AA17CR30

AS (2017) CR 30
Provisional edition

2017 ORDINARY SESSION

________________

(Fourth part)

REPORT

Thirtieth sitting

Tuesday 10 October at 10 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.

(Sir Roger Gale, Acting President of the Assembly, took the Chair at 10.05 a.m.)

      The PRESIDENT – The sitting is open.

1. Changes in the membership of committees

      The PRESIDENT – Our first business is to consider the changes proposed in the membership of committees. The changes are set out in the document Commissions (2017)07 Addendum 3. Are the proposed changes in the membership of the Assembly’s committees agreed to? They are agreed to.

2. Election of the President (Third round)

      The PRESIDENT – We now come to the third ballot for the election of the President. As neither candidate for the election of the President of the Assembly received the required absolute majority in the second ballot yesterday afternoon, a third ballot is required. We will therefore now hold one further ballot, which will be decided by a simple majority of votes cast, so by this afternoon there will be a result.

      I remind you that the candidates are Ms Stella Kyriakides from Cyprus and Mr Emanuelis Zingeris from Lithuania. Their nominations are set out in Document AS/Inf (2017)08.

      I shall now choose two tellers. The tellers are No. 411, Mr Makhmudyan from Armenia, and No. 393, Mr van de Ven from the Netherlands. You will be on duty at 1 p.m.

      The voting will take place behind the President’s chair. The ballot is open and will close at 1 p.m. In the meantime, we shall continue with the business on the agenda.

3. Election of a judge to the European Court of Human Rights in respect of Georgia

      The PRESIDENT – I refer members to the list of candidates and biographical notices that are to be found in Document 14400 and the report from the Committee on the Election of Judges to the European Court of Human Rights to the Bureau.

      The voting for this election will take place at the same time as the election of the President, in the area behind the President’s chair. At 1 p.m. the ballot will be suspended and it will reopen at 3.30 p.m. The President will close the ballot for the judges at 5 p.m. To be clear, the ballot for the President will close at 1 p.m.

      Counting will take place under the supervision of four tellers, as the rules now require. I shall now draw by lot the names of the four tellers who will supervise the counting of the votes.

      The tellers are No. 313, Ms Pashayeva; No. 115, Ms D’Ambrosio from San Marino; No. 278, Ms Bruijn-Wezeman from the Netherlands; and No. 140, Mr Köck from Austria. The tellers will supervise the counting of the votes for the judges after 5 p.m. We hope that the results of that election will be announced by the end of the sitting this afternoon.

      The ballot is now open.

4. The activities of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD)

in 2016-2017

      The PRESIDENT – The next item of business is the debate on the activities of the OECD in 2016-17. I am very pleased to welcome on this occasion the OECD Secretary-General, Mr Angel Gurría, and the parliamentary delegations from OECD member States that are not members of the Council of Europe – Canada, Israel, South Korea, and Mexico – as well as the diplomatic representatives of Japan. It is a pleasure to welcome you all here today.

      Secretary-General, our traditional annual debate on the activities of the OECD is the most significant symbol of the solid and growing partnership that exists between our respective organisations. The annual exercise not only allows us to underline how much our respective work is intrinsically linked, but, thanks to a rich and open debate, has an impact on our future activities and mutual co-ordination. We are therefore all very eager to hear your speech and forward-looking vision on some of the most pressing issues on our socio-economic agenda, whether that be fostering youth employment, reducing inequality or increasing tax transparency.

      We begin with a presentation by Mr Alfred Heer, on behalf of the Committee on Political Affairs and Democracy, who will present its report on the OECD and the world economy. We shall then hear a contribution from Mr Geraint Davies, on behalf of the Committee on Social Affairs, Health and Sustainable Development. That will be followed by an address from Mr Gurría, Secretary-General of the OECD.

      In order to finish by 12 o’clock, we must interrupt the list of speakers at about 11.35 a.m. to allow time for the reply. May I remind colleagues that there is a time limit of three minutes on speeches throughout the week? The rapporteur has 13 minutes to introduce the report and reply to the debate.

      I call Mr Heer to present the report of the Committee on Political Affairs and Democracy. Mr Heer, you have 13 minutes in total, which you may divide between the presentation of the report and the reply to the debate.

      Gentlemen and ladies, I mean no disrespect to those present in having to leave the chair, but you will understand that I now have the duty of greeting the President of the Czech Republic. I shall hand over the chair in a few moments. Mr Heer, you have the floor.

      Mr HEER (Switzerland) – Dear Mr Secretary-General of the OECD, dear members of the OECD and dear members of the Council of Europe, I first thank the OECD for its good co-operation and for the good reception we had at your headquarters in Paris when preparing our report.

      As you will see in the summary, we looked at three main topics. The first was the macro-economic outlook for 2017-18, as analysed by the OECD, and its conclusions. We also examined the progress that has been made in taxation through the introduction of the exchange of information. The greater transparency has already helped the fight against international tax evasion. The important BEPS project is designed to prevent base erosion and the shifting of the profits of multinational companies. Thirdly, the report considers the link between inequalities and growth, as well as youth unemployment, in the OECD. Let me say a few words about those three points.

      As we see from the OECD’s analysis of the macro-economic outlook for 2017-18, we still have sluggish growth. We are not very happy about the growth that we have, even though there is a certain amount of recovery in European countries. In June 2017, the projected growth was 2.1% for the OECD area, 1.8% for the eurozone and 4.6% for non-OECD countries. It is sad to see that non-OECD countries are doing better than OECD countries. We hope, of course, that we can change that in the future and that the growth in OECD countries will increase. The draft resolution contains solutions to tackle that low growth.

      The OECD recommends more expansionist fiscal policies in about 20 countries, including France, Germany, Switzerland and Australia. Of course, such recommendations are always welcome, but in the end it is for each country to decide on its own whether it wants to have more public investment. Sometimes that would contradict the fiscal rules of the eurozone or of national legislation.

      The automatic exchange of information, or AIA, is on its way and the first results will soon be seen. It will be interesting to see the peer-to-peer reviews once we have the first results. It must be said, however, that the biggest place for finance in the world, the United States, has still not ratified the AIA and does not follow the rules on beneficial ownership that it should according to the OECD. That means that the United States has different rules, somewhat damaging the level playing field that was intended. The United States has its own rules on information exchange but, sadly, they are not up to the standard agreed within the OECD. It is not foreseeable that the United States will ratify the AIA, as is proposed by the OECD. However, the AIA is still proceeding and other OECD member States are making bilateral contracts with other countries. For Switzerland, I can say that we now have agreements with more than 80 countries. It is going well, but the results will have to be seen once we have the peer-to-peer reviews.

      Another issue is the profit shifting of multinational companies. Money should be taxed where it is earned, but taxes are avoided through tax constructions and the artificial billing of services not rendered. I agree that taxes should be fair and that competition should be upheld in matters of taxation. However, artificial constructions that are built just to avoid taxes must be avoided. Every butcher, carpenter and baker in London, Paris, Rome, Tokyo, Frankfurt and Tel Aviv understands that they must pay local taxes and that they must pay taxes on their income where they have earned it. Yes, there should be tax competition, but it must be fair and it must not be abused, as we have seen in the past. The OECD is very helpful on this matter.

      The report contains recommendations on how to tackle youth unemployment. We also face the problem of the working poor. Everyone in work should benefit from the growth of the economy or else we will have divided societies and social unrest. Investment in skills and training is essential, especially given the demand for skills from the ongoing digitalisation. I see digitalisation as an opportunity; not as a threat to our society.

      Globalisation is a fact, and the OECD has the knowledge and capacity to tell us what globalisation means. We need it to show us where we are lacking, where there are discrepancies and where not everybody is profiting from global growth. Growth is one thing, but everyone should be able to participate in the growth in our economy and have a better life because of it. The OECD does a good job in that regard.

      The OECD tackles unfair practices. In a way, it is the referee. It is responsible for ensuring that globalisation goes on with fair rules and a level playing field. Of course nations are competing, but they must do so fairly, with the same measures and not on the backs of the poor, as might be the case in some countries.

      Thank you, Mr Secretary-General, for coming to the Council of Europe. You have seen our report in which we strived to include many things. We did not include the environmental aspect, which was requested by the Committee on Social Affairs, Health and Sustainable Development. However, I think that would have been too much. Perhaps we can cover that in our next report.

      The PRESIDENT – Thank you, Mr Heer. You have five minutes remaining.

      I now call Mr Geraint Davies to present the contribution of the Committee on Social Affairs, Health and Sustainable Development (Document 14410).

      Mr G. DAVIES (United Kingdom) – The Committee on Social Affairs, Health and Sustainable Development was asked to look at this report, which is within our competence. We suggest that the OECD looks at this analysis in the round, taking account of the Paris agreement; the reality of Brexit; US protectionism, which the rapporteur acknowledged in respect of the automatic exchange of information or AEOI; and massive fossil fuel subsidies, which are in sharp contrast to the Paris agreement. We are not suggesting a particular point of view on Brexit, US protectionism, Paris or fossil fuel subsidies, but saying that all those things need to be acknowledged in the analysis so that we have a rounded view. I hope that Mr Gurría agrees with that, and that the Assembly will support our amendments.

      In addition, we need to acknowledge the impact of newly emerging investor court systems in trading arrangements. Obviously, we have talked about TTIP, CETA and TiSA, and we need to know how those arrangements, and the investor powers in the chapters of those agreements, may impact on the Council of Europe’s core values – democracy, human rights and the rule of law – and whether the investor courts may have a chilling effect on investment that tries to protect citizens or promote growth.

      We support amendments that look at the quality as opposed to the quantity of growth in terms of its distributional impact and sustainability. In essence, we are asking for Paris, trade agreements, Brexit and the behaviour of the United States, which has been partly acknowledged, but not in the context of the environment, to be acknowledged. We also want to acknowledge the importance of inclusivity because the OECD has found that there is a relationship between inequality and growth. We want to acknowledge the reality of in-work poverty through new types of contracts and consider whether we should compensate or change that. We want to consider the need for lifelong skills and for intervening with people who leave education early. It is also imperative to look at trade agreements in detail and the impact of fuel subsidies being twice the level of subsidies for renewables, side by side with a commitment to sustainability. That is a sharp contradiction.

      I hope that members will support the amendments. There has been a slight difference of opinion on the environmental issue, but we contend that it is imperative to acknowledge the overall commitment to Paris when considering realistic trading agreements that have a bearing on growth and the distribution of its benefits in future.

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

      The PRESIDENT– Thank you, Mr Davies. We now have a statement from Mr Angel Gurría, Secretary-General of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development. You have the floor.

      Mr GURRÍA (Secretary-General of the Organisaton for Economic Co-operation and Development) – Mr Davies: investing in the climate and in growth – how do you make both compatible? Let us consider the following: the productivity/inclusiveness nexus – not only one or the other, but the link between them; everyone being on board for making inclusive growth happen, and the pursuit of gender equality, which is an uphill struggle. I have with me documents about the following: tax policy reforms in 2017 in OECD and selected partner countries, which started strongly; key OECD indicators on early childhood education and care; the outlook for skills in 2017 – about 10 or 12 countries conducted national skills surveys; PISA 2015, because that happens every three years, and we are now rolling out the 2015 results. There are six volumes about PISA alone, including one about students’ financial literacy. One volume is entitled, “Education at a Glance: OECD Indicators”. They contain everything you need to know about education, but did not know that you had to ask. I have here a volume on the employment outlook for 2017, and the 41st edition of the international migration outlook. We have been working on migration issues, mostly integration, for the better part of half a century. That is not well known. Here is “Government at a Glance” – everything you always wanted to know about governments: the size, the cost, the effectiveness and so on. I also have the OECD business and finance outlook. I think that that is it, but the people carrying those volumes will now walk round and distribute them to parliamentarians.

      That was just an amuse-bouche – a little taste of what we do with you and for you. We offer it as part of our work to support not only our member countries but an increasing number of others that come to us for assistance. We work with and for them even if they are not members.

      Mr Heer, thank you for your excellent work in the report. Mr Davies, thank you for your comments. Dear friends, we project that global growth will increase to around 3.5% in 2017 and 3.7% in 2018. That is up from 3% in 2016. You might say that 3%, 3.5%, 3.7% is a nice progression. But average growth before the crisis was 4%. Ten years after the crisis, we are not yet at the cruising speed that we reached before the crisis. Such is the breadth, depth and complexity of the challenge that we face in recovering growth.

      In the euro area, GDP growth has outpaced expectations. Unemployment fell to 9.1% – its lowest since 2009. If you say, “Fantastic! We have only 9% unemployment”, remember that that figure also shows the size of the problem and how deep it originally was. We are not out of the woods yet. Trade and business investment may be increasing, but not fast enough. When looking at the world economy, one phrase applies, “Better, but not good enough.” You will hear me say that repeatedly.

      Global trade growth is now about 4%. Fantastic, because it was 2%, flat and negative – but it should be 7%. It should be double the rate of growth of the world economy, and it is about halfway there. There has been progress, but again, it is not good enough. The same applies to investment flows. Employment rates are improving but wages are not picking up. Every time employment increases, wages should go up, but they do not. Real wages have grown by only 0.2% a year since 2008 – 10 years ago.

      We also face vulnerabilities from rapid credit growth in emerging economies. In China, non-financial credit exceeds 200% of GDP. In Russia and India, non-performing loans represent more than 9% of the gross loans in banks’ portfolios. That is worrying.

