AS (2017) CR 07



(First part)


Seventh sitting

Thursday 26 January 2017 at 10.00 a.m.

In this report:

1.       Speeches in English are reported in full.

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

3.       The text of the amendments is available at the document centre and on the Assembly’s website. Only oral amendments or oral sub-amendments are reproduced in the report of debates

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

5.       Corrections should be handed in at Room 1059A not later than 24 hours after the report has been circulated.

The contents page for this sitting is given at the end of the report.

(Mr Agramunt, President of the Assembly, took the Chair at 10 a.m.)

      The PRESIDENT – The sitting is open.

1. Examination of credentials (Iceland)

      The PRESIDENT – The first item is the examination of the credentials of the representatives and substitutes of the Iceland delegation. The credentials of the representatives and substitutes of the Iceland delegation were transmitted in accordance with Rule 6 of the Rules of Procedure.

      The names of the members and substitutes are in Document 14236 (addendum). If the credentials are not challenged, they will be ratified.

      Are the credentials challenged?

      The credentials are ratified. I welcome our new colleagues.

2. Changes in the membership of committees

      The PRESIDENT – Our next business is to consider the changes proposed in the membership of committees. These are set out in Document Commissions (2017) 01, Addendum 4.

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

      They are agreed to.

3. Debate under urgent procedure: The need to reform European migration policies

      The PRESIDENT – The next item of business is the debate under the urgent procedure on the report titled “The need to reform European migration policies”, Document 14248, presented by Mr Ian Liddell-Grainger on behalf of the Committee on Migration, Refugees and Displaced Persons.

      I propose that in order to finish by 12 noon, we interrupt the list of speakers at about 11.45 a.m. to allow time for the reply and the vote. Is that agreed? Thank you.

      I remind members that the time limit for speeches is three minutes.

      I call Mr Ian Liddell-Grainger, rapporteur. You have 13 minutes in total, which you may divide between presentation of the report and reply to the debate.

      Mr LIDDELL-GRAINGER (United Kingdom) – Thank you, Mr President.

      I do not intend to detain the Chamber any longer than I have to, and I will welcome questions from colleagues. However, may I first pay tribute to the clerk to the committee, and also to the committee members? I have been very impressed by the open dialogue we have had. In fact, we have either accepted totally most amendments or changed them by working together for our mutual benefit and understanding.

      This report is not politically charged. It is not about one country against another. It says that we, as a collective, must work together to look after people who find themselves in situations that are not of their making. We have to understand that our responsibility as parliamentarians is to look after not only the people we represent but those in the world who find themselves on our shores or in our land looking for our help, understanding and compassion.

      Through the report, we are trying to say that we need a wider view and a policy not only within the European Union or Europe. This affects not only Europe but North Africa, Asia and most parts of the world. We are seeing the biggest migration of people since 1945. In most cases, people are not doing it because they want to; they are doing it because they have to. We are all elected representatives here, and we need in our governments to come up with policies that encompass not only how we handle people when they arrive but where they go, how we assimilate them, how we help them to become part of our way of life – which we take for granted – and how we make them realise they do not need to fear; bombs will not fall, bullets will not fly and the torture will stop.

      We have to make people understand that we are here to help them, but we also have to look at the other side of this, which is more painful – namely, security and the word “radicalisation”. We must accept that there have been terrible incidents across Europe, with people feeling compelled – some say radicalised, but I say compelled – to use whatever power they have to destroy, disrupt, kill and maim. People do not do that naturally; they have to be pushed into doing it. It is not something we wake up in the morning and think about doing. We must understand why it happens and how we, collectively, can ensure it does not happen. We must understand why people feel compelled to do it and how we can stop them wanting to, not by locking them up but by changing their minds, to see that this is not the way they need to go.

      We have legitimate processes in our countries. Here we are in the home of democracy. We stand and make our points and people listen to us politely. We do not have to agree, but we listen politely. People can protest, but there is one way of doing it, and not another. That has to be open. I know from the amendments tabled that there is concern that we encompass as much of the good of our continent as possible. As I said, we have managed to include virtually all the amendments in the report. I want to make this a collective report, so that everybody feels happy they can sign up to and understand what we are trying to do.

      I am not trying in any way to reinvent the wheel. Most of the work has been done by the Council of Europe over quite a few years. The report references other Council of Europe reports, going back 10 years. I invite members to look at them; they are fascinating. I am trying to bring together the best of what we have done, to say that this now needs to encompass all of us. Things have changed in 10 years: we did not have mass migration from Africa then; the Syrian situation was in its infancy; and we were still involved in Afghanistan and Iraq. That has changed, and we need to move on.

      I am conscious that my colleagues have worries. I thank my colleague from Denmark, Ms Sandbæk, for all her help; I know she has concerns about the United Nations convention, which I understand. She will probably ask me a question, which I will answer. There are still areas of concern, and I will try to ensure that the report encompasses those. I am conscious that members want to ask me questions, which I need to answer, and tell me their concerns. I look forward to the questions.

      The PRESIDENT – Thank you, Mr Liddell-Grainger. You have almost eight minutes remaining.

      We now move to the list of speakers on behalf of political groups. I call Mr Scully.

      Mr SCULLY (United Kingdom, Spokesperson for the European Conservatives Group) – I very much welcome this report and congratulate the rapporteur on his work and also the clerks, who have worked so quickly on it. During the week, we have been having discussions in our groups and around the Chamber about the relevance of the Council of Europe and how it is perceived in our home countries. This is a good example of an all-encompassing report: it talks about refugees and migrants, but does not seek to conflate the two; and it is bold enough to talk about security issues and procedures, which really need to be changed quickly to avoid more of the tragic cases that we have seen thousands of times over the past few years.

      In the United Kingdom, one thing that has been bubbling up for a number of years is concern about overall levels of migration, and one reason why is that people feel that politicians are not listening to them and their concerns, be they about infrastructure, jobs, welfare or similar issues. People feel distant from their elected politicians, so it is important that we address all these issues during our time as members of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe. We need to work on tackling the intractable problem of refugees coming in through Turkey, a country that has been doing an incredibly difficult job, Greece and Italy. If we are going to work on this problem, we must have a co-ordinated approach. The President and I were in the Moria hotspot, where we saw the tensions at the camp and heard about the closing of the borders in Macedonia. Recently, I met a Slovenian in Lisbon who spoke about 200 000 people walking through fields; in a country of 2 million people, one can understand the concern and their desperate need for an all-encompassing, Europe-wide, targeted and co-ordinated response.

      Let us hope we can get that right. We cannot just base our policies on single images such as the tragic photo of Alan Kurdi. It moved everybody but is not enough to base an all-encompassing policy on. That is why we need this co-ordinated approach, with discussion in this place. We then need to take our ideas back to our respective governments and to the European Union. I will leave it at that, but I just ask that we make sure that in this policy we manage the expectations of those people who also want to come to various countries across the European Union and further afield.

      Mr POLIAČIK (Slovak Republic, Spokesperson for the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe) – Mr President, honourable colleagues, three things need to be kept in mind when addressing the issue of migration. The first is that we are dealing with people – not “waves”, “floods” or “epidemics”, but people. The first war we need to win is in our heads, and the results show in the way we talk about things. The dehumanisation of migrants in the language of populists needs to be rejected, because it shapes the thinking of anyone willing to listen. In order to create ground for acceptance and understanding, every human being in pursuit of his or her future well-being has to be perceived as a person, a face and a story.

      The second thing to remember is that standard migration is also taking place: the movement of people searching for new jobs or opportunities. Many of the countries represented in this Chamber have benefited from the potential of newcomers – their talents and ideas. When we talk about the reform of European migration policies, we should talk not only about reacting to the recent crisis, but about building on the benefits of migration present in many of our countries.

      The third thing I wish to mention is a personal appeal. I helped as a volunteer in Röszke, on the Hungarian border, and also in Šid, on the border between Serbia and Croatia, not as a politician, but as a concerned European citizen. Many of my friends are still working with refugees in the Balkans. As we speak, people are starving and freezing on the European continent. The work of volunteers is on many occasions the only help they get. When we come up with a functional plan, I ask you to co-ordinate your institutions and your personnel with the volunteers on the ground, and work together.

      As I stated in the beginning, we are dealing with people here – with not only their hopes and dreams, but their frustrations and fears. Any measure we come up with might fail if it comes too late. That is why, on behalf of liberals, I welcome this debate. I thank the rapporteurs for their work and I hope that the outcomes, locally, nationally and internationally, will be beneficial for all of us.

      Ms GROTH (Germany, Spokesperson for the Group of the Unified European Left)* – The report contains a lot of important material, for example, on the resettlement of the 166 000 people in Italy, Greece and other European Union countries that has not taken place. The situation in Italy and Greece is horrific – there is no question about it. The situation there is a violation of human rights and human dignity, so the report also examines the causes. We looked at those and we must put them into the migration debate, along with strengthening our external borders. We must also discuss how to deal with refugees from outside the European Union. Numerous different rebel groups, and Islamic State, are promoting this conflict mentality – war, in other words. A number of different groups are fighting each other and are causing numerous individuals to suffer horrifically and to flee from their homes. The catastrophe is apparent and it has been mentioned repeatedly in the United Nations, as have the numerous individuals who have been persecuted and have had to flee from their homes. This topic has been dealt with in the media intensively.

      Paragraph 9.1.1 of the draft resolution states that member States should “engage in a meaningful dialogue involving the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees” to discuss the various points of the 1951 United Nations Convention relating to the Status of Refugees and other points. The idea of changing that Convention is contradictory to what is said about this issue in the Geneva Convention, so we think that paragraph ought not to be part of this report.

      We have to look at human rights and international law, as it must be the core of any sort of migration policy. We also have to see the arrival of these people as an opportunity to enrich our society. The 65 million people throughout the world who are on the road, fleeing, are from poverty-stricken countries. We can deal with the small proportion of people from these countries who come to us. We ought not to forget what the situation is in Jordan and Lebanon, with 40% of the populations of those countries comprising refugees. One refugee camp in Jordan is that country’s fourth largest city. We need more solidarity now in this debate in dealing with the refugee issue.

      Mr ZECH (Germany, Spokesperson for the Group of the European People’s Party)* – I thank the rapporteur for the report and for this debate. We have all had to ask ourselves how to deal with migration and refugees in our countries, and it is difficult to find answers, particularly where logistical and operational matters are concerned. In the Council of Europe and the European Union, we have not been capable of putting the entire operation into practice. We were not prepared and we were not at all able to cope with the flow of refugees reaching Europe after the horrific civil war in Syria.

      We need to draw a distinction between the people who reach us. We should find out whether someone is a refugee fleeing a war, who needs a roof over their head and the protection they cannot get at home, or whether they are an economic immigrant trying to find a job, who wants to settle and integrate into our countries. People fleeing from civil wars should be helped, particularly in the region where they live.

      Most refugees are internal refugees. Some 8 million Syrians have fled their homes but are still in Syria. Those who are not have had to go to Jordan, Turkey and Lebanon. Those countries need political and financial support. Turkey and Germany are mentioned in the report, but Macedonia and Hungary – both member States of the Council of Europe – have also done a huge amount of work. They have had to deal with a lot of logistical problems, so I thank them. We need to promote support and aid within the countries from which refugees are fleeing. Most people, including us, want those people to have an opportunity to go home. They may come to our lands to find safety, but then they may also like to move back home. We should set up some transit centres to avoid human smuggling, which is generating even more money than drugs.

      Ms DE SUTTER (Belgium, Spokesperson for the Socialist Group) – Last Monday, we accepted the motion for this report on migration. I remind you of the original title: “When generosity, kindness, humanity and Western democratic freedoms are answered with radical intolerance and violence”. That really set the tone. Western generosity? Really? In the last few weeks, 40 people have died in refugee camps from hunger and cold on European soil. As Mr Poliačik says, the report lacks any positive reference to migration. The rapporteur introduced the report as a comprehensive effort to address this important issue, but I missed the positive aspects. If you truly believe in human rights, you should understand that the report contains some very problematic elements.

      In particular, three items in the report are absolutely unacceptable for a human rights institution. First, it is a shame that paragraph 9.1.1, which mentions the reinterpretation of the Geneva Convention, is even suggested. We absolutely cannot start questioning the values that form the foundation of this house of human rights or questioning the Geneva Convention. I agree with the rapporteur that there is a problem. The facts are what they are, but the solution is to address the strategy, policy and implementation of what we decide, not to erode the values we started from. What is more, the Geneva Convention is one of only a few texts protecting the rights of migrants. Is the Council of Europe going to lend a helping hand to those European politicians who want to strip migrants of their rights?

      Secondly, we should remove all suggestions that migrants are potential terrorists. That is framing. Most terrorist attacks are carried out by people born on European soil. Everyone can radicalise, and we are happy that the committee took on board some of our amendments to address that point.

      Thirdly, the explicit mention of hotspots outside Europe should be removed from the text. The Greek islands are hotspots and we know how people live there. Are we really going to export our problems to Africa? Will we then be relieved of our moral responsibilities? Indeed, legal pathways for migration should be created outside Europe, not far away detention centres, so please support the oral sub-amendment replacing the word “hotspots” with “safer procedures”. The European asylum system needs to be reformed, but not in a hurry. We need research instead of emotion. We know what Europe needs to do. The European Union has prepared many plans, but the member States are not courageous enough to act on them. What can this hasty report, which impulsively aims to renegotiate important agreements, contribute to the cause, when it is reason, courage and empathy that we need?

      Hannah Arendt said that only when we recognise people as our fellow humans can we grant them human rights. We should not stereotype refugees, nor judge them because of the crimes of others. This is not the report that I wanted to see. I hope that colleagues share my conclusion and support our amendments: no framing as if all refugees are would-be terrorists; no detention centres outside Europe; and no reference to reinterpreting the Geneva Convention.

      The PRESIDENT – Thank you. Does the rapporteur wish to respond at this stage? That is not the case. As Ms Bergamini is not here, I call Mr Gutiérrez.

      Mr GUTIÉRREZ (Spain)* – I would like to share a view on the term “indifference”. What is indifference? Etymologically, indifference basically means that there is no difference. Nobel prize winner Elie Wiesel said that indifference is, “A strange and unnatural state in which the lines blur between light and darkness, dusk and dawn, crime and punishment, cruelty and compassion, good and evil.” Indifference makes it easier for us to turn a blind eye to ensure that something does not interrupt the comfort of our daily lives, concerns, dreams and hopes. Indifference is not the start. It is the end. The worst thing for refugees, immigrants, hungry children and political prisoners in their cells to think is that the world is indifferent to their suffering. That thought removes their last hope. It is important for us not to deny our humanity because if we do so, we become inhumane, and we deny this to ourselves.

      The life of each individual is unique and irreplaceable. Every single person needs to know that dignity exists. We cannot ask each other to dedicate our lives to a god, an ideology or the saving of humanity, but it is also true that we cannot live by turning a blind eye to others who do not even have the most basic conditions in which to live and survive. The Council of Europe was born to keep the flame of justice and hope alive. We cannot go home after this week without – I ask President Agramunt for this – making an institutional declaration that calls on every single individual to solve the problem of refugees.

      Colleagues, we come to this Assembly from different cultures and countries, but we are all human beings. We are people. I am telling you this because we should not just think about the report and the amendments; we must focus on it, because we are bringing hope to the weakest and those with no homes.

      The PRESIDENT* – Thank you, Mr Gutiérrez. In relation to what you are saying, let me remind you, Sir, that paragraph 9.2.4 calls on member states to “provide adequate financial and substantial support for Greece and Italy to ensure proper reception conditions for refugees and migrants and the functioning of hotspots in accordance with earlier commitments.” Amendments could be tabled to complete that idea, but I am sure the rapporteurs agree with you.

      I call Mr Varvitsiotis from Greece.

      Mr VARVITSIOTIS (Greece)* – There is no doubt that this is an unprecedented crisis, as was said at the start of the debate. We have never had migratory waves as great as those that are currently putting pressure on our continent. We have never seen an event of such a nature.

      Are the conditions that have been created in Europe by the way we have dealt with this issue practically and politically acceptable to our Organisation? In other words, have our policies created a tolerant and open environment for migrants and refugees, or have they created an atmosphere of xenophobia and racism? I very much fear that the second is true. We have seen an increase in xenophobia and more racism on our continent. The principal issue that led to the Brexit vote was migration: many citizens of the United Kingdom voted for the United Kingdom to leave the European Union simply because they fear those migratory waves. In the past, the French Government has voted against provisions to facilitate the movement of people throughout Europe. Xenophobic, racist and neo-Nazi parties have gained ground in a number of countries in Europe. That ought to be of great concern to us. Although we implement policies in a certain spirit, citizens can perceive something totally different.

      We should focus on human dignity and values, and protect refugees and migrants. The third pillar is that we should instil a sense of safety in the citizens of Europe. For that reason, I think this matter is very important. We must ensure that we maintain our values while serving our citizens and meeting their demands and needs.

      Mr SCHWABE (Germany)* – We are certainly living in challenging times. It is difficult to uphold our values in such conditions. We live in a globalised world, and the people who come to our countries are the other side of globalisation. In Germany, we thought globalisation would work. We thought we would benefit from sending our goods abroad and importing raw materials, even though they are sometimes produced in terrible conditions. We did not realise that so many people would start moving around. Indeed, there are no regional restrictions now, so people can come to us from the furthest corners of the world.

      We need to spread the Council of Europe’s values of human rights, democracy and the rule of law. That is our job. We must continue to emphasise that we are talking about people. They are not just refugees but human beings who are living in dire conditions, which is why they are in flight. We are not a utopian organisation; we are a collection of realistic politicians. We cannot fulfil the wishes of all people, wherever they want to live in the world, but we must do everything we can to resist by word or deed the negative classification of people. We must ensure human dignity, but when I see certain developments I become concerned that we are not doing so. We do not always acknowledge that all people have the same right to dignity. Last year, 5 000 people drowned in the Mediterranean. There seem to be very few attempts now to help the people who are on the road – in Serbia, for example –and are suffering from hunger and the cold. I am concerned that we are no longer concentrating on human dignity.

      I want to talk about the Geneva Convention on refugees, which the draft resolution mentions. Of course we have to talk about how we implement and uphold it under the current conditions, but we must not give the impression that this institution is prepared to question the Geneva Convention. My fear is that we are perhaps doing so. We should vote in favour of Amendment 9 to bring this to a successful conclusion.

      Mr MANNINGER (Hungary) – I agree that, when talking about immigration policy, we must not ignore humanity and tolerance. We must not respond to the unprecedented immigration and refugee crisis with radical intolerance and violence, but I think it was a mistake to allow the flow of immigration to be almost uncontrolled. Not enough effort was made to distinguish political refugees from irregular migrants.

      Many events took place in 2016. Austria built a border fence – the first barrier on an internal Schengen border – and several terrorist attacks were committed by refugees, asylum seekers and young people from a migrant background, which raised questions about security. We need to reform our migration policies, have a common European approach to managing migration flows, and find a sustainable solution. Almost all of the draft resolution’s points can be part of the solution; they can at least help us to manage migration flows.

      Although we should recognise the European Council’s conclusion, relocation will not improve the present situation. It will create new legal problems, and it is hard to believe that such a system could be efficient. It was not the debate on voluntary or compulsory quotas that resulted in the loss of public trust and played into the hands of extremists in certain countries, but the fact that the flow of immigration was not controlled, the terrorist attacks, and the fact – the report correctly mentions this core issue – that the crisis will not end even if all the undertakings to repatriate refugees are implemented. Relocation is not part of the solution. It is not mentioned in section 4 of the report, which sets out possible ways to improve the situation and gives a good summary of how we should go forward. I strongly recommend supporting those reforms of European migration policies. The Assembly should stress that the right and obligation to protect national and European external borders is not incompatible with our commitment to uphold international humanitarian law.

      Mr CRUCHTEN (Luxembourg) – First, let us be honest: the problem is not European migration policy. The European Council has proposed policies to address the refugee problem, but national governments have blocked them. We have the tools – relocation, resettlement, border control and so on – but on a national level not all of us support them. We are not facing a refugee crisis; we are facing a solidarity crisis, especially in the European Union. Let us not blame Brussels for this. Let us blame our own national governments for not being up to the challenge we face.

      Secondly – Mr Schwabe has already mentioned this – paragraph 9.1.1 of the draft resolution is formulated very carefully, but it questions the Geneva Convention on refugees. I ask members to support Amendment 9 to delete this paragraph, because we do not want to give the impression that we are questioning this important Convention. Just imagine the signal we would send out if the Council of Europe – the home of human rights, as we like to call it – was questioning the Geneva Convention on refugees. Who would take us seriously in the future?

      Thirdly, let us give up the crazy idea that we could rent a space in the desert or an island in the Mediterranean where we could dump all asylum seekers and, by doing so, get rid of all our problems. That will not work and will not help us in any way.

      Last but not least, I ask members to support the all the amendments tabled by our dear colleague, Ms Petra De Sutter. The amendments will make this draft resolution much better and more balanced. If they are rejected, I urge you to consider rejecting the whole draft resolution.

