not mistake them for hard proof. I, as president, support any committee and procedure, and every institution, to find out whether anybody has proceeded illegally. I believe in the legal path. If somebody makes a mistake, he will pay for it. If not, his image should stay clean. In short, of course I support any and every procedure that leads to illegalities being uncovered.

      Mr D. DAVIES (United Kingdom, Spokesperson for the European Conservatives Group) – Mr President, as you will know, Dan Adamescu, who was the owner of a newspaper that was critical of your government, died in prison this week. There have been suggestions that he was denied a fair trial, access to medical treatment and access to parole. When his son, a playwright who lives in London, took action against one of your predecessors, he was served with a European extradition warrant. I accept what you say about the importance of fighting corruption, but it is important that this is not used as a means to silence people. Will the Romanian Government uphold the right to fair trials, fair treatment of prisoners convicted of any offence, and freedom of the press?

      Mr IOHANNIS – I was not acquainted with the person you mentioned, so I will not comment on that. But, yes, as President of Romania, I stand for fair trials and fair media approaches. As I said to your colleague, I am ready to support all necessary legal procedures to establish the truth.

      Mr XUCLŔ (Spain, Spokesperson for the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe) – I congratulate you on the Romanian-Spanish common project to set up an international court against terrorism. What do you consider the key initiative to avoid populism, and why do you think populism is increasing around Europe and around the world?

      Mr IOHANNIS – How much time have I got?

      The PRESIDENT – At least 10 minutes.

      Mr IOHANNIS – This is a very broad topic. I am a member of the European Council, and on several occasions we have discussed the future of the union, the way our constituents have voted in recent years, the fact that whoever has called a referendum has lost it, and the fact that populism has become popular again. Politicians usually have opinions about every subject. Everybody has an explanation for the populism, europhobia and xenophobia that we face, but we have to be honest. We usually blame the media and migrants – others – but we should use a mirror if we are to explain why populism has become popular again.

      I think we have a problem in Europe, and perhaps elsewhere, too. Too often, we avoid giving clear answers to clear questions. Too often, we tell people one thing during political campaigns and do something else during our mandate. Too often, we think that our constituents would not understand our plans, so we do not explain what we want to do.

      I have come to a conclusion, which I shared with my colleagues in our discussions in the European Council. Europe has all kinds of problems – problems with the economy, with migrants, with the Eastern border, with the Southern border and with the banks – but at the root I think we have a credibility problem. Politicians and the institutions we built are not credible any more. If we want to make things better and beat the populists, we must not become populists ourselves. We should reconnect with the people and tell them what the problem is and what we intend to do for them. If we do that, I think we will have to speak less often about the rise of populism, extremism, europhobia and xenophobia.

      Mr FOURNIER (France)* – Mr President, recent events relating to a major state service seem to have provided arguments to the detractors of the fight against corruption in Romania. Romania has done a lot to counter corruption in the past, so is that an individual shortcoming or a broader problem? Are there any legislative plans to work on that subject? What is the content of the European Commission’s last report on whether to lift the co-operation and verification mechanism? What does it say about developments in the Romanian judiciary? What is your assessment of its conclusions?

      Mr IOHANNIS – You raise a very good subject – thank you. I am pleased to tell you that the latest report on the CVM was issued two hours ago, and it is very positive – surprise, surprise. Romania is always good for surprises, sometimes even positive ones.

      The latest report on the CVM states that consistent progress has been made in all areas, but we know that a lot of things still have to be done. More precisely, it sets out 12 areas where we have to work harder to ensure progress. It states for the first time that it is not advisable – this is what the Commission says – to link the CVM report and results to other issues, such as Schengen or European funding. We are going to continue our work. It states that if Romania fulfils the 12 requests, the CVM is going to be finished, terminated, closed – “phased out”, as President Juncker and I said in the meeting in which we discussed the subject.