      One concern that we highlight is that many people have been left behind. That is why the concerns about globalisation that the rapporteur and Mr Davies mentioned are so widespread. Our numbers show that people have a reason to be angry: the richest 10% in OECD countries now earn on average almost 10 times more than poorest 10%. Some might say, “So what? What do those numbers mean?” The problem is that, one generation ago, they were earning seven, rather than 10, times more. In the space of one generation there has been a deterioration of 30% to 40% in inequality of incomes.

      The disparities are even more pronounced in wealth – by which I mean not the flow, but the stocks. On average, the richest 10% of OECD countries own about half of all household assets, while the bottom 40% own about 3% of them.

      Inequalities go well beyond money. They exist in education, skills, health and employment, and between generations. I want to highlight two key areas where people risk being left behind, namely youth unemployment and the disruption caused by digitalisation. Youth unemployment carries a terrible human and economic cost. In 2016, almost 14% of people aged between 15 and 29 across OECD countries were not in education, employment or training – the so-called NEETs. About two thirds of them were not even looking for a job. Long periods of inactivity or unemployment can have a scarring effect on their future careers, their ability to start a family and, obviously, their pensions.

      Digitalisation and the new production revolution also present challenges, although they can improve productivity and well-being. On average, across the 21 OECD countries that we surveyed through PIAAC – the programme for the international assessment of adult competencies – 9% of jobs are at high risk of being automated. Workers with a lower level of education are at the highest risk of displacement. Some 40% of workers with a lower secondary degree are in jobs at high risk of automation, compared with less than 5% of workers with a tertiary degree. The signals are obvious: upskilling and reskilling is a challenge. These displaced workers often lack the skills and, therefore, the opportunities to find a new job.

      All those inequalities and lack of opportunities are fuelling a crisis in confidence in everything we have built over the past 100 years: governments, corporations, banks, institutions, frameworks, regulations, parliaments and even democracy itself. The list also includes international organisations such as the OECD and perhaps even the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe. People say that they no longer believe that those organisations are the solution to, “My problem, my issue, my concern, my family.”

      We need to reverse that trend, bridge the divides and recover trust. We need a more integrated approach whereby low-income groups are better prepared to profit from the global system. We need a more inclusive growth model. We need a State that is more empowering, in which temporary setbacks do not turn into lifelong disadvantages. That means increasing social spending to improve social protection and the safety nets in the light of the changing work environment disrupted by digital technologies.

      Early intervention – and intervention thereafter at critical junctures throughout life – is essential. Comprehensive policies are required to tackle lifelong educational inequalities. We need to remove barriers to early childhood education and care, which is one of our most productive investments, and invest in skills at all ages, in all sectors, including lifelong learning so that people can acquire skills while on the job.

      The OECD is working to try – I stress the word “try” – to stay ahead of the curve. In 2012 we launched New Approaches to Economic Challenges, which is a whole new way of looking at things and of being humble and asking ourselves what we got wrong and how we can do better. The initiative brings our analytical tools in line with the complexity and interconnectedness of the modern world. NAEC gave birth to the Inclusive Growth Project and “The Productivity-Inclusiveness Nexus” that I showed you a moment ago. We call it a horizontal project because it involves many parts of the house going digital. The question about going digital is: how can it work for the growth and well-being of everyone?

      The OECD is also updating its jobs strategy – it started in 1994 and then we produced new ones in 2000 and in 2006 – to adapt to emerging challenges. We are providing targeted support on issues such as youth unemployment through our action plan for youth. We are doubling our efforts to ensure that the global system, which determines people’s well-being and opportunities, is fair. That means tackling corruption and promoting ambitious standards in responsible business conduct.

      The OECD’s Anti-Bribery Convention and guidelines for multinational enterprises and the G20-OECD principles of corporate governance are all vital tools in the global integrity toolbox. However, as the report rightly reflects, it is in global taxation that we have recently achieved a historic leap forward. More than 100 jurisdictions have joined the jointly developed OECD and Council of Europe Convention on Mutual Administrative Assistance in Tax Matters. There is nowhere to hide. Even before the first automatic exchanges of financial account information began last month – it is real and happening as we speak – the banks were already reporting to their authorities and those authorities were reporting to the authorities of the country of origin of the person who created the bank account. That has been happening automatically since last September.

      Even before that started, nearly €85 billion – that is billion with a “b” – in additional tax revenues were identified as a result of voluntary compliance mechanisms in offshore investigations. That is more than 200 times our budget, so the OECD gives very good cost-benefit. Equally, the OECD-G20 base erosion and profit shifting project – BEPS – has expanded to include a full range of more than 100 developed, emerging and developing jurisdictions. At our ministerial council meeting last June, 76 countries and jurisdictions signed the OECD multilateral convention on base erosion and profit shifting, and others have signed since.

      Let us turn this event into an opportunity to make market economies and globalisation work as catalysts of inclusive and sustainable growth. It is our vision and our ambition. Let us make it our shared mission to design, develop and deliver better policies for better lives. Thank you.

      The PRESIDENT – Thank you very much, Mr Secretary-General, for your statement. All the members of the Assembly have listened to it with keen interest. I will invite you to reply later in the debate. We now come to the list of the speakers. First, I call Mr Schennach on behalf of the Socialist Group.

      Mr SCHENNACH (Austria, spokesperson for the Socialist Group)* – The Secretary-General made a powerful speech. I congratulate him on that, and I commend the two rapporteurs. Yes, our economy is growing, but we have to ask ourselves whether we are looking at a quantitative increase or a qualitative increase. Are we seeing an improvement in the quality of our economy? Are we seeing increased sustainability? Are we seeing better environmental protection? Are we seeing increased social justice, or are we just seeing bigger numbers being written down on the paper, talking about 4% or 5% growth? At the same time, we can see the significant problems we have with salaries and purchasing power. Those who earn the least are seeing their income decrease at the same time as the richest people earn more and more.

      This is a footnote, but digitalisation will lead to great transformation in Europe, because it will make it possible for many jobs to be done without people. We can see that in supermarkets. We will not be able to retrain the people who currently work in supermarkets so that they can be IT specialists. We will have to look at other areas, such as our hospitals and care homes, where more and more robots will be introduced. We have to ask ourselves: who will be left with a job at the end of the day?

      Social injustice in OECD countries and other societies must be tackled. We need to do more to combat tax evasion. Just within the EU, hundreds of billions of euros of tax is being avoided. There is the bill that Apple has received from Ireland and the money that Amazon is going to have to pay in Luxembourg. We have to avoid aggressive tax policy in member States. We need people to pay their taxes. Employees have to pay tax in the countries in which they work, and the situation has to be the same for companies.

      If young people cannot find jobs and cannot live from the money they earn, our vision of Europe will be destroyed. Our young people will not believe in Europe. We need the guarantee of a job, and we need to guarantee training. We cannot have a situation in which 15-year-olds are left out on the street. We need to look at developing dual training systems after school so that young people are guaranteed jobs by the State. Only by implementing that will we be able to guarantee sustainable development and make it possible for our States and local authorities to invest once again, because they generate jobs, too.

      Mr HOWELL (United Kingdom, spokesperson for the European Conservatives Group) – I read the report on the OECD with a great deal of surprise. There is a lot of talk in the report about going back to growth, about inequality and about people left behind, but one group of people have been left behind and the OECD has not been very helpful in helping us find a solution. I am referring here to the series of islands in the Caribbean that have suffered enormous devastation as a result of the hurricanes that have swept across that area. The UK already contributes 0.7% of GNI to international aid. I would have thought there would have been a little more interest in helping us out with a major catastrophe that is both humanitarian and economic by helping us to revise the definition of what constitutes international aid. The devastation caused by the series of hurricanes that have struck the British Virgin Islands, Anguilla, Turks and Caicos and others has been absolutely phenomenal. Occupation of the island of Barbuda has ended after 300 years as a result of these hurricanes.

      I am convinced that the cause of the hurricanes is climate change caused by the very OECD countries mentioned in the report, so there is every reason why they should take a great deal of interest in trying to sort the problem out. There is enormous frustration at the inability of the OECD to make itself relevant, by which I mean helping people to believe that it can help and make a difference to them.

      The OECD has a long reputation for its model tax convention and for looking after double taxation more generally. I hope that in its efforts to increase transparency it will not lose this focus on avoiding double taxation, which has been a mainstay of the OECD.

      Finally, I turn to the comments on employment. There is a good reason why the UK has not implemented the OECD recommendations set out in the report: unemployment in the UK has fallen to a 42-year low, and the OECD recommendations simply might not be the right ones for the country to adopt if it is to go forward and make the unemployment figure even lower.

      Mr VAN DE VEN (Netherlands, spokesperson for the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe) – Members of ALDE have studied the draft report, “The activities of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) in 2016-2017”, by Mr Alfred Heer. The report also looks at the macro-economic outlook for 2017-18 as analysed by the OECD. More precisely, the report deals with issues such as: remedies for the frailty of the ongoing economic recovery; greater transparency in tax matters to fight international tax evasion and aggressive tax avoidance; how inequality hampers economic growth; and how to stimulate youth employment.

      The report is the result of a concerted effort by the so-called “enlarged assembly”, which comprises the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe, national parliaments of OECD member States and the European Parliament. Members of the ALDE Group welcome the presence of the Secretary-General of the OECD, Mr Angel Gurría, in this debate. ALDE congratulates Mr Heer on his excellent report, and we thank the rapporteur Mr Geraint Davies for his opinion.

      In our contribution to this debate, ALDE wants to focus in particular on multilateralism as a prerequisite of open globalisation and free trade as liberal principles. Mr Alfred Heer factually describes an important development in taxation: the shift from bilateral to multilateral instruments to secure effective taxation in cross-border situations to stimulate the economy.

      We have heard about the exchange of fiscal information, on request only, in the 1963 OECD model tax convention and the adding of spontaneous and automatic exchange of fiscal information in the 1977 OECD model tax convention for the negotiation of bilateral tax treaties. Alfred Heer’s report makes mention of the first and only OECD-Council of Europe Convention on Mutual Administrative Assistance in Tax Matters. The convention entered into force in 1988, but only in recent years have 112 jurisdictions become party to this multilateral instrument. Further, Alfred Heer describes the importance of the recent OECD project on base erosion and profit shifting, or BEPS – a multilateral action plan that provides for rules and guidance to align cross-border measures to combat international tax evasion and aggressive avoidance. We also see the establishment of multinational institutions such as the Global Forum on Transparency and Exchange of Information for Tax Purposes, as mentioned in the report. The trend we can see is that national tax legislation that deals with cross-border situations is now replaced by guidance and tax rules made by international organisations on a supranational level. This is a very good development.

      Mr LOUCAIDES (Cyprus, spokesperson for the Group of the Unified European Left) – As the Group of the Unified European Left, we believe that growth indicators, positive or recessionary, do not reflect the real situation that the majority of the people are facing in a given society – namely, the situation of working people, households, the self-employed, and small businesses. These indicators do not reveal how much public wealth is being privatised and how much salaries and working people’s rights are being curbed in order to get the economy moving.

      My country, Cyprus, is a prime example. On the one hand, the government is celebrating improved indicators on growth and the country’s formal exit from the Memorandum. On the other hand, according to the Gini coefficient, over the past four years Cypriot people have suffered the biggest increase in social inequalities in Europe. Cyprus also registers the worst performance in Europe with regard to public spending on health and social benefits. Wages have fallen to 1996 levels, while unemployment remains among the highest in Europe, and the young generation has been forced to migrate out of the country. This is why we believe that we should look beyond indicators, or at least attach equal importance to other indicators. In this sense, the report’s alarming key point on the continuing trend of widening inequalities, even after the crisis, must be underlined. Indeed, as the report points out, and as Mr Gurría has just explained to us, sharpening inequalities, in addition to the severe humanitarian costs, undermines growth in economic terms.

      The key question is what we should do. Despite the different and opposing views on this issue, we believe that the report includes certain recommendations that can be broadly supported – that is, inter alia, public investment in the green economy, strengthening labour laws, increasing the efficiency of public spending, combating tax evasion by big enterprises, ensuring equality of results in education, and implementation of social measures to support the family. Bearing this mind, we as the UEL at the EU level also support the inclusion of social indicators such as dignified work and child poverty that are made binding in the European Semester process, where member States are monitored for their economic and financial policy.

      As the report before us confirms, by supporting the welfare State and combating inequality, unemployment and poverty, we are creating the conditions for real growth – not simply growth in economic and financial terms but growth with the right content. That will take into account first, and above all, people and their needs.

      Ms GAMBARO (Italy, spokesperson for the Free Democrats Group) – I am honoured to speak on behalf of the newborn Free Democrats Group.

      The economic situation and the recovery has been very weak and is very fragile indeed following the crisis that has characterised the past years. So the moment has come to be very careful, because even a very minimal negative event could reverse the situation and the international economy could once again fall into crisis. This is the spectre under which we live right now. We have to take into consideration the possibility of a new recession and adopt policies that will help us to deal with the idiosyncrasies of the situation today. As emphasised in the report and by the OECD on numerous occasions, relaunching the economy, growth and public investment are the tools that we have to use in order to emerge from the situation. We have to pay close attention to the deficit gap ratio in a number of different countries, because this element is the primary basis of economic solidity and robustness. It is also necessary to have a proper ratio in place in order for investment to be attracted – and of course these investments will lead to wealth and employment.