      Mr FOURNIER (France)* – Europe has faced a serious migration crisis for several years. Wars and economic difficulties are forcing people from the Middle East and North Africa to flee to Europe. European countries need to manage the arrival of refugees and economic migrants with specific rules for each category.

      The European Union wanted a policy of welcoming refugees fleeing war, while leaving each individual member State to deal with the arrival of economic migrants. That, however, was wishful thinking. There was no proper co-ordinated policy. Germany was prepared to welcome refugees, but other countries refused. The distribution of refugees was then based on compulsory quotas, which led to opposition. The Dublin Regulation establishes that each member State needs to deal with the demand for asylum, but the Italian and Greek authorities have been overwhelmed by the number of refugees arriving, particularly as neighbouring countries closed their borders. Refugees are now living in camps or welcome centres, and waiting for asylum.

      The lack of co-ordination and solidarity indicates clearly that the policy has reached its limit and that reforms are necessary. The external borders in Europe are common borders, and so the European Union needs to deal with the registration and taking in of asylum seekers. Italy and Greece need to be able to rely on European solidarity. Receiving foreigners needs to be within the sphere of competence of member States. However, not everyone can necessarily contribute in the same way. It may be that certain countries are prepared to fund camps, while others might prefer refugees to come and settle on their territory, but we need to establish a balance.

      The European Union has made a considerable effort to take in refugees fleeing Syria and Iraq. Some countries have shouldered a major share of the responsibility. Turkey, for instance, has taken in 3 million people. We must ensure that all parties take account of the rights of the immigrant population, and we must remember to preserve those rights.

      Mr ROUQUET (France)* – Our Assembly launched the #NoHateNoFear campaign, which one can only welcome, but I am not convinced that the report is consistent with it.

      I have some doubts about the relevance of setting up crisis centres outside Europe in third countries. First, the countries involved are very far from being able to provide the necessary guarantees or safeguards, because the State is absent, as is the case with Libya, the State’s guarantees on human rights are uncertain or the State lacks resources. Secondly, I am not convinced that the rejection of an asylum request will deter anyone from trying to get to Europe.

      What I find most worrying about the report, however, is the spirit in which the rapporteur talks about generosity, altruism, humanity and freedoms clashing with radical intolerance and violence. The report dwells heavily on what he calls the concerns about security and integration caused by massive migratory flows. He stresses that terrorist acts have been committed by migrants, but at the same time underlines that the perpetrators represent only a tiny percentage of those coming to Europe. So why is there all this hostility?

      The report goes on to emphasise the failure to integrate of a large number of former migrants, whose undesirable religious and social behaviour is apparently widespread. While there are serious problems with integration in some areas all over our continent, and sometimes, regrettably, we closed our eyes to those problems in the past through either cowardice or naivety, let us not go from one extreme to the other. We should not give the impression that the majority of our fellow citizens who have migrated here are a problem, because that is not true. Together, let us propose solutions to improve integration. Approaching this issue purely from a security angle will not answer this concern.

      Before we launch into sweeping attacks on migrants, let us not forget that in 1939, 937 people, mainly German Jews, left Strasbourg. Cuba would not take them. The United States would not take them. They had to go back to Germany and most of them ended up in concentration camps. Shortly after that, French people also tried to flee the Nazi occupation and some of them were happily taken in by other countries.

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

      The PRESIDENT – Thank you, Mr Rouquet.

      Before we proceed, I gather there have been one or two expressions of concern that colleagues are making telephone calls from within the Chamber. The President wishes it to be known that that is not a practice that is encouraged. If members wish to make telephone calls, will they please be kind and courteous enough to go outside to do so?

      I call Mr Miroğlu. You have the floor.

      Mr MİROĞLU (Turkey) – Unfortunately, the response to the crisis has been insufficient. To deal with the migration issue, what we need is solidarity and strengthened co-operation. I thank the rapporteur for emphasising that in the report.

      Since the very first day of the Syrian civil war, Turkey has had an open-door policy. Readmission policies have been meticulously adhered to in accordance with international obligations. Over the last six years, 3 million people have come to Turkey – we now host about 3 million people. There are a number of other issues that do not usually appear on front pages. We have numerous refugees, not only from Syria but from Iraq, particularly after the occupation of Mosul and Shingal. Numerous Iraqis have come to Turkey: not only Arabs but Yazidi Kurds, Turkmens and other groups. Turkey has established and funded a major camp in northern Iraq – I went there with the Prime Minister. Let me remind you that half of the population of approximately 2 million in that region is made up of refugees. Turkey provides medical aid through field hospitals and numerous other forms of support and it helps those in the neighbouring area who are suffering the effects of the crisis.

      Syrians in Turkey are under temporary protection. They are provided with healthcare, education and help in accessing the labour market. Numerous efforts are made on many different fronts. There are 23 housing facilities in 10 of our provinces, with 260 000 Syrians present. Right now, approximately 2.8 million Syrians are living in cities in Turkey. Turkey has spent $15 billion so far; the $512 million provided by the international community falls short of expectations. It is important that the burden be shared. This is a global issue that requires a global response. Resettlement quotas must also be increased.

      We need to deal with Daesh. Operation Euphrates Shield has been quite effective in the northern part of Iraq, but let us not forget that Daesh continues to be a problem – there is no doubt whatever about that. We have to continue to fight Daesh and the consequences of Daesh. We cannot forget that that has to be an integral part of European migration policy. There is no way that we can move forward on migration without also dealing with the consequences of Daesh.

      Mr Michael Aastrup JENSEN (Denmark) – I congratulate the rapporteur on a very fine report. It touches on an area that is a hotspot of much discussion for all our member States, especially those that are inside the European Union. If we as a body do not touch on such areas, what happens? People will steer away from the European Union even more if we do not succeed in this matter.

      There are some areas that I particularly congratulate the rapporteur on, such as strengthening border security, which is extremely important. Paragraph 28 is even more important – I do not know how many colleagues have read it, but it describes what we should do about rejected asylum seekers and migrants. One of the core problems right now is that we have a lot of rejected asylum seekers and migrants who cannot be sent back to wherever they come from because the countries of origin do not want to accept them back. That is an especially important issue that we have to touch on.

      Sadly, what the report does not touch on is what we should do about the influx of migrants in the first place. It is one thing to try to help with border security and hotspot areas in northern Africa. That is all very fine, but should we not try to do something about the origin of the problems where the migrants are from? That requires development aid. I have heard a lot of speeches today from colleagues saying “We have to do this” or “We have to do that”, but only six countries in this Assembly are actually reaching the United Nations’ minimum goal for development aid spending: Sweden, the Netherlands, the United Kingdom, Norway, Luxembourg and Denmark. All the rest of you are talking about what we should do, but are not delivering the action or money necessary to combat the rise in migration. We need money to get things organised in the countries where they are migrating from.

      If you really want action on this matter, colleagues, please go back home and meet the United Nations’ minimum goal of spending 0.7% of GDP on development. Otherwise, it is just talk, talk, talk and no action, and that is no good. This is very important and I am sad that it is not in the report, but I will keep talking about it.

      Mr Le BORGN’ (France)* – Over the last few months, the migratory crisis that has affected Europe because of the war on its doorstep has highlighted all the shortcomings of migration policy in Europe. The agreement with Turkey allowed the European Union to control the problems at the time, but it did not look towards the longer term in any way. Never more than today have we seen the glaring absence of a European vision on migratory policy. What do we want? Where are we going? In particular, what migratory flows do we expect in the future?

      The response to all this has been feeble. There is a European right of asylum, of course, but there is no policy that actually implements it in the necessary spirit. States urgently need to harmonise their procedures on the rights of people who are granted refugee status and on the conditions for their relocation, on the basis of fair and binding criteria for each member State. The refusal of several European States to take in refugees because of their religion flouts the very values on which the European Union and our Organisation were founded. Millions of people who are with us now or who are standing outside Europe are fleeing poverty and are trying to save their own lives.

      Like many colleagues, I went to Calais at the height of the crisis. Thousands of men, women and children were sleeping outside in the cold, rain and wind. The utter destitution and hardship that I saw there are shameful. They shame us, who should be humanists, and they go against the spirit and the letter of the Geneva Convention. I regret very much that those here who reject the very principle of refugees never went to Calais; if they had, they would not be preaching to us so much. I do not know of anyone who was not totally shocked and moved by the utter penury there.

      The Schengen area is a formidable achievement and we need to enhance it, not scale it back. Schengen is the solution, not the problem. We need to re-establish the way in which the Schengen area works so that we can strengthen external border checks, not just for the Schengen area but for the Union itself. The work on the implementation of a European coastguard corps is therefore very important, as is Frontex access to databases, the intensification of the exchange of information between member States and the need to interconnect the European databases. We need more Europe, not less. Instead of obsessing about sovereignty or making vote-catching calculations, we need more Europe for more effectiveness, more justice and more humanity.

      Ms RODRÍGUEZ RAMOS (Spain)* – I have to say that I do not like the tone of the draft resolution, which mixes together refugees, immigration and the increase in radicalism and terrorism. It is a dangerous cocktail that leads to xenophobic anti-immigrant views in Europe. We need to look at what is happening on European soil, with thousands of refugees living in inhumane conditions, especially in these temperatures. We have been told that 40 people died of cold. They did not die of cold. No, they died of indifference and the lack of clear positions taken by the member States of Europe.

      In September 2015, 160 000 refugees were supposed to be relocated and resettled among the European Union member States, but only 6 400 people have found places in such countries. At that rate it would take 25 years to meet that commitment. Let us remember that 60 000 people are waiting in Greece for a humanitarian visa to leave the region. The Mediterranean route – the route used between North Africa and Italy – is dangerous, which is shown by the 4 663 people who died in 2016, while mafia groups were making €4 billion. We must put an end to that mafia activity, find safe corridors and give humanitarian visas.

      It is a question not of interpreting the Geneva Convention but of applying the Convention. We do not need to call international humanitarian law into question; we need to strengthen the enactment of that law. If we had met the requirements of that humanitarian Convention, it would not have been possible for entire cities with civilians living in them to have been bombed. We should have had humanitarian corridors to ensure that people could have entered cities under siege such as Aleppo. If we had had that, people would not have come in such large numbers, fleeing the war and possible death.

      We did not expect a resolution from the Assembly with this type of content. If you do not accept the amendments tabled by Petra De Sutter, my socialist colleague, I ask you not to vote. It is better to be silent than to have this kind of resolution.

      Ms USTA (Turkey)* – This issue appears under our urgent procedure every time we meet, but unfortunately there has not yet been any success on this front. That is because we first need to deal with the source, and unfortunately we have been weak on that.

      The majority of refugees are coming from northern Iraq and Syria. Regardless of the terror and persecution that has prevailed in those areas, Europe has not touched sufficiently on finding some sort of political resolution. First, we must remember that territorial integrity is vital. Turkey has insisted on that fundamental principle. We cannot forget the human catastrophe taking place in these areas, and we must understand that the people who are leaving will one day go back to those countries. We all have to work together on that. From the start, the model has been that Syria is for the Syrians. That is something that we take to heart, and we do not want to move away from that spirit, which is that of the Astana process.

      It is clear that the situation is intricately linked with Daesh. Here we have a difficult struggle. Operation Euphrates Shield has been particularly successful; a number of lands have been returned to their rightful owners and Daesh has been ejected. Numerous people who came to our country in search of a place of safety, security and welfare have now returned to those liberated areas. The return to normality ought to be our principal goal. All the individuals who have crossed borders want to go home and, if we do not move forwards in order to return normality to those regions, that will not happen. We therefore need to act with decisiveness and resilience, adhering to our principles. It is only in that manner that we will be able to hand lands back to those individuals, and that is their right.

      Mr DIVINA (Italy)* – All of us in the Chamber belong to different countries, and without doubt some countries are more affected than others by migratory flows. It is easy to be benign about migration if you come from one of those countries that is not affected at all by the phenomenon. We have heard a lot about solidarity, but it does not exist – it is just a word. The two countries most affected, Italy and Greece, are suffering from the migratory phenomenon and they have not been helped by anyone. The French socialists in the Chamber have been going on about solidarity, but it was the French Socialist Government that closed down its frontier – just as Austria and Macedonia did for the flows from Greece – rejecting anyone who did not have a permit of residence. All these good initiatives and words are one thing, but deeds are another.

      There is no point in saying, “Refugees, refugees, refugees.” One hundred and eighty thousand migrants arrived in Italy last year, and of those 90% were not refugees. They were not escaping persecution or fleeing from bombs. They were asking for asylum, but they had no right to it. At this stage, our response is to take them in. Okay, that is all very well to say, but are we really able to take them in conditions of dignity? Can we host them all in dignity when an economic crisis is affecting all European countries and Italy in particular? Can we house all Italians? No. So how will we have housing for refugees? What about jobs when 40% of our young people in Italy – almost one in two – are jobless? What opportunities are there to integrate these people?

      We hear complaints that the population is reacting against the situation. We have voted on motions against hate and racism, but those are the logical consequences of politicians’ choices. The political class is making the wrong choices because it cannot see the whole of the problem.

      We have heard scandalous talk of the hotspots near the emergency areas, but perhaps those are the only valid solution at the moment. They avoid many people drowning, they stop the crime of human trafficking and, if they are outside Europe, they cost less – at least we are still doing something – and people are not being uprooted from their points of origin. If we can keep people in those areas, that costs a lot less than a coffee in our country. Let us have serious policies, not the utopian policies that we hear about in all the fine phrases in the Chamber.

      Baroness MASSEY (United Kingdom) – I thank my colleague Mr Ian Liddell-Grainger for this report. I agree that there are many deficiencies in the ability of many European countries to respond to the migration crisis, but it is no solution to blame migrants for wanting to leave their countries of origin. They may face problems settling into another country or culture, but the response should be better implementation of support and education in host countries at a local level. Systems and policies have indeed sometimes failed at international, national and local levels, but a culture of blame is not helpful. Tearing up what safeguards we have is not necessarily the best response. Sometimes it is best to make conventions and recommendations work on the ground.

      A few months ago, the House of Lords Home Affairs Committee, on which I sit, produced a report on unaccompanied migrant children in the European Union. Our inquiry highlighted deficiencies in systems and made recommendations. Throughout the inquiry, we looked at the real-life experiences of unaccompanied migrant children through the prism of the best interests of the child, as defined in the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child. The evidence we took on the Home Affairs Committee highlighted many general problems, not just those affecting children.

      Across the European Union, unaccompanied migrant children are living in overcrowded and inadequate conditions. They are often found in emergency accommodation, without reliable access to food, water, sanitation, information or legal advice. The hotspots may have been one idea, but our committee found that they were inadequate in a number of ways, especially when it comes to protecting women and children. Our committee recommended that further European Union action on unaccompanied migrant children should focus on implementing the priorities in the 2010 to 2014 action plan on migrants, which have not yet been achieved. We urge the Commission to ensure that appropriate resources, including any necessary training, are made available to member States in order to achieve full implementation of these priorities. So I stand by my original statement: let us implement what exists with determination and waste no more time in what has become an increasingly urgent situation.

      The PRESIDENT – Ms Šakalienė is not in her place, so I call Ms Christodoulopoulou.

      Ms CHRISTODOULOPOULOU (Greece)* – Dear colleagues, I am principally addressing you when I say that we are not governments, and should not confuse reality with cynicism. The Council of Europe has to have a policy based on principles. Thus, we ought not to be the first to draw back or to introduce populism and racism in the Council of Europe. We ought to defend the New York protocol of 1967, as well as the Geneva Convention, and insist upon international protection of refugees, the rights of refugees and the principle of asylum for refugees from war without any criteria whatsoever. That is the sacred responsibility of all members of the Council of Europe.

      We have to change European policy, but in what direction? If we are going to change it and pull back on all these rights – rights that have been vested for all these years and which are part of the culture and civilisation of Europe – we will have achieved nothing. There was a policy in place in Europe, but only until we had these major migratory waves. What have we seen thereafter? We have seen certain countries simply not adhering to this European policy – not implementing relocation or resettlement policies, nor the proportional distribution of refugees, and not fulfilling the responsibilities of all member States of the European Union. The Visegrad countries met on their own behind closed doors and created their own borders, building their own fences and walls. Europe basically let them do what they wanted, and now we find ourselves here, saying that we have to change policies. Okay, let us change them, but let us first ask why we are changing them. It is because on 13 November we had the attack in Paris at the Bataclan, since when people have confused refugees with terrorists, jihadis and this, that and the next thing – there is no end to it.

      With the particularly bad blood that has been whipped up in Europe, various measures have been taken that have basically curbed the rights of refugees. Nobody says anything about the war in Syria. Who is feeding this war? Who is causing it? How are these refugees created? Do they not come from these war-stricken areas? This has to be included in our discussion. Let us call for an end to the war – an end to this genocide of an entire generation. Why does nobody say anything about this – about the victims and the unaccompanied minors, who will never, ever live a normal life? Where are all these issues in our discussion?

      Something has to be done, because we are the Council of Europe. We are the last bastion remaining in a Europe that has constantly drawn back on all these fronts. We have to say no to all of this. I am addressing you, dear colleagues: we ought not to begin by discussing changing the European conventions on refugees or the Geneva Convention. We ought not to question these things. What we should do is look at the situation in other countries. Lebanon, a country that is already devastated, is hosting millions of people, and a Europe of 500 million cannot do anything? Europe is responsible as well for this particular war, because it is participating – it is selling weapons, ladies and gentlemen. Contributing to the misery that already exists is really the last thing we should do. I am not speaking specifically about Greece, because you will say that I am speaking on patriotic lines; rather, I am speaking about everybody. I am speaking about all these individuals who are so unhappy and miserable. We are turning a blind eye on the one hand, but on the other hand we say we are realists. Unfortunately we are becoming cynical, ladies and gentlemen.

      Ms ANTTILA (Finland) – Migration will continue to be one of the defining issues for Europe in the coming decades. The migration crisis has exposed weaknesses in the design and implementation of the asylum system, in particular in the Dublin Regulation. The failure of the Dublin system has in turn led several European Union member States to reintroduce internal border controls to manage the influx.

      There are also significant structural weaknesses in the design and implementation of European migration policy. Among these is the lack of adequate convergence in the decision to grant refugee status or subsidiary protection status to applicants. This has encouraged secondary movements. We need reform of the existing framework to ensure a humane and efficient asylum policy. As a whole, European migration policy needs a shift from poor implementation and disproportionate responsibility on certain member States, which encourages uncontrolled and irregular migration, to a fairer system. We need a migration policy that provides legal and safe pathways to Europe in order to counter the business model of the people smugglers.

      It is also important to maintain a global perspective and to recognise the various root causes of irregular migration, whether war or instability, or just the search for a better life or the desire to follow close family. There are also underlying trends, such as globalisation, climate change and economic inequality, which will continue to affect irregular migration trends. As a result of several devastating terrorist attacks in Europe, questions have been raised about some migrants and refugees becoming radicalised as a result of failed integration. This requires further attention. Growing anti-migrant attitudes across Europe cannot be ignored when looking for sustainable solutions.

      In order to strengthen and harmonise the European asylum system, we need to facilitate practical co-operation between the member States of the Council of Europe. We also need to improve the implementation of existing legal migration instruments. A more coherent and effective model of legal migration management at the European Union level is essential in this regard.

      Ms KANELLI (Greece)* – Colleagues, if Picasso lived today, there is no doubt he would paint a Guernica from Moria in Greece, from Lampedusa in Italy or from Syria’s border with Turkey or Lebanon. That would be his source of inspiration.

      We cannot deal with the issue of refugees without being realistic, and we have to admit – as we all admit when we speak about health policy or other major problems – that the best way to deal with such issues is prevention. Where is the prevention here? Who is creating these refugees? Among the member States of the Council of Europe, there are countries inside the eurozone and outside the eurozone – the United Kingdom was a European country, and now it is going to become a global Britain – and there are countries in NATO and outside NATO. And look at the paradox here: we come here to discuss measures for a single migration policy, and we have here member States of NATO that are participating in the bombardment in the name of enforcing “Western” democracy. We also have NATO ships on our high seas trying to block the entry of refugees to Europe – refugees who are created by these same NATO members that bombard Syria. Yet we have come here to discuss whether we are going to build walls and fences in Europe, as the Visegrad countries have done.

      And it does not stop there. Radicalised young Europeans – some 30 000 or 40 000 of them – are going to fight for ISIS. We speak about radicalisation and fundamentalism, and we are mixing all of this up with refugees. We are confusing things. What we have to do, really, is look at the situation. Some countries, when it is in their interest to make money, to reap profits or to bring up oil from resources or reserves, do not take into consideration what the consequences might be. We have created refugees, ladies and gentlemen.

      The night of St Bartholomew is something that horrifies us, as is the First World War and the Second World War, and refugees developed thereafter. Today, we see racism and the rise of those yellow stars again in Europe. Look at the situation: we are speaking about the creation of a Guantánamo-style facility outside Europe – just as we send our garbage to Ghana, or just as we want our nuclear refuse to be sent to third countries, which sell off their land because they need to eat something. The only way for us not to have refugees, ladies and gentlemen, is for us to remember what a human being is.

      Whether you like it or not, when you have wars which are there in order to promote monopoly interests, they are not patriotic wars; this is something totally irrational, totally unethical. There is only one just war, and that is a war which is of a defensive nature, and a patriotic nature, and not a war which generates refugees.

      Ms DUMERY (Belgium) – Colleagues, this urgent debate and draft resolution are, indeed, urgent and important. I will not repeat what previous speakers have already pointed out. The report is well balanced.

      I would point specifically to paragraph 5 of the draft resolution, which is on the sensitive topic of acknowledging that there are refugees arriving here in Europe who do not have good intentions. Most of them have good intentions, but even in this very emotional debate we should also speak about those who do not have good intentions, and that is why I refer to the recent terrorist attacks. The debate about the need to reform European migration policies cannot avoid the link to the topic of terrorism.

      Terrorism is a threat to the security, freedom and values of the European Union and its citizens. It is our duty to be prepared for events that could put these values at risk. After 9/11, some 16 years ago, the USA approved passenger name record legislation, and the system has proved its effectiveness. After years of debate, on 14 April 2016 the European Union approved a similar directive – only after the attacks in Brussels and Paris. And what is PNR about? The analysis of PNR data provides an important additional tool in the fight against terrorism and serious crime. The data will be used to prevent, detect, investigate and prosecute terrorism and serious crime, such as human smuggling. Its goal is to co-ordinate the travel data that are already available to ensure our safety – not just our safety individually but also that of the refugees.

      Those suspected of terrorist or serious crimes often have specific and varying modes of operating when travelling, in terms of mode of transport, route, phone numbers, addresses, emails, airlines and fellow travellers. The data that will be provided concern all this information and can be used to map the movements of such persons, to collect evidence, to roll up networks of human smugglers and to discover new modi operandi or trends. Colleagues, in this fight we must always weigh the public interest, like human lives and damage to third parties, with other interests. In terms of the conflict with privacy, sufficient safeguards are built into the system.

      The importance and benefits of passenger name records should not be underestimated. For example, with a positive hit in the database, a person can be removed from the aircraft before the plane departs. Colleagues, that is why I ask you to support, in your own national parliaments, the European decision to create a European passenger name record.

      I thank you all for this interesting and important debate.

      The PRESIDENT – Ms Kerestecioğlu Demir is not in her place. Is she in the Chamber? No. Then the final speaker, before I call the rapporteur, is Ioanneta Kavvadia. You have the floor.

      Ms KAVVADIA (Greece) – Colleagues, before we speak about changing the migration policies in Europe, we should first take stock of the outcome of the policy that had been decided by the relevant European institutions. As I come from Greece, I want to ask you all: was this policy even implemented? I hold the view that it was not, in several crucial aspects. In particular, the fundamental decisions of the European Union on relocation and resettlement were never even implemented by many of its member States. This core aspect of the European migration policy, designed to share the burden and the responsibility more equitably among member States, never got off the ground but remained only on paper. We all know why.

      The European decisions were ignored by member States – first among them the Visegrad countries – and no action was taken to implement them on a European level. It seems that the principle pacta sunt servanda does not apply here. Thus, Europe remained without a credible policy, tolerating practices that go against international law, namely the Geneva Convention on Refugees, and against the European legal culture, including the European Convention on Human Rights. It relied on questionable instruments, such as the infamous – and problematic on many levels – joint European Union-Turkey Agreement, which gave Turkey leverage over the European Union. That failed to provide international protection to groups such as refugees and unaccompanied minors or to implement the legal and humanitarian principle of family reunification.

      So I ask again: what sort of new policy on migration are we talking about here, when Europe has failed to implement its own policies on the issue? Are we talking about building more fences and walls, shutting down our borders, turning more desperate people away and strengthening Fortress Europe, which has already claimed thousands of innocent lives? Is this really our vision for Europe: a scared little continent, barricaded from the outside world and hoping that by shutting down its borders it will keep the problems of the outside world away? Is this really our vision for a European migration policy? What exactly is new about such a policy? And how hypocritical is it to criticise the US President for wanting to build a wall along the American-Mexican border when so many of the member States of this very Organisation are doing the exact same thing and the building of walls and barriers has become official European policy? I am afraid that Europe has failed miserably in this crucial test and this failure will continue to haunt us for many years to come.

      The PRESIDENT – Thank you, Ms Kavvadia.

      That concludes the list of speakers. I call Mr Liddell-Grainger, the rapporteur. You have eight minutes.

      Mr LIDDELL-GRAINGER (United Kingdom) – I have been delighted by the quality of the debate today, which shows just how important the Council of Europe is in this regard. Let me say to colleagues who have concerns that this is not about xenophobia, radicalisation, exclusion, walls or fences. It is about our working together as parliamentarians and as the countries of Europe. We are trying to understand each other’s concerns and no country is better than another.

      I have heard so many passionate pleas today that I cannot fail to be moved by, and you are all concerned in different ways. I tried to put together a report that gives us the chance to work together. I was delighted to hear from Mr Manninger about the work he has done in his country. Our colleagues from Italy, Greece, Spain and Turkey are living with this issue and dealing with it all the time. Our colleague from France spoke passionately about how we cannot just walk by on the other side of the road. I hope that you can support working together.

      I have accepted three quarters of the amendments and I am grateful to Ms De Sutter and her colleagues for their courtesy and kindness in working with me, because this is a joint declaration. I have one point. I was talking to my Danish colleague, Ms Sandbæk – thank you for your help – and when I came here, there was one thing that I did not know about the Geneva Convention. It does not affect my country – I was not aware of it – but I have been given some information and have spoken to the Table Office, who cannot change paragraph 9.1.1. However, I want to say to Ms De Sutter and her colleagues that as this information has come to light I do not intend to talk to the Geneva Convention body or anyone attached to it. When you learn new information, you have to be big enough to say that you need to change things. Of course, the amendment is there. I cannot stop that and I apologise, but it is not possible. However, I give you my word that we will not contact, write to or in any way try to influence the Geneva Convention as part of this. I will speak to stakeholders, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees and others, but that will not include that body. I hope, Ms De Sutter, that you will accept that I am trying to do what I can to change this.

      We all have a role to play. We cannot walk by on the other side of the road any more. I have heard wonderful speeches by people who say that we created a lot of this. Yes, Ms Kanelli, you were right. I cannot say that we will have all the solutions. The bombs are still falling, the gangs are still out there, the traffickers are still doing their business and the people we least like, not just nations, are still doing what they are doing. We must understand this and work together to stop it.

      In North Africa, through Mali, Chad, Niger and all the countries of middle Africa, France, Britain and many other countries are working together to try to understand the process by which these people are being fed into our countries. I do not like the word “hotspot” any more than anyone else here. It is an English word whose use has been accepted in this context. We agree that it would be better to have progressive talks so that people can be brought in without going through a hotspot so that we can help people to look after their needs. Hotspot has a connotation of being a place where people are put. Given our history in Europe, that can mean a lot of things that are not always good. I am a realist. English – as I should know – is a broad language. We use words and we double them up – we sometimes treble them up. In the amendment, we have worked together to get a better solution to this and to get it right.

      A plea was made regarding the fact that we have another role to play now. There is a new American President and America has a massive role to play in a lot of this, partly because of Syria, partly because of its relationships with Russia and other places. We need to influence areas outside our borders. We have observers here from Canada and other countries that are non-aligned; we need to have this dialogue and to use it, and these opportunities, to put our message across. We are all parliamentarians, every one of us. We are elected, appointed – whatever it might be – to do our job. This report tries to encompass this subject. I do not make any bones about the fact that we have done a lot of this work before in the Council of Europe. I am trying to bring together the reports so that colleagues can look not only at the work we have done but at the work that we are trying to do.

      We have to be humanitarian. Many speakers – I cannot mention them all – said that we are all humans. Yes, we are, colleagues. We deserve dignity, and to give people dignity. We are humans but we understand that not every person can have the life that they want. I do not fail to differentiate, as people have said, between migration and radicalisation. We have to be aware of both. We do not radicalise people. As I said in the committee, people do not get up in the morning and decide that they are going to blow themselves up. It does not happen. That is not in human nature. People are not like that.

      People will use people mercilessly to get their ends and we must understand that in every one of our countries. In my country, the bombers have been second and third generation, people whose parents and even grandparents have lived in our country for many years. We must understand why this happens and why people feel that way. If we work together, we can understand it, and I hope that we can bring together our shared experiences, and what all our countries have dealt with. It does not matter which part of Europe you are in, we all have to learn from each other. We must never stop questioning each other. That was today’s debate – you have questioned, asked, and pleaded, and you have shown that wonderful thing that the Council of Europe stands for, which is democracy, understanding, humanity, caring, and the ability to bring us together in common cause for our nations and our nationhood. We must understand that the future is in our hands. Through this report, consensual discussion and the use of democracy, I want to try to help our governments to come to a better understanding of what we, the parliamentarians in our countries, regardless of whether we are left, right, centralist or whatever, are saying, which is that we have to get this right.

      In the 15 seconds that I have left, let me reiterate to my colleagues that I will not approach the Geneva Convention. I will leave that out. I know that the amendment must be voted on, but I hope that colleagues will trust me.

      The PRESIDENT – Thank you, Mr Liddell-Grainger.

      Ms Gafarova, as the Chairperson of the Migration, Refugees and Population Committee, do you wish to speak? You have two minutes.

      Ms GAFAROVA (Azerbaijan) – The urgent debate proposed by the European Conservatives Group has demonstrated to what extent the political dialogue on a consistent European approach to the refugee and migration crisis is needed. Unfortunately, the short time that the rapporteur had in which to prepare his report has not allowed him to reflect in more detail on all aspects of the ongoing refugee and migration crisis. It is therefore important that we continue our reflection.

      I am satisfied with the President’s idea to hold a whole-day debate devoted entirely to migration issues during the Assembly’s June part-session. That day will constitute a unique opportunity to discuss European migration policies and different aspects of the complex, ongoing crisis. One of the reports under preparation for that debate is “A comprehensive humanitarian and political response to the migration and refugee crisis in Europe”. The rapporteur is Mr Marques, a member of our committee. That report will enable us to continue the discussion held today. At the same time, I am sure that our discussion will enrich Mr Marques’s report.

      I would like to thank the rapporteur today for his hard and efficient work. I look forward to the migration debate in June.

      The PRESIDENT – Thank you, Ms Gafarova.

      The Committee on Migration, Refugees and Displaced Persons has presented a draft resolution, Document 14248, to which 12 amendments have been tabled. They will be taken in the order in which they appear in the compendium and the Organisation of Debates. I remind members that speeches on amendments are limited to 30 seconds.

      I understand that the Migration, Refugees and Displaced Persons Committee wishes to propose to the Assembly that Amendments 3, 5, 6, 7, 8 and 10 to the draft resolution, which were unanimously approved by the committee, should be declared as agreed by the Assembly.

      Is that so, Ms Gafarova?

      Ms GAFAROVA (Azerbaijan) – Yes.

      The PRESIDENT – Does anyone object?

      As there is no objection, I declare that Amendments 3, 5, 6, 7, 8 and 10 to the draft resolution have been agreed.

      Amendments 3, 5, 6, 7, 8 and 10 are adopted.

      We come to Amendment 4. I call Ms De Sutter to support the amendment. You have 30 seconds.

      Ms DE SUTTER (Belgium) – The report says that there is a lack of serious debate. At the same time, paragraph 8 of the draft resolution refers to the numerous resolutions that have been debated here and the work of our migration committee at the level of the Council of Europe, with the participation of host countries. That means paragraphs 3 and 8 are contradictory. We cannot say there is a lack of serious debate and then refer to the debates that have been held. That would be a statement against our own Assembly. I suggest we leave out the last part of paragraph 3, starting “as well as the lack of a serious debate”.

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

      Mr LIDDELL-GRAINGER (United Kingdom) – Ms De Sutter and I disagree on this. We are not trying to bring fundamental change; we are saying we need a global, comprehensive approach. We cannot do it in isolation any more. I understand what she is saying, but I have to disagree with her. I ask members to support me.

      The PRESIDENT – What is the opinion of the committee?

      Ms GAFAROVA (Azerbaijan) – The committee rejected the amendment by 12 votes to nine and two abstentions.

      The PRESIDENT – The vote is open.

      Amendment 4 is rejected.

      We come to Amendment 9. I call Ms De Sutter to support the amendment. You have 30 seconds.

      Ms DE SUTTER (Belgium) – We have already talked about the Geneva Convention as the foundation of the values we cherish here in this house of human rights. We cannot accept this provision, despite the promise that the rapporteur just issued. I have another argument. If 90% of the migrants in Italy are not refugees, as Mr Divina said, why would we need to discuss the Geneva Convention for the other 10% who really do fall under the Convention? Let us address the problem, for the ones who really need it.

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

      Mr LIDDELL-GRAINGER (United Kingdom) – As I have said, there was information I was not aware of, but I am now. I will not approach that part of the Geneva Convention, due to the information I received on my way here, but I urge members to reject the amendment.

      The PRESIDENT – What is the opinion of the committee?

      Ms GAFAROVA (Azerbaijan) – The committee rejected the amendment by 14 to 11 votes.

      The PRESIDENT – The vote is open.

      Amendment 9 is rejected.

      We come to Amendment 2, which is, in the draft resolution, to delete paragraph 9.1.2. I call Mr Manninger to support the amendment. You have 30 seconds.

      Mr MANNINGER (Hungary) – The committee has spoken about an oral sub-amendment. I therefore wish to withdraw the amendment.

      The PRESIDENT – You are not in a position to withdraw it at this stage.

      I have been informed that Mr Liddell-Grainger wishes to propose an oral sub-amendment on behalf of the Migration, Refugees and Displaced Persons Committee, which is, in Amendment 2, after the word “resolution”, to insert the following: “in paragraph 9.1.2 replace the word ‘equitable’ with the word ‘negotiated’”.

      Amendment 2 would therefore read: “In the draft resolution, in paragraph 9.1.2 replace the word ‘equitable’ with the word ‘negotiated’”.

      In my opinion, the oral sub-amendment is in order under our rules. However, do 10 or more members object to the oral sub-amendment being debated? That is not the case.

      I call Mr Liddell-Grainger to support his oral sub-amendment.

      Mr LIDDELL-GRAINGER (United Kingdom) – After negotiations, we have decided that this wording is more appropriate. I urge colleagues to support the oral sub-amendment.

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

      What is the opinion of Mr Manninger?

       Mr MANNINGER (Hungary) – It is a good solution, so I accept it.

      The PRESIDENT – What is the opinion of the committee?

      Ms GAFAROVA (Azerbaijan) – The committee approved the oral sub-amendment by 15 votes to six.

      The PRESIDENT – I will now put the oral sub-amendment to the vote.

      The vote is open.

      The oral sub-amendment is adopted.

      We will now consider the main amendment, as amended.

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

      What is the opinion of the Migration, Refugees and Displaced Persons Committee on the amendment, as amended?

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

      The PRESIDENT – I shall now put Amendment 2, as amended, to the vote.

      The vote is open.

      Amendment 2, as amended, is adopted.

      We come to Amendment 1. I call Ms Pantić Pilja to support the amendment.

      Ms PANTIĆ PILJA (Serbia) – This is a technical amendment. The European Council uses the term “conclusions” rather than “decisions”, and the meeting took place in June of that year, not July.

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

      What is the opinion of the committee?

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

      The PRESIDENT – The vote is open.

      Amendment 1 is adopted.

      We come to Amendment 11, which states: “In the draft resolution, paragraph 9.2.3, delete the following words: ‘by means of hotspots established’”. I call Ms De Sutter to support the amendment. You have 30 seconds.

      Ms DE SUTTER (Belgium) – We have already discussed replacing the reference to “hotspots” with the term “safer procedures”, because such an approach leaves open other ways of addressing asylum demands from people in need of protection, rather than just putting them in confined spaces, which in practice are often detention centres. We have already agreed upon that.

      The PRESIDENT – If you agree to everything in advance, you will make the role of the President redundant.

      I have been informed that Mr Liddell-Grainger wishes to propose an oral sub-amendment, on behalf of the Migration, Refugees and Displaced Persons Committee. The text of the oral sub-amendment is as follows: “delete the words ‘by means of hotspots established’ and insert the words ‘safer procedures’”.

      In my opinion, the oral sub-amendment is in order under our rules. However, do 10 or more members object to the oral sub-amendment being debated? That is not the case.

      I therefore call Mr Liddell-Grainger to support his oral sub-amendment. You have 30 seconds.

      Mr LIDDELL-GRAINGER (United Kingdom) – I thank Ms De Sutter and her colleagues for all the help they gave me on this provision, as I think we have come up with a much better wording. I am very grateful, and I ask colleagues to support the oral sub-amendment.

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

      What is the opinion of Ms De Sutter?

      Ms DE SUTTER (Belgium) – I am in favour.

      The PRESIDENT – What is the view of the committee?

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

      The PRESIDENT – I will now put the oral sub-amendment to the vote.

      The vote is open.

      The oral sub-amendment is adopted.

      We will now consider the main amendment, as amended.

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

      What is the opinion of the committee on the amendment, as amended?

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

      The PRESIDENT – I shall now put Amendment 11, as amended, to the vote.

      The vote is open.

      Amendment 11, as amended, is adopted.

      We come to Amendment 12. I call Ms De Sutter to support the amendment. You have 30 seconds.

      Ms DE SUTTER (Belgium) – We wanted to add a human rights guarantee to the paragraph, so that if it is possible one day for refugees to apply for asylum in safe third countries, it should happen according to European Union standards.

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

      What is the opinion of the committee?

      Ms GAFAROVA (Azerbaijan) – The committee voted on this text and approved it by nine votes to two, with three abstentions.

      The PRESIDENT – The vote is open.

      Amendment 12 is adopted.

      I understand that Mr Scully wishes to move an oral amendment. The oral amendment is as follows: “To add after paragraph 9.2.4, the following ‘and recognising the need to engage meaningfully in dialogue with the Turkish Government for effective burden-sharing schemes in the face of the magnitude of the refugee crisis faced in Turkey’”.

      The President may accept an oral amendment on the grounds of promoting clarity, accuracy or conciliation, and if there is not opposition from 10 or more members to it being debated. In my opinion, the oral amendment meets the criteria of Rule 34.7.a. Is there any opposition to the amendment being debated? That is not the case.

      I therefore call Mr Scully to support the oral amendment. You have 30 seconds.

      Mr SCULLY (United Kingdom) – The nub of this oral amendment is about recognising the particular circumstances of Turkey, especially as a number of other countries have been mentioned elsewhere in the report. This oral amendment is a way of getting some proactive action so that we are able to tackle what is happening in one of the particularly difficult areas in Europe.

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

      What is the opinion of the committee on the oral amendment?

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

      The PRESIDENT – I shall now put the oral amendment to the vote.

      The vote is open

      The oral amendment is adopted.

      We will now proceed to vote on the whole of the draft resolution contained in Document 14248, as amended. A simple majority is required.

      The vote is open.

      The draft resolution in Document 14248, as amended, is adopted, with 81 votes for, 31 against and 18 abstentions.

(Mr Agramunt, President of the Assembly, took the Chair in place of Sir Roger Gale.)

4. Challenge on procedural grounds of the still unratified credentials of the parliamentary delegation of the Slovak Republic

      The PRESIDENT – The next item of business this afternoon is the debate on the report titled “Challenge on procedural grounds of the still unratified credentials of the parliamentary delegation of the Slovak Republic”, Document 14247, presented by Mr Jordi Xuclà on behalf of the Committee on Rules of Procedure, Immunities and Institutional Affairs, and the opinion, Document 14252, presented by Ms Elena Centemero on behalf of the Committee on Equality and Non-Discrimination.

      I remind you that the time limit for speeches is three minutes.

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

      Mr XUCLÀ (Spain)* – In parliamentary life and in our experiences here in the Chamber, we sometimes face problems that are difficult to solve and we sometimes deal with matters to which we can immediately find a solution. Well, I have good news. We are faced with a problem to which we can find an immediate solution.

In accordance with Rule 6 of the Council of Europe, every year at the first part-session in January, member countries must present the credentials of their delegates and alternates. In this case, the Slovak Republic put forward a delegation comprising only men. There were only alternates who were women. The initial composition took account of our rule that there must be gender equality. However, the woman who was a full member of the delegation was appointed a minister a few weeks before the final composition of the Slovak delegation was presented. There was no misunderstanding; it was a formal mistake that goes against our rules but is easy to solve. There were only men in the delegation, and that goes against our Rules of Procedure, which is why a challenge of credentials took place on Monday. The challenge was constructive, as the Secretariat had already been informed of the will to redress the formal error.

      The head of the delegation – our colleague, Róbert Madej – spoke before the Committee on Rules of Procedure, Immunities and Institutional Affairs and has decided to redress the situation as soon as possible. The Slovak delegation have expressed their will to solve this problem at the next opportunity for revising credentials, which will be at the Standing Committee meeting on 10 March in Madrid, by putting forward the names of a new delegation made up of men and women.

      We have found a constructive solution, as we endeavoured to do. Our proposal in the draft resolution is to keep the full voting rights of the Slovak delegation, which has expressed the good will to address the error immediately, and to implement a temporary deadline of the April part-session. We have not transitionally suspended the voting rights of the Slovak delegation until April or until the Standing Committee meeting in March. We have done it the other way around, by assuming good faith, which has been clearly and amply shown by the Slovak delegation. That is the general idea. I do not need to go on at any length. This is one of the very few cases in which I really do not think I need those 13 minutes, although maybe I will react after we have listened to the list of speakers.

      There is good will on both sides. One delegate was appointed a minister at the very last minute, so we discussed in committee what should have happened, as it was clearly not a misunderstanding. The Slovak Parliament should have taken more account of our Rules of Procedure, but the situation will be resolved immediately. We assume the good will and good faith of the Slovak delegation and they will keep all their rights until April. All this will be confirmed by the Slovak speakers in a moment, and there will be a new delegation by March.

      Let me move on from the Slovak Republic to the 47 member countries. It is good to look carefully at the composition of the delegations every single year. A few months ago, Tiny Kox – who is sitting on the opposite side of the Chamber – and I had to challenge the credentials of the Moldovan delegation. We had nothing against them but, for many months and years, the Moldovan delegation did not really finish their list of delegates and alternates. Part of the Moldovan Parliament was not really reflected, and a delegation needs proportionately to reflect the plurality of the parliament, from the largest to the smallest political party. It is a good and positive trend of the Assembly to take a close look at the composition of delegations. It is not about challenging credentials. Perhaps we could have a discussion about this at a later stage. This is, after all, one of the only parliamentary assemblies that has to discuss the fact that people can be members of the Assembly, so we should take a close look at who they are and which parties they come from.

      The PRESIDENT* – Thank you, Mr Xuclà. You still have another five minutes to respond to any points that might be raised in the debate.

      I give the floor to Elena Centemero, the Chair of the Committee on Equality and Non-Discrimination.

      Ms CENTEMERO (Italy)* – Achieving gender equality in all spheres of public and private life is one of the Council of Europe’s goals, and the Assembly has approved many resolutions and recommendations on it. Resolution 1585, on gender equality principles in the Parliamentary Assembly, established very precise standards. Thanks to such resolutions, slowly but surely the gender balance of the Parliamentary Assembly has improved. Last year, there was a 39% representation of women in the Assembly, which is close to our target figure of 40%.

      My colleague has explained the situation. We had to challenge the Slovak delegation’s credentials because it violated the rules of our Assembly. I had to react to that challenge. The Committee on Equality and Non-Discrimination, which I chair, is clear that there needs to be full compliance with the rules, so we agree with the decision of the Committee on Rules of Procedure, Immunities and Institutional Affairs. To strengthen the report, we tabled an amendment recalling the Assembly’s support last year for the principle of gender parity as the ultimate goal in political representation.

      I thank the Slovak delegation for its work and commitment. I hope we will be able to change the composition of the delegation to ensure balanced representation at the next part-session. We must maintain high standards. The Venice Commission underscored, in a 2015 recommendation, that we cannot talk about democracy, which is at the heart of this Assembly, if women are not fairly represented. We therefore need balanced representation of men and women in all assemblies.

      The PRESIDENT – Thank you, Ms Centemero.

      We now come to the list of speakers on behalf of the political groups. I call Mr Martin Poliačik from the Slovak Republic on behalf of the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe.

      Mr POLIAČIK (Slovak Republic, Spokesperson for the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe) – The ALDE group has been informed about what is happening with the Slovak delegation, which takes this issue seriously. We are here to respect the rules. This situation occurred because the head of our delegation was appointed to the government and was replaced by a male member. We still have two female members of the delegation, but they are substitutes. The change will take place in the Slovak Parliament on Tuesday next week. One of the full members – me – will step down and become a substitute, and one of the female members of the delegation will become a full member. That will ensure that we adhere to the rules of this Chamber. I believe that everything will be okay in the next part-session. The ALDE group agrees with the proposed resolution and the amendment, which reflects the fact that we need to adhere to everything that was adopted previously in this Chamber.

      Mr KOX (Netherlands, Spokesperson for the Group of the Unified European Left) – Once in a while, we debate important items that are not complex. This is an example of that. It is clear that the list of the Slovak delegation does not meet our criteria. That cannot be accepted, unless we get a guarantee that everything will be in accordance with our rules. I will not talk about why it happened, but it happened and it is clear that we have to do something.

      The good news is that there is no disagreement between the Slovak delegation and the Assembly. We are in full agreement that there should be representatives of the under-represented sex in every delegation. That will be put right on Tuesday, which means that the Slovak delegation can function at full strength in this Assembly.

      I fully support the amendment tabled by the Committee on Equality and Non-Discrimination. We should underline that this is not just a rule, but a matter of principle. I think we will unanimously adopt this resolution, which is good news for this often-divided Chamber.

      Mr VAREIKIS (Lithuania, Spokesperson for the Group of the European People’s Party) – I am very happy to be speaking on this subject. This is not a speech about a problem; it is about a solution. I am happy to say that the Slovak delegates have been very friendly and have proposed to solve the problem as soon as possible. In fact, they solved the problem even before we started to discuss it. Applying a timetable for changing a delegation to include female representatives, or for making female delegates full members, is a technical matter. I will vote for the report not in any way to punish the Slovak delegation but to give it voting rights.

      We have settled all the formalities, but I want to take the opportunity to say why I think we need gender equality in this Chamber. Some people say that the Council of Europe deals with human rights, not gender issues. Some think that gender equality is an additional quota principle and that it is not necessary. I have been here for many years. We are a human rights Organisation, but we are very different. The majority of us are men. Men are fighters and women are peace-makers – we need both. I do not like formal quotas, but when countries’ delegations are more gender balanced it always has a positive impact on human rights and our decisions. We need a broader understanding of things, so I always favour gender equality. We do not need quotas if it is in our spirits. It makes us more spiritual and balanced, and it makes our decisions more intelligent and applicable.

      Ms BONET (Andorra, Spokesperson for the Socialist Group) – I thank the rapporteur and Ms Centemero for their report. The Socialist Group supports it because, as has been said several times, the representatives of the Slovak delegation are already trying to resolve this problem, as their representative just confirmed.

      This is good news. I think we can conclude that the measures to improve gender equality actually work, and that means we can achieve the gender equality we are striving for. It will take a considerable effort and we still have a long way to go, but the Committee on Equality and Non-Discrimination is working hard to achieve it. That does not mean that women are going to be appointed simply because they are women – no. It means that women are fully equipped and fully prepared to take on any type of job.

      That is not always easy, because it is still true that women are sometimes judged differently from men. We therefore have to introduce measures to promote the presence of women in political groups, political parties and committees, and, in the private sphere, on boards and in other posts. It is clear that women are well-educated and prepared to take on any task that is necessary. Our democratic societies are made up of men and women, and the clear message is that women should have the same opportunities as men. The Council of Europe has reached 40% representation. We still need a further 10% to achieve gender balance. We will achieve it.

      Ms GILLAN (United Kingdom, Spokesperson for the European Conservatives Group) – On behalf of the European Conservative Group, I welcome the report and warmly welcome the solution. It is important that we remain vigilant about the gender imbalance that exists in so many political institutions, and the position of women wherever they may be, not least in our own Assembly.

      Having spoken with Mr Jan Marosz, who is a member of the Slovak delegation in our group, it is clear that this situation was – as the rapporteur said – inadvertent and will be remedied in short order. The Slovak Republic now has about 20% women parliamentarians, so they will have no problem complying with our rules. Every cloud has a silver lining. This challenge has served to act as a reminder to all our members, partners for democracy, observers and visitors that we need to maintain continuous pressure to improve the position of women in our societies.

      In the UK general election, we elected 191 women MPs, which is about 29% of all MPs and a record high. However, since 1918, when women first entered parliament, only 455 women have been elected in the United Kingdom. That is equal to the number of men who sit in our current parliament. We therefore have a long way to go to achieve the Council’s aim of equal visibility, empowerment and responsibility, and the participation of both sexes in all walks of public and private life.

      The Council’s gender equality commission last year in Tallinn examined the progress of the Council’s Gender Equality Strategy. The opening speaker, the Estonian Foreign Minister, noted that no country has achieved full gender equality and that it remains a challenge. It was over 20 years ago that I was the UK Minister who negotiated on behalf of the United Kingdom the Platform for Action in Beijing. Although we have made progress, we continue to rely on governments and international bodies, such as UN Women and the World Bank, working with organisations such as our own Council and other stakeholders, to move gender mainstreaming forward.

      In closing, I commend our colleagues from the Slovak Republic for their response. I thank the rapporteurs, Mr Jordi Xuclà and Ms Elena Centemero, the Rules Committee and the Committee on Equality and Non-Discrimination for their work, and for highlighting that the Council of Europe is a guardian of our own gender balances, as well as the champion for equality that we all want it and expect it to be.

      Mr MADEJ (Slovak Republic) – Dear Mr President, honourable colleagues, please allow me to say a few words.

      I would like to assure the Assembly that the Slovak delegation respects the rules and principles of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe. It has been said, but I would like to reiterate that the delegation was in compliance with the rules. We originally had two women as substitutes, as well as the head of the delegation, Ms Nachtmannová. Unfortunately, Ms Nachtmannová has now become Secretary of State for Education and is no longer a member of the Parliamentary Assembly. As soon as I was appointed head of delegation, we began discussions with our colleagues from other political parties. Now, thanks to our colleagues from Sloboda Solidarita, there will be a change to the Slovak delegation and we will be in compliance with the rules.

      I would like to inform members that we have already provided both committees with the official letters from our colleagues in parliament stating that Ms Kaščáková has been appointed a representative to the Parliamentary Assembly. I would also like to inform you that under the official draft agenda of the Slovak parliamentary session that begins next Tuesday, the first item will be the changes to the Slovak delegation to the Parliamentary Assembly. I am therefore sure that this temporary procedural issue will be solved very soon. I thank you very much for your kind, polite and constructive discussion on this matter. We fully support the resolution and the amendment.

      The PRESIDENT* – Thank you, Mr Madej.

      That concludes the list of speakers. I remind you, Mr Xuclà, that you still have five minutes to respond to the debate.

      Mr XUCLÀ (Spain)* – One of Shakespeare’s best plays is “All’s well that ends well” and I suppose that that could be the title of this item on the agenda. Róbert Madej has told us precisely on what day the decision is going to be taken, so good will has clearly prevailed.

      Let me specify again that this is not a misunderstanding but a material mistake. However, as the Slovak delegation was so quick to show good will and good faith, the committee decided to let the delegation to keep their rights until April – and we know that the solution will come way before April.

      Let us all take note of the fact that delegations need to be balanced. They need to represent minorities and they need to be balanced in terms of gender. I agree that parliaments are better if they achieve equality between men and women. I am a liberal and I am against quotas in principle, but in my parliament I voted in favour of a law to make it possible, through a minimum quota, for women to gain rapid access to parliament. I must admit that we had a very interesting and important debate on individual freedoms and quotas. Some years have gone by since that debate, but I am very happy to have voted in favour of a law that has accelerated women’s participation in parliament.

      The Parliamentary Assembly depends on the composition of different delegations being balanced. This balance already exists in our statutes. The Slovak delegation will re-establish that balance very shortly, so all’s well that ends well.

      The PRESIDENT – Thank you, Mr Xuclà.

      Does the Chairperson of the Committee on Rules of Procedure, Immunities and Institutional Affairs wish to speak?

      Ms MAURY PASQUIER (Switzerland)* – I would like to take this opportunity to thank Ms Centemero for raising this issue on Monday and for challenging the credentials of the Slovakian delegation. The Rules Committee acknowledges that she did so in the proper fashion.

      The fact that there is not a single female member in the Slovakian delegation does not correspond to our rules. This is not a minor detail. Our rules in this respect are important because they are predicated on gender equality, which is a subject to which the Council of Europe, the Parliamentary Assembly and the Committee on Equality and Non-Discrimination all attach a great deal of importance.

      I am glad to hear that all’s well that ends well. I will be delighted to welcome to the Chamber the female and male members of the modified Slovakian delegation in accordance with our rules.

      The PRESIDENT – Thank you, Ms Maury Pasquier.

      The debate is closed.

      The Committee on Rules of Procedure, Immunities and Institutional Affairs has presented a draft resolution, Document 14247, to which one amendment has been tabled. I remind the assembly that under Rule 10.3 of the Rules of Procedure, members of the Slovak Republic delegation may not participate in the vote.

      I understand that the Chairperson of the Committee on Rules of Procedure, Immunities and Institutional Affairs wishes to propose to the Assembly that Amendment 1 to the draft resolution, which was unanimously approved by the committee, should be declared as agreed by the Assembly. Is that so?

      Ms MAURY PASQUIER (Switzerland) – Yes.

      The PRESIDENT – Does anyone object? As there is no objection, I declare that Amendment 1 to the draft resolution has been agreed.

      Amendment 1 is agreed to.

      We will now proceed to vote on the whole of the draft resolution contained in Document 14247, as amended.

      The vote is open.

      The draft resolution in Document 14247, as amended, is adopted, with 58 votes for, 0 against and 6 abstentions.

5. Next public business

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

      The sitting is closed.

      (The sitting was closed at 12.45 p.m.)


1. Examination of credentials (Iceland)

2. Changes in the membership of committees

3. Debate under urgent procedure: The need to reform European migration policies

Presentation by Mr Liddell-Grainger of the report of the Committee on Migration, Refugees and Displaced Persons, Document 14248

Speakers: Mr Scully, Mr Poliačik, Ms Groth, Mr Zech, Ms De Sutter, Mr Gutiérrez, Mr Varvitsiotis, Mr Schwabe, Mr Manninger, Mr Cruchten, Mr Fournier, Mr Rouquet, Mr Miroğlu, Mr Michael Aastrup Jensen, Mr Le Borgn’, Ms Rodríguez Ramos, Ms Usta, Mr Divina, Baroness Massey, Ms Christodoulopoulou, Ms Anttila, Ms Kanelli, Ms Dumery, Ms Kavvadia

Draft resolution in Document 14248, as amended, adopted

4. Challenge on procedural grounds of the still unratified credentials of the parliamentary delegation of the Slovak Republic

Presentation by Mr Xuclà of the report of the Committee on Rules of Procedure, Immunities and Institutional Affairs, Document 14247

Presentation by Ms Centemero of the opinion of the Committee on Equality and Non-Discrimination, Document 14252

Speakers: Mr Poliačik, Mr Kox, Mr Vareikis, Ms Bonet, Ms Gillan, Mr Madej

Draft resolution in Document 14247, as amended, adopted

5. Next public business

Appendix / Annexe

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

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

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

ANTTILA, Sirkka-Liisa [Ms]

ARIEV, Volodymyr [Mr]

ARNAUT, Damir [Mr]

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

BAPT, Gérard [M.]

BARTOS, Mónika [Ms] (NÉMETH, Zsolt [Mr])

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

BAYKAL, Deniz [Mr]

BEREZA, Boryslav [Mr]



BİLGEHAN, Gülsün [Mme]

BILLSTRÖM, Tobias [Mr]

BRASSEUR, Anne [Mme]

BUDNER, Margareta [Ms]

BULIGA, Valentina [Mme]

BUTKEVIČIUS, Algirdas [Mr]

CATALFO, Nunzia [Ms]


CEPEDA, José [Mr]

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



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

CORSINI, Paolo [Mr]

COWEN, Barry [Mr]


CSÖBÖR, Katalin [Mme]

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

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

DAVIES, Geraint [Mr]

DESTEXHE, Alain [M.]

DIVINA, Sergio [Mr]

DJUROVIĆ, Aleksandra [Ms]

DUMERY, Daphné [Ms]

ECCLES, Diana [Lady]

EVANS, Nigel [Mr]

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

FISCHER, Axel [Mr]

FOURNIER, Bernard [M.]

FRIDEZ, Pierre-Alain [M.]

GAFAROVA, Sahiba [Ms]

GALE, Roger [Sir]

GAMBARO, Adele [Ms]


GENTVILAS, Simonas [Mr] (ZINGERIS, Emanuelis [Mr])

GHILETCHI, Valeriu [Mr]

GILLAN, Cheryl [Ms]

GIRO, Francesco Maria [Mr]

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

GOLUB, Vladyslav [Mr] (GERASHCHENKO, Iryna [Mme])

GONÇALVES, Carlos Alberto [M.]

GOPP, Rainer [Mr]

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

GOY-CHAVENT, Sylvie [Mme]

GRIN, Jean-Pierre [M.] (HEER, Alfred [Mr])

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


GÜNAY, Emine Nur [Ms]

GUTIÉRREZ, Antonio [Mr]

GYÖNGYÖSI, Márton [Mr]

HAJIYEV, Sabir [Mr]

HETTO-GAASCH, Françoise [Mme]

HIGGINS, Alice-Mary [Ms] (HOPKINS, Maura [Ms])

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

HOWELL, John [Mr]

HÜBINGER, Anette [Ms]

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

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

JENIŠTA, Luděk [Mr]

JENSEN, Michael Aastrup [Mr]


JORDANA, Carles [M.]


KALMARI, Anne [Ms]

KANDELAKI, Giorgi [Mr] (BAKRADZE, David [Mr])

KANELLI, Liana [Ms] (BAKOYANNIS, Theodora [Ms])

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]


LE BORGN’, Pierre-Yves [M.]

LE DÉAUT, Jean-Yves [M.]



LOGVYNSKYI, Georgii [Mr]

LOMBARDI, Filippo [M.]

LOUCAIDES, George [Mr]


MADEJ, Róbert [Mr]

MAHOUX, Philippe [M.]

MANNINGER, Jenő [Mr] (GULYÁS, Gergely [Mr])

MARKOVIĆ, Milica [Mme]

MAROSZ, Ján [Mr]

MARQUES, Duarte [Mr]

MASSEY, Doreen [Baroness] (AHMED-SHEIKH, Tasmina [Ms])


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

McCARTHY, Kerry [Ms] (SALMOND, Alex [Mr])

MEIMARAKIS, Evangelos [Mr]

MIGNON, Jean-Claude [M.]

MIKKO, Marianne [Ms]

MILTENBURG, Anouchka van [Ms]

MİROĞLU, Orhan [Mr]

MÜLLER, Thomas [Mr]

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

NENUTIL, Miroslav [Mr]

NICOLETTI, Michele [Mr]

NISSINEN, Johan [Mr]

NOVIKOV, Andrei [Mr]

OBRADOVIĆ, Marija [Ms]


OEHRI, Judith [Ms]

ÖNAL, Suat [Mr]

O’REILLY, Joseph [Mr]

OVERBEEK, Henk [Mr] (MAIJ, Marit [Ms])


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

PALLARÉS, Judith [Ms]

PANTIĆ PILJA, Biljana [Ms]

PASHAYEVA, Ganira [Ms]

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

POLIAČIK, Martin [Mr]

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

RIGONI, Andrea [Mr]

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


ROJO, Pilar [Ms]

ROUQUET, René [M.]

ŠAKALIENĖ, Dovilė [Ms]

SANDBÆK, Ulla [Ms] (BORK, Tilde [Ms])

SCHENNACH, Stefan [Mr]

SCHNEIDER, André [M.] (ROCHEBLOINE, François [M.])

SCHOU, Ingjerd [Ms]

SCHWABE, Frank [Mr]

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

ŠEPIĆ, Senad [Mr]

SHARMA, Virendra [Mr]

ŠIRCELJ, Andrej [Mr]

SMITH, Angela [Ms] (MEALE, Alan [Sir])

SOBOLEV, Serhiy [Mr]

SOTNYK, Olena [Ms]

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

STRENZ, Karin [Ms]

STROE, Ionuț-Marian [Mr]

SUTTER, Petra De [Ms] (VERCAMER, Stefaan [M.])

THIÉRY, Damien [M.]

TILKI, Attila [Mr] (CSENGER-ZALÁN, Zsolt [Mr])

TORNARE, Manuel [M.] (FIALA, Doris [Mme])

TROY, Robert [Mr] (CROWE, Seán [Mr])

USTA, Leyla Şahin [Ms]


VAREIKIS, Egidijus [Mr]

VARVITSIOTIS, Miltiadis [Mr] (TZAVARAS, Konstantinos [M.])

VEN, Mart van de [Mr]

VILLUMSEN, Nikolaj [Mr]

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

VOVK, Viktor [Mr]

WILK, Jacek [Mr]

WINTERTON, Rosie [Dame]

WOJTYŁA, Andrzej [Mr]

YAŞAR, Serap [Mme]

YEMETS, Leonid [Mr]

ZECH, Tobias [Mr]

ZELIENKOVÁ, Kristýna [Ms]

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

Also signed the register / Ont également signé le registre

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

BONET, Sílvia Eloïsa [Ms]

CORREIA, Telmo [M.]


MASIULIS, Kęstutis [Mr]

PODERYS, Virgilijus [Mr]

RIBERAYGUA, Patrícia [Mme]

Observers / Observateurs


Partners for democracy / Partenaires pour la démocratie

ABUSHAHLA, Mohammedfaisal [Mr]

HAMIDINE, Abdelali [M.]

LEBBAR, Abdesselam [M.]

SABELLA, Bernard [Mr]

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

the Parliamentary Assembly)/ Représentants de la communauté chypriote turque

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