AS (2018) CR 27



(Third part)


Twenty-seventh sitting

Friday 29 June 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.

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

(Mr Ariev, Vice-President of the Assembly, took the Chair at 10.05 a.m.)

      The PRESIDENT – The sitting is open.

1. Deliberate destruction and illegal trafficking of cultural heritage

      The PRESIDENT – The first item of business this morning is the debate on the report titled “Deliberate destruction and illegal trafficking of cultural heritage”, Document 14566, presented by the rapporteur, Mr Stefan Schennach, on behalf of the Committee on Culture, Science, Education and Media.

      I remind members that there is a four-minute speech limit in this debate. In order to finish by 11.15 a.m., I will interrupt the list of speakers at about 11.05 a.m. to allow time for the reply and the vote.

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

      Mr SCHENNACH (Austria)* – I apologise for arriving in the Chamber late, but I was attending the Bureau meeting.

      For approximately a year, we have been considering quite intensively how to protect our cultural heritage from illegal trafficking and destruction, and looking at how such activities may contribute to the funding of terrorism. Cultural heritage is part of our humanity, and it documents our history as human beings. We must therefore preserve our cultural artefacts for future generations and make sure that they are visible and accessible. Our cultural heritage represents our historical consciousness and constitutes a narrative of everything that humankind, in all its creativity, has produced. Of course, cultural artefacts have always been vulnerable to theft. In the Second World War, on both the winning and the losing sides, brigades were set up specifically for the purpose of stealing cultural artefacts and trophies. Some 96 million cultural artefacts were stolen during the Second World War alone. Some of that heritage has been recovered, but not all of it. Some will never be found or returned.

      In the past, people managed to convince the powers that be that the most important parts of the Acropolis should be sold. That is why some of those artefacts are in exhibited in places – such as London, the Vatican, Austria and Italy – from which they do not originate, while copies of them are on display elsewhere. In the past we have also extensively discussed the return of Nefertiti. It is no longer time for talk; what we need is action. We need to look at what we can do specifically regarding this matter. There has been and still is an incredible trade in cultural artefacts – an illegal trade, I should perhaps specify. At cultural sites in Iraq and Syria, and during the Arab Spring in Cairo and other parts of Egypt, plundering and looting has gone on in our recent history. When these artefacts are sold – illegally, of course – the moneys are used for very inappropriate purposes.

      The resolution of the Committee of Ministers is a reminder of the number of documents that really ought to be ratified. We have the instruments and we expect them to be ratified. We are talking about not just the source countries of the artefacts that have been stolen, but the many countries that are transit areas and the countries that act as either a black market or an official market for this cultural heritage. It is high time for all these countries to join a community within which we agree that we are going to exchange information with one another, educate our customs and police officers and work together in close co-operation with international institutions. We have a number of mechanisms at our disposal. I simply fail to understand why there are member States of the Council of Europe that still not signed the 1970 UNESCO convention on this matter.

      I know that there has been one ratification today, by Cyprus. Many thanks to Cyprus; that is good news. We need to see an increase in the number of countries signing the convention, and I very much hope that that will happen. It is important to remind the Committee of Ministers that it should communicate with our governments and the ministries in our member States and persuade them to sign the convention. I very much hope that, during the course of this year, further ratifications are in the pipeline. That would mean that that particular resolution was brought into force, the criminal law aspects would become effective and we would have unity – a unity that worked.

      Dana Karanjac and I visited a number of States with a view to preparing the report that I have tabled today. We were astonished and taken aback by the lack of resources that many of these countries had when it came to co-operation between police on land and at sea, and between both of those and the public prosecutor’s office. One of the biggest marketplaces is London but there was very little co-operation there. That is really shameful. I suppose I made a mistake in my resolution; I should have mentioned countries specifically in order to speak out about what is at issue here.

      With this draft resolution, we would like to make clear what we need. We are talking about the documentation of our cultural heritage. The smallest countries in this Assembly do not necessarily know what their cultural heritage might be. It would not be a big problem to set up a documentation system. I commend Greece on the fantastic work that it has done: every single cultural item, and we are talking about millions, has been photographed and registered in a national library, which means that we all have access, including Interpol and the FBI. The black market and the falsification of documents can be tackled effectively thanks to this kind of measure; it is a way of countering those phenomena. There are also other examples that I could mention.

      In cases of armed conflict, artefacts have been stolen. Once again there are protocols for this, and they are very helpful. Recently, in the preparation of this report, we said to a member State, “Look, you do not have anything at all under this convention. You have not done any of these measures.” I mention Malta, for instance. It promised that it would act swiftly and do whatever it could, but unfortunately we are at the end of June and nothing has happened.

      I really do not understand. We want to protect our world cultural heritage, and if we want to do so then we have to act and take the necessary measures. We need to set up an authority, like the Carabinieri in Italy, that would be responsible for this, with staff properly trained for the purpose of identifying these artefacts, bringing them back and taking them out of the black market, where they have no place at all.

      I will leave my introductory remarks at that. I look forward to the debate, and I very much hope that the Parliamentary Assembly will send out a strong message, not least to the Committee of Ministers, that it is high time for action. Our cultural heritage should not be on the black market, should not be destroyed and should not be used as a form of funding for terrorism.

      The PRESIDENT – Thank you, Mr Schennach. You have three and a half minutes remaining.

      I call Mr van de Ven.

      Mr van de VEN (Netherlands, Spokesperson for the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe) – Dear colleagues, on behalf of the ALDE group I congratulate Mr Schennach on his excellent and topical report on the protection of cultural heritage.

      We as politicians are obliged to contribute actively to the fight against the deliberate destruction and illegal trafficking of cultural heritage. Indeed, cultural property is the testimony of the history and identity of different people and, I might add, of the same people. As a citizen of the Netherlands I am proud of my Dutch cultural heritage – for example, the beautiful cities of Amsterdam and Delft and our famous Dutch painters like Rembrandt and Van Gogh. There are many examples of cultural heritage. Pride in the heritage of our States of origin holds true for all of us. Politicians have to promote the idea that individuals must respect and enjoy cultural heritage as part of our democracy.

      Complementary to national heritage is heritage of foreign origin, which is the focus of Mr Schennach’s report. In many cases, such foreign heritage may already have been in a given country for decades or centuries. In many cases, there exists an undisputable provenance that may also justify the presence of artefacts in the Netherlands. I cannot ascertain that that is always the case, as typically they are from a time when no rules existed regarding the ownership of cultural heritage other than simple possession, and as so many years have gone by the original ownership of the cultural heritage may have become quite unclear. Where the ownership of stolen heritage is clear, though, the artefact should be returned to the owner.

      I consider it a privilege that the Netherlands is a base for many internationally reputed museums of cultural heritage of foreign origin, such as the Allard Pierson archaeological museum in Amsterdam. I am a proud member of the board of the association of friends of this museum. As a board, we have to decide regularly on the purchase of sometimes very expensive foreign antiquities, typically from the Mediterranean region. More often than not, when provenance is not undisputed beyond any doubt, we decide not to pursue the purchase of a fascinating artefact during a public sale by a reputable auctioneering firm. Our leading principle for the purchase of antiquities for the Allard Pierson Museum is that the provenance of the artefact should be unquestionable.

      Nevertheless, one can encounter a serious problem with foreign heritage that is outside one’s scope of influence. When the Russian Federation illegally annexed Crimea in 2014, ancient Crimean gold – part of a travelling exhibition from archaeological museums in Crimea – was on loan and being displayed at the Allard Pierson Museum. This case of the Crimean gold collection is still at the crossroads of politics, the rule of law and ethics. It is sufficiently clear that the Netherlands has no claim on these Crimean artefacts and that they must be returned to their rightful owner, but the issue is still before the Dutch courts, which have to decide to whom they should be returned – to Ukraine, or to Crimea, which is now occupied by the Russian Federation. A solution should be found for the Crimean treasures, and the Netherlands is taking a constructive position in solving this issue.

      The deliberate destruction abroad and at home of cultural heritage is not acceptable. Mr Schennach’s practical recommendations and his call for intensified international co-operation regarding the protection of threatened heritage have the full support of ALDE. We endorse the draft resolution’s conclusion that member States of the Council of Europe should sign and ratify as soon as possible the Council of Europe Convention on Offences relating to Cultural Property and that member States engage in international co-operation. ALDE also endorses the draft recommendation to the Committee of Ministers.

      Ms ŞUPAC (Republic of Moldova, Spokesperson for the Group of the Unified European Left)* – This year, 2018, has been declared the European Year of Cultural Heritage, which gives even greater significance to the fact that today in the Council of Europe we are considering the issue of the deliberate destruction and illegal trafficking of cultural heritage. On behalf of the Group of the Unified European Left, I thank our rapporteur, Mr Schennach, for the huge amount of work he has put into the draft resolution and recommendation, which is evidenced by the fact that there are no amendments.

      It is very hard for me to understand why the 1985 European Convention on Offences relating to Cultural Heritage never entered into force. I do not know what motivated those who opposed its implementation, but whatever their reasons the responsibility was a collective one, that of the Council of Europe itself and its member States. There is no point wondering how many crimes relating to cultural heritage could have been prevented over the past 30 years if that convention had entered into force. What is important now is to take all the necessary steps for the new Council of Europe convention on the matter that was adopted in May last year to enter into force, especially as it is the only international convention that provides for criminal responsibility for the illegal trafficking of cultural heritage. For the convention to enter into force, we need the first five ratifications, which must include three member States of the Council of Europe. At the moment, only 10 countries have signed it and only Cyprus has ratified it.

      I hope that in the near future the Republic of Moldova will sign and present to parliament for ratification this very important document. That would be a logical step, especially given the unsuccessful efforts of the Republic of Moldova to demonstrate that it is becoming part of Europe. Of course, the fact that the European Union has taken back €28 million in finance is neither here nor there. If our colleagues from the Moldovan Government wanted to show that they were doing something, they could do it in the field of preserving cultural heritage. For instance, it would be excellent if the Republic of Moldova made a declaration about 2018 being the year of cultural heritage, but unfortunately that has not happened. In the Republic of Moldova, nobody has ever been taken to court, even for the existing crimes of destroying cultural heritage.

      The kind of monuments that are being destroyed in the Republic of Moldova are the most tangible form of our cultural heritage. If a sociologist asked anybody in Chisinau whether they knew about the monuments that were being destroyed, the answer would be a resounding yes, because every month in Chisinau something is destroyed. It is very often the State, linked with private business and, of course, corruption. The last such example was the palace of the trade unions, and there is also the Gaudeamus cinema and the decision that the Guguţă café would be destroyed and a 13-storey building put in its place. That shows, again, how strongly the system works. Our cultural heritage is not being preserved but now, thank goodness, the fact that tourism is developing is providing an impetus in the right direction. Perhaps tourists will save the capital of the Republic of Moldova from destruction.

      Ms GAMBARO (Italy, Spokesperson for the Free Democrats Group)* – Cultural heritage of every form is a unique and important testimony to the history and identity of different peoples, as well as something that needs preserving in all circumstances. Due to its intrinsic worth, cultural heritage has been legitimately commissioned, displayed, bought and sold, but it has also been stolen, looted, trafficked and forged for illicit financial gain. Notably, in Iraq and Syria, Daesh has been plundering the region’s cultural heritage, deliberately destroying important archaeological sites and profiting from the sale of valuable excavated artefacts.

      The report pays tribute to the new Council of Europe Convention on Offences relating to Cultural Property, which was adopted in May 2017 in Nicosia. We must remind ourselves that the convention is the only international treaty specifically dedicated to the criminalisation of illegal trafficking in cultural artefacts and that it has established a number of offences, including theft, illegal excavation, illegal import and export, falsification of documents and the deliberate destruction of cultural artefacts. The report presents a number of practical recommendations, including the need to establish a central national authority and the need for international co-operation between source, transit and final destination countries, so that we are in a position to exchange information, harmonise legislation and standardise procedures.

      The previous Italian Government had occasion to underscore the importance and the added value of this new Council of Europe legal instrument in strengthening the international protection of cultural artefacts, and I hope that the new government will bring to the subject the same interest and degree of attention. The scale of the problem, as we can see from the report, is huge. Between 2008 and 2010, the Carabinieri responsible for the protection of works of art listed some 44 000 cultural artefacts. I had the pleasure of meeting and hearing from some of these Carabinieri on the occasion of hearings organised by the Committee on Culture, Science, Education and Media of the Council of Europe, and it would appear that most of the illegal trafficking in cultural artefacts concerns items of low individual worth, resulting in an overall destructive effect on our archaeological and historical heritage. These include mosaics, tables with cuneiform inscriptions, seals, vases, coins and glass objects.

      This subject is of some urgency, and I thank our rapporteur, Stefan Schennach, and all members of the Committee on Culture, Science, Education and Media, for the excellent report.

      Ms HOVHANNISYAN (Armenia, Spokesperson for the Group of the European People’s Party) – I thank Mr Schennach for addressing this important issue and for his accomplished work. The report is substantive, target-oriented and informative, and the range of practical and legislative measures that he proposes could be quite effective.

      The role of culture in human development is indisputable. Cultural heritage defines our peculiarities, and underlines everything that connects us and makes us different. Political and economic factors are not enough to build long-lasting peace and unity between peoples; culture and inter-cultural dialogue plays a significant role in strengthening inter-civilisation solidarity and smooth co-existence. Understanding that simple truth can play a major role in maintaining stability and peace in the world. As Mr Schennach rightly mentions in the report, we need engagement and international co-operation on this matter.

      Historically, being at the crossroads of different civilisations, Armenia has developed traditions of deep respect towards other cultures and religions. We have a rich, well-preserved heritage from other cultures. Co-operation in this field is important for us, because numerous monuments in the region and in more than a hundred countries around the world were built by Armenians. Cultural heritage, created over centuries, is the greatest treasure for its home countries. By combining the history of different nations, we pave the way for sustainable development, understanding and tolerance in the world.

      We cannot ignore the destruction of cultural heritage, but unfortunately the problem is more urgent than ever. Intolerance towards the values of other cultures and civilisations and the damaging and destruction of cultural and religious heritage must be strongly condemned by the international community. The forces of hatred and intolerance direct their first blows towards cultural heritage, because culture is a bridging circle between generations, and Armenia is experiencing serious problems in that respect. I am speaking on the behalf of my political group, so it is not proper to go into the details, but thousands of medieval crosses and hundreds of Armenian churches, monasteries and other sanctuaries have been completely destroyed by our neighbours Azerbaijan and Turkey. Their pre-planned policy, aiming to eliminate the heritage of a nation of people who have lived in this region for centuries, is erasing material testimonies of Armenia’s indigenous culture and history.

      The world faces so many challenges that the need for sustainable development and peace is more than real. Our common efforts should strengthen the idea of peaceful co-existence, turning our differences into advantages and preserving our common heritage as a bridge between generations, cultures and peoples.

      Ms McCARTHY (United Kingdom, Spokesperson for the Socialist Group) – I congratulate Mr Schennach on his hard work on this excellent report. I welcome its recommendations and its call for member States to sign and ratify the various conventions that form a complementary legal framework along with the Council of Europe convention adopted in May last year. I also welcome the report’s broader suggestions, including the setting up of a central national authority and better international co-operation between source, transit and final destination countries.

      Mr Schennach mentioned that the United Kingdom is one of the biggest markets for some trafficked cultural items. Given our past role in the empire and as the centre of global trade for centuries, we have a special responsibility to examine what more we can do to combat the trade. The market for ivory antiquities is massive, and a Bill to introduce a ban on elephant ivory is currently going through our parliament. There will be an exemption system for items of particular cultural value and rarity that were produced before certain dates. That is complicated enough in itself but, given the international co-operation required to tackle the ivory trade, it could be used as basis for rolling out such schemes for the sale of other cultural items.

      As the report states, deplorable acts of destruction are nothing new. Records from ancient Rome describe the systematic devastation of the eternal city, and Daesh has in recent years destroyed religious and medieval sites throughout Syria, Libya and Iraq. Such sites form an essential and unique part of history and identity, and that alone should be enough for member States to do all that they can to ensure that the new convention is a success.

      As we have heard, the illegal trafficking of cultural property has also been closely linked with international terrorism and organised crime. The report highlights that, after drugs and weapons, cultural property is the third most lucrative source of funding for illegal activities. We should not underestimate the scale of this international trade, which generates huge profits and, perhaps most significantly of all, carries few risks. Unlike the drugs or weapons trade, the goods being handled, such as art, jewellery and coins, are not illegal, which is why international co-operation and the harmonisation of laws, the standardisation of procedures and the exchange of information are so important.

      The great difficulty with dealing with such appalling practices will be with the non-State actors, such as Daesh and its wanton destruction, most notably, of the historic site of Palmyra. We are dealing with organisations that hold little sanctity for human life, let alone items of cultural heritage. Despite our best intentions, I struggle to see how such groups can be held to account. That said, recommendations such as ensuring that Internet providers take proactive measures to combat criminal offences demonstrate that the report does not shy away from the challenges of tackling modern criminality in a globalised world. Ultimately, both this report and the new Council of Europe convention are welcome steps in trying to protect our precious cultural heritage and to combat a truly global problem that makes both individual States and the world as a whole poorer.

      Lords BLENCATHRA (United Kingdom, Spokesperson for the European Conservatives Group) – I congratulate Stefan on his excellent report. He has analysed the problem correctly and suggested the right solutions. The English writer George Orwell said: “‘The most effective way to destroy people is to deny and obliterate their own understanding of their history.” The looting and sale of cultural artefacts means not merely that such precious items will be taken from their rightful home, stealing our history, and will probably disappear forever into private collections, but that their sale is now used to support terrorism. There is irrefutable evidence that ISIS soon realised that it could make a lot of money from selling artefacts or licensing corrupt archaeologists to find and sell them.

      Unfortunately, the United Kingdom is not innocent in that regard. London is the leading centre for the sale of such artefacts, but Geneva and the United States are not far behind. Recent reports have shown many items in antique shops in London that have come from Palmyra and Nimrud, with dealers claiming that they are Jordanian or Indian or that they have been in a family’s collection for a hundred years as an excuse for a lack of provenance. According to the Syrian archaeologist Amr al-Azm of Shawnee State University in Ohio, when ISIS took over swathes of territory, it also took hold of the already existing practice of illegal excavations. Until 2014, looting was carried out by various armed groups and individuals of the Syrian regime, but ISIS took the looting and institutionalised it, making it a revenue-raising enterprise by intensifying and escalating it. The usual route for looted items is initially through Lebanon or Turkey, so that by the time the artefacts reach Europe or London they have acquired some sort of paperwork, albeit fake.

      This evil trade cannot be stopped under current laws. That is why the new convention is essential to impose criminal sanctions, but that alone is not enough. As Stefan points out, our countries need to ratify and implement the convention. I will go back to the United Kingdom and press the British Government to implement it as soon as possible. We then need international co-operation on information management, with databases, inventories and photographic documentation. Enforcing due diligence in the auction houses and increasing public awareness may be vital steps. I agree it is essential to train specialist officers. I support the rapporteur’s recommendation for some sort of permanent monitoring body that is attached to the Council of Europe, the European Union, UNESCO or Interpol, but it must also include United States law enforcement bodies to ensure that action continues to be taken.

       Although we rightly focus on the looting in Iraq and Syria, such things are happening all over the world, as other speakers have said. I live near the magnificent Hadrian’s Wall in the north of England, which was started by the Emperor Hadrian in 122 AD, and finished in 128 AD – a mere six years. Over the past 1 500 years, most of the wall has been used to build farm buildings and homes, but what is left is a world heritage site. Just last week we heard a report about illegal metal detectorists who work at night to loot Roman artefacts, damaging what remains of that magnificent wall in the process. These problems take place all over the world, including on my own doorstep. Let us support the rapporteur’s report, and all the follow-up action that he so wisely suggests.

      The PRESIDENT – Thank you. Mr Schennach, would you like to speak now? That is not the case.

      In that case we move to the list of speakers. I call first Mr Manninger.

      Mr MANNINGER (Hungary) – I congratulate the rapporteur on his report, which contains a detailed analysis of the present situation and the existing legal framework in this field. I agree with the report’s conclusion and its proposals for future action, and I emphasise the importance of the standardisation of procedures at all levels of the marketing chain.

      According to experts who work with excavated artefacts, we must be able to identify both legally and illegally trafficked objects. To protect our heritage and combat illegal trafficking, it is crucial to hinder the financing of terrorist organisations, because as has been said, cultural artefacts are the third most lucrative source of funding for illegal activities. As the report also says, the deliberate destruction of cultural heritage is an attack on the symbols of our identity, which aims to demoralise and defeat populations and nations. It is therefore crucial to defend and preserve cultural heritage, so as to preserve the values and identities of different cultures.

      Experts in science at Hungarian universities have experience of this issue, and they are sponsored by the Hungarian State to take part in this work as part of the UNESCO programme. In addition to the proposals for further legal action in the report, after the deliberate destruction of cultural heritage in Syria and Iraq, we should support UNESCO and other organisations to survey the damage and, if possible, to restore cultural heritage sites that constitute a unique and important testimony to the history and identity of different peoples.

      Mr HOWELL (United Kingdom) – I, too, congratulate the rapporteur on an excellent report. I am pleased to participate in this debate because I am an archaeologist. I hope people will not think that I have lost my sense of humour if I start by commenting on the film archaeologist, Indiana Jones, whose swashbuckling approach owes nothing to real archaeology, and a lot to the antics of those who run the markets of the world. He smashes through archaeological sites in pursuit of trinkets, which are then given or sold to museums, importantly minus the context, which has simply been smashed to pieces. The report sets a completely different tone, but it acknowledges that many people in recent conflicts have behaved just like Indiana Jones.

      Goods looted from Kabul and Iraq have turned up on sale in many countries, including the United Kingdom, and often through private sales. As the report points out, we need the harmonisation of laws and regulations, and a great deal more due diligence along the chain from theft to market. We can never stop a situation such as Daesh’s destruction of archaeological sites, after first looting them to pay for arms, but we must stop the actions of what might be called modern-day prestidigitateurs, who gain hold of artefacts with no context at all and no ability to see the role that such objects really played in their culture.

      It is a great shame that the Council of Europe Convention on Offences relating to Cultural Property has been ratified only by Cyprus. This area requires much more international co-operation and effective punishment in each country, because as the report mentions, this trade has become as lucrative as that in drugs. I am pleased that in the United Kingdom the Government have set aside £30 million for a cultural protection fund that was opened in June 2016 and aims to safeguard and promote cultural heritage overseas. That fund is managed by the British Council, and its initial geographical focus is on the Middle East and North Africa – an area on which we need to concentrate quite a lot.

      The idea that these objects might be without cultural significance is part of the agenda of terrorist groups who aim to destroy the image of how we have lived, and how we are living, as well as our entire cultural apparatus. By destroying ancient cultures those groups hope to cut off our own identity, and we must resist that above all.

      Ms ZOHRABYAN* (Armenia) – Distinguished colleagues, the deliberate destruction and illegal trafficking of cultural heritage remains a very present problem, and what Daesh is doing today in Iraq and Syria is cultural genocide. I fully support the author of the report, Mr Schennach, and I call on all Council of Europe member States who have not yet signed or ratified the Convention on Offences Relating to Cultural Property to consider this issue a very high priority. They should also ratify the UNESCO Convention for the Protection of Cultural Property in the Event of Armed Conflict. What Daesh continues to do in the territory under its control – pillaging, destroying, and selling off the cultural heritage – is the third biggest source of revenue for international terrorism after the illegal trafficking of arms and drugs.

      However, may I raise in this Assembly – yet again – a question to which I have not yet received an answer? Where was the Assembly, and where was the international community when, in 1998, vandals just as cruel as Daesh started to implement their plan to destroy the historic Armenian cemetery of Julfa in Nakhchivan? That ancient cemetery was of exceptional cultural value, and it was entirely destroyed by Azeri soldiers in 2005, and made into a military base. For seven years, Azeri vandals not only destroyed the exceptional stone crosses in that historic cemetery, but they also destroyed other cultural monuments such as the ninth-century monastery of Amenaprkitch, the Chapel of Pomblose, the Church of Notre-Dame, and so on. Azerbaijan had only one goal: to suppress all traces of Armenian history and later rewrite history in its usual cynical way.

      Dear colleagues, I remind you that in 2007, a Parliamentary Assembly observation mission was supposed to visit Nakhchivan and Nagorno-Karabakh. However, the visit did not take place because of blackmail by Azerbaijan. Both our Assembly and the European Parliament merely noted the fact that the vandalism had taken place, without taking any specific measures to ensure that such brutality is never repeated or that no nation’s cultural heritage is ever again destroyed wholesale as the civilised world looks on.

      Because of the purely decorative communiqués with no follow-up and because of the silence of the international community, the stone crosses of Julfa – magnificent examples of cultural heritage – have been destroyed, and now that place is a shooting range for Azeri soldiers. As we discuss this report, in different parts of the world a form of cultural genocide is happening right now. I do not want us to meet tomorrow and wring our hands in sorrow, while saying, “We’re too late, as we were in the case of the stone crosses of Julfa.”

      Dame Cheryl GILLAN (United Kingdom) – I think Mr Schennach can tell from the tone of the debate that there is not a single dissenter in this room to his report. I add my voice to the congratulations to him for this thorough piece of work. It is obvious from the last speaker that we are in desperate need of better international co-ordination. That has come across clearly this morning.

      Recent conflicts in the Middle East and Africa have spawned terrorists who try not only to eradicate our heritage, but to annihilate cultures that are not their own. At the same time, they sell artefacts to fund their murderous regimes, as we saw so sadly in Palmyra and Timbuktu. I welcome the International Criminal Court’s sentencing of an individual for directing attacks against religious and historic buildings in Timbuktu. That was an important development.

      The report rightly highlights the efforts across communities and institutions, and sets out a further path to increase the ways to interrupt the flow of illegal artefacts and further criminalise such acts of destruction. We need to create a climate right around the world in which there is no place to hide for these increasingly sophisticated robbers.

      On Sunday, I will attend one of the world’s leading cross-collecting art fairs, Masterpiece, which is held in London. It brings together art, design, furniture and jewellery from antiquity to the present day and from right around the globe in the grounds of Chelsea Hospital. It has been said that the United Kingdom is a centre for illegal artefacts. That shows us how difficult this is, because such fairs are held against an ethical and legal environment that we believe helps to protect against the illegal trafficking of cultural heritage. We have established trade associations for the market of the United Kingdom and they possess strictly enforced codes of ethics by which they expect their members to abide. The government provides advice and guidance to help dealers and auction houses to ensure and secure the provenance of cultural objects in which they deal.

      We believe that that is backed up by an effective legal framework to tackle the illicit trade, because our legislation makes it a criminal offence to deal dishonestly in tainted cultural objects from anywhere in the world. Following the ratification of the 1954 Hague Convention for the Protection of Cultural Property in the Event of Armed Conflict, we have an offence of dealing in cultural property that has been unlawfully exported from occupied territory and one of targeting, damaging, destroying or looting protected cultural property during armed conflict.

      We are also the home of Art Recovery International and the Art Loss Register, which is the world’s largest database of stolen art. For example, it played a large part in the restoration of two Roman marble statues that were looted during the Lebanese civil war. They will now be displayed proudly in the National Museum of Beirut.

      Going by the speeches of my colleagues from the United Kingdom, it seems that although we have no formal view yet on the Council of Europe’s new convention, there will be cross-party pressure on our government to see whether we can join Cyprus in the ratification. My colleague Lord Blencathra referred to our cultural protection fund. Indeed, that is just the start – the tip of the iceberg.

      I will finish by quoting a statement by Ambassador Jonathan Allen, the United Kingdom’s deputy permanent representative to the United Nations, at the Security Council briefing on the protection of cultural heritage: “Civilisation, education, and our shared cultural heritage will prevail over destruction, barbarism, and the division of terrorists.” I think this report makes a very good contribution to that aim.

      Ms AGHAYEVA (Azerbaijan) – In an era when the political, economic and cultural processes of globalisation and integration are expanding in the modern world, the problem of preserving and developing ethno-cultural rights, national and cultural identity and the unique historical traditions of peoples is becoming more urgent. We need to pay close attention to the study and protection of the material and spiritual heritage of each nation. In the context of cultural globalisation, there is a tendency for the national culture to preserve its uniqueness and national identity. A necessary factor in the development of mankind is the protection of cultural rights, respect for other cultures, the interrelationship between different cultures, and the protection of cultural heritage from destruction, acts of vandalism and misappropriation.

      The protection of national and cultural heritage is in the hands not only of the people to whom it belongs, but of the international community and official international organisations. The United Nations has officially assigned these powers to UNESCO. Following the adoption of the Convention for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage, UNESCO has compiled a list of intangible heritage. The creation of a list of tangible and intangible cultural heritage is an important step towards the elimination of the abduction of this heritage, plagiarism, or its appropriation by another national group or another people.

      Despite the existence of such a list and the fact that most of Azerbaijan’s art and culture is included on it, we still have serious problems in this area. Unfortunately, the Armenian Republic, which has occupied 20% of our land, also pursues a policy of occupation towards national and cultural resources, and grossly violates the Hague Convention for the Protection of Cultural Property in the Event of Armed Conflict. Over 100 000 cultural objects, about 500 historical sites and more than 100 archaeological sites were destroyed in the occupied territory of the Republic of Azerbaijan, and 22 museums were completely or partially destroyed.

      To demonstrate who the Azerbaijanis are, I must mention the Armenian church in the centre of Baku. Our State has restored it and it contains more than 5 000 books in the Armenian language. That is one of the differences between Azerbaijanis and Armenians.

      Mr CANDAN (Representative of the Turkish Cypriot Community) – I thank Mr Schennach for this extensive report. Cultural heritage, regardless of its origin, constitutes a common heritage of humanity, and its protection is our common duty.

      Cyprus cannot be an exception in this regard. We perceive the cultural heritage on the island of Cyprus, regardless of its origin, to be the common heritage of Turkish Cypriots, Greek Cypriots, Armenians, Maronites, Latins and humanity at large. Turkish Cypriots deem the deliberate destruction and trafficking of cultural heritage as a matter to be condemned. As regards the cultural heritage in conflict zones, which is an even more delicate issue, it is important to refrain from any politicisation of the issue and instead we should concentrate on efforts to protect it.

      In that context, I believe that the bi-communal Technical Committee on Cultural Heritage in Cyprus, which was established on 21 March 2008, within the framework of confidence-building measures between the two communities, constitutes a good example that is deserving of attention. The committee was established with the view that it would contribute to the restoration of cultural heritage on both sides of the island of Cyprus, including churches and mosques, and it has yielded efficient co-operation between the two sides. So far, about 23 monuments have been structurally supported, or physically restored or protected, and the works on six monuments are still ongoing, with 15 more such projects on the way. Most recently, conservation work on the Ravelin Bastion and the Land Gate belonging to the ancient Famagusta vaults has been completed.

      On the Turkish Cypriot side, we are committed to the work of the committee, which has also become a point of reference for international organisations. It would be an encouraging sign if the Council of Europe could in any way acknowledge or contribute to the work of the committee, which is among the most successfully functioning bi-communal technical committees on the island of Cyprus.

      Ms PASHAYEVA (Azerbaijan) – As my colleague from Azerbaijan, Madam Aghayeva, said, this topic is extremely sensitive to my country, and I will bring some issues to your attention. It is with deep regret that I will draw your attention to the fact that more than 600 historical, architectural and archaeological monuments, 22 museums with over 40 000 items, four art galleries, 927 libraries with about five million books and manuscripts, and four theatres belonging to Azerbaijan remain in the occupied territories as a result of Armenia’s military aggression. The cultural heritage of Azerbaijan in the occupied territories is being particularly brutally destroyed.

      It is impossible to estimate accurately Armenia’s damage to the historical and cultural monuments of Azerbaijan, because the looted and destroyed resources are not merely examples of Azerbaijan’s cultural heritage but examples of the whole world’s civilisation. The trade in objects of cultural heritage that were stolen from Agdam, Fuzuli, Gubadli, Lachin, Kalbajar, Shusha and other occupied districts has also become part of Armenian State policy. Therefore, it is important that these truths are included in a report. Then we can show to other colleagues all the materials that have been affected. These issues have already been reflected in the report of the OSCE mission in the occupied territories.

      Armenia continues to destroy historical and cultural monuments in the occupied territories of Azerbaijan by violating all international conventions. Although the vast majority of historical and cultural monuments in those territories have been destroyed, some may still remain and therefore it is extremely important to save them. To achieve that, it is necessary to examine carefully the current state of the remaining monuments in the occupied Azerbaijani lands. The ministry of culture of Azerbaijan has prepared a report on the destruction of historical and cultural monuments in the occupied territories and presented it to UNESCO, requesting that there be a mission to conduct research on those monuments. However, Armenia has blocked UNESCO from sending an independent mission to study the historical monuments in the occupied territories.

      Having brought all these issues to your attention, we look forward to receiving your support. Once again, I underline the importance of the report by Mr Schennach and we hereby support all the recommendations, and recognise all the challenges, that are contained within it. At the same time, we call on our Assembly not to remain indifferent towards Armenia’s destruction, plundering and involvement in the illicit trade of our historical and cultural heritage, and we also demand that the new leadership of Armenia stop it, because those monuments are not only part of Azerbaijan’s culture but part of the world’s culture, and our Assembly should take serious steps to protect them, too.

      Finally, Madam Zohrabyan, you have again made a speech that is full of slanders against Azerbaijan. However, we have seen enough evidence – photos and facts – of the crimes committed by your country. The occupiers and their supporters will surely answer to justice someday. Do not forget that.

      The PRESIDENT – I understand that Mr Huseynov would like to address the Assembly on this topic. You have four minutes.

      Mr HUSEYNOV (Azerbaijan) – Examples of cultural heritage are created by various nations. However, these treasures do not merely belong to specific nations, but become a common belonging. There is a stone sculpture with opened hands to heaven from 2 000 years ago in the village of Boyahmadli in the Agdam district of Azerbaijan. In the 1970s, this monument was examined and also recorded in books. The monument, which is regarded as one of the most valuable cultural treasures of the Azerbaijani people, certainly belongs to all humanity as well, because an object that is 2 000 years old rises to the level of world heritage, regardless of its geographical location. However, this monument and other ancient stone sculptures around it are now in Azerbaijani territory that is occupied by Armenia.

      These territories have been destroyed by the occupier, and examples of cultural heritage have been either destroyed or stolen. The city of Shusha, which has been under Armenian occupation for the last 26 years, was among the main classical cultural centres of Azerbaijan. Shusha was called the monument city, or the museum city. There were nine precious museums in the city. In addition to the collections in those museums, in the apartments of various people in the city there were thousands of Azerbaijani carpets, which were beautiful examples of folk art. They were all stolen, brought to the world market and at best they were registered as Armenian carpets in some foreign museums.

      One of the most unacceptable activities of the occupying State with regard to cultural heritage relates to religious monuments and tombs. They destroyed 403 historical monuments, 67 mosques, 144 temples and 192 sanctuaries; they razed hundreds of cemeteries to the ground; and they even stole the gravestones.

      It should be noted here that along with its long-term policy of destroying, stealing and directing these assets towards the illegal trade in objects of cultural heritage, the occupier – Armenia – demonstrates other dangerous behaviour. That is the policy of systematic falsification of objects of cultural heritage. It is primarily focused on ancient monuments. At the same time, the Armenians have attempted to arrogate not only the monuments of Azerbaijan but the monuments of other peoples who historically resided in the territory of Azerbaijan. The goal was to create historical sources to prove that Armenians had always lived on this land.

      The Armenians have engaged in this practice not only during the period of occupation but always and consistently. It is therefore understandable why we cannot find any information on the cultural heritage of Azerbaijan in this report. Deceit, fraud, theft and destruction have always been bad practices, anywhere in the world. However, these undesirable acts appear to be doubly and triply unbearable when applied to cultural heritage. We must therefore fight together and more resolutely against such behaviour, which threatens the cultural heritage that belongs to all of us.

      The PRESIDENT – Thank you, Mr Huseynov.

      That concludes the list of speakers. Now I call Mr Schennach to reply to the debate. You have three and a half minutes.

      Mr SCHENNACH (Austria)* – Armenia and Azerbaijan have both provided me with a wealth of documentation, and over the next few months I will consider the possibility of producing a report. We are talking about protecting cultural heritage in areas of conflict, but also in areas where there is a ceasefire. We also need to consider Cyprus. We can talk about whether the mask of Agamemnon belongs to Turkey, Greece, Germany or to the Russian Federation – it is currently in the Russian Federation. Some 9 800 artefacts cannot be moved from the Russian Federation because their provenance is unclear.

      We need a code of ethics that modern auction houses, including eBay, should have to comply with. However, as has rightly been said, often the issue is one of provenance. All countries should introduce legislation requiring the provenance of all items for sale to be declared, to determine whether they have been stolen or found their way into a collection illegally.

      In Austria we have been able to say that in some instances we are talking about clear cases of theft of Jewish cultural property, and in such cases it is possible to file a request for the property to be returned. Of course, often people can see for themselves what has been stolen and then claim it. For example, the Italian Carabinieri have exhibited examples of stolen cultural property.

      I thank David and Cheryl for their contributions to the debate. The United Kingdom signed up to the 1954 Hague Convention for the Protection of Cultural Property in the Event of Armed Conflict. With regard to the points made by Ms Şupac about Chișinău and its Spanish architecture, we need to put in place a cultural protection order and close prison No. 13, which would be two important measures.

      Since the time of the pharaohs, cultural property has been spread around the world. One need only look to the Armenian monasteries, whose cultural artefacts have found their way into collections in Austria and elsewhere. I thank Armenia for its readiness to sign up to the convention. I am sure that we will report back on the subject of cultural property in Armenia and Azerbaijan at some later date.

      Cultural property can be stolen and then inherited by later generations. I think that underscores the importance of the convention. I have been operating in this field since 2001. I extend my thanks to Ukraine, because it has done something that no other country has done: it has made copies of cultural artefacts that were stolen during the Second World War and then returned the originals.

      I think that having cultural property blue helmets is an excellent idea. We have seen similar efforts in Turin, with the Carabinieri. Switzerland could take a leaf out of Turin’s book in that regard. We certainly need to do something on the provenance of much of the cultural property being traded today. As was the case with the Lanzarote Convention and the Landscape Convention, we need a convention that is open to non-member States of the Council of Europe, which would ensure that it is even more effective. I thank all those who have made positive statements, and I am delighted to find so many co-combatants today – people who are prepared to stand up and do something about the illegal trade in cultural property.

      The PRESIDENT – I thank the rapporteur for an important and comprehensive report.

      Does the first vice-chairperson of the committee wish to speak?

      Ms BİLGEHAN (Turkey)* – Cultural heritage, in all its forms, is a unique and important testimony to our history, our vision of the world and the identity of our different peoples. It is also a reflection of the wealth of our relationships over the centuries. Turkey, for example, was the cradle of several civilizations. Cultural heritage is a common good, and it is our duty to preserve it.

      The report, which Mr Schennach presented with passion and conviction, goes hand in hand with the new Council of Europe Convention on Offences relating to Cultural Property, which was adopted in May 2017 in Cyprus. We call upon member States to sign and ratify that convention as soon as possible. It builds on our previous legal framework, the UNESCO Hague Convention of 1954 and its protocols, and the UNESCO Convention of 1970 and the UNIDROIT Convention on Stolen or Illegally Exported Cultural Objects of 1995. We call upon States that have not yet done so to ratify these three important conventions as soon as possible.

      The report makes several practical recommendations that are directed at member States. I want to emphasise four of them. First, if we are to strengthen our ability to protect cultural heritage and combat illegal trafficking, each member State must set up a central national authority that can guarantee close co-operation between the different institutions concerned. Secondly, it is necessary to strengthen international co-operation between source countries, transit countries and final destination countries. We need a better exchange of information. We need to harmonise legislation and standardise procedures. Moreover, it is no good pointing the finger and accusing one another, or reiterating the hatred of the past. We should instead be looking at a common cultural heritage – our common treasure. Thirdly, we should codify the obligations on auction houses, dealers and individual purchasers. Fourthly, we also need to bring Internet marketing platforms on board and ask them to regulate their transactions. Finally, at an international level, we are calling for strategies to protect heritage that might be threatened in conflict areas. We still have in our minds the awful images of the destruction at Palmyra.

      In conclusion, I congratulate the rapporteur and the staff of the committee secretariat, who have done an excellent job. I urge the Assembly to vote in favour of the draft resolution and recommendation. I also pay tribute to our interpreters.

      The PRESIDENT – Thank you, Ms Bilgehan.

      The debate is closed.

      The Committee on Culture, Science, Education and Media has presented a draft resolution, to which no amendments have been tabled. The Committee has also presented a draft recommendation, to which no amendments have been tabled.

      We will now proceed to vote on the whole of the draft resolution contained in Document 14566. A simple majority is required.

      The vote is open.

      The draft resolution in Document 14566 is adopted, with 36 votes for, 0 against and 3 abstentions.

      We will now proceed to vote on the whole of the draft recommendation contained in Document 14566. A two-thirds majority is required.

      The vote is open.

      The draft recommendation in Document 14566 is adopted, with 39 votes for, 0 against and 4 abstentions.

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

      Mr SCHENNACH (Austria) – This is Ms Bilgehan’s last day with us, so on behalf of the Committee on Culture, Science, Education and Media I thank her for her fantastic work, especially on media freedom and the freedom of journalists to express their opinion. She has done such great work, and we shall miss her the first day she is not with us. I am sorry to interrupt proceedings, Mr President, but this was the only opportunity.

      The PRESIDENT – That is not a point of order, but it was an important message. I, too, thank Ms Bilgehan for her work in the Assembly. I wish you all the best, and the best wishes of all colleagues are with you.

2. Empowering women in the economy

      The PRESIDENT – The next item of business this morning is the debate on the report entitled, “Empowering women in the economy”, Document 14573, presented by the rapporteur Ms Centemero, on behalf of the Committee on Equality and Non-Discrimination.

      I remind members that there is a four-minute speech limit in this debate. In order to finish by 12.50 p.m., the list of speakers will be interrupted at about 12.10 p.m., to allow time for the vote.

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

      Ms CENTERMERO (Italy)* – One Monday in October 2016, thousands of women in Iceland left their workplaces in protest at 2.38 p.m. to demonstrate in favour of equal pay. The difference in wage levels between men and women – the so-called gender salary gap – meant that from that time in the day women’s work was no longer being remunerated.

      To stay with Iceland, it is a country that for years has topped the gender equality index drawn up by the World Economic Forum. There, too, however, equality between men and women in the economy is not yet a reality, but Iceland is working on that, trying out new measures which have considerable political backing.

      Iceland was one of the countries that we visited in preparing the report. I conducted a fact-finding visit to Iceland, and other visits took me to Paris and London. However, we are not talking about the work of one individual, other than fact finding and research. The preparation of the report was based on a large number of hearings that the committee held in Strasbourg, Paris and Milan. Given the interest and participation of colleagues in the hearings, and their contribution of ideas and proposals, I consider the report to be the fruit of collective efforts.

      Such participation confirmed my belief that equality between men and women is a topical issue, and indeed urgent, but inequality unfortunately remains. In fact, it continues to grow, although measures to overcome it are being proposed and adopted in various European countries. The ultimate aim of the report and the draft resolution is to look at those innovative solutions and to propose them to all the member States of the Council of Europe so that they may appropriate them.

      We dealt with different categories – women who are salaried workers, women in managerial positions within companies, and women entrepreneurs who create companies – and in each we were able to pinpoint interesting practices that have borne fruit in some instances, although elsewhere good practice is put to the test. First, for example, British and German legislation on wage transparency obliges companies to make wage levels by qualification and type of activity public. Secondly, certification of companies as a function of equal treatment – a kind of quality label for equality between men and women, and for absence of discrimination – was adopted in Iceland during my visit. Thirdly, gender quotas for management boards, although not recent – they were invented by Norway – are already part and parcel of the legislation in a number of member States.

      We also looked into less well known areas to do with equality between men and women, such as access to information, the so-called digital gap, or differences in self-confidence, the so-called confidence gap. The latter is a very sensitive issue. We need to understand to what extent that real or presumed lack of confidence in someone is determined by external cultural factors.

      External conditioning is certainly a feature of the unequal distribution of men and women in scientific fields. As we can see in various circumstances and according to various studies, women are not being encouraged to move in the direction of science, technology, engineering and maths for their future career choices, but those disciplines are increasingly important in the economy – not only basic research, but research and innovation in business, and basic employment. Even when girls move into the so-called STEM sector, however, they do not find that the working environment is conducive to them, because it is tailor-made for the use of men.

      Apart from those measures on equal pay and equal treatment, there are general issues. The report and the draft resolution talk about the need to overcome cultural barriers to equality between men and women, for example, and at the start of that is education.

      The PRESIDENT – Thank you, Ms Centemero. You have eight minutes and 12 seconds remaining.

      The debate is open. I first call Ms Brynjólfsdóttir.

      Ms BRYNJÓLFSDÓTTIR (Iceland, Spokesperson for the Group of the Unified European Left) – Thank you, Mr President. Before I start my speech, I want to raise the issue of the timing of this debate. I would prefer to see debates on gender issues or women’s rights scheduled earlier in the week of the part-session, so that more members of the Assembly may participate in debates on such urgent matters. The same goes for LGBTI rights, which this week we only debated late on Wednesday evening.

      I congratulate the rapporteur on her excellent report. Although I am speaking behalf of my political group, I cannot ignore where I come from, Iceland. Our parliament, the Alþingi, was happy to welcome the rapporteur on her fact-finding mission in Iceland last August. Despite Iceland consistently being at the top of world indicators of gender equality, we have still not reached it and we must continue to strive towards that goal.

      The report makes some excellent recommendations to member States for empowering women in the economy. It recommends transparency and a form of certification for salary structures. To that end, Iceland has introduced an equal pay act, which contains a certification standard that all enterprises with more than 25 employees must meet. As the report states, the gender pay gap is a critical issue. Even we in Iceland still have to do more to battle it. A quota for the boards of directors of enterprises and institutions has been put into law in Iceland. In that sense, we followed in the footsteps of Norway, which in 2006 introduced radical measures to improve the gender balance of the high-level management of large companies, including a 40% quota for female directors of listed companies. That had to be battled for in Norway and in Iceland.

      The report also recommends affordable childcare options, which are essential to enabling both parents to participate in the workforce. Businesses must offer their workers a family-friendly working environment. Other recommendations that I fully support include the proposals for a better work-life balance, incentives for women to return to work after maternity leave and special credit lines for women entrepreneurs. Crucially, we must also encourage women and girls to choose education and jobs in science, technology, engineering and maths.

      Why are we debating the empowerment of women in the economy? Empowering women makes them more active members of our societies and gives them the same access and rights as men, which of course is a basic human right. Empowering women in every aspect of our societies is a fundamental question of equal rights for everyone, regardless of their gender, race, belief or sexual orientation. We all have a responsibility to create gender equal societies and fair opportunities for everyone, and to increase the number of women role models for future generations. We all know – this has been thoroughly researched – that when we increase diversity and the number of women at the decision-making table, better decisions are made.

      Above all, women’s rights are human rights. We must all fight for women’s right to improve our societies and the quality of life for all. I thank the rapporteur for her excellent report.

      Ms FILIPOVSKI (Serbia, Spokesperson for the Free Democrats Group) – The report is very good. Empowering women economically is one of the most important ways of supporting them to start businesses and improving their position in society. Women are the largest social group and represent great potential for economic development. Acknowledging their voice, we should set priorities and apply our conclusions together.

      In Serbia, 34% of entrepreneurs are women, and their companies employ 200 000 people. Education, access to information, State incentives for self-employment, more efficient foreign trade and better connectivity for women entrepreneurs are the main conditions for the economic sustainability of women’s enterprises. Importantly for the economic empowerment of women, Serbia has introduced gender responsive budgeting, which means that existing resources are better distributed between men and women. We have also introduced gender statistics on entrepreneurship to create ever better development policy at local level.

      I emphasise the importance of micro-financing for the development of women’s entrepreneurship and the economic empowerment of women. For example, 390 000 micro-loans with an average value of €8 500 have been disbursed in European Union countries in two years. Loans totalling €1.5 billion have been used by 121 000 micro-enterprises.

      Let me end on the note that continual education is important for the economic empowerment of women. In that sense, it is important to motivate as many girls as possible and interest them in IT.

      Ms De SUTTER (Belgium, Spokesperson for the Socialists, Democrats and Greens Group) – When more women work, economies grow. It is as simple as that. According to the OECD, an increase in female labour force participation results in faster economic growth, so we may wonder why women are still lagging behind in our economies.

      In her report, Ms Centemero rightly points out that barriers to women and girls’ economic empowerment are to a large extent cultural. I therefore believe cultural measures at work and school, as well as quotas, can play an important role in promoting equality. Cultural aspects include the problem of sexual harassment in the workplace, which the #MeToo campaign put clearly on the agenda.

      What about quotas? There is proof that drastic cultural measures in the workplace have an impact. We do not like quotas and we should not have them, but we need them. Countries such as Norway, Belgium, France, Germany, Iceland and Italy – and recently Portugal – are showing the way. Paragraph 10.2 of the draft resolution states that quotas of at least 30% should be “reserved for the under-represented sex on company boards of directors…with financial and non-financial sanctions for non-compliance, such as the dismissal of the entire board in severe cases.” Those are serious measures with which I can only agree. Both public sector bodies and private companies should be obliged to be transparent about remuneration and have a form of gender equality certification or labelling.

      I was happy to read that Ms Centemero has not forgotten about women’s entrepreneurship. The fact that there are 50% more self-employed men than women cannot be neglected anymore. Moreover, the gap between self-employed men and women appears to grow as businesses grow. Paragraph 10.3 of the draft resolution is therefore crucial. We should ensure that women have access to funding for the creation of businesses and land ownership, guide them through the creation of businesses, and support and coach them from a very young age. Let me stress that empowering women in the economy starts with the empowerment of girls, and increasing girls’ education contributes to higher economic growth.

      This can be a matter of life and death. A study of data from 219 countries between 1970 and 2009 found that for every additional year of education for women of reproductive age, child mortality fell by 9.5%. That is tremendous.

      The Council of Europe intervened 10 years ago with Committee of Ministers Recommendation (2007)13 on gender mainstreaming in education, which provides practical tools to promote gender equality in and through education, with the aim of countering negative gender, sexist and sexual stereotyping, and ultimately achieving gender equality, benefiting society as a whole. But there remains a lot to be done.

      Taking a look at the green economy and sustainable development, women, especially those in poverty, appear more vulnerable in the face of natural disasters. Where women’s socioeconomic status is high, men and women die in roughly equal numbers during and after natural disasters. However, where women’s socioeconomic status is low, women die in greater numbers, or at a younger age, than men do. That makes women double victims. We should keep in mind the fact that gender gaps in domestic and household work are intensified in the context of economic crisis, environmental degradation and natural disasters. Let us be vigilant and bear that in mind while we vote in favour of this report to empower women and girls in today’s economy.

      I stress that my group is very disappointed that this report, which is critical for gender equality, is the last item on our agenda on Friday morning, when attendance is low.

      Dame Cheryl GILLAN (United Kingdom, Spokesperson for the European Conservatives Group) – I echo Ms De Sutter’s final words; it is a shame that this important debate is being held at the eleventh hour. I hope that similar debates will be mainstreamed, because mainstreaming women into all our legislation and activities is exceedingly important.

      I had one great advantage in life over many women. I was an only child, and my father and mother told me that I was therefore both their son and their daughter and there was nothing I could not achieve. This issue starts in the home with what girls are told that they will be able to do, so culture plays an enormous part in women’s achievement.

      I congratulate the rapporteur on this excellent report, which deserves all our support. Unfortunately, it reflects the sorry position of women, who comprise 50% of the population but who are still not treated as equals and have to struggle to achieve their share of voice, position and income, even in the most advanced economies. In my country, the United Kingdom, there is a glass ceiling, but we are starting to break it. We have a record 309 women on FTSE 100 boards. That figure represents only 29% of board positions, but it is up from 12.5% in 2011, so we are moving in the right direction. A quarter of FTSE 350 board positions have been filled by women. There are, however, only 20 women chairs, and that is not very impressive.

      In the United Kingdom this year, we are celebrating the 100th anniversary of some women achieving the vote. We are proud of the suffragettes and the sacrifices that they made to get women the right to vote, and we are celebrating the anniversary throughout the country. Although we have made advances and we have our second woman Prime Minister, we are still having to use it as an opportunity to show the country what women can achieve.

      The United Kingdom has a strong domestic record. In 1995, when I was a United Kingdom minister, I helped to negotiate the platform for action at the United Nations conference in Beijing. That was an emotional and historic occasion and it formed the basis of some of our progress in gender equality. Today, we are committed, alongside other countries, to the United Nations sustainable development goals. We are working internationally to support initiatives – for example, as the rapporteur said, to get more women to study STEM subjects. The rapporteur mentioned an engineer and fighter pilot in the Italian Air Force who took part in the Futura mission. My own family played a bit of a role in that. My husband used to head up our space programme, and I am proud that he was one of the key people who helped to put Helen Sharman on the Mir space station. She was not only the first woman on that station, but our first woman astronaut – a good example of Anglo-Russian co-operation, for once.

      In the United Kingdom, we have gender pay gap reporting. Under our new laws, more than 1 400 companies recently reported their gender pay gaps, revealing that there is an overall pay gap in the United Kingdom of 18.4%. Tackling that pay gap is so important, and it was thrown into stark relief by the recent reports of BBC female presenters being paid far less than their male counterparts. We hope that this public shaming will lead to faster progress from organisations and businesses, not only in the United Kingdom but across Europe.

      In the words used for International Women’s Day, our vision is that men and women should be treated equally in social, economic and all other aspects of society and not be discriminated against on the basis of their gender. That is truly a sentiment we can all embrace as we encourage our countries to pursue that aim, as set out in this excellent report.

      Ms MEHL (Norway, Spokesperson for the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe) – On behalf of the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe, I express my gratitude to the rapporteur for a thorough report on a very important issue. Like previous speakers, I am disappointed and sorry to find that this debate is the last item on our agenda. I have in earlier sessions criticised the fact that attendance is so low towards the end of the week. There seems to be a general understanding that less important issues are scheduled towards the end. It is a great paradox that we are trying to raise awareness about female empowerment, but we cannot manage to put it higher on our own agenda. I think this debate deserved much greater attention from Assembly members.

      Female empowerment, especially where the economy is concerned, is crucial to create development and bring the world forward. If women do not work, engage in politics, carry out research or participate in other ways, our society loses 50% of its brain capacity, 50% of its good and innovative ideas, 50% of its critical thinkers and 50% of its workforce. As we all know, that has happened for centuries. Although progress is being made, the situation for the female half of the population is still not good in many countries or cultures, and a large proportion of women are still left out.

      Inequality between women and men has not been defeated, particularly in the economy. Many women still face difficulty accessing the labour market, they have less chance than men do to advance in their careers, and there is a gap in wages – especially top-level income – between men and women. Women are under-represented in leading positions all over the world. I am pretty sure that many Assembly members travel business class when they move around the world. The next time you do so, I encourage all of you to do a headcount of women and men. I am sure that, most of the time, you will find that men are massively over-represented. I think that that is a good reflection of how women are generally represented in the economy.

      As the draft resolution states, equality between women and men in the economy is a pre-condition for equality in all parts of society, including public and political life. We also know that there is a correlation between education and income level, and health. Even in my own country, Norway, which I believe has come a long way in terms of equality and the fight against gender discrimination, I experience challenges as a woman who is actively engaged in society and has a rather demanding job. Often, for purely practical reasons, many women feel as though they have to choose between a career and family life. Some say that a woman who wants a career needs to choose her partner wisely, because she needs a partner who is willing to take more responsibility at home if she wants to have a family as well. If both partners want to have careers and demanding jobs, the solution for some families will be to hire help in the home to look after children, make food or do other chores. Most of the time, such help will be provided by a woman – for example, an au pair. In reality, this means that behind one female career there is a demand for another woman – often a migrant woman – to work on a low income or no income at all.

      These are issues that the international society needs to address in a unified way if we want to have a truly equal society where all women have the freedom to make choices about their education, work and contribution to society. The resolution calls for many important measures to empower women all over the world, including encouraging public and private companies to enhance gender balance in the workplace, requiring transparency on salaries, introducing quotas to secure a minimum of gender representation in management and board positions, and promoting female entrepreneurship. That is not only good for women, but crucial for the economic growth of society.

      The PRESIDENT – Thank you, Ms Mehl.

      The list of speakers on behalf of the political groups is concluded. Ms Centemero, would you like to reply now? That is not the case. I therefore call Ms D’Ambrosio.

      Ms D’AMBROSIO (San Marino)* – I thank our colleague, Ms Centemero, for her report, and I thank those colleagues who have spoken on behalf of political groups for their contribution to the debate. I feel I can identify with what they have said.

      A few years ago, when I was doing my undergraduate thesis, among the reports that I studied was one from the International Labour Organization that said discrimination with regard to women in the economy and the world of work not only constituted a brake on the economy but actually impoverished the countries concerned. They were and are a brake, as well as an unjustified form of discrimination. According to the report, the experience of societies where there is greater gender equality shows that equality between men and women in the economy is a pre-condition for positive developments in other spheres of public and political life. It is clear that the basis of any change or development is education, because it plays a key role. Education then leads to cultural incentives that enable us to overcome gender stereotypes, stereotypes that are often propagated by women because unfortunately they themselves are so much part of those stereotypes.

      At this juncture we need to ask ourselves what we as parliamentarians can do. What can the Parliamentary Assembly do? Apart from awareness raising, we need to encourage our national parliaments to outline or identify, legislate and promote initiatives in the area of negotiations between unions and employers – collective wage bargaining, wherever that is possible – in order to prohibit such things as dismissing women who are on maternity leave and encourage such things as holding jobs open while they are on maternity leave and extending that to their partners.

      Other measures include gender quotas. I have to say that I am not completely in agreement with that but we need to promote incentives to encourage women entrepreneurs and the hiring of women over 50. One measure that I am personally supporting in my own country, San Marino, is so-called smart working, an instrument that provides greater flexibility and does not impact on salaries or the quality of work but enables people to work from home. I repeat that I agree with the individual issues outlined in the report. I think they are of strategic importance; they are challenges that not only will lead to greater equality but will have an impact on the economic and cultural development of individual countries and regions.

      Before I conclude, I would like to say something about promoting more women and girls going into the STEM sector – that is, science, technology, engineering and maths. In terms of sustainable development, we are going to see more and more jobs being created in this sector. That means many more opportunities for women and girls, but of course we need to start off in schools, creating incentives and encouraging women and girls to move into this area. We could perhaps do that by telling the story of women who have been involved in these areas. We need to ensure that teachers broaden girls’ horizons and that women encourage them to move into these sectors. This is an exercise that we could replicate in other sectors too. Young girls and women need examples that could serve to inspire them so that they in turn can step up to the plate. Equality is not a privilege but a right.

      I conclude by thanking once again our colleague Ms Centemero. We are not asking to be treated better than men; we want to be treated as men are. We want the same opportunities and we want our work and values to be acknowledged. Every measure that reduces the chance of greater equality is not only an injustice to women and girls but an impoverishment of our countries and societies.

      Mr BÜCHEL (Switzerland)* – Ladies and gentlemen, among the liberals there are different opinions, not necessarily just those presented by the spokesperson on behalf of the political group.

      Are quotas for women something that we really want? That is my question today. First of all, for the record, I want to say that the best bosses that I have ever had in my life have been women. It was a question of quality, not quota quantities. I have been a member of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe for two and a half years now, and I have seen some really excellent women reach the top, such as Anne Brasseur, Stella Kyriakides and Liliane Maury Pasquier. Are these quota women? No. they were elected and appointed because of the work that they had done for their different political groups and so on. Yet suddenly we are turning to private companies and saying that we are going to tell them what they need to do. We are saying that on their boards, in top management positions, they as private companies should introduce quotas for women. We are told that decisions are taken primarily by men, and that men using old boys’ networks will continue to promote men. As liberals, we might have a different perspective on this.

      Different parliaments, the ones that have decision-making competences, tend to think the same as you. Two weeks ago the Swiss National Council, one of the two chambers of our parliament with equal powers to the other, decided that quota women should be placed at the very head of private companies. A vote was taken, with 95 in favour and 94 against. In other countries – I shall name Iceland as an example but there are many – similar decisions have been taken regarding top positions.

      Yes, it is true that women are under-represented in top management, but is that due to systematic discrimination? I do not think so. If you look at the 47 member States of the Council of Europe, can you really say that women have fewer opportunities than men? The report tries to demonstrate that this is the case but I personally would contest that. If you want to get to the very top of your profession or to the top of the political spectrum, you have to make sacrifices – you have to work really, really hard. I do not think I am revealing any secrets here or announcing anything new. It is both accurate and appropriate for performance to be rewarded and those who are high achievers should go to the top, rather than those who arrive at these positions by quota or those who have special relations with people.

      Is life always fair? No, of course not. Career decisions are often based on personal affinity or because you think that person will fit in better with the team. These decisions are taken about individual people, and the so-called soft factors in career decisions are definitely there. But how could women in future be really sure that they had got their job or their promotion just because of their ability, not because they were quota women? Is it the quota or is it my skills? Is it my qualities that have got me to this position? They will always have doubts and so will the staff that they work with in future, who will think: “Was this woman placed there because she is a quota woman or because she is very capable?”

      I come to my conclusion. I do not think women need political support in order to be successful. Companies can prosper if they make sure that the best people get to the top. Ability, dedication and human qualities are what matter, not gender. Yes, give people a boost, particularly in technical sectors, but do not reserve quotas for women.

      Mr ALAZZAM (Jordan, Partner for Democracy) – Ladies and gentlemen, I would like to shed light on this subject from the perspective of a third world country. It is evident that gender inequality exists strongly in this world as women are not allowed their basic rights. Forty years ago I witnessed many of these inequalities, such as women not being allowed to go to university, drive a car or even see a male doctor. As time went by, lots of things related to women’s rights improved. These days we find women competing with men in everything. We have mixed schools up to a certain age, whether government-run or private. Parents do everything they can to have their daughters taught different sciences at university, especially engineering and medicine, and they are proud of that. Lots of Jordanian women join the army, civil defence and general security in either a military or civilian capacity, both of which were prohibited 40 years ago. The first female civilian pilot – a captain – in our region is a Jordanian. Our most recent government, which is awaiting parliament’s confidence early next month, has seven female ministers – about 25% of the total – who are specialists in certain fields. There are 20 female MPs in our parliament, and others in the senate, and some women have held or hold high positions in the government while others do well in their own businesses.

      All these improvements have come about because women have educated themselves with the enormous help of their families and society as a whole, and the introduction of laws and regulations encouraging women’s involvement in the economy. I am a member of the finance committee, and there are certain annual budget allocations for increasing the number of women working in different ministries. I began my speech by saying that I was talking from the perspective of a third-world country, but we are not a third-world country in this regard. We might be in economic terms, but in this regard we are like any other country whose representatives sit in this Chamber.

      I shall finish with two well-known sayings: behind any great man is a woman, and women are half of society. I say, however, that women are the whole of society, because they are our mothers, wives, sisters and daughters.

(Ms Maury Pasquier, President of the Assembly, took the Chair in place of Mr Ariev.)

      Ms MUFLIH (Jordan, Partner for Democracy) – I thank the rapporteur, Ms Elena Centemero, for this report, which contains a lot of facts and realistic information about empowering women in the economy. We stand here in this house of democracy and humanitarian equity, and see in the report that some countries regrettably still practise discrimination and inequality between women and men in some jobs and wages. Women are half of society, or even more.

      I want to talk about women in Jordanian society. I am one of them. The Jordanian woman has played a significant role in the many places she has been put in. You can see her as the political woman, the successful engineer, the university instructor, the pilot and so on. Jordan supports women a lot and we saw that clearly during the last elections, both municipal and parliamentary. Jordanian women won many seats in the municipalities and 20 women entered the house of representatives – 15 on a quota basis and five on a competitive basis. That shows that the Jordanian woman can appear in every place she is put in. Many Jordanian women who have graduated from university and have been unable to find jobs have set up projects with the support of civil organisations and the ministry of labour and can now support their families financially.

      There are many reasons behind the discrimination of women, such as lack of education and insufficient government rules and regulations. Jordan is working hard to eliminate all the obstacles that women face, especially in the field of work. Her Majesty Queen Rania is working closely with women’s organisations, especially in the teaching sector. There are also many initiatives that support Jordanian women to be side by side with men in different fields. A lot has been done to empower women in the economy and with the support of the government and the legislative authority we can do better. Thank you for allowing us to be a Partner for Democracy.

      The PRESIDENT* – Thank you, Ms Muflih.

      As we have time, we can take another couple of speakers. I give the floor to Mr Kleinwaechter.

      Mr KLEINWAECHTER (Germany)* – I apologise because I am going to be very blunt. What the committee is suggesting is absolutely appalling. Apparently, non-discrimination requires a form of institutional discrimination against men, due to a number of factors, which I will briefly recap. There are quotas, which is something to do with your gender. Gender is apparently supposed to factor in whether you get a job or not. Gender is apparently an important qualification. What about the free market? More advantageous loans for women are called for as well, along with men paying for certain things even though they have the same qualifications. I do not think that that is implementable or, in fact, in line with our constitutions.

      I cannot imagine a world in which we would have on every form two boxes – woman/man – and depending on where you put your little tick there would be a number of consequences, for instance how much interest you paid on your loan and what kind of job you got. That is certainly not the world I want to help build and I really do not think that we should support that. As a matter of principle, we should stand against any form of discrimination.

      There is something else that the report does not even mention: LGBTI, or indeed people who are intersex and cannot be categorised as either men or women. Where do they fit in? Do they get extra quotas, or what? The whole approach is wrong-headed and will not work. Mr Büchel made an excellent statement to which I subscribe and to which I add this: how do quotas actually work? Let us assume that you have a company that takes rational decisions. It would certainly recruit a highly qualified woman if she were much more qualified than any other candidate. You do not need a quota for that. If a woman is less well-qualified than another candidate who happens to be male, should a company recruit someone who is less qualified just because of their sex? That cannot be right.

      We have studies from, for instance, Oklahoma State University, the University of Michigan, the S&P 500 index, and Norway – we know they have quotas there. Their findings are that there is a really negative effect when you introduce this kind of obligation for boards. In other words, quotas reduce the financial success of companies and also, in a way, destroy jobs, because sub-optimal people are appointed to jobs they simply are not qualified for. Let us be honest, who gets to the top positions we are talking about here? We are talking about a tiny, tiny, tiny fraction of the population. Finally, the figure of 23% is in the memorandum and has been bandied about a lot, but that is also wrong. I think other factors, such as professional experience and the sector you work in – as a man or as a woman – are more important.

      Up until the age of 29 there is hardly any difference between men and women, but then children come along and the differences start to arise. I do not think that we really have a gender pay gap; I think we have a family pay gap, in effect. That truth should have been reflected much more clearly in the report. I also think that in many regards women are better off than men, for instance in terms of what happens to them once they have children. Families must not be placed at a disadvantage.

      Colleagues, I urge you to support my amendments. I think that the report is wrong-headed and erroneous and should either be reviewed or amended as I have suggested.

      The PRESIDENT* – Thank you, Mr Kleinwaechter. I call Mr Schennach as the final speaker.

      Mr SCHENNACH (Austria)* – I just want to speak so that our debate does not end with the previous contribution. The suggestion that a quota system will mean that people with sub-optimal qualifications will get into management positions is wrong. One could say that the men in management positions during the 2008-2009 financial crisis had sub-optimal qualifications. Had more women been in management back then, perhaps we would have avoided the crisis, because women are far more careful in their management of the economy and less prone to speculation.

      Mr Büchel had several concerns, and he should not try to offload them on to women. His talk of “quota women” is male thinking. It may be said that men know who they need to recruit to positions of responsibility, but what about male self-doubt? Do men wonder whether they have been promoted just because they are men, despite lacking the necessary qualifications, or because they are a member of a men’s club? Looking at higher and further education, 55% of students are women, and the majority of university graduates are women, too. However, not even 18% of university-level professors are women, so something is happening. The system is not working. There is a blockage somewhere.

      I am still taken aback by what Mr Kleinwaechter said about people with a sub-optimal level of qualifications. Viviane Reding, a former European Union commissioner, said that she hated quotas but loved what they produce. All that I can say is that the implementation of the quota directive in Austria has empowered women at last. Before that, it was jobs for the boys and cronyism. The whole system was not working in women’s interests. This excellent report is important and, speaking as a man, I heartily congratulate the rapporteur.

      The PRESIDENT* – Thank you, Mr Schennach. Owing to the number of amendments, we cannot have any more speakers.

      I call Ms Centemero, rapporteur, you have eight minutes.

      Ms CENTEMERO (Italy)* – I thank all those who spoke in the debate, particularly Mr Schennach, who enabled us to refocus on the report. Education is particularly important to me, and when we talk of the barriers that prevent women from being fully integrated into the labour market and the economy, it is not true that talented, skilled women who have studied for a long time find the door to top management positions open.

      Turning to quotas, some people want to keep power fairly and squarely in the hands of men, but women do not want to fight men. Men and women can shoulder responsibilities equally in a private, family context, and we want that to happen in public. We want to be able to decide things together with men, not against them. We want to make decisions about the future of our countries, but men have prevented us from doing that up until now. I stress that much of the quota legislation is temporary, but quotas have enabled us to see more women in politics, and we can see the difference that that has made.

      I was speaking at a personal level when I discussed empowering women in politics, but the barriers that we come up against are cultural, and the report highlights how it is necessary to overcome stereotypes. Careers in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics are primarily taken up by men, and women choose other career paths due to the models that push them in that direction. The decision to follow a STEM career is taken at age 14, so we have to direct women that way. The STEM sector has 800 000 jobs waiting for women, and we must consider what that means for pensions, but we have to overcome stereotypes in education and take a fresh look at curricula.

      The Council of Europe adopted a resolution on education for democracy and human rights in 2010, and we need introduce more civic education, including discussions about equality between men and women. Education is crucial. Educating women and girls about financial matters is important. What instruments are available to women to allow them to become entrepreneurs? The European Union has underscored the need to promote an entrepreneurial spirit and approach, which is crucial. I would also like to emphasise the importance of innovative instruments, which Ms D’Ambrosio mentioned, such as smart working apps. Those kinds of things should be picked up by member States, and I mention in the report a number of practices that we should attempt to share.

      On transparency, the principle of equal pay for equal work is in the Italian Constitution. We need transparency to ensure that men and women are paid equally on the basis of equal skills or qualifications.

      Let me conclude by paying tribute to the work of the Council of Europe. The Council of Europe and the Parliamentary Assembly’s equal opportunities committee has taught me that our countries are lagging behind when it comes to fighting discrimination against women. It is indicative that a man said women are not discriminated against. It is for women to say whether they feel they are discriminated against. Some people obviously want to maintain the status quo, and some, as I have seen for myself in my country, want us to turn back. We do not want that. We want to shoulder our responsibilities together with men, exactly as happens in families. We want to translate that to the public sphere, and we want to be able to take decisions for the good and in the interests of our countries.

      The PRESIDENT* – Thank you very much, Ms Centemero. Would Mr Kopřiva like to speak on behalf of the committee?

      Mr KOPŘIVA (Czech Republic) – Dear colleagues, thank you for your remarks, and I thank the rapporteur for an excellent job. The Committee on Equality and Non-Discrimination works on instances of discrimination on any grounds. Often, victims of discrimination are part of a group that are not particularly numerous – an ethnic group, for example, or an age group – and we call them a minority. Sometimes we refer to visible minorities, and groups whose members can easily be identified as such – for example, people with a different skin colour.

      This morning we discussed the discrimination that women still face in the economy – discrimination in access to jobs, career progression, or access to credit when they want to create or expand their business. How weird it is that women should face discrimination when they are actually a majority, and a visible majority at that. Countering discrimination is a moral obligation for all of us who are committed to defending human rights. In this case, it is also a way of increasing our country’s wealth and development. The report and draft resolution give a number of precise, concrete indications that our member States should follow to empower women and allow them to be on an equal footing in the workplace, the labour market and the economy in general. Dear colleagues, in view of all that, let us give this resolution the strong and convinced support it deserves.

      The PRESIDENT* – The Committee on Equality and Non-Discrimination has presented a draft resolution to which 16 amendments have been tabled. I understand that the chair of the committee wishes to propose to the Assembly that Amendment 2 to the draft resolution, which was unanimously approved by the committee, should be declared as agreed by the Assembly.

      Is that so, Mr Kopřiva?

      Mr KOPŘIVA (Czech Republic) – Yes.

      The PRESIDENT* – Does anyone object?

      As there is no objection, I declare that Amendment 2 to the draft resolution has been adopted.

      The remaining amendments will be taken individually in the order in which they appear in the Organisation of Debates and the revised Compendium issued today. I remind you that speeches on amendments are limited to 30 seconds.

      We come to Amendment 1, which has a sub-amendment. I call Mr Ghiletchi to support Amendment 1.

      Mr GHILETCHI (Republic of Moldova) – We tabled a series of amendments, and the main points in most of them concern motherhood, maternity and parenthood. I believe that the amendment will improve the draft resolution.

      The PRESIDENT* – We now come to the sub-amendment. I call Ms Centemero to support the sub-amendment.

      Ms CENTEMERO* (Italy) – The sub-amendment would delete the words, “Indeed, motherhood is not just an economic driver but is also a priceless contribution to society as a whole.”

      The PRESIDENT* – Does anyone wish to speak against the sub-amendment? I call Mr Kleinwaechter.

      Mr KLEINWAECHTER (Germany) – It is quite unbearable to want to delete the words that say that motherhood, or parenthood in general, is a priceless contribution to society as a whole. What would we do without our children? Where would our future be? We must also appreciate those women who decide in favour of motherhood, and we should not exclude them from a report such as this. Please do not delete those words.

      The PRESIDENT* – What is the opinion of the mover of the amendment?

      Mr GHILETCHI (Republic of Moldova) – We think that it weakens the amendment, but in a sense of compromise I am glad to accept it if the committee is in favour.

      The PRESIDENT* – The committee is obviously in favour, so we will now put the sub-amendment to the vote.

      The vote is open.

      The sub-amendment is adopted.

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

      What is the opinion of the committee?

      Mr KOPŘIVA (Czech Republic) – The committee is in favour.

      The PRESIDENT* – The vote is open.

      Amendment 1, as amended, is adopted.

      I call Mr Kleinwaechter to support Amendment 4.

      Mr KLEINWAECHTER (Germany) – As I said in my speech, there is no real gender pay gap but there is a family pay gap, because the pay gap begins when children come into the game. We propose to rewrite the paragraph so that it does not refer only to women employees, but to parent employees, because this issue affects parents rather than women.

      The PRESIDENT* – Does anyone wish to speak against the amendment? I call Ms Ævarsdóttir.

      Ms ÆVARSDÓTTIR (Iceland) – There is a gender pay gap and it starts before people have families. I cannot agree with the amendment and I reject it wholeheartedly.

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

      Mr KOPŘIVA (Czech Republic) – The committee is unanimously against.

      The PRESIDENT* – The vote is open.

      Amendment 4 is rejected.

      I call Mr Kleinwaechter to support Amendment 5.

      Mr KLEINWAECHTER (Germany) – The amendment serves simply to place a larger focus on families. We already have the words “enhancing gender balance” in the original text, so if we take out “equal opportunities in the work place” and replace them with “family support” we give a better representation of families in that context.

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

      What is the opinion of the committee?

      Mr KOPŘIVA (Czech Republic) – The committee is against.

      The PRESIDENT* – The vote is open.

      Amendment 5 is rejected.

      I call Mr Kleinwaechter to support Amendment 6.

      Mr KLEINWAECHTER (Germany) – Paragraphs 10.1.2 and 10.1.3 are about certification systems and making salary scales open. There is a huge problem with that because most salaries are based on experience and qualification, and this report tries to bring a single gender component into those comparisons, which simply has no place there. You cannot always single out one component, such as being a man or a woman, as the essential factor behind the pay gap. The paragraphs should be deleted.

      The PRESIDENT* – Does anyone wish to speak against the amendment? I call Mr Schennach.

      Mr SCHENNACH (Austria) – It is a fact that women who have the same kind of work as men get paid one-third less, and we need transparency to highlight that inequality. That is very important, so we should not delete these paragraphs.

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

      Mr KOPŘIVA (Czech Republic) – The committee is unanimously against.

      The PRESIDENT* – The vote is open.

      Amendment 6 is rejected.

      We come to Amendment 7. I call Mr Kleinwaechter to support the amendment.

      Mr KLEINWAECHTER (Germany) – Paragraph 10.1.6 is not good because it focuses on incentives to use childcare, such as making it tax deductible. That speaks in favour of an institutionalisation of childcare, which we cannot prescribe to families. Some parents actually care for their children and are there for them, and do not take them in the morning to some kind of childcare facility and pick them up again in the evening. We should encourage parents – not only women – to bring up their children at home, or at least make that acceptable. That is the point of the amendment.

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

      What is the opinion of the committee?

      Mr KOPŘIVA (Czech Republic) – Unanimously against.

      The PRESIDENT* – The vote is open.

      Amendment 7 is rejected.

      We come to Amendment 8. I call Mr Kleinwaechter to support the amendment.

      Mr KLEINWAECHTER (Germany) – There are policies in several countries and member States that also respect paternity leave. I do not understand why paternity leave does not figure in paragraph 10.1.7. It reads: “promote also through financial and fiscal incentives, companies’ policies to encourage women to return to work after maternity”. We could also include fathers and thereby encourage fathers and mothers to return after maternity or paternity leave. That is just more equal and just.

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

      What is the opinion of the committee on the amendment?

      Mr KOPŘIVA (Czech Republic) – Unanimously against.

      The PRESIDENT* – The vote is open.

      Amendment 8 is rejected.

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

      Mr KLEINWAECHTER (Germany) – This is the paragraph about quotas. The amendment would delete paragraph 10.2, including paragraph 10.2.1. We have had a lot of discussion about quotas today, so I do not want to speak more about them. The amendment would delete the quota prescription from the resolution.

      The PRESIDENT* – Does anyone wish to speak against the amendment? I call Ms Gorrotxategui.

      Ms GORROTXATEGUI (Spain)* – When an individual gets a job or promotion at work or is successful in business, they get that advantage because there is a social structure to back them up. None of us operates in a vacuum, after all. Such social structures are important and currently they are discriminatory. We need to change that and redress the balance.

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

      Mr KOPŘIVA (Czech Republic) – Unanimously against.

      The PRESIDENT* – The vote is open.

      Amendment 9 is rejected.

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

      Mr KLEINWAECHTER (Germany) – This amendment focuses on the special credit lines at reduced interest rates. As I said in my speech, everyone must be equal before the law and there can be no distinction between men and women when applying for a credit loan. This is just nonsense; it is unjust. I believe it would also be unconstitutional in many countries. It should be deleted.

      The PRESIDENT* – Does anyone wish to speak against the amendment? I call Mr Schennach.

      Mr SCHENNACH (Austria) – This is a reality. Commercial investment funds and development banks, such as the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, are doing this. It is called mini-credit. It means giving money to women to find independence – independence from men and independence within society – and to find a way out of poverty. This is one of the most successful instruments in development aid. For example, a lot of women in the Republic of Moldova have received such mini-credit. It is very important and it already exists.

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

      Mr KOPŘIVA (Czech Republic) – Unanimously against.

      The PRESIDENT* – The vote is open.

      Amendment 10 is rejected.

      We come to Amendment 11. I call Mr Kleinwaechter to support the amendment.

      Mr KLEINWAECHTER (Germany) – This paragraph is about providing women with free or affordable training opportunities. The question is, why only women? Should it be costly for men? It is already the case with many courses that men have to pay and women get them free. I think this is unjust. They should be free for everyone who is interested, because fostering economic activity is good for our economies. We should give everyone the opportunity to have free training in entrepreneurship – both men and women. Of course we must encourage women to participate, but there should not be a difference in the cost.

      The PRESIDENT* – Does anyone wish to speak against the amendment? I call Ms Ævarsdóttir.

      Ms ÆVARSDÓTTIR (Iceland) – I think that perhaps the mover of all these amendments is a bit confused about what kind of report we are debating. We are talking about the economic empowerment of women. Obviously many things can be done to improve the economic situation of the entire populace, but right now we are discussing how to improve the economic empowerment of women. Bringing men into the equation every time we discuss how to do that is not helpful in any way whatsoever and has nothing to do with this report.

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

      Mr KOPŘIVA (Czech Republic) – Unanimously against.

      The PRESIDENT* – The vote is open.

      Amendment 11 is rejected.

      We come to amendment 3, which has two sub-amendments from the committee. I call Mr Ghiletchi to support the amendment.

      Mr GHILETCHI (Republic of Moldova) – The aim of the amendment is to ensure that women who give birth to children, take care of their children and spend time with their children are not punished in retirement. It is important that our policies offer them a social guarantee in the future by recognising the work they do at home to care for their children.

      The PRESIDENT* – We come to Sub-Amendment 1 to Amendment 3. I call Ms Centemero to support the sub-amendment on behalf of the committee.

      Ms CENTEMERO (Italy)* – The first sub-amendment that the committee proposes would delete the words “at the policy level and” from paragraph x.x.1 after the words “caregiving work”.

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

      What is the opinion of the mover of the main amendment?

      Mr GHILETCHI (Republic of Moldova) –        I agree.

      The PRESIDENT* – The committee is obviously in favour.

      The vote is open.

      Sub-Amendment 1 is adopted.

      We come to Sub-Amendment 2 to Amendment 3. I call Ms Centemero to support the sub-amendment on behalf of the committee.

      Ms CENTEMERO (Italy)* – The second sub-amendment seeks to delete paragraph x.x.2 completely.

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

      What is the opinion of the mover of the main amendment?

      Mr GHILETCHI (Republic of Moldova) –        I agree.

      The PRESIDENT* – The committee is obviously in favour.

      The vote is open.

      Sub-Amendment 2 is adopted.

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

      What is the opinion of the committee?

      Mr KOPŘIVA (Czech Republic) – Unanimously in favour.

      The PRESIDENT* – The vote is open.

      Amendment 3, as amended, is adopted.

      I understand that Mr Kleinwaechter wishes to withdraw amendments 12 to 16.

      Mr KLEINWAECHTER (Germany) – That is correct. And I recommend that what is proposed is rejected.

      The PRESIDENT* – Thank you, Mr Kleinwaechter. Amendments 12 to 16 are not moved.

      We will now proceed to vote on the whole of the draft resolution contained in Document 14573, as amended. A simple majority is required.

      The vote is open.

      The draft resolution in Document 14573, as amended, is adopted, with 21 votes for, 4 against and 2 abstentions.

3. Progress Report of the Bureau and the Standing Committee (continued)

      The PRESIDENT* – We turn now to the progress report of the Bureau.

      This morning, the Bureau has proposed several references to committees. They are set out in the progress report, Document 14579 Addendum 3. These references must be submitted for ratification by the Assembly in accordance with Article 26.3 of the Rules.

      Are there any objections to these references?

      Mr Ariev, you wish to raise an objection. You have 30 seconds.

      Mr ARIEV (Ukraine) – I have an objection. The references to committees is very special procedure that we have. In respect of making reports for the Assembly in October 2018, we should not be rushed into making any special procedure for such important things as changing the procedure of the Assembly. It should be discussed in committee in the proper way, but we have only scheduled one committee meeting and there is no explanation why the Assembly needs this procedure so urgently. So I object to the words, “for report at the October 2018 part-session of the Assembly”. They should be excluded from the report.

      The PRESIDENT* – Just to be clear, we are not here to change the contents of the text of the references, as proposed by the Bureau. We can decide to send this report back to the Bureau, but we cannot start changing the text. So if you are contesting the fact of this being referred back to the Bureau, you can do that, but you cannot amend the text here.

      Mr ARIEV (Ukraine) – If I have no other option, I will. I said in paragraph 1.1.1 that there is a reference to the rules. There are two sub-paragraphs that I contest. But if I have no other way, I will do that. My objection is regarding the fast-tracking of the changes. I think that is inappropriate. We should keep the normal procedure for the changing of rules in any kind of situation.

      The PRESIDENT* – I seek another clarification. Is it the whole thing that you wish to refer back or just the proposal under bullet points 2 and 3, which mention the “October part-session”? Is it just those two bullet points that you wish to refer back to the Bureau?

      Mr ARIEV (Ukraine) – Just the reference to the “October part-session”.

      The PRESIDENT* – So it is those two bullet points that you wish to see referred back to the Bureau. I will submit this proposal to the vote.

      Does anybody wish to speak against Mr Ariev’s proposal?

      Mr KOX (Netherlands) – This morning, we had a meeting of the Bureau, and this proposal, which was unanimously proposed by the Presidential Committee to the Bureau, was adopted with a large majority. It is interesting that Mr Ariev, who was there, did not mention this, but for your information a large majority of the Bureau supported this proposal and it rejects the ideas of Mr Ariev. It is his right to do this at the very last moment, but do not be confused – almost everybody was in favour.

      The PRESIDENT* – We now proceed to a vote on Mr Ariev’s proposal. Those in favour of the objection should vote “Yes”. Those in favour of the Bureau’s proposal should vote “No”. A simple majority will decide this question.

      The vote is open.

      The proposal is rejected.

      The references to the committees proposed by the Bureau are ratified.

      I now propose that the other proposals in the Progress Report, Document 14579 Addendum 3, be ratified. Are there any objections?

      There are no objections, the progress report is approved.

4. Voting Champions

      The PRESIDENT* – I am pleased to announce the names of our voting champions – those members who have taken part in the most votes during this part-session. In fact, they have participated in every single vote this week.

      They are Mr Valeriu Ghiletchi and Mr Stefan Schennach.

      I congratulate them. As is traditional, we have small gifts for the champions, and I invite them to come and collect them.

5. Closure of the Part-Session

      The PRESIDENT* – We have now come to the end of our business.

      I thank all members of the Assembly, particularly rapporteurs and chairpersons of committees, for their hard work during this part-session.

      I also thank all the Vice-Presidents who have assisted me by presiding over sittings of the Assembly this week. They are Mr Werner Amon, Mr Volodymyr Ariev, Ms Rósa Björk Brynjólfsdóttir, Sir Roger Gale, Mr Alfred Heer, Ms Stella Kyriakides, Ms Ana Catarina Mendes, Mr Andreas Nick and Madame Nicole Trisse.

      In addition, I thank all the staff and interpreters, both permanent and temporary, who have worked so hard and faithfully to make the part-session a success.

      The fourth part of the 2018 session will be held from 8 to 12 October 2018.

      I declare the third part of the 2018 session of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe closed.

      The sitting is closed.

      (The sitting was closed at 12.50 p.m.)


1.        Deliberate destruction and illegal trafficking of cultural heritage

Presentation by Mr Schennach of the report of the Committee on Culture, Science, Education and Media, Document 14566

Speakers: Mr van de Ven, Ms Şupac, Ms Gambaro, Ms Hovhannisyan, Ms Mccarthy, Lord Blencathra, Mr Manninger, Mr Howell, Ms Zohrabyan, Dame Cheryl Gillan, Ms Aghayeva, Mr Candan, Ms Pashayeva, Mr Huseynov

Draft resolution in Document 14566 adopted

Draft recommendation in Document 14566 adopted

2.        Empowering women in the economy

Presentation by Ms Centemero of the report of the Committee on Equality and Non-Discrimination, Dcoument 14573

Speakers: Ms Brynjólfsdóttir, Ms Filipovski, Ms De Sutter, Dame Cheryl Gillan, Ms Mehl, Ms D’Ambrosio, Mr Büchel, Mr Alazzam, Ms Muflih, Mr Kleinwaechter, Mr Schennach

Draft resolution in Document 14573, as amended, adopted

3.        Progress report of the Bureau and the Standing Committee (continued)

4.        Voting champions

5. Closure of the part-session

Appendix / Annexe

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

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

AGHAYEVA, Ulviyye [Ms]

APOSTOL, Ion [Mr] (GHIMPU, Mihai [Mr])

ARIEV, Volodymyr [Mr]

BECHT, Olivier [M.]

BİLGEHAN, Gülsün [Mme]

BLENCATHRA, David [Lord] (DUNDEE, Alexander [The Earl of] [ ])


BÜCHEL, Roland Rino [Mr] (LOMBARDI, Filippo [M.])



CORSINI, Paolo [Mr]


D’AMBROSIO, Vanessa [Ms]

DE PIETRO, Cristina [Ms] (CATALFO, Nunzia [Ms])

EBERLE-STRUB, Susanne [Ms]

FILIPOVSKI, Dubravka [Ms] (PANTIĆ PILJA, Biljana [Ms])

FRIDEZ, Pierre-Alain [M.]

GAMBARO, Adele [Ms]

GHILETCHI, Valeriu [Mr]

GILLAN, Cheryl [Dame]

GIRO, Francesco Maria [Mr]


HAJIYEV, Sabir [Mr]


HOWELL, John [Mr]

HUSEYNOV, Rafael [Mr]

JENIŠTA, Luděk [Mr]

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


KLICH, Bogdan [Mr]

KOPŘIVA, František [Mr]

KOX, Tiny [Mr]

MANNINGER, Jenő [Mr] (NÉMETH, Zsolt [Mr])

MASIULIS, Kęstutis [Mr] (BUTKEVIČIUS, Algirdas [Mr])

McCARTHY, Kerry [Ms]

MEHL, Emilie Enger [Ms]

MÜLLER, Thomas [Mr]

NENUTIL, Miroslav [Mr]

OBRADOVIĆ, Marija [Ms]

OEHME, Ulrich [Mr] (BERNHARD, Marc [Mr])

OHLSSON, Carina [Ms]

PASHAYEVA, Ganira [Ms]

REICHARDT, André [M.] (GROSDIDIER, François [M.])

SCHÄFER, Axel [Mr]

SCHENNACH, Stefan [Mr]

SEYIDOV, Samad [Mr]

SOLEIM, Vetle Wang [Mr] (SCHOU, Ingjerd [Ms])

ŞUPAC, Inna [Ms]

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

TERIK, Tiit [Mr]

THÓRARINSSON, Birgir [Mr] (ÓLASON, Bergþór [Mr])

VALENTA, Jiři [Mr] (NĚMCOVÁ, Miroslava [Ms])

VEN, Mart van de [Mr]

VOGT, Ute [Ms] (BARNETT, Doris [Ms])

YEMETS, Leonid [Mr]

ZOHRABYAN, Naira [Mme]

Also signed the register / Ont également signé le registre

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

ATSHEMYAN, Karine [Ms]

COMTE, Raphaël [M.]

GERMANN, Hannes [Mr]

LOMBARDI, Filippo [M.]


MARUKYAN, Edmon [Mr]

MASŁOWSKI, Maciej [Mr]

Observers / Observateurs


Partners for democracy / Partenaires pour la démocratie

ALAZZAM, Riad [Mr]

MUFLIH, Haya [Ms]

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

the Parliamentary Assembly)/ Représentants de la communauté chypriote turque

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

CANDAN Armağan

SANER Hamza Ersan