Russia’s non-participation 'benefits neither Russia nor PACE', says President in Moscow

Speaking at the end of a two-day working visit to Moscow on 5 and 6 September, Pedro Agramunt stressed that the non-participation of Russian parliamentarians in PACE “benefits neither Russia nor the Assembly”.

He praised the commitment of Russia and of Russian parliamentarians to the Council of Europe, recalling that this year marked the 20th anniversary of Russia’s membership in the Organisation.

“From my discussions, I can see that we pursue the same objective – ensuring that the Assembly fulfills its role of Pan-European political forum for all 47 members of the Organisation. We have to work together to achieve this and I look forward to the continuation of our discussions so as to make progress together, in view of the Assembly’s plenary session next year,” he said.

He looked forward to receiving the Speaker of the Federation Council, Valentina Matvienko, who will attend the European Conference of Speakers of Parliament next week in Strasbourg.

The President was accompanied by the leaders of the Assembly’s five political groups. The delegation met the Speaker of the State Duma Sergey Naryshkin, as well as other leading members of the Russian parliament.

 

Full text of remarks to the press:

“I would like to thank Speaker Naryshkin for inviting me and my colleagues for this meeting in Moscow. We had a constructive discussion on a wide range of issues, including the relations between the Russian Parliament and the Parliamentary Assembly, as well as the possible reform of the Assembly’s rules and procedures.

On the first point – relations between the Russian Parliament and the Assembly – I appreciate the interest and commitment of Speaker Naryshkin and of Russian colleagues. Russia is a member state of the Council of Europe and should participate in all activities of the Organisation. Non-participation of Russian parliamentarians benefits neither Russia nor the Assembly and this has been clearly acknowledged in the recent Declaration of the Bureau of the Assembly.

From my discussions, I can see that we pursue the same objective – ensuring that the Assembly fulfills its role of pan-European political forum for all 47 members of the Organisation. We have to work together to achieve this, and I look forward to the continuation of our discussions so as to make progress together, in view of the Assembly’s plenary session next year.

On the second point, I would like to thank Speaker Naryshkin and our Russian colleagues for sharing with us their analysis. Their analysis is very important for us, because they raised a number of valid points: reform of the monitoring procedure in the Assembly, and ways to increase the participation of members in the voting in the Assembly, thus increasing the legitimacy of our decisions even further.

These are serious issues which require a serious examination among all 47 members of the Organisation; not 46.

We have taken due note of the issues raised and we are ready to discuss them with you, as well as with the members of all national delegations in the Assembly. I hope that we will soon be able to do so in Strasbourg.

To conclude, I would like once again to praise the commitment of Russia and of Russian parliamentarians to the Council of Europe. This is particularly important as we are celebrating the 20th anniversary of Russia’s membership in the Council of Europe. In this context, it will be an honour and a privilege for me to receive next week in Strasbourg the Speaker of the Federation Council, Valentina Matvienko, who will attend the European Conference of Speakers of Parliament. Mr Naryshkin is obviously invited too, but I understand he has other commitments relating to the election campaign.

I am glad that, as we are discussing crucial issues for Europe – the refugee crisis and migration; threats to our values of democracy, the rule of law and human rights; the rise of intolerance and hate, as well as populist and xenophobic rhetoric – the voice of Russian parliamentarians will be heard.

Thank you for your attention.”