Call for ‘leadership and vision’ from parliaments in tackling Europe’s challenges

PACE President Pedro Agramunt has closed the European Conference of Presidents of Parliament in Strasbourg by making an appeal to parliaments across the continent to show “leadership and vision” in tackling the current challenges faced by Europe’s democracies.

The conference brought together more than 50 Speakers of Parliament – as well as the heads of several international parliamentary assemblies – to discuss how parliaments should respond to the migration and refugee crisis, promote democratic and human rights values, and combat hate speech, racism and intolerance.

Setting out his conclusions at the end of the two-day conference, the President acknowledged the magnitude of challenges such as terrorism, the migration and asylum crisis and the economic downturn while warning against insularity and unilateralism, which could jeopardise what has been achieved so far in the area of democracy, human rights and the rule of law .

The President called on his fellow parliamentarians to support the organisation of a fourth Summit of Council of Europe Heads of State and Government, to give “fresh impetus” to the organisation’s work and its co-operation with member States.

He also listed a series of ideas put forward by participants to boost parliamentary involvement in dealing with flows of migrants and refugees, as well as tackling the growing phenomenon of hate-speech in politics and society.

Mr Agramunt ended the conference by announcing that Turkey would be the next host of the Speakers’ Conference in 2018. It takes place every two years either in Strasbourg or in the capital of a member state.