      Be assured that Romania has systems of checks and balances in place. It is a myth that the secret services provide strange proofs in penal dossiers. I assure you that that is not possible. I know, because I am President of Romania. If a charge is made, the person who makes the complaint should go before the relevant entity and it will be clarified. Right now, as I speak, the head of one of the secret services is in our parliament clarifying such issues; undoubtedly he will do so. Talking about facts and European reports is one thing but explaining myths is usually difficult, so I will stick to the facts.

      Mr BILDARRATZ (Spain)* – Many political parties and organisations have shared their concerns about Romanians who fear for their identity. Have there been any advances in promoting the Hungarian minority’s identity? You talked about minorities in your speech, but are you co-operating with the Szekler National Council, for example, or the associations that promote the Hungarian minority’s identity?

      Mr IOHANNIS – Thank you for your question. This is very important issue for Romania and the Council of Europe, which is why I spoke about it extensively in my speech. It is also important for me as a private person. As you may know, I myself am a member of an ethnic minority. Just imagine – a member of a small ethnic minority is President of Romania. That is an indication of the openness of the Romanians.

      In Romania, we have a large number of ethnic minorities. I spoke in my address about one of them: Roma. Another large ethnic minority is the Hungarian minority, but we also have Ukrainians, Jews, Germans, Italians and so on. We do not have Spaniards so far, but who knows? Right from the start, Romania established a very interesting model. Politicians, from that time to this day, understood that ethnic minorities are not a problem, but an opportunity to make our society better. We profit from diversity, and institutional support was there right from the start. We accepted and introduced the principle of positive political discrimination for ethnic minority organisations.

      In the Romanian Parliament, there are 18 Members representing 18 rather small ethnic minorities. The larger Hungarian minority is represented by Members elected on a regular path – they usually receive a large number of votes. So we do not only listen to minorities; they are actively involved in the Romanian political system. Hungarians have parliamentary representation. As with many others, they have schools and even university departments in their language. I can assure you that there is no problem called the “Hungarian problem”. We have Hungarians with us. They are an active and well-integrated part of Romanian society and that is how it is going to stay. As President, I have constant and, if I may say so, very good contact with the leaders of the Hungarian community.

      The PRESIDENT – Thank you, President Iohannis. Speaking of Hungarians, I give the floor to a member of the Hungarian delegation, Mr Németh.

      Mr NÉMETH (Hungary) – The restitution process for church properties in Romania has been regressing, not advancing. The cases of the Sfîntu Gheorghe Sepsiszentgyörgy, Unirea Theological Gymnasium and Székely Mikó College are among the most notable. A few years ago, these properties were restituted and now they are being renationalised by the state. Is it really conceivable that, 10 or more years after restitution, church property is going to be nationalised again?

      Mr IOHANNIS – That is a very particular and concrete question. As it happens, I am a teacher so I am interested in this issue and know pretty well what is going on. Let me clarify a couple of points. A building restituted to the church community is restituted. That is absolutely not in question. It is not a case of talking about renationalising, because nobody intends to do that. It is restituted and that is that. Because of an administrative rush, schools have administrative problems relating to how they are organised and managed. This is because our Minister of Education did not intervene in good time. However, this matter is undergoing a review to clarify the situation. As President, you will know that I am not involved in government procedures, but I hope this situation will be clarified as soon as possible. The centrepiece of your question was about restitution. Let me assure you that if a building has been restituted, and it rightly belongs to the community, it will stay there. Nobody – I repeat, nobody – in Romania intends to put renationalising procedures in place.

      The PRESIDENT – We must now conclude the questions to President Iohannis.

      Thank you very much, President Iohannis, for your important address and the exchange of views. You highlighted the benefits that Council of Europe expertise has brought to the democratic transformation of Romania. Indeed, our Organisation and the Assembly has been, and continues to be, a beacon of democracy, human rights and the rule of law in Europe. I thank you for your commitment to our Organisation and your words of support for a new Summit of heads of state and government of the Council of Europe, which will provide the political impetus for our action in the years to come.

