Logo Assembly Logo Council of Europe

Continuation of sitting No 20 of Monday 24 June 2019

Ms Liliane MAURY PASQUIER

Switzerland, SOC, President of the Assembly 

00:00:17

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The vote is open.

The amendment is rejected.

Amendment 100. Mr GONCHARENKO.

Mr Oleksii GONCHARENKO

Ukraine, EC 

00:00:36

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My congratulations on this new day. In the Draft Resolution, Paragraph 10: delete the following sentence: "However in order to ensure the coherence of the organisation's internal legal framework the assembly in its decisions should continue to comply with the statute of the Council of Europe and to take into due consideration relevant decisions taken by the Committee of Ministers therefore to ensure that the Member States right and obligation to be represented and to participate in both statutory bodies of Council of Europe and so on....". I think it's very important.

Ms Liliane MAURY PASQUIER

Switzerland, SOC, President of the Assembly 

00:01:16

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Opposite opinion, Mrs. De SUTTER?

Ms Petra De SUTTER

Belgium, SOC 

00:01:21

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Well, for the ones that are still with us, this is exactly the same as the previous amendment so I'm exactly, for the same reasons, I'm against it.

Ms Liliane MAURY PASQUIER

Switzerland, SOC, President of the Assembly 

00:01:28

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Thank you.

The vote is open.

The amendment is rejected.

Amendment n° 80, Mr LIDDELL-GRAINGER.

Mr Ian LIDDELL-GRAINGER

United Kingdom, EC 

00:01:46

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Thank you very much indeed. This is about two-thirds the way down, where it says "the steps the Council of Europe are to take into consideration the relevant decision", what we're saying is to drop out "decisions taken" and put in "opinions issued" because we feel that is a very different thing to saying, listen this is basically the relationship we have with the Statute of the Council of Europe and the decisions taken by the Council of Ministers. We, therefore, believe this tightens up this entire thing and makes it more readable and also more coherent.

Ms Liliane MAURY PASQUIER

Switzerland, SOC, President of the Assembly 

00:02:16

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Thank you.

Mrs. De SUTTER, against?

Ms Petra De SUTTER

Belgium, SOC 

00:02:20

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Yes, because, again, we say that we "take into due consideration". So we think about it, we debate it, and we do whatever we want. Whether it is a decision, an opinion, or whatever. So I don't see the added value in changing this.

Ms Liliane MAURY PASQUIER

Switzerland, SOC, President of the Assembly 

00:02:32

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The vote is open.

The amendment is rejected.

Amendment n° 81, Mr LIDDELL-GRAINGER.

Mr Ian LIDDELL-GRAINGER

United Kingdom, EC 

00:02:48

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Thank you. This is to do with dropping out the last major sentence after the Committee of Ministers. It actually says in it: "It assures Member's rights and obligations, and are represented to participate in both statutory bodies".  I think that taken as read, we know that already. Therefore I can't see why we need this in. It's nice, but it's not actually necessary. By dropping it out, I think it tidies up the whole paragraph, makes it more readable and therefore I think makes it better. Thank you.

Ms Petra De SUTTER

Belgium, SOC 

00:03:24

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Well yeah, it destroys it, so I can't agree with that.

Ms Liliane MAURY PASQUIER

Switzerland, SOC, President of the Assembly 

00:03:28

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The vote is open.

The amendment is rejected.

Amendment n° 155. Mrs. SOTNYK.

Ms Olena SOTNYK

Ukraine, ALDE 

00:03:48

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Thank you.

This is a substantial amendment. The main reason why I proposed it is so that everybody could really realise that this is not the right way to deal with one particular country –I mean with Russia– to change the Rules and procedures.

If you want them to come, let them come under equal conditions. Then we will talk about challenging the credentials and decide what kind of sanctions we are ready to impose, but without any exceptions, without changing the Rules and procedures.

Ms Liliane MAURY PASQUIER

Switzerland, SOC, President of the Assembly 

00:04:24

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Thank you.

Opposite opinion, Mrs. De SUTTER?

Ms Petra De SUTTER

Belgium, SOC 

00:04:27

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Yeah, again, this destroys this paragraph. So it makes no sense to accept this amendment.

Ms Liliane MAURY PASQUIER

Switzerland, SOC, President of the Assembly 

00:04:32

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Thank you.

The vote is open.

The amendment is rejected.

Amendment n° 205, MR. GONCHARENKO.

Mr Oleksii GONCHARENKO

Ukraine, EC 

00:04:54

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In the Draft Resolution, Paragraph 10, we propose to delete the last sentence.

Ms Liliane MAURY PASQUIER

Switzerland, SOC, President of the Assembly 

00:04:59

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Thank you.

Mrs De SUTTER, against the amendment?

Ms Petra De SUTTER

Belgium, SOC 

00:05:04

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Well, it's exactly the same proposition as the previous Amendment, so no, it makes no sense.

Ms Liliane MAURY PASQUIER

Switzerland, SOC, President of the Assembly 

00:05:09

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The vote is open.

The amendment is rejected.

Amendment n° 44. Mr OMTZIGT.

Mr Pieter OMTZIGT

Netherlands, EPP/CD 

00:05:31

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Thank you, Madame President.

It's very important that we decide what rights you cannot take away.

So if your credentials are challenged we propose that your rights to elect the Secretary-General, to elect the High Commissioner, to elect the judges, cannot be taken away.

But we still should keep some way of being able to punish delegations, so we can still do it with the other rights.

So this is a sort of compromise so we keep power in our own hands, so we stay relevant as an organisation, so please support this amendment.

Ms Liliane MAURY PASQUIER

Switzerland, SOC, President of the Assembly 

00:06:13

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Thank you.

Against the amendment, Mrs. De SUTTER?

Ms Petra De SUTTER

Belgium, SOC 

00:06:17

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Yes, well this is of course an important amendment as I guess we all agree but it has also been the discussion of substantive debate in the Committee.

The Committee felt that we had to go further than what is written here.

So although I have a lot of understanding for the amendment I would want to stick to the text that we proposed in the resolution and not accept the amendment.

Ms Liliane MAURY PASQUIER

Switzerland, SOC, President of the Assembly 

00:06:42

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Thank you.

We had an opinion for and an opinion against.

Excuse me, I did not see, but now we have had a justification for and against and we will vote on Amendment number 44.

The ballot is open.

Excuse me, Mrs. OOMEN-RUIJTEN, you have to put the microphone on.

Is that a point of order?

Ms Ria OOMEN-RUIJTEN

Netherlands, EPP/CD 

00:07:27

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...that you didn't see the one who wanted to speak against.

Ms Liliane MAURY PASQUIER

Switzerland, SOC, President of the Assembly 

00:07:34

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The vote has begun, Mrs OOMEN-RUIJTEN.

We have one speaker in favour, one against. I can't give the floor to anyone else.

You had to show more and, above all, now you have to vote.

The vote is closed.

The amendment is rejected.

Amendment number 204.

I call Mr GONCHARENKO.

Mr Oleksii GONCHARENKO

Ukraine, EC 

00:08:17

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In the Draft Resolution, Paragraph 10, replace the last sentence with the following sentence: "the members' right to vote, to speak and to be represented in the Assembly and its bodies can be suspended or withdrawn in the context of a challenge to or reconsideration of credentials, in exceptional circumstances".

Ms Liliane MAURY PASQUIER

Switzerland, SOC, President of the Assembly 

00:08:39

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Thank you.

Against the amendment, Mrs. De SUTTER?

Ms Petra De SUTTER

Belgium, SOC 

00:08:45

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Yes, well this changes, again, what we proposed in Paragraph 10, so I would not accept this.

Ms Liliane MAURY PASQUIER

Switzerland, SOC, President of the Assembly 

00:08:52

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Thank you.

The vote is open.

The amendment is rejected.

Amendment number 82, Mr LIDDELL-GRAINGER.

Mr Ian LIDDELL-GRAINGER

United Kingdom, EC 

00:09:14

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Thank you very much.

I don't intend, Madam President, for your ruling to read all this out. But to say that we'd like a substantial change to paragraph 10. It's basically ”utilising the Court of Human Rights, the Commission of Human Rights, the Secretary General and the Deputy Secretary General of the Council of Europe and the Secretary General of the Parliamentary Assembly.” Only people who are part of this and doing the job that they're meant to be doing within this session and with this organisation, sorry, can actually have their credentials ratified. So it means they have to be part of this.

Ms Liliane MAURY PASQUIER

Switzerland, SOC, President of the Assembly 

00:09:47

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Thank you, a contrary opinion on this amendment, Mrs. De SUTTER?

Ms Petra De SUTTER

Belgium, SOC 

00:09:54

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Yes. Well, two things. First of all, it takes the same wording as the Omtizgt amendment. And secondly, while it is obvious that credentials should be ratified before further rights can be given, so the addition doesn't fit as well. So I'm against the amendment.

Ms Liliane MAURY PASQUIER

Switzerland, SOC, President of the Assembly 

00:10:14

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The vote is open.

The amendment is rejected.

Amendment number 96. I don't know who's defending him. Mr. GONCHARENKO?

Mr Oleksii GONCHARENKO

Ukraine, EC 

00:10:43

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It's amendment number (off-mic: ninety-six) thank you very much. In the Draft Resolution, Paragraph 10 replace the last sentence with the following sentence: “The Rules of Procedure do not impinge on the rights of the assembly members to take part in the elections of judges to the European Court of Human Rights, the Commissioner for Human Rights, the Secretary General and the Deputy Secretary General of the Council of Europe and the Secretary General of the Parliamentary Assembly.“

Ms Liliane MAURY PASQUIER

Switzerland, SOC, President of the Assembly 

00:11:19

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Thank you.

Opposing opinion on this amendment, Mrs De SUTTER?

Ms Petra De SUTTER

Belgium, SOC 

00:11:24

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Well, the same argument again for the amendments we just treated, so I'm against.

Ms Liliane MAURY PASQUIER

Switzerland, SOC, President of the Assembly 

00:11:30

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The ballot is open.

The vote is closed.

The amendment is rejected.

Amendment number 121.

Who is defending it?

Please. Please.

Mr Eerik-Niiles KROSS

Estonia, ALDE 

00:11:54

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Yes, we would like to change the last sentence of Paragraph 10 as follows: "the members rights to vote and to speak in the Assembly shall not be suspended or withdrawn in the context of a challenge to or reconsideration of credentials". That somewhat reduces the rights that cannot be suspended, and I think that is quite enough. Thank you.

Ms Liliane MAURY PASQUIER

Switzerland, SOC, President of the Assembly 

00:12:21

PrintIntervention

Thank you.

Opposing opinion on this amendment, Mrs De SUTTER?

Ms Petra De SUTTER

Belgium, SOC 

00:12:27

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Yes, so also the right to be represented is included in our text, as it was decided and discussed in the Committee. So I would not want to change this.

Ms Liliane MAURY PASQUIER

Switzerland, SOC, President of the Assembly 

00:12:38

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The ballot is open.

The vote is closed.

The amendment is rejected.

Amendment number 1.

Madam, please.

Ms Marija GOLUBEVA

Latvia, ALDE 

00:13:01

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Yes. Well, as you notice by its number, this amendment was tabled the very first but, at the moment, it's the last chance to separate the right to elect the high officials of the Council of Europe from the rights to vote in the assembly, to head committees, to submit amendments, etc. and we suggest to separate the two.

Ms Liliane MAURY PASQUIER

Switzerland, SOC, President of the Assembly 

00:13:24

PrintIntervention

Thank you.

Opposite opinion, Mrs. De SUTTER?

Ms Petra De SUTTER

Belgium, SOC 

00:13:28

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Yes, it's - well, similar to all the other amendments that try to propose this, so I will not agree with that.

Ms Liliane MAURY PASQUIER

Switzerland, SOC, President of the Assembly 

00:13:35

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Was there a Commission position?

Ms Petra De SUTTER

Belgium, SOC 

00:13:37

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Yes, indeed. The Committee was against: 14 votes against, eight in favour.

Ms Liliane MAURY PASQUIER

Switzerland, SOC, President of the Assembly 

00:13:44

PrintIntervention

Thank you.

The ballot is open.

The vote is closed.

Amendment 1 is rejected.

Amendment number 41.

MR. OMTZIGT.

Mr Pieter OMTZIGT

Netherlands, EPP/CD 

00:14:07

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Well, if you're in the context of a challenge of or reconsideration of credentials, the Member's rights to speak and to be represented in the Assembly shall not be suspended. That means that we can, if we adopt this amendment, suspend certain rights to vote. I think that's important to do because we should keep some way of punishing those delegations when their rights are being challenged.

Ms Liliane MAURY PASQUIER

Switzerland, SOC, President of the Assembly 

00:14:45

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Thank you. Anyone against the amendment?

Mrs. De SUTTER?

Ms Petra De SUTTER

Belgium, SOC 

00:14:51

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Yes, of course, it changes what we are proposing here. I just want to add to Mr OMTZIGT that there will be other possibilities to sanction delegations, of course, and I would not want to change the proposition in the resolution.

Ms Liliane MAURY PASQUIER

Switzerland, SOC, President of the Assembly 

00:15:05

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Thank you.

The ballot is open.

The vote is closed.

The amendment is rejected.

Amendment number 76.

Mr OMTZIGT.

Mr Pieter OMTZIGT

Netherlands, EPP/CD 

00:15:27

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Once again, I think it's very important that we do limit the number of sanctions we can give, but we don't make them zero and that's exactly what this amendment is doing. It's the last amendment and we only tabled three, we didn't table 220. But it's very important that we don't pull all the teeth of this assembly out of her own mouth and, then, we'll really regret it in two years time. Thank you very much.

Ms Liliane MAURY PASQUIER

Switzerland, SOC, President of the Assembly 

00:15:58

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Thank you.

Opinion against the amendment, Mrs De SUTTER?

Ms Petra De SUTTER

Belgium, SOC 

00:16:04

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Yes, well it's very similar to Amendment 41 that we just rejected, so I propose to do the same.

Ms Liliane MAURY PASQUIER

Switzerland, SOC, President of the Assembly 

00:16:11

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The ballot is open.

The vote is closed.

The amendment is rejected.

Take the microphone, please.

Mr Emanuelis ZINGERIS

Lithuania, EPP/CD 

00:16:33

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Madam President,

Today is a new day. Today 25th I think. So please, can Mr SAVITSKY change the date of the agenda,or do we need to have 2/3 majority. Agenda, yes. Approval of agenda. The change of the date.

Ms Liliane MAURY PASQUIER

Switzerland, SOC, President of the Assembly 

00:17:07

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The meeting is not over, I have not adjourned it, so we will continue our work until we have finished processing this item, as planned.

We will now proceed to Amendment number 62.

I give the floor to Mr LIDDELL-GRAINGER.

Mr Ian LIDDELL-GRAINGER

United Kingdom, EC 

00:17:35

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Thank you very much, Madam President.

To basically, at the end of the paragraph to insert the words “with regard to the list of members rights, representation and participation in the activities of the Assembly and the bodies that may be suspended or deprived, in the context of challenge or the reconsideration of credentials, the Assembly considers it would be inappropriate to include the rules themselves as a category of measure in which case it could not have only been exhausted"

I think, this again, dare I said it, it guards our right as much as anybody else's.

Ms Liliane MAURY PASQUIER

Switzerland, SOC, President of the Assembly 

00:18:09

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Thank you.

A contrary opinion, Mrs De SUTTER?

Ms Petra De SUTTER

Belgium, SOC 

00:18:14

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It's a bit contradictory, if I may say so, but since we decided not to go into the details of the sanctions - and this has been always like that - I don't see any place for this addition in this paragraph. It would only confuse things.

Ms Liliane MAURY PASQUIER

Switzerland, SOC, President of the Assembly 

00:18:31

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Thank you.

The ballot is open.

The vote is closed.

The amendment is rejected.

Amendment number 43, Mr LIDDELL-GRAINGER.

Mr Ian LIDDELL-GRAINGER

United Kingdom, EC 

00:18:51

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Thank you very much indeed. Where it says Members' rights to vote, we would suggest that we drop that and insert the following: In the context of the challenge or the reconsideration of credentials, Members cannot be part of a political group and enjoy the rights deriving from such membership.

Again, this is the same principle. We have a job to do here, we do it. Where there are people who haven't... having their credentials challenged, why should they be part? We actually want to make sure that we are the parliamentarians not being a subject to any other form of sanction. Therefore, I think this is an important amendment.

Ms Liliane MAURY PASQUIER

Switzerland, SOC, President of the Assembly 

00:19:30

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Thank you. Any opposing opinion on this proposal?

Mrs De SUTTER.

Ms Petra De SUTTER

Belgium, SOC 

00:19:36

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Yes, I believe that the constitution of political groups is quite something different from what we are trying to deal with in this resolution, so I would not be in favour of adding this footnote in this paragraph.

Ms Liliane MAURY PASQUIER

Switzerland, SOC, President of the Assembly 

00:19:50

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Thank you.

The ballot is open.

The vote is closed.

The amendment is rejected.

Amendment number 84, Mr LIDDELL-GRAINGER.

Mr Nigel EVANS

United Kingdom, EC 

00:20:21

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It's 20 past 12:00 now, and I do not believe that any legislature works this well at this moment in time. Listen, your legislators may work very well at 20 past 12:00 in the morning, but mine doesn't. And we've got proof of that because we used to do this in the 1990s. We don't do it anymore. We've modified our rules. Can I put a proposition, Madam President? That we suspend the session now and that we start again tomorrow morning, at a time of your choosing. Otherwise, we are going to be here till goodness knows when. So, Madam President, could I make that proposition, that we suspend the session?

Ms Liliane MAURY PASQUIER

Switzerland, SOC, President of the Assembly 

00:21:17

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What you're actually asking is that we adjourn the debate, which we're having right now, and continue it in another session. To do this, we must file such a request before the beginning of the meeting, which, moreover, as we have already said, we will finish. This session was on the agenda.

I would simply ask you to speed up the work as much as possible and try to avoid making successive proposals. It is late, but we will finish as we should, since it is our duty.

We now proceed to amendment number 84, Mr LIDDELL-GRAINGER.

Mr Ian LIDDELL-GRAINGER

United Kingdom, EC 

00:22:08

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Thank you, Madam President. I must admit I'm rather enjoying it, to say the least. So, therefore, we will continue! Can I just make the point, this is at the end of Paragraph 10: In context of a challenge to reconsideration of credentials, "members cannot adhere to a political group and enjoy the rights derived from such a membership". Again, I hope that's obvious, but it is an important part of what we're trying to do as parliamentarians and I'd ask that for consideration.

Ms Liliane MAURY PASQUIER

Switzerland, SOC, President of the Assembly 

00:22:36

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Thank you.

I would like to point out that the following amendment –amendment number 92– is exactly the same as amendment number 84, and that we will therefore only have one vote on both.

Against the amendment, against the amendments, Mrs De SUTTER?

Ms Petra De SUTTER

Belgium, SOC 

00:22:53

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Yes, thank you. This amendment and the next one are already part of the footnote of the previous one. So with the same arguments, I would not accept these two amendments.

Ms Liliane MAURY PASQUIER

Switzerland, SOC, President of the Assembly 

00:23:04

PrintIntervention

Thank you.

We will now proceed to the vote.

The ballot is open.

The vote is closed.

Amendments 84 and 92 are rejected.

Amendment number 98, Mr GONCHARENKO.

I would ask you not to read the text, because you will not be able to do so in thirty seconds.

Mr Oleksii GONCHARENKO

Ukraine, EC 

00:23:36

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In the draft Resolution after paragraph 10, insert the following paragraph: ”Therefore in order to clarify the scope of rights which are exercised by members of national delegations may be suspended or deprived of within the framework of a challenge or reconsideration of credentials. The Assembly decides to supplement Rule 10 of its Rules of procedures adding after Rule 10 the following clarification”. Read the following clarification yourself.

Ms Liliane MAURY PASQUIER

Switzerland, SOC, President of the Assembly 

00:24:05

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Thank you, Mr GONCHARENKO.

Please! Please!

Any opinion against this amendment?

Mrs De SUTTER.

Mr Oleksii GONCHARENKO

Ukraine, EC 

00:24:21

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(microphone off)

Ms Liliane MAURY PASQUIER

Switzerland, SOC, President of the Assembly 

00:24:34

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Please! Please!

I don't think this is the time to shout in this room.

I don't think so, if there have been any offenses, it's probably related to fatigue.

Let's hurry up and finish.

I would like to point out that amendment number 101 is exactly the same as amendment number 98.

Mrs DE SUTTER has asked to speak against these amendments.

Ms Petra De SUTTER

Belgium, SOC 

00:24:58

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Yes, well, as you can understand, paragraph 10 is drafted very carefully having all the elements that we felt were needed. The Committee approved of this. So changing that and the content and the purpose of this paragraph completely changes the purpose of the Resolution, so I cannot accept this kind of amendments.

Ms Liliane MAURY PASQUIER

Switzerland, SOC, President of the Assembly 

00:25:21

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The ballot is open.

The vote is closed.

Amendments 98 and 101 are rejected.

Amendment number 99, Mr GONCHARENKO.

Mr KANDELAKI, a point of order?

Mr Giorgi KANDELAKI

Georgia, EPP/CD 

00:26:01

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Just one point of order for me. I have an official document of the Assembly published in the morning titled Organisation of debates. An official document which says, at the end of it, end of the sitting, midnight. Madam President can you guide us once again whether it is actually legal to continue the debate after midnight since the organisation of the debates document says that it must end at midnight.

Ms Liliane MAURY PASQUIER

Switzerland, SOC, President of the Assembly 

00:26:42

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If you have followed this afternoon's debates closely, you will have heard that during this debate I have told you that, given the pace at which we are dealing with the various amendments, we will certainly have until 1 am.

We are not there yet. I am confident that I can do so and, in any case, this programme for the session does not contain this debate for another day. It is therefore our responsibility to complete it.

I give the floor to Mr GONCHARENKO to defend his amendment.

Mr Oleksii GONCHARENKO

Ukraine, EC 

00:27:23

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So, big productivity. I admire it. I just want to say that I hope we will be as productive when we discuss the topics of Human rights defenders in the Russian Federation and also of releasing political prisoners, of Ukrainian marine sailors, military sailors and so on. I hope everybody will work the same way with the same productivity.

Ms Liliane MAURY PASQUIER

Switzerland, SOC, President of the Assembly 

00:27:53

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An opinion contrary to amendment number 99, Mrs De SUTTER?

Ms Petra De SUTTER

Belgium, SOC 

00:28:00

PrintIntervention

Yes, the same argument changes the paragraph. We've had this before, so I cannot accept it.

Ms Liliane MAURY PASQUIER

Switzerland, SOC, President of the Assembly 

00:28:07

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The vote is open.

The amendment is rejected.

Amendment n° 63, Mr LIDDELL-GRAINGER.

Mr Ian LIDDELL-GRAINGER

United Kingdom, EC 

00:28:25

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Thank you very much indeed Madam President.

Again it's the same thing. It just doesn't add anything. "And finally the Assembly considers the issue supplementing the Rules of procedure...". We know we can afford to delete this because it actually doesn't make any difference at all. Therefore, I would ask Ms Petra De SUTTER to consider removing  this paragraph because I actually don't believe it adds any more to what we're trying to achieve. Thank you very much.

Ms Liliane MAURY PASQUIER

Switzerland, SOC, President of the Assembly 

00:28:52

PrintIntervention

Thank you.

Does anyone wish to speak against the amendment? Mrs DE SUTTER?

Ms Petra De SUTTER

Belgium, SOC 

00:28:56

PrintIntervention

Well, I want to remind my colleagues that this is, again, a compromise that we discussed in the Committee. The other option was going much further, and this was remaining as a consensual conclusion that we might consider in the future. So we don't take any decision. We just say we will examine it. So I would like to still keep it like that.

Ms Liliane MAURY PASQUIER

Switzerland, SOC, President of the Assembly 

00:29:20

PrintIntervention

Thank you.

The vote is open.

The amendment is rejected.

Amendment n° 67, Mr LIDDELL-GRAINGER.

Mr Ian LIDDELL-GRAINGER

United Kingdom, EC 

00:29:39

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Thank you very much Ms Petra De SUTTER. I wonder if I can tempt her with changing the last paragraph, 11. Finally, the Assembly considers the issue of supplementing its Rules of procedure with regard to inducing procedures for challenging credentials. We're not possibly opening the door to political abuse and will therefore not choose this option. I wonder if I can tempt her with that. I think it's an important change and I'd like you to consider that in light of the other amendments that we're going to talk about.

Ms Liliane MAURY PASQUIER

Switzerland, SOC, President of the Assembly 

00:30:08

PrintIntervention

Thank you.

Does anyone wish to speak against the amendment? I call Mrs. De SUTTER.

Ms Petra De SUTTER

Belgium, SOC 

00:30:14

PrintIntervention

Well, I'm not easily tempted, Mr Ian LIDDELL-GRAINGER, definitely not by this amendment. So I would rather stay with the original text.

Ms Liliane MAURY PASQUIER

Switzerland, SOC, President of the Assembly 

00:30:25

PrintIntervention

Thank you.

The vote is open.

The amendment is rejected.

Amendment n° 65, Mr LIDDELL-GRAINGER.

Mr Ian LIDDELL-GRAINGER

United Kingdom, EC 

00:30:43

PrintIntervention

Thank you very much indeed. This is to add, after further consideration, putting: "After close consultation with the Committee of Ministers, the existing sanctions mentioned cannot be altered until the new sanction mechanism has been put in place."

The reason for that is, of course, you could have an ambiguity between the two systems, and I would think this would bring it together so there isn't... nothing falls between the two systems until the new one is in place. I, therefore, again ask Ms Petra De SUTTER to consider this.

Ms Liliane MAURY PASQUIER

Switzerland, SOC, President of the Assembly 

00:31:16

PrintIntervention

Thank you.

Does anyone wish to speak against the amendment? I call Mrs. De SUTTER.

Ms Petra De SUTTER

Belgium, SOC 

00:31:19

PrintIntervention

Yes. I'm not sure if this amendment is in the right place. It doesn't make sense to put it there. So it has to go somewhere else. I cannot accept it here.

Ms Liliane MAURY PASQUIER

Switzerland, SOC, President of the Assembly 

00:31:28

PrintIntervention

Thank you.

The ballot is open.

The vote is closed.

The amendment is rejected.

Amendment number 64, Mr LIDDELL-GRAINGER.

Mr Ian LIDDELL-GRAINGER

United Kingdom, EC, President of the Assembly 

00:31:47

PrintIntervention

Thank you.

In the draft resolution 'after further consideration' to insert the words 'after close consultation with the Council of Ministers'.

Paragraph 11, if we're not going to drop it out then I think it needs to be tightened.

I think actually using those 5 or 6 words we would actually do this. Therefore I would ask again if we couldn't include that at the end, because I think the Committee of Ministers has an important part and a role to play in this.

Ms Liliane MAURY PASQUIER

Switzerland, SOC, President of the Assembly 

00:32:20

PrintIntervention

Opposite opinion, Mrs De SUTTER?

Ms Petra De SUTTER

Belgium, SOC 

00:32:22

PrintIntervention

It is not consistent with the view of our relationship with the Committee of Ministers in other discussions we had. So I don't see the added value of putting this in this paragraph.

Ms Liliane MAURY PASQUIER

Switzerland, SOC, President of the Assembly 

00:32:34

PrintIntervention

The ballot is open.

The vote is closed.

The amendment is rejected.

Amendments 69 and 156 have the same content.

I give the floor to Mr LIDDELL-GRAINGER to justify them.

Mr Ian LIDDELL-GRAINGER

United Kingdom, EC 

00:32:57

PrintIntervention

Thank you very much.

This is paragraph 12. Again, it just says that if someone decides to change the rules of procedure set out, the present Resolution shall enter into force upon its adoption. I don't think we need this. So we can actually just drop it. It doesn't make any great difference - I don't believe - and, therefore, I would suggest and ask that this entire paragraph is gently removed and we can move on.

Ms Liliane MAURY PASQUIER

Switzerland, SOC, President of the Assembly 

00:33:23

PrintIntervention

Thank you.

Opposite opinion?

Mrs SOTNYK, are you against this amendment?

No, it has already been justified.

I know, but it's the same text and only justifies it once. We did it like that before.

Against the amendment, Mrs De SUTTER?

Ms Petra De SUTTER

Belgium, SOC 

00:33:42

PrintIntervention

It's, of course, crucial that we state that this Resolution shall enter into force upon its adoption for all the reasons that we've been discussing all day.

Ms Liliane MAURY PASQUIER

Switzerland, SOC, President of the Assembly 

00:33:51

PrintIntervention

Thank you.

The ballot is open.

The vote is closed.

Amendments 69 and 156 are rejected.

Mrs SOTNYK, you have the floor for a point of order.

Ms Olena SOTNYK

Ukraine, ALDE 

00:34:17

PrintIntervention

First of all, I need to talk before you vote. It is also abusing the rights. But as I understood you feel highly responsible before Russia to push through this Resolution. That's why you are doing this (Interruption) –Yes! Be polite and try to wait– in order to open a new era for this Parliamentary Assembly. I think that my colleagues and me don't want to be part of this era. Ukrainians didn't fight for these European values. I'm sure about this. We don't want to be a part of this... your values or crisis. Thank you.

Ms Liliane MAURY PASQUIER

Switzerland, SOC, President of the Assembly 

00:34:58

PrintIntervention

I don't see how your statement is a point of order, but we listened to what you had to say.

But yes, you have the floor, please.

Sir Edward LEIGH

United Kingdom, EC 

00:35:14

PrintIntervention

We are, I would have hoped, a family-friendly organisation. Our translators have been working very hard all day. What right have we to keep them here when we could be perfectly well doing this job tomorrow.

Ms Liliane MAURY PASQUIER

Switzerland, SOC, President of the Assembly 

00:35:32

PrintIntervention

Thank you.

As already mentioned, the best way to free the interpreters is to complete our work as soon as possible.

We will continue with amendment number 114, I give the floor to Mr LIDDELL-GRAINGER.

Mr Ian LIDDELL-GRAINGER

United Kingdom, EC 

00:35:49

PrintIntervention

Thank you very much, Madame President.

This is to insert into the paragraph 12: 'The Assembly hopes that the Committee of Ministers will start to work jointly on a new common sanctions system as soon as possible'.

I think this is absolutely crucial because it does mean that we have to be able to have a sanction system that is going to work straight away. We can't do that – it has to be the committee.

I therefore suggest that we look at trying to incorporate this into this paragraph.

Ms Liliane MAURY PASQUIER

Switzerland, SOC, President of the Assembly 

00:36:19

PrintIntervention

Thank you.

Ms De SUTTER against the amendment?

Ms Petra De SUTTER

Belgium, SOC 

00:36:22

PrintIntervention

Yes, because we had discussed this earlier at another amendment. I don't think we have to mix these things and put it at the end of the resolution, so I'm against the amendment.

Ms Liliane MAURY PASQUIER

Switzerland, SOC, President of the Assembly 

00:36:33

PrintIntervention

The ballot is open.

The vote is closed.

The amendment is rejected.

Amendment number 93, Mr GONCHARENKO, I imagine.

Mr Oleksii GONCHARENKO

Ukraine, EC 

00:36:55

PrintIntervention

In the draft resolution paragraph 12 delete the words after 'enter into force' and replace with the following words:

'as soon as a new joint sanction mechanism with the Committee of Ministers has been established'.

It's very important because what we have proposed to do now is just to kill any sanction mechanism.

For the moment we don't have a joint sanction mechanism which will be made with the Committee of Ministers.

Ms Liliane MAURY PASQUIER

Switzerland, SOC, President of the Assembly 

00:37:25

PrintIntervention

A contrary opinion, Ms. De SUTTER?

Ms Petra De SUTTER

Belgium, SOC 

00:37:28

PrintIntervention

Same argument as the previous amendment.

Ms Liliane MAURY PASQUIER

Switzerland, SOC, President of the Assembly 

00:37:31

PrintIntervention

The ballot is open.

The vote is closed.

The amendment is rejected.

Amendment number 206, Mr GONCHARENKO.

Mr Oleksii GONCHARENKO

Ukraine, EC 

00:37:49

PrintIntervention

We proposed after the words 'shall enter into force upon', insert the following words: 'six months after'.

The sense is clear; we propose to postpone this decision for six months.

Ms Liliane MAURY PASQUIER

Switzerland, SOC, President of the Assembly 

00:38:04

PrintIntervention

Thank you.

A contrary opinion, Ms De SUTTER?

Ms Petra De SUTTER

Belgium, SOC 

00:38:08

PrintIntervention

Yes, for obvious reasons, this is not what we would propose with this resolution, so I'm against the amendment.

Ms Liliane MAURY PASQUIER

Switzerland, SOC, President of the Assembly 

00:38:16

PrintIntervention

The ballot is open.

The vote is closed.

The amendment is rejected.

Amendment number 73, Mr LIDDELL-GRAINGER.

Mr Ian LIDDELL-GRAINGER

United Kingdom, EC 

00:38:34

PrintIntervention

Thank you very much.

This is to add at the end of sentence 12. Delete the words 'enter into force' and actually put up the opening of the next ordinary session.

'Put into force' is an interesting adoption of words, but if you put in, you include the opening of the extraordinary session, it's very very obvious what that is. It's not ambiguous. It is very straightforward.

I hope it makes some sense.

Ms Liliane MAURY PASQUIER

Switzerland, SOC, President of the Assembly 

00:39:05

PrintIntervention

Thank you.

Ms De SUTTER against the amendment?

Ms Petra De SUTTER

Belgium, SOC 

00:39:09

PrintIntervention

Yes, it is straightforward. But it goes against the whole purpose of the Resolution, so I cannot accept this.

Ms Liliane MAURY PASQUIER

Switzerland, SOC, President of the Assembly 

00:39:16

PrintIntervention

The ballot is open.

The vote is closed.

The amendment is rejected.

Amendment number 72, Mr LIDDELL-GRAINGER.

Mr Ian LIDDELL-GRAINGER

United Kingdom, EC 

00:39:34

PrintIntervention

Thank you.

This is in the same vein where it says “upon its adoption“ –which is the last three words– we would suggest you put in the following words “at the opening of the next part session“.

Now we've already had this slightly earlier, but everything is a part session so it would seem sensible that we would do it on a set time scale, which obviously would have to be the opening of a part session.

I would therefore ask Ms Petra De SUTTER to look at this to see whether or not this would be a better resolution to the final three words in paragraph 12.

Ms Liliane MAURY PASQUIER

Switzerland, SOC, President of the Assembly 

00:40:11

PrintIntervention

Against the amendment, Ms De SUTTER?

Ms Petra De SUTTER

Belgium, SOC 

00:40:14

PrintIntervention

Yes, I'm afraid I don't agree. It would not make it better, so I cannot accept it.

Ms Liliane MAURY PASQUIER

Switzerland, SOC, President of the Assembly 

00:40:19

PrintIntervention

The ballot is open.

The vote is closed.

The amendment is rejected.

Amendment 74, Mr LIDDELL-GRAINGER.

Mr Ian LIDDELL-GRAINGER

United Kingdom, EC 

00:40:36

PrintIntervention

Thank you. Slightly following on from the other bit, for a different reason, basically dropping out the very end part and putting in "during the next ordinary session new credentials cannot be examined". Now that may sound a bit odd but the reason for it is that where you have new credentials put in in the middle of an ordinary session, it's very difficult, as we know, to make room in the timetable or, if they are challenged, what are we going to do about it? Because it means it has all got to go back to the rules committee to make a decision, so I'd ask them to consider that being put at the final part.

Ms Liliane MAURY PASQUIER

Switzerland, SOC, President of the Assembly 

00:41:13

PrintIntervention

Thank you.

Opinion against the amendment, Ms De SUTTER?

Ms Petra De SUTTER

Belgium, SOC 

00:41:18

PrintIntervention

Yes, this doesn't add anything to this paragraph, so I don't agree with the amendment.

Ms Liliane MAURY PASQUIER

Switzerland, SOC, President of the Assembly 

00:41:23

PrintIntervention

The ballot is open.

The vote is closed.

The amendment is rejected.

Amendment number 85, Mr LIDDELL-GRAINGER.

Mr Ian LIDDELL-GRAINGER

United Kingdom, EC 

00:41:41

PrintIntervention

Thank you.

This is slightly more complicated and it's a longer resolution.

Basically it sets out to add. “During the last 70 years the Assembly has been very cautious with considering ratifications of credentials...“ –in respect to the delegations in Greece in 1969 and Turkey in 1981– “...even if the credentials of several delegations were challenged and that appeared in the deprivation of rights.“

Basically I hope this tightens it up, including the Russian Federation and their various ins and outs.

The existing system needs to be used with utmost care. So we are trying to really...

Ms Liliane MAURY PASQUIER

Switzerland, SOC, President of the Assembly 

00:42:15

PrintIntervention

Thank you Mr LIDDELL-GRAINGER, we have taken note.

Does anyone object to this amendment?

Ms De SUTTER.

Ms Petra De SUTTER

Belgium, SOC 

00:42:23

PrintIntervention

Well it's a nice text. It's a good introduction to say that we keep our right to exercise our own sanctions and are waiting for a new system. I don't see any added value in putting this at the end of the resolution.

Ms Liliane MAURY PASQUIER

Switzerland, SOC, President of the Assembly 

00:42:38

PrintIntervention

The ballot is open.

The vote is closed.

The amendment is rejected.

Amendment number 86, Mr LIDDELL-GRAINGER.

Mr Ian LIDDELL-GRAINGER

United Kingdom, EC 

00:42:57

PrintIntervention

Thank you very much Madame President. I do apologize to the last one, I didn't hear the bell. This is to do with the Russian Federation to try to find a positive way out of some of the issues we have - like the rule of law. Mr Lienkov and Sergei and Yulia Skipral and the Russian officials who allegedly downed the Malaysian airliner. This is to try and find a way that Russia can come back and actually then use its position to bring people that we need to bring to the Hague and elsewhere. I hope this makes sense, and then we can include it in this paragraph.

Ms Liliane MAURY PASQUIER

Switzerland, SOC, President of the Assembly 

00:43:28

PrintIntervention

Thank you.

Against the amendment, Ms De SUTTER?

Ms Petra De SUTTER

Belgium, SOC 

00:43:34

PrintIntervention

Yes, it has no place at all in this paragraph, in this resolution, so no.

Ms Liliane MAURY PASQUIER

Switzerland, SOC, President of the Assembly 

00:43:40

PrintIntervention

The ballot is open.

The vote is closed.

The amendment is rejected.

Amendment number 94, Mr GONCHARENKO.

Mr Oleksii GONCHARENKO

Ukraine, EC 

00:44:00

PrintIntervention

That's my last Amendment, yes. And I just want to remind you when the next act of aggression of the Russian Federation happens, or a terrorist attack such as in Salisbury - these will be part of your responsibility. Those who are ready to sit through the night just to vote to take back the aggressor to this Hemicycle. That will be partly your responsibility. Just remember this.

Ms Liliane MAURY PASQUIER

Switzerland, SOC, President of the Assembly 

00:44:28

PrintIntervention

Against amendment number 94, Ms De SUTTER?

Ms Petra De SUTTER

Belgium, SOC 

00:44:35

PrintIntervention

No added value

Ms Liliane MAURY PASQUIER

Switzerland, SOC, President of the Assembly 

00:45:29

PrintIntervention

Thank you.

An opinion against this amendment, Ms De SUTTER?

Ms Petra De SUTTER

Belgium, SOC 

00:45:34

PrintIntervention

Yes, with all the same arguments. I mean this is not strengthening the resolution at all so, no.

Ms Liliane MAURY PASQUIER

Switzerland, SOC, President of the Assembly 

00:45:40

PrintIntervention

The ballot is open.

The vote is closed.

Amendment 1112 is rejected.

Amendment number 113, Mr LIDDELL-GRAINGER.

Mr Ian LIDDELL-GRAINGER

United Kingdom, EC 

00:45:58

PrintIntervention

Thank you very much indeed. Again this is in the same vein but different, because it actually is talking about the strength in the decision process. The assembly can also call upon the 47 Members and States and the Russian Federation in particular to constructively engage in this procedure and abide by the statute, which is basically why we're all here. Therefore I would again ask Ms Petra De SUTTER to look at this as a potential, dare I say it, a dove, to the Russian Federation when they come back, or if they come back in the near future.

Ms Liliane MAURY PASQUIER

Switzerland, SOC, President of the Assembly 

00:46:33

PrintIntervention

An opinion contrary to this amendment, Ms De SUTTER?

Ms Petra De SUTTER

Belgium, SOC 

00:46:37

PrintIntervention

Yes, it's very similar to the previous amendments. I don't see the added value of putting it at the end of our resolution here.

Ms Liliane MAURY PASQUIER

Switzerland, SOC, President of the Assembly 

00:46:54

PrintIntervention

The ballot is open.

The vote is closed.

Amendment 113 is rejected.

We will proceed to vote on the draft resolution contained in document 14900, as amended.

The ballot is open.

The vote is closed.

The resolution was adopted by 118 votes to 62, with ten abstentions.

Ladies and gentlemen, first of all, I would like to thank you for your active participation, your very large presence at this very late hour. I would also like to thank on your behalf all the people of the Office of the Meeting, the interpreters and the entire team that made it possible for our work to take place until this late hour.

The next public sitting will be held tomorrow morning at 10 am with the agenda of this part-session.

The meeting is adjourned.

I wish you a refreshing night.

The sitting was closed at 00h48

Next sitting at 10am

Opening of the sitting No. 21

Ms Liliane MAURY PASQUIER

Switzerland, SOC, President of the Assembly 

10:06:09

PrintIntervention

Ladies and gentlemen, I invite you to take your seats, the meeting is open.

The next item is the examination of credentials for members of the Assembly, which has been submitted to the President in accordance with the rules and regulations.

The names of the representatives and substitutes in question are given in document 14913 Addendum. If there are no objections, these credentials may be ratified.

Are there any objections?

There are no objections. The powers are, therefore... Sorry, you have the floor Mrs GOGUADZE.

Ms Nino GOGUADZE

Georgia, EC 

10:07:03

PrintIntervention

Madam President. In resolution 2134 of 2016, this Assembly decided that only significant and measurable progress towards implementation of Resolution 1919, 2034 and 2063 can lead to lifting sanctions on the Russian Federation. Since then, we have seen serious violations of the basic principles of the Council of Europe mentioned in Article 3 and the Preamble to the Statute, and persistent failure to honour obligations and commitments and a lack of cooperation with the Assembly's monitoring procedure: the illegal annexation of Crimea, occupation of Georgia's two regions, Abkhazia and South Ossetia, and ethnic cleansing has not been reversed. The number of Ukrainian prisoners of war kept in Russian custody has only increased. There is no access to assess the human rights situation in Crimea, Sevastopol, in the occupied Georgia territories in Abkhazia and South Ossetia, and the Minsk Agreements have not been implemented. Therefore, I now invite colleagues to stand up and alongisde me challenge the Russian credentials on substantive grounds.

Ms Liliane MAURY PASQUIER

Switzerland, SOC, President of the Assembly 

10:08:30

PrintIntervention

Wait, wait, please.

It's not up to you to invite colleagues, it's up to me to do it.

Please, sit down, and I will tell you when you have the floor.

Mrs GOGUADZE is challenging the credentials of the Russian Delegation on substantial grounds, pursuant to Rule 8.2 of the Rules of Procedure. According to Rule 8, such a challenge must be supported by at least 30 representatives or substitutes present in the room, and belonging to at least five different national delegations. I now invite those who support this challenge to stand up. And please remain standing long enough so that we can count you without error.

Thank you.

I see that the number has been reached. The credentials are therefore referred without debate to the appropriate committee. In this case, the Monitoring Committee, that shall report back to us, and to the Committee on Rules of Procedure and Immunities for Institutional Affairs, for their opinion.

The Committees responsible must report, if possible, within 24 hours, in accordance with our rules of procedure. So you may sit down again, and the chair is now proposing that... Mr. ARIEV. Yes?

Well, as you wish, in whatever order.

Mr Volodymyr ARIEV

Ukraine, EPP/CD 

10:10:39

PrintIntervention

I would like to challenge the credentials of the Russian Federation delegation on procedural grounds based on Rule 7 of the Rules of Procedure on the grounds that the composition of the national delegation of the Russian Federation comprises members elected with illegal votes of Ukrainian Crimea, which was incorporated in a national-wide consistency and also comprises individuals which are on the sanctions list of the European Union. This situation is contrary to the Statute of the Council of Europe and I would like colleagues now also to stand up and to support this challenge on procedural grounds.

Ms Liliane MAURY PASQUIER

Switzerland, SOC, President of the Assembly 

10:11:25

PrintIntervention

Wait, we'll do as we did before, if that's okay with you.

Mr ARIEV contests the credentials of the Russian delegation, for formal reasons.

I therefore invite those who support this proposal, knowing that there must be at least 10 members of the Assembly from at least 5 national delegations, to stand up.

Thank you, you can sit down again.

The number of persons required and the number of delegations required has been reached.

The credentials of the Russian delegation are also being challenged, on formal grounds, in accordance with the provisions of the Rules of Procedure, as in the case of challenges on substantial grounds. Credentials contested on formal grounds are referred without debate, this time to the Committee on Rules of Procedure, Immunities and Institutional Affairs, which should report to the Assembly. Again, if possible, within 24 hours.

I remind the Assembly that, under the provisions of Rule 10 of the Rules of Procedure, members whose credentials are contested shall sit provisionally with the same rights as other representatives and substitutes until the Assembly has taken a decision. However, these members shall not participate in any vote related to the verification of credentials concerning them.

Mr Nigel EVANS

United Kingdom, EC 

10:13:02

PrintIntervention

I would like to challenge the Russian credentials on substantive grounds. I speak as an openly gay man and I would reference Document 14572 of the (speaking off mic), it's on... the micro is on (speaking off mic)... under the persecution of LGBTI people in the Chechen Republic of the Russian Federation, where it says that protecting all people from torture, degrading treatment, enforced disappearances, arbitrary detention and ultimately extrajudicial killings, irrespective of their origin, colour, age, gender or sexual orientation is one of the founding principles behind the creation of the Council of Europe and Document 14795, which references the Commission  (interruption by Ms Maury Pasquier). 

Ms Liliane MAURY PASQUIER

Switzerland, SOC, President of the Assembly 

10:13:56

PrintIntervention

As I said earlier, we are not having a debate.

(Member speaking off-mic)

Yes, but the powers are already being referred for substantive matters. The Monitoring Committee will have the opportunity to discuss all the points that have been raised and even those that have not been raised.

She will report to us, and I propose that you put on Wednesday's agenda as the first item –Wednesday afternoon– the reports of the two committees seized: the Committee on Rules of Procedure and the Monitoring Committee on the formal challenge and on the substantial challenge of credentials.

Mr Nigel EVANS

United Kingdom, EC 

10:14:40

PrintIntervention

(microphone off)

Ms Liliane MAURY PASQUIER

Switzerland, SOC, President of the Assembly 

10:14:49

PrintIntervention

In any case, you have the possibility to deal with all these points within the monitoring commission.

There will be no debate here this morning.

Mr. GONCHARENKO, you have the floor.

Examination of credentials

Mr Oleksii GONCHARENKO

Ukraine, EC 

10:15:07

PrintIntervention

Thank you. Madam President, you said Wednesday morning, why? If you want to change the agenda, we need to vote on it and we need a two-thirds majority. I just wanted to remind you of this.

Ms Liliane MAURY PASQUIER

Switzerland, SOC, President of the Assembly 

10:15:20

PrintIntervention

I did not say Wednesday morning, I said first thing Wednesday afternoon. As the first subject of the afternoon session.

Mr Oleksii GONCHARENKO

Ukraine, EC 

10:15:28

PrintIntervention

(microphone off)

Ms Liliane MAURY PASQUIER

Switzerland, SOC, President of the Assembly 

10:15:30

PrintIntervention

Mr. GONCHARENKO, let me finish, please, and then you can react.

What I wanted to tell you is that it is Wednesday afternoon. Indeed, the Assembly will have to decide on the agenda if it is amended.

Mr Oleksii GONCHARENKO

Ukraine, EC 

10:15:54

PrintIntervention

(microphone off)

Ms Liliane MAURY PASQUIER

Switzerland, SOC, President of the Assembly 

10:16:08

PrintIntervention

Mr GONCHARENKO, if necessary, I will give you the floor when you ask for it, I have given it to you. And I repeat that it is a proposal made after discussion with the Bureau yesterday morning, to hold the debate on the two reports of the two committees on the challenge of credentials tomorrow in the early afternoon, as the first subject of the afternoon session. That's a proposal I'm making to you. Clearly, it is contested, which is why it is indeed for the Assembly to decide on the amendment of the agenda.

Now, what I have also told you is that we are obliged by the Rules of Procedure to process these two reports as quickly as possible. That is why we must put it on the agenda of this part-session. So, if you do not agree with the proposal I am making to you - to set it on Wednesday afternoon - you must make me another proposal that I will put to the vote.

Mr Oleksii GONCHARENKO

Ukraine, EC 

10:17:24

PrintIntervention

Excuse me. Why me? Why should I propose you something? If you want to put it on Wednesday afternoon, please put it on the vote because there is no such thing on the agenda.

Ms Liliane MAURY PASQUIER

Switzerland, SOC, President of the Assembly 

10:17:37

PrintIntervention

No.

Mr Oleksii GONCHARENKO

Ukraine, EC 

10:17:38

PrintIntervention

So, it is up to you. You said Wednesday afternoon, please put it to the vote. 

Ms Liliane MAURY PASQUIER

Switzerland, SOC, President of the Assembly 

10:17:43

PrintIntervention

I am making you the Bureau's proposal. I am obliged to do so, because the Rules of Procedure oblige me to do so, and oblige the Bureau to make a proposal for an agenda that includes the debate. The proposal that has been made to you, I ask you for a contrary proposal. If you do not have any, I will take it as adopted.

Ms Mariia IONOVA

Ukraine, EPP/CD 

10:18:06

PrintIntervention

Okay. My proposition is Thursday.

Ms Liliane MAURY PASQUIER

Switzerland, SOC, President of the Assembly 

10:18:09

PrintIntervention

Thursday? Morning? Afternoon?

Mr Oleksii GONCHARENKO

Ukraine, EC 

10:18:12

PrintIntervention

Thursday afternoon.

No. For me, it's nothing...

Thursday morning, great.

Ms Liliane MAURY PASQUIER

Switzerland, SOC, President of the Assembly 

10:18:14

PrintIntervention

I will therefore put to the vote Mr GONCHARENKO's proposal to hold this debate on Thursday morning and it will require a two-thirds majority.

Mr Oleksii GONCHARENKO

Ukraine, EC 

10:18:17

PrintIntervention

Thursday morning, great.

Ms Liliane MAURY PASQUIER

Switzerland, SOC, President of the Assembly 

10:18:19

PrintIntervention

I will therefore put to the vote Mr GONCHARENKO's proposal to hold this debate on Thursday morning and it will require a two-thirds majority.

The vote is open.

Sorry, the vote is not clear and I repeat: those who support Mr GONCHARENKO's proposal to hold this debate on Thursday morning vote yes; those who oppose Mr GONCHARENKO's proposal vote no.

The vote is closed.

The proposal was rejected.

Ms Mariia IONOVA

Ukraine, EPP/CD 

10:19:29

PrintIntervention

Madam Chair, you didn't put to the vote your proposition, because I'm sorry we have letters from our sailors, prisoners of war. We would like you, you, please, to put your proposition to the vote, please. We are looking forward to it.

Ms Liliane MAURY PASQUIER

Switzerland, SOC, President of the Assembly 

10:19:48

PrintIntervention

The House, Madam, as I have just said, is obliged to put this, this item, on the agenda. I proposed Wednesday afternoon. The majority refused to move it to Thursday morning. So that is absolutely correct and it is what we need to do.

We are moving on to changing the composition of the committees.

Proposals for changes in the composition of committees have been published in document commission 06 2019 06 Addendum 2, and there is no opposition to these changes: they are therefore adopted.

The next item is the Election of a Vice-President of the Assembly in respect of the Russian Federation. I have received Mr. SLUTSKY's application in the prescribed form. If no request for a vote is made by at least 20 representatives, Mr. SLUTSKY will be declared elected. But I notice, apparently, that there is an opposition.

Mr ARIEV, you have the floor.

Mr Volodymyr ARIEV

Ukraine, EPP/CD 

10:20:55

PrintIntervention

Dear colleagues, Mr Slutskiy is on the European Union sanctions list for his crimes in Crimea. So, I think we should challenge his appointment without voting and due to the Rule 16.4, I call for voting with secret ballots on the candidature of Mr Slutskiy and I would like to stand up also now to support this.

Changes in the membership of committees

Election of a Vice-President of the Assembly

Ms Liliane MAURY PASQUIER

Switzerland, SOC, President of the Assembly 

10:21:26

PrintIntervention

Thank you.

Mr ARIEV therefore requested that a vote be taken on the election of Mr SLUTSKY. Is this request supported by at least 20 members of the Assembly? If so, I would ask you to stand up, if you agree with Mr ARIEV's proposal.

The people who contest the election... then the required number is reached. A vote is therefore required for the election of Mr Leonid SLUTSKY. I propose that it be held under the usual conditions in the rotunda behind the presidency this afternoon, from 3.30 p.m. to 8 p.m. At the end of the session, at 8 p.m. or when we will probably have finished by 8 p.m. this afternoon.

So from the beginning of this afternoon's session to the end of this afternoon's session.

Mr. FOULKES, you have the floor.

Lord George FOULKES

United Kingdom, SOC 

10:22:28

PrintIntervention

I'm slightly mystified, how can we elect someone from the Russian Federation as a vice president when their credentials have not yet been approved by the Assembly?

Ms Liliane MAURY PASQUIER

Switzerland, SOC, President of the Assembly 

10:22:41

PrintIntervention

We can do so, Mr FOULKES, because it is specified –as I said earlier– that the members whose credentials are contested pending the report of the committee that has been referred to, have all the rights that are linked to the status of member of the Assembly, and therefore they can also be elected as vice-presidents of the Assembly.

Russia has the place of vice-presidency.

Is it still on this debate, Mr MIGNON?

Mr. KIRAL.

Mr Serhii KIRAL

Ukraine, EC 

10:23:26

PrintIntervention

Madam President. Under Rule 6, I would like to ask the Secretary General if the Russian Federation has submitted the written declaration on the respect of values to this Assembly? Just to remind you that non-submission of such a written declaration is an automatic non-ratification of the credentials.

Ms Liliane MAURY PASQUIER

Switzerland, SOC, President of the Assembly 

10:23:49

PrintIntervention

I can confirm that we have received the statements of all the members who are in the delegation of the Russian Federation.

Mr Ruben RUBINYAN

Armenia, NR 

10:24:02

PrintIntervention

Thank you, Madam President. I'd just like to announce that yesterday, during the vote, my vote was cast as against the report while my intention was to vote for it. Thank you.

Ms Liliane MAURY PASQUIER

Switzerland, SOC, President of the Assembly 

10:24:15

PrintIntervention

Thank you, Mr RUBINYAN.

It is not really a point of order; nor is it a personal matter. I take note of what you have said, but I cannot change the vote after the fact, but we have heard your statement and I thank you.

On the organization of the vote for the election as Vice-Chairperson, I have heard no objection to the proposal I have made to you: it is so decided.

Ms Mariia IONOVA

Ukraine, EPP/CD 

10:24:49

PrintIntervention

Madam Chair, telling the truth if this is the situation here in the Plenary Hall, I would like to recommend to be in your presidency near you, the Russian military who is responsible for bringing a BUK-M1 missile launcher to Eastern Ukraine to shoot 300 people. You can choose, it's Mr Girkin or Mr Dubinskiy or Pulatov...

Ms Liliane MAURY PASQUIER

Switzerland, SOC, President of the Assembly 

10:25:14

PrintIntervention

Madam, this is not a point of order and I would ask you not to abuse this instrument.

The next item is the presentation by Mrs Petra De SUTTER of the progress report of the Bureau and the Standing Committee, Document 14911 and Addenda 1 and 2, Documents 14912.

Mr ARIEV, I give you the floor for a point of order, but I would like to draw your attention to the fact that this type of possibility must not be abused and must therefore be a point of order.

Debate: Progress report of the Bureau and the Standing Committee

Mr Volodymyr ARIEV

Ukraine, EPP/CD 

10:25:54

PrintIntervention

In our hemicycle, we were obliged to follow the Rule 6 and to respect the main principles of the Assembly and this is the obligation of every member sitting in this hemicycle. As we have sitting here with us criminals here involved in the bloodshed in the Ukraine we cannot stand anymore in this hemicycle.

Ms Liliane MAURY PASQUIER

Switzerland, SOC, President of the Assembly 

10:26:20

PrintIntervention

We take note of your statements and I will continue with the agenda.

I would remind you that we will have to finish examining this text at 11:20 a.m. We must therefore interrupt the list of speakers at around 11:15 am in order to be able to hear the committee's reply and proceed to the necessary vote.

Mr TOLSTOY on a point of order.

Mr Piotr TOLSTOY

 

10:26:54

PrintIntervention

Thank you.

First of all, I would like to thank our colleagues who worked yesterday until late at night so that the dialogue for which the Parliamentary Assembly exists can be carried out. The second thing, Madam Speaker, I would like us not to insult the delegations of parliamentarians who have been elected in their countries and not use the word "assassin".

(speaking in Russian)

And we represent the people of the Russian Federation. Thank you.

Ms Liliane MAURY PASQUIER

Switzerland, SOC, President of the Assembly 

10:27:27

PrintIntervention

We have taken note of your statement.

I would remind you, dear colleagues, that the speaking time of speakers is limited to 3 minutes.

I will now give the floor to Mrs Petra De SUTTER to present the progress report of the Bureau and the Standing Committee.

It seems that I have another point of order, but Mr FOULKES, I must also remind you that this point of order is an instrument that must be used to defend the proper conduct of our work and not to interrupt it constantly.

You have the floor.

Lord George FOULKES

United Kingdom, SOC 

10:28:05

PrintIntervention

Yes, well a member of the House of Lords is always of good conduct, as you know. I'm not very clear about the ballot that you agreed: is there going to be a secret ballot on the nomination for vice president under the rules? Is that right?

Ms Liliane MAURY PASQUIER

Switzerland, SOC, President of the Assembly 

10:28:28

PrintIntervention

That's right. I can repeat what I said earlier. The vote will take place this afternoon, by secret ballot, in the rotunda behind the presidency, from the opening of the session at 3.30 pm until the end of the session. To this end, we will appoint, as always in the event of an election, tellers, so that they can then count the ballots.

The question will be about the election of Mr SLUTSKY as Vice-President of the Assembly. Members will be able to say whether they agree with this proposal or not, since it is the Assembly that elects these vice-presidents. In case of agreement, Mr SLUTSKY will be elected; in case of a majority of refusal he will not be elected and Russia will have to designate another candidate for the position of Vice-President to which it is entitled. Is that clear?

Thank you.

I will now give the floor to Mrs De SUTTER to present the progress report of the Bureau and the Standing Committee. Mrs De SUTTER, you have 13 minutes speaking time, which you can divide at your convenience between the presentation of the report and the reply to the various interventions.

You have the floor.

Ms Petra De SUTTER

Belgium, SOC, Rapporteur 

10:29:46

PrintIntervention

Thank you, Mrs President, and I also promise you that this is the last time that I will be standing here in front of you. So, I have had the honour to be able to present a progress report on the activities of the Bureau and the Standing Committee since the 12th of April, until today. Well, since the beginning of this reporting period, a lot has happened at a political level in Europe. I want to elaborate on two trends that I have been observing during this period:

First, we have been living influential political times, that will have far-reaching consequences for the coming five years at least.

Many Member States of the Council of Europe are also Member States of the European Union, and chose new representatives in the European Parliament between May 23 and May 26. The results of these elections are clear: citizens in Europe are divided. But many alliances are possible, and immediate action is required when it comes to Human Rights, democracy and the rule of law.

Obviously, the Council of Europe must contribute to that. In that way, I am looking forward to the report on “10 years after the Lisbon Treaty: Strengthening Council of Europe and European Union Co-Operation” - in preparation in the Committee on Political Affairs and Democracy - and the concrete actions that the report will suggest.

These actions would be complementary to already existing proposals to step up a political dialogue. As suggested in Mr Kox’s report on the Role and mission of the Parliamentary Assembly, and the setting up of a joint EU/Council of Europe parliamentary debate on the rule of law, as suggested in my own report adopted in April last.

I very much hope that the Assembly will follow-up on these proposals, because in my new role as a member of the European Parliament, I will be deeply committed to promote an enhanced dialogue between the two institutions.

Secondly, we also have been living influential political times here, at the Council of Europe, and a lot has actually been achieved by this Parliamentary Assembly.

The Assembly has been confronted with big challenges the last years:

1) We had corruption. We had scandals that found their way into this institution.

2) We had, as an assembly, also to reflect on the role and mission that we have.

3) And it was clear that there is a need to strengthen the political dialogue and synergies between the two statutory organs, meaning the Committee of Ministers and the Parliamentary Assembly.

A firm reaction of the Assembly to these challenges was needed, and I’m deeply convinced that the work that has been done to overcome these challenges has led, and will lead, to positive results. Which would not only contribute to preventing scandals in the future, but also help to make the voice of this Assembly stronger in the future.

For instance, the Assembly took very seriously the recommendations provided by the independent investigation body and it revised its ethical framework.

The election of a new Secretary General of the Council of Europe, during this session, makes it a highly symbolic and crucial moment.

This is why, following a call from the Committee of Ministers made on May 17th in Helsinki, yesterday, we accepted that all delegations, including the Russian Federation and Bosnia and Herzegovina, could present their credentials in order to take part in the vote. I’m happy to see that the Parliament of the Russian Federation has responded to our call, and submitted the credentials of its delegation. We'll see, of course, what will be the future course of the challenge that has been raised.

I have to remind, and I really want to stress this, that the decision that we took yesterday did not strip the Assembly of its powers. We should not forget about the procedure that we voted for in April, which will enable a joint action against a Member State whenever it violates statutory obligations, or whenever it would not respect our fundamental principles and values. This will allow us to adopt a firm position towards any Member State. They are all welcome here, if they follow our rules and respect our principles. And we will take action, together with the Committee of Ministers, if this is not the case.

So, in fact, the report of yesterday is part of a bigger picture, of a puzzle, that puts the conditions in place to make this Assembly stronger than ever before. To strengthen its actions in times when our societies are radicalising, and use its competencies for the benefit of citizens who ask for more protection. Let's not forget, that if we work on this joint mechanism, the Assembly will have the initiative, the possibility, to have the right to initiate it, and that is different from the past.

Ladies and gentlemen, I must tell you that I'm truly convinced that what we are trying to do here now is to balance both organs of the Council of Europe, and these are like two wings of a bird. The Committee of Ministers on one wing and the Parliamentary Assembly on the other wing, and it's only when both wings are balanced and work together that the bird can fly. And the Council of Europe, in this way, can spread its wings to protect its citizens.

Now, to come to the report itself, I would like to highlight some punctual and very significant developments in the Council of Europe Member States, and the impact these developments have:

First, the presidential elections that took place in Ukraine and in North Macedonia, to which the Assembly sent observers. Also, the Assembly has been invited to observe early parliamentary elections in Ukraine on July 21.

Secondly, I welcome a revision of the Code of Conduct, on one hand, and the guidelines for the observation of elections aiming at preventing sexism, and sexual harassment, in parliaments and during election observations.

Today, you are invited to ratify the amendment to the Guidelines for the Observation of Elections by the Parliamentary Assembly, as to include a new paragraph which forms a bulwark against sexism, hate speech, sexist acts or sexual harassment.

Third, I want to invite national parliaments to give a follow-up to important texts adopted during the last Standing Committee in Paris, on May 24. Such as the Resolution on Air Pollution, for example, which is a major challenge for public health in Europe.

Then, ending the speech, I really want to thank all of you for your support during the last five years that I've been able to work here. Because, as I said, this will be my last speech. Next week I will be across the river as a member of the European Parliament. But, I promise you, and this institution, I will always carry the values and principles of this organisation in my heart. They are the value which both organisations share. And I will continue to endeavour to promote this house because it will, and has always been, my first political home.

I would encourage you to do the same and to make the Council of Europe better known in your own parliaments, in your own Member States, because Human Rights, the rule of law and democracy are really at stake, more than ever before. Thank you.

Mr Joseph O'REILLY

Ireland, EPP/CD, President of the Assembly 

10:38:05

PrintIntervention

Thank you indeed Ms Petra De SUTTER.

You have almost 5 minutes left at the end if you want to use it.

If I might just personally – as others would want to do – congratulate you on your election to the house across the bridge, to the chamber across the bridge, and wish you well with that.

Now in the debate I call our first speaker in the debate on behalf of the Socialist group from Austria, Mr Stefan SCHENNACH.

Mr Stefan SCHENNACH

Austria, SOC 

10:38:39

PrintIntervention

Thank you, Mr President,

I too would like to thank Petra De SUTTER on behalf of my group and personally for her extraordinary work in the Council of Europe. Especially as chairman of the Social Committee, she has always pushed us to the limits with topics, and introduced us to new topics. That was a fantastic time and in the last 48 hours Petra has been at the leader's desk all the time and has led us out of many different difficult dead-ends. I wish you all the best in your work in the European Parliament. We know that you, and you said it yourself, will be a small ambassador to the European Parliament for the Council of Europe. We just wish you the same success you've had in this house.

On the Activity-Report, Progress-Report: one of the most important things yesterday was the Council of Ministers in Helsinki, which was launched and which shows that the Parliamentary Assembly can very well inspire the Council of Ministers. With the so-called Cox report in April. Both together has led us out of a dead-end. I think how you did it, Petra, with such care, with such consideration, how respectfully you treated yourself here, deserves all our respect. In the Progress Report there is also the time in which I perhaps want to remember that there are two people in the house today: Mr Muslum MAMMADOV and Mr Shadman HUSEYNOV, both prisoners or inmates just a few months ago and today they are here in this house. What a pleasure.

The picture, you can only fly properly balanced with two wings, I find a very nice picture. It also shows the unity of the House here, the Parliamentary Assembly here, the Council of Ministers here and with all our accompanying institutions, such as the Venice Commission. It is important to intensify this. On the occasion of the 70th anniversary some activities took place and our President was, for example, in the Parliament in Austria. Conversely, there was a high-level conference of the Bioethics Commission here in this House on "the Right to a public debate on how technology and the use of Artificial Intelligence technology is evolving and the robotics system". I think this will be a very exciting and challenging job and again, Petra De SUTTER, thank you very much.

Mr Joseph O'REILLY

Ireland, EPP/CD, President of the Assembly 

10:42:09

PrintIntervention

Thank you. On behalf of the EC, Mr LIDDELL-GRAINGER from the United Kingdom.

Mr Ian LIDDELL-GRAINGER

United Kingdom, EC 

10:42:20

PrintIntervention

Very much indeed, Mr O'REILLY. No backstops tonight, today, I can tell you.

Can I also thank Petra de Sutter. We've worked together for quite a long time now, Petra and I. I would tempt you to accept our thanks, if I may.  And in fact, we were sparring even this morning, so I'm very grateful for everything you've done. Yesterday, I think we had a very large missed opportunity here. We did not celebrate the 70th anniversary here. The agenda was changed at the last moment by the President –no slight on you, Mr O'REILLY– so we didn't celebrate it.

Democracy should be celebrated. The Ancient Greeks celebrated it when they set up democracy millennia ago. We fought for it for millennia, and I would say that any organisation that does try to play fast and loose with democracy, opens itself to all sorts of problems. I don't want to be here in a year's time, with Petra in the European Parliament – we might have lunch – saying "I told you so". I really don't. We fought so hard to set these organisations up in '48, at the back of a devastating war. This place existed because of the vision of Europeans to do so. And I would urge you all, every colleague here, not just now but in the future, to read these words. To say "we have established something that matters and is special". But if you decide that you feel it is more important to just take money to try to solve a problem, then we're all in trouble. Because by the use of the lowest common denominator, you thereby define yourselves and us.

I would urge you all to think about that, because, ultimately, this place, if it does not change, and I do mean – not just internally, with the amount of people we employ and the way we operate – but externally. I would love to know how many of our reports are ever taken up by national parliaments. I certainly know mine doesn't, and it doesn't even follow rulings from the Court of Human Rights a lot of the time. But, therefore, that is the problem of relevance. And what I would say again to colleagues – because I have got to finish in 39 seconds – is that this place matters. It matters for what is going to come.

I would urge you all "yes, we must work together"; "yes, we must have prisoners released", and many other things that we find important. To not only ourselves and our nations, but to the collective that makes this place up. All the countries, the 48 countries. And that is what we've got to enshrine. And that is why I am sad that we didn't celebrate the 70th anniversary yesterday, so we had that ability to say "we've come so far, but we have to be careful and get the future right". 

Mr Joseph O'REILLY

Ireland, EPP/CD, President of the Assembly 

10:45:22

PrintIntervention

Thank you, Mr Grainger, and I don't think, Liddel or Ian, it would be easy to establish a backstop to your eloquent flow of speech. If we could move on to the ALDE representative, Mr POLIAČIK, from the Slovak Republic.

Mr Martin POLIAČIK

Slovak Republic, ALDE, Spokesperson for the group 

10:45:44

PrintIntervention

Thank you Mr President. Thank you. In the name of ALDE I'd like to thank the Rapporteur not only for this report, but also for the work that she's done here.

I don't like the way she introduced the Russian delegation, but I would like to see her introduce a European Parliament delegation into this very Hemicycle one day, because that would actually strengthen this institution. That is something that we are really looking forward to in the future. I wish you all the best, my colleague, in doing so in the future.

On behalf of ALDE I welcome the steps being taken by the Bureau, especially regarding the revision of the code of conduct in accordance with the resolution on promoting parliaments free of sexism and sexual harassment.

Sexism and sexual harassment are often dismissed as the price women have to pay to be in politics. They interfere with women's rights to fully and equally participate in political life. It is very crucial to raise public awareness of sexism and violence against women in politics, and to bring about a change of mindset.

This issue needs to be taken into account systematically. Therefore I'm hoping it did not end with the successful revision of the code of conduct.

It must be ensured that this awareness is turned into a tangible change.

I could talk more about details in the report, but I think that there is another problem that we see after the voting last night.

It is the very word 'progress' that can be discussed in this Hemicycle. Are we really progressing if a country that has had seven chances, with seven documents passed in this Hemicycle, to do better, to uphold human rights, to uphold the rules when it comes to democracy and the rule of law, has not done anything, to show a gesture, that they understood that they have made mistakes.

If we have a country with four people – at least four people – on the European Union's sanction list who are here in this very room, and we are not doing anything about it.

If we see that the price tag of this very institution is somewhere close to 90 million euros, and it can be sold for someone who's breaking and breaching the rules when it comes to human rights, democracy and the rule of law, and is allowed to come back to this very chamber.

I don't think, ladies and gentlemen, that we are progressing. We need to do something about it and make this institution proud again.

Thank you very much.

Mr Joseph O'REILLY

Ireland, EPP/CD, President of the Assembly 

10:48:50

PrintIntervention

Thank you. May I now call, on behalf of the UEL, Mr Tiny Kox from the Netherlands.

Mr Tiny KOX

Netherlands, UEL, Spokesperson for the group 

10:48:59

PrintIntervention

 

Thank you, Mr President. Never a dull moment in the past three months, shows the progress report of our Rapporteur and, indeed, we did a lot of work here in this assembly. In the April part-session, we took decisions on the role and the mission of this assembly and this organisation and our main challenges and that is now a work in progress. We are on the right track, as I said yesterday.

We formulated our proposals in a resolution and we formulated our proposals to the Committee of Ministers and a recommendation, and the good news is that, only one month later, in Helsinki, the Committee of Ministers in its Ministerial Conference adopted our main proposals. That was something quite new, that the Committee of Ministers, indeed, adopts our proposals and that was also progress, I think. It stated, in Helsinki, that all Member States, from now on, are obliged to be present in votes of statutory organs: Committee of Ministers and statutory organs. We are not a cafeteria. That this presence should be on an equal basis, we do not have first- and second-rank members, and that, as soon as possible, a mechanism should be put in place, in which the Committee of Ministers, the Secretary General and this assembly, for the first time ever, work together in cases of blatant violation by one or more Member States of the Statute and the Convention. I think that somecolleagues still have to realise how big a step forward that is.

I hope that President Macron, when he is here in October, will be ready to show us the outline of this new robust mechanism, which gives this assembly, as the Rapporteur quite rightly said, far more power than we had in the past. Let's use that power in a diligent way. I hope that this will be a significant improvement in our situation. The good news is that, after the decision of this assembly and after the decision of the Committee of Ministers, at least one national delegation has come back to this assembly. As the Rapporteur already did, I also welcome our Russian colleagues here to this Hemicycle, you have been away far too long. I said it time and again, it was wrong of the assembly and it was wrong of the Russian side, but now you're back and there are a lot of things to be discussed. It's a pity that our Ukrainian friends left the Hemicycle today but I hope and am sure that they will be back because we have a lot of difficult, often painful things, to discuss but if we do not discuss things, then we do not do our job as as politicians.

Last remark, with regard to the Rapporteur, Petra De SUTTER has shown that being a politician is not an easy job. Of course, there are a lot of colleagues who think that it's an easy job but Petra, you are a jewel in the crown of the Parliamentary Assembly. I think you have shown how a good politician could and should work here. As I have said often, this is not an arena – we have our national parliaments, we have others – this is a hemicycle, in which we talk with each other in order to promote human rights, democracy and the rule of law. Madam De SUTTER, I take my hat off to you because, as I said you are a jewel in the crown of this assembly. Thank you very much.

Mr Joseph O'REILLY

Ireland, EPP/CD, President of the Assembly 

10:52:41

PrintIntervention

Now, to speak on behalf of EPP from Hungary, I call Mr Németh, please.

Mr Zsolt NÉMETH

Hungary, EPP/CD, Spokesperson for the group 

10:52:53

PrintIntervention

Dear colleagues, in the name of the European People's Party, I would like to draw your attention to two important recent developments.

One is the change of presidencies, and the other is the change of the Secretary-General.

Concerning the presidencies, I would like to congratulate the outgoing Finnish presidency from my heart. They have done a good job.

I would like to welcome the new French presidency. They seem to have a very good and very dynamic programme for their priorities.

Both countries seem to play a remarkable role in a very difficult time for the Council of Europe. I think we will owe a lot to these presidencies in the future.

Concerning the change of the Secretary-Generals, I would like to congratulate the work of Mr Jagland. He also led this organisation in difficult times. I would like to welcome two excellent candidates who are running in a very democratic campaign of quality. I believe we have got a very good perspective that the new Secretary-General will be able to renew the organisation against negative signs, which we all can feel and see.

I still would like to declare here that I see a very good chance that the Council of Europe overcomes the serious crisis, and that against negative scenarios the Council of Europe becomes a pan-European renewed forum for dialogue.

However, obviously the clarification of forms and content is crucial in this regard.

Be a defender of human rights in Europe which is able to respond to old and new challenges, for example the rights of national minorities.

Concerning new challenges, I would like to mention the danger of artificial intelligence and settle its relationship with the European Union based on a clear division of labour, in a time of mutual reset of the entire activity of both organisations.

Dear ladies and gentlemen, the Ukraine presidential elections drives me to underline that Ukraine needs our solidarity. Europe should assume much more responsibility towards Ukraine.

I would like to welcome the result of the North Macedonian developments. It is high time for the European Union to follow the path of NATO to bring North Macedonia into its framework. Thank you very much for your attention.

Mr Joseph O'REILLY

Ireland, EPP/CD, President of the Assembly 

10:56:04

PrintIntervention

Thank you, Mr NÉMETH. The rapporteur will reply at the end of the debate but does Ms De SUTTER wish to respond at this stage? No. So, we will move on to the Speaker's list proper and I now call from the EPP Mr KANDELAKI, Giorgi. Mr KANDELAKI is... 

Mr Giorgi KANDELAKI

Georgia, EPP/CD 

10:56:30

PrintIntervention

Thank you, thank you, Chair. For the attention of journalists, media and citizens who watch this broadcast, I want to clarify that the matter of Russian credentials is not over yet, that they have been challenged, there is another procedure in the Monitoring Committee and there will be another vote on challenging the Russian credentials. So the question is not closed yet.

It is clear that decision-makers in countries which supported yesterday's motion, and it's not a secret it's an open secret, regard the Council of Europe as a very unimportant organisation. In fact, the significance of the Council of Europe and its weight, so to speak, has continued to fall over the years. These decision-makers think that by making this concession the current leadership of the Russian Federation will take this move as an opportunity for dialogue. You will see, very soon, that this approach is worse than a crime, to quote one historic figure. It's a mistake. Because such moves have been made before over and over and over. And time and again, they have proven mistaken. When after the 2008 Russian invasion of Georgia, the Russian credentials were not challenged, what did we get in return? A much larger problem, a much larger invasion of a larger country and many more lives lost.

I also want to clarify that no matter how this ends it doesn't mean that the sanctions (economic sanctions, personal sanctions), the very painful and important sanctions of the European Union and United States, are changing. No, these sanctions are all in place and will remain in place. Nevertheless, when Russia joined the Council of Europe in 1998, the question was asked: will the Council of Europe change Russia or will Russia change the Council of Europe? Russia, as it is, has changed the Council of Europe beyond recognition and I regret that.

Finally, I want to address my colleagues from respectable political parties, from mainstream traditional parties. At home, they talk to their voters about the dangers of populism, how toxic populism is, and here, they have fought on a common front, with crazy populists from the radical left and the radical right, which I think is the same thing. How does that work? If it's dangerous, why do you find yourselves in the same boat as them? Thank you. 

Mr Joseph O'REILLY

Ireland, EPP/CD, President of the Assembly 

10:59:44

PrintIntervention

On behalf of the EC, Mr MELKUMYAN, Armenia, please.

Mr Mikayel MELKUMYAN

Armenia, EC 

10:59:54

PrintIntervention

Madam President, ladies and gentlemen, first of all, I would like to say that Mrs De SUTTER's work is very good.

In a rapidly changing world, we are witnessing new developments every day, such as unemployment, poverty, local military actions, the displacement of large numbers of refugees from their countries of origin, as well as other challenges. This situation is both an external challenge and a consequence of ineffective internal management.

It is in this context that I will present to you a current problem in our Republic. Armenia shares borders with four countries: Georgia, Iran, Turkey and Azerbaijan. The borders with the last two are closed. There is no railroad to Iran, and on the territory of Georgia rail links are cut off for known reasons.

However, Armenia has no access to the sea and no railway lines to the outside world either. This means that the competitiveness of our domestic products is suddenly decreasing due to logistical problems. Of course, the structure of our economy has changed in favour of information technology, but the whole economy cannot collapse in this way.

On the basis of these facts, I have a concrete question for the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe: if two members of the Parliamentary Assembly and the Council of Europe –Turkey and Azerbaijan– block the border of another member of the Council of Europe –Armenia for 30 years– should the Council of Europe intervene or not? In my opinion, it is crucial that the Council of Europe should take a clear and binding decision to unblock borders and carry out a legal and political assessment of this phenomenon.

Ladies and gentlemen, we come here, we sit in the same room, we express our views on different issues concerning Europe and the whole world, talking about moral values and at the same time showing contradictory behaviour.

I appeal to an atmosphere of sincerity and dignity in this room, not to concealment and banal hypocrisy.

Of course, the bloody hands of a surgeon and those of an executioner are different, but the latter will be responsible for the flagrant violation of the law, Human rights and peaceful coexistence, from international law to the non-use of force.

I address the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe: I ask for your reaction to the blocking countries.

Thank you for your attention.

Mr Joseph O'REILLY

Ireland, EPP/CD, President of the Assembly 

11:03:00

PrintIntervention

Thank you very much. I think sadly our Ukrainian colleagues have left us. Unless I get an indication to the contrary I'll move on to the next speaker who on behalf of the EC is Ms Naira ZOHRABYAN, please forgive the mispronunciation if that's the case, from Armenia.

Ms Naira ZOHRABYAN

Armenia, EC 

11:03:29

PrintIntervention

Mr President, ladies and gentlemen,

Today I want to talk about a rather important and urgent issue, such as the right of the population of unrecognized States to education and health as inalienable rights. At the moment, it is a serious problem that citizens of non-recognised states are deprived of their rights to be included in European education programmes and to participate in this process.

Based on the Convention against Discrimination in Education adopted by UNESCO on 15 December 1960, I would like to draw your attention to the problem of non-recognition of higher education qualifications, a very important problem for the people of the Republic of Artsakh.

Specialists, students and schoolchildren living in Artsakh are deprived of their right to education in accordance with international standards. The Artsakh authorities have made considerable efforts to create the necessary conditions for its citizens to fully enjoy their right to education, and today there are 219 secondary schools, 6 education and vocational training institutions and 5 higher education institutions. Yet citizens still face insoluble problems and obstacles across borders, particularly across borders.

The non-recognition of final degrees creates external obstacles for the further professional development of thousands of university students in Artsakh. Artsakh students are excluded from the European Higher Education Area, and do not benefit from the programmes provided by the Bologna Process. However, the UNESCO Convention states that the right to education is a fundamental right regardless of where one lives. So the same applies to the right to health of Artsakh citizens, the exercise of which, as you know, must not be conditioned by the status of Artsakh.

I am counting on the support of the Council of Europe to find a solution to this very complex problem. All citizens, ladies and gentlemen, wherever they live in Europe, have the same right to life, health and education, and it is unacceptable, as well as unforgivable, to condition their rights according to the political status of their State.

Thank you.

Mr Joseph O'REILLY

Ireland, EPP/CD, President of the Assembly 

11:06:22

PrintIntervention

Thank you, thank you indeed. On behalf of ALDE, I now call Mr HUSEYNOV from Azerbaijan.

Mr Rafael HUSEYNOV

Azerbaijan, ALDE 

11:06:32

PrintIntervention

Thank you, Chair. First of all, I'd like to note that false speech, full of lies and slander. Our Armenian colleagues, once again, demonstrate their real face. Dear colleagues, today when discussing this progress report, the Council of Europe is as if it is standing on the border. That was exactly 70 years ago. At that time, this organisation was coming into being and Europe, as well as the world, was on the verge of an important border. After the Second World War, another Europe and the world was formed and the Cold War era began. And the biography of the Council of Europe confirms that it was a successful organisation of the Cold War era because all the major achievements of this organisation in the field of democracy and human rights coincide with this period. When the Cold War era was over, real blood conflicts had begun to emerge, the Council of Europe could not demonstrate its previous efficiency. The Council of Europe cannot and does not provide practical assistance in preventing military conflicts and occupations as well as addressing the problems of millions of refugees and IDPs. Unfulfilled weak resolutions on paper, double standards of behaviour, noncompliance between word and action, managed groups, distinct relationships with various member states indifferent attitude to regular violation of the charter, decorative characteristics of the reform and many other similar reasons. The Council of Europe needs a special anti-violence program to address these shortcomings, otherwise, this machine, the common property of all of us, the Council of Europe, makes an error, its memory freezes, it seems overloaded. Therefore, in my opinion, the Council of Europe should move from this threshold to the border not to cosmetic reform but to radical change after 70 years of existence. The new era shows that you do not need to work much with the power of the word. It does not give the same effect. Therefore, it must be a real force to move forward so that the speech can become operational. The Council of Europe, covering 47 countries, should create a concrete mechanism of action that can directly serve the implementation of its decisions and resolutions. Practice clearly demonstrates that the Committee of Ministers cannot achieve anything by remaining solely as an advisory body without a function in the mechanism that directly impacts the implementation of decisions and resolutions. Every member country should know that when the moment comes it could be subject not only to political but also to very serious economic and other sanctions. Sometimes we are faced with pessimistic considerations about the assessment of Council of Europe as an organisation that has already ended its life. If the Council of Europe steps into the next decade of its life as a substantially changed organisation, which corresponds to the requirement of its period, there would be no room for such disturbing thoughts. Thank you.

Mr Joseph O'REILLY

Ireland, EPP/CD, President of the Assembly 

11:09:46

PrintIntervention

No, thank you. Mr OMTZIGT, Netherlands, please. OMTZIGT, Netherlands. Mr OMTZIGT, thank you.

Mr Pieter OMTZIGT

Netherlands, EPP/CD 

11:09:57

PrintIntervention

Thank you, Mr Vice-President and thanks for all the work being done on the progress report. I have a question for the Rapporteur, who was also chairperson of the Rules Committee.

At the beginning of each session, each of us has to sign that we agree to the values of the Council of Europe. Those values are not for nothing in international law because they protect mostly the smaller countries against the big countries. One of the values I thought this assembly was built on is a territorial integrity of each nation. If you work together, you accept the territory of the others. There are maps also in the Council of Europe. We are very clear which parts belong to the Russian Federation and which part belong to Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine. So, for instance, Crimea, on the map of the Council of Europe, has the color of Ukraine.

If you then sign, do you then sign that you accept that that's a territorial integrity? I'm asking this not for a sort of fantasy reason but because here we have a delegation which all signed the Declaration of Interest and said we share the values and at the same time, they have someone coming from a country which we think is part of another country, namely Crimea.

So, I would like to know whether that's possible or not? Whether, within how we understand the declaration, whether that also has any legal force or whether it's a sort of voluntary declaration of goodwill. Because if it has legal force it means that you recognise that Crimea is part of Ukraine. I may remind you that there are other territorial problems within the Council of Europe so there is the occupation of Northern Cyprus by Turkey, there is, Azerbaijan and Armenia have quite a different view on Karabakh but they don't present candidates from those parts. We haven't seen any people arriving here.

So I hope to get an answer to that question because I think it's a very important question as to how we are going to stick to the Rules of Corporation. Thank you very much, Mr President.

Mr Joseph O'REILLY

Ireland, EPP/CD, President of the Assembly 

11:12:33

PrintIntervention

Thank you indeed. I now move on to call, from Germany, Mr OEHME, from Germany, so thank you.

Mr Ulrich OEHME

Germany, NR 

11:12:46

PrintIntervention

Mr. President,

Dear Members of Parliament, Dear rapporteur Mrs De SUTTER,

I'd like to talk about point 2.8 of your report. This includes the non-recognition of our group, new European democrats, Europe of Nations and Fatherlands. I am speechless as the Members of this House, who constantly and prayerfully emphasise that the Council of Europe is founded on democracy and Human rights, can trample these very foundations underfoot.

We, the 20 Members, are the ones who created these groups. We were elected by 17 million people in free democratic elections. Due to the decision of the office, however, we are only able to fulfil their mandate to a limited extent. To date, we have not received any valid justification. I'm asking you, Mrs. De SUTTER, who vetoed this? In any case, your committee has not positioned itself. So was it the office? What was the basis for the veto? You will probably now justify yourself by saying that you have formally and legally rejected our motion on the basis of Resolution 22 78 this year by amending the Rules of Procedure of the Parliamentary Assembly. Looking at the report, it quickly becomes clear that this change was deliberately awaited. The motion to amend the Rules of Procedure is based on the fact that on 4 September 2017 the Office had already had to agree to the creation of the Group of the European Liberal, Democrat and Reform Party.

Of course, the other political groups did not like this. It turns out that you only interpret democracy and the understanding of law in such a way that you do not want to involve those who do not approve of you or could even become dangerous to you. This decision was clearly only about safeguarding the existing order. How else are the following statements of the Minutes to be assessed?: “First, how can we stop them? And secondly, there is nothing formally wrong with the foundation, but the attitude does not fit.“

What is happening here reminds me of my time in the resistance against communism in East Germany. Then, as now, here in this House, those who have a different opinion from that of the prevailing unity of opinion are being fought by all means. Back then by a party of opinion. You, dear colleagues, from the former socialist and communist countries know what I am talking about. I had previously believed that Europe had fought for democracy and freedom of expression in 1989-90. I made a mistake. This is not about democracy, this is about domination of opinion. This decision is another disgrace to the Parliamentary Assembly. In yesterday's debate on Russia, everyone conjured up democracy. I ask you to turn your back on yourself and live this democracy so that this House and the idea of a peaceful Europe of peoples and nations do not abolish themselves. Thank you. I'll take care of it.