AS (2016) CR 09
2016 ORDINARY SESSION
Friday 29 January 2016 at 10.00 a.m.
In this report:
1. Speeches in English are reported in full.
2. Speeches in other languages are reported using the interpretation and are marked with an asterisk.
3. The text of the amendments is available at the document centre and on the Assembly’s website. Only oral amendments or oral sub-amendments are reproduced in the report of debates
4. Speeches in German and Italian are reproduced in full in a separate document.
5. Corrections should be handed in at Room 1059A not later than 24 hours after the report has been circulated.
The contents page for this sitting is given at the end of the report.
(Mr Rouquet, Vice-President of the Assembly, took the Chair at 10.05 a.m.)
The PRESIDENT* – The sitting is open.
I remind all members that the time limit on speeches is four minutes.
1. Changes in the membership of committees
The PRESIDENT* – Our next business is to consider the changes proposed in the membership of committees. These are set out in Document Commissions (2016) 01 Addendum 6.
Are the proposed changes in the membership of the Assembly’s committees agreed to?
They are agreed to.
Mr KESİCİ (Turkey)* – On a point of order, Mr President. On Tuesday 26 January, there was a debate on the “Escalation of violence in Nagorno-Karabakh and the other occupied territories of Azerbaijan”. The record shows that I abstained in the vote on the draft resolution, but I wanted to vote in favour of it. I totally support the draft resolution. The fact that it was rejected is a big loss for the Assembly.
Mr PRESIDENT* – That is not a point of order, Mr Kesici. It is not possible to change the vote once it has taken place, especially as the vote was on Tuesday, but your comments will appear in the official report. I did not vote on that draft resolution because I got confused with my buttons, so perhaps we cancelled each other out.
2. Access to school and education for all children
The PRESIDENT* – The first item of business this morning is the debate on the report entitled “Access to school and education for all children”, Document 13934, prepared by Mr Flego. Mr Flego is no longer a member of the Assembly, so Mr Barilaro, Chairperson of the Sub-Committee on Education, Youth and Sport, will present the report on behalf of the Committee on Culture, Science, Education and Media.
I call Mr Barilaro to present the report. You have 13 minutes in total, which you may divide between your presentation of the report and your reply to the debate. Mr Barilaro, you have the floor.
Mr BARILARO (Monaco)* – Thank you, Mr President. Despite Mr Flego’s absence, I thank him very much indeed for his report. I also thank the secretariat for asking me to speak about it. I am a member of the education committee in my parliament, so I am acquainted with the issue.
At first glance, it would appear that Europe already deals with the subjects under discussion. Fundamental texts remind us that access to school and education should be guaranteed for all children. Article 2 of Protocol No. 1 to the European Convention on Human Rights states very clearly: “No person shall be denied the right to education.”
That said, we note with regret that, despite all the declarations and pledges to change national, European and global policies, there are still children in Europe who do not have access to school or education, including street children who have been abandoned and are not registered, Roma children, children of immigrants, particularly if they do not have a command of the language of their host country, and children from low-income families.
Some children do not go to school because there are no schools; because there are not enough properly trained teachers; because there is not enough money as a result of the economic crisis; because their parents need them to work for free in the fields; or because their tradition is against sending girls to school. As the head of the Council of Europe education service, Mr Bergan, underlined at one of our meetings, a street child who is abandoned early in life might well feel, as an adult, like the victim of injustice and discrimination and see no reason to play an active part in the development of society. Conversely, a street child who is saved from the streets through education has a good chance of becoming an active member of society and an example for others. Finally, some children are not entitled to a suitable education – for example, disabled or incredibly gifted children. The latter are often overlooked by decision makers.
The report underlines the fact that on the one hand education is of decisive importance for children’s futures and, on the other hand, that we are not talking about just any type of educational offering. It underlines the importance of persuading governments and national parliaments that it is their duty to provide each child with a proper, high-quality education to prepare them for future challenges and give them the chance to live in dignity, and that money that is ring-fenced for education should be not only a budgetary expense but an investment in a better future. The research that was carried out in the preparation of the report flagged up the effectiveness of a number of measures that have been put in place by our member States. Among them are: measures designed to increase the ability of schools to create inclusive environments by drawing attention, at the levels of both the school and the population, to the advantages of an inclusive education; measures to officialise inter-sectorial and inter-institutional co-operation in the field of inclusive education by stepping up vertical and horizontal co-operation among the different stakeholders and creating tripartite bodies dealing with education, health and welfare protection, including child protection; putting into place a system to encourage inclusive education by providing for flexible and inclusive admission procedures for the most underprivileged children; and strengthening parental participation by increasing the competencies of parental councils and involving parents from the most under-privileged groups.
With all that in mind, parliaments have an important role to play. First, they should ensure that national legislation guarantees access to a high-quality education for all. Secondly, they should ensure that that legislation is properly applied and that measures of redress can be taken to ensure that the specific needs of children in vulnerable groups can be met. Thirdly, they should rethink and reform educational systems to avoid school drop-outs and ensure that no children are abandoned. If necessary, positive action should be taken, such as targeted measures to promote access to school for girls and young women.
More specifically, the resolution suggests that concrete measures be taken with a view to guaranteeing high-quality education for all and regular school attendance right up to the end of the school cycle. In particular, member States should do more to: improve access to schools and clamp down on school drop-out rates; improve access to pre-school education; support programmes that help children from minority and migrant communities to develop adequate knowledge of the language in which they are taught; promote school resilience and success and develop programmes that create a conducive atmosphere at school and give children from the most underprivileged backgrounds a taste for learning; identify the most vulnerable groups and the children who are at risk of dropping out of school; step up, through targeted training, the prevention of violence both inside and outside schools, online and offline, in order to minimise the risk of conflict between new pupils; and develop and include in school programmes training based on human rights, democracy, social justice, a multicultural society, tolerance, the peaceful settlement of conflicts and mutual respect.
The resolution also suggests concrete measures on reinforcing co-operation. In particular, member States should step up co-operation between the public authorities and families by introducing measures to protect children and guarantee their access to school and regular attendance of classes. Member States should do more to involve parents, particularly by investing in programmes designed to help parents to get more involved in literacy issues, and promote such programmes in the first years of primary school. Member States should also invest in public education to enable high-quality and inclusive education, particularly by earmarking sufficient funds for programmes that promote social inclusion and access to education for all. They should look into investing in national education in line with the international benchmarks of no more than 4% to 6% of their GDP or 15% to 20% of their total public expenditure.
Member States should take measures to support the teaching corps, educational assistants and administrators. In particular, they should, through targeted training, improve headteachers’ ability to establish inclusive education policies that promote a democratic atmosphere in schools and develop more co-operative decision making. Member States should support teachers’ continuous training to heighten their awareness of the role of language in children’s cognitive and social development. Teachers should have the resources better to manage multilingual classes.
Finally, member States should support global measures to promote access to school and education for all. In particular, they must implement the Incheon Declaration – Education 2030: Towards inclusive and equitable quality education and lifelong learning for all, which was adopted at the World Education Forum 2015. The forum took place in the Republic of Korea between 19 and 22 May 2015 and its action framework was adopted at the UNESCO high-level conference on 4 November 2015. Concerted efforts should be taken with UNESCO, UNICEF and the European Commission to help governments and national parliaments to fulfil their duties to provide all children with an appropriate education that will equip them for the challenges that await them and give them the opportunity to live in dignity.
As Chair of the Council of Europe Sub-Committee on Education, Youth and Sport, I thank committee members and the rapporteur, Mr Flego, for their work on the report. I call on colleagues to adopt the draft resolution and implement its specific recommendations.
The PRESIDENT* – Thank you, Mr Barilaro. You have five minutes remaining to respond to the debate.
We move on to the general debate. I call first Ms Johnsson Fornarve, who speaks on behalf of the Group of the Unified European Left.
Ms JOHNSSON FORNARVE (Sweden) – Although he is not present, I congratulate the rapporteur, Mr Flego, and the Committee on Culture, Science, Education and Media on producing an excellent report on an important issue
Education is the key to development, both for the individual and for society. It is by improving our knowledge that we can broaden our views and develop our societies in the right direction. Investing in education is the best medicine for avoiding high unemployment, social problems and economic injustice. It should be natural that all children can access a good education in Europe today, but unfortunately that is not the case. That is a crying shame. Europe must take immediate action to guarantee that all children get a good and equal education, regardless of gender or disability, or economic, ethnic, religious or social background.
It is important to identify the groups of children that are particularly vulnerable, including those who are at risk of dropping out of school, and to bring them back into the education system by meeting their needs. Schools must identify why some children leave school too early. Children with special difficulties must receive additional support and assistance, based on their specific circumstances. It is important to do that in dialogue with the home and parents.
Another important group is the children of asylum seekers and refugees. Language is the key to a functional life in a new country, so it is important that the children of refugees and asylum seekers receive training in their new language as soon as possible. Such education can be organised in different ways, but the children need special assistance and training to learn the new language. In Sweden it is set out in law that all children of refuges and asylum seekers have the right to study. It is important that those children also have the right to study in their mother tongue so that they do not lose their roots.
The third group whom I want to highlight is Roma children. The report picks up the terrible educational situation for Roma children, especially girls, in Romania, Kosovo and Hungary, but also in some other countries. I found it shocking that some Roma children are enrolled at special schools even though they do not have any problems with their mental or physical health. It is high time that discrimination against Roma children ceased. They must be granted the same right to a good education as all other children.
Last but not least, I want to underline the importance of promoting equal opportunities to education for children with disabilities. It is important that those children are not separated from mainstream schools. They have the same rights to a good, high-quality education. Investing in good education for all children strengthens equality and democracy in our societies. Investing in our children’s education is equal to investing in the future.
The PRESIDENT* – Thank you. I call Mr Schneider to speak on behalf of the Group of the European People’s Party.
Mr SCHNEIDER (France)* – I pay tribute to Mr Flego, who, as we know, is no longer a member of the Assembly. He has done much work in the Committee on Culture, Science, Education and Media, and although we were not members of the same group, to a large extent we share the same values.
The report stresses the need for more equitable access to schools and to take on board social inequality to a greater degree. Those who drop out of school or leave at an early age should concern us and be the subject of bold policies. If we want to tackle these phenomena, we must start at an early age. Schooling children in kindergartens is certainly an avenue to be explored, but it is in primary schools that we should be concentrating our efforts.
We cannot have a situation in Europe where young people are illiterate. It is not permissible that children should arrive at secondary school in Europe without being able to read or count. As far as children with a migrant background are concerned, right start programmes such as those conducted in France enable us to overcome the failings and gaps in pupils’ education in a differentiated way. It also makes it possible to ensure that parents participate, which in turn facilitates greater integration.
We should not be taken in: access to quality education can be effective only if we have quality teaching and quality teachers – in other words, well-trained teachers. It is important that teachers are allowed to get on with their jobs without constantly changing the rules. Teaching is not an easy job, and I know what I am talking about having been a teacher myself. Socio-educational or even political objectives are being assigned more and more often to schools, but I believe that if we want well-performing schools, quality schools and quality education, schools must be able to revert to their original vocation, which is the orderly transmission of knowledge with a view to training minds and preparing pupils to become fully fledged citizens within society. That is why I am in favour of a core curriculum in which a certain number of basic subjects are taught.
In Europe, what characterises those countries that are doing best in the area of education is the flexibility and independence of their education systems. Within these systems, initiatives, the teaching corps and the authority of headteachers, as well as the participation of pupils and their parents, are all taken into account. We are not talking about levelling down – we need to ensure that diversity is seen as an asset. Having participated in the work, I know how much diversity is an asset within our societies. It is creative and an opportunity rather than a danger. Equality of opportunity and equality for all, as I see it, do not mean ensuring that everybody attains the same level but rather that pupils are allowed to fulfil their own potential.
I conclude by reminding you that schools should remain a sanctuary. They should not be a mere reflection of society and its conflicts. Violence, whatever its origin, has no place in schools and does not create a climate that is conducive to personal fulfilment or to an education system worthy of the name. We have work ahead of us, but, as we say in France, there is no glory in an easy victory. If we want to achieve this, we will ultimately win.
The PRESIDENT* – Thank you. I call Ms Christoffersen to speak on behalf of the Socialist Group.
Ms CHRISTOFFERSEN (Norway) – I recognise the work of Mr Flego on this important report. Access to school and education for all children are of the utmost importance in creating societies based on equality between different groups – between men and women, different socioeconomic groups, different ethnic groups and so on.
The rapporteur is absolutely right, in his introductory remarks, to state that access to quality education is both an issue of social justice and in the best interest of our societies. The latter point is not only about avoiding the social costs linked to unemployment and dependency, but is a means of preventing social differences and, in the end, social unrest.
The report especially mentions children from migrant societies. There is no doubt that education is the measure for integration. On Wednesday evening, we had an important debate on the root causes of the foreign fighter phenomenon. Young people feeling like outcasts are much more vulnerable to being radicalised than well-integrated young men and women. That goes for all kinds of extremism, including right or left-wing extremism. Even more important is the impact of a well-educated population on a society’s wealth and growth. When each person, regardless of their background, gets to make the best of their skills, whether they are academic or vocational, that is obviously in society’s best interest.
Equal opportunities are more than just formal rights. Access to education for all has to be followed by a universal system of funding. Just as important is the development of systems for individual adaptation for those with special needs, be it learning difficulties or different kinds of disabilities, dyslexia, a lack of language skills or whatever else. Too often, education systems tend to reproduce social differences in a country. With better organisation, in line with the different needs of different pupils, education could instead promote social mobility.
My country, Norway, may serve as an example of how poverty on the individual level and in society as a whole can turn into an overall welfare society. Education for all played an important part in that transformation. One hundred years ago, Norway was the poorest country in Europe. People were starving. Many were out of work. One third of our population crossed the Atlantic to seek a better life. The interwar period was characterized by repeated strikes and political crisis. To make a long story short, a new beginning started in 1935 with a so-called crisis settlement, first and foremost between the unions and the employers’ organisations, regulating collective bargaining. An alliance of farmers and workers led to a new stable government, which contributed to welfare benefits, including education for all. Such tripartite co-operation would later be known as the Norwegian or Nordic welfare model.
After the Second World War, that development continued. Ensuring working-class children and women could access education and thereby also ensuring a strong female labour-market participation became a prerequisite for the welfare from which we benefit from today. Oil helps, of course, but our welfare society was established before oil was found offshore. With today’s growing migration, we must repeat the process to prevent a new subordinate class, for the sake of individuals and society as a whole, in line with the aim and scope of this excellent report.
The PRESIDENT* – Thank you. I call Ms Mateu from Andorra on behalf of the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe.
Ms MATEU (Andorra)* – I thank Mr Flego for his very relevant report, which contains some scary figures about modern-day Europe. It highlights the high proportion of illiterate children, and states that young girls – especially Roma – are the most prominent victims.
The report also addresses the issue of migrant children. Children who flee conflict zones and arrive in our societies speaking other languages face the problem of integration. The report sets out avenues to explore, which should not be disregarded – I speak from personal experience. We are told that, statistically, children who continue to speak their mother tongue and learn in school the language of the society in which they live are more likely to succeed. If they do not renounce their background and are able to communicate with their parents, they can establish a bridge between the society in which they live and their family’s society.
In my country, we have a multilingual school system. Parents can freely put their children in the French-speaking, Andorran-speaking or Spanish-speaking school systems, irrespective of economic issues. Under the multilingual Andorran system, maths is taught in French, geography in Spanish and history and the natural sciences in Catalan. Children – especially young girls – must be equipped to communicate. The report rightly stresses that schools must therefore be inclusive. If people are excluded and left by the wayside in society, they will be susceptible to the problems that we have been discussing this week. For children to find their bearings, they need to feel comfortable and must learn to live in their society. Language should be not a barrier, but a source of enrichment. Understanding and speaking several languages is enriching. I commend Mr Flego’s report. Our group will fully support it.
The PRESIDENT* – Thank you. I call Mr Wood to speak on behalf of the European Conservatives Group.
Mr WOOD (United Kingdom) – Ensuring fair and equal access to high-quality education is not only important for social justice, but imperative for functioning, stable and prosperous societies. Governments and public authorities have a responsibility to ensure that the needs of those who are often overlooked in the education system – women and girls, the children of migrants, children with disabilities, and children in fragile, conflict-affected States – are properly considered when formulating policy.
For interventions to be effective, we need a holistic approach. We must treat the education system as a whole and identify the barriers that lead to high drop-out rates and the failure of students to fulfil their potential. We need to look beyond the classroom if we are to deliver equal access. For example, perceived safety issues and other cultural factors can restrict the time that girls spend in school. Sensitive and relevant interventions, such as the provision of secure transport, can help to overcome the issues that delay equality.
Societies function best when quality education can be accessed by all, with no one left behind. This creates greater economic growth, stability and more inclusive societies. Ensuring that no one is left behind extends to internally or externally displaced persons – a particularly topical issue at the moment. Ensuring that refugees, asylum seekers and other displaced persons can access education is a challenge for inclusive, stable societies. The average length of displacement from conflict is 17 years, which means that millions of children receive no access to permanent education at all in their country of origin.
There is much that is extremely good in this report, which makes it all the more disappointing that small parts of it appear to be based on, at best, outdated or anecdotal evidence. Paragraph 21 of the explanatory notes appears to be lifted directly from a six-year-old report by a think-tank in my country. Even when it was written in 2010, the assertion that “social class remains the strongest predictor of educational achievement” was contentious. The report would have been more accurate if it considered the interventions that the United Kingdom Government has made since 2010 to improve the results of disadvantaged children. It introduced initiatives such as the pupil premium, which gives extra money to schools with children from disadvantaged backgrounds, and helps to close the attainment gap between those pupils and the national average. At the special school of which I am a governor, children from looked-after and disadvantaged backgrounds have exceeded the results of the rest of the school in recent years.
At a global level, sustainable investment in education in the developing world can help to create stable States, but humanitarian aid is woefully low. In 2013, only 2% of humanitarian aid was invested in education. I am proud that the United Kingdom has enshrined in law the United Nations development assistance target of 0.7% of national income. I hope that more member States will follow suit and that more will be invested in education globally.
The small mistakes that I highlighted should not detract from this otherwise excellent report. I hope that our member States and authorities further afield will read it, reflect on it and consider what more they can do to build education systems that truly leave no child behind.
The PRESIDENT* – Thank you. I understand that the rapporteur, Mr Barilaro, will reply at the end. We will continue with the list of speakers.
Ms BİLGEHAN (Turkey)* – For once, I will speak not in your language, Mr President, but in my mother tongue. It is now possible to speak in Turkish, and I shall profit from the presence of our excellent interpreters.
(The speaker continued in Turkish.)
Mr Flego was one of the most hard-working members of the Parliamentary Assembly. I believe that he will remain out of politics for a short time, but will continue with his initiatives in the field of education in his country and elsewhere in Europe. His report underlines the need for high-quality education and focuses on the disadvantaged groups that do not have access to it. Obviously, every child is entitled to high-quality education.
Having a good education is the most durable resolution to a world full of corruption and misery. According to a study by Oxford University, in 2016 for the first time 1% of people from the richest countries in the world represent more than half the world’s total wealth. In order to reduce the detrimental impact of that, countries must adopt new education policies as a priority.
According to the figures in the report, in 2013 about 14 million children were displaced. In other words, in 172 countries in the world, a huge number of children are trying to get an education in countries in which they do not speak the mother tongue. The problem is complex. At the moment, 2.5 million Syrian refugees are living in my country, Turkey, and 620 000 Syrian children are in need of education. However, only 300 000 of them can receive proper education. Children whose families live outside the camps are used as members of the labour force by their families, and they do not have access to education. Given those problems, Turkey is seeking the support of institutions such as UNICEF.
The report also makes other suggestions, such as the alleviation of the difficulties faced by Roma children, problems regarding access to education for children with disabilities, and the situation facing girls. We know that in every country girls confront greater difficulties. In Turkey, the number of women working as primary school teachers is much higher than the number of men, yet women are not in governing positions. More than 1 billion children live in countries where there are armed confrontations. That is a major problem because in regions where there is a problem with safety, we cannot talk about just and equal educational activities. This year, Professor Aziz Sancar received the Nobel Prize for chemistry. He was a child from Mardin, and he is living proof of the success that can be achieved through proper education.
Mr REISS (France)* – A report by the audit and assessment committee of the French National Assembly demonstrated the difficulties that are faced by the French education system in ensuring that all pupils succeed. It is a matter of honour for a country to ensure that no child is left by the wayside, and to ensure that there is education for all across the entire national territory. Making sure that pupils succeed while ensuring a proper social mix is vital, and the report stresses that schools should forge the responsible citizens of tomorrow. Several of the rapporteur’s proposals are of particular interest, such as strengthening the role of headteachers. Headteachers not only occupy a function; they perform a fully fledged job. Moreover, the headteacher plays a central role in the cohesion of the teaching staff, and the place of a school in a town. The managerial effect of a headteacher can directly influence the quality of learning, but for headteachers to fulfil such a difficult role, especially in areas of priority education, they need greater decision making powers and autonomy, proper training, and their work should be properly valued. For example, we could create a headteacher status, which does not yet exist in France.
We must allow all children, including those from disadvantaged backgrounds and migrant families, to have access to all education streams, whether technological, vocational or more general. In a world in which the digital revolution is at work, it is more necessary that ever to ensure that each pupil in comprehensive education has a foundation of knowledge and is allowed to develop their ability to read, write and count from the earliest age.
Language learning is another priority stressed by the rapporteur. In France, the ability to study two languages has shown how effective learning languages can be, including in sensitive areas of the country. Unfortunately, the current secondly school reform is a hurdle to that, which is all the more regrettable since motivating children to learn two languages from the age of 10 is a key factor in their future development. Language learning promotes exchange, and merit should also be placed at the heart of the debate about schools. For example, we should provide grants based on merit to allow children, especially those from modest backgrounds, to continue to higher studies. All that is part and parcel of access to quality education for all, and it is crucial for forging responsible citizens who have faith in democracy.
Finally, the fundamental point is about opening up schools and education in general to the outside world, especially the professional world. Vocational training is all too often undervalued and offered to pupils who have the poorest school results, which is basically guiding people according to failure. Socially, it would appear that the majority of children from disadvantaged background are steered towards that sort of training. That is regrettable since learning and the transition between schools and firms is a way into the world of work. The duel system has shown its worth in many European countries, but it should also be a democratic process and include a focus on human rights.
A return to the values of the Republic such as freedom, tolerance and respect is vital in schools. The tragic events in Paris in 2015 showed that people who were in French schools felt rejected, and they ended up turning to Islamism and wishing to destroy everything. Schools play an irreplaceable role in our societies, and, as André Schneider said, they should be a sanctuary of knowledge that are open to society and the world. It is in schools that the future of Europe will be played out, and I therefore support this excellent report.
Ms MAGRADZE (Georgia) – I thank Mr Flego for his excellent report. In his presentations he always raises significant problems, and as we know, education is one of our most important problems because numerous concerns, including terrorism, poverty and so on, are connected with access to quality education.
My country, Georgia, is not big, and our population is 4.5 million. Our budget is small, but education is a priority for our government, and investment in education was increased in 2016 by 45% compared with 2012. The government fully covers expenses for 12 years of general education, but increased investment was still needed. For a large number of schoolchildren, school remains geographically inaccessible, and a considerable number of families were unable to purchase the necessary learning resources for their children because of high prices. Furthermore, the school infrastructure was inadequate, and so on.
Investments were directed towards the implementation of large-scale State programmes, and I will note those that are important: more than half a million schoolchildren are provided with a full package of free textbooks and workbooks annually; more than 64 000 are provided with transport to school; and annually the State provides up to 50 000 first graders and their teachers with personal computers as a gift.
Educational programmes were prepared for migrants and refugees. Standards in the native language were prepared for ethnic minorities in non-Georgian schools who speak the Armenian, Azerbaijani and Russian languages. In compliance with European Union recommendations, the educational standard in the native languages – Ossetian, Kurmanji and so on – was developed for a small number of ethnic minorities who live in Georgia. Programmes and teaching materials were developed for children with many types of impairment, and more than 5 000 children with special educational needs were enrolled in public school. Within the framework of a social inclusion programme, 185 Roma children were enrolled in public school. A transit programme, “Second Chance for Education” was launched in October 2015 with the aim of integrating street children in schools. Since 2015, the Ministry of Education and Science has started to implement a special programme for parents, one of whose strategic directions is to inform parents about the legal and health risks of early marriage. Psychology centres and doctor’s rooms were opened to monitor the health of schoolchildren, as a result of which children with chronic diseases now have access to school.
As a result of a systemic and combined approach in the past two years, children’s attendance in school has increased to 97% and parents’ expenses have decreased by almost 60%. I must emphasise that our new Prime Minister, Mr Giorgi Kvirikashvili, underlined in his inauguration speech that the main direction for the development of Georgia should be a knowledge-based economy. Our goal is ambitious and we have a lot of problems, but our goal for 2030 is not only to provide equal access to education, but to provide each child with adequate conditions for them to receive a quality education.
Mr BADEA (Romania)* – The report and the draft resolution are important, because education is a sine qua non when it comes to the development of any society. Early education brings with it higher costs, but it makes it possible to integrate vulnerable groups within society. As the draft resolution makes clear, if we invest in education, this expenditure can help to offset later unemployment and dependency on social services. Guaranteeing equitable access to school and education for all children is essential, irrespective of any difficulties that have to be overcome, because in this way we give all children the opportunity to benefit from a real education. Equitable access is not enough, however, and we have to ensure that education is high quality and geared to developing the potential of all children, with the prospect of their taking up employment later; this must be done in accordance with the skills and competences required in schooling.
Education is important in shaping individuals with integrity who are prepared to take up their places in society and will in turn promote values based on integrity. We need to concentrate on vulnerable categories – children with a migrant background, asylum seekers, refugees, national minorities, children from low-income households, Roma children, disabled children and so on. If we do not, we might give rise to feelings of social exclusion, because such vulnerable groups may not feel part of society, which in turn can lead to more radical forms of expression.
We as parliamentarians have a duty to ensure that these ideas take the shape of appropriate and adequate legislative measures, with a view to ensuring equitable access to education, which in turn will be a driving force for social progress.
Mr JAKAVONIS (Lithuania)* – I thank our rapporteur for this important and timely report, coming as it does against the backdrop of today’s refugee problems. In Lithuania, I grew up in a family of teachers, and my son is training to be one. Many of us here have been teachers. Paradoxically, the school system in Soviet times, when I was educated, was better than the current Lithuanian one, although our constitution affirms that citizens should receive a high-quality education. This is a social issue, and it is an issue of social justice and equality of rights. That the Parliamentary Assembly is having to discuss this issue shows that modern-day Europe is experiencing difficult circumstances and that not all children can go to school and get the proper teaching. That is a problem for the whole of Europe. Children of migrants and refugees are growing up in new circumstances, and they may not get the education necessary for their futures. I therefore wholeheartedly agree with the rapporteur that the countries of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe should seek to ensure that all laws are reformed so that they guarantee quality education for all. We need to think afresh about all of these problems in our own countries and put right the failings, so that the largest possible number of children may receive a proper education and we minimise the drop-out rate, even though that will require financial, human and social expenditure on a large scale.
Mr JENSSEN (Norway) – Investing in education is perhaps the best investment possible, both for the individual and for society. Basic skills are more and more often the precondition for professional skills needed to get a job or to create a company. Therefore, we develop our educational systems, because we need skilled people to make our economies prosper and to develop technology to combat climate change. But for the individual, and especially for a child, not getting their fundamental right to education fulfilled may have a severely negative impact on their whole life.
By contrast, going to school may be what gives you both a great childhood and hope for the future. Malala said, when receiving the Nobel peace prize, “Education is one of the blessings of life – and one of its necessities.” Education – or, rather, quality education, as the report stresses – is the best way a society can create social mobility among people. It is the best way to enhance social cohesion, by lifting people up, not holding anyone back.
I commend the report’s emphasis on access to education, especially for children who risk being excluded from the educational system or are in danger of not receiving the quality education they deserve because they are migrants or from a minority, or live in poor economic areas. More children than ever are fleeing their countries and coming to Europe as refugees or asylum seekers, alone or with their families, but that does not mean they should be deprived of their right to education. We have a responsibility for such children.
I also praise the report’s emphasis on the quality of teachers and school managers. A great teacher is probably the single most important factor in a pupil’s inspiration and progress. The enormous variety in test results between not only countries, but cities, and even between similar schools with similar resources, tells us that we need even more support for continuous teacher training and to revise teacher education programs. Investing in quality educational systems is the best investment for both individuals and societies. A positive example from Norway is that young people with minority backgrounds now attend university more often than their friends with ethnic Norwegian backgrounds. As in other countries, challenges exist in Norway, but to see children with minority backgrounds taking advantage of an open and accessible educational system such as Norway’s is a sign that things might be heading in the right direction.
Ms USTA (Turkey)* – I thank the rapporteur for this comprehensive report on a critical issue. Europe faces a number of structural and existential problems, including international wars, regional conflicts, terror, mass migration, underdevelopment, lack of education, lack of accommodation, food security, lack of access to health services, infrastructure, and maladministration. We could have a lengthy scientific and philosophical discussion about how to counter those challenges, but most of us will agree that education is the real solution.
Improving access to education is probably the most important step we can take to ensure a better future for people going through various crises. No situation should lessen the importance of equal and complete access to education. As a result of the humanitarian crisis in Syria, hundreds of thousands of children have been displaced and have completely lost their chance to access to education in their own country. Turkey has been doing its utmost best. In 2014, we passed a regulation that ensured the temporary protection of all Syrian and Iraqi children so that they can be registered at public schools. Furthermore, temporary education centres have been set up in camps, and the Ministry of National Education has co-operated with NGOs and volunteer Syrian teachers to enable the children to follow the Syrian curriculum. Public schools in all parts of Turkey now allocate a part day to Syrian schoolchildren. We aim to meet all their educational needs. Co-operating with UNICEF, we try to ensure their integration and teach them Turkish. According to United Nations figures, more than 80% of children in camps now have access to education. The primary school attendance rate has already reached 95%. In public schools and temporary education centres, 300 000 Syrian children are receiving education and the aim is to increase that figure to 500 000.
The report underlines that the humanitarian crisis in Syria is critical. We must ensure that education becomes a right for all, but especially the disadvantaged in society. We need to invest more in education. I am going to quote from a letter from a little Syrian girl that circulated on social media last month and touched the hearts and consciences of many: “Here is my testament. Dear mum, remember me with my smile and keep my bed. My dear sister, tell my friends that I died from hunger. My dear brother, remember that we’re hungry. Angel of death, take me away. When I go to heaven, I will eat for all of us.” I stand here to defend the right to education for all children. Regardless of my social and political allegiances, I stand here as a mother. We need to solve the situation for the children. Can we not find room on this planet for children? Hundreds are becoming displaced every day. We must ensure that they can live peacefully in their country of origin. If they have to migrate, we must ensure that they can live in peace and have full access to education.
Mr NEGUTA (Republic of Moldova)* – First, I pay tribute to Mr Flego, who prepared the report, Mr Barilaro, who presented the report, Ms Gambaro, who chaired all the meetings, Mr Ariev, who is the new Chair of the Committee on Culture, Science, Education and Media, and all members of the committee and the secretariat for their excellent work.
Secondly, Mr Flego’s report mentions 15 to 20 countries. The committee now needs to seek out a second Flego – if I can use that expression – to continue his examination and to focus on all 47 member States. It is important that all European member States are analysed.
Thirdly, Moldova has good domestic legislation. An education code was adopted two years ago, but the current situation is not ideal. With the Ministry of Education citing modernisation, 250 schools have closed in recent years, which has caused several problems. For example, there is no public transport to enable children to go to a neighbouring village’s school if theirs has closed. Financial problems also come into play. Local authorities do not have the resources necessary to deal with the problem, and financial resources are agreed at a national level, meaning that often not enough or even no resources are given to local authorities. There are many questions to be addressed.
The education indicators and parameters for Moldova now are worse than they were under the Soviet republic. We now have democratic laws but the education indicators are worse. There have been changes in working methods in respect of parents, local communities and authorities. The net result is a poor one.
Another issue in Moldova is that often one or both parents leave their children in the care of their grandparents and leave Moldova to seek employment elsewhere – in the Russian Federation, Italy or other countries in Europe. The children are well nourished and brought up well, but parents are of course the first source of education.
In a nutshell those are the issues that we must address in our country. It is urgent that we continue to work on the matter.
Mr HAGEBAKKEN (Norway) – Over a long period, Europe has seen positive economic and social developments. An important aspect of that is the low level of conflict and the high level of knowledge. Education is essential for conflict prevention and knowledge. In school, children from different walks of life meet. They learn to get to know and respect each other and they develop common norms and values. What starts out as “Them and us” becomes “We”. Through school we can educate children in human rights and democratic values. For Europe that has never been more important. We need an educated population to deal with the challenges we face.
Refugee children also have the right to education. In many European countries, the focus is now on limiting the flow of refugees, but we must remember that many of the refugees will become our countrymen. It is in the best interests of refugee children to receive education and build knowledge, and it in the best interests of our countries to help them to become full and valuable members of our societies. That helps us to prevent potential conflict and tension. Through quality education we can build respect and fight attitudes such as “Us and them”.
Those ideas are mentioned in a number of international conventions that most of our countries have pledged to follow. We must now use those conventions. For the conventions to become a reality they need to be integrated into our laws and judicial system. It is our responsibility, as elected politicians, to ensure that that really happens. In Norway we strive for that every day.
I take this opportunity to draw attention to the issue of children with disabilities and the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. I am proud to mention that, in Oppland in my home country, almost all children with disabilities are part of the regular school system. That stimulates respect and good interaction.
More and more we can see that schools are guided by targets. We have more evaluation of the children’s level of knowledge through standard PISA tests and national tests. Good schools are important but certain vulnerable groups can feel excluded. Therefore, it is important to work for quality education for all groups. Knowledge and education are important. They are getting only more important. For all people, they are essential in order to get a job and to have a good life. They are important, too, for human rights.
The PRESIDENT* – Ms Kerestecioğlu Demir is not here, so I call Mr Mullen.
Mr MULLEN (Ireland) – There is much in this report to be applauded and welcomed. Education is a transformative and empowering element of any young person’s life. Of course we all continue to learn throughout our lives. Education is and must be a lifelong thing. Early years education is particularly important, as we all know. Education is a fundamental human right.
Few if any other factors will so profoundly affect a child’s course in life than a good education and the opportunities it will present. The report highlights instances where certain young people, who may be members of disadvantaged ethnic groups or fleeing their home countries, are left without a full opportunity to engage with the benefits that education offers. We must think at this time in particular of refugees and displaced children. We should also think of young girls who, in many places in the world, sadly, are not given full equal dignity and rights to education so that they too may flourish.
In Ireland, we have great respect for education. Parents are proud of their children’s education and of the fact that often their children have gone on to enjoy a level of education that they did not enjoy themselves. Many women talk of their gratitude to the nuns who educated them, generally in girls schools, and the confidence they instilled in them so that they went on to flourish and achieve in life.
We should all deplore any situation where structural barriers, such as a lack of school places or lack of language assistance teachers, leave some vulnerable young people without full and unfettered access to education. I am glad to see a reference in the report to the need to improve access to education for children in rural areas. I come from the west of Ireland. In recent years we have seen the dismantling of various rural services. Most worryingly of all were threats to close rural schools, which in the west of Ireland are predominantly small, single teacher schools. Schools are an integral part of the community and their closure often spells the end of vibrancy in small villages and parishes.
There could have been more reference in the report to the partnership that must go on between government and other stakeholders, whether it be teaching unions, parent associations, school patrons and trustees, or faith communities. Our constitution recognises that parents are the primary educators. We must always remember that the family precedes the State. It is the State’s duty to supply the place of the parent where the parent fails. It may have been good to refer to that primary role of parents in the education of their children and to refer to the need for partnership. I welcome the references to young women, who must get special attention in our world.
I should mention the concerns that many have expressed about the treatment of a Romanian family in Norway by the Barnevernet. Here too we must remember the importance of parents in supplying the most basic education and the need to respect that. There needs to be full transparency and accountability and the availability of appeal systems where State bodies interfere with parents’ rights as they go about their duty. Of course children have to be protected in abusive situations, but we need more answers on that issue. It is not within the scope of the report, but we will need to pay attention to it. I congratulate the authors of the report and look forward to supporting it with my vote.
Ms QUINTANILLA (Spain)* – I congratulate the rapporteur, Mr Flego, who is not with us this morning. I had the chance to work with him when he chaired the Committee on Culture, Science, Education and Media, and it was a pleasure to do so. I endorse the comments made about him by my Group of the European People’s Party colleagues – Mr Schneider, Mr Badea and Mr Mullen.
I wish to speak about education and the right to compulsory, free education for all boys and girls across Europe. This is covered well in Article 26 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which refers to free universal education, and ensures that people can exercise their right to education in the country in which they live. It also says that parents are free to choose the kind of education given to their children.
The report states that we have the good fortune to live on a continent where the right to education is recognised – not just in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, but in European treaties. However, as the report says, there are differences regarding education across the continent. Mr Flego’s report not only speaks about the right to education of girls and boys on this continent, but appeals to the international community, pointing out that 56 million children do not have a right to education. As one of our colleagues said, there are children, particularly girls, who run the risk, as Malala did, of being murdered just because they want to go to school. We need to emphasise that the right to education is a fundamental principle that enables people to exercise their right to freedom, equality and social justice.
Let me speak about my country, Spain. It has a compulsory, free, universal education system for those aged between three and 16. Nonetheless, we have children who have problems – not of integration, because in Spain there is true integration of all those who come from other countries; they have the same right to education. Often, however, these children are taken out of school at an early age to work or enter into early marriage. We need to change the mindset of those who live with us, so that they understand the need to integrate, because the right to education enables people to exercise the right to a job, to a good life, and to live in freedom.
The report refers to academic failure and dropout rates. Spain has reduced its school dropout rate by 7% in just four years. We need to do everything we can on this issue, because the right to free mandatory education will guarantee the future of the girls and boys in school today – not only in Europe, but in the broader international community. Thank you.
Ms GÜNAY (Turkey)* – The fact that certain sectors of society, particularly disadvantaged sectors, do not have the chance to access education gives rise to other problems and costs. Turkey’s constitution and laws ensure that there is no discrimination. On the other hand, in practice, certain sectors in Turkey may be regarded as being disadvantaged. Among them are the Syrians who are under our temporary protection. As my colleagues Ms Bilgehan and Ms Usta said, Turkey has placed special importance on education in camps since the beginning of the crisis. There are more than 620 000 Syrians between the ages of 5 and 17. In Turkey, there are 35 temporary education centres across 19 provinces, and approximately 300 000 students attend those schools. In the camps, there are 80 000 students going to schools; outside the camps, there are about 150 000 Syrian students going to schools. Turkey is supporting 300 000 Syrian students. I ask colleagues to compare those figures with the number of refugees accepted by other countries.
Our Roma citizens have difficulties accessing education, but there are various projects to ensure that they have that access. Parents, particularly mothers, are given financial support in exchange for ensuring children’s continued school education. There are also minority schools in Turkey that benefit from financial support from the government; those making the transition to secondary education can be taught in Hebrew, and we are looking into doing the same in Armenian. There are also children with special needs in education. As of last year, 250 000 pupils benefited from special educational facilities, which are improving every day, in terms of technology and educational content. Female school attendance rates have overtaken those of males; in 2002, 87% of girls received a primary education; it was 97% in 2015, so we see that female students have good access to education.
Education is very important if we are to tackle the problems in our society. In order to cope with the difficulties in our region, and in the world, we have to co-operate on increasing access to education. I would like international co-operation to increase.
Mr ÖNAL (Turkey)* – I thank the rapporteur, Mr Flego, for preparing this important report on the right to access to education. Lifelong education should be encouraged; that is a target that we should aim for in order to ensure a strong Europe. In that context, there have been initiatives in the past 10 years in Turkey to increase access to education and improve its infrastructure. I shall give some brief information on those measures.
About 17.5 million students are in normal education. As of 2014, more than 99% of those eligible were in primary education; in secondary education, it was 80%. The number of classrooms in Turkey increased by 10% in 2013 and 2014. At primary school level, the schooling rate of girls is higher than for boys. Numbers of those attending pre-school increased by more than 200% in the past 10 years, and by 10% in 2013 and 2014. About 45% of four and five-year-olds are in education, and the target for 2018 is to reach 70%. The number of students in primary education increased by 6% in the past 20 years, and the number of teachers by between 4-6%.
The ministry of national education and the ministry of family and social policies have initiated many measures to increase disadvantaged children’s access to education. Parents of children with lower income are given monetary assistance so that they can send their children to school. In 2014, 850 000 students who had physical difficulty reaching school buildings were brought to school by the State. In the past 10 years, the budget allocation to education has continuously increased. As of 2015 the budget allocated to education in general, including higher education, amounted to $80 billion, 4% of Turkish gross national product.
No resource spent on the education of children and young people in our country is wasted. The initiatives have to be increased, even if it means Europe has to spend more. I thank the rapporteur for giving us this opportunity.
The PRESIDENT* – Thank you. The rapporteur has the floor.
Mr BARILARO (Monaco)* – I would like to come back to some of the main points made, and thank you all for them. I tell Mr Schneider that, regardless of our political views, we are wedded to the same values. It is important that school is a sanctuary, and we need to ensure that our governments fully ring-fence money for schools; one cannot be done without the other. Yes, Ms Christoffersen, if a child has been deprived of education – if its ties to the system through which we impart knowledge have been severed – when it grows up it will be much more vulnerable to other messages. The issue of radicalisation that we face is very serious. In response to Ms Mateu, I say that we should never forget what a rich resource language is. Andorra has two languages, as she knows well.
Mr Wood, you are right: regardless of different countries’ projects to promote access to school among underprivileged children, the social environment matters and the risk of school drop-out is still prevalent. You mentioned the measures taken by your country, the United Kingdom. I refer you to measures taken by my neighbouring country, our friend France, to create priority education zones and access to areas such as Sciences Po for children from underprivileged areas. Such measures need to be taken, as they are vital in ensuring that education is available to all.
Mr Reiss was correct: that status is not recognised as such. Heads of schools have five to ten classes under them, with school teachers responsible for 20 to 25 if not 30 children in each class. The system is completely unfair; it is an injustice even, especially given that headteachers have so much more to deal with.
On bilingual schools I refer you to my country, Monaco, which for the past 20 years has decided to introduce the English language almost as a mother tongue. As of the third year of school, children are taught in English as well, through music, dance and words. Children have up to 10 hours of English language instruction and can become completely bilingual as a result.
To Mr Jenssen, I say that education is one way to strengthen social cohesion. Mr Neguta spoke about countries that had local and rural issues. Public transport to school is important, because we are dealing not only with education but with all the ancillary issues such as school transport.
I round off by creating a link with what was said about parents by Mr Mullen and Ms Usta, regardless of our political opinions. We are covering two points: education in school and by parents. Before pupils are pupils, they are children. We in Monaco see on TV parents from French-speaking countries – France is my reference – who are full of despair when they see their children having been radicalised and leaving to fight jihad in Syria. We see how distraught they are, because they feel that they have failed in their duty as parents, even though it might not be their fault. We need to ensure that the education system in our country takes on the role of parent.
The PRESIDENT* – Thank you. I call the Chair of the Committee on Culture, Science, Education and Media.
Mr ARIEV (Ukraine) – I thank Mr Flego, the committee and secretariat for developing this important report. I also thank Mr Barilaro for his highly appreciated presentation.
Education is a basic human right for all people in the contemporary world, but there are many challenges to its fulfilment. Most of them were well reflected in the document. Issues include how we protect children in refugee camps and those territories in which they have sought asylum. The children of refugees face problems in accessing local schools. Schools in some rural areas, especially in poor countries, have had to close, so children from surrounding villages face difficulties in accessing education.
Rather than providing education, schools in conflict zones and occupied territories teach propaganda. As a consequence, there are children holding machine guns at checkpoints instead of sitting with a pen at their school desks. It is crucial that we address that.
Such issues are well reflected in the report, which is another important step, among others, to improving access to education for all children, regardless of their background.
The PRESIDENT* – I thank the chair of the committee and the rapporteur.
The debate is closed.
The Committee on Culture, Science, Education and Media has presented a draft resolution, Document 13934, to which two amendments have been tabled.
I remind you that speeches on amendments are limited to 30 seconds.
I understand that the committee wishes to propose to the Assembly that Amendment 1 to the draft resolution, which was unanimously approved by the committee, should be declared as agreed by the Assembly.
Is that so, Mr Barilaro?
Mr BARILARO (Monaco) – Yes.
The PRESIDENT* – Does anyone object? That is not the case.
Amendment 1 is adopted.
I call Mr Gunnarsson to support Amendment 2, which is, in the draft resolution, after paragraph 4.17, insert the following paragraph:
“ensure access by lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex children to quality education by promoting respect and inclusion of LGBTI persons and the dissemination of objective information about issues concerning sexual orientation and gender identity, and by introducing measures to address homophobic and transphobic bullying.”Yo
You have 30 seconds.
Mr GUNNARSSON (Sweden) – The amendment seeks to address problems faced by LGBTI children in school. We need to address the issue of homophobic and transphobic bullying in schools and improve the situation for those children.
The PRESIDENT* – I have been informed that Ms Kronlid wishes to propose an oral sub-amendment, as follows:
In Amendment 2, replace the word “children” with the word:
In my opinion, the oral sub-amendment is in order under our rules.
However, do 10 or more members object to the oral sub-amendment being debated?
That is not the case. I therefore call Ms Kronlid to support the oral sub-amendment. You have the floor.
Ms KRONLID (Sweden) – I want to change the word “children” to “adolescents” because that would be more appropriate in this context.
The PRESIDENT* – Does anyone wish to speak against the oral sub-amendment? I call Mr Gunnarsson.
Mr GUNNARSSON (Sweden) – The recognised language is that used in the Convention on the Rights of the Child, so I think we should continue to talk about children. Excluding the word “children” would deprive, for example, intersex children of secure schooling, so I would like to keep the amendment as it is.
The PRESIDENT* – The author of the amendment is opposed.
What is the view of the Committee on Culture, Science, Education and Media on the sub-amendment?
Mr ARIEV (Ukraine) – The oral sub-amendment was not discussed by the committee and we have no opinion on it.
The PRESIDENT* – The vote is open.
The sub-amendment is rejected.
We will now consider the main amendment.
Does anyone wish to speak against the amendment? I call Mr Reiss.
Mr REISS (France)* – Guaranteeing gender equality to everyone is enough and the proposed list waters down the text. Giving special attention to men, women and girls is justified and the draft resolution stresses the importance of taking an inclusive approach. I shall vote against the amendment.
The PRESIDENT* – What is the opinion of the committee?
Mr ARIEV (Ukraine) – The committee is in favour.
The PRESIDENT* – The vote is open.
Amendment 2 is adopted.
We will now proceed to vote on the whole of the draft resolution contained in Document 13934, as amended. A simple majority is required.
The vote is open.
The draft resolution in Document 13934, as amended, is adopted, with 54 votes for, 1 against and 3 abstentions.
I take this opportunity to extend my congratulations to Mr Barilaro and Mr Ariev. We are, of course, thinking of Mr Flego as well, and we hope everybody will have a chance to congratulate him, too.
(Mr Agramunt, President of the Assembly, took the Chair in place of Mr Rouquet.)
3. Judicial corruption: urgent need to implement the Assembly’s proposals
The PRESIDENT* – The next item of business is the debate on the report entitled, “Judicial corruption: urgent need to implement the Assembly’s proposals”, Document 13824, which was prepared by Mr Sasi and with an addendum by Mr McNamara, on behalf of the Committee on Legal Affairs and Human Rights.
Mr Sasi is no longer a member of the Assembly and Mr McNamara has had to return to Ireland, so I call Mr Vlasenko to present the report on behalf of the committee. You have 13 minutes in total, which you may divide between your presentation of the report and your reply to the debate. Mr Vlasenko, you have the floor.
Mr VLASENKO (Ukraine) – Thank you, Mr President. Given that the rapporteur for this report, Mr Sasi – who served on the Committee on Legal Affairs and Human Rights – and both the chair and vice-chair of our committee are not in Strasbourg today, I have been asked to represent the committee and present the report.
As one of three pillars of state power, alongside the legislature and the executive, the judiciary is the regulating body of any democratic system. It applies and interprets the law to deliver justice to the people. In the absence of a functional and efficient judiciary, the legal framework setting individuals’ rights and freedoms will fail to achieve its purpose. The independence of the judiciary is not only key to preserving the integrity of the justice system and guaranteeing individuals the effective employment of their human rights but a crucial factor in the fight against corruption in other sectors, as well as in the fight against organised crime. It is for the judiciary to review cases of alleged corruption because it is the only authority capable of establishing whether corruption exists and issuing sanctions against corrupt conduct.
The fight against judicial corruption was one of the Council of Europe’s priorities for 2014 and 2015. The Committee on Legal Affairs and Human Rights expects the Assembly and its member States to make efforts to combat and prevent the corruption of the judiciary and to continue to gain strength in 2016. We welcome the fact that the Secretary General committed to making judicial independence one of his priorities in 2016. As he stated in his speech to the Assembly on Tuesday: “Judicial independence will remain front and centre in our work. It is a priority for me…and it will feature once again in my annual report, which will look again at the democratic foundations of European stability, and our democratic security. Weaknesses in the judiciary persist across the continent, undermining trust in State institutions and thereby threatening our stability”. I welcome the announcement of a pan-European action plan on judicial independence, which is to be adopted by the Council of Europe in the spring. Tackling judicial corruption must be an essential part of that action plan. The Assembly previously made important recommendations in Resolution 1703 and Recommendation 1896, which were adopted in 2010, but unfortunately they have been left largely unaddressed by a number of member States – that is the main conclusion of Mr Sasi’s report.
The explanatory report provides a deep country-by-country analysis, as does the addendum presented by our colleague, Mr McNamara from Ireland, whom I thank for his input to the report. A particular shortcoming identified by the committee is the lack of data on proven and adjudicated cases of corruption, which makes it difficult properly to assess the magnitude of judicial corruption, be it career-related or case-related. That is why the draft recommendation proposes that the Committee of Ministers gather and give regular updates on figure-supported information on the prosecutions and convictions of judges for corrupt conduct in member States. The availability of those data contributes towards demonstrating that a country is taking the issue seriously and is not afraid to uncover, investigate and prosecute cases of corruption.
The draft recommendation also calls for the elaboration of a moral code of conduct for judges and prosecutors, two issues which, by the way, were addressed in the aforementioned Recommendation 1896 (2010), but, as I said, to this day no action has been taken, which is a very big problem. The draft resolution proposes that the Assembly calls on member States, among others, to continue to collaborate closely with the Council of Europe monitoring bodies, especially the Group of States against Corruption (GRECO); put into place appropriate procedures to eradicate political interference and undue influence in the judicial process; and guarantee an environment in which cases of alleged corruption can be uncovered.
In conclusion, I hope that the draft resolution and draft recommendation are agreeable to the Assembly, and that it will adopt them today with a strong majority – perhaps even unanimously. This topic might be the last thing on the Assembly’s agenda, but it should not remain the least of our concerns. We should send a strong signal that judicial corruption continues to be a matter of grave concern that requires the Council of Europe’s immediate and full attention and action. Judicial corruption threatens the rule of law, which is the backbone of a pluralistic democracy, and allows people to escape punishment.
The PRESIDENT* – Thank you, Mr Vlasenko. You have seven minutes to respond to the debate.
In the debate I give the floor first to Mr Cruchten, who speaks on behalf of the Socialist Group.
Mr CRUCHTEN (Luxembourg)* – I congratulate the rapporteur, Mr Sasi, on his outstanding report, as well as on the draft resolution and draft recommendation he has proposed. I also thank Mr Vlasenko for introducing the report. I shall confine my statement to just a few comments, because there is little to add to his presentation.
The report is timely because just the day before yesterday Transparency International published its corruption index for 2015. Judicial corruption is a threat to our democracy and notions of the rule of law, so we must all marshal our efforts to combat this scourge. The rapporteur has described clearly the problem we face, as well as providing at the end of his report a whole host of measures for eradicating corruption. One that seems especially important to me is transparency. We must all pledge to see to it that civil society and the media are able to follow matters and report on them. The independence of the judiciary is essential for the proper functioning of the rule of law. For all those reasons, the Socialist Group supports the proposed resolution and recommendation and calls on all parliamentarians to do the same.
The PRESIDENT* – Thank you, Mr Cruchten. I now give the floor to Ms Sotnyk, who speaks on behalf of the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe.
Ms SOTNYK (Ukraine) – I thank Mr Sasi, who is not present but has provided a great report, although it is regrettable that this important topic comes at the end of our agenda.
I am from a country where corruption in the judicial system is a top challenge. I was a lawyer for the Maidan protestors, so I know the importance of hope for a fair justice system. I am speaking today on behalf of the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe, so I want to pick up on some of the report’s main points and problems.
I remind the Assembly that the word “judge” comes from the Hebrew word “shophet”, which means a person who is very precious and respectful of others – someone who protects people from their enemies and establishes justice. Such a person was chosen by God and was very well respected. What do we see now? We see the serious devaluation of the justice system throughout Europe and among member States.
There are several problems, the first of which is political pressure. Each political system uses different tools to try to control the system so that they can influence social groups and social issues. They promote things that put pressure on the justice system. Each country is of course individual and has its own particular system, so a unique approach is required to solve the problem.
Another problem is selective justice, because nowadays in some countries, especially mine, justice is a business. Coping with this problem is a great challenge, but to find a solution we must go back to the core reasons why in ancient times, perhaps 1 000 years ago, it was decided that one person should be given the power to decide the destiny of other people. The main reason was trust. That is why it is very important that each member State returns to having trust in the justice system. There is another important role that we must give back to our judges and to the justice system. We need to remember that to be a judge is not a profession; it is a mission, and a very important one. Each member State should have that as its main aim, in order to return trust in the justice system.
The PRESIDENT* – Thank you. I call Mr Scully to speak on behalf of the European Conservatives Group.
Mr SCULLY (United Kingdom) – I congratulate the rapporteur and everyone who was involved in producing this excellent report. I want to outline what the United Kingdom does, as it is one of many examples we can use to share best practice around our member States. In the United Kingdom, a number of constitutional principles, statutes and institutional principles protect against corruption in the judiciary and tackle it when it arises. Statutory provisions require that the Lord Chancellor and other Ministers must not seek to influence judiciary decisions through any special access. Judiciaries around the United Kingdom – we have different legal systems in different parts of the United Kingdom – have detailed guidance for the standards of ethical conduct of judges that brings together the principles of independence, impartiality, integrity, propriety, competence and diligence, personal relationships and perceived bias, activities outside court and activities after retirement. The United Kingdom has developed institutions to ensure that the procedures for the appointment, promotion and dismissal of judges maintains and increases judicial independence and therefore public confidence.
Lady Justice, as we see her in statues and art, is often blindfolded. Why? It is to symbolise that justice should be handed out without fear or favour, regardless of money, wealth, power or identity. You might disagree with the law, but that is for us to deal with as legislators in our respective countries. You might disagree with a verdict, and mistakes through miscarriages of justice in a criminal setting or a misunderstanding of the balance of probability in civil cases can occur, but in a corruption-free system with a robust appeals system these mistakes can be all but eliminated. You might disagree with the judge’s interpretation of the case. Many of you will know that the United Kingdom Parliament has its own well-publicised disagreement with decisions of the European Court of Human Rights, and that is why, although I was not minded to amend the report, I have an issue with paragraph 6.3 of the draft resolution. It talks about giving “full effect to the judgments of the European Court of Human Rights”, but that is a debate that we are having in the United Kingdom. With mature institutions, we can have that sensible debate.
It is an absolutely fundamental and basic right that when you are making your case, whether you are the plaintiff or the defendant, you should be sitting in front of someone who in making a decision has no interest in enrichment or preferment. It is not about cash, it is not about career progression or promotion, but about hearing the facts of the case.
I welcome the report, as I say, and hope that it and the resulting action, including the pan-European action plan that we heard about, will shine a light on endemic corruption in member States and partner States wherever it occurs. I hope that it puts pressure on member States failing in their duty to their citizens and, finally, I hope that it shows a pathway so that we can move towards the system that Lady Justice truly represents.
The PRESIDENT* – Thank you. I call Mr Jónasson to speak on behalf of the Group of the Unified European Left.
Mr JÓNASSON (Iceland) – This is the last item on our agenda for this part-session, but I agree with the rapporteur that this might be one of the most important topics for debate, as it deals with the very basis of our work. The Council of Europe was created to be the guardian of human rights and democracy in member States and, hopefully, beyond. Human rights are a large umbrella covering a wide range of rights and duties, as is democracy. Democracy is certainly about free and fair elections, but it is also about various freedoms and obligations and any abuse of those freedoms, such as when we harm others with our deeds or words.
The Council of Europe tries to set norms and make recommendations for rules and laws that member States are encouraged to enact to become truly democratic societies that respect human rights. It is of course of fundamental importance that we have a judiciary based on those principles and functions. That is not always the case, as we know, and the report deals with one aspect of that, namely judicial corruption, and it urges all member States to implement the Assembly’s proposals to prevent and root out corruption where it exists. It is an excellent paper and I congratulate and thank the rapporteur and tell him that we in the Unified European Left Group (UEL) support his proposals. We are also grateful for the addendum to the report, which is informative and useful. I thank the rapporteur for his work on that, and agree with his conclusion, in which he says: “The…country-by-country update shows that the issue of judicial corruption is still highly relevant in many Council of Europe member States. The fact that judicial corruption cases have actually come up to the fore and lead to successful prosecutions and convictions is in fact a positive sign for the countries concerned, as it shows that corrupt practices in courts are neither, or no longer, tolerated nor hushed up.”
I also agree with the statement in the introduction to the report that “corruption among judges undermines the foundations of the rule of law, severely impedes the protection of human rights, flaws the principles of legality and legal certainty and jeopardises the very possibility of fighting corruption in other sectors of society.” In polite wording, it goes on to say, “Member States are invited to implement fully and in a timely manner all relevant recommendations of the organs and monitoring bodies of the Council of Europe, in particular those of the Group of States against Corruption (GRECO).”
Mr YEMETS (Ukraine) – I thank Mr Sasi for his great report. There can be no rule of law without a fair court system. The State gives courts the exclusive authority to make final decisions in disputes, convict people and enforce property rights, so it is extremely important that we overcome corruption in the judiciary. If we do not solve that problem, it will be impossible to combat corruption in other areas, whether public or private. No matter how good the law is and how professional the investigators and prosecutors are, if the judges are corrupt, the perpetrators will evade punishment. Corruption in the judiciary prevents States from developing. Who in their right mind would invest in a country where, with the help of a corrupt judge, somebody can steal your property, and where there is a high risk that court decisions will be made on the basis of personal knowledge of the judge or bribes, rather than on the basis of law?
In Ukraine, the judicial system is less trusted than all other State institutions – the level of trust in it is about 3%. The majority of citizens consider Ukrainian courts unfair and corrupt, which is a disaster for our country. However, the Ukrainian Parliament, President Poroshenko and Prime Minister Yatsenyuk are working together to introduce constitutional amendments on judicial reform. The draft laws are written and are currently being discussed in the Ukrainian Parliament. At long last, Ukraine will implement the Council of Europe’s and the Venice Commission’s recommendation that the president and parliament should be excluded from the process of electing and dismissing judges. We will better guarantee an independent and self-governing judiciary. The draft laws will cleanse the judiciary through either total requalification or total renewal. I am confident that we will decisively and effectively reform the Ukrainian judiciary in accordance with European standards. Our common goal is to ensure a fair, just and independent court system.
The PRESIDENT – Ms Jonica is not here, so I call Mr Fridez from Switzerland.
Mr FRIDEZ (Switzerland)* – I am new to this Chamber. I was struck by Mr Sasi’s detailed report and Mr McNamara’s addendum, which show that citizens in a series of European countries have grave doubts about the moral authority of their judges. Judges, by definition, should stand for integrity. How can there be a proper judicial system without independent, impartial judges? That is one of the essential foundations of States based on the rule of law.
Proving cases of corruption is not straightforward. Everybody should be considered innocent until proven guilty. We are moving into troubled waters, because it is difficult to define precisely what corruption is, and there are no reliable statistics. Importantly, the report is based on a number of studies. It conveys the sentiments of the citizens of a number of countries, who feel that judicial corruption is widespread. We cannot deny that the situation is serious.
Without a fair and reliable judicial system and judges of integrity who are fully answerable for their actions, how can there be a proper judicial system and a State based on the rule of law? Corruption leads to injustice, which often means hardship and suffering for citizens and a lack of respect for their essential rights. Why should such people put their trust in the judicial system and the State behind it? Why should they pay taxes or accept decisions handed down by the authorities? I am acquainted with a case of judicial corruption in one of the countries referred to in the report, in which a family’s essential rights were trampled underfoot. I saw for myself their hardship and suffering.
In every judicial system, there should be a mechanism for appealing court decisions. In other words, citizens should be able to challenge decisions that have gone against them. However, such a mechanism cannot exist in a corrupt system. The European Court of Human Rights is assured of a long future. Unfortunately, its existence is more necessary than ever. I unreservedly support the report and its conclusions.
Ms TAKTAKISHVILI (Georgia) – I thank Mr Sasi, who was a prominent member of the Assembly but is unfortunately no longer with us. I hope he will come back to the Assembly and his national parliament.
We have to deplore the fact that, although we adopted a resolution and a recommendation about corruption in the judiciary in 2010, no progress has been made on implementing legislation on fighting corruption, and access to data remains a problem.
Corruption has reached new levels. We see not just bribe-taking in the judiciary, but more sophisticated corrupt practices, such as the exchange of favours and the placing of external and internal hierarchical pressure on judges. In my country, we have unfortunately not yet been able to ensure the independence and political neutrality of our judges. There have been cases in which the judges were pre-selected by the prosecution or the government. Those judges often have family members who are under criminal investigation, and they make their decisions in politically sensitive cases to secure impunity from the criminal charges. That happened in the cases of the political prisoner Gigi Ugulava and of the change of ownership of Rustavi 2, a major TV channel that frequently reports on issues related to corruption.
Georgia has made progress since 2003 on ending corruption and bribe-taking in the judiciary. I will give you two examples of how widespread corruption in the judiciary was before 2003. Judges were considered honest if they accepted bribes only from the plaintiff and refused the defendant’s bribe. A lawyer is considered to be a good lawyer if he or she has access to the right judges and is able to offer them bribes. That cannot solve the problem of the rule of law and human rights in countries that do not have a good democratic record. We cannot have access to the rule of law if impunity can be bought by bribes. Fortunately, there has been progress in that regard, but unfortunately we are still struggling against the political bias of the judges, which is closely linked to corruption.
I support the report for three reasons. First, we must remind member States about their obligation to comply with our previous resolutions and recommendations, and to ratify the relevant international law instruments adopted by the Organisation and beyond. Secondly, we must ask member States and the Committee of Ministers to gather relevant statistical data on the special focus on corruption within the judiciary. Thirdly, we must remind member States of their obligation to promote and foster the activities of NGOs and the media, and especially investigative journalism. Without that, we cannot have access to information about corrupt practices in the judiciary. I call on the Assembly to support the resolution, to which no amendments have been tabled, and I thank members for their attention.
Mr KANDEMIR (Turkey) – The separation of powers is a model of governance in which the three branches of the State are functionally independent. The judiciary – one of those three branches – has a unique set of characteristics that differs from the other two branches of power, and its independence is indispensable for a true democracy. In that respect, judicial corruption is a threat to good governance and modem democracy. A just judiciary guarantees the fairness and effectiveness of a legal system. On the other hand, judicial corruption erodes confidence in, and respect for, democratic institutions, and it becomes an obstacle to the improvement of democracy and the enhancement of freedoms. Judicial corruption often creates a system where the innocent do not have a voice, while the guilty act with impunity.
Combating judicial corruption is one of the Turkish justice system’s top priorities. As we continue to review and adapt our legislation, we are aligning it with the provisions of the international instruments to which we are a party. Our country has accomplished comprehensive reforms in our judiciary, including the introduction of a series of judicial reform packages. Thanks to those reforms, the independence and impartiality of the judiciary has become more secure, fundamental rights and freedoms have been strengthened, and the judiciary is performing its functions at a higher level. In addition, we have enhanced the education of judges, to try to ensure that they behave honestly and ethically. The report suggests that a trustworthy and effective judicial system needs to be free from undue interference and external pressures if it is to comply with international standards. At this point our country is making significant efforts, and in the light of the basic principles of the Council of Europe, it continues to work for rule of law, and to ensure the protection of human rights and strengthen the full independence of the judiciary.
In order to enhance the credibility and strengthen the legitimacy of the judiciary, judicial fairness needs to be the foundation on which a “judiciary for people” stands. Judges have made, and will continue to make, important decisions for everyone. That is why we need to minimise judicial corruption, if not to eliminate it entirely. We should be aware that a diverse judicial system that represents a broad range of perspectives and experiences serves not only to improve the quality of justice, but also to help increase public confidence in the legitimacy of the courts and the elimination of judicial corruption.
The PRESIDENT – Thank you. That concludes the list of speakers, and I thank each and every one. I now call for the reply from the committee. Rapporteur, you have seven minutes left.
Mr VLASENKO (Ukraine) – I thank everyone who shares our views on the important issue of judicial corruption and the independence of the judiciary. I absolutely agree with Mr Cruchten, who said that judicial corruption is a threat to our basic democratic values. As we know – Mr Jónasson also mentioned this – the main goal of a fair judiciary is to protect human rights and enforce the principles of the rule of law in our everyday lives. When judicial corruption influences that and does not allow it to happen, it poses a real threat to the cornerstone and basic principles of democracy.
Some speakers also raised the issue of selective justice, which is a great challenge for several countries, especially the new democracies. Perhaps Kimmo Sasi did not say that directly in his report, but his report is about the fact that selective justice is unacceptable in any democratic system. The key question in the report regards trust in the judicial system, and Kimmo Sasi analysed those countries that have the lowest level of trust in the judiciary, according to the Transparency International index of 2013. Trust in the judiciary is key when we consider how to increase the role of a fair judiciary in any democratic country. The main result of judicial corruption is to diminish trust in the judiciary and a country’s legal system. I also agree with Mr Scully who said that we should share good examples and mechanisms for how to fight judicial corruption. We should make a complex analysis, and that will also make up part of the pan-European action plan for judicial independence.
Some colleagues, including Mr Fridez, said that the situation is serious, and I agree. As Ms Taktakishvili said, politically biased judgments are a real threat to democracy in her country. For me, a politically biased judge is a corrupt judge, and one thing that Mr Sasi discovered is that there is no generally accepted precise definition of a phenomenon such as corruption, including judicial corruption. Yes, we have some common approaches and definitions, but we have no legal generally accepted and precise definition for corruption. Perhaps we will consider that in our next report and resolution for adoption by the Assembly.
I repeat, perhaps for the third time, Mr Sasi’s main conclusion: that all the previous recommendations made by the Assembly on the issue of judicial corruption, especially in the resolutions and recommendations of 2010, are unfortunately still left largely unaddressed by a number of member States. The main goal is to fulfil all those recommendations that were already made by this Assembly. They are absolutely practical, concrete things that will allow us to fight against such an ugly phenomenon as judicial corruption. Let me finally thank Kimmo Sasi once again for his brilliant report and his brilliant work.
The PRESIDENT* – Thank you, Mr Vlasenko.
The debate is closed.
The Committee on Legal Affairs and Human Rights has presented a draft resolution and a draft recommendation in Document 13824 to which no amendments have been tabled.
We will now proceed to vote on the draft resolution contained in Document 13824.
The vote is open.
The draft resolution in Document 13824 is adopted, with 35 votes for, 3 against and 1 abstention.
We will now proceed to vote on the draft recommendation contained in Document 13824. I remind you that a two-thirds majority is required.
The vote is open.
The draft recommendation in Document 13824 is adopted, with 33 votes for, 3 against and 0 abstentions.
4. Progress report of the bureau and the standing committee (continued)
The PRESIDENT* – We turn now to the Progress Report of the Bureau.
The Bureau has proposed several references to committees. They are set out in the Progress Report, Document 13945 Addendum III. Are there any objections to these references?
There are no objections.
The references are approved.
I now propose that the other proposals in the Progress Report, Document 13945 Addendum III, be ratified. Are there any objections?
There are no objections.
The progress report is approved.
5. Constitution of the Standing Committee
The PRESIDENT* – The next business today is to constitute the Standing Committee under Rule 17.2.
The membership of the Standing Committee is fixed by Rule 17.3, as follows:
The President of the Assembly,
the Vice-Presidents of the Assembly,
the Leaders of the political groups,
the Chairpersons of national delegations, and
the Chairpersons of the general committees.
A full list of members is set out in document Commissions (2016) 2.
The Standing Committee is accordingly constituted.
6. Voting champions
The PRESIDENT* – Before closing the first part-session of the Parliamentary Assembly for 2016, I would like to announce the names of our voting champions, and I will do so in alphabetical order. The members who have taken part in all the votes throughout this week are as follows:
Ms Lise Christoffersen, from Norway.
Mr Frank J. Jenssen, also from Norway.
Ms Liliane Maury Pasquier, from Switzerland.
Suat Önal, from Turkey.
Mr Stefan Schennach, from Austria.
Mr Aleksandar Senić, from Serbia.
I congratulate you all. As is traditional, we have small gifts for the champions, and I invite them to come forward to collect them.
7. Closure of the part-session
The PRESIDENT* – We have now come to the end of our business.
I would like to thank all members of the Assembly, particularly all the rapporteurs and chairpersons of the committees, who have done a sterling job.
I thank all the Vice-Presidents who have assisted me by presiding over sittings of the Assembly this week. They are: Sir Roger Gale, Ms Adele Gambaro, Ms Maria Guzenina, Ms Meritxell Mateu, Mr Zsolt Németh, Mr Aleksandar Nikoloski, Ms Ria Oomen-Ruijten, Mr René Rouquet and Ms Ingjerd Schou.
In addition, I would like to thank all the staff and interpreters, who have accurately reflected our deliberations and who have worked hard to make the part-session a success.
The second part of the 2016 session will be held from 18 to 22 April 2016.
I declare the first part of the 2016 session of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe closed.
The sitting is closed.
(The sitting was closed at 12.40 p.m.)
1. Changes in the membership of committees
2. Access to school and education for all children
Presentation by Mr Barilaro of the report of the Committee on Culture, Science, Education and Media, Document 13934
Speakers: Ms Johnsson Fornarve, Mr Schneider, Ms Christoffersen, Ms Mateu, Mr Wood, Ms Bilgehan, Mr Reiss, Ms Magradze, Mr Badea, Mr Jakavonis, Mr Jenssen, Ms Usta, Mr Neguta, Mr Hagebakken, Mr Mullen, Ms Quintanilla, Ms Günay, Mr Önal
Amendments 1 and 2 adopted
Draft resolution in Document 13934, as amended, adopted
3.Judicial corruption: urgent need to implement the Assembly’s proposals
Presentation by Mr Vlasenko of the report of the Committee on Legal Affairs and Human Rights, Document 13824 and addendum
Speakers: Mr Cruchten, Ms Sotnyk, Mr Scully, Mr Jonasson, Mr Yemets, Mr Fridez, Ms Taktakishvili, Mr Kandemir
Draft resolution in Document 13824 adopted
Draft recommendation in Document 13824 adopted
4. Progress report of the Bureau and the Standing Committee
5. Constitution of the Standing Committee
6. Voting champions
7. Closure of the part-session
Representatives or Substitutes who signed the Attendance Register in accordance with Rule 11.2 of the Rules of Procedure. The names of Substitutes who replaced absent Representatives are printed in small letters. The names of those who were absent or apologised for absence are followed by an asterisk
Lord Donald ANDERSON*
David BAKRADZE/Chiora Taktakishvili
José Manuel BARREIRO*
Ondřej BENEŠIK/Jana Fischerová
Anna Maria BERNINI/ Claudio Fazzone
Maria Teresa BERTUZZI*
Ľuboš BLAHA/Darina Gabániová
Piet De BRUYN*
Joseph DEBONO GRECH*
Manlio DI STEFANO*
Alexander [The Earl of] DUNDEE*
Josette DURRIEU/Jean-Claude Frécon
Lady Diana ECCLES*
Franz Leonhard EẞL*
Joseph FENECH ADAMI*
Cătălin Daniel FENECHIU
Doris FIALA/Manuel Tornare
Daniela FILIPIOVÁ/Ivana Dobešová
Axel E. FISCHER
Béatrice FRESKO-ROLFO/Christian Barilaro
Sir Roger GALE/ Mike Wood
Iryna GERASHCHENKO/Sergiy Vlasenko
Tina GHASEMI/Boriana Ĺberg
Francesco Maria GIRO
Carlos Alberto GONÇALVES
Oleksii GONCHARENKO/Vladyslav Golub
Alina Ștefania GORGHIU*
Emine Nur GÜNAY
Alfred HEER/Hannes Germann
Ekmeleddin Mehmet İHSANOĞLU
Denis JACQUAT/Frédéric Reiss
Tedo JAPARIDZE/Guguli Magradze
Michael Aastrup JENSEN*
Frank J. JENSSEN
Florina-Ruxandra JIPA/Viorel Riceard Badea
Niklas KARLSSON/Azadeh Rojhan Gustafsson
Filiz KERESTECİOĞLU DEMİR*
Haluk KOÇ/Metin Lütfi Baydar
Unnur Brá KONRÁĐSDÓTTIR*
Ksenija KORENJAK KRAMAR/Anže Logar
Rom KOSTŘICA/Gabriela Pecková
Inese LAIZĀNE/Boriss Cilevičs
Pierre-Yves LE BORGN’*
Jean-Yves LE DÉAUT*
Luís LEITE RAMOS*
Ian LIDDELL-GRAINGER/Paul Scully
Filippo LOMBARDI/ Elisabeth Schneider-Schneiter
Soňa MARKOVÁ/Pavel Holík
Liliane MAURY PASQUIER
Sir Alan MEALE*
Ermira MEHMETI DEVAJA*
Ana Catarina MENDES*
Jean-Claude MIGNON/ Andreas Schieder
Thomas MÜLLER/Jean-Pierre Grin
Joseph O’REILLY/Rónán Mullen
Florin Costin PÂSLARU*
Cezar Florin PREDA*
Lia QUARTAPELLE PROCOPIO*
Nadiia SAVCHENKO/Boryslav Bereza
Samad SEYIDOV/Vusal Huseynov
Jan ŠKOBERNE/Matjaž Hanžek
Lorella STEFANELLI/Gerardo Giovagnoli
Goran TUPONJA/Snežana Jonica
İbrahim Mustafa TURHAN/Burhanettin Uysal
Leyla Şahin USTA
Snorre Serigstad VALEN/Tore Hagebakken
Bas van ‘t WOUT*
Vacant Seat, Croatia*
Vacant Seat, Croatia*
Vacant Seat, Croatia*
Vacant Seat, Croatia*
Vacant Seat, Cyprus*
Vacant Seat, Spain*
Vacant Seat, Spain*
Vacant Seat, Spain*
Vacant Seat, Spain*
Vacant Seat, Spain*
Vacant Seat, Spain*
Vacant Seat, Republic of Moldova*
Representatives and Substitutes not authorised to vote
Lotta Johnsson Fornarve
Partners for democracy