Pedro Agramunt: ‘We need the voices of parliamentarians from all 47 member states in our Assembly’

“The participation of the Speaker of Russia's Federation Council, Valentina Matvienko, in the European Conference of Speakers of Parliament is very important because Russia is a member state of our Organisation and this year we are celebrating the 20th anniversary of Russia’s accession to the Council of Europe,” stressed the PACE President at the end of their bilateral meeting in Strasbourg today.

“The views of Russian MPs – as well as those of the MPs from the other Council of Europe member states – are essential when we discuss global challenges. The voice of parliamentarians from all 47 member states must be present in the Assembly Chamber,” he continued.

“We discussed the issues of terrorism, migration and the refugee crisis, as well as the dangerous rise of populist, extremist and xenophobic rhetoric. We share the view that politicians from all 47 member states of the Council of Europe must unite efforts to tackle these challenges,” he said, welcoming Mrs Matvienko's support.

 “We also discussed conflicts in Europe, in particular in the eastern part of Ukraine; this is a major challenge for Europe and for our institutions. We may disagree on some aspects of the crisis, its origins and the ways to address it. But we do agree that the violence must stop, that we need a peaceful solution to the conflict and that the Minsk agreements must be implemented. This is a good start for deepening our discussions further and I hope that, eventually, our talks will lead to concrete co-operation,” he concluded.

Ms Matvienko also met the Presidential Committee – comprising the President of PACE, the Chairs of the Assembly’s political groups and the Secretary General of the Assembly – as a follow-up to the visit made by President Agramunt and the Chairs of the political groups to Moscow on 6 and 7 September.