This week, the Riigikogu Delegation to the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) participates in the winter session of the Assembly in Strasbourg, where extending the credentials of Russia’s delegation and the functioning of democratic institutions in Poland will be discussed.
At the winter session, the Estonian delegation to the PACE is headed by Member of the Riigikogu (Parliament of Estonia) Raivo Tamm. In his opinion, it is extremely important how the members of the Assembly behave in the situation where all member states are once again at the table and try to hold a political dialogue. “PACE should increase it focus on the fundamental values of the organisation: human rights, democracy and principles of the rule of law,” Tamm said.
Member of the Estonian delegation Eerik-Niiles Kross thinks that the crisis of confidence in the PACE, which started with the return of the delegation of the Russian Federation, will continue also during this session. “There are many discussions on relatively unimportant issues and few discussions on the most important issues,” Kross stated. “It is the duty of the Estonian delegation to contribute to upholding substantial and honest debate without any double standards in the PACE. We plan to do it also this time.”
On Wednesday, Kross will participate in the side event where politically motivated imprisonment in Russia and ways in which the Council of Europe can respond to it will be spoken about.
The main topics of the debates on the agenda of the PACE session include a complementary joint procedure between the Committee of Ministers and the Assembly in response to a serious violation by a member State of its statutory obligations, the functioning of democratic institutions in Poland, and reported cases of political prisoners in Azerbaijan.
MPs will also discuss threats to media freedom and journalists’ security, and a report on “Democracy hacked? How to respond?” The Presidents of Georgia and Moldova, as well as the Foreign Minister of Georgia and President of the Committee of Ministers and the newly-elected Secretary General of the Council of Europe will address PACE. There may also be debates on the recent developments in Libya and in the Middle East, and also on ongoing violation of the rule of law, human rights and democracy in Turkey.
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