      Furthermore, structural reforms are absolutely imperative to get rid of red tape. Over the past years this has been a serious impediment to the development of economies and the creation of jobs. We have to relaunch consumption and relaunch everything that we have at our disposal. In other words, we have to use the entire panoply in order to move forward. We also have to take care of those who are most vulnerable in our societies. Purchasing power has to be increased, particularly for families. The wealth of individuals and families must be increased by redefining the various ways that we deal with the situation and deploying what we have at our disposal to improve the situation overall. We have to avoid the possibility of a downward negative spiral. What would these tools be? First, we have to fight tax evasion. That is absolutely essential to stabilise international economies and, again, to create jobs. We must not forget education and training, which generate wealth and stability. Only by investing in our youth will we be able to move forward effectively in future.

      Ms CENTEMERO (Italy, spokesperson for the Group of the European People’s Party) – Thank you, Mr Secretary-General, for the ever-so-important work that the OECD does. Your presentation touched on numerous different issues such as education and unemployment, but above all, inequality. Inclusiveness is the key message. We must have growth that is inclusive in nature, and we must invest in education and training. This will help to enable us to move forward successfully into the future, particularly under the spectre of digitalisation.

      Let us not forget that gender inequality is a struggle. We have been fighting against it for many, many years to try to reverse the situation. We have called for member States to take into consideration the various discrepancies that exist. Looking at GDP alone is not enough; we have to look at the various colourations that exist and the different nuances under that. We want a modern, prosperous economy that will provide for sustainable development and inclusiveness. Gender equality is absolutely imperative so that men and women can contribute equally to improving the economic and social circumstances in their countries.

      The OECD has proposed concrete measures, particularly for countries that are on the fringe, and in many corners of the world we have seen baby steps in this direction. Gender equality is essential, with equal wages for men and women. The necessary measures must be adopted to ensure parity. Men and women must have equal access to credit and the job market to avoid any sort of marginalisation. We have to open markets so that they are available to men and women, and we have to consider the serious consequences of youth unemployment.

      The OECD and the Parliamentary Assembly together have shown that focusing on the ratio of deficit to GDP will be essential for us to move forward effectively. I ask myself how we can work together in a concerted fashion to achieve an inclusive economy and to reduce inequality, and how the OECD and the Council of Europe can co-operate to achieve our common goals.

      Ms DALLOZ (France)* – I thank the Secretary-General and the rapporteurs for their work. Harmonising tax levels across Europe is crucial. We have repeatedly stated in this Chamber that the flagrant inequality between how people and how multinationals are treated by taxation is a danger to us all. Google, Apple, Facebook and Amazon seek to minimise their tax bills in Europe, which is unacceptable. At a time when most countries have had to introduce austerity policies, billions of euros are being lost to public coffers, which means less money for public services and business support. How can we expect people or small and medium-sized enterprises to trust the rule of law in such conditions? European companies have to pay tax, whereas American Internet giants do not. That imbalance cannot be accepted.

      Beyond the financial aspect, the situation throws up other issues. How can we define the value created by the Internet and the digital environment in general, and therefore the real activity it represents? That is a significant challenge for us all, because it is the reason why GAFA are managing to minimise their tax bills. How, then, can we achieve tax or fiscal harmonisation when the European Union requires any reform to be unanimously agreed? The French proposal to create a tax on GAFA, on the basis of their turnover in each country, will always be defeated, because it will always be opposed by those who profit from the current situation. On that issue, Mr Juncker’s proposal to make tax decisions by qualified majority appears to be appropriate.

      Looking beyond the Google case in my country and the European Union’s offensive against Amazon, Apple and others that benefit from hidden subsidies, we have to recognise that protection for the European digital environment is at stake – that is a priority for the Estonian presidency. Europe has the resources it needs to become a global leader in this field. Europe has always been in the vanguard of technological progress, but there is now significant digital competition from the United States, China and Japan. This market could bring €415 billion a year into Europe’s economy, which would create thousands of jobs. We live at a time when nationalism and extremism are fuelled by economic and social crisis, and by austerity. The digital challenge we face is therefore also an opportunity for all our societies, but if we are to make the most of it, European solidarity is essential. The Council of Europe has a role to play, because we know the Internet also has a democratic dimension.

      Ms HIGGINS (Ireland) – I thank the rapporteur, the commentator, Mr Davies and the Secretary-General for their interesting speeches and their work.

      A common concern has been raised in the Chamber and by the Secretary-General about the danger of leaving people behind. If we want to ensure that we do not leave people further behind, we may need to prioritise not a restoration of the cruising speed but a questioning of the direction of development. As many have highlighted, we need to look not simply at the quantity of growth but at its quality and sustainability.

      As others have, I commend the OECD’s work on tax, and the new, joined-up thinking it is pushing. I suggest that trade, which is highlighted in the commentary and some of the amendments, is another area where we need new thinking. There has been a simplified narrative of openness versus protectionism. What we are actually looking at is challenging some of a trade model – represented by CETA and TTIP, for example – that has overreached. In the Secretary-General’s new approach to economic challenges, will the OECD lead on developing new workable, constructive models for international trade that are compatible with another OECD goal, that of ensuring democratic accountability, engagement and equality?

      Others have spoken about the environment, and I would appreciate some thoughts on how the Paris targets can be more deeply integrated and discussed in all the OECD’s thinking on economic indicators in all its work. I commend the work on the sustainable development goals, and I would like to hear more about how it is not simply about the targets but about how those targets are achieved. Again, it is not simply about transparency but about accountability and the capacity of citizens to put issues that matter on the agenda.

      On gender equality, the recommendations on employment measures and childcare are very commendable. I also commend the OECD’s work on piloting gender equality budgeting, which is important, but we must realise that new issues will come with equality in budgeting, issues that address the social, national and international fabric in which any economic resides and on which any economy must be based. We must be able to put issues such as care on the agenda.

      I am concerned that the PISA model pushes an instrumental approach to education. We also need to consider education’s wider social and cultural benefits.

      Mr MANNINGER (Hungary) – The report’s main conclusion is that the ongoing economic recovery continues to be slow and fragile. The OECD’s analysis of the outlook for 2017-18 for public policymakers states that it is important to carry out structural reforms. The other main issue is the fight against international tax evasion, and the result of the OECD’s action on the exchange of information is appreciated.

      It is important that the OECD highlighted the harmful effect of growing income inequality. Beyond social justice, inequality hampers growth. Reduced inequality for the 40% of the population on low incomes will have a positive impact on growth. The OECD study shows that the reduced opportunities for poorer households because of increasing inequality prevents them from investing in their human capital, so the OECD calls on its members to improve human capital not only in the lowest 10% but in the lowest 40% of households by income.

      The economic problem of youth unemployment requires a social approach. Members must combat the increase in the number of young people not in education. Hungary is mentioned in the report as an exception where inequality has not increased. Hungary is on the right track, and our GDP growth is not driven by indebtedness. Gross domestic product in 2016 was 20% higher than in 2010, and for this year a rise of 4.1% is estimated. In the following year, growth is expected to remain above 3.5%, which is perhaps not enough.

      The unemployment rate decreased to a record 4.2%, and it must be considered a significant achievement that today we are addressing a workforce shortage instead of mass unemployment. The age limit for regular education has been increased by the government from 21 to 25 years, and a second qualification in vocational education can be obtained free of charge. In Hungary another key issue is how to give better educational opportunities for households and families on low incomes, and how to assist them to take part in vocational training.

      How to reduce inequality and youth unemployment will require a complex study given the differences among European countries, and that should take into account the impact of mass migration, which consists mostly of unskilled young persons, and the impact of free movement of labour in the European Union. Generally, we can say that in every country a lack of social mobility hampers growth.

      Mr SIMMS (Canada, Observer) – I thank the rapporteur for this report, and the Secretary-General, who is sitting to my immediate right – that is no indication of his political ideology, I am sure. The Secretary-General mentioned some things that are better but not good enough, and I totally agree. Trade is at 4% but it should be higher, and there is also inequality. Canada is a G7 nation that has only 35 million people, or perhaps a little more than that. That means that we are highly dependent on trade and the flow of investment through our country with other countries around the world, including through the comprehensive economic and trade agreement that we have just signed.

      Being focused on trade is one thing, but being focused on our people is also a major part of who we are. I share the concerns expressed by my colleague from Ireland who so passionately spoke about our people and the services that we provide for them, especially the most vulnerable. That is why the report contains some indications about those who are the most vulnerable, and about how they can be affected by the flow of goods across the world.

      In Canada we have several priorities, including trade. We are concerned about the backlash from people over trade agreements, and about how fragile the world economy has become, as well as our interconnectedness. Some of the themes that we push about trade and investment also include many policies through which we want to share in the wealth of those who benefit from that trade. There are programmes that decrease youth unemployment and the numbers of those who are not in education, employment or training, and we must provide the opportunity for our young people to be more involved.

      There is also inequality, and the Secretary-General and the report point out how that gap has increased over just one generation by about 30% or 40%. That is a substantial figure and it is only an average – our colleague from Cyprus gave an even starker example. We must consider that issue and be focused. The OECD has some plans in place, such as its action plan to prevent ageing inequality, which focuses on inequality among our youth before it accumulates over time. Childcare is one initiative that helps us to improve equality. We must mitigate entrenched inequalities by promoting healthy ageing, limiting the impact of job losses, and combating long-term unemployment.

      One issue that the committee considered this morning was the fact that we need lifelong training. Training focused on youth is one thing, but – let us be honest with ourselves – training is a lifelong endeavour for all and we must continue with that investment. I thank the rapporteur and those who have spoken, and I particularly thank the Secretary-General for his words.

      Mr MELKUMYAN (Armenia)* – Colleagues, I welcome and pay tribute to the Secretary-General of the OECD. The activities of the OECD are extremely significant for us all, but we must now find new instruments that can allow us genuinely to evaluate the effectiveness of that Organisation. Why do we need new instruments? It is because we have great disparities in socio-economic progress among countries where the OECD is operational, and new challenges to overcome in the world of today. Above all, we must ensure stability. When we look at different countries we know that there are different challenges, and certainly in Armenia we are grappling with many difficulties. Assistance from high-level experts is vital for us, and very precious to my country.

      We need stability, and to ensure that democracy in our region is put on a stable footing so that we can benefit to the greatest possible extent from the assistance provided. That applies to all Caucasus countries where corruption is a significant problem – as we have seen, it is a problem that is increasingly being exported to Europe. Corruption hinders the smooth functioning of various international institutions and means that their impact is greatly reduced. It also means that trust in international institutions is watered down and diluted in our region. We therefore must recognise that, as has been stated in many international magazines, there is a significant problem in our part of the world, including problems with bribery and other forms of corruption.

      I think that the time has come for sanctions to be applied clearly against Azerbaijan and its delegation here. Otherwise, we will go down a path that will lead us further and further away from the goals that we seek to achieve, and we may not be able to change course. We know that corruption in Azerbaijan is a significant problem, and the problems faced by the oil industry in that country have merely worsened the situation. Azerbaijan does not play by the internationally recognised rules of the game, and it does not respect fundamental standards, including democratic standards. If we think about Azerbaijan and the way that journalists are treated there – including those from different countries – we see that it is not appropriate for the current regime in Azerbaijan to continue to occupy the place that it does in international institutions, or for the kind of funding that it has been provided with to that end to be continued. We must face the facts: there is no smoke without fire, and there has certainly been a lot of smoke in this case.

      Mr BÜCHEL (Switzerland)* – I am still waiting for the day when a colleague from Armenia or Azerbaijan speaks in this plenary without mentioning the issues between their two countries.

      The report is very balanced and I commend Mr Heer. It contained some important elements, and the OECD is trying to create global transparency and a level playing field. The steps that have been taken to promote the exchange of information and avoid profit shifting are very important. I come from a region in Switzerland that is very export-focused – we call the Rhine valley the Silicon valley of Europe. High-tech is vital to us, and we work closely together with our colleagues in Liechtenstein and Austria. We are creating a region within Council of Europe territory that is promising great things for the future and showing real progress.

      I will follow on from what Mr Schennach said. What is important are the jobs created in the private sector. The State should not intervene to prevent them doing that. We want to establish a level playing field and promote those who do the best job, not those who know the best ways of getting around the tax system. People need to produce goods, not fill in forms.

      We need to promote the exchange of information. My country trusts its citizens. People in our country respect one another. That is why we still have banking privacy, which applies to our country and those who live in our country and pay tax. I want the State to have confidence in its citizens now and in the future. Of course this confidence need to be mutual, as you said, Mr Gurría. That is the case.

      (The speaker continued in English)

      We need to recover trust.

      (The speaker continued in German)

      My country has not been an early adopter of the automatic exchange of financial account information, but we are in the process of changing that. We are working with Brazil, Russia, Mexico and many small Caribbean states.

      There has been criticism of the approach taken in our Parliament. I cannot go into that here.

      More than a quarter of transported transactions are processed in my country. It is important that we have procedures in place that are practical and fair. I acknowledge what has been said about Switzerland being largely compliant – as is our neighbour, Lichtenstein – but I hear time and again how our processes have been attacked in the past. I would like to see that overcome in the future.

      Mr LARIOS CÓRDOVA (Mexico, Observer)* – First and foremost, I commend the Secretary-General on his presentation. I also congratulate the rapporteurs, Mr Heer and Mr Davies.

      I will seize this opportunity to express the solidarity of almost all countries. Members will know that Mexico was the victim of earthquakes. I thank you for standing by us. We had a devastating set of occurrences in my country. On behalf of Mexico, thank you for your solidarity and your sentiments.

      The OECD is important for many of our countries. Mexico is a frequent user of the OECD. It is important for us for good governance and good practices. We are therefore pleased to see that we are working to counter tax evasion and tax avoidance. A campaign is being rolled out in many countries. That is very valuable.

      Mexico stopped being a closed country 30 years ago and became an open country – open to trade and exchange. In fact, we have one of the most open economies in the world. Having said that, most of our trade is with the United States of America and North America. Some 80% of our trade is with the USA. We now have a challenge before us: the new protectionism exercised by the USA. There is a review of our free trade agreement with Canada and the USA. Remember that this is one of the most productive and competitive regions of the whole world.

      Things have obviously become a little complicated. Various declarations and statements have been issued by the President of the United States of America. We have fears about what the outcome of all this will be. We are very involved in exports, which is a big part of our GDP. Whether we progress with or without a free trade agreement is a problematic issue. We are not prepared to accept the protectionism currently being exercised by the USA. We are continuing to work to counter it.

      Mexico has made some important advances in fighting corruption. We still have a lot of work that remains to be done. The OECD has been helpful in providing indicators for corruption rates in our different countries, but we need to have standards that will allow countries to compare themselves with the efficiency of other countries’ fight against corruption. It is important to remember this problem, which is a problem for many countries, including my own. It is a scourge we wish to fight against.

      Mr COZMANCIUC (Romania) – Honourable chair, distinguished members and guests, I thank Mr Alfred Heer for his excellent efforts in the preparation of his report and the draft resolution.

      The OECD’s activities are crucial for the development of the 21st century as it is complementary to consolidating and developing the democratic level of States and societies, and for sustainable development and inclusive growth. After several years of economic crisis, global private and public investment still remains below pre-crisis levels. While reflecting on the lessons of the past we must rebuild a new foundation for durable and sustainable economic growth. As Mr Heer pointed out in the report, “Investing in education and skills today will generate future employment and subsequent growth”. We need to change the way we invest.

      I believe that we are at the beginning of the fourth Industrial Revolution. Developments in genetics, artificial intelligence, robotics, nanotechnology, 3D printing and biotechnology, to name just a few, are all building on and amplifying one another. The question, then, is how business, government and individuals will react to these developments. We need to take measures to reform basic education to increase individual social mobility and build a prosperous society.

      Dear Secretary-General, I take advantage of your presence among us and I bring to your attention the fact that Romania has a strong record with the OECD. We qualify for a favourable decision enabling an early invitation on the part of the organisation for starting accession negotiations.

      Over the past 20 years, Romania’s accession to the OECD has featured towards the top of our foreign policy agenda and enjoyed wide support across Romanian society, from governmental stakeholders to business communities and civil society. From a financial point of view, we are able and ready to assume the financial contributions and to sustain the institutional framework needed to fulfil the responsibilities implied by the membership, as proven by our consistent voluntary contributions to the OECD over the years.

      Lord BLENCATHRA (United Kingdom) – I pay tribute to the OECD for the accuracy of its analysis of the level of economic growth in the past. However, when it comes to its forecasting of future economic growth and what countries should do, I am afraid it has proved itself over again to be utterly wrong. It did not foresee the economic crash of 2008. Indeed, its advice over the preceding years added to the crash.

      One month before the United Kingdom’s Brexit referendum, the OECD’s Secretary-General issued a press release that said, “A UK exit from the EU would immediately hit confidence and raise uncertainty”, which would result in a “hit to living standards” amounting in effect to a Ł3 200 permanent Brexit tax on households. What utter rubbish that propaganda turned out to be. I am afraid that it was propaganda and not a valid report. It was deliberately misleading propaganda timed to coincide with an IMF report suggesting exactly the same thing and a United Kingdom Treasury report suggesting a Ł4 200 drop in income for British households. All three were utterly wrong. I therefore suggest that since the OECD has a track record of getting every economic forecast wrong, we cannot entirely trust its suggestions for what economies should do in future.

      Of course we all support action on base erosion and profit shifting. Amazon, Google, Apple, Uber, Starbucks and any others should pay proper taxes on income earned in each country in which they operate and not funnel everything through a tax haven such as Luxembourg or Liechtenstein. However, using the excuse of unfair tax competition, the OECD demands that all countries harmonise their tax levels and, in a threat to democracy and sovereignty, demands that it be given sanctions powers to impose penalties on countries that it thinks have unfair tax rates.

      It is perfectly acceptable for a country to use taxation to compete, just as some countries use a wealth of natural resources, cheap labour or good weather. Is it unfair that Spain has such hot weather that they can grow oranges, but Sweden cannot? Is it unfair that Russia has more oil reserves than all the other countries in Europe put together? Is it unfair that Germany gets a huge export boost and trade benefit by keeping the euro lower than an independent German mark would be?

      Ireland does not have all the resources that many other European countries have, so it is perfectly fair for Ireland to have low corporation tax to compete with the giants of France, Germany, the UK and other countries with plentiful resources, whatever those might be. If we think that Ireland’s level of low taxation gives them a competitive advantage, the answer is for the rest of us to cut our taxes to compete and to not adopt the anti-competitive, undemocratic, statist OECD agenda that it is trying to foist on democratic countries.

      Ms PARK (South Korea, OECD member State) – Thank you for your excellent reports and comments. The report on the activities of the OECD addresses many important issues. I believe that the OECD is making various efforts to improve the structural problems of the world economy after the financial crisis and to find new growth opportunities in a comprehensive and balanced manner.

      I especially agree about the negative impact of income inequality on economic growth. I am concerned that an increasing income disparity would widen the gap in education opportunities in Korea and weaken domestic consumption, causing higher socio-economic instability as well as economic slowdown. In order to resolve that problem, I believe, as was stated in the report, that it is important to reduce income imbalance through redistribution policies and to sustain a dynamic economy by increasing people’s opportunities to move up the social ladder.

      This year the Government of Korea made it clear in its budget guidelines for 2018 that one of the basic directions for fiscal management is to alleviate economic polarisation. For the first time in the 11 years since 2007, polarisation is stated in the budget guidelines as a challenge to be tackled, and I believe that that is a step in the right direction. The National Assembly of Korea will also focus on that issue when deliberating on the budget proposal so that the budget is allocated properly to boost the redistribution of income and wealth.

      Moving on to young men in employment, the OECD’s analysis showed that investing in education and vocational skills will be effective in increasing employment among young men, and I share that view. Unemployment among young men has emerged as a serious social problem in Korea. The rate of NEETs is more than three percentage points higher than the OECD average. In order to deal with that, the Korean Government is working hard to customise training programmes based on industry-university co-operation and increase on-site training programmes. However, in spite of having the world’s highest entrance rate for higher education, the mismatch between university curriculum and the needs of the economy remains very high in Korea. That is why reform of the education system is urgent for Korea to raise the efficiency of investment in education and skills. The Korean National Assembly will do its best to work with the new Government on educational reform, and especially higher education reform.

      Mr WENAWESER (Liechtenstein)* - I thank Roland Büchel for discussing the situation in the Rhine Valley at the border between Austria, Liechtenstein and Switzerland. It is a fine example for our colleagues and an appropriate one to present here.

      Liechtenstein supports the OECD initiative to guarantee transparency in the area of taxation, and particularly the automatic exchange of financial account information and BEPS – base erosion and profit shifting. Liechtenstein introduced AEOI in 2013 and that legislative basis has been in place since 1 January 2016. As an early adopter of the system, Liechtenstein has been automatically exchanging financial account information. We have implemented BEPS and established minimum standards, which have been in place from this year. We have been clarifying tax ruling, promoting transparency and avoiding double taxation. To promote the automatic exchange of information on tax ruling, our Parliament has introduced new legislation that will come into force on 1 January 2018. That was adopted on first reading.

      The OECD BEPS initiative is extremely important because it will guarantee a level playing field between States. The OECD is working to establish a global framework while guaranteeing that States have a margin for manoeuvre in this area. BEPS aims to have a level playing field to guarantee the global implementation of standards, which is vital. That level playing field has not yet been established. The OECD has a leading role to play in this area to guarantee that progress is achieved. International agreements in this field need to be implemented in practice by authorities. Like Germany, the United Kingdom, the Netherlands, Switzerland and other countries, Liechtenstein passed the most recent tests; it was found to be largely compliant. Compliance with international standards is vital to guarantee competitiveness.

      The PRESIDENT – I must now interrupt the list of speakers. The speeches of members on the speakers list who have been present during the debate but have not been able to speak may be given to the Table Office for publication in the Official Report. I remind colleagues that typewritten texts can be submitted electronically if possible, no later than four hours after the list of speakers is interrupted.

      Dear colleagues, I remind you that the ballots for the President and judges continue. I now call Mr Angel Gurría, Secretary-General of the OECD, to say a few words.

      Mr GURRÍA – Mr Schennach, I agree with you that quality of growth, fighting inequality and fighting injustice is absolutely crucial. You also mentioned that digitalisation, taxes and so on are relevant instruments.

      Yes, Mr Howell, inequality must be fought, but let me make something clear: the OECD does not set the rules for ODA – overseas development assistance. That is done by the Development Assistance Committee, which is formed by the donor countries. They set the rules for what is and what is not ODA. I fully agree with you – I have submitted this in writing and I have spoken about it to the Chancellor of the Exchequer and the Prime Minister of the UK – and believe we need more flexibility in those definitions when we face exceptional circumstances. I think that the islands of Caribbean, given the disaster that has struck them, deserve that flexibility now. We should be reactive and agile in reacting to the size of the disaster that struck these islands, where all of what made up people’s livelihoods has been flattened and disappeared. It will take years for that to come back and they will face massive emigration. It is a real disaster. I fully agree with you and am fighting for that flexibility, but let me tell you part of that rigidity was introduced by the UK itself as a donor when things were normal. But I totally agree and I am fighting for that. I will present the economic survey of the UK on 17 October, so of course, we are updating and upgrading the recommendations and the kind that are made.

      Mr van de Ven, the only way to deal with taxes, trade, investment, climate change, corruption and gender issues is through multilateralism. I absolutely agree with you. It has to be that way, otherwise it will not work.

      Mr Loucaides, let me just say that GDP can grow but the Gini can increase, and that is a bad kind of growth. There has to be better distribution of income and of wages, and, absolutely, more jobs.

      Let me say to Ms Gambaro that, yes, we need to strengthen the deficit and the GDP, but there is fiscal space in some countries because interest rates are so low that they are paying less on debt. They could use that marginally, in a controlled environment – maybe 0.5% or 1% a year, in the cases where there is low debt. In Italy’s case, it is tight because Italy has a somewhat high debt level of 120% to 130%, so we must keep an eye on that, but the combination of monetary policy, loose fiscal policy, and balanced and bold structural reform is necessary.

      Ms Centemero spoke about the big question of gender. I presented to you the report about the uphill battle to get parity of gender. There is a pay gap and a participation gap, and a new issue of violence against women in OECD countries – not in developing countries or in emerging economies, but in OECD countries. That is a big issue. There are issues about parental leave and access to credit and so on.

      Ms Dalloz, the question of multinational enterprises avoiding taxation is not a question of Europe against the United States. We are not taxing or trying to tax digital companies; we are trying to find ways of better taxing a digitalised economy. Every single company in the world has a digital side. The question is not how to tax Google or Amazon – of course, we have to tax them – but how we tax the digital economy in general. Everything is becoming digitalised. How do we prepare for that? The challenge is much bigger than just taxing the gaffers. I leave you with that idea.

      Ms Higgins, I have to say that Ireland has been exemplary. Enda Kenny came to the OECD and said he would dismantle all the advantages that had been created, because, frankly, it is about treating everybody the same. You can have a very low rate of taxes, as long as you apply it to everybody. The question of special deals for special companies has disappeared. None of those can be repeated in Ireland anymore – they have dismantled them, which is very welcome. We are now fighting some fights of the past and trying to get taxes from the past, but the conditions that gave rise to the double Irish and the double Dutch – the double this and the double that – have now disappeared. That is good news, and it is because of our joint work on the tax front.

      The Paris targets and the sustainable development goals are the driving force; they should be our road map and our north star for all our development efforts. We do not have to reinvent the wheel. In 2015, we decided what we should be doing about development. It is not only about developing countries. The SDGs we approved – the 17 goals, 169 targets and 230 indicators – are for all the countries in the world, not just developing countries.

      Mr Manninger, social mobility is indeed crucial, and the lack of social mobility has been stopping us from development.

      Mr Simms, let me just say to you and your colleagues that what is causing unemployment in many places is not that we have free trade agreements. I say congratulations, that in a rarefied atmosphere where free trade was being denied, Canada persevered and did a deal with the Europeans – that is an honour to the Europeans and to Canada. It is technology that is causing the displacements. That is why upskilling and reskilling – skills, skills, skills – are the way to get a better result. It is not necessarily a question of stopping trade or not having any free trade agreements. I fully agree with you that there is a need for vocational education and training, and that equality issues and ageing are a phenomenon we have to fight.

      Mr Büchel, let me just say that citizens’ confidence in the State is so important, because then the State will have trust in its citizens, and citizens will have more confidence in their State, and the system strengthens. It is the ultimate social compact, and right now we are being threatened.

      Mr Larios Córdova, I join you in saying thank you on behalf of Mexico for the support we received after the earthquake. It struck very close to the OECD. Our chief of staff and the G7 and G20 sherpa lost her sister under the rubble of the collapsed apartment building where she lived. It struck very close to us – it becomes real when such things happen. Please note, ladies and gentlemen, we lost a little over 300 people. In 1985, we lost more than 10,000, officially, so there has been progress in terms of building codes and preparation, although there is never enough preparation.

      On the substance of your intervention, let me just say that corruption absolutely has to be the focus. Corruption is a cancer; it erodes our societies. We have to continue to fight corruption in every one of its forms. We also have to fight protectionism and the situation with the North American free trade agreement. I do not know if you saw the Financial Times on Saturday, which said that it is the private sector of the United States that is sending a very strong message to the US Government, saying keep NAFTA, because it is good for business, for jobs and for exports of the United States. I think that is a mouthful.

      Mr Cozmanciuc, I would just say yes – Romania qualifies and is prepared to start the process of accession. We believe that is the case and we have recommended that to our members, who are now discussing the issue. Romania is one of the four countries that have received a lot of support, together with Brazil, Argentina and Peru. We are now discussing how to proceed with that, but I agree with you.

      Lord Blencathra, I was strongly against Brexit. I made that public; I published a book; I went to the London School of Economics. I was joined by other institutions, such as the UK Treasury, the International Monetary Fund, the Confederation of British Industry, the London School of Economics and so many others, that were basically saying, “This is going to cost the UK. It is going to cost Europe and to some extent the rest of the world. It is going to create uncertainty and is going to be a tax on households.” I called that the Brexit tax. Now it has happened and we have to work with the result. The people of the UK have spoken and now, as the UK is a member of the OECD, we will try to make it as smooth and seamless as possible. That is our duty. I expressed very strongly before that we did not think it was a very good idea and I think every day the difficulties prove how complex the whole situation is.

      Let me congratulate the Koreans for emphasising skills and education, but because of the ageing process that is accelerating in Korea, the question of skills and ageing and getting everyone on board becomes more difficult. I will be in Korea in the next few days and will be reviewing those issues.

      Mr Wenaweser, we have seen that Liechtenstein has joined the international community and are happy that it has now been found to be largely compliant.

      Thank you very much for the privilege of being here. Thank you very much for your attention and for sharing your concerns. We take this session as guidance – it is not a ritual. We hear you. We will look at what you have said in great detail – I take very careful notes in shorthand. My colleagues also take careful notes of everything you say. Our work will be guided by the report of Mr Heer, the comments of Mr Davies and your comments, questions and guidance in the weeks and months until we meet again next year.

      The PRESIDENT – On behalf of the Assembly, I thank Mr Gurría for his statement and responses.

      I call Mr Heer, the Rapporteur of the Committee on Political Affairs and Democracy. I remind you that you have only one minute because we need time for the votes.

      Mr HEER (Switzerland)* – Mr Schennach spoke about the education system. We know about the model in Austria, Germany and Switzerland, but I am not sure that I agree with him that the State should guarantee this. I think that private companies would be able to guarantee it and provide the education that we need.

      (The speaker continued in English.)

      Lord Blencathra spoke about oranges in Spain and oil in Russia. Switzerland has neither, but we do have low taxes. It is not a business model to just have a letter box and bill taxes of 1%, as was done in the past. Taxes must be reasonable. We do not want harmonisation, but we do want a level playing field. We want tax competition among States, but we want to avoid the abusive regulations that we had in the past.

      The PRESIDENT – Thank you very much, Mr Heer.

      I call Mr Korodi to speak on behalf of the Committee on Political Affairs and Democracy. You have only one minute.

      Mr KORODI (Romania) – I thank our rapporteur, Mr Heer, for his excellent work. It has been useful to discuss the macro-economic outlook, fiscal transparency, inequalities, youth employment and profit shifting in the Chamber.

      I thank the Secretary-General for holding this debate year by year with parliamentarians from different nations. We need to have these debates to see where we are and where we are going in terms of development. You said very clearly that we have a problem with our confidence in our work in this institution. Yes, we can have more confidence in our work. We put on the table better products, policies and agreements.

      Today has been very useful. Thank you again for your work. I hope that the Assembly will support the view of the Committee on the amendments.

      The PRESIDENT – Thank you, Mr Korodi.

      The debate is closed.

      The Committee has presented a draft resolution contained in Document 14401 to which nine amendments have been tabled.

      May I remind colleagues that for this part of our proceedings voting will be by show of hands to allow delegates from non-European members of the OECD, who do not have voting cards, to participate? I should remind you that from among the delegations only those from members of the OECD are entitled to vote.

      I understand that Mr Korodi, on behalf of the Committee on Political Affairs and Democracy, wishes to propose to the Assembly that Amendments 6, 8 and 9 to the draft resolution, which were unanimously approved by the Committee, should be declared as agreed by the Assembly.

      Is that so Mr Korodi?

      Mr KORODI (Romania) – That is correct.

      The PRESIDENT – Are there any objections? That is not the case.

      Amendments 6, 8 and 9 are adopted.

      I call Mr Davies to support Amendment 1 on behalf of the Committee on Social Affairs, Health and Sustainable Development.

      Mr G. DAVIES (United Kingdom) – The amendment simply says that the work of the OECD should be done “with due regard to” the Paris agreement. As has been pointed out, it has already published “Investing in Climate, Investing in Growth”. We need sustainable growth for the long term, rather than short-term growth that prevents sustainable growth. The amendment should not be controversial for anyone who acknowledges that climate change should form part of the overview of economic prosperity and growth.

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

      What is the opinion of the Committee?

      Mr KORODI (Romania) – The Committee is not in favour.

      The PRESIDENT – The vote is open.

      Amendment 1 is rejected.

      I call Mr Davies to support Amendment 2 on behalf of the Committee on Social Affairs, Health and Sustainable Development.

      Mr G. DAVIES (United Kingdom) – The amendment simply says that the OECD should bear in mind the fundamental principles of the Council of Europe of democracy, the rule of law and human rights in respect of future trade. It also asks the OECD to acknowledge the facts of Brexit, US protectionism and the Paris agreement. That is not to say that we think Brexit, Donald Trump or the Paris Agreement are right or wrong; they are simply facts of life that need to be factored into the evaluations and objective advice that the OECD provides.

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

      What is the opinion of the Committee?

      Mr KORODI (Romania) – The Committee is not in favour.

      The PRESIDENT – The vote is open.

      Amendment 2 is rejected.

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

      Mr G. DAVIES (United Kingdom) – The amendment calls for not just quantitative, but inclusive, sustainable and long-term growth. It acknowledges the role of fuel subsidies. As Mr Gurría has pointed out, the OECD has already produced the productivity/inclusiveness nexus. The work is obviously proceeding, but we want inclusive, long-term sustainable growth, and an acknowledgement of the problem of fuel subsidies, rather than just growth.

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

      What is the opinion of the Committee?

      Mr KORODI (Romania) – The Committee is against.

      Ms MAURY PASQUIER (Switzerland)* – On a point of order, Madam President. Do those sitting in the front row have the right to vote? They have voted on both previous amendments, but I do not think that they should enjoy the right to vote in this Assembly. I do not know whether their votes have been counted, but persons in the front row voted on both previous amendments.

      The PRESIDENT– Madam Maury Pasquier, as part of the OECD enlarged debate, they are entitled to vote.

      The vote is open.

      We come to Amendment 4, in the draft resolution, at the end of paragraph 11.1, insert the following words: “, notably by fighting the development of new forms of poverty associated with precarious, low-paid work and imposed part-time contracts”. I call Mr Davies to support it. You have 30 seconds.

      Mr G. DAVIES (United Kingdom) – The amendment is about fighting the development of new forms of poverty associated with precarious, low-paid work and imposed part-time contracts. I have agreed in negotiation with the other rapporteur that the wording becomes “notably by fighting the development of new forms of in work poverty”. The words “in work” appear before “poverty” and the rest is deleted. The idea is to acknowledge the new flexible labour market and its costs and benefits.

      The PRESIDENT– Colleagues, I have been informed that Mr Heer wishes to propose an oral sub-amendment on behalf of the Political Affairs and Democracy Committee, as follows: “In Amendment 4, after the words ‘of new forms of’, insert the words ‘in work’ and delete the words ‘associated with precarious, low-paid work and imposed part-time contracts’”.

      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 Heer to support the oral sub-amendment. You have 30 seconds.

      Mr HEER (Switzerland) – You already mentioned the way in which we want to change the content. Mr Davies and I agreed to the oral sub-amendment that you read out. I therefore support it.

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

      What is the opinion of Mr Davies?

      Mr G. DAVIES (United Kingdom) – I accept the oral sub-amendment.

      The PRESIDENT– The Committee is obviously in favour.

      I will now put the oral sub-amendment to the vote by show of hands.

      The oral sub-amendment is adopted.

      We will now consider Amendment 4, 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?

      Mr KORODI (Romania) – The Committee is in favour.

      The PRESIDENT– I shall now put Amendment 4, as amended, to the vote by show of hands.

      I understand that Mr Davies wishes to withdraw Amendment 5.

      Mr G. DAVIES (United Kingdom) – Yes, because paragraph 11.3 already refers to early childcare and policies for families with school-aged children.

      The PRESIDENT– Does anyone else wish to move the amendment? That is not the case.

      Amendment 5 is not moved.

      I call Mr Davies to support Amendment 7.

      Mr G. DAVIES (United Kingdom) – The idea was to ensure that people leaving the education system were invested in, particularly those leaving it early. However, I have agreed that that could be included instead in the second sentence of paragraph 13. After the words “economically vulnerable”, we would insert, “with a special attention to those who have left the education system early”. I therefore withdraw the amendment, on the understanding that those words will be incorporated in paragraph 13.

      The PRESIDENT– Does anyone else wish to move the amendment? That is not the case.

      Amendment 7 is not moved.

      The PRESIDENT– I have received an oral amendment from Mr Heer, which reads as follows: “In paragraph 13, second sentence, after the words ‘economically vulnerable’, insert the words ‘, with a special attention to those who have left the education system early,’”.

      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 its 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 Heer to support the oral amendment. You have 30 seconds.

      Mr HEER (Switzerland) – As has been said, there was an agreement between Mr Davies and me.

      I want to take the opportunity to thank Mr Gurría for being here and for the co-operation with the OECD. I also thank our secretary, Mr Salanson, for his work.

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

      The Committee is obviously in favour.

      I shall now put the oral amendment to the vote by show of hands.

      The oral amendment is adopted.

      We will now proceed to vote by show of hands on the whole of the draft resolution contained in Document 14401, as amended. A simple majority is required.

      The vote is open.

      The ballots for the election of the President of the Assembly and to elect a judge to the European Court of Human Rights are still open.

(Sir Roger Gale, Acting President, took the Chair in place of Ms Hovhannisyan.)

5. Address by Mr Miloš Zeman, President of the Czech Republic

      The PRESIDENT – Welcome to Strasbourg and to the Council of Europe. It is an honour and pleasure to host you at a moment when the Czech Republic is chairing the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe.

      In April 1999, you visited the Council of Europe in your capacity as Prime Minister of the Czech Republic. At that time you gave a passionate speech in this Chamber about the return of your country – the Czech Republic – into the family of free democracies after 40 years of totalitarian rule. You spoke about European integration as a mutually enriching process based not only on economic interests but on the unity of values that European democracies share – common European values such as solidarity, respect for human rights, social cohesion and political democracy.

      Those ideas are as relevant today as they were in 1999. We live in times of political turmoil, with global challenges such as international terrorism, the refugee crisis and lack of trust in our democratic institutions, as well as the upsurge of nationalistic and xenophobic rhetoric. We are also faced with the distinct challenge of the Russian Federation not honouring its commitments.

      In times of crisis, it is of paramount importance to find a unifying agenda that will help us overcome divisions, but compromise cannot come at any price. Therefore, we look forward to hearing your vision on the future of the Council of Europe and the process of European construction in general.

      Mr President, you have the floor.

      Mr ZEMAN (President of the Czech Republic) – Thank you, Sir Roger, Mr Secretary General of the Council of Europe and Mr Secretary-General of the OECD.

      I was here as a young, healthy man 18 years ago, in 1999, as Prime Minister of the Czech Republic. I still remember an excellent speech – of mine, of course – but also an excellent discussion after it. This is my second chance, which means that my next speech to the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe will be in 2035. I invite you to attend it.

      I prepared some topics for my speech, but I would prefer to respond to questions because time is unfortunately limited. I have been informed about the first and probably most important question about sanctions against the Russian Federation and their consequences.

      Let me start with an historical example. I am a political old-timer and we old-timers do not have a high speed, but we do have plenty of experience. One experience of mine is that it is very difficult to make friends and very easy to invent enemies. Europe is a continent divided by many lines. One of those lines is between Russia and the rest of Europe – the European Union. I do not want to exaggerate and say that it is a repetition of the iron curtain, but there is still a division line.

      Now we come to the core of the question that my colleague asked: the sanctions. Approximately 20 years ago, I visited Miami and met Cuban exiles. I told them, “Your strategy against the political system in Cuba is wonderful. All those boycotts, embargoes and sanctions! It is indeed a wonderful strategy, with one small mistake: Fidel Castro has been the President of Cuba for 40 years.” That has always been my argument historically. Please understand me: I am not discussing the justification for sanctions; I am discussing the efficiency of sanctions. Just today, the German newspaper, Die Welt, published an article saying that the European Union loses out from the sanctions, which do practically no damage to Russia. We all speak about win-win strategies, but that is a lose-lose strategy. Brexit, for instance, is a typical lose-lose strategy, and it is the same with the sanctions.

      Instead of sanctions, I recommend communication between people at many levels. I have experience of totalitarian times. The Communists were extremely afraid of the phenomenon they called “ideological diversion”. They simply tried to close the borders. That is why it was called the iron curtain. There was censorship and so on. They were afraid that normal people on both sides would discuss and exchange views. What we need is a new type of ideological diversion that is peaceful. We need the exchange of students, tourists, entrepreneurs, politicians and so on, because that alone may change the politics of the countries we understand to be non-democratic or semi-democratic.

      I will give one more example against sanctions. If you wish to increase the popularity of leaders – I am not speaking only about Mr Putin – then apply sanctions and blockades. Psychologically, there is the myth of the surrounded fortress. That myth needs a strong leader, and Mr Putin’s popularity is growing all the time. He has an 81% popularity rating, and I am sure that a substantial part of that has been provoked just by sanctions. By the way, my popularity rating is only 51%, but that is still a majority – a small majority, but still a majority, and there have been no sanctions applied against the Czech Republic.

      In order to open the floor for the next question – I hope I have responded to the first question – I will conclude. To conclude is very simple: I believe that the role of the Council of Europe is to strengthen the friendship between European nations. To quote Charles de Gaulle, Europe is a continent that stretches “from the Atlantic to the Urals”. It perhaps stretches to the Pacific Ocean. You cannot divide European culture from Russian culture. Tchaikovsky is as important as Beethoven. Dostoevsky is as important as Shakespeare. Solzhenitsyn is as important as Hemingway, and so on. Why try to divide the political structure of Europe if you would be against the division of European culture? That is why I believe that the Council of Europe’s endeavour towards friendship and not hostility and hatred among European nations – including Russia – will be successful in the long term. As Keynes said, “In the long run we are all dead”, but do not forget my invitation to my speech in 2035.

      Dear colleagues, I wish you all the best. I wish you many, many friends and a very limited number of enemies. If you do have enemies, I wish you to have enemies of low intelligence only.

      The PRESIDENT – Thank you Mr President for your characteristically forthright and amusing address, and for your kind invitation to your next address. Members of the Assembly have questions to put to you.

      I remind colleagues that questions must be limited to 30 seconds and must be questions and not statements. We go first to the political groups. I call Mr Vareikis on behalf of the Group of the European People’s Party.

      Mr VAREIKIS (Lithuania, spokesperson for the Group of the European People’s Party) – Mr President, you probably know that for those in this Chamber the most lovely and honourable Czech person is Václav Havel. We regard Václav Havel as a man who represents high moral standards in politics. So who, in your opinion, is the better candidate for the Václav Havel prize – the person who imposed sanctions for morality or the person who is lifting sanctions for business interest?

      Mr ZEMAN – I forgot to issue an early warning. I almost do not hear – a great advantage for any politician – so speak slowly and loudly. But still, with the help of my friend, yes, I understand you well. Václav Havel has been, and still is, the symbol of moral policy. If you compare moral policy with so-called realpolitik – a German term – you are sometimes unhappy that moral policy has nearly no success. But still, deep in my heart, I believe, even if I support the economic interest, that without protection of human rights, any business is only a short-term one. Václav Havel is still a very prestigious person. I know that his statue is here, but it is also in the capital of Washington. He will be for a very long time the symbol of velvet revolution – a revolution without blood and without violence.

      Lord ANDERSON (United Kingdom, spokesperson for the Socialist Group) – Mr President, on sanctions, recall that we are not the European Union; we are not NATO: we are a human rights Organisation. Our Russian colleagues have chosen to absent themselves from this Assembly. Russia has chosen to downgrade the European Court of Human Rights in favour of its constitutional court. As an observer of Russia, do you see any prospect of improvement in human rights in that country?

      Mr ZEMAN – We have discussed with some functionaries of the European Council the impact of Russia rejecting the provision of money for the budget of this Organisation. Well, if you have no Russian representatives in this Assembly, why pay money for the Organisation in which you do not participate? That is a very simple question. I may apply my disagreement with any sanctions, and also disagreement with financial sanctions from the side of the Russian Federation. It is, they tell me, approximately 10% of the total budget – an enormous amount of money, of course. But if you want to change the attitudes of any human person or any State, it must be present in the dialogue. If it is excluded from the dialogue, then, as Talleyrand said, “It is worse than a crime, it is a mistake.”

      Mr GONCHARENKO (Ukraine, spokesperson for the European Conservatives Group) – Mr President, let me give my personal reaction to what I have heard from you. I want to remind you that there was an aggressor in the 1930s in Europe, there were attempts to pacify him, the result was a great war, and one of the first victims of this war was your homeland. The question from our group is about the annexation of Crimea. What should be done by the Council of Europe and the international community to make Russia stop its repressive policy and deterioration of the human rights situation in Crimea?

      Mr ZEMAN – A wonderful, wonderful idea, but the political world is full of wonderful ideas. Some of them are even in the political cemetery. I will quote a former German president, Mr Gauck, who said publicly in Prague, “If we try to take Crimea again and return it to Ukraine, it would mean European war.” I only quote it – nothing more. So do you want to risk a European war? Crimea is an act, without any doubt. Crimea is at the same time a fait accompli. In response to the second part of your question, what are we to do? Well, if there was a dialogue between Russia and Ukraine, I think – it is only my personal view – that there would possibly be some compensation for Crimea in financial form or in a natural form, by which I mean oil or gas. This is only my personal proposal – nothing more. We respect that we try to avoid European war and at the same time we try to compensate Ukraine.

      Ms FIALA (Switzerland, spokesperson for the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe) – Dear Mr President, on behalf of my Committee on Migration, Refugees and Displaced Persons, and as a Liberal, I thank you from the bottom of my heart for the international conference held in Prague last week. Immigration detention of children is coming to an end under your chairmanship of the Committee of Ministers with the legislative changes foreseen after the fruitful symposium in your country.

      Mr ZEMAN – The migration problem is one dividing line I did not mention. There is, as you know, a dividing line between the Visegrád group and the rest of the European Union. The Visegrád group is strictly against illegal economic migration, for many reasons – there is no time to repeat them. As a reasonable solution, we must help migrants in their domestic countries. That means that from the national budgets of European countries it is necessary to finance, for instance, electricity, schools, hospitals, water resources and so on – but, I repeat, in domestic countries of those migrants, not in European countries.

      Let me add one argument more. I do not speak about fresh working forces and so on, but basically the European Union has 8% unemployment. There is a brain drain. If young, healthy men leave their homeland, they weaken its economy. The brain drain, which is sometimes a muscle drain, may condemn such countries to permanent backwardness, because they lose an important part of their workforce – perhaps even millions of people – which is also my argument against illegal and economic migration. I have nothing against refugees who have been persecuted for political reasons in their own country. They are not illegal migrants or economic migrants.

      Mr KOX (Netherlands, spokesperson for the Group of the Unified European Left) – You spoke relevant words about the inadequacy of sanctions in Europe and the need to overcome the confrontation in Europe but, more concretely, what would be your road map to get the European Union and the Russian Federation away from this dangerous confrontation and towards a better co-existence on this continent? To say only that sanctions do not work is not enough. What is your road map to overcome these difficulties?

      Mr ZEMAN – I will try to respond frankly. It is about people-to-people communication. Let us organise workshops, seminars, conferences and so on, so that we can see the ideological diversion. I talk to Russian people, and they are not illiterate or uneducated. They are able to hear and they have their own arguments, and we must be able to hear those arguments, too. The founder of my State, Tomáš Masaryk, said, “Democracy is discussion.” Let us discuss.

      Ms FILIPOVSKI (Serbia, spokesperson for the Free Democrats Group) Mr President, how do you see the situation between Catalonia and Spain? Many European countries have different points of view on the immigration crisis over the past four years. Do you believe it is possible to reach a comprehensive solution? What is your understanding of the political double standards in the Council of Europe?

      Mr ZEMAN – There is perhaps a tendency towards the regionalisation of Europe. It is not a good tendency that we do not evaluate our personal values. There should be real processes, because it is not only Catalonia; it is also Scotland. A referendum on Scottish independence has been declared for the next year, as far as I know.

      I have mentioned Crimea, and there is also the problem of Kosovo. The independence of Kosovo was not a reasonable solution because it was against the United Nations resolution on the territorial integrity of Serbia. One standard is being applied to Kosovo and another, opposite, standard is being applied to Crimea.

      The PRESIDENT – We have time for a very few questions from the floor. I call Ms Duranton.

      Ms DURANTON (France)* – There have been sometimes violent demonstrations in Prague about migrants and immigrants. What is the Czech Republic doing about such hate speech?

      Mr ZEMAN – There have been demonstrations in Prague both for and against migrants, although the demonstrations against migrants may be bigger. It is a little paradoxical, because the territory of Czechia, including Prague, has no migrants at all – from the Czech point of view, migrants are like the Yeti or Madame Columbo – but we know there are plenty of migrants in Austria, Germany and elsewhere, hence the demonstrations against migrants. Some political representatives say there is no reason to apply the European policy of relocation, and they recommend, as I have recommended, helping people in their own territory.

      It would not be democratic to stop these demonstrations. In a recent year, and at the same place, there was one demonstration against me and one demonstration in my favour. I allowed people to participate in both because I am a democrat.

      Ms HOVHANNISYAN (Armenia) – Mr President, I acknowledge your personal input in raising awareness of the Armenian genocide. Human rights education is among the priorities of the Czech chairmanship of the Committee of Ministers. It is imperative to include crimes against humanity as a topic within school curriculums. Is the level of education on crimes against humanity sufficient in Europe? What can the Council of Europe do to support the integration of this topic in the curriculums of member States?

      Mr ZEMAN – That is a complex question. The level of international crime is growing because of Islamic terrorism. I am open and frank, and I do not use the phrase “Islamic terrorism” lightly but, in the overwhelming majority of cases, it has Islamic origin. It is connected with genocide in Armenia. Yes, I was heavily criticised when I declared the same thing as France did, for instance, but as the Assembly knows, the French Parliament even adopted a law about that genocide. On the other side, I have been criticised for having a good economic relationship with Azerbaijan. I am probably Jekyll and Hyde, but nobody knows who is Jekyll and who is Hyde.

      What can we do against international criminality? Invest in the police and the army, and have the courage to invest in our own guns. My wife has a pistol. Of course she passed all necessary tests, but now I am guarded by my wife, and not only by bodyguards. The second amendment to the American constitution says that everybody has the right to have a weapon – of course they must fulfil the necessary conditions and tests. We Europeans are a little more careful than the Americans, but after Barcelona and many assassinations, I think that the difference between Europeans and Americans is not so great.

      Mr HOWELL (United Kingdom) – Mr President, I want to take you outside Europe for a moment. What can you do, and what can we do, to bring peace to the Middle East?

      Mr ZEMAN – My response will probably be a deep disappointment to you. I am a friend of Israel – a deep friend of Israel. That is why I think that peace in the Middle East should be based primarily in the safety of Israel. I know the history of all the wars starting from 1948. Israel was victorious in every war, but had it been defeated it would have meant the end of that State – the Jewish State. Unfortunately, in some countries or movements – Hezbollah, Hamas, and others – there survives a tendency to diminish or to destroy Israel. What should we do to have peace in the Middle East? We must disarm the terrorist organisation, and first of all Hamas and Hezbollah.

      The PRESIDENT – Thank you, Mr President. Sadly, that concludes the speakers whom I am able to accommodate because of time and the President’s commitments.

      Thank you, Mr President, for this exchange of views. In concluding your speech you emphasised one of the core ideas at the heart of the Council of Europe, which is to build friendship between European nations. For me and, I hope, for all of us, friendship means unity, shared values, honesty and, above all, respect. The Council of Europe is what it is today – a common legal space and a human rights protection system that stretches from the Atlantic to the Pacific – because 47 European nations have voluntarily committed themselves to respect a common set of standards. All the Council of Europe’s 47 member States must respect that commitment for there to be that unity, mutual trust and friendship. The Assembly offers a platform for contacts and exchanges between Europe’s politicians, and it will continue to work hard to achieve that goal. I thank you warmly, Mr President, for the contribution to that process that we have received from you today.

      Mr ZEMAN – Let me add my sincerest thanks to my friend sitting beside me who was an amplifier of your totally unheard questions. Thank you, Rudolph, and thank you all. See you not in the next century, but in the next decade. Bye, bye.

      The PRESIDENT – There are a few housekeeping announcements before we leave. The third ballot for the election of the President will close in two minutes at 1 p.m. Anybody who has not voted has a fast run to the back of the President’s chair to vote. Would the tellers please make their way to the room behind the President’s chair in order to start counting the votes the moment the ballot closes at 1 o’clock?

      The ballot for electing the judge in respect of Georgia to the European Court of Human Rights is suspended, but not closed, until the afternoon’s sitting. Voting will reopen at 3.30 p.m. and close at 5 p.m. As I indicated, we hope to announce that result later this afternoon.

6. Next public business

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

      The sitting is closed. (This sitting was closed at 1 p.m.)

CONTENTS

1. Changes in the membership of committees

2. Election of the President of the Assembly (Third round)

3. Election of a judge to the European Court of Human Rights in respect of Georgia

4. The activities of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) in 2016-17

Presentation by Mr Heer of the report of the Committee on Political Affairs and Democracy, Document 14401

Presentation by Mr G. Davies of the opinion of the Committee on Social Affairs, Health and Sustainable Development, Document 14410

Statement by Mr Angel Gurría, Secretary-General of the OECD.

