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Activities of the Assembly’s Bureau and Standing Committee (30 June-8 October 2017)

Progress report | Doc. 14409 | 04 October 2017

Author(s):
Bureau of the Assembly
Rapporteur :
Mr Ian LIDDELL-GRAINGER, United Kingdom, EC

1 Introduction

At its meeting on 30 June, the Bureau appointed me as rapporteur for this report, which covers its activities over the period from the last Bureau meeting of the third part-session of 2017 (Friday 30 June) to the first Bureau meeting of the fourth part-session of 2017 (Monday 9 October).

The present report includes the decisions taken at the Bureau meetings of 30 June in Strasbourg and 4 September in Paris. Chapter 2 presents a list of decisions which do not require ratification.

An addendum to this report will be issued after the Bureau meeting of 9 October, which will include decisions to be ratified on the same day. Another addendum will be issued after the Bureau meeting of 13 October. It will include the decisions to be ratified by the Assembly on the same day, notably the references and transmissions, which will have been approved by the Bureau.

The Bureau will hold its next meetings in Strasbourg on Friday 13 October at 8.30 am, then on Thursday, 23 November in Copenhagen and on Friday, 15 December in Paris. The next meeting of the Standing Committee will be held in Copenhagen on 24 November.

2 Activities of the Bureau since the last part-session and decisions not requiring ratification by the Assembly

2.1 Statement by the Secretary General of the Assembly

On 30 June, the Bureau heard a statement as set out in Appendix 1.

2.2 Third part-session of 2017 (Strasbourg, 26-30 June)

2.2.1 Follow-up to adopted texts

On 30 June, the Bureau approved the follow-up proposals made by the Secretary General of the Assembly to texts adopted by the Assembly, namely:

Resolution 2170 (2017) on Promoting integrity in governance to tackle political corruption:

“10. For its part, the Assembly resolves to:
10.1. pay special attention to the revision and effective implementation of its own Code of Conduct;
10.2. fully support the independent external investigation body to look into allegations of corruption within the Assembly;
10.3. strengthen its own Anti-corruption Platform with the aim of promoting integrity campaigns in national parliaments;
10.4. provide a sound regulation for lobbying activities, including through the setting up of a Parliamentary Assembly transparency register, following the example of the European Parliament.”

Follow-up: the Bureau decided to submit the matters listed in paragraph 10 to the Committee on Rules of Procedure, Immunities and Institutional Affairs to be taken into account in the preparation of the report on the Follow-up to Resolution 1903 (2012): promoting and strengthening transparency, accountability and integrity of Parliamentary Assembly members (Rapporteur: Mr Ian Liddell-Grainger, United Kingdom, EC).

Resolution 2178 (2017) on The implementation of judgments of the European Court of Human Rights:

“12. In view of the urgent need to speed up implementation of the Court's judgments, the Assembly resolves to remain seized of this matter and to continue to give it priority”.

Follow-up: the Bureau decided to seize the Committee on Legal Affairs and Human Rights for the preparation of a report on this issue.

2.2.2 Code of Conduct for Members of the Parliamentary Assembly

On 30 June, the Bureau took note of a letter by Mr Pieter Omtzigt (Netherlands, EPP/CD) concerning the Assessment of the Code of Conduct for Members of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe carried out by GRECO, and decided to transmit this letter to the Committee on Rules of Procedure, Immunities and Institutional Affairs to be taken into account in the preparation of the report on Follow-up to Resolution 1903 (2012): promoting and strengthening transparency, accountability and integrity of Parliamentary Assembly members (Rapporteur: Mr Ian Liddell-Grainger, United Kingdom, EC).

2.3 Formation of a new political group: Free Democrats Group (FDG)

On 30 June, following a vote, the Bureau decided to postpone the decision whether to acknowledge the formation of the group to a later meeting.

On 4 September, the Bureau took note of letters by Mr Ian Liddell-Grainger (United Kingdom, EC), Chairperson of the EC Group, Ms Adele Gambaro (Italy, NR), and Mr Talip Küçükcan (Turkey, EC), Chairperson of the Turkish delegation to the Assembly. It acknowledged the formation of the Free Democrats Group in line with Rule 19 of the Assembly’s Rules of Procedure, and asked the Committee on Rules of Procedure, Immunities and Institutional Affairs whether, in line with the Rules and in view of the documents submitted to the Bureau on 30 June 2017, the date of the acknowledgment of the Group should be defined as 30 June 2017 or 4 September 2017.

