The Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe is of the opinion that Council of Europe member states should protect the right of citizens to freedom of movement as envisaged in the European Agreement on Regulations Governing the Movement of Persons between Member States of the Council of Europe. Freedom of expression of political views across the Council of Europe area is also an important value uniting Council of Europe member states as well as the protection of freedom of expression of political views – a commitment of each Council of Europe member state – as envisaged in the European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental freedoms.
The Schengen Agreement creates opportunities for the freedom of movement for millions of people and the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe welcomes the extension of a common visa-free area resulting from this agreement.
However, some Council of Europe member states misuse their right to ban nationals of other states from entering their respective territory by “blacklisting” these nationals. In case the state is party to the Schengen Agreement, this ban is tacitly extended to all other Schengen Agreement member states.
In some cases, the above nationals did not even visit these states and that is why they could not break their laws, but in their own countries they actively participated in political actions criticising the policies of other states’ authorities. As a result, the freedom of movement is being restricted as punishment for political criticism, which in its turn contradicts the values advocated by the Council of Europe.
“Blacklisting” public figures, parliamentarians as well as Assembly members is particularly inadmissible.
The Assembly urges Council of Europe member states to refrain from “blacklisting” political and public figures, parliamentarians as well as Assembly members, as punishment for their political position.