Opening of the 2017 Autumn Session

Adopting its final agenda at the opening of the 2017 Autumn Session, the Assembly decided to hold an urgent debate on “The new Ukrainian law on education: a major impediment to the teaching of national minorities' mother tongues”, on Thursday morning, followed in the afternoon by a current affairs debate on "The need for a political solution to the crisis in Catalonia".

Following the resignation of Pedro Agramunt as President of the Assembly, a new President shall be elected on Monday 9 October. The proposed candidates are Stella Kyriakides (Cyprus, EPP/CD) and Emanuelis Zingeris (Lithuania, EPP/CD). The President so elected shall remain in office until the opening of the next ordinary session (22-26 January 2018).

Addresses by the President of the Czech Republic Miloš Zeman and the President of Ukraine Petro Poroshenko and a debate on two reports calling for a Council of Europe Summit are among the highlights of the session.

The winner of the 2017 Václav Havel Human Rights Prize will be announced on Monday afternoon, from a shortlist of three nominees, and the prize awarded in a special ceremony in the plenary.

Also on the agenda are debates on the situation in Azerbaijan based on two reports – one on the functioning of democratic institutions in the country and another on respect for human rights. The parliamentarians will also hold debates on promoting the human rights of intersex people, on the use of new genetic technologies in human beings, and on prosecuting and punishing crimes against humanity – or even possible genocide – committed by Daesh.

The Assembly will debate new proposals for promoting and strengthening the transparency, accountability and integrity of its members.

Czech Foreign Minister Lubomir Zaorálek, who chairs the Council of Europe’s Committee of Ministers, will present the communication on its recent activities. The following day the Assembly will debate the activities of the OECD in 2016-2017, with input from its Secretary-General Angel Gurría, and Council of Europe Secretary General Thorbjørn Jagland will hold his usual question and answer session with members.