2.4 Fourth part-session of 2017 (Strasbourg, 9-13 October)

On 30 June, the Bureau drew up the preliminary draft agenda. On 4 September, it drew up the draft agenda.

2.5 Election observation

2.5.1 Albania: parliamentary elections (25 June 2017)

On 30 June, The Bureau took note of the statement of the electoral mission. On 4 September, it approved the report of the ad hoc committee.

2.5.2 Kyrgyzstan: presidential election (15 October 2017)

On 30 June, subject to receiving an invitation, the Bureau approved the list of members of the ad hoc committee to observe this election and appointed Ms Doris Fiala (Switzerland, ALDE) as its Chairperson (Appendix 2). On 4 September, it took note of the invitation to observe this election.

2.6 References and transmissions to committees

2.6.1 Extension of references

On 30 June, the Bureau approved the following extensions of references:

  • Doc. 13424, motion for a resolution, The need for a citizenship income (Ref. 4034 of 7 April 2015 – validity: 30 June 2017 (extended on 23 January 2017)): extension until 31 December 2017;
  • Doc. 13630, motion for a resolution, Parental authority conflicts (Ref. 4095 of 26 January 2015 – validity: 30 June 2017): extension until 31 October 2017;
  • Doc. 13653, motion for a resolution, The relations of the Council of Europe with Kazakhstan (Ref. 4106 of 30 January 2015 – validity: 30 June 2017 (extended on 24 November 2016)): extension until 31 December 2017.

2.7 Václav Havel Human Rights Prize

On 30 June, the Bureau took note of the information provided by the Secretary General of the Assembly and decided that, should the motion of dismissal of the President of the Assembly be tabled, the meeting of the Selection Panel of the Václav Havel Human Rights Prize, to be held in Prague on 28-29 August 2017, be chaired by Sir Roger Gale (United Kingdom, EC) in his capacity as most senior Vice-President of the Assembly.

On 4 September, the Bureau took note of the shortlist made by the Selection Panel at its meeting in Prague on 28-29 August 2017, consisting of (in alphabetical order):

  • Mr Murat Arslan (Turkey);
  • Hungarian Helsinki Committee (Hungary);
  • Father Georg Sporschill (Austria).

2.8 Election of the Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights

On 4 September, the Bureau took note of the calendar for the election of the Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights and asked the Assembly’s Committee on Legal Affairs and Human Rights to organise, through its Sub-Committee on Human Rights, the interviews of candidates in time for the Assembly’s first part-session of 2018, preferably in December 2017.

2.9 Guidelines on working methods and procedures of the independent external investigation body on the allegations of corruption within the Parliamentary Assembly

On 4 September, the Bureau was informed of the guidelines established by the investigation body.

2.10 World Forum for Democracy (Strasbourg, 8-10 November 2017)

On 30 June, the Bureau approved the list of members of the ad hoc committee of the Bureau to participate in the Forum as set out in Appendix 3.

2.11 Budgetary matters – Analysis of the use made by the Assembly’s political groups of their allocations for 2016

On 30 June, the Bureau approved the communication submitted by the Committee on Rules of Procedure, Immunities and Institutional Affairs.

2.12 European Committee for the Prevention of Torture and Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (CPT)

On 30 June, the Bureau considered and approved the lists of candidates in respect of Croatia, Georgia, Netherlands, Slovenia and Sweden, which were subsequently transmitted to the Committee of Ministers.

2.13 Appointment of Assembly representatives for official activities

On 30 June, the Bureau took note of the written report of Ms Tamar Chugoshvili (Georgia, SOC) concerning her participation in the Spring session of the NATO Parliamentary Assembly in Tbilisi, from 26 to 29 May 2017 and appointed Mr Andrea Rigoni (Italy, ALDE) to participate in the 26th Annual session of the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly in Minsk, Belarus, on 5-9 July 2017. On 4 September, the Bureau took note of the report by Mr Andrea Rigoni (Italy, ALDE) on his participation in the 26th Annual Session of the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly.

