AS (2017) CR 31
2017 ORDINARY SESSION
Tuesday 10 October at 3.30 p.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.
(Sir Roger Gale, Acting President of the Assembly, took the Chair at 3.35 p.m.)
1. Election of the President of the Assembly (Result of third round)
The PRESIDENT – The sitting is open. When I spoke to you yesterday from this chair I naďvely thought it would probably be the last time I would do so. Events have taken a little longer to evolve than I had anticipated, but I hope and believe that we have emerged from this process stronger, with dignity and with honour.
As you know, I decided not to put my name forward for the presidency of this illustrious Assembly because I believed it was right that the rotation should be maintained and that therefore the EPP group would be enabled to complete its term of presidency. I was therefore pleased that not one but two EPP candidates threw their hats into the ring. As a result, we had a democratic contest. I regard that as a victory for the cause of democracy. It is right and proper, and it has been fairly conducted. A result has emerged that I will now give you.
The PRESIDENT – For the third round of the election of the President held on 10 October 2017, the number of members voting was 217. The number of spoilt ballot papers was one. Therefore, the number of valid votes cast was 216. The number of votes required for a simple majority was 109. The votes cast were as follows: Ms Stella Kyriakides received 132 votes; Mr Emanuelis Zingeris received 84 votes. So Ms Kyriakides, having obtained a substantial majority, is elected as the President of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe.
Madam President, I now invite you to take your chair and address the Assembly.
(Ms Kyriakides, President of the Assembly, took the Chair in place of Sir Roger Gale)
2. Address by Ms Kyriakides, President of the Assembly
The PRESIDENT – Dear colleagues, ambassadors, Secretary General of the Council of Europe, Deputy Secretary General, Secretary General of the Assembly, Sir Roger Gale, I thank all the members of the Parliamentary Assembly for their support – those who voted for me and those who did not. I also thank my group, the EPP, and those members who believed in this candidature and what it stands for. I can promise only one thing: I will do my very best not to disappoint you.
This election comes at an extraordinary time for the Assembly – times that have seen our credibility and integrity questioned; times that have lead often to the wrong type of publicity for the work done in this Assembly, leading to the questioning of the principle of transparency and the integrity of all the institutions of the Council of Europe. These are challenges and responsibilities for us all, but mostly for myself as the newly elected President of this Assembly.
My decision to run for the presidency stemmed solely from a firm belief in the Parliamentary Assembly and in democracy, human rights and the rule of law, and from my passion to work tirelessly. Today you have given me the opportunity, with the trust that you have placed in me, to work towards these things. In the upcoming few months, my priority is to bring about calmness, consensus, credibility and unity; to work tirelessly and openly against corruption; and to raise the bar so that we all follow the same principles and codes of ethics. To do that, I will need the support of all political groups, the Secretary General and the staff of the Council of Europe, because this is the reason why we are all here.
I will not tire you – to be honest, it has been an exhausting three days – and I will not list the priorities of the Council of Europe. I will say, however, that I will try to do my best and do as much as possible, always respecting all our member countries and serving honourably and equally for all.
In conclusion, had they been here, I would have thanked my family, who I am sure are watching this online – so allow me to say a thank you to them anyway. And thank you once again for giving me the great honour of sitting in this chair.
I must remind you that the vote is again open for the election of a judge to the European Court of Human Rights in respect of Georgia.
The poll will close at 5 p.m. Those who have not yet voted may still do so by going to the area behind the President’s chair.
I remind the tellers Ms Pashayeva, Ms D’Ambrosio, Ms Bruijn-Wezema and Mr Köck that they should meet behind the President’s chair at 5 p.m. I hope to be able to announce the results of the election at the conclusion of the first debate.
3. Question time: Mr Thorbjřrn Jagland, Secretary General of the Council of Europe
The PRESIDENT – The next item on the agenda is questions to Mr Thorbjřrn Jagland, Secretary General of the Council of Europe.
Secretary General, welcome to this traditional question and answer session. Since our last exchange of views, an important development has happened: one of our member States – the Russian Federation – informed us that it was suspending the payment of the remaining parts of its 2017 financial contribution to the Organisation’s budget. Clearly, this decision represents an unprecedented challenge for the Organisation.
The Committee of Ministers and the Parliamentary Assembly bear a shared responsibility for preserving the Organisation’s unity and effective capacity to deliver the results that our citizens and our governments expect from all of us. Therefore, both statutory bodies need to work together to address the current situation. I trust the members of the Assembly will want to know your views on this issue, as well as on the steps that could be taken to overcome the current crisis situation.
I remind the Assembly that questions must be limited to 30 seconds. Colleagues should be asking questions and not making speeches. The first question is from Mr Attila Korodi.
Mr KORODI (Romania, spokesperson for the Group of the European People’s Party) – Secretary General, as you know, the Ukrainian Parliament promulgated a new law on education on 25 September; it came into force on 28 September. The law limits the right of people belonging to national minorities to study in their mother tongue. In my view, the Council of Europe reaction has been out of step as regard debates in the Ukrainian Parliament on this topic. Several NGOs have raised serious concerns for several months before the adoption of the law on education. Secretary General, what will the Council of Europe do to ensure that there is respect for the rights of people belonging to national minorities to be taught in their own language?
Mr JAGLAND (Secretary General of the Council of Europe) – Thank you for that question. The core business of the Council of Europe is to safeguard the rights of minorities on this continent and particularly their right to use their mother tongue. At a summit in 1993, after the fall of the Berlin wall, the question was how the Council of Europe could contribute to stabilising the situation on the continent. One thing underlined at the summit was exactly that: the importance of safeguarding the rights of minorities, because history tells us that when the rights of minorities are adversely affected – including their right to use their own language – there are often conflicts and even wars. As a result of the summit, there was the Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities and the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages, and monitoring bodies were set up.
It is always of great concern when questions about these rights are being asked and when laws have been adopted that affect such rights. That is why we were alarmed when we saw the new law in Ukraine and why we contacted the Ukrainian authorities immediately. The Minister for Education came here the other day and explained about the law. She said that they had decided to ask the Venice Commission for its advice. We are waiting for the Venice Commission’s opinion and we will continue the dialogue with the Ukrainian authorities on that basis. Again, we are watching the situation carefully, because the core business of the Council of Europe is indeed to look after the rights of minorities on this continent.
Ms STRIK (Netherlands, spokesperson for the Socialist Group) – Mr Jagland, in the last session my group asked you about the arrest of the chair and director of Amnesty International in Turkey. He and other human rights defenders now face imprisonment for 16 years. That is a clear example of the systematic and serious crackdown on human rights in Turkey and the situation is worsening still. We urge the Secretary General to take a clear stance on the human rights violations and to call for the immediate release of these and all other human rights defenders and professionals who have been detained for politically motivated reasons. Is Mr Jagland prepared to take that firm stance and take the initiative with regard to a monitoring procedure on Turkey under the Committee of Ministers’ monitoring procedures?
Mr JAGLAND – I raised that issue in a telephone call – a very long one actually – with the Prime Minister of Turkey, Mr Yildirim; I was informed of their views on the matter and I told him my views. Our position on the judicial procedures going on in Turkey is well known. What we can do – this is the most important thing now for such individuals – is demand respect for our clear judicial procedure based on the European Convention on Human Rights at the domestic level. If that does not happen, these people of course have the right to go to the European Court of Human Rights here in Strasbourg. That Court would of course look carefully at whether they have had a fair trial and whether the evidence against them can be justified.
Europe does not have any other mechanism to provide justice for all the people who have been affected by the attempted coup in Turkey. It is now very important that all of us protect the judicial mechanisms. That is why we are here. I have said it time and again in this Assembly – I am not a judge or a courtroom; we need judicial processes, which may end up in the Strasbourg Court. With regard to journalists, for example, who are in jail and have already filed a complaint to the Court of Human Rights, the Court has already started to consider those cases. They will look into them carefully and the processes are under way.
We are living through very challenging times. That is why, for instance, I have insisted so much on the release of the political prisoner in Azerbaijan, who has been in prison for three and a half years, despite a clear judgment from the Court that he should be released. If we are not able to be forceful on the rights of people who according to our Court should be free, how can we enforce other parts of the Convention? These are really challenging times for the whole Convention system, but I have to respect the need for judicial processes.
We have said to the Turkish authorities time and again that one has to be very cautious with regard to specific groups, including journalists, parliamentarians and, of course, human rights defenders. I cannot say who is guilty or not guilty, but I have insisted that people from those groups who are now in prison should be out of prison, in order to defend themselves from a position of freedom, not from behind bars. That is a clear position of ours and, at the end of the day, the Court will look into those cases.
Mr TARCZYŃSKI (Poland, spokesperson for the European Conservatives Group) – Mr Secretary General, I would like to ask about the situation in Council of Europe member States: about Spain, about Germany, about France and its state of emergency, about Catalonia. I would like to ask about Sweden, where rapes by so-called refugees were committed – they were obviously illegal immigrants. And I would like to ask you about Poland and the woodworm problem, which is now the main concern of the Venice Commission. Where is the logic and the sense of this European Council and its support? What is the difference between blood in Catalonia and woodworm in Poland? I ask you, where is the logic?
Mr JAGLAND – You have put many questions on the table. If I were to go into all those issues, I would need a very long time.
On Catalonia, the Spanish Minister for Foreign Affairs was in my office yesterday. I said to him that the constitution of Spain has to be respected. Any country of the Council of Europe has to be governed on the basis of its constitution, and any solution to problems, crises or conflicts has to be based on the constitution or an amended constitution. A solution has to be found within the constitution. That is a principle we apply everywhere and now in Catalonia. If one wants to draw on the Council of Europe’s expertise in that respect, of course we would be available.
The Catalonian issue for us is based on that simple principle. When I am asked to which ideology I belong – whether I am for socialism, capitalism, conservatism or whatever – I always answer that I am for constitutionalism, because I have seen so many times, including recently in Europe, that if the constitution is not respected, and if one tries to manipulate the constitution or change the constitution unconstitutionally, you always get a mess and severe problems. That is why I hold that position with regard with Catalonia.
That is also our position in Poland, which you mentioned. We have worked with the Polish authorities. We have criticised several of the new laws and are now looking at several of the amended laws from President Duda that affect the Polish judicial sector. The Venice Commission has been asked to look into a number of laws in Poland. We always deploy all our expertise when such issues come up in our member States, including in the past in Hungary.
I assure you that we are always in contact with other member States and use the best expertise we have. Personally, I think it is better to work that way than to criticise and then move on to other issues. We want to assist member States; that is the best way to achieve results.
You raised many other issues, but, as I see it, those were the two most important.
Mr DAEMS (Belgium, spokesperson for the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe) – Colleagues, as our new President mentioned, the non-compliance of one of our member States creates a financial problem. This institution has a cost and democracy has a cost, but democracy is not for sale. I would like to know what initiatives you will take, together with us, to solve the problem. Can you specifically guarantee us that any solution will not harm the core values of the Council of Europe? I say again, democracy has a cost, but it is not for sale.
Mr JAGLAND – If you see this as a financial problem, you get it wrong. It is of course a challenge for us if a member State does not pay its fee. That is simply unacceptable; we cannot have member States that do not finance the budget. If a member State does not finance the budget, it cannot be a member. It causes a financial problem – but that can be overcome. If you are referring to the Russian Federation, that is 10% of the budget, and that means we have to restructure the Organisation and reduce staff by 10%. That is clear and it can be done. But we are looking into why we have this crisis and we are trying to solve it, because it has a wider political implication. We have to ask ourselves whether we want to have a Council of Europe with or without the Russian Federation.
For me, the central question goes to the core mandate of the Council of Europe – namely, to protect citizens in our member States. I want to see all our member States on board so that we can use all our instruments to protect human rights in the Russian Federation, as well as in all other countries. That is what the whole issue is about. Our mission is to see how we can use our instruments in the best way. If a member State does not want to be a member, it is up to them, but we will do what we can to keep our member States under the European Convention on Human Rights and the European Court of Human Rights, because we want to protect the rights of their citizens.
If we look at this from a financial point of view, we get it wrong. If we look at it from a political point of view and a human rights point of view, it should be possible to solve the problem. That is what I am trying to do as the highest elected official of the Council of Europe, who is responsible for the whole Organisation. For example, I will see to it that all elected officials are elected with the votes of all member States. That is a crucial matter.
Having said all that, it is not easy when a member State says, “We do not want to pay if this or that does not happen.” Nobody should act under economic pressure – that is totally out of the question. That is why we need to have a wider perspective on what we are dealing with here.
Mr BUSTINDUY (Spain, spokesperson for the Group of the Unified European Left) – Mr Secretary General, I listened carefully to your statements on the political crisis in Spain, a country that has been a member of this Organisation for 40 years and which ratified the European Convention on Human Rights even before it had a democratic constitution. What can this honourable institution do to help us avoid further escalation and to promote and facilitate dialogue in Spain? Will you elaborate on the possible options for international mediation so that we may find a stable, democratic and peaceful solution to the political crisis in Catalonia?
Mr JAGLAND – I do not see the possibility for international mediation in this conflict, because it has to be based on the constitution of Spain or a modified constitution if the parties have a dialogue and find a solution. What we can do is to help them, if they want it, with our expertise on constitutional matters, for instance. I do not know whether that will happen, but we are available if such a dialogue starts.
I do not think that there is a possibility or need for international mediation. I take it as a given that the parties want to find a way out of this situation. As I have said, what we can do is to give advice if they want it and send signals to all the parties involved that the constitution has to be respected. A solution must be based on the constitution and must not be outside the constitution.
The PRESIDENT – Ms Filipovski is not in the Chamber. I will take the remaining questions in groups of three.
Mr R. HUSEYNOV (Azerbaijan) – Terrorism is an evil that threatens the entire world today. All international organisations and countries declare their solidarity in the fight against this evil. Surprisingly, the Council of Europe turns a blind eye to Armenia, which takes care of terrorists such as Varoujan Garabedian, Monte Melkonian and Vazgen Sislian who have perpetrated bloody terrorist acts in Europe, the South Caucasus and various countries of the world.
Armenia gives the title of national hero to dead terrorists and names streets after them, and it gives great business opportunities to terrorists while they are alive. Therefore, Armenia supports terrorism at the State level. When will we hear a solid statement from the Council of Europe criticising those activities of Armenia?
Lord FOULKES (United Kingdom) – With respect, Mr Jagland, you did not really answer Mr Daems’ question. If we stick by our principles, which I hope we do, we will have to cut our expenditure by 10% or more. Have you drawn up contingency plans for that? Will you share them with this Assembly?
Mr KÜRKÇÜ (Turkey) – The emergency case commission in Turkey is yet to conclude a single case out of 100 000 applications 10 months after it was founded, following an European Union recommendation. Meanwhile, two teachers, Nuriye and Semih, who were removed from office under emergency case decrees, are on the 216th day of a hunger strike. What advice would you give to the Turkish Government in order to save their lives and implement immediate justice for the hundreds of thousands of public servants who have been sacked arbitrarily?
Mr JAGLAND – On the first question relating to the conflict between Armenia and Azerbaijan, I always refer to the fact that this matter is in the hands of the Minsk Group and its co-chairs. That follows a resolution from the Security Council, which is responsible for peace and stability in the world. We have not been asked by any of the parties or by the OSCE group to assist in their task. We always look after human rights on both sides. I have said time and again that we should be able to work in such frozen conflicts, regardless of any status or other circumstances. Of course, we always condemn any act of terrorism, be it in this area or in another part of Europe.
On the budget, we are handling the fact that the Russian Federation has not paid for the last part of this year. We are doing that in a responsible way. As I have said, if it does not pay for next year, we will be in a much more serious situation, politically as well as financially. We are of course thinking about how to handle it. Ultimately, it will be in the hands of the Committee of Ministers, which is responsible for the budget, but right now I am focusing on finding a solution to the problem. I assure you that we are acting in a very responsible way. I can share with you that if it is necessary – I hope it will not be – we have a very competent Secretariat that is able to work out solutions.
On the last question regarding the commission that has been set up to deal with the cases of the more than 100 000 people who were dismissed after the attempted coup, once again I remind you that by setting up that commission – it was done on our request – we have opened up a judicial avenue for all those people that did not previously exist, because they became guilty per se under the decree laws. As you know, if someone is listed in a law as guilty, no court can take on their case because they are already guilty. We protested against that and said that it was totally out of line with the standards in the European Convention. Therefore you have to establish a domestic judicial route for those people. Somebody asked why they could not go directly to the Court of Human Rights. If that happened, the Court would say, “According to the European Convention on Human Rights, you must first have a domestic remedy”. It would therefore be a waste of time.
Now we have the commission, which has started its work. I am informed that 400 people are working for it, including a number of lawyers, experts and so on. They have indicated that the first decision may be handed down at the end of this year or the beginning of next year. The judicial processes in many of our member States take a very long time. I hope that the commission will work fast. Remember that its decision is not final because after that, those affected can come to our Court in the end. Our Court will look into whether the commission was a real domestic remedy, based on European Convention standards and the case law of the Court here. I do not know how it will act, but it is possible to take a pilot case and judge whether it constituted a real domestic remedy. We have achieved something important for all those people who did not have a judicial remedy.
There is a domestic judicial route for all those who have been arrested, and some have already complained to the Court here.
Mr SOBOLEV (Ukraine) – The occupation of Transnistrian Moldova; the occupation of 20% of Georgia’s territory; the annexation of Crimea; the occupation of eastern Donbass; not respecting the decisions of the European Court of Human Rights: what more are we waiting for from the Russian Federation? They do not pay money to this Organisation or adhere to its main principles. They have violated their obligations. What is your answer? To let them be a full member of this Organisation?
Mr HUNKO (Germany)* – Perhaps you remember that in 2014, a few days after the events on the Maidan in Ukraine, I asked whether the overthrow was unconstitutional, and you said in Malta, in a committee meeting, that the constitution was not so important in a political process and should not be seen as hard and fast. Yet now in the Catalonia crisis in Spain, you take the opposite tack and say that the constitution is hard and fast and that the ECHR comes after that. Those are double standards. Why did you take one attitude to Ukraine and the opposite to Spain?
Ms ALQAWASAMI (Palestine, Partner for Democracy) – I have two questions. First, do you believe that terrorism in history has a particular religious, ethnic or sectarian identity? If not, I want to ask that we adhere strictly to the Council of Europe slogan, #NoHateNoFear. Secondly, the right to life is the major human right. Can we consider war as a mass responsibility, even without jurisdiction?
Mr JAGLAND – Mr Sobolev, you asked me what the answer was, and whether it was to offer the Russian Federation full membership of the Council of Europe. Actually, the Russian Federation is a full member, takes part in all our integral activities and comes under the Court of Human Rights. It is true that several judgments have not yet been implemented, but the Russian Federation is not first on the list for non-implementation of Court judgments. While there are severe problems in many of our member countries, it is important not to overlook what participation and presence in the Council of Europe and being under the Convention have contributed to their citizens.
For example, the European Committee for the Prevention of Torture and Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment has improved prison conditions in the Russian Federation as well as many other countries. With our help, the Russian Federation got a new civil court and a new penal court. Many shortcomings remain, including of course the issues that you mentioned: the conflict with Georgia, the problems in Transnistria and in Ukraine and the illegal annexation of Crimea. However, resolving those conflicts is not first and foremost in the hands of the Council of Europe, but in processes that the United Nations Security Council has mandated. Our mandate is to protect human rights in all the member States and we should not give up on that, despite the conflicts to which you rightly refer.
We should also bear it in mind that, although we do not take a direct part in resolving conflicts, our protection of human rights contributes to it. For example, the Good Friday Agreement in Northern Ireland was based on the fact that the Convention applies in Northern Ireland. That also applies to the Dayton Agreement. The more we can apply our standards in areas of conflict, the better it will be for resolving them. I see no other way: the Council of Europe has to work on that basis. Otherwise, we could say, “Yes, these conflicts exist” and give up, but I do not recommend that.
Mr Hunko is totally wrong about Maidan and the constitution. What he said was 100% wrong. We have never accepted a change in constitution. For example, when Yanukovych changed the constitution via the constitutional court, we were the only ones to protest. The big powers – the United States, the Russian Federation and the European Union – accepted it, but we did not. We warned against it. Of course, what happened on Maidan was not in the constitution; it was a revolution and any revolution is unconstitutional. We are not in favour of unconstitutional changes – that is why I said what I did about Catalonia. We supported the way the United Kingdom handled things in Scotland because they referred to their own legislation. What you said about what happened in Maidan is totally, 110% wrong.
Turning to the third question, terror can be motivated by sectarianism, ethnicity or religion. We are against any kind of terror. Those who are hurt most by terror are actually those that terrorists claim to support. We have seen time and again that it is those whom they want to liberate that are most harmed by terrorism. Terrorism is not a solution to any conflict and it does not improve the conditions of people anywhere in the world, be it sectarian, religious or ethnic-based terrorism.
Mr KÖCK (Austria)* – Article 1 of the Statute of the Council of Europe states that its task and duty is to create “greater unity” between member States. Article 1(d) refers to national defence, which is not part of the powers of the Council of Europe. How would you interpret that in terms of our relationship with the Russian Federation, and do you agree that some countries get the wrong end of the stick about what the Council of Europe can do?
Ms CHRISTOFFERSEN (Norway) – The refugee crisis in the Mediterranean has been on our agenda for years. We are still not able to handle it in a decent manner, neither for the refugees nor for countries in southern Europe. Last month you warned Europe of another huge refugee crisis emerging in sub-Saharan Africa. How do you think will it affect Europe, and what should European countries do to both prepare for and handle it?
Mr ÖZCENK (Representative of the Turkish Cypriot Community)* – First, I wish you success. If Turkish Cypriot delegates had a right to vote, we would have voted for our colleague, whom we appreciate very much, to be President of the Parliamentary Assembly.
What do you think the Council of Europe can do to improve the situation in Northern Cyprus and the deprivation from which it suffers?
Mr JAGLAND – It is true that the purpose of the Council of Europe is to create greater unity between member States and on the continent as a whole. We do that first by getting all member States to comply with the standards in the legal space of the European Convention on Human Rights. By harmonising laws, we get nations to come closer to each other. That is why I always stress the need to abide by the rulings of the European Court of Human Rights. Usually the Court issues compensation to the person affected by the violation and then general measures change the laws or practices that led to that violation. By implementing the Court’s judgments, all member States change their legislation in the direction of the European Convention on Human Rights. We are coming closer to each other because of that process. That is unity.
We also foster unity through many other means, including culture, sport and this Assembly, in which people can speak to each other. First and foremost, however, the aim of the Council of Europe is to strengthen the legal space constituted by the European Convention on Human Rights.
What can be done about the huge crisis on the other side of the Sahara, in the Sahel belt, the Great Lakes region and the Horn of Africa? The President of the International Committee of the Red Cross was in my office some time ago, having come directly from that region. He told me that there are approximately 10 million people in the refugee camps. There is a huge crisis in the whole region and that crisis is growing day by day. Of course, many of them have already tried to get over the Sahara and many are dying, but that is not well known in Europe. Some are going to Libya, while others are trying to get over the Mediterranean and some are dying there. The traffic has declined recently, but if we do not do something to help those people where they live, I am sure that the crisis will come back to us.
Many things can be done. The President of France made a very interesting proposal when he spoke about his new vision for Europe. He spoke about a new, big international assistance programme for the region, and he also indicated how it could be financed. If we fail to do that, I am sure the crisis will get bigger as a result of the war in Syria and the crisis in Libya. What we should absolutely do is finance the United Nation agencies that are working on the ground. I want to take this opportunity to once again remind ourselves of what happened when millions of people started to go to camps in Lebanon, Jordan and Turkey because of the war in Syria. We turned a blind eye to that. The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees and the World Food Programme asked for finance for their activities, but they got no more than 20% to 30% of what they asked for. The result, of course, was that they could not do their job in the camps and people started to walk to Europe. That should not happen again. We have to finance those who are trying to help people where they live. We have to try to help a region in crisis, as President Macron said in his speech about his vision for Europe.
On Northern Cyprus, we need to find a solution to the Cyprus problem. I regret very much that the negotiations have broken down, but I hope that they will resume so that we can find a solution for all the people who live in Cyprus, both North and South.
The PRESIDENT – I am afraid that we must now conclude the questions to Mr Jagland, whom I thank, on behalf of the Assembly, for his answers.
I must remind colleagues that the vote is in progress to elect a judge to the European Court of Human Rights in respect of Georgia. The poll will close at 5 p.m. Those who have not yet voted may still do so by going to the area behind the President’s chair.
4. Follow-up to Resolution 1903 (2012):
promoting and strengthening transparency, accountability and integrity
of Parliamentary Assembly members
The PRESIDENT – The next item of business this afternoon is the debate on the report titled “Follow-up to Resolution 1903 (2012): promoting and strengthening transparency, accountability and integrity of Parliamentary Assembly members” (Document 14407), presented by Mr Ian Liddell-Grainger on behalf of the Committee on Rules of Procedure, Immunities and Institutional Affairs.
In order to finish by 5.50 p.m., I propose that we interrupt the list of speakers at about 5.40 p.m. to allow time for the reply and the vote. Is that agreed? I presume that it is.
I take this opportunity to remind you that the time limit for speeches is three minutes.
I call the rapporteur, Mr Liddell-Grainger. You have 13 minutes in total, which you may divide between your presentation of the report and your reply to the debate.
Mr LIDDELL-GRAINGER (United Kingdom) – I welcome you to your place, Madam President. I am delighted you have been so successful in your endeavours. May I say that you suit pink, as does the Secretary-General?
I have just been joined by the chairman of the Committee on Rules of Procedure, Immunities and Institutional Affairs. I thank everybody – I mean that – we have spoken to in preparing this report, from the staff, to the members, to the nations, to the parliaments, to the bodies. The report has come out of the situation we have found ourselves in for the past few months. Nothing in this report has been easy to put together, because the point of the report is that we hope it will never be needed. We hope it will gather dust in some cupboard where we will never have to take it out and use it. At all stages, I have tried to ensure that we encompass the very best of what we are trying to do by utilising – I say this openly – plagiarism. I have stolen everybody else’s ideas. This report has not tried to reinvent the wheel. I have not tried at any stage to do things that have not been tried and tested, not only within Europe, but countries around the world.
What we have tried to do with the report – I am very grateful to Ms Maury Pasquier for all the work she has done in her Committee – is make it something we can use without condemning the people who should never be condemned. The report protects us, but also the people whom we represent across Europe. The report ensures that we rise, as all parliamentarians should, to do the very best for the people, countries and nations we represent. It ensures that we have a clear mandate for what we can and cannot do when we meet people and when we talk to NGOs, lobbyists or countries. Countries can be very generous.
I have tried to ensure that the report is not punitive. We are all human. We make mistakes. Depressingly, I am one of those people who make more mistakes than most. I have tried to build it into the report that if there is a mistake, people are protected and are not automatically guilty. In fact, you are absolutely not guilty until the evidence is overwhelming. To that end, we have tried – I again pay great tribute to the Committee on Rules of Procedure, Immunities and Institutional Affairs – to have as much self-regulation as we can in the system, but there are teeth if we cannot deal with a situation here. I hope that never happens, but we have a recourse.
If members read the report, they will probably recognise most of their countries in it. I hope that suits most people here, because I do not want to do anything very clever. Starting at the very bottom of page 3 of the report, there are nine recommendations. If people look at those, they will get the gist and feel of what we are trying to do. I do not intend to go through the recommendations; I would much prefer to hear colleagues’ thoughts. I know there are no amendments, but that does not mean I am not open to ideas – quite the opposite. The best reports are those we discuss openly. I ask members to look at the recommendations.
On page 3, paragraphs 3, 4 and 5 show that we are trying to ensure that rapporteurs – people we expect to produce reports – and chairmen of committees know where they stand at all times so that they are not put in a position that is embarrassing to them, a nation they may be visiting or the Council of Europe. Most of our countries have that balance in different forms. I hope this never happens, but if a chairman or a committee chairman ever did not tell the whole truth, there is recourse so that we can do something about that in a humane way. It is not in our interests to humiliate anyone. Our idea is to ensure that people understand what they can and cannot do.
I ask members to look at page 7 of the report, which deals with the code of conduct for members of the Parliamentary Assembly. The rules under paragraph 6 are the meat of this. I have not got time to read them all out, so I ask colleagues to look at them. If anyone has questions, please approach me or Ms Maury Pasquier.
I want to be able to answer this debate as fully as I can, so I will conclude. Page 17 discusses rapporteurs, lobbyists and transparency registers. In many ways, that is the stuff I have got from European countries and Canada. If anyone has questions or views on that part of the report, I would welcome your thoughts. It deals with the meat of that side of the lobbying and the transparency of the organisations we deal with in the course of the business of being elected representatives.
The final bit I want to mention is on page 20. Paragraphs 90 to 94 deal with the GRECO report. That report gave the committee and me a lot of the information and background we needed. We have made our own decisions, but we have not been so proud as to say that we can get it completely right on our own. We have taken a lot of advice and help from others. The report also deals with each of the nations we approached and how they deal with transparency, openness and fluidity. You can see what we have done on that area. If anyone has any questions on that, I would be delighted to try to answer them.
I envisage this issue being revisited. This is not a cast-iron report; it is a work in progress. Each country, nation and parliament updates its rules on transparency and openness and its ability to deal with situations. We will have to revisit the issue every five years to ensure that our processes are robust and up to speed for the protection of us and the people we represent. I will now sit down. I look forward to the debate on the report and answering members’ questions if I possibly can.
The PRESIDENT – Thank you very much, Mr Liddell-Grainger. You have five minutes and 45 seconds left.
We immediately move on to the debate. First, I call Mrs Gillan on behalf of the European Conservatives Group.
Ms GILLAN (United Kingdom, spokesperson for the European Conservatives Group) – The question of how best to promote integrity in public life is a continuous challenge for all the democracies represented here in this Chamber. It should be no less of a challenge for the members of this Assembly, which should be one of the most respected international bodies given its key remit over human rights and justice.
Whether you are a politician or an official, you need to maintain public confidence in the administrations produced by the results of the ballot box. To do that, it is essential to have not only mechanisms to establish and maintain the highest standards of integrity and behaviour, but procedures that enable transparency and challenge behaviour that appears to fall below the standards of any code of conduct.
In our modern and rapidly changing environment, the public are demanding more and more information about the activities of their democratic representatives. The rules governing transparency, accountability and, indeed, honesty therefore cannot be allowed to stagnate. If they do, there will be less and less confidence in our systems of governance at home or here in an international environment. Therefore, the European Conservatives Group welcomes this report and the recommendations made by the rapporteur – my own country colleague, Ian Liddell-Grainger – and all those who have contributed to it. This report arose from allegations of corruption against members or former members of this Assembly and, as such, responded to a crisis over the very decisions that we take. That goes to the fundamentals of our existence.
I welcome wholeheartedly our new President today, and ask her and subsequent occupants of this key role to commit further. First, I want them to continue to investigate, and conclude those investigations into all allegations of corruption or unethical practices, whether the individuals concerned remain connected in any way to this Assembly or have severed those connections. Next, I want to establish a permanent review body to ensure that the rules of conduct, the register of members’ interests and the integrity framework of the Assembly are constantly updated to re-establish and then maintain public confidence in this Organisation. I need to be sure that we are going to enforce and monitor whatever sanctions are applicable following an adjudication that finds a breach. Lastly, I want to prevent undue influence that can be exerted by lobbyists – in particular, to adopt the recommendations in paragraph 11.1 and not just to consider, but actually to introduce as soon as possible, a register of their activities.
We need to set this institution back on the road that leads to people throughout the world respecting its role and contribution to freedom, democracy and the rule of law, rather than the suspicion that any part of it or persons within it have been bought by vested interests and those with the deepest pockets. Let us put this sad chapter firmly behind us and create a system that will be an advantage to others and a credit to all the countries that participate in this Assembly and enhance the reputation of the Council of Europe.
(Mr Jordana, Vice-President of the Assembly, took the Chair in place of Ms Kyriakides.)
The PRESIDENT* – Thank you, Ms Gillan. I call Ms Rodríguez Hernández.
Ms RODRÍGUEZ HERNÁNDEZ (Spain, spokesperson for the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe)* – The fact that we are talking about this report today is due to the various different rumours, scandals and circumstances that have discredited not just this body but a whole series of national and international parliaments. We as politicians are very much the target of citizens. Citizens do not trust us. As I said, we have been discredited, and we are all the object of suspicion, regardless of who or what we are. This is why it is so important for all of us to do our utmost to ensure that all elected officials are clean and transparent, and above all that we are loyal to our electors. Otherwise we are falling short of the expectations of our voters – not only those whom we represent but those we are supposed to defend.
After the economic crisis that hit Europe, as well as the rest of the world, so hard, all sorts of cases of corruption emerged. It is not that there are more cases of corruption during crises, but the fact that citizens said “Enough is enough.” The cases of dishonesty that used to happen in the past can no longer simply be covered up. This is the perfect breeding ground for populist, nationalist and extremist movements to gain support. We have seen that happen in many countries represented here in the Parliamentary Assembly. We have seen similar phenomena in the European Parliament and many national parliaments as well.
A report of this type, first, makes it clear that we have to be exemplary. It is not enough simply to write this, however – we also have to live up to the ideal. All of us have to start working hard to ensure that we really do pursue ethical and moral values in our work. The starting point for all this is transparency. Without credibility we cannot have an honest and effective political life. We as members should make it clear that we have nothing to hide because we are acting freely and honestly. My own group and party, and I myself, are not convinced that transparency and credibility alone will be enough to put the political world back on its footing. Politicians themselves have to do this so as to ensure that we really can do our job properly. Creating a sense of trust and confidence is the prerequisite for ensuring that we win back credibility not just for this Parliamentary Assembly but for all the national parliaments that we represent back at home.
Mr KOX (Netherlands, spokesperson for the Group of the Unified European Left) – Thank you, Mr President. It is a pity that our new President is not sitting there so I can only congratulate her via you. I hope very much that with the election of Stella Kyriakides there comes an end to a very embarrassing and deplorable episode of this Assembly, and that her election could mark the beginning of a better phase. She can count on the support of my group, of course.
This year we had to decide to start an external independent investigation after reports of possible corruption of members of this Assembly. That investigation is taking place. It was needed because we did not have the structure to clean the house ourselves. Now, with Ian Liddell-Grainger’s report, on which I congratulate him very much, we probably have the instruments whereby if something goes wrong, or at least looks to go wrong, we can investigate it in an effective and an honourable way. I praise Ian for how he prepared this report. He says that we do not have any amendments. No, because we took them as non-amendments while discussing this in the Committee on Rules of Procedure. That was needed. It gave us all the chance to come up with our proposals but also to decide whether it would be better to change things or to keep them. In the end, the proposals that you and the committee are making to the Assembly do update and upgrade our code of conduct. I agree with everybody who says that, whatever the code of conduct, if people want to misbehave there will always be a possibility of that. This Assembly and the national parliaments should then take their responsibility for it. I hope that when we adopt this resolution we will have a more modern code of conduct such that all members know that they will be held accountable when they do not do what they promised at home in their parliaments and here when they became a member of this Assembly. That is most important.
The fact that this Assembly could have been the target of forces from outside to influence our decisions must worry us a lot. At the same time, it underlines that this Assembly is a relevant Assembly – that it is targeted because we take relevant decisions. We should not take that as a compliment – that is too much. However, the fact that we have now proved ourselves able to modernise our code of conduct is a compliment. Once again, Ian, I compliment you on your report.
Mr DIVINA (Italy, spokesperson for the Free Democrats Group)* – First, I congratulate the new President who starts her work today. This is the first time that the Free Democrats Group is entitled to take the floor. We hope that we will get the full rights of the other groups and the support of the new President.
I do not think that anyone can say that it is not a good idea to have total and absolute transparency in the behaviour of the political classes. We live in special times. There is a focus on politicians, both positive and negative. There is a kind of witch hunt, which is the opposite of what we are trying to achieve at a time when we face mass moralisation and lack of trust vis-ŕ-vis the political classes.
Of course, we need to understand that all national States have rules to fight against illegal actions. If we are over-zealous, particularly in certain cases that happened in this Assembly – cases have been taken before the courts in the respective countries – it could lead to all kinds of inquiries and committees of investigation. It is good to have a code of conduct, but let us keep the dignity of this institution high. We should not try to check every single comma. Let us be moderate.
By way of example, it is ridiculous to force members to publish the donations they have received on the website, and it will lead to manipulation. What about the number of bottles we get over the Christmas holidays from the president of a given place? We should avoid asking members to publish the names of all the individuals they meet and talk to during the preparation of a report. Such publication might call into question their entire research, and it might hamper the good work of rapporteurs.
Surely it would be much better to follow good practice in a good code of conduct, but that should be true for everyone – for members of parliament and for Assembly members. Surely it would not be a good thing at this moment in time for the code to call into question the rectitude of politicians, so let us not get the justice system to take over altogether.
Ms OOMEN-RUIJTEN (Netherlands, spokesperson for the Group of the European People’s Party) – On behalf of the EPP, I congratulate the newly elected President. I am convinced that within the next three months of her presidency she will start the necessary change of the damaged image of our institution.
This year, with great sadness, we have had to observe questions about the transparency and integrity of individual members, which have led to questions about the whole institution. It is wrong to think that with the forced resignation of our former President and some members, and with a new President in office, we have removed the most important obstacles to our mission, but of course the steps needed to be taken.
I would argue that what has happened is only the beginning of a profound rethinking of our sense of purpose as a representative institution. Why does our Assembly exist? Why did our countries, our parliaments and, ultimately, our people send us here? The EPP highly appreciates the report of our colleague Ian Liddell-Grainger. He described the measures to be taken to strengthen the credibility of our Assembly, with a strong focus on the framework for the integrity and accountability of our work. We fully agree with the measures he proposes.
Besides all the measures to be taken, we have to look at ourselves. Each individual member of this Assembly should, even without rules, live and act upon moral standards that are completely in line with the aims and goals that our predecessors set for the Council of Europe. Besides the new rules, which are absolutely needed, each individual member has to look at themselves. If we want to ensure a future where every citizen can benefit from a Council of Europe and an Assembly that not only promotes democracy, human rights and the rule of law, we need new standards that focus even more on the behaviour and accountability of each of us, based on the highest moral standards.
Mr NICOLETTI (Italy, spokesperson for the Socialist Group)* – Through you, Madam President, I congratulate the new President, Stella Kyriakides, who has been elected today. We appreciate the things she said to us at the beginning of the part-session. We pass on our best wishes and assure her that our group will work closely with her.
I thank Mr Liddell-Grainger and all his staff for this excellent report, and I underline that it not only makes recommendations but contains decisions that should enter immediately into effect, which is why it is so important. In approving the report today, not only are we responding immediately to a critical situation that has arisen in the Assembly but we are filling a gap. The Parliamentary Assembly was in a strange situation. We were preaching transparency and integrity to national parliaments, but inside this Assembly we had instruments that were basically not up to guaranteeing integrity. The report proposes a serious, scrupulous and effective mechanism to tackle such problems.
I appreciate Mr Liddell-Grainger’s work. Whereas national parliaments have national rules, we have here an international code of conduct with international rules, which are the fruit of comparisons between and gleanings from all the best practice he has found in Europe. The code of conduct is a model that will serve our Organisation well.
The phenomena continue to change, so we have to accept that to some extent these measures are an experiment. We will have to see how they bed in and whether we need to tweak them, but the fundamental principles – transparency; combating conflicts of interest; impartiality; and so on – are clear. The measure on donations and gifts is important psychologically. Many people do not realise the risks of such almost psychological or economic grooming. This is a wake-up call to all of us. We all have a duty to take political decisions without in any way being conditioned economically, or even psychologically.
Finally, we must think carefully about regulating lobbyists. After everything that has happened, we should be even more rigorous in that respect, and remember that, as the Romans said, “leges sine moribus vanae” – laws without customs are in vain. The excellent rules that we are approving today should be upheld in tandem with our behaviour.
The PRESIDENT* – Thank you, colleagues. The first round of elections for the judge at the Court of Human Rights has now closed and I ask the tellers to come behind the President’s chair. I hope I will be able to give the Assembly the results of the vote at the end of our debate.
Rapporteur, you have four minutes in which to respond to the speakers on behalf of the political groups, or you can use that time to reply at the end of the debate.
Ms DURANTON (France)* – I congratulate the rapporteur; I am pleased that a woman has been elected as President of this noble Assembly as I understand the integrity of women all too well. This Assembly needs to become noble again. Quite recently it was faced with allegations of corruption and the promotion of self-interest, and the behaviour of certain colleagues has been called into question. That really harms our Assembly, which is a great shame. I remind members that our role is to promote human rights and democracy, and for that reason we do not hold weapons and our financial means are quite small. We have only our capacity to convince others that we work within their general interest. Our force is a moral force, and if that is called into question it undermines the very authority of this institution. We must act as soon as possible to re-establish trust, and the report by Mr Liddell-Grainger goes in the right direction.
The conclusion of the external committee of inquiry, and members of that committee, has the full support of this Assembly. They must consider the different allegations of corruption, and they must react rapidly and take the necessary steps as of January 2018. The draft resolution must be put into practice rapidly to ensure that this Assembly does not leave any place for corruption. We must adopt this text today – that is indispensable – and ensure that we prevent conflicts of interest. We must be very transparent and ask all rapporteurs to what extent they are interested in the report that they are drafting, and about their relationship to the country involved. Are there any possible sanctions that could be introduced to make more efficacy possible?
The activities of individuals and lobbyists in the Council of Europe must be recorded in a registry and clearly identified. National parliaments must strengthen their roles. That is what France has done, and the French Parliament decides which members of parliament sit on our Assemblies. If we see serious violations of codes of conduct, the Assembly must be informed by national parliaments. That is important for the credibility and future of this institution. At a moment when values are being called into question, even in the European Union, our Assembly must be transparent.
Mr RUSTAMYAN (Armenia)* – First, I congratulate the rapporteur on his excellent work. This report is the beginning of a necessary and thoroughgoing reform of our Assembly. Indeed, the allegations of corruption that have been hanging over it for a long time have jeopardised the credibility of the actions of this Organisation, and there is a real risk that its reputation will decline irreversibly. Our Assembly must promote the common shared values of member States through a parliamentary process that is sufficiently independent, impartial and objective. It is already clear that our Organisation is vulnerable to corruption and the promotion of the interests of certain members, or former members, of the Assembly. We need thoroughgoing reforms – a kind of public purging, in a way – and this report introduces an appropriate strategy to end corruption and eradicate those practices from our Organisation.
An external independent investigative body has been set up by the Assembly to carry out an independent, in-depth analysis and investigation into corruption and the promotion of interests, and that is being carried out by members or former members of this Assembly. This is a convincing investigatory system, helped by GRECO, and the Assembly will introduce new rules and a code of conduct to prevent any kind of corruption in future, as well as more sanctions. The Assembly will check more strictly on the activities of lobbyists and the circulation of third parties in the premises of this House. The Assembly has also decided to strengthen the measures regarding conflicts of interest. It is so important, particularly for rapporteurs, to reinforce awareness of our duties in the Assembly. If a rapporteur has not declared a relevant interest or makes a false declaration, the committee can remove them from their job.
I wish to draw the Assembly’s attention to a more specific problem. What will happen if a breach of requirements by the rapporteur emerges only after the adoption of the report by the Assembly? Of course we can punish that member, but what about the report? The report will already be an official document passed by the House, and surely that cannot be acceptable. I invite colleagues to consider how to solve that matter. Perhaps one could recall the report and rewrite it.
Ms HOVHANNISYAN (Armenia) – I congratulate Ms Kyriakides on her election, and I wish her all the best in her new capacity.
I express my gratitude to Mr Liddell-Grainger for an important and detailed report and recommendation. As we know, one of the main principles underlying the activities of our Assembly is accountability. Representatives of the Assembly are required to act in compliance with the duties and obligations by which they are bound, and in the case of any breach or violation of those duties, there should be mechanisms of responsibility to provide proper fulfilment of the Assembly’s approach.
Recent allegations of corruption show that our measures are insufficient, and we should take further steps to ensure that our core values are adhered to. I feel unhappy – really – that our Assembly is forced to take such drastic measures, but we all know that in the current situation we have no alternatives. The amendments to the Rules of Procedure and the code of conduct are an objective necessity. I welcome the initiative of expending sanctions for non-compliance with the code of conduct, because I believe that if any member breaches that code, they should be deprived of the right to speak or vote, and – this is much more important – to be a rapporteur.
I wish to raise the following questions. How should we feel when one of our rapporteurs is involved in a corruption scandal and being prosecuted by law enforcement bodies in their own country? For example, can we trust the impartiality of a rapporteur regarding a country that was involved in the Laundromat scandals? How will we deal with the reports, resolutions and recommendations produced by those people?
It is no secret that when voting for a draft resolution or recommendation we take into consideration the personality of the rapporteur and attach particular importance to the declared absence of conflicts of interest – we trust his or her impartiality. The mere fact that the rapporteur declared the non-existence of a conflict of interest is enough for us to trust him and not question his decency. But when a rapporteur is involved in corruption scandals or other violations of the code of conduct, it is very hard, if not impossible, to treat that person’s report or proposed recommendations seriously.
Should we somehow address these reports? For instance, there is the situation with Mr Alain Destexhe. Everybody knows that he has particular connections, but he was already a rapporteur for a particular country. How can we be sure that the conclusions or recommendations in the draft resolutions are correct? The situation here is easy because we found out about the conflict of interest before voting, but that is why I am raising the issue in case we have reports that are already adopted. Maybe we need a mechanism to address these sensitive issues. It is crucial for us and for the credibility of our Assembly.
Ms ANTTILA (Finland) – I congratulate our new President, Stella Kyriakides.
I thank the rapporteur for this excellent report and his presentation on this highly important and topical matter. Given this opportunity, I will raise a few important points from the report.
It is clear that the Council of Europe and its organs are exposed to pressures by economic or business interests. The Organisation’s activities relating to human rights, democracy and the rule of law are taken into account in the decision making, which may have direct economic implications. The recent allegations of corruption have called into question the credibility of the Assembly’s actions and positions in reaffirming the principles of transparency and accountability. Conflicts between the public duty and private interests of public officials have compromised the integrity of the Assembly at a time when it is crucial to restore public confidence in the parliamentary institutions.
I agree with the report that it is important to establish a transparency register and take effective steps to prevent former members from being involved in paid consultancy and benefiting from specific advantages. To adopt, maintain and strengthen transparency and prevent conflicts of interest, we need to promote further integrity in governance and tackle political corruption, as recommended by GRECO, the Council of Europe’s anti-corruption body.
Over the past 10 years, the Assembly has adopted various rules to govern the conduct of its members to preserve their integrity. Declaratory obligations concerning gifts and other benefits still lack consistency. It has also been noted that, even though the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe has played a key role in promoting the need to regulate and increase the transparency of third-party contacts, the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe itself is not properly regulated.
The Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe needs to show greater determination in raising members’ awareness and provide training and guidance on the implications of the rules of conduct. The Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe is not immune to corruption risks. That is why it is highly important that we have this open discussion about the matter. Thank you for your attention.
Ms CHRISTOFFERSEN (Norway) – For a long time now, there have been rumours – some would say more than rumours – concerning non-credibility and corruption among members of this Assembly. True or not, such rumours are undermining the work we are supposed to do on behalf of our respective national parliaments and all those suffering from various breaches of human rights, lack of democracy and violations of the rule of law.
On several occasions, we have passed resolutions and recommendations stressing the importance of fighting corruption in our member States. Corruption among politicians, judges, the media, businesses and so on is seen as the main obstacle to democratic, stable and prosperous development in many member States. Fighting corruption and gaining visible results, as well as sanctioning those involved, is the only way to build public trust in national institutions in our European societies. Of course, this is not an easy task, especially not in countries where corruption is an integral part of the system, but it has to be done. The Council of Europe has the instruments to support any member country in this conduct, but only if this Organisation is trustworthy. We are not trustworthy if member States can influence the content of our resolutions and recommendations by offering money or other personal benefits to dishonest members of this Assembly.
Do we have dishonest members in the Council of Europe? I hope not, but it would be naďve to assume that such criminal acts never take place among us, especially as we know that corruption is widespread in many member countries. We also find examples of corruption in countries usually known for their transparency and integrity.
I am therefore pleased that we have established an independent investigation body. I hope it will reveal any hidden networks and allow us the possibility of a fresh start. I also welcome the proposed mechanism and sanctions suggested in this report, as well as the restrictions proposed on the movement of paid lobbyists within our premises, especially former members of this Assembly. We can never allow anyone to turn the Council of Europe into a place for personal gain. Europeans deserve better.
Mr SCHWABE (Germany)* – Mr Fischer, from the European People’s Party, stated that the fact we had two EPP candidates was a sign of democracy. Both candidates were good candidates, but Ms Kyriakides is indeed an excellent new President of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe and I am sure she will succeed in regaining trust and confidence. I also thank the rapporteur, Mr Liddell-Grainger, and everybody else who has contributed to this report.
We are all aware that this is something of a historic phase in our history. Looking back, it is clear we find ourselves at a time when not only do we have networks set up by authoritarian governments, but, even worse, our credibility has been severely undermined by corruption. That means it is very difficult for us to denounce corruption in member States. Clearly, we all have to make statements of our assets, but we also have to do our utmost to ensure that no future allegations of corruption will be possible.
For the time being, we do not have the tools. We have seen accusations of corruption against Alain Destexhe, who is no longer a member of the Assembly. I am not quite sure how we intend to proceed with that. There is also a topical case regarding Karin Strenz, a German member, who not only has been accused of corruption, but, during the Azerbaijan electoral observation mission at the end of 2015, she signed – as she had to – a declaration of interests. The fact is, she did not say that between 2014 and 2015 she got between €14 000 and €30 000 from Azerbaijan. In other words, that signed declaration was no more than a lie. I am not sure how the current rules will allow us to punish her for that. This proposal is unbelievably important as an initial step. What we have to decide now is how we move forward with this.
We find ourselves in something of a ping-pong game when identifying whether responsibility lies with the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe or with national Parliaments. In Germany, we often hear, “No, that is part of the responsibility of the Council of Europe; they are members of the Council of Europe Parliamentary Assembly so let them sort it out.” However, sometimes I come to Strasbourg and hear, “No, you are a member of the German Bundestag, so the German national Parliament is responsible.” The difficulty is trying to establish clear lines of responsibility in all 47 member States. It is an enormous challenge.
I would contradict the point that was made about it being ridiculous to give gifts. I am not against lobbying – it is everywhere – but we need absolute transparency to protect colleagues. There is always a risk that gifts can make someone act improperly, so this is an important rule and, as I said, a first step.
Mr V. HUSEYNOV (Azerbaijan) – I congratulate our new President and wish her the best of luck. I also thank the rapporteur for the excellent report, which aims to strengthen the credibility and integrity of our Assembly.
There is no question that we parliamentarians should be bound by well developed rules of conduct that not only regulate, but prevent negative cases. However, I want to touch on the point in the report about allegations from open sources. Unfortunately, notwithstanding the many cases in other member States, the report dealt with only one country, and I believe that is contrary to the principle of objectivity, especially considering its subject matter.
Open source allegations can be a very dangerous tool, which can be manipulated and used for black propaganda. A loud reaction to such information not only distorts the activity of our Assembly but damages its reputation. We all admit that recent negative developments in our Assembly and the way in which we handled them have damaged our reputation significantly. I therefore agree with and welcome the proposed amendments, which envisage that there should be confidentiality at the beginning of an investigation. However, we should show solidarity and, as an Assembly, care about our Organisation’s reputation. Along with the liabilities in the amendment, a counterbalance should be provided through protective mechanisms. Anyone who claims that a member of the Assembly was involved in any wrongdoing and fake reporting should bear the responsibility for proving that, so that they feel responsible for the allegations. I believe that that should be touched on in the next wave of reforms to our Assembly’s rules.
I note that Azerbaijan provides a clear example of how open source allegations are used against something. I am sure that during tomorrow’s discussion, when Azerbaijan is on the agenda, we will witness part of that same campaign, so I invite all members always to refer to validated resources.
Ms ZOHRABYAN (Armenia)* - Our colleague Mr Liddell-Grainger has dealt in his report with a very important subject, which requires urgent measures. I am dismayed to have reached this point: that in this house of democracy we are being forced to amend our code of conduct to counteract serious problems such as corruption – including corrupt lobbyists – and the moral and ethical assaults on our standards that the Organisation faces today. This crisis makes me think of the $3 billion corruption scandal in which a major, pan-European Laundromat network was uncovered, threatening the values and credibility of the Organisation in the eyes of the 850 million inhabitants living in our area, and indeed, beyond it.
The rapporteur is right that allegations of corruption levelled against former and current members of our Assembly are jeopardising our and their reputations. The integrity and ideals of a number of delegates have succumbed to baksheesh involving thousands or millions of dollars. Some of the reports adopted or rejected in this House have been commissioned in a scurrilous fashion to re-gild the tarnished image of democracy and human rights through caviar diplomacy. Those who are hooked on oil dollars are dragging the Assembly’s reputation through the mire. It is vital that we bring in strict regulations on lobbyists’ activities and have a code of conduct, particularly for the so-called “freelancers”, who receive considerable benefits from autocratic regimes and spread gangrene in our Assembly through their illicit activity. Among those mercenaries, there are former members of the Parliamentary Assembly who are making headlines in the reputable international press. Those people should not be granted access to these premises.
Our proposed amendments to the code of conduct, which say that we should stop corruption and lobbying, are long overdue. The opinion of GRECO is useful and has added value to the work. However, following the amendments to the code of conduct, we still need to remain vigilant and, in the interests of the relevance of those reports – which, after all, are the basis for resolutions and recommendations – remove rapporteurs who act in bad faith. The investigation body, which is made up of external independent experts and which will report at the end of the year, has a very important task to fulfil. Let us stand shoulder to shoulder and maintain our vigilance so that we maintain the integrity of this House.
Mr HOLLIK (Hungary) – First of all, let me welcome this report on the transparency, accountability and integrity of Parliamentary Assembly members. It is an adequate and timely response to recent developments, which cast a shadow over the credibility of our institution.
Our firm view is that, as well as legal means being necessary to properly address this phenomenon, moral and ethical rules should be developed to react efficiently and effectively against the threats of corruption. For our part, the Hungarian Government declared that there would be zero tolerance of all kinds of corruption. We seek to investigate all cases so that no one is exempt from the consequences.
Taking into account those factors, all steps taken by the Assembly, including the setting up of the independent external investigation body, the creation of a sound and coherent integrity framework within the Assembly, with guidance from GRECO, and the adoption of new rules of conduct and declaratory requirements to prevent corrupt behaviour provide effective assistance to achieve the main objective: to successfully eliminate corruption. In conclusion, I congratulate Mr Liddell-Grainger for the resolution, which we fully support.
Ms CHUGOSHVILI (Georgia) – On behalf of the Georgian delegation, I thank the rapporteur for the work conducted and his important contribution to promoting and strengthening the transparency, accountability and integrity of Parliamentary Assembly members.
As the draft resolution rightly points out, “allegations of corruption and fostering of interests made against some members and former members of the Parliamentary Assembly have called into question” – as never before – “the credibility of the Assembly’s actions and positions.”
I represent a country that has huge respect for the fundamental aspirations and values of the Council of Europe. Many people work hard to implement those values daily in my country. The reputation of the Parliamentary Assembly is of vital importance not only for the Assembly but for countries such as mine and the work we do. The Assembly should serve as a beacon for everybody with similar aspirations, and allegations of corruption among members put our joint efforts at risk. The proposed resolution sets new high standards for transparency and accountability and is in line with best international practice.
Georgia is a chair country of the open government partnership and one of the champions of the open parliament. We have prioritised transparency and accountability in our country and we are happy to contribute to increase accountability standards in the Assembly as well. We believe that implementing the new recommendations will meet high standards, and will set an example for new generations. We hope that that will only make the Parliamentary Assembly stronger than before and inspire further service as a moral example for member countries.
Mr GOLUB (Ukraine)* – Ladies and gentleman, in today’s world, in which we face so many aggressive threats, including international terrorism and lobbyists, the question of transparency and the unity of the Parliamentary Assembly is essential. It goes without saying that we are witnesses to the creation of a new world order. New ground rules will gradually emerge and it is up to us to decide whether we want to be outside observers of that process or active partners shaping the process.
The rules of democracy state clearly where corruption starts. Some selfish interests put their interests before the joint interests of the international community, which is committed to act on the basis of those values that prevail in Western civilisation. Today, political corruption is an important factor contributing to tension between States. Moreover, it destabilises the work of international and regional organisations.
Aggressive tension is fomented by certain States that have decided to use neo-imperialist methods, both military and political in nature. The weapons of political corruption can often prove to be the most efficient tool when it comes to fighting democracy.
In those conditions, I am personally convinced that the Parliamentary Assembly is duty bound to take steps to ensure that its existence is not threatened. We have to show, not just with words but with our joint action, our commitment to act within a responsible, democratic space. That is why we as members of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe should support Resolution 1903 and its appendix.
Moreover, we should also start work on new mechanisms designed to protect the integrity of our Assembly, so as to prevent the actions of certain groups and States. I am convinced that any such mechanism must be based on the following pillars: strict financial penalties, the elimination of corrupt politicians and a broad-based discussion of the various different types of political corruption. Our strength must be our transparency and unity. That is the weapon that best enables us to fight against the political corruption promoted by groups opposed to democracy. We have to prove that democracy is a force based on our commitment to responsibility.
Ms NAGHDALYAN (Armenia) – Colleagues, today is an important day in the life of our Assembly. I congratulate Ms Stella Kyriakides. It is an important victory for honest politics. I note that one of the messages of the newly elected President of the Council of Europe Parliamentary Assembly was to work tirelessly against corruption.
I welcome the rapporteur, Mr Ian Liddell-Grainger, and thank him for the great work and his contribution to changing the reality of what has sadly taken place in our Assembly in recent years. Because of the dishonesty and corruptness of some figures, political corruption has become deeply rooted in the Assembly. I would highlight a fragment from the report that states that the Assembly has put itself in an uncomfortable position when the legitimacy of its actions and positions and its political reliability have fallen into question.
The allegations of corruption and fostering of interests made against several members of the Assembly have called into question more than ever the legality of the Assembly’s actions and positions. In that situation, taking into consideration the risk of damaging the Assembly’s reputation, an overall strategy has been adopted to guard against the risk of corruption and to highlight any covert practices. The strategy is one of self-cleaning – the purification of our Assembly. During the last year, the Assembly has functioned under that strategy. It is very important that the Assembly, as the pan-European house of democracy and legitimacy, found strength in itself to follow that path. We welcome the representatives of all political groups and national delegations who considered it their duty and obligation to contribute to the identification and eradication of those dirty technologies and their authors from European political life. They have no place in the democratic European family.
To carry out an effective independent inquiry into the allegations of corruption against some of its members or former members, the Assembly established an independent external investigative body. The next step to tackle corruption has been to establish a sound and coherent integrity framework within the Assembly, with guidance from GRECO. The report examines several important questions, including a code of conduct, conflict of interests, the system of sanctions, transparency of lobbying, honorary memberships and so on. At the same time, we want to raise the question of the corrupted reports, which has not been solved. We should not forget how those reports were produced.
I express my hope that this report, combined with other necessary measures, will let us improve our Assembly and get back its respectable name.
Ms SCHOU (Norway) – I congratulate our new President from the Group of the European People’s Party. I am very satisfied with the choice and I wish her all the best in her position.
I congratulate Mr Ian Liddell-Grainger on a thorough, timely and most necessary report. I commend him on how he has navigated a turbulent time in our Assembly. With the adoption of the proposed resolution, our Assembly will be better equipped to handle, and hopefully also avoid, stormy seas in the future.
It is important to keep in mind that work on the report started before the corruption crisis erupted. That is important, because the process leading up to today’s vote has not been driven by the crisis, but by members of the Assembly seeing the need to ensure that our accountability and integrity are paramount to the work and credibility of our Organisation. The fact that GRECO was consulted in the drafting process gives the draft resolution further authority and credibility.
I will make a few comments on the proposed resolution. Having attended sessions in Strasbourg for nearly eight years, I question the role of honorary members. We must ensure that those roles are not misused in the Chamber, in other meetings or in social arenas. The proposed changes will clarify the role of honorary mandates and how we should deal with their inappropriate use.
The proposals on how better to monitor whether Assembly members are acting in accordance with the code of conduct are of great importance. Making provisions on how breaches of the code are to be dealt with will strengthen the code and make us better equipped to deal with situations that might arise in the future.
As politicians, we all have to deal with conflicts of interest on a regular basis, but our provisions on this have been too weak. I am pleased that Mr Liddell-Grainger has dealt extensively with this matter in his report and that he has made concrete proposals on how to ensure that there is more transparency regarding members’ interests when it comes to rapporteurship and election observation.
The resolution is comprehensive and will strengthen our code of conduct. I fully support it and sincerely hope that in the future our Assembly will not be an arena where members’ loyalty, integrity and credibility can be questioned.
Mr R. HUSEYNOV (Azerbaijan) – The extremely important topic that we are discussing contains a lot of points that need to be analysed thoroughly. It is a multifaceted and complex problem.
It is important to focus on an aspect that relates directly to the essence of the issue. Modern technology allows us to get synchronous information on how far players run, how active they are at competing in the air and how good their passing is over the course of a football game. The Council of Europe is also a team and our Organisation expects to receive a shared benefit from our activities, first and foremost through our service to democracy and human rights. The Parliamentary Assembly produces only one statistical analysis, which shows which MPs have taken an active part in voting during the part-session. Unfortunately, more important statistical and analytical data on MPs’ activities are not collected, such as the service made by members of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe not only to any personal or group interests, but to the principles and requirements of the Council of Europe.
Let us address the facts. More than 600 MPs are members of the Council of Europe. Although the population of Azerbaijan is not aware of the names of most of them, they know of a few MPs who are very likely to be unknown in their own countries. In Azerbaijan, the names of such MPs as Michael Aastrup Jensen, Michael McNamara, Paul Flynn, René Rouquet, François Rochebloine, Frank Schwabe, Anne Brasseur, Tiny Kox and Pieter Omtzigt are well known. Why? Because rough statistics show that they have always delivered speeches on the subject of Azerbaijan. What do they say in their speeches? They are always sharply critical of Azerbaijan. Why do they not mention the 1 million refugees and internally displaced persons of Azerbaijan? Why have they not once expressed a positive opinion about Azerbaijan?
These people constantly look at Azerbaijan through black glasses and do not even think of offering any kindness or assistance to Azerbaijan. They carry out a considered, systematic and hypocritical policy that satisfies some unknown powers and circles, and they consistently pursue an anti-Azerbaijan line. Why? For what purpose? Who gives them this task? Which circles direct them? If they were directed by their consciences, they would talk also about the troubles of Azerbaijan.
Dear colleagues, as you observe the difference between the true democrats and the democratic puppets, think about the cardinal steps that must be taken to relieve the Council of Europe of this organised hypocrisy, which is a political and humanitarian disaster.
Mr SIMMS (Canada, Observer) – I thank everyone for allowing me to speak as the only observer in this debate. I thank Mr Liddell-Grainger for a great and thorough report. This is a little awkward because observers do not often speak on internal issues, but I felt that this one was important enough for me to do so.
Mr Liddell-Grainger mentioned that the report is about not only exposure and transparency, but the protection of members who do their job to great ethical standards. That is key to the draft resolution. The process that he outlined was an aggregation of all the policies by which not only this Assembly but other countries ensure that they handle this matter in a responsible manner. Yes, we need to expose bad things that happen, but we need to do so in a responsible manner to protect everybody involved in the process.
I will mention several crucial factors that were also raised by Mr Liddell-Grainger in his opening remarks. Paragraph 7 of the draft resolution states: “The Committee on Rules of Procedure, Immunities and Institutional Affairs…shall examine alleged breaches of the Code of Conduct by members of the Assembly brought to its attention by the President of the Assembly or by at least 20 members of the Assembly”. I like that because it establishes a process by which other people are involved. Paragraph 4.3 of the proposed new section on page 4 states that the Committee “shall give the member concerned, at all stages of the proceedings, the opportunity to comment on all the evidence gathered”. It therefore allows that person to defend themselves.
On page 5, paragraph 9.3, which relates to rapporteurs, speaks about the “obligation to declare”. We have to be careful not to be too prescriptive about what information we require people to offer up about what they do personally, beyond what they do here at the Assembly. This proposal could put them in an awkward situation. I like the idea of it; I just hope that it is not overly prescriptive to the point where it prevents someone from becoming a rapporteur.
Finally, I thank Mr Liddell-Grainger for his comments about Canada’s conflict of interest and ethics commissioner. The Assembly should note that the commissioner not only carries out investigations put to them by other Members of Parliament, but has the independence, if she feels – it is currently a she – that an investigation is necessary, to undertake such an investigation. The protection of all members is uppermost in the procedure. I thank the Assembly and the rapporteur.
Mr SEYIDOV (Azerbaijan) – I express my gratitude to the rapporteur for this important and timely report. As I mentioned yesterday, the Assembly is in crisis. The major problem is that we have lost confidence in each other. Nobody believes in their partners and friends. I congratulate the new President of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe and hope that she will be able to do some important things, such as finding common attitudes and doing the very special job of unification among the general attitudes that we have in the Assembly.
Mr Rapporteur, your report is important, but all Assembly members must remember that sometimes the road to hell is paved with good intentions. I am really afraid of that. As the last speaker in the debate, I have heard people saying that if a person in any country goes to prison for their opinions, that country is less acceptable to us. That is the way to hell. I am Muslim and I know that some Assembly members are suspicious of my religion. Perhaps I have some suspicions about you. Perhaps I am black and you are blonde and I am suspicious about that. What happens next? We know the history of Germany in the middle of the last century, when genocide took place and the Jewish population was massacred because of nationalist attitudes. That is why I am very worried that, with good intentions, we could open Pandora’s box.
However, I believe that democracy in this house is much stronger than those who fight for separatism, xenophobia and Islamophobia. Again, I congratulate you, Mr Rapporteur, on an excellent report, for which I will vote.
The PRESIDENT*– Thank you, Mr Seyidov. That brings us to the end of the speakers’ list. I ask the rapporteur to take the floor. You have six minutes.
Mr LIDDELL-GRAINGER (United Kingdom) – First, I thank Mr Seyidov, who has just spoken. He made a powerful speech, and as usual I do not disagree with anything he said.
Many of you have rightly talked about what has happened up to now. That needs to be brought up. However, my brief was to look to the future and why we need to protect ourselves in the way that we do. I was not asked to look backwards. So many colleagues said that we must look forward and I am grateful for that. Some of the thoughts and passion that you expressed are a tribute to this wonderful place and how special we make it.
Let me pick up some of the points. My colleague from the United Kingdom, Ms Gillan, made a point about a permanent body. That was discussed in the Committee on Rules of Procedure, Immunities and Institutional Affairs and the discussion continues. Mr Divina made some interesting comments. He referred to a witch hunt. I hope that this not a witch hunt – none of us intends that. He also mentioned donations on the web and publicising the information. Every country does that to some extent – I am sure that Italy does, too – and we are setting out openly and transparently what we need to do to ensure that we are protected and that we protect this Organisation.
Mr Nicoletti – Michele – made the very good point that we need to be more robust about lobbying. Lobbying is a difficult subject. You can stop lobbying – in America, if you buy a cup of coffee from a lobbyist, you have to declare it. Nobody wants that and we should not have that. There is a halfway house and we are trying to devise something that does not stop us doing our job but allows us to take good information and move matters forward. I am looking at the wonderful scarves and ribbons that people are wearing for breast cancer awareness month, organised by wonderful organisations. Technically, in America, you cannot do that, which is blatantly ridiculous. Again, there is a halfway house and we have to get it right.
Ms Duranton made an excellent point about enforcement and the way in which we should do it. That will continue to be explored. The Committee on Rules of Procedure, Immunities and Institutional Affairs is looking at that and we have a lot of work to do. Both Armenian colleagues who spoke afterwards made a similar point, but Ms Duranton’s point was special because the Committee will continue the dialogue and the Chair has told me that it will explore the matter. I know that Ms Duranton and colleagues from Armenia will continue their contributions. I thank the Armenian delegation because many of them spoke and that was extremely good.
Mr Schwabe from Germany talked about dealing with gifts. That is a difficult one. We all get gifts. As a British MP, I have been given gifts. An amount of money is clearly specified. Our Prime Minister gets gifts and the same amount applies. There is no difference. We do not want a two-tier system. There must be one tier for everyone. It does not matter whether you are a rapporteur or have a position on a committee, the same should apply across the board. The point was well made and I am grateful for it.
Mr Chugosvili talked about the importance of the integrity of the Council of Europe. The point was well made and we are defending that integrity. He absolutely hit the nail on the head in a very powerful speech. He said exactly the right thing: that we are here to defend this Organisation, the oldest democratic Organisation, which was set up as Europe was coming out of the most frightful time, after the Second World War. We must treasure it.
Ms Schou made another powerful contribution and talked about abuse of the system. She is a member of the Committee and I am grateful for her work and thank her for her help. She put forward a powerful view of what we have to do as an Organisation.
I thank Mr Simms from Canada. We took lessons from the Canadian system, which is very robust. There was a big debate about internal and external approaches. I was fairly agnostic about it. Both work well. We are trying to take the best of all systems – from France, Britain, Germany, Canada and so on – and there is no right or wrong. We are trying to create something that we can put together.
Our report is not a reinvention and not particularly clever, but as I said earlier, we will have failed if we need to use it. Therefore, after today, I hope that it never sees the light of day.
The PRESIDENT*– Would the chairperson of the committee like to respond?
Ms MAURY PASQUIER (Switzerland) – I would like to summarise the essence of our debate and the decision that we are about to take. The revision of the code of conduct for the Parliamentary Assembly and others responds to GRECO’s recommendation, which called upon the Committee on Rules of Procedure, Immunities and Institutional Affairs to advise it. That is part of the general strategy, which the Bureau approved, to respond to corruption allegations that have been levelled at some of our members and former members and that undermine the credibility and reputation of the Assembly. Those allegations now need to be examined impartially, and that should not undermine the President’s position.
There should be proportionate sanctions for such violations. To prevent them, we need to strengthen the transparency, accountability and integrity of members through a new code and the clear declaration of obligations. They should also relate to relations with people outside the Parliamentary Assembly and other members. Good practices need to be put in place on issues such as receiving gifts.
Political groups also have a role to play. They are invited to submit their financial accounts to an external auditor. The Assembly needs to put in place a solid framework to ensure that all of that is in line with the essence of its function. We must be democratic and therefore transparent if we are to preserve our credibility with regard to strengthening democracy. It should not be a case of, “Do as I say and not as I do.”
I thank everyone who contributed to drafting the report. I call on members to strongly support it, perhaps even unanimously, as was the case in the Committee on Rules of Procedure, Immunities and Institutional Affairs.
The PRESIDENT* – Thank you, Ms Maury Pasquier. The general debate has come to an end. The Committee on Rules of Procedure, Immunities and Institutional Affairs has submitted a draft resolution to which no amendments have been tabled.
We will now proceed to vote on the whole of the draft resolution contained in Document 14407. A simple majority is required.
The vote is open.
5. Election of a Judge to the European Court of Human Rights in respect of Georgia
(Ms Kyriakides, President of the Assembly, took the Chair in place of Mr Jordana.)
The PRESIDENT – I will proceed by announcing the results of the vote for the election of a judge to the European Court of Human Rights in respect of Georgia. The results are as follows:
Members voting: 218
Spoiled or blank ballots: 39
Votes cast: 179
Votes for absolute majority: 90
The votes cast were as follows:
Mr Lado Chanturia: 120
Ms Lali Papiashvili: 54
Mr Otar Sichinava: 5
Accordingly, Mr Chanturia, having obtained an absolute majority of votes cast, is elected a judge of the European Court of Human Rights for a term of office of nine years starting no later than three months after his election. Congratulations.
6. Evaluation of the partnership for democracy in respect of the Parliament of Jordan
The PRESIDENT – The next item of business this afternoon is the debate on the report titled “Evaluation of the partnership for democracy in respect of the Parliament of Jordan”, presented by Ms Josette Durrieu on behalf of the Committee on Political Affairs and Democracy (Document 14399 and Addendum), with an opinion presented by Mr Andrea Rigoni on behalf of the Committee on Legal Affairs and Human Rights (Document 14412).
I propose to interrupt the list of speakers at about 7.15 p.m. to allow time for the reply and the vote.
Before I call Ms Durrieu to make her presentation, I would like to make a short remark. As you all may know, Ms Durrieu did not stand as a candidate in the recent senatorial elections in France. That means that, as soon as the new French delegation is approved, she will no longer be a member of this Assembly.
Ms Durrieu has been a part of this Assembly for 25 years. During that time, she has prepared an impressive number of reports – more than 20, in fact. Dear Josette, this is the last report you will present in our Chamber. Therefore, I would like to take this opportunity to express our very sincere thanks for all the work you have done in your time in this Assembly and for being what you are: a convinced European, a staunch defender of human rights and the rule of law, and a very true friend to many of us.
Dear Ms Durrieu, it is with great pleasure, but, I must also admit, with a degree of sadness, that I give you the floor.
Ms DURRIEU (France)* – Let me start by warmly congratulating you, Madam President. I stand here at the end of a political life that may have lasted too long, but I nevertheless leave in full serenity, particularly from the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe. Signals are being sent out this week and I believe that we will emerge stronger from this crisis. I am pleased to say that, although your presidency will be short, it is possible to do a lot in that time to bring us out of this crisis. Your term of office will be short, but it can be filled with significant events.
We are going to talk about Jordan, which since January 2016 has been a partner for democracy. I welcome the Jordanian delegation and thank them for the fact we have been able to work together under very good circumstances. I thank our Jordanian friends, and I would also like to welcome another delegation that is perhaps here accidentally, but is here nevertheless. A delegation from the Constitutional Court of Jordan came here to meet judges from the European Court of Human Rights, and the fact they are with us is very positive.
Jordan is not a large country, but it has a lot of responsibility and difficulty weighing on its shoulders. It has a population of 6 million. It has 2 million refugees, of whom close to a million are Syrians. There are many countries in the Middle East that have the same problem. Jordan is a pivotal country of the Middle East, and that is the first message I want to share with you.
The country is at war, and we should not forget that. It is small and poor. It is pivotal and it is at war, so it requires and deserves our support. It is a parliamentary monarchy, and the monarchy is an enlightened one. The country’s two main problems are security and stability. It is under those circumstances that Jordan has become a partner for democracy. It is valuable that the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe has managed to give it that status. I welcome the other partners for democracy, which include Morocco, Palestine and Kyrgyzstan.
When countries become partners for democracy, they take on commitments to implement reforms. The King has said, “Just because we are at war does not mean we will not roll up our sleeves and implement reforms.” The dynamism of the reforms is there. There is a real impetus for reform. Are the reforms that have been implemented so far sufficient? The answer is no, they are not sufficient, but what is important is that a trend has started. There are institutional reforms and reforms to territorial organisations that have been envisaged with a view to turning Jordan into a State with the rule of law and civic rights. We did not think it would be possible to organise local elections in the timetable provided, but it was done. In 2016, there were legislative elections. Nobody believed that the new electoral code with open and proportional lists could be implemented, but it was done. There are 40 parliamentarians younger than 40 years old, so there is change, but there are not enough women.
It is now openly said when some money is washing around. That is being denounced, which is positive. There were the local elections. We have the local, municipal and regional assemblies. Some 85% of members of those assemblies are elected. Only 15% of members are appointed. That is completely new and open. Things are moving up from the grass roots. I support that, and we need to follow the movement coming up from below. Women participated massively in the local elections, and they started at the grass roots. First and foremost, they are young women. On the other hand, like other places, there are no women mayors in Jordan. We women always denounce such situations. No woman is president of a region, but the impetus and the movement are there, and those women will become mayors and presidents. They will have to overcome many difficulties, but we know that the fight for equality for women is never finished – it always has to be renewed.
There needs to be decentralisation with a light touch and a commitment to decentralisation. I do not want to go on at length, but it is important that the powers and resources of local governments are defined, because there is no real decentralisation if the financial support for local autonomy or local self-government that you are pretending to give is not there. Decentralising 40% of local taxes and 60% of subventions is a start, but it can be improved.
There are negative spots. There is violence against women. I forgot to mention earlier that there has been major reform of the education system, which is important. Article 308 has been abolished. It said that when a man rapes a woman, he cannot be sanctioned if he marries her. I believe that Jordan can and should sign and ratify the Istanbul Convention. It has other conventions to sign and ratify, too. Administrative detention – to put a citizen in prison on the basis of an administrative decision, rather than a judicial decision – is not acceptable. We criticise that, and we ask that administrative detentions for preventive reasons be reviewed and completely eliminated.
There was a moratorium on the death sentence in 2006, but in 2014, 2015 and 2017 people have been executed. The country is at war and mentalities need to evolve and change. Indubitably, things are changing and moving. Let us not forget that Jordan is in the Middle East, but that is not sufficient pretext for capital punishment to continue to be practised. We are categorically calling for a return to a full moratorium with a subsequent elimination of capital punishment altogether. We need to offer support. Let us be vigilant, but let us have trust and understanding. They deserve it, and on that basis they will continue their efforts.
The PRESIDENT – Ms Durrieu, you have a little over five minutes left. I now call Mr Rigoni, rapporteur for the Committee on Legal Affairs and Human Rights, to present the committee’s opinion.
Mr RIGONI (Italy)* – The Committee on Legal Affairs and Human Rights warmly congratulates the Committee on Political Affairs and Democracy and Ms Durrieu on a detailed and comprehensive report. The Committee on Legal Affairs and Human Rights supports the draft resolution in its entirety.
In my opinion, we need to support Jordan in this difficult period. We need to extend our support to Jordan as it proceeds along the path towards greater democracy. Jordan deserves our confidence. Jordan and Europe can only gain from the partnership, and Jordan is certainly on the right path. It needs to be accompanied, supported and assisted as it proceeds along the path to reform. I also pay tribute to our Jordanian colleagues who are with us for this debate.
The Committee on Legal Affairs and Human Rights regrets the situation regarding the abolition of the death penalty in Jordan. The Assembly has always played a very pioneering role in the fight against the death penalty in Europe and the world. We are the reference point in Europe and the world in that fight. We therefore have to stick to our principles and efforts when it comes to its abolition. More than any other day, those efforts should not be undermined today as it is World Day Against the Death Penalty. We can make no concessions in the Assembly. It is for that reason that the Committee on Legal Affairs and Human Rights has proposed a couple of amendments on the subject of the abolition of the death penalty, and I hope they will be approved and supported by the Assembly.
I regret the fact that the Political Affairs Committee rejected those amendments. I do not understand why. It is, indeed, incomprehensible that the committee rejected them. We are really just restating our principles – our values – and they are non-negotiable. We cannot negotiate or barter on the basis of our values. You can discuss time frames, but you cannot negotiate values. You cannot go to the marketplace and trade your values. We are fortunate that that is the case in a democracy. Otherwise the values have a price tag, and then they would no longer be values. They would not be European values and they would no longer be the values of the Council of Europe.
In supporting Jordan as it proceeds along the path to reform, we must vigorously call for a de jure moratorium, not a de facto moratorium. We have called for a de jure moratorium in respect of Belarus; we are not just asking Jordan to introduce one. The Legal Affairs Committee has therefore tabled two amendments that do nothing other than make clear our position on the death penalty. We are not asking much with regard to other areas of reform in Jordan. We must insist that our values be respected. These values should be defended by all, including those that now enjoy partnership for democracy status.
The PRESIDENT – Thank you, Mr Rigoni. We now come to the speakers’ list. I call first Ms Fiala.
Ms FIALA (Switzerland, spokesperson for the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe)* – Dear Josette Durrieu, I will really miss you greatly. You are an outstanding individual. I have had the opportunity to work together closely with you during electoral observation missions.
Jordan has partnership for democracy status. In order to acquire that status, Jordan entered into a whole series of commitments in order to show that we are both prepared to live by the same values. Of course, Jordan is on a learning curve in that regard. We have called for a certain number of political institution and judicial reforms to be carried out. Under King Abdullah II, despite the instability surrounding Jordan along its borders, these reforms have been pursued. At the refugee camps there are 1.3 million refugees. If you have experienced this situation, then you are a little bit more humble – more modest – with regard to giving lessons. I thank the rapporteur very much for the report.
The elections of 2016 were free and fair, and women are represented to a greater extent in the new parliament. We are all relieved that the article has now been removed from the criminal code whereby if rapists marry their victims they can escape prosecution. However, we are also expecting that our partner for democracy that is Jordan will abolish the death penalty. So many things are proceeding far too slowly in Jordan. We will have to wait two years now before we evaluate once again the partnership for democracy status. In the intervening period, Jordan enjoys respect and support, particularly in grappling with the huge refugee problem. We have to support Jordan so that it can make headway on the rule of law and shoring up democracy. We need to extend our confidence to Jordan and continue to give it our support.
(Ms Oomen-Ruijten, Vice-President of the Assembly, took the Chair in place of Ms Kyriakides.)
Mr LOUCAIDES (Cyprus, spokesperson for the Group of the Unified European Left) – First, I wish to take this opportunity to warmly thank Ms Durrieu not only for this report but for her overall contribution to the work of the Political Affairs Committee in our Assembly. Her dedication, passion and impartiality are all attributes that we will remember and try to honour as members of this Assembly.
Jordan is moving in the right direction and must be supported in its efforts to consolidate democracy, achieve the rule of law, and promote human rights. Of course, many challenges and obstacles remain. These are well documented in the report before us. I myself had the chance to visit Jordan with Ms Durrieu on a fact-finding mission in November 2014, when I witnessed first-hand, among other challenges, the huge strain that the refugee problem has put on the country. Yet despite these many difficulties and challenges, Jordan remains a factor of stability in the most turbulent area of the world.
However, this fragile reality in the country could potentially detract from a promising future for Jordan. That is why the country must be supported. The partnership for democracy with the Parliament of Jordan and its people is the framework in which we can effectively bolster our support. While recognising that up until now Jordan has not been able to take advantage of the many tools available within the partnership for democracy framework, we must, on our side, find more appropriate ways and mechanisms to assist Jordan to better utilise and profit from the Council of Europe – in particular, to profit from the huge pool of expertise of the Council of Europe and its monitoring bodies such as the Venice Commission, the Group of States against Corruption, or GRECO, the Committee for the Prevention of Torture, and the Congress of Local and Regional Authorities, not to mention the ratification of numerous conventions of the Council of Europe that could provide impetus for progressive legislation in Jordan.
It is necessary, and we are right in doing so, to pinpoint to the Jordanian authorities their shortcomings as regards their political commitments – in particular, the abolition of the death penalty, and the need to reform detention practices and to advance women’s issues and gender equality. At the same time, however, our involvement with Jordan should be pursued by fully respecting the country’s cultural characteristics and traditions. Most importantly, when trying through political dialogue to achieve democratic reforms in the country, our support and assistance must not be viewed as an attempt to dictate or impose our model and values.
Ms PASHAYEVA (Azerbaijan, spokesperson for the Free Democrats Group)* – I, too, congratulate you, Ms Durrieu, on this invaluable report.
I was recently in Jordan and met Jordanian officials. I was able to exchange opinions with them and see the whole journey that Jordan has gone through and the problems that still remain. I congratulate the Jordanians on all the progress they have made in the field of democracy. Jordan is in a close dialogue with our Parliamentary Assembly and has made much headway in the field of democracy and human rights. That is all very important and warrants our support. Developments in Jordan are positive in their impacts throughout the region. That is why we should restate with determination our support for Jordan. It is important to convey that message.
Over recent years in the Middle East, where Jordan is situated, we have been seeing the most serious tragedies in the history of humanity. The Syrian civil war, and the war and migration problems in the region, also have a very damaging effect on Jordan, which is very close to the area of the fighting. There are tens of thousands of Syrian refugees now living in Jordan, which has taken in more than anyone. That is why we are duty bound to thank the Turkish Government and the Jordanian Government for their support in taking in these refugees.
I come from a country that has 1 million refugees, because within our territory we have lands that are occupied, and I am familiar with the problems experienced by countries that are subject to migrant flows. This huge number of refugees faces real problems, and host countries also face difficulties and are subject to great upheaval. The refugee problem then becomes a prime priority. When I was in Jordan I was able to meet Syrian refugees, and a lot of sacrifices have to be made to help those people, which is why the European Union and the non-governmental organisations need to step up their support and assistance to Jordan.
Jordan also plays an active role in the field of intercultural dialogue. From that standpoint, the representatives of the Jordanian Parliament with us today play an important role for their country and for our Assembly. The Free Democrats Group wishes to develop co-operation between our Assembly and the Jordanian Parliament, and we wish to extend our full support to Jordan. We also wish Jordan every success in its reforms.
Mr VAREIKIS (Lithuania, Spokesperson for the Group of the European People’s Party) – A few years ago, we started an interesting experiment called the partnership for democracy. We started looking for countries near Europe that can be our partners not only in the market economy and in trade but in the values we represent. Today we are evaluating Jordan, which is, or probably will be, a success story of the experiment. After two years, we cannot say that something has gone wrong in our partnership with Jordan or in the country itself.
Unlike Ms Pashayeva, I have never visited Jordan. I have looked at it from afar and, in various ways, it seems to be a strange country. First, Jordan did not have an Arab Spring, which means there was nothing to overthrow or remove. Because Jordan had no Arab Spring, there was none of the chaos that unfortunately followed it. Jordan is a stable country, as is emphasised in the report. It represents stability in a chaotic region. It is a miracle that a country of 5 million people is managing to support 2 million refugees and to keep them calm, which is admirable. We can learn from Jordan.
We European countries promised to assist Jordan and, unfortunately, we gave it much less than we promised. We often demand that new countries fulfil something, but we should now look in the mirror. We did not do what we promised Jordan.
Finally, is Jordan a democracy? No. Does Jordan have problems with democratic legislation? Yes. But it is a question of time. If we encourage Jordan through the partnership for democracy project, there is room for optimism. I wish Jordan and our partnership the best.
Mr CORLĂŢEAN (Romania, spokesperson for the Socialist Group)* – I congratulate the rapporteur on her sterling efforts. The Socialist Group wholeheartedly endorses the report’s conclusions, and we welcome the recommendations in the draft resolution.
Jordan is on the right road. With a lot of effort, and with the remarkable political wisdom of its king – although perhaps not at the tempo we would wish – it is carrying out the necessary reforms in a complex regional context, which must be taken into account. Jordan is managing unprecedented numbers of refugees, and our appreciation and solidarity are in order. The report strikes a successful balance between, on the one hand, the importance of stability and security to the country and its central role in the Middle East and, on the other hand, the need to make headway on the necessary democratic reforms in light of Jordan’s partnership for democracy status at the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe.
From that standpoint, we take good note of the recent positive legislative efforts on decentralisation and the municipal, local and regional elections, which were properly carried out on 15 August 2017, as well as the key legislative reforms in the area of criminal law to positively address the status and protection of women in society. At the same time, there are still delicate, essential and urgent problems that have to be resolved, including a moratorium on the death penalty, administrative reform and the abolition of article 340 of the criminal code.
I welcome the successful progress on the democratic process, which has a different cultural model from the European one. The measures adopted may constitute a model of good practice in the region, and, on the other hand, we should also stress the need to persevere with these reforms on the basis of clear political resolve and with the co-operation of the Council of Europe in order to make resolute progress on the path of reform.
I conclude with a word to our rapporteur. Josette has done extraordinary work through the years as an august member of this Assembly, She is a very special colleague, and a true professional of national and European politics who has been a rapporteur in many areas of tension and armed conflict. She is a courageous woman, and a woman we deeply love. Josette, at the end of your term in this Assembly, you have our respect, our friendship and our enormous thanks. And – why not? – let us see each other again soon.
Lord BLENCATHRA (United Kingdom, spokesperson for the European Conservatives Group) – Madam President, let me be the first member of the European Conservatives Group to congratulate you on your splendid victory today. I also congratulate Ms Durrieu on this absolutely excellent report, which is critical but well balanced. The report recognises that Jordan is moving to democracy, as we understand it in the West, but at a speed that is sustainable. We must not seek to impose our western liberal concept of democracy too quickly on Jordan, as we could end up with another Middle East catastrophe.
I remind the Assembly that some of our countries played a leading role, which many of you supported, in bringing down Colonel Gaddafi and Saddam Hussein in the naďve belief that we would get a liberal democracy in their place, with women’s rights and the rule of law. Instead, we got Islamic State and al-Qaeda filling the sudden vacuum. We decided that President Assad was a bad man who had to go, and we backed this non-existent army of so-called democrats. Instead, we got Islamic State, genocide, 4 million refugees and a likelihood that the western powers will end up supporting Assad after all.
When will we ever learn that we cannot impose our concept of liberal western democracy on countries that have no history or concept of that form of government? We would all agree with Winston Churchill, who said, “Democracy is the worst form of government, except for all the others that have been tried from time to time.” I suggest that some societies and cultures need to adapt to the concept of the worst form of government in their own way and at their own pace.
I am lucky to come from a country that has had democratic government longer than any country in Europe, and with a monarch as head of State who plays a vital role in enhancing our democracy, not usurping it. Clearly, King Abdullah II has more political power than our kings and queens in Europe, but he has used it wisely. He is no Saddam Hussein, Gaddafi or Assad, and I have tremendous respect for him and what he has achieved. He was educated in western universities – Oxford in England, and Georgetown in the United States. He graduated from Sandhurst military academy in England, and went on to command British Army units in Germany, later rising up through the ranks based on his own ability, and not through awarding himself ranks and medals.
As a skilled military strategist, the king knows how quickly he can move his forces, and running Jordan is just the same. He knows how quickly he can implement change with a civilian population that is not as amenable to taking orders as troops under his command. Everyone agrees that he has given Jordan remarkable stability, and he is the world’s most important Muslim. We should trust him to make the changes that he feels are safe at a speed that he believes to be doable. Let us therefore not get too upset that capital punishment has not yet been officially abolished, or that women do not yet have the same rights as in France or the Netherlands. We in Europe need Jordan to remain stable, and that means supporting King Abdullah and all he is seeking to do. I suggest that we do not amend one word of Ms Durrieu’s excellent report.
Ms BARTOS (Hungary) – I congratulate the rapporteur on her great and balanced work. I had the opportunity to experience personally the developments mentioned in the report regarding women’s empowerment and strengthening the role of women. In May last year I participated in a conference called “Women in Parliament”, which was organised and hosted by the Jordanian Parliament. Hundreds of participants, including women parliamentarians from 70 or 80 countries, exchanged their views on how to ensure the visibility and possibility of acts in public life by women. I thank again the Jordanian Parliament for its hospitality and welcome. Those two days were just a flash of the rich and ancient culture of Jordan, its natural beauties and the life of its people, but they were enough to know and understand the efforts of that country, and to reach the results that are collected and summarised in the report.
Jordan has an unquestionable geopolitical status, and it plays a crucial role in the stability of the Middle East. We appreciate its endeavour to restrain extremism and terrorism in the region, and the good example set by building democracy, freedom of the press, and the decentralisation of administration. When witnessing the challenges that the country faces, we must value the results even more.
Jordan offers shelter to more than 2 million refugees, who are mostly from Syria and Palestine. The Jordanian authorities supply those refugees with all they need, but the country’s resources will soon be exhausted. The international community must support Jordan in every possible and effective way. We need to manage the tasks and problems of today, but we must also build a future side by side. The Hungarian Government grants 400 scholarships through the Stipendium Hungaricum scholarship programme for Jordanian students to study at Hungarian universities in a full-time training system. The programme is successful, and more than 400 applications have been submitted. We are pleased to host those young people in Hungary, and we believe that they can serve as a special bridge between our countries. Finally, I again congratulate the rapporteur on her work, and Jordan on the results achieved. Thank you for your kind attention.
Lord ANDERSON (United Kingdom)* – I will start off in French and then continue in English. I wish to congratulate my friend, Josette Durrieu. I have worked with her over a period of time, and it was always a privilege and an honour. We are all a little sad that she is about to leave us, but I wanted to congratulate and thank her. Let us hope that a new chapter will now dawn in her own life, and I am sure that we all wish her well for the future.
(The speaker continued in English)
The agreement that began in January 2016 is part of a process and partnership in which we travel together with our Jordanian friends, and it is aimed at improving the rule of law and democracy together. Colleagues, we are all politicians and we do not expect perfection in our own countries – we are all travelling. Neither, therefore, should we expect perfection from our partner countries.
Much progress has been made by Jordan, but as always, sometimes there are two steps forward and one step back. If we find areas to criticise, we must do so with understanding. In March 2016, Jordan launched the comprehensive national plan for human rights. That initiative is to last more than 10 years and entails changes to many laws and practices, a commitment to allow suspects greater rights at the time of their arrest, and the decision to move jurisdiction on crimes of torture from police courts to the regular courts. As has been said, in August this year, the Jordanian Parliament repealed Article 308 of the penal code. Yes, there has been some slippage, and colleagues have mentioned the executions of March this year. There has also been some curtailment of freedom of expression. Yes, at the beginning of the process, we were well aware of the challenges facing Jordan, but the direction of travel is broadly encouraging.
My final reflection is that all politics is comparative, and we can only appreciate the degree of progress if we place Jordan in its regional context and understand the burden of refugees – 650 000 this year – and the threat of terrorism. Jordan is a pillar of stability in a region of conflict. It is a beacon in that region, and should be encouraged by us. Colleagues, two cheers for Jordan, three cheers for Josette Durrieu.
Mr SCHENNACH (Austria)* – I absolutely wanted to speak about the last report presented by Josette Durrieu. Perhaps Josette does not realise this, but she was something of a teacher for me when I joined the Council of Europe back in 2010, when I observed her and listened to what she had to say. She has been my teacher, and I have the deepest respect for her work. That is why I wanted to speak in this debate.
For eight years, I was chair of the Union for the Mediterranean and I visited Jordan at least a dozen times. I know the country well, and I can agree with much of what Josette has written in her last important report on the partnership for democracy. However, between partners, it is important to speak frankly and clearly one to another, and the death penalty is not just a problem from the perspective of the Council of Europe, but it is unacceptable. Secondly, at the recent elections ballot boxes were stolen and the names of women removed. A week later, the ballot boxes were returned and the situation seems to have been accepted, but that is not acceptable in a State based on the rule of law.
I understand Jordan’s particular circumstances. It has taken in many refugees in the past, given its high percentage of Palestinians – half a million Iraqi refugees and, added to them, Syrian refugees. Palestinians have Jordanian nationality. The king has experimented with electoral law, but we need some kind of continuity. In future it should not be possible to dismiss your government every three or five months to further tinker with electoral legislation. In a partnership for democracy, you have to be able to say these things. In Jordan, it is something of a surprise if a minister has been in office for a couple of years, there are so many changes.
The country certainly needs stability. Bedouins are responsible for the royal family’s security and are to a certain extent above the law, so things that should be equal are not. If we are in a partnership we need to be able to say these things. I understand it is difficult to come up with an electoral law so that Palestinians do not get the majority given the Hashemites and Bedouins, and so that Israel does not say, “There you have your Palestinians”.
Thank you very much indeed, Josette, for this report. I still believe in the importance of the partnership with Jordan.
Mr ALBAKKAR (Jordan, Partner for Democracy) – On behalf of the Jordanian Parliament, allow me to convey our sincere thanks to the Council of Europe for granting the Jordanian Parliament partnership for democracy and to Ms Durrieu for the thorough preparation of this report. I reaffirm, once again, that the Jordanian Parliament shares the same values as the members of the Council of Europe. I express gratitude for the technical and financial support granted to Jordan by the European Union.
Jordan is a small country with approximately 9.5 million inhabitants and which suffers from major political, economic and social challenges. The security situation in the region is troubled, considering on-going events in Syria, Iraq and other neighbouring countries. Jordan is subject to waves of terrorism and refugees, which has put the Jordanian people and leadership in front of an on-going challenge.
Despite these conditions, Jordan is determined to continue on this path to reform. Throughout our relationship with the Council of Europe over the past two years, Jordan has undertaken the following steps towards reform. It has endorsed amendments to family protection law, its penal code and other important pieces of legislation. It has held local elections at the level of municipalities and decentralised councils. It has achieved an increase in the number of the women and youth represented in the parliament. This is also proof that Jordan is moving in the right direction.
His Majesty King Abdullah II instructed the government and the parliament to form committees. One is responsible for judicial and legislative reform; the second is responsible for human resource reform. Under that there is a sub-committee responsible for curriculum reform, especially those relating to human rights and the rule of law, including the death penalty and administrative detention.
The Jordanian Parliament undertook a number of activities towards strengthening gender parity at the policy and legislative levels. Jordan successfully repealed Article 308 and amended Article 98 of its penal code. Moreover, Jordanian MPs are also exchanging views with counterparts in Iraq and other countries where such rape/marriage provisions continue to exist.
Democracy is an on-going process, in which time it is very important to achieve step-by-step reform to keep stability in one hand and adopt a process of reforms in the other to share universal values, the rule of law, human rights and democracy.
Mr ÖNAL (Turkey)* – I start by congratulating the rapporteur on the work she has done. As stated in her report, over the last few years a lot of reforms have been introduced in Jordan. The work being done by the Jordanian authorities in this respect are certainly worthy of approval and congratulation. Despite the instability in the region and all the obstacles, the Parliament of Jordan has made all the necessary efforts to deserve the title of partner for democracy.
Despite the obstacles, Jordan is a most courageous country when it comes to democratisation compared with other countries in the region. It also plays a very important role when it comes to stability in containing Iraq, Syria and a lot of armed confrontation. After all, Jordan shares borders with them, as does Turkey. Turkey and Jordan are bearing the brunt in the refugee crisis in the name of all humanity. There is an economic, social and security price to be paid by countries that share borders with the countries sending them refugees, so the economic assistance provided to this country should be increased.
Insufficient attention is paid in the Monitoring Committee report referring to Turkey to the economic crisis suffered by these countries because of the refugees. There are only two short paragraphs devoted to that. The social and economic problems caused by the refugee crisis are not given sufficient attention. Not enough attention is paid to the need for the international community to increase its economic aid. Congratulations to the European Union, but for what? Only €700 million were provided in aid. The millions of refugees in these countries do not receive enough support from European countries and the European Union in particular. That is a lacuna in humanitarian assistance. These issues should not be swept under the carpet. Concrete solutions should be devised to deal with the problem.
To conclude, the dialogue between the Parliament of Jordan and our Assembly is extremely useful. I congratulate Jordan and encourage it on its path of democratisation. I hope everything required will be done to improve the status of women in Jordan and that the various conventions of our Assembly in this regard will be supported.
Ms FINCKH-KRÄMER (Germany)* – I praise Jordan in a respect that is perhaps at some remove from the human rights issues we normally deal with, but which indirectly has a great bearing on human rights. For me as a foreign policy expert, Jordan is one of the countries that has most often worked and co-operated well with international organisations, including United Nations organisations that are active in the region and very often have their regional offices in Amman, but also with an organisation that is very important to what is happening in east Asia and North Korea’s nuclear programme – the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty Organisation. Jordan has come to my attention in respect of the CTBTO because a field exercise was conducted there, simulating a case in which a suspected nuclear test had been carried out. It is very important that a country made its territory available for an international manoeuvre or exercise at the service of peace or nuclear disarmament.
The death penalty has rightly been picked on as a critical point. When it comes to associate partners and partners for democracy, as member States, we have to look closely at countries such as the United States and Japan that share our values but nevertheless still have the death penalty. This issue needs to be raised on a multilateral level so that we can bring our influence to bear on countries, such as the United States and Japan. Only then will we have some chance of having leverage over countries in our immediate vicinity that still have the death penalty, such as Belarus and Jordan. We will then be better placed to convince them that the death penalty cannot be reconciled with human rights and European values, and that it is simply not compatible with those values.
In conclusion, I thank Josette Durrieu; she has been a role model for me and I wish her well in her further political and personal life.
Mr HOWELL (United Kingdom) – I have nothing but praise for the report and its rapporteur, and I have tremendous sympathy for Jordan. I particularly agree with the report’s statement that this Assembly should definitely not abandon Jordan at this difficult time. One reason why is the enormous problem that Jordan faces of refugee camps, which provide enormous potential for instability in the region. We know, for example, that Isis has infiltrated one camp, with enormous potential for problems. That the camps consist of Syrians, of course, puts Jordan at odds with Syria. One camp, at Zaatari, is now the fourth largest city in Jordan, which is quite remarkable when you think that Zaatari was only established in 2012.
The king has already described the country as being at “boiling point” and it is right to concentrate our aid on the camps, not just by providing help for sanitation, water and food, but by concentrating on the individual people there and looking at efforts to move them out and on. I welcome Jordan here in its own right, but we cannot ignore the geopolitical stance of Jordan. It is also good to welcome it here as a great ally in the fight against terrorism. It participates in a wide network of intelligence that goes right across the region, and that intelligence is transforming how we all look at what is happening in that region and what can be done to tackle such things as terrorism.
The report encourages Jordan’s Parliament to move in the direction of democracy, as I think we all encourage them to. The report shows that it needs to do so in certain areas, such as capital punishment, which has been mentioned, and improvements in the role of women. However, I echo what my friend and colleague Lord Blencathra said about the need for Jordan to go at its own speed and with its own cultural perspectives on what can happen there, so that we do not end up with a worse problem in that country spreading out across the area and resulting in instability for the whole region, including for its neighbour, Israel.
Mr ZAYADIN (Jordan, Partner for Democracy) - Your excellencies, I stand before you today with good news on the achievements made on the path towards our aspirations for a true civil democratic State in Jordan, as well as a promise to continue the drive of achievement until we steadily but surely reach our goals.
Ladies and gentlemen, it was not easy to abolish constitutional article 308, which stipulated the dropping of charges against a rapist if he married his victim – but we did, despite the resistance by the conventional, ultra-conservative forces in our society. These forces had an even louder voice on amending article 98, which lowered the sentence of a person who kills a woman under the pretext of preserving honour. The article was amended and a hot discussion ensued on social media that allowed us publicly to promote the principle that there is no honour in murder. We also appended article 62, which restricted the parental decision on medical operations and procedures to the father; the mother now can also make such a decision regarding her children.
Major political achievements were also made outside Parliament. The process for decentralisation achieved a great step through the elections of local councils. That undertaking, when supported and nurtured, will allow for much greater public participation in political life and empower citizens to take charge of their local affairs. During the last parliamentary elections, a trend emerged in Jordan among the youth calling for the implementation of civil state principles with a clear demand for a true democracy. That trend was also supported by discussion papers issued by His Majesty King Abdullah II that put forth his vision for a democratic Jordan; a country that applies the universal principles of a true democracy.
Since the elections, we have been working to organise the youth in a movement that can become a force for change as well as communicating with already established progressive political parties to push towards a process for uniﬁcation to establish larger, more able parties that can achieve better results in elections. That, in turn, will establish larger blocks within the Parliament with a clear agenda for positive change.
As we work hard towards one success after another, l must stress how much we value our partnership for democracy with the Council of Europe at a time when we are making progress on reforms; it is, in fact, a commitment that we made towards a better future for our people and country. This partnership affords us the knowledge and know-how for effecting positive change and it is also an effective compass that keeps the direction of our path in focus and on target. We look forward to continuing this partnership to our mutual beneﬁt and to increased co-operation between Jordan’s parliament, the Council of Europe and its relevant Committees.
Ms KALMARI (Finland) – I was very pleased to read the report on Jordan. I was one of the people who observed the elections there and generally speaking, everything went well, but we did recommend some key measures of specific importance to strengthen democracy, the rule of law and respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms in Jordan.
Political and civil rights belong to all in Jordan, although people coming from other countries cannot vote, even if they have stayed in Jordan for decades – for example, if you were born in Jordan and have a Jordanian mother but a Palestinian father, you cannot vote. Also, I hope that one day a person younger than 30 years old can become a member of parliament.
Jordan has carried out many positive reforms. The representation of women in Parliament has increased and laws for advancing gender equality have been passed. Freedom of expression, along with media independence and plurality, is on a relatively good level. Jordan has shown great hospitality for refugees escaping the Syrian crisis. Considering the number of refugees, €700 million granted by the European Union is not that much. We should continue to help asylum seekers in the region.
Jordan’s neighbouring countries are Iraq, Syria, Israel and Saudi Arabia. In that context, it is honourable and important to keep a rather poor country, without any oil resources, democratic. Its values are very close to ours. It seems to me that progress has been so good that some day in the future, Jordan could be part of our Assembly. One very important basic requirement is necessary: Jordan should stop giving death sentences.
Ms AHMED-SHEIKH (United Kingdom) – I also welcome Ms Durrieu’s report. I would like to focus on the issue of women parliamentarians and the lack of them in Jordan.
In my role as governor at the Westminster Foundation for Democracy, funded by the United Kingdom’s Foreign and Commonwealth Office, I had the fortune of heading up a project I chose, which was empowering women in the Middle East and North African region. That meant meeting with the Ra’edat network of Arab women parliamentarians in Cairo and working with them to produce a package of training, which we delivered in Jordan with the help of the chair of that network, a Jordanian politician, Dr Rula Alhroob – she may be familiar to many in this Chamber.
As we welcome the report and the work going on in Jordan, we should never underestimate the contribution that women can make to political debate. Electing women to parliament is not just good for women, it is good for parliament and the countries that they serve. As we move forward beyond the report, we should look collectively at ways that we can work to empower women. When we delivered training for those women, many of whom were from Jordan, they specifically requested training in media appearances, such as television, writing speeches and writing articles for newspapers, as well as dealing with journalists and with social media, including the abuse and challenges that women in politics face when they put themselves on a public platform.
The women I visited and delivered training to in Jordan came to Scotland this week, to the Scottish National party conference. They met with the First Minister of Scotland and were able to talk about how they felt empowered by the work they did. Hopefully they will take that back to Jordan and the other countries in the Middle East and North Africa region that we visited.
I say to everyone here today that we should work as hard as we can to encourage – and that is all we should do; no one should instruct anyone to do anything – women in parliaments across the world and those countries that are represented here to come forward and embrace politics in as fulsome a manner as possible. That is absolutely the way to creating a better world and environment for our children to grow up in.
Mr FOURNIER (France)* – I commend the report prepared by my colleague and friend, Josette Durrieu, who has illustrated her deep knowledge of Jordanian realities.
When we discussed the granting of partnership for democracy status for the Jordanian Parliament in January 2016, I thought the decision was a gamble, but one worth waging on condition that we were vigilant and demanding. When we now take stock on a preliminary basis, I welcome the fact that the report fulfils that condition. It is comprehensive, balanced and realistic regarding progress with reforms and its prospects.
The reformist drive of the authorities – first and foremost, the King – is intact, and that is so much the better. Jordanian society remains conservative and there is a need to shift people’s mindsets, which will take time. Likewise, progress should be highlighted, particularly in the institutional and judicial fields, but it is slow to materialise and it is all too often the case of inklings rather than deeds, especially in the field of education, which is a future area for structural reform.
However, some commitments have barely been met, particularly with respect to women’s rights or the reform of administrative detention. Indeed, sometimes Jordan has gone backwards. I am of course thinking about the death penalty. Executions resumed this year, when there was previously a moratorium. That is not acceptable and there is an urgent need to obtain not mere pledges but actual deeds on that issue, which is fundamental to us and should also become fundamental to the Jordanian authorities.
I am well aware of the considerable difficulties that Jordan still faces, whether they be domestic challenges such as economic development, or the delicate political position on issues such as the consequences of the war in Syria, terrorism and the never-ending conflict in the Middle East. Reform in that context is a gamble and conveys the bold resolve of the Jordanians. Even so, progress must be made. The state of public opinion cannot stand as a pretext for inertia.
There is considerable leeway, for example in the field of co-operation with the Council of Europe, which according to the report remains inadequate. Above all, the end of the death penalty or, at the very least, a return to a moratorium on executions, must be a precondition for continuing the partnership for democracy. The next review of the partnership in two years’ time should be an opportunity for our Assembly to take a stand on that issue. Thank you – and bravo, Josette.
Mr ABUSHAHLA (Palestine, Partner for Democracy) – I give my high appreciation, thanks and gratitude to Ms Durrieu for her comprehensive and realistic report that shows the knowledge and experience she has. We are sorry that she is going to leave us, because we have learned a lot from her.
I will take this chance to talk about Jordan, our twin brother. We are proud of the situation in Jordan – the improvement, development and type of rule inside Jordan, despite the instability around the country, which started many years ago with Lebanon and the civil war. There is the Iraq war and the instability there. There is Syria. There is also the shared border of Palestine and Jordan; you know how much instability there is there.
Jordan is one of the best countries in the Middle East and one of the best Arab countries at modernising and adopting universal values. Its leadership has adopted the values of the Council of Europe and tried to implement them. That was demonstrated simply when Jordan applied to be a partner for democracy. If it was not going to adopt those values, it would not have applied. That indicates how much the leadership and the people of Jordan want to adopt universal values and modernise their society and country.
Please do not think that it will be a stable and easy transition for our culture. It took European culture hundreds of years to reach these values. Consider how conservative our society is and how that will restrict our movement to improve the situation. However, we will improve and upgrade our societies towards modern values. It cannot be abrupt; it needs wise consideration to move the society towards modernisation. Too much pushing can lead to collapse. We should consider that in respect of our society.
Ms ALHEISAH (Jordan, Partner for Democracy) – Your excellencies and colleagues, thank you very much for granting Jordan the honour of being a partner for democracy with the Council of Europe. I confirm, as a young politician and parliamentarian, that my country is moving in the right direction in terms of democracy, civil society and practical human rights procedures.
I will not repeat the points that my colleagues from the Jordanian delegation have clarified, but want to draw your attention to the current situation. The combination of the high rates of education and youth participation are gradually leading to a quick response to the international and regional calls for us to have a democratic country that has as its primary concern the supremacy of law. Despite all the challenges at all levels, I say proudly that Jordan has professionally skipped the Arab Spring stage, with all its results. At the same time, our means of security and stability have been safely led by our diplomatic and wise leader, King Abdullah II. He is supported by deep-rooted people who seek nothing but to live in a safe, democratic country.
During the past four years, all our efforts have been directed towards what is going on regionally and to standing up for making Jordan a more civilised country. The actions that have been taken against corruption are being applied widely in all institutions. The current parliament has amended and abolished some laws, making future changes possible. Women take part in all fields, even those who still live in villages. That is all because of the high rate of education and the high awareness of the effective role of women in leading societies.
I want to highlight the continuing influence of tribal restrictions in Jordan. I just want to clarify that most people who belong to tribes get degrees and have the chance to live abroad. They come back with a different vision. Many decide to live in their original villages. That has a positive effect on the people around them, because they have the chance to deal with those who have been exposed to other ideas. They get to exchange ideas and visions.
The last election law to be approved started to get rid of people being bound to the decision of the tribe. I am a real example of that, because I received support from all families and tribes, regardless of their origin or religion. It is the spirit of youth that has urged my generation to call for change.
Finally, I am sure that our efforts as enthusiastic young parliamentarians will soon be tangible, especially when we are supported by a respectful elite like yourselves.
Ms ALQAWASMI (Palestine, Partner for Democracy) – I thank the rapporteur, Ms Josette Durrieu, for her objective report. She is a strong and kind lady who is consistent in her beliefs and values. She expresses all of them in her political and ordinary life. On behalf of the Palestinian delegation, I thank her for all her efforts.
For the Palestinian people, Jordan is our closest neighbour with the largest border. It is our gate to the world. With its wise leadership and great people, this country received Palestinian refugees after the wars of 1948 and 1967. It has also received most of the waves of refugees from other Arab countries, especially Iraq and Syria.
In spite of scarce resources and long-standing challenges, this country, with its stable, strong and transparent institutions, is progressing along the right track towards democracy, equality and the promotion of human rights. Dear colleagues, change comes from the grassroots, but the top can create a better environment for progress. Jordan is on the right track and needs your support.
The PRESIDENT – That concludes the list of speakers.
I call the rapporteur, Ms Durrieu, to reply to the debate. You have five minutes and 15 seconds remaining.
Ms DURRIEU (France)* – First, I thank Joăo Ary and Despina Chatzivassiliou – she is absent physically, but she is present in spirit. Without her, the rapporteurs would not be who we are. Thank you very much to her and her team. I also thank the chair of the committee.
I thank our Jordanian and Palestinian friends. We heard from Khaled Albakkar, Kais Zayadin and Marram Alheisah. We heard from two young Jordanians, who summarised much better than I could the new situation in their country. I am grateful for the testimony we have heard from Palestinians. It is hard to thank all those who need to be thanked, but thank you very much to all those who have followed our efforts. I thank Doris, George, Titus, Stefan, Ute, Bernard and all the others.
I say to our Jordanian friends, in just two years there will be a new evaluation. As our colleague Mr Vareikis said, you can take advantage of an enormous amount of sympathy here.
Mr Loucaides talked a lot about support and respect for the parliament and its people, and Titus Corlăţean, who has left, said that your country is on the right road. I certainly believe that, and as you know, I do not sell the Council of Europe values short – that is not my wont. As Lord Blencathra said, it is important to consider the role of the sovereign. The sovereign is an enlightened sovereign and I believe that he is giving impetus to the reforms and that he wants to move the regime and his country towards being a country of citizens. It was right to say that the Middle East could change. It is weighed down by many difficult mentalities, but they are evolving, and one of the last speakers, Ms Alheisah, who is very young, said that the tribes had come out of a particular system, but that they wanted something else today. That statement is very valuable.
Let us therefore respect the rhythm of change. As Stefan said, we would prefer less chaotic changes. However, let me end by repeating what many members have said: Jordan is an essential and pivotal country for the Middle East, Europe, stability and peace. In that complicated Middle East, Jordan is in the process of becoming a benchmark country. Yes, the situation of women must be changed and the problem of children born to Jordanian women and citizens of other countries must be addressed. They need to be given full rights. On judges in the constitutional court, administrative decision making must be done away with. People cannot be put in prison administratively; it must be done judicially. You know better than anyone that the decision to imprison someone must be done on a judge’s assessment. We call on Jordan to respect the moratorium of 2006 and to move towards abolishing the death penalty.
I am grateful for the statement about non-governmental organisations and the possibility of Jordan allowing for experimentation when it comes to banning nuclear weapons. We believe in you and we support you.
The PRESIDENT*– Thank you again, Ms Durrieu. You have done an enormous job of work and you are a great lady.
Does the chairperson wish to speak? You have two minutes.
Mr KORODI (Romania) – Today, with this discussion in the Chamber, we have shown that the Parliamentary Assembly, the partnership for democracy, our institutions and instruments can fundamentally change societies. I thank Ms Durrieu for all her excellent work on Jordan over almost two years. We have had dialogue and debate with our Jordanian partners about the steps that Jordan needs to take and how we can understand those steps in the decisions that we make in the Chamber. Our partnership for democracy with Jordan is a good exercise and an example for other countries. Can we use these instruments not only for our partners, but for future possible partnerships? The Assembly needs to keep up the dialogue and be proactive in those partnerships.
I thank our secretariat and team. They have done a good job. In the committee in the past months, we have had good dialogues and debates on Jordan, and we can apply that to other partnership procedures.
Thank you again, Ms Durrieu, for your excellent work. It was very good to have you, with all your experience, in our committee. We will miss you in future. Perhaps we will see you again in the Chamber, in committees and in dialogue.
The PRESIDENT– Thank you, Mr Korodi. The debate is closed and we will move to the vote.
The Committee on Political Affairs and Democracy has presented a draft resolution to which nine amendments have been tabled. I understand that the Committee on Political Affairs and Democracy wishes to propose to the Assembly that amendments 7, 8, 1, 9, 3, 4 and 5 to the draft resolution, which were unanimously approved by the committee, should be declared as agreed by the Assembly.
Is that so, Mr Korodi?
Mr KORODI (Romania) – That is correct.
The PRESIDENT – Does anyone object?
Amendments 7, 8, 1, 9, 3, 4 and 5 to the draft resolution are adopted.
We will therefore now consider Amendment 2. I remind you that speeches on amendments are limited to 30 seconds.
I call Mr Rigoni to support Amendment 2.
Mr RIGONI (Italy)* – The Legal Affairs and Human Rights Committee tabled the amendment. We are not calling for the moon, but we are asking the Jordanian authorities to respect a de facto moratorium and also to take the initiative and convince public opinion of the importance of the abolition of the death penalty. We, as the Parliamentary Assembly, are prepared to assist the Jordanian authorities to shift the mindset, not only at the level of Parliament and Government. We need to start by convincing public opinion.
The PRESIDENT – Does anyone wish to speak against the amendment?
I call Ms Durrieu.
Ms DURRIEU (France)* – I regret this amendment to some extent. I understand the point about the death penalty and there is a section about capital punishment in the proposed text. I simply suggested saying the same things a bit differently because the amendment seems too hard hitting. It is a question of the rhythm of the words. I suggest that we keep the text as it stands. There are no concessions therein on the abolition of the death penalty.
The PRESIDENT – What is the opinion of the committee?
Mr KORODI (Romania) – The committee is against.
The PRESIDENT – The vote is open.
Amendment 2 is rejected.
The PRESIDENT – We come to Amendment 6. I call Mr Rigoni to support the amendment.
Mr RIGONI (Italy)* – The amendment was approved unanimously by the Committee on Legal Affairs and Human Rights. It simply says, “the Assembly will pay particular attention to observation of an effective moratorium on the death penalty to concrete progress towards its abolition.” We are not asking for anything other than to write that into the draft resolution. Simply brushing the dust under the carpet does not serve anybody’s interests, including those of this Assembly, and it will not assist Jordan as it proceeds towards reform, which we support.
The PRESIDENT – Does anyone wish to speak against the amendment? I call Ms Durrieu.
Ms DURRIEU (France)* – I am sorry that Mr Rigoni has put it this way, but this is a question of form, not substance. We accepted all of the other amendments tabled by the Committee on Legal Affairs and Human Rights, because the way in which they were worded did not cause any problems. Amendment 6, however, relates to the final paragraph of the draft resolution, paragraph 12, which concludes, “the Assembly resolves to continue following very closely the implementation of the reforms”, so why be difficult and return to an issue mentioned earlier? We want to be positive. We do say that we will be vigilant, but we also say that Jordan is on the right road. It is a question of form. Everything that needs to be said about the death penalty has been said, and that is also the case with administrative detention. Why is it necessary to hark back to the issue over and over again? Paragraph 12 opens the door to further dialogue and co-operation, and we do not want to end the draft resolution on a negative note. You can break the rhythm if you consider that necessary, but we feel that that would be a pity.
The PRESIDENT – What is the opinion of the committee?
Mr KORODI (Romania) – The committee is against.
The PRESIDENT – The vote is open.
Amendment 6 is rejected.
We will now proceed to vote on the whole of the draft resolution contained in Document 14399, as amended. A simple majority is required.
The vote is open.
The draft resolution in Document 14399, as amended, is adopted, with 45 votes for, none against and no abstentions.
7. Next public business
The PRESIDENT – The Assembly will hold its next public sitting tomorrow morning at 10 a.m. with the agenda that was approved on Monday morning.
The sitting is closed.
(The sitting was closed at 7.45 p.m.)
1. Election of the President of the Assembly (Result of third round)
2. Address by Ms Kyriakides, President of the Assembly
3. Question time: Mr Thorbjřrn Jagland, Secretary General of the Council of Europe
Questions: Mr Korodi, Ms Strik, Mr Tarczyński, Mr Daems, Mr Bustinduy, Mr R. Huseynov, Lord Foulkes, Mr Kürkçü, Mr Sobolev, Mr Hunko, Ms Alqawasmi, Mr Köck, Ms Christoffersen, Mr Özcenk
4. Follow-up to Resolution 1903 (2012): promoting and strengthening transparency, accountability and integrity of Parliamentary Assembly members
Presentation by Mr Liddell-Grainger of the report of the Committee on Rules of Procedure, Immunities and Institutional Affairs, Document 14407
Speakers: Mrs Gillan, Ms Rodríguez Hernández, Mr Kox, Mr Divina, Ms Oomen-Ruijten, Mr Nicoletti, Ms Duranton, Mr Rustamyan, Ms Hovhannisyan, Ms Anttila, Ms Christoffersen, Mr Schwabe, Mr V. Huseynov, Ms Zohrabyan, Mr Hollik, Ms Chugoshvili, Mr Golub, Ms Naghdalyan, Ms Schou, Mr R. Huseynov, Mr Simms, Mr Seyidov
Draft resolution in Document 14407 adopted
5. Election of a Judge to the European Court of Human Rights in respect of Georgia
6. Evaluation of the partnership for democracy in respect of the Parliament of Jordan
Presentation by Ms Durrieu of the report of the Committee on Political Affairs and Democracy, Document 14399 and Addendum
Presentation by Mr Rigoni of the opinion of the Committee on Legal Affairs and Human Rights, Document 14412
Speakers: Ms Fiala, Mr Loucaides, Ms Pashayeva, Mr Vareikis, Mr Corlăţean, Lord Blencathra, Ms Bartos, Lord Anderson, Mr Schennach*, Mr Albakkar, Mr Önal*, Ms Finckh-Krämer, Mr Howell, Mr Zayadin, Ms Kalmari, Ms Ahmed-Sheikh, Mr Fournier, Mr Abushahla, Ms Alheisah, Mr Elalouf, Ms Alqawasmi
Draft resolution in Document 14399, as amended, adopted
7. Next public business
Representatives or Substitutes who signed the register of attendance in accordance with Rule 12.2 of the Rules of Procedure. The names of members substituted follow (in brackets) the names of participating members.
Liste des représentants ou suppléants ayant signé le registre de présence, conformément ŕ l’article 12.2 du Rčglement. Le nom des personnes remplacées suit celui des Membres remplaçant, entre parenthčses.
ABAD, Damien [M.]
ĹBERG, Boriana [Ms]
AHMED-SHEIKH, Tasmina [Ms]
AMON, Werner [Mr]
ANDERSON, Donald [Lord]
ANTTILA, Sirkka-Liisa [Ms]
ARIEV, Volodymyr [Mr]
ARNAUT, Damir [Mr]
BALFE, Richard [Lord] (DONALDSON, Jeffrey [Sir])
BARTOS, Mónika [Ms] (CSENGER-ZALÁN, Zsolt [Mr])
BAYKAL, Deniz [Mr]
BEREZA, Boryslav [Mr]
BERNACKI, Włodzimierz [Mr]
BĒRZINŠ, Andris [M.]
BILDARRATZ, Jokin [Mr]
BİLGEHAN, Gülsün [Mme]
BÎZGAN-GAYRAL, Oana-Mioara [Ms] (PRUNĂ, Cristina-Mădălina [Ms])
BLENCATHRA, David [Lord] (EVANS, Nigel [Mr])
BLONDIN, Maryvonne [Mme]
BOUYX, Bertrand [M.] (SORRE, Bertrand [M.])
BÜCHEL, Roland Rino [Mr] (HEER, Alfred [Mr])
BUDNER, Margareta [Ms]
BUSHATI, Ervin [Mr]
BUSTINDUY, Pablo [Mr] (BALLESTER, Ángela [Ms])
BUTKEVIČIUS, Algirdas [Mr]
CHRISTOFFERSEN, Lise [Ms]
CHUGOSHVILI, Tamar [Ms]
CILEVIČS, Boriss [Mr] (LAIZĀNE, Inese [Ms])
CORLĂŢEAN, Titus [Mr]
CORSINI, Paolo [Mr]
CSÖBÖR, Katalin [Mme]
D’AMBROSIO, Vanessa [Ms]
DI STEFANO, Manlio [Mr]
DİŞLİ, Şaban [Mr]
DIVINA, Sergio [Mr]
DURANTON, Nicole [Mme]
EBERLE-STRUB, Susanne [Ms]
ESTRELA, Edite [Mme] (ROSETA, Helena [Mme])
FABRITIUS, Bernd [Mr] (OBERMEIER, Julia [Ms])
FAZZONE, Claudio [Mr] (BERNINI, Anna Maria [Ms])
FIALA, Doris [Mme]
FINCKH-KRÄMER, Ute [Ms]
FISCHER, Axel [Mr]
FOULKES, George [Lord] (CRAUSBY, David [Mr])
FOURNIER, Bernard [M.]
FRIDEZ, Pierre-Alain [M.]
GAFAROVA, Sahiba [Ms]
GAILLOT, Albane [Mme]
GALE, Roger [Sir]
GAMBARO, Adele [Ms]
GATTI, Marco [M.]
GERASHCHENKO, Iryna [Mme]
GHILETCHI, Valeriu [Mr]
GILLAN, Cheryl [Ms]
GIRO, Francesco Maria [Mr]
GODSKESEN, Ingebjřrg [Ms] (WOLD, Morten [Mr])
GOLUB, Vladyslav [Mr] (LABAZIUK, Serhiy [Mr])
GONÇALVES, Carlos Alberto [M.]
GOUTTEFARDE, Fabien [M.]
GRECH, Etienne [Mr] (CUTAJAR, Rosianne [Ms])
GROTH, Annette [Ms] (WERNER, Katrin [Ms])
GROZDANOVA, Dzhema [Ms]
GÜNAY, Emine Nur [Ms]
GUZENINA, Maria [Ms]
HAGEBAKKEN, Tore [Mr] (VALEN, Snorre Serigstad [Mr])
HAJDUKOVIĆ, Domagoj [Mr]
HAJIYEV, Sabir [Mr]
HARANGOZÓ, Gábor [Mr] (MESTERHÁZY, Attila [Mr])
HEINRICH, Gabriela [Ms]
HERKEL, Andres [Mr] (NOVIKOV, Andrei [Mr])
HIGGINS, Alice-Mary [Ms] (CROWE, Seán [Mr])
HOLÍK, Pavel [Mr] (BENEŠIK, Ondřej [Mr])
HOLLIK, István [Mr] (GULYÁS, Gergely [Mr])
HOPKINS, Maura [Ms]
HOVHANNISYAN, Arpine [Ms]
HOWELL, John [Mr]
HUNKO, Andrej [Mr]
HUSEYNOV, Rafael [Mr]
HUSEYNOV, Vusal [Mr] (MAMMADOV, Muslum [M.])
JABLIANOV, Valeri [Mr]
JANSSON, Eva-Lena [Ms] (KARLSSON, Niklas [Mr])
KALMARI, Anne [Ms]
KERESTECİOĞLU DEMİR, Filiz [Ms]
KESİCİ, İlhan [Mr]
KOÇ, Haluk [M.]
KÖCK, Eduard [Mr] (ESSL, Franz Leonhard [Mr])
KORODI, Attila [Mr]
KOX, Tiny [Mr]
KRIŠTO, Borjana [Ms]
KROSS, Eerik-Niiles [Mr]
KÜÇÜKCAN, Talip [Mr]
KÜRKÇÜ, Ertuğrul [Mr]
LANGBALLE, Christian [Mr] (HENRIKSEN, Martin [Mr])
LEITE RAMOS, Luís [M.]
LĪBIŅA-EGNERE, Inese [Ms]
LIDDELL-GRAINGER, Ian [Mr]
LOGVYNSKYI, Georgii [Mr]
LOMBARDI, Filippo [M.]
LOUCAIDES, George [Mr]
LOUHELAINEN, Anne [Ms] (PACKALÉN, Tom [Mr])
LOUIS, Alexandra [Mme]
LUCHERINI, Carlo [Mr] (BERTUZZI, Maria Teresa [Ms])
LUPU, Marian [Mr] (BULIGA, Valentina [Mme])
MALLIA, Emanuel [Mr]
MAURY PASQUIER, Liliane [Mme]
MEALE, Alan [Sir]
MÜLLER, Thomas [Mr]
MUNYAMA, Killion [Mr] (HALICKI, Andrzej [Mr])
NAGHDALYAN, Hermine [Ms] (FARMANYAN, Samvel [Mr])
NĚMCOVÁ, Miroslava [Ms] (ZELIENKOVÁ, Kristýna [Ms])
NICOLETTI, Michele [Mr]
OBRADOVIĆ, Marija [Ms]
OHLSSON, Carina [Ms]
ÖNAL, Suat [Mr]
OOMEN-RUIJTEN, Ria [Ms]
O’REILLY, Joseph [Mr]
ORELLANA, Luis Alberto [Mr] (SANTERINI, Milena [Mme])
PALLARÉS, Judith [Ms]
PASHAYEVA, Ganira [Ms]
PECKOVÁ, Gabriela [Ms] (KOSTŘICA, Rom [Mr])
POCIEJ, Aleksander [M.] (KLICH, Bogdan [Mr])
POMASKA, Agnieszka [Ms]
POSTOICO, Maria [Mme] (VORONIN, Vladimir [M.])
PREDA, Cezar Florin [M.]
PSYCHOGIOS, Georgios [Mr] (KAVVADIA, Ioanneta [Ms])
RIBERAYGUA, Patrícia [Mme] (JORDANA, Carles [M.])
RODRÍGUEZ HERNÁNDEZ, Melisa [Ms]
ROJHAN GUSTAFSSON, Azadeh [Ms] (GUNNARSSON, Jonas [Mr])
RUSTAMYAN, Armen [M.]
ŞAHİN USTA, Leyla [Ms]
SALMOND, Alex [Mr]
SANTANGELO, Vincenzo [Mr]
SCHENNACH, Stefan [Mr]
SCHOU, Ingjerd [Ms]
SCHWABE, Frank [Mr]
SEYIDOV, Samad [Mr]
SHARMA, Virendra [Mr]
SILVA, Adăo [M.]
SMITH, Angela [Ms] (PRESCOTT, John [Mr])
SOBOLEV, Serhiy [Mr]
SOTNYK, Olena [Ms]
STELLINI, David [Mr]
STRIK, Tineke [Ms]
TAQUET, Adrien [M.] (MAIRE, Jacques [M.])
TARCZYŃSKI, Dominik [Mr]
TILKI, Attila [Mr] (GYÖNGYÖSI, Márton [Mr])
TOPCU, Zühal [Ms]
TRUSKOLASKI, Krzysztof [Mr]
TZAVARAS, Konstantinos [M.]
VÁHALOVÁ, Dana [Ms]
VAREIKIS, Egidijus [Mr]
VARVITSIOTIS, Miltiadis [Mr] (BAKOYANNIS, Theodora [Ms])
VEN, Mart van de [Mr]
VENIZELOS, Evangelos [M.] (CHRISTODOULOPOULOU, Anastasia [Ms])
VERCAMER, Stefaan [M.]
WALLINHEIMO, Sinuhe [Mr] (PELKONEN, Jaana Maarit [Ms])
WASERMAN, Sylvain [M.]
WENAWESER, Christoph [Mr]
WIECHEL, Markus [Mr] (NISSINEN, Johan [Mr])
WILK, Jacek [Mr]
WILSON, Phil [Mr] (PRITCHARD, Mark [Mr])
WOJTYŁA, Andrzej [Mr]
WURM, Gisela [Ms]
YAŞAR, Serap [Mme]
ZECH, Tobias [Mr]
ZINGERIS, Emanuelis [Mr]
ZOHRABYAN, Naira [Mme]
Also signed the register / Ont également signé le registre
Representatives or Substitutes not authorised to vote / Représentants ou suppléants non autorisés ŕ voter
CORREIA, Telmo [M.]
DAEMS, Hendrik [Mr]
DEMETER, Márta [Ms]
EFSTATHIOU, Constantinos [M.]
NAUDI ZAMORA, Víctor [M.]
ZAVOLI, Roger [Mr]
Observers / Observateurs
ELALOUF, Elie [M.]
SIMMS, Scott [Mr]
TILSON, David [Mr]
WELLS, David M. [Mr]
WHALEN, Nick [Mr]
Partners for democracy / Partenaires pour la démocratie
ABU DALBOUH, Reem [Ms]
ABUSHAHLA, Mohammedfaisal [Mr]
ALBAKKAR, Khaled [Mr]
ALHEISAH, Marram [Ms]
ALQAWASMI, Sahar [Ms]
AMRAOUI, Allal [M.]
BOUANOU, Abdellah [M.]
CHAGAF, Aziza [Mme]
EL FILALI, Hassan [M.]
EL MOKRIE EL IDRISSI, Abouzaid [M.]
HAMIDINE, Abdelali [M.]
LABLAK, Aicha [Mme]
ZAYADIN, Kais [Mr]
Representatives of the Turkish Cypriot Community (In accordance to Resolution 1376 (2004) of
the Parliamentary Assembly)/ Représentants de la communauté chypriote turque
(Conformément ŕ la Résolution 1376 (2004) de l’Assemblée parlementaire)
Representatives or Substitutes who took part in the ballot for the election of a Judge to the European Court of Human Rights in respect of Georgia / Représentants ou suppléants qui ont participé au vote pour l’élection d’un juge ŕ la Cour européenne des droits de l’homme au titre de la Géorgie
KARLSSON, Niklas [Mr] / JOHNSSON FORNARVE, Lotta [Ms]
KOÇ, Haluk [M.]