Speakers: Mr Schennach, Mr Howell, Mr van de Ven, Mr Loucaides, Ms Gambaro, Ms Centemero, Ms Dalloz, Ms Higgins, Mr Manninger, Mr Simms, Mr Melkumyan, Mr Büchel, Mr Larios Córdova, Mr Cozmanciuc, Lord Blencathra, Ms Park, Mr Wenaweser, Mr Köck

Draft resolution in Document 14401, as amended, adopted

5. Address by Mr Miloš Zeman, President of the Czech Republic

Questions: Mr Vareikis, Lord Anderson, Mr Goncharenko, Ms Fiala, Mr Kox, Ms Filipovski, Ms Duranton, Ms Hovhannisyan, Mr Howell

6. Next public business

Appendix I

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

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

ABAD, Damien [M.]

ĹBERG, Boriana [Ms]

AHMED-SHEIKH, Tasmina [Ms]

ALEKSANDROV, Nikolay [Mr] (BOGDANOV, Krasimir [Mr])

ALLAVENA, Jean-Charles [M.]

ANDERSON, Donald [Lord]

ANTTILA, Sirkka-Liisa [Ms]

ARENT, Iwona [Ms]

ARNAUT, Damir [Mr]

BALFE, Richard [Lord] (DONALDSON, Jeffrey [Sir])

BALIĆ, Marijana [Ms]

BARNETT, Doris [Ms]

BATRINCEA, Vlad [Mr]

BAYKAL, Deniz [Mr]

BEREZA, Boryslav [Mr]

BERNACKI, Włodzimierz [Mr]

BĒRZINŠ, Andris [M.]

BEUS RICHEMBERGH, Goran [Mr]

BILDARRATZ, Jokin [Mr]

BİLGEHAN, Gülsün [Mme]

BÎZGAN-GAYRAL, Oana-Mioara [Ms] (PRUNĂ, Cristina-Mădălina [Ms])

BLANCHART, Philippe [M.]

BLENCATHRA, David [Lord] (EVANS, Nigel [Mr])

BOSIĆ, Mladen [Mr]

BOUYX, Bertrand [M.] (SORRE, Bertrand [M.])

BRUIJN-WEZEMAN, Reina de [Ms] (MULDER, Anne [Mr])

BRUYN, Piet De [Mr]

BÜCHEL, Roland Rino [Mr] (MÜLLER, Thomas [Mr])

BUDNER, Margareta [Ms]

BUSHATI, Ervin [Mr]

BUSHKA, Klotilda [Ms]

BUSTINDUY, Pablo [Mr] (BALLESTER, Ángela [Ms])

BUTKEVIČIUS, Algirdas [Mr]

CENTEMERO, Elena [Ms]

ČERNOCH, Marek [Mr] (MARKOVÁ, Soňa [Ms])

CHRISTOFFERSEN, Lise [Ms]

CHUGOSHVILI, Tamar [Ms]

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

CORLĂŢEAN, Titus [Mr]

CORSINI, Paolo [Mr]

COZMANCIUC, Corneliu Mugurel [Mr] (PLEȘOIANU, Liviu Ioan Adrian [Mr])

CSÖBÖR, Katalin [Mme]

DALLOZ, Marie-Christine [Mme]

D’AMBROSIO, Vanessa [Ms]

DAMYANOVA, Milena [Mme]

DAVIES, Geraint [Mr]

DI STEFANO, Manlio [Mr]

DİŞLİ, Şaban [Mr]

DIVINA, Sergio [Mr]

DUMITRESCU, Cristian-Sorin [M.] (TUȘA, Adriana Diana [Ms])

DURANTON, Nicole [Mme]

DURRIEU, Josette [Mme]

EBERLE-STRUB, Susanne [Ms]

ECCLES, Diana [Lady]

ESTRELA, Edite [Mme] (ROSETA, Helena [Mme])

FABRITIUS, Bernd [Mr] (OBERMEIER, Julia [Ms])

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

FIALA, Doris [Mme]

FILIPOVSKI, Dubravka [Ms] (ZZ...)

FISCHER, Axel [Mr]

FOULKES, George [Lord] (CRAUSBY, David [Mr])

FOURNIER, Bernard [M.]

FRESKO-ROLFO, Béatrice [Mme]

FRIDEZ, Pierre-Alain [M.]

GAFAROVA, Sahiba [Ms]

GAILLOT, Albane [Mme]

GAMBARO, Adele [Ms]

GATTI, Marco [M.]

GERASHCHENKO, Iryna [Mme]

GHILETCHI, Valeriu [Mr]

GILLAN, Cheryl [Ms]

GIRO, Francesco Maria [Mr]

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

GOLUB, Vladyslav [Mr] (LABAZIUK, Serhiy [Mr])

GONÇALVES, Carlos Alberto [M.]

GONCHARENKO, Oleksii [Mr]

GORGHIU, Alina Ștefania [Ms]

GOUTTEFARDE, Fabien [M.]

GOY-CHAVENT, Sylvie [Mme]

GRECH, Etienne [Mr] (CUTAJAR, Rosianne [Ms])

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

GROZDANOVA, Dzhema [Ms]

GÜNAY, Emine Nur [Ms]

HAGEBAKKEN, Tore [Mr] (VALEN, Snorre Serigstad [Mr])

HAJDUKOVIĆ, Domagoj [Mr]

HAJIYEV, Sabir [Mr]

HAMID, Hamid [Mr]

HANŽEK, Matjaž [Mr] (ŠKOBERNE, Jan [Mr])

HEER, Alfred [Mr]

HERKEL, Andres [Mr] (NOVIKOV, Andrei [Mr])

HIGGINS, Alice-Mary [Ms] (CROWE, Seán [Mr])

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

HOLÍK, Pavel [Mr] (BENEŠIK, Ondřej [Mr])

HOLLIK, István [Mr] (GULYÁS, Gergely [Mr])

HONKONEN, Petri [Mr] (PACKALÉN, Tom [Mr])

HOPKINS, Maura [Ms]

HOVHANNISYAN, Arpine [Ms]

HOWELL, John [Mr]

HRISTOV, Plamen [Mr]

HUNKO, Andrej [Mr]

HUSEYNOV, Rafael [Mr]

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

JABLIANOV, Valeri [Mr]

JENIŠTA, Luděk [Mr]

JOHNSSON FORNARVE, Lotta [Ms] (KARLSSON, Niklas [Mr])

JORDANA, Carles [M.]

KALMARI, Anne [Ms]

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

KERESTECİOĞLU DEMİR, Filiz [Ms]

KESİCİ, İlhan [Mr]

KÖCK, Eduard [Mr] (ESSL, Franz Leonhard [Mr])

KORENJAK KRAMAR, Ksenija [Ms]

KORODI, Attila [Mr]

KOVÁCS, Elvira [Ms]

KOX, Tiny [Mr]

KRIŠTO, Borjana [Ms]

KROSS, Eerik-Niiles [Mr]

KÜÇÜKCAN, Talip [Mr]

KÜRKÇÜ, Ertuğrul [Mr]

KYRIAKIDES, Stella [Ms]

LAMBERT, Jérôme [M.]

LANGBALLE, Christian [Mr] (HENRIKSEN, Martin [Mr])

LEITE RAMOS, Luís [M.]

LIASHKO, Oleh [Mr]

LĪBIŅA-EGNERE, Inese [Ms]

LOGVYNSKYI, Georgii [Mr]

LOMBARDI, Filippo [M.]

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

LOUCAIDES, George [Mr]

LOUIS, Alexandra [Mme]

LUPU, Marian [Mr] (BULIGA, Valentina [Mme])

MALLIA, Emanuel [Mr]

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

MARKOVIĆ, Milica [Mme]

MAURY PASQUIER, Liliane [Mme]

MEALE, Alan [Sir]

MEIMARAKIS, Evangelos [Mr]

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

MIKKO, Marianne [Ms]

MULARCZYK, Arkadiusz [Mr]

MULLEN, Rónán [Mr] (COWEN, Barry [Mr])

MUNYAMA, Killion [Mr] (HALICKI, Andrzej [Mr])

NĚMCOVÁ, Miroslava [Ms] (ZELIENKOVÁ, Kristýna [Ms])

NENUTIL, Miroslav [Mr]

NICOLETTI, Michele [Mr]

NISSINEN, Johan [Mr]

OBRADOVIĆ, Marija [Ms]

OBRADOVIĆ, Žarko [Mr]

OHLSSON, Carina [Ms]

ÖNAL, Suat [Mr]

OOMEN-RUIJTEN, Ria [Ms]

O’REILLY, Joseph [Mr]

ORELLANA, Luis Alberto [Mr] (SANTERINI, Milena [Mme])

OSUCH, Jacek [Mr] (MILEWSKI, Daniel [Mr])

PALLARÉS, Judith [Ms]

PANTIĆ PILJA, Biljana [Ms]

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

POCIEJ, Aleksander [M.] (KLICH, Bogdan [Mr])

POMASKA, Agnieszka [Ms]

POPA, Ion [M.] (BRĂILOIU, Tit-Liviu [Mr])

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

PREDA, Cezar Florin [M.]

PRESCOTT, John [Mr]

PSYCHOGIOS, Georgios [Mr] (KAVVADIA, Ioanneta [Ms])

RIGONI, Andrea [Mr]

RODRÍGUEZ HERNÁNDEZ, Melisa [Ms]

ROJHAN GUSTAFSSON, Azadeh [Ms] (GUNNARSSON, Jonas [Mr])

RUSTAMYAN, Armen [M.]

ŞAHİN USTA, Leyla [Ms]

SALMOND, Alex [Mr]

SANDBĆK, Ulla [Ms] (JENSEN, Mogens [Mr])

SANTANGELO, Vincenzo [Mr]

SCHENNACH, Stefan [Mr]

SCHOU, Ingjerd [Ms]

SCHWABE, Frank [Mr]

SHALSI, Eduard [Mr]

SHARMA, Virendra [Mr]

SILVA, Adăo [M.]

ŠIRCELJ, Andrej [Mr]

SMITH, Angela [Ms] (PRITCHARD, Mark [Mr])

SOBOLEV, Serhiy [Mr]

SŘNDERGAARD, Sřren [Mr]

SOTNYK, Olena [Ms]

ȘTEFAN, Corneliu [Mr]

STELLINI, David [Mr]

STEVANOVIĆ, Aleksandar [Mr]

STIER, Davor Ivo [Mr]

STRÄSSER, Christoph [Mr] (DROBINSKI-WEISS, Elvira [Ms])

STRIK, Tineke [Ms]

STROE, Ionuț-Marian [Mr]

TAQUET, Adrien [M.] (MAIRE, Jacques [M.])

THIÉRY, Damien [M.]

TOPCU, Zühal [Ms]

TORUN, Cemalettin Kani [Mr]

TRISSE, Nicole [Mme]

TRUSKOLASKI, Krzysztof [Mr]

TZAVARAS, Konstantinos [M.]

USOV, Kostiantyn [Mr] (ARIEV, Volodymyr [Mr])

UYSAL, Burhanettin [Mr] (BABAOĞLU, Mehmet [Mr])

VÁHALOVÁ, Dana [Ms]

VAREIKIS, Egidijus [Mr]

VARVITSIOTIS, Miltiadis [Mr] (BAKOYANNIS, Theodora [Ms])

VEN, Mart van de [Mr]

VENIZELOS, Evangelos [M.] (CHRISTODOULOPOULOU, Anastasia [Ms])

VERCAMER, Stefaan [M.]

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

WENAWESER, Christoph [Mr]

WILK, Jacek [Mr]

WOJTYŁA, Andrzej [Mr]

WURM, Gisela [Ms]

YAŞAR, Serap [Mme]

YEMETS, Leonid [Mr]

ZECH, Tobias [Mr]

Also signed the register / Ont également signé le registre

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

ANTL, Miroslav [M.]

ARIEV, Volodymyr [Mr]

AST, Marek [Mr]

BADEA, Viorel Riceard [M.]

BESELIA, Eka [Ms]

CORREIA, Telmo [M.]

DAEMS, Hendrik [Mr]

EFSTATHIOU, Constantinos [M.]

GOGUADZE, Nino [Ms]

JANIK, Grzegorz [Mr]

KIRAL, Serhii [Mr]

LEŚNIAK, Józef [M.]

MAELEN, Dirk Van der [Mr]

MAKHMUDYAN, Rustam [Mr]

MARUKYAN, Edmon [Mr]

NAUDI ZAMORA, Víctor [M.]

OBRADOVIĆ, Jasmina [Ms]

OBREMSKI, Jarosław [Mr]

RIBERAYGUA, Patrícia [Mme]

TILKI, Attila [Mr]

ZAVOLI, Roger [Mr]

ZOHRABYAN, Naira [Mme]

Partners for democracy / Partenaires pour la démocratie

ABUSHAHLA, Mohammedfaisal [Mr]

ALQAWASMI, Sahar [Ms]

AMRAOUI, Allal [M.]

BOUANOU, Abdellah [M.]

CHAGAF, Aziza [Mme]

EL FILALI, Hassan [M.]

EL MOKRIE EL IDRISSI, Abouzaid [M.]

HAMIDINE, Abdelali [M.]

LABLAK, Aicha [Mme]

LEBBAR, Abdesselam [M.]

SABELLA, Bernard [Mr]

Members of Parliament of an OECD member State non-member of the Council of Europe

Membres d’un parlement d’un Etat membre de l’OCDE non membre du Conseil de l’Europe

ELALOUF, Elie [M.], Israel

GASTÉLUM BAJO, Diva Hadamira [Ms], Mexico

JUNG Chounsook [Ms], Korea

KIM Jong Min [Mr], Korea

LARIOS CÓRDOVA, Héctor [Mr], Mexico

PARK, Joo Hyun [Ms], Korea

RAMÍREZ NÚŃEZ, Ulises [Mr], Mexico

SANTANA GARCÍA, José de Jesús [Mr], Mexico

SIMMS, Scott [Mr], Canada

TILSON, David [Mr], Canada

WELLS, David [Mr], Canada

WHALEN, Nick [Mr], Canada

Representatives of the Turkish Cypriot Community (In accordance to Resolution 1376 (2004) of the Parliamentary Assembly)/ Représentants de la communauté chypriote turque (Conformément ŕ la Résolution 1376 (2004) de l’Assemblée parlementaire)

Mehmet ÇAĞLAR

Erdal ÖZCENK

Appendix II

Representatives or Substitutes who took part in the ballot for the election of the President of the Assembly and in the ballot for the election of a Judge to the European Court of Human Rights in respect of Georgia / Représentants ou suppléants qui ont participé au vote pour l’élection du/de la Président(e) de l’Assemblée et au vote pour l’élection d’un juge ŕ la Cour européenne des droits de l’homme au titre de la Géorgie 

ABAD, Damien [M.]

ABERG, Boriana [Ms]

AHMED-SHEIKH, Tasmina [Ms]

ALLAVENA, Jean-Charles [M.]

ANDERSON, Donald [Lord] 

ANTTILA, Sirkka-Liisa [Ms] 

ARENT, Iwona [Ms]

ARIEV, Volodymyr [Mr] / USOV, Kostiantyn [Mr]

ARNAUT, Damir [Mr]

BABAOĞLU, Mehmet [Mr] / UYSAL, Burhanettin [Mr]

BAKOYANNIS, Theodora [Ms] / VARVITSIOTIS, Miltiadis [Mr]

BAKRADZE, David [Mr] / KANDELAKI, Giorgi [Mr]

BALIĆ, Marijana [Ms]

BALLESTER, Ángela [Ms] / BUSTINDUY, Pablo [Mr]

BARNETT, Doris [Ms]

BATRINCEA, Vlad [Mr]

BAYKAL, Deniz [Mr] 

BECHT, Olivier [M.] 

BENEŠIK, Ondřej [Mr] / HOLÍK, Pavel [Mr]

BEREZA, Boryslav [Mr]

BERNACKI, Włodzimierz [Mr] 

BERNINI, Anna Maria [Ms] / FAZZONE, Claudio [Mr]

BERTUZZI, Maria Teresa [Ms] / LUCHERINI, Carlo [Mr]

BĒRZINŠ, Andris [M.]

BILDARRATZ, Jokin [Mr]

BİLGEHAN, Gülsün [Mme] 

BLANCHART, Philippe [M.] 

BOGDANOV, Krasimir [Mr] / ALEKSANDROV, Nikolay [Mr]

BOJIĆ, Milovan [Mr] / MILADINOVIĆ, Stefana [Ms]

BOSIĆ, Mladen [Mr]

BRĂILOIU, Tit-Liviu [Mr]       POPA, Ion [M.]

BRUYN, Piet De [Mr] 

BUDNER, Margareta [Ms] 

BULIGA, Valentina [Mme] / LUPU, Marian [Mr]

BUSHATI, Ervin [Mr] 

BUSHKA, Klotilda [Ms] 

BUTKEVIČIUS, Algirdas [Mr] 

CENTEMERO, Elena [Ms] 

CHRISTODOULOPOULOU, Anastasia [Ms] / VENIZELOS, Evangelos [M.]

CHRISTOFFERSEN, Lise [Ms] 

CHUGOSHVILI, Tamar [Ms] 

CORLĂŢEAN, Titus [Mr] 

CORSINI, Paolo [Mr] 

COWEN, Barry [Mr] / MULLEN, Rónán [Mr]

CRAUSBY, David [Mr]/ FOULKES, George [Lord]

CROWE, Seán [Mr] / HIGGINS, Alice-Mary [Ms]

CSENGER-ZALÁN, Zsolt [Mr] / MANNINGER, Jenő [Mr]

CSÖBÖR, Katalin [Mme]        C

CUTAJAR, Rosianne [Ms] / GRECH, Etienne [Mr]

DALLOZ, Marie-Christine [Mme]

D’AMBROSIO, Vanessa [Ms] 

DAMYANOVA, Milena [Mme] 

DİŞLİ, Şaban [Mr] 

DIVINA, Sergio [Mr]

DONALDSON, Jeffrey [Sir] / BALFE, Richard [Lord]

DROBINSKI-WEISS, Elvira [Ms] / STRÄSSER, Christoph [Mr]

DUNDEE, Alexander [The Earl of] 

DURANTON, Nicole [Mme] 

DURRIEU, Josette [Mme]

DZHEMILIEV, Mustafa [Mr] / LOPUSHANSKYI, Andrii [Mr]

EBERLE-STRUB, Susanne [Ms]

ECCLES, Diana [Lady] 

ESSL, Franz Leonhard [Mr] / KÖCK, Eduard [Mr]

EVANS, Nigel [Mr] / BLENCATHRA, David [Lord]

FARMANYAN, Samvel [Mr] / NAGHDALYAN, Hermine [Ms]

FINCKH-KRÄMER, Ute [Ms] 

FISCHER, Axel [Mr] 

FOURNIER, Bernard [M.] 

FRESKO-ROLFO, Béatrice [Mme] 

FRIDEZ, Pierre-Alain [M.] 

GAFAROVA, Sahiba [Ms] 

GAMBARO, Adele [Ms] 

GATTI, Marco [M.] 

GERASHCHENKO, Iryna [Mme] 

GHILETCHI, Valeriu [Mr]

GILLAN, Cheryl [Ms] 

GIRO, Francesco Maria [Mr] 

GONÇALVES, Carlos Alberto [M.] 

GONCHARENKO, Oleksii [Mr] 

GORGHIU, Alina Ștefania [Ms] 

GOUTTEFARDE, Fabien [M.]

GOY-CHAVENT, Sylvie [Mme]

GROZDANOVA, Dzhema [Ms] 

GULYÁS, Gergely [Mr] / HOLLIK, István [Mr]

GÜNAY, Emine Nur [Ms]        G

GUNNARSSON, Jonas [Mr] / ROJHAN GUSTAFSSON, Azadeh [Ms]

HAJDUKOVIĆ, Domagoj [Mr]

HAJIYEV, Sabir [Mr]

HALICKI, Andrzej [Mr] / MUNYAMA, Killion [Mr]

HAMID, Hamid [Mr]

HEINRICH, Gabriela [Ms] 

HENRIKSEN, Martin [Mr] /LANGBALLE, Christian [Mr]

HOPKINS, Maura [Ms]

HOVHANNISYAN, Arpine [Ms]

HOWELL, John [Mr] 

HRISTOV, Plamen [Mr]

HUNKO, Andrej [Mr] 

HUSEYNOV, Rafael [Mr]

JABLIANOV, Valeri [Mr]

JENSEN, Mogens [Mr] / SANDBĆK, Ulla [Ms]

JORDANA, Carles [M.]

KALMARI, Anne [Ms] 

KATSARAVA, Sofio [Ms]

KAVVADIA, Ioanneta [Ms] / PSYCHOGIOS, Georgios [Mr]

KERESTECİOĞLU DEMİR, Filiz [Ms] 

KESİCİ, İlhan [Mr]

KLICH, Bogdan [Mr] / POCIEJ, Aleksander [M.]

KORENJAK KRAMAR, Ksenija [Ms] 

KORODI, Attila [Mr] 

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

KOVÁCS, Elvira [Ms] 

KOX, Tiny [Mr] 

KRIŠTO, Borjana [Ms]

KROSS, Eerik-Niiles [Mr]        K

KÜÇÜKCAN, Talip [Mr] 

KÜRKÇÜ, Ertuğrul [Mr] 

KVATCHANTIRADZE, Zviad [Mr]        K

KYRIAKIDES, Stella [Ms] 

LABAZIUK, Serhiy [Mr] / GOLUB, Vladyslav [Mr]

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

LAMBERT, Jérôme [M.]

LEITE RAMOS, Luís [M.]        L

LIASHKO, Oleh [Mr]

LĪBIŅA-EGNERE, Inese [Ms] 

LOGVYNSKYI, Georgii [Mr]

LOMBARDI, Filippo [M.]

LOUCAIDES, George [Mr]

LOUIS, Alexandra [Mme]        M

MAIRE, Jacques [M.] / TAQUET, Adrien [M.]

MALLIA, Emanuel [Mr] 

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

MARKOVÁ, Soňa [Ms]       ČERNOCH, Marek [Mr]M

MARKOVIĆ, Milica [Mme] 

MAURY PASQUIER, Liliane [Mme] 

MEALE, Alan [Sir]

MEIMARAKIS, Evangelos [Mr] 

MIKKO, Marianne [Ms] 

MILEWSKI, Daniel [Mr] / OSUCH, Jacek [Mr]

MULARCZYK, Arkadiusz [Mr] 

MULDER, Anne [Mr] / BRUIJN-WEZEMAN, Reina de [Ms]

MÜLLER, Thomas [Mr] / BÜCHEL, Roland Rino [Mr]

NÉMETH, Zsolt [Mr] 

NENUTIL, Miroslav [Mr]

NICOLETTI, Michele [Mr] 

NOVIKOV, Andrei [Mr] / HERKEL, Andres [Mr]

OBERMEIER, Julia [Ms] / FABRITIUS, Bernd [Mr]

OBRADOVIĆ, Marija [Ms] 

OBRADOVIĆ, Žarko [Mr]        O

OHLSSON, Carina [Ms]

ÖNAL, Suat [Mr]        O

OOMEN-RUIJTEN, Ria [Ms] 

O’REILLY, Joseph [Mr] 

PACKALÉN, Tom [Mr] / HONKONEN, Petri [Mr]

PALLARÉS, Judith [Ms]        P

PANTIĆ PILJA, Biljana [Ms] 

PASHAYEVA, Ganira [Ms]

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

PLEȘOIANU, Liviu Ioan Adrian [Mr] / COZMANCIUC, Corneliu Mugurel [Mr]

POMASKA, Agnieszka [Ms]

PREDA, Cezar Florin [M.] 

PRESCOTT, John [Mr]

PRITCHARD, Mark [Mr] / SMITH, Angela [Ms]

PRUIDZE, Irina [Ms]

PRUNĂ, Cristina-Mădălina [Ms] / BÎZGAN-GAYRAL, Oana-Mioara [Ms]

RIGONI, Andrea [Mr] 

RODRÍGUEZ HERNÁNDEZ, Melisa [Ms]        R

ROSETA, Helena [Mme] / ESTRELA, Edite [Mme]

RUSTAMYAN, Armen [M.] 

ŞAHİN USTA, Leyla [Ms]        Š

ŠAKALIENĖ, Dovilė [Ms] / TAMAŠUNIENĖ, Rita [Ms]

SALMOND, Alex [Mr] 

SANTERINI, Milena [Mme] / ORELLANA, Luis Alberto [Mr]

SCHENNACH, Stefan [Mr] 

SCHOU, Ingjerd [Ms] 

SCHWABE, Frank [Mr]

SEYIDOV, Samad [Mr]

SHALSI, Eduard [Mr]

SHARMA, Virendra [Mr] 

SHEHU, Tritan [Mr] 

SILVA, Adăo [M.]

ŠIRCELJ, Andrej [Mr] 

ŠKOBERNE, Jan [Mr] / HANŽEK, Matjaž [Mr]

SOBOLEV, Serhiy [Mr] 

SŘNDERGAARD, Sřren [Mr] 

SORRE, Bertrand [M.] / BOUYX, Bertrand [M.]

SOTNYK, Olena [Ms] 

ȘTEFAN, Corneliu [Mr]

STELLINI, David [Mr]

STEVANOVIĆ, Aleksandar [Mr] 

STIER, Davor Ivo [Mr]

STROE, Ionuț-Marian [Mr] 

TOPCU, Zühal [Ms]

TORUN, Cemalettin Kani [Mr] 

TRISSE, Nicole [Mme] 

TRUSKOLASKI, Krzysztof [Mr] 

TUȘA, Adriana Diana [Ms] / DUMITRESCU, Cristian-Sorin [M.]

TZAVARAS, Konstantinos [M.] 

VÁHALOVÁ, Dana [Ms] 

VALEN, Snorre Serigstad [Mr] / HAGEBAKKEN, Tore [Mr]

VAREIKIS, Egidijus [Mr] 

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

VEN, Mart van de [Mr] 

VERCAMER, Stefaan [M.] 

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

WASERMAN, Sylvain [M.] 

WENAWESER, Christoph [Mr] 

WERNER, Katrin [Ms] / GROTH, Annette [Ms]

WINTERTON, Rosie [Dame] / MASSEY, Doreen [Baroness]

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

WURM, Gisela [Ms] 

YAŞAR, Serap [Mme]

YEMETS, Leonid [Mr]

ZECH, Tobias [Mr] 

ZELIENKOVÁ, Kristýna [Ms] / NĚMCOVÁ, Miroslava [Ms]

ZINGERIS, Emanuelis [Mr] 

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

Vacant Seat, Serbia / Serbie FILIPOVSKI, Dubravka [Ms]