Political Affairs Committee calls for Council of Europe Summit

The Political Affairs Committee today unanimously called for a Council of Europe Summit "to preserve and further strengthen the unique Pan-European project, currently threatened by divisions and a weakening of member States' commitment."

It stressed that the Council of Europe, as the only Pan-European Organisation capable of promoting and guaranteeing democratic security throughout the continent, was best placed to help overcome the challenges raised by growing nationalism and avoid the building of new walls.

"Member States should clearly express their willingness to continue to be part of a single community, sharing common values, a common legal order and a common jurisdiction, and capable of capitalising on internal differences", the committee stressed in its draft resolution based on a report by Michele Nicoletti (Italy, SOC).

The committee also said that it regretted the announcement by the Russian Federation to suspend the payment of its contribution to the Council of Europe budget for 2017 until the full and unconditional restoration of the credentials of its PACE delegation. Noting the current inconsistency in the composition of the two statutory organs, the Political Affairs Committee considered the overall situation within the Organisation as counterproductive as it aversely affected the overall impact of the Council of Europe as guardian of human rights and democracy throughout the continent.

It therefore suggested that as part of the preparatory work for the Summit, the Assembly initiates a procedure aimed at harmonising, jointly with the Committee of Ministers - within an ad hoc working group of the the Joint Committee - the rules governing participation and representation of members States in both statutory organs.

In a separate draft recommendation, it asks the Committee of Ministers to closely associate the Assembly in the preparation of the Summit.