      Allow me also to highlight your contribution to our Holocaust remembrance ceremony yesterday, in your capacity as chairman of the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance. The exhibition we are hosting is an important reminder of our duty to memory and our attachment to the ideals of the Council of Europe.

      Finally, let me welcome the idea of a conference on the role of the majority and the opposition in a democracy. This is a very important issue in today’s society and I thank you for the invitation. The Assembly has produced a lot of reports on this issue. I am sure we can make a valuable contribution to this event.

      Thank you very much, President Iohannis. I wish you all the best.

5. Next public business

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

      The sitting is closed.

      (The sitting was closed at 1.10 p.m.)

CONTENTS

1. Receipt of credentials

2. Change in the membership of committees

3. Joint debate: Online media and journalism: challenges and accountability, and Ending cyberdiscrimination and online hate

Presentation by Ms Gambaro of the report of the Committee on Culture, Science, Education and Media, Document 14228

Presentation by Mr Cilevičs of the opinion of the Committee on Legal Affairs and Human Rights, Document 14240

Presentation by Ms Bilgehan of the report of the Committee on Equality and Non-Discrimination, Document 14217

Presentation by Mr Ariev of the opinion of the Committee on Culture, Science, Education and Media, Document 14242

Speakers: Ms Johnsson Fornarve, Mr Munyama, Mr Mahoux, Lord Blencathra, Mr Comte, Ms Zimmermann, Mr Le Déaut, Ms Bartos, Mr Venizelos, Ms Fataliyeva, Ms Brasseur, Mr O’Reilly, Ms Santerini, Ms Kovács, Ms Buliga, Mr Wilk, Mr R. Huseynov, Ms Duranton, Ms Durrieu

Draft resolution in Document 14228, as amended, adopted

Draft resolution in Document 14217, as amended, adopted

Draft recommendation in Document 14217, as amended, adopted

4. Address by Mr Klaus Werner Iohannis, President of Romania

Questions: Mr Kox, Mr Vareikis, Mr Schennach, Mr D. Davies, Mr Xuclŕ, Mr Fournier, Mr Bildarratz, Mr Németh

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 ŕ l’article 12.2 du Rčglement.Le nom des personnes remplacées suit celui des Membres remplaçant, entre parenthčses.

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

ALLAIN, Brigitte [Mme]

ALLAVENA, Jean-Charles [M.]

AMORUSO, Francesco Maria [Mr] (BERTUZZI, Maria Teresa [Ms])

ANDERSON, Donald [Lord]

ANTTILA, Sirkka-Liisa [Ms]

ARDELEAN, Ben-Oni [Mr]

ARIEV, Volodymyr [Mr]

ARNAUT, Damir [Mr]

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

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

BALIĆ, Marijana [Ms]

BARTOS, Mónika [Ms] (CSÖBÖR, Katalin [Mme])

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

BAYKAL, Deniz [Mr]

BEREZA, Boryslav [Mr]

BERGAMINI, Deborah [Ms]

BĒRZINŠ, Andris [M.]

BEUS RICHEMBERGH, Goran [Mr]

BILDARRATZ, Jokin [Mr]

BİLGEHAN, Gülsün [Mme]

BILLSTRÖM, Tobias [Mr]

BLENCATHRA, David [Lord] (DONALDSON, Jeffrey [Sir])

BLONDIN, Maryvonne [Mme]

BRASSEUR, Anne [Mme]

BRUYN, Piet De [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]

ČERNOCH, Marek [Mr] (BENEŠIK, Ondřej [Mr])

CHRISTOFFERSEN, Lise [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.]

DAEMS, Hendrik [Mr] (BLANCHART, Philippe [M.])

