Spring Session 2015: mass surveillance, drones, situation in Ukraine

Debates on mass surveillance and the need to uphold human rights and international law in connection with the use of drones and targeted killings will be among the highlights of the Spring Session of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE), to be held in Strasbourg from 20 to 24 April.

His Majesty the King of the Belgians will address the Assembly on Tuesday 21 April.

A current affairs debate on "The political and security situation in Ukraine and its implications" has been requested.

In addition, the Assembly will debate the reconsideration of sanctions in respect of the Russian delegation to the Assembly, the humanitarian consequences of the actions of the terrorist group known as "Islamic State" and discrimination against transgender people in Europe. It will also focus on legislation and practice concerning the removal of children from their families in the member States, as well as post-monitoring dialogue with Monaco.

Didier Reynders, Minister for Foreign Affairs and European Affairs of Belgium, will present the communication from the Committee of Ministers in the framework of the Belgian Chairmanship, and Nils Muiznieks, Council of Europe Human Rights Commissioner, will present his 2014 Annual activity report.

Spring Session 2015 web page

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The final agenda is decided by the Assembly on the opening day of the session.

Draft agenda

Monday 20 April
• Statement by the President
• Requests for current affairs or urgent debates
• Progress report of the Bureau and the Standing Committee
• Communication from the Committee of Ministers presented by Didier Reynders, Minister for Foreign Affairs and European Affairs of Belgium, Chairperson of the Committee of Ministers
• Free debate

Tuesday 21 April
• Possible election of judges to the European Court of Human Rights in respect of Andorra, Austria, Finland, Ireland, Liechtenstein and Monaco
Mass surveillance
• Address by his Majesty the King of the Belgians
• Questions to Thorbjørn Jagland, Secretary General of the Council of Europe
• Joint debate
- Budgets and priorities of the Council of Europe for the biennium 2016-2017
- Expenditure of the Parliamentary Assembly for the biennium 2016-2017
• Humanitarian consequences of the actions of the terrorist group known as “Islamic State”

Wednesday 22 April
• Reconsideration of sanctions in respect of the delegation of the Russian Federation (follow-up to paragraph 15 of Resolution 2034 (2015)
• Discrimination against transgender people in Europe and statement by Helena Dalli, Minister for Social Dialogue, Consumer Affairs and Liberties of Malta
Social services in Europe: legislation and practice of the removal of children from their families in Council of Europe member States

Thursday 23 April
• Possible debate under urgent procedure or current affairs debate
• Annual activity report 2014 by the Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights
Drones and targeted killings: the need to uphold human rights and international law
• Post-monitoring dialogue with Monaco

Friday 24 April
• Equality and non-discrimination in the access to justice
The effectiveness of the European Convention on Human Rights: the Brighton Declaration and beyond

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Practical information

Live web stream: The session is streamed live on PACE’s website.

Twitter: #PACEspring2015

Press conferences: PACE President Anne Brasseur will give a press conference on Monday 20 April at 10.30 a.m. Other press conferences will be announced on the spot. They are streamed live over the web.

For TV planning units: videos in broadcast quality summing up PACE highlights can be downloaded for free no later than two hours after the event. Further information from the Council of Europe Audiovisual Service, tel. +33 3 88 41 25 64 (prior to the session) or +33 3 88 41 35 00 (during the session).

For accreditation: Directorate of Communication, accreditation@coe.int.

Further details: see the Assembly's website.

Contact: PACE Communication Division, tel. +33 3 88 41 31 93; pace.com@coe.int.