‘The Arab Spring’: the Council of Europe must involve itself tangibly, PACE's Bureau says

Strasbourg, 13.09.2011 - On the occasion of the International Day of Democracy (15 September 2011), the Bureau of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) made the following statement:

"The celebration of the International Day of Democracy takes on a very special meaning this year at a time when movements of popular protest have broken out in the Arab world, bringing changes both spectacular and unexpected. The protagonists of the “Arab Spring”, who have forged rapid links via social networks and the Internet, want democratic change founded on trust and transparency: they aspire to dignity, freedom, social justice and respect for human rights in a law-based state. The Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe salutes the courage and supports the commitment of the emerging pro-democracy movements in the Arab states which still display a great diversity of situations.

This support must now be accompanied by strong actions and signals. The Council of Europe and its member states must seize this opportunity to involve themselves tangibly and aid the transition to democracy in the Arab world. Reaffirming its commitment to a cohesive Europe, the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe would turn to account its experience of assistance to countries in transition and of election monitoring. The Parliamentary Assembly offers the parliaments of non-member states in the neighbourhood “Partner for Democracy status”, which the Parliament of Morocco already gained in June this year, while the Palestinian National Council’s accession to it is in progress. The Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe is more determined than ever to pursue this innovative process of democratic partnership."