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The President of the Riigikogu Henn Põlluaas spoke at the European Conference of Presidents of Parliament at the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) in Strasbourg, focusing on the restoration of Russia’s right to vote in the Assembly.

Põlluaas said that when the PACE restored the voting rights of the Russian delegation in June, it overrode the fundamental principle of the Council of Europe: protection of the universal human rights.

“Russia has committed aggressive acts against Ukraine and refrained from following internationally negotiated guidelines to resolve the conflict,” Põlluaas said. “We need to keep the pressure on the perpetrator and demand the violations of the basic human rights in Eastern Ukraine to cease.”

Põlluaas said that this agreed framework of international law is supposed to provide us with a certain safety net of trust, applied universally by every Member State. “Equality before the law encourages a small state to instinctively trust the principle of the rule of law and to believe in active international cooperation. This trust can be easy to lose,” Põlluaas admonished.

Põlluaas said that Russia’s systematic destabilising and aggressive behaviour affects not only its neighbours but the whole Euro-Atlantic region. “We have to unite our efforts to counter this gravely dangerous development,” Põlluaas reminded his colleagues. “We are under obligation to consolidate our Common European Home. Nobody is going to do it instead of us.”

Põlluaas believes that the PACE decision in June did not do justice to the countries facing aggression by their neighbour, or to efforts to solve frozen conflicts.

The PACE unites the delegations of 47 national parliaments. The President of the Riigikogu is taking part in the European Conference of Presidents of Parliament in Strasbourg today and tomorrow. The main topic of the Conference is the future of the Assembly. Other topics include the UN Sustainability Action Plan, and the role that the national parliaments could play in fighting the ever intensifying harassment and hate speech directed at female politicians and parliamentarians.

The President of the Riigikogu has also scheduled in a meeting with the Presidents of the Nordic and Baltic parliaments (NB8), as well as a bilateral meeting with the President of the Ukrainian Parliament.  

The text of the speech.

Riigikogu Press Service
Epp-Mare Kukemelk
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