2.14 Co-operation with the European Parliament and other European Union institutions

On 30 June, the Bureau took note of the memorandum prepared by the Secretary General of the Assembly.

2.15 Gender equality and gender mainstreaming in the work of the Assembly

On 4 September, the Bureau took note of the letter by Ms Elena Centemero (Italy, EPP/CD), Chairperson of the Committee on Equality and Non-Discrimination, concerning the #InspiringWomen initiative, as well as of the “Memorandum taking stock of the measures to improve gender equality and gender mainstreaming in the work of the Assembly” prepared by the Secretary General of the Assembly in consultation with the Chairperson of the Committee.

2.16 Meetings elsewhere than Strasbourg and Paris

During the reference period, the Bureau authorised:

  • the Sub-Committee on Conflicts between Member States of the Council of Europe (of the Monitoring Committee) to meet in Athens on 25 September 2017;
  • the Committee on the Election of Judges to the European Court of Human Rights to meet in Riga, on 20-21 October 2017;
  • the Sub-Committee on relations with the OECD and the EBRD (of the Committee on Political Affairs and Democracy) to meet in London on 26 October 2017;
  • the Sub-Committee on Media and Information Society (of the Committee on Culture, Science, Education and Media) to meet in Budapest on 6 December 2017;
  • the Sub-Committee on the Europe Prize (of the Committee on Social Affairs, Health and Sustainable Development) to meet in Lublin, Poland, on 25-26 September 2017.

2.17 Communication

On 4 September, the Bureau took note of the communication by the Deputy Secretary General of the Council of Europe.

2.18 Other business

On 4 September, the Bureau took note of the letter by Mr Jonas Gunnarsson (Sweden, SOC), Chairperson of the Swedish delegation to the Assembly, concerning the issue of General Rapporteurs in the Committee on Equality and Non-Discrimination.

2.19 Meetings of the Bureau and the Standing Committee in Copenhagen (23-24 November 2017)

On 4 September, the Bureau took note of the draft programme.

2.20 Meetings of the Standing Committee and the Bureau in 2018

On 4 September, the Bureau approved the proposals as set out in Appendix 4.

Appendix 1 – Statement by Mr Wojciech Sawicki, Secretary General of the Assembly at the meeting of the Bureau on 30 June 2017

Mr President,

I feel obliged to make a statement to the Bureau in view of yesterday’s message delivered by Mr Agramunt. As you know he attended the meeting of the Presidential Committee yesterday, and at the end asked those who were still present in the room to have a family photo taken.

This photograph has been put by him on his Twitter account together with an unacceptable – in my view – political comment.

I strongly protest – also on behalf of my two colleagues from the Secretariat who were present– against using our image to support a political message. I find this unacceptable. Once I found this twitter message I reacted immediately to Mr Agramunt – however without any response from him.

I would also like to inform you that the Secretariat of the Assembly is following the situation of Mr Agramunt with anxiety and unease. We are worried about the future of this Assembly and its role within the Council of Europe. At all cost we would like to avoid a possible divide between parliamentarians and staff, and I very much regret that, unfortunately, in his recent statements Mr Agramunt has been trying to introduce this divide.

The success of this Assembly also depends on the common harmonious work and good cooperation of members and staff. We, the staff, really care about this.

In this difficult time for the Assembly, my role – as the Secretary General of the Assembly – is to provide you with the best possible assistance and to help you to proceed in line with the Statute of the Council of Europe and the Rules of the Assembly, while avoiding at the same time any partisan approach. This is also the duty of all my colleagues and I am very grateful to them for their work and for all that they are doing for the Assembly.

Appendix 2 – List of members of the ad hoc committee to observe the presidential election in Kyrgyzstan (15 October 2017)

Chairperson: Ms Doris FIALA (Switzerland, ALDE)

Group of the European People’s Party (EPP/CD)

  • Elena CENTEMERO, Italy
  • Corneliu Mugurel COZMANCIUC, Romania
  • Zsolt CSENGER-ZALAN, Hungary
  • Nicole DURANTON, France
  • Giuseppe GALATI, Italy
  • Cezar Florin PREDA, Romania
  • María Concepción de SANTA ANA, Spain

Substitutes

  • Boriana ÅBERG, Sweden
  • Alina Ştefania GORGHIU, Romania
  • Sylvie GOY-CHAVENT, France
  • Aleksander POCIEJ, Poland
  • Ion POPA, Romania
  • Adão SILVA, Portugal
  • Miltiadis VARVITSIOTIS, Greece
  • Stefaan VERCAMER, Belgium

Socialists, Democrats and Greens Group (SOC)

  • Marie-Françoise PEROL-DUMONT, France
  • Attila MESTERHAZY, Hungary
  • Antonio GUTIÉRREZ, Spain
  • Paolo CORSINI, Italy
  • Idalia SERRAO, Portugal
  • Pierre-Alain FRIDEZ, Switzerland

Substitutes

  • José CEPEDA, Spain
  • Gordan MARAS, Croatia
  • Maryvonne BLONDIN, France
  • Luis Alberto ORELLANA, Italy
  • Pedrag SEKULIĆ, Montenegro
  • Florian KRONBICHLER, Italy

European Conservatives Group (EC)

  • Hermine NAGHDALYAN, Armenia
  • Arkadiusz MULARCZYK, Poland
  • Suat ÖNAL, Turkey

Substitutes

  • Lord Richard BALFE, United Kingdom
  • Mark PRITCHARD, United Kingdom
  • Ingebjorg GODSKESEN, Norway

Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe (ALDE)

  • Doris FIALA, Switzerland
  • Carles JORDANA, Andorra
  • Simonas GENTVILAS, Lithuania

Substitute

  • Fernando MAURA, Spain

Group of the Unified European Left (UEL)

  • Henk OVERBEEK, Netherlands

Rapporteur of the Committee on Political Affairs and Democracy on the Evaluation of the Partnership for democracy in respect of the Parliament of the Kyrgyz Republic

  • Alain DESTEXHE, Belgium

Appendix 3 – List of members of the ad hoc committee of the Bureau to participate in the 2017 World Forum for Democracy (Strasbourg, 8-10 November)

Committee on Political Affairs and Democracy

  • Ms Thorhildur Sunna Ævarsdóttir (Iceland, NR)
  • Mr Deniz Baykal (Turkey, SOC)
  • Mr Bogdan Klich (Poland, EPP/CD)
  • Mr Michele Nicoletti (Italy, SOC)
  • Mr Andrea Rigoni (Italy, ALDE)

Committee on Legal Affairs and Human Rights

  • Ms Eka Beselia (Georgia, SOC)
  • Ms Anne Brasseur (Luxembourg, ALDE)
  • Mr Boriss Cilevičs (Latvia, SOC)
  • Mr Raphaël Comte (Switzerland, ALDE)
  • Mr Sergio Divina (Italy, NR)
  • Mr Pierre-Alain Fridez (Switzerland, SOC)
  • Mr Aleksander Pociej (Poland, EPP/CD)

Committee on the Honouring of Obligations and Commitments by Member States of the Council of Europe (Monitoring Committee)

  • Mr Cezar Florin Preda (Romania, EPP/CD)
  • Mr Stefan Schennach (Austria, SOC)

Committee on Social Affairs, Health and Sustainable Development

  • Mr Ertuğrul Kürkçü (Turkey, UEL)

Committee on Culture, Science, Education and Media

  • Mr Volodymyr Ariev (Ukraine, EPP/CD)
  • Mr Roland Rino Büchel (Switzerland, ALDE)
  • Mr José Cepeda (Spain, SOC)
  • Mr Paolo Corsini (Italy, SOC)
  • Ms Adele Gambaro (Italy, NR)
  • Mr Francesco Giro (Italy, EPP/CD)
  • Mr Rafael Huseynov (Azerbaijan, ALDE)
  • Ms Judith Pallarés (Andorra, ALDE)

Committee on Equality and Non-Discrimination

  • Mr Goran Beus Richembergh (Croatia, ADLE)
  • Ms Elena Centemero (Italy, EPP/CD)
  • Mr Jean-Pierre Grin (Switzerland, ADLE)
  • Ms Alice-Mary Higgins (Ireland, SOC)
  • Ms Elvira Kovács (Serbia, EPP/CD)
  • Mr Florian Kronbichler (Italy, SOC)
  • Ms Cristina-Mădălina Prună (Romania, NR)
  • Mr Sasa Magazinovic (Bosnia and Herzