PACE encourages integration as a facilitator for democratic participation

The Assembly today called on member states to encourage integration as a facilitator for democratic participation and to facilitate access to nationality, including dual nationality.

 

During a special debate on the state of democracy in Europe, the Assembly discussed the specific challenges facing European democracies, on the basis of three rapports by Andreas Gross (Switzerland, SOC), John Greenway (United Kingdom, EDG) and Serhiy Holovaty (Ukraine, ALDE).

 

According to reliable estimates, 8.8 per cent of Europe’s total population are migrants, and the figure is increasing, In this context, parliamentarians stressed the need to strike the right balance between respect for diversity and the need for integration for the proper functioning of democracy.

 

The Assembly also debated measures to improve the democratic participation of migrants and called on member states to grant the right to vote and to stand in local and regional elections to migrants who have been resident for a period of 5 years or less, who should, at the same time, be encouraged to learn the language of the host country.

 

The debate was preceded by a conference on the same issue, that took place the day before, in which representatives of a number of NGOs took part. Mr Greenway, co-chair of the conference, presented to the Assembly, as his own, a number of amendments to the recommendations proposed by the participants in the conference.

 

Debating the functioning of democratic institutions in Europe and the progress of the Assembly’s monitoring procedure, the parliamentarians undertook a country-by-country analysis of the situation in the eleven member states currently subject to the Assembly’s full monitoring procedure (Albania, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Georgia, Moldova, Monaco, Montenegro, the Russian Federation, Serbia and Ukraine), and the three countries engaged in post-monitoring dialogue (Bulgaria, Turkey and “the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia”).

 

The Assembly assessed both progress and shortcomings with respect to the recurrent issues raised in all these countries (separation of powers and the role of parliament; elections and electoral reform; political parties and their funding; the fight against terrorism; media pluralism and local and regional democracy) and urged all states currently under monitoring or engaged in post-monitoring dialogue to continue their co-operation with the Monitoring Committee and to implement all the recommendations contained in the country-specific resolutions adopted by the Assembly.