D’AMBROSIO, Vanessa [Ms]

DAVIES, David [Mr] (LIDDELL-GRAINGER, Ian [Mr])

DESTEXHE, Alain [M.]

DI STEFANO, Manlio [Mr]

DIVINA, Sergio [Mr]

DJUROVIĆ, Aleksandra [Ms]

DOKLE, Namik [M.]

DUMERY, Daphné [Ms]

DURANTON, Nicole [Mme]

DURRIEU, Josette [Mme]

EẞL, Franz Leonhard [Mr]

EVANS, Nigel [Mr]

FATALIYEVA, Sevinj [Ms] (HAJIYEV, Sabir [Mr])

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

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

FENECHIU, Cătălin Daniel [Mr]

FISCHER, Axel E. [Mr]

FOURNIER, Bernard [M.]

FRANKOVIĆ, Mato [Mr]

FRESKO-ROLFO, Béatrice [Mme]

FRIDEZ, Pierre-Alain [M.]

GALATI, Giuseppe [Mr] (CHITI, Vannino [Mr])

GALE, Roger [Sir]

GAMBARO, Adele [Ms]

GARCÍA HERNÁNDEZ, José Ramón [Mr]

GATTI, Marco [M.]

GHILETCHI, Valeriu [Mr]

GILLAN, Cheryl [Ms]

GIRO, Francesco Maria [Mr]

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

GONÇALVES, Carlos Alberto [M.]

GOPP, Rainer [Mr]

GORGHIU, Alina Ștefania [Ms]

GORROTXATEGUI, Miren Edurne [Mme] (BALLESTER, Ángela [Ms])

GOY-CHAVENT, Sylvie [Mme]

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

GROZDANOVA, Dzhema [Ms]

GULYÁS, Gergely [Mr]

GÜNAY, Emine Nur [Ms]

GUTIÉRREZ, Antonio [Mr]

HEER, Alfred [Mr]

HEINRICH, Gabriela [Ms]

HETTO-GAASCH, Françoise [Mme]

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

HÜBINGER, Anette [Ms]

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])

IONOVA, Mariia [Ms] (GERASHCHENKO, Iryna [Mme])

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

JENIŠTA, Luděk [Mr]

JENSEN, Mogens [Mr]

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

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

JORDANA, Carles [M.]

JOVANOVIĆ, Jovan [Mr]

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

KARLSSON, Niklas [Mr]

KAVVADIA, Ioanneta [Ms]

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

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

KORODI, Attila [Mr]

KOVÁCS, Elvira [Ms]

KOX, Tiny [Mr]

KROSS, Eerik-Niiles [Mr]

KYRIAKIDES, Stella [Ms]

L OVOCHKINA, Yuliya [Ms]

LE BORGN’, Pierre-Yves [M.]

LE DÉAUT, Jean-Yves [M.]

LEITE RAMOS, Luís [M.]

LOMBARDI, Filippo [M.]

LOPUSHANSKYI, Andrii [Mr] (DZHEMILIEV, Mustafa [Mr])

LOUCAIDES, George [Mr]

MADEJ, Róbert [Mr]

MAHOUX, Philippe [M.]

MANNINGER, Jenő [Mr] (CSENGER-ZALÁN, Zsolt [Mr])

MARKOVIĆ, Milica [Mme]

MAROSZ, Ján [Mr]

MARQUES, Duarte [Mr]

MARTINS, Alberto [M.]

MASIULIS, Kęstutis [Mr] (ZINGERIS, Emanuelis [Mr])

MAURY PASQUIER, Liliane [Mme]

MAVROTAS, Georgios [Mr] (KASIMATI, Nina [Ms])

MEALE, Alan [Sir]

MIGNON, Jean-Claude [M.]

MIKKO, Marianne [Ms]

MILTENBURG, Anouchka van [Ms]

MİROĞLU, Orhan [Mr]

MULLEN, Rónán [Mr] (HOPKINS, Maura [Ms])

MÜLLER, Thomas [Mr]

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

NĚMCOVÁ, Miroslava [Ms] (MARKOVÁ, Soňa [Ms])

NÉMETH, Zsolt [Mr]

NENUTIL, Miroslav [Mr]

NISSINEN, Johan [Mr]

NOVIKOV, Andrei [Mr]

OBRADOVIĆ, Marija [Ms]

OBRADOVIĆ, Žarko [Mr]

OBREMSKI, Jarosław [Mr] (KLICH, Bogdan [Mr])

OEHRI, Judith [Ms]

ÖNAL, Suat [Mr]

OOMEN-RUIJTEN, Ria [Ms]

O’REILLY, Joseph [Mr]

PACKALÉN, Tom [Mr]

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

PALLARÉS, Judith [Ms]

PANTIĆ PILJA, Biljana [Ms]

PASHAYEVA, Ganira [Ms]

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

RIGONI, Andrea [Mr]

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

RODRÍGUEZ RAMOS, Soraya [Mme]

ROJO, Pilar [Ms]

ROSETA, Helena [Mme]

ROUQUET, René [M.]

SANDBĆK, Ulla [Ms] (BORK, Tilde [Ms])

SANTA ANA, María Concepción de [Ms]

SANTERINI, Milena [Mme]

SCHENNACH, Stefan [Mr]

SCHRIJVER, Nico [Mr]

ŠEPIĆ, Senad [Mr]

SEYIDOV, Samad [Mr]

SHARMA, Virendra [Mr]

ŠIRCELJ, Andrej [Mr]

SOBOLEV, Serhiy [Mr]

SOTNYK, Olena [Ms]

SPADONI, Maria Edera [Ms] (SANTANGELO, Vincenzo [Mr])

STOILOV, Yanaki [Mr]

STRENZ, Karin [Ms]

STROE, Ionuț-Marian [Mr]

TAMAŠUNIENĖ, Rita [Ms] (ŠAKALIENĖ, Dovilė [Ms])

THIÉRY, Damien [M.]

TROY, Robert [Mr] (CROWE, Seán [Mr])

USTA, Leyla Şahin [Ms]

VÁHALOVÁ, Dana [Ms]

VAREIKIS, Egidijus [Mr]

VEN, Mart van de [Mr]

VENIZELOS, Evangelos [M.] (TZAVARAS, Konstantinos [M.])

VILLUMSEN, Nikolaj [Mr]

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

VOVK, Viktor [Mr]

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

WILK, Jacek [Mr]

WINTERTON, Rosie [Dame]

WOJTYŁA, Andrzej [Mr]

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

YEMETS, Leonid [Mr]

ZAMPA, Sandra [Ms] (QUARTAPELLE PROCOPIO, Lia [Ms])

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 ŕ voter

BESELIA, Eka [Ms]

CORREIA, Telmo [M.]

CSENGER-ZALÁN, Zsolt [Mr]

EFSTATHIOU, Constantinos [M.]

FERNANDES, Suella [Ms]

GENTVILAS, Simonas [Mr]

GOLUB, Vladyslav [Mr]

HIGGINS, Alice-Mary [Ms]

LUNDGREN, Kerstin [Ms]

McCARTHY, Kerry [Ms]

OMTZIGT, Pieter [Mr]

OVERBEEK, Henk [Mr]

REISS, Frédéric [M.]

RUSTAMYAN, Armen [M.]

SMITH, Angela [Ms]

WILSON, David [Lord]

WILSON, Phil [Mr]

ZAVOLI, Roger [Mr]

Observers / Observateurs

LARIOS CÓRDOVA, Héctor [Mr]

Partners for democracy / Partenaires pour la démocratie

ALQAWASMI, Sahar [Ms]

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 ŕ la Résolution 1376 (2004) de l’Assemblée parlementaire)

Mehmet ÇAĞLAR

Erdal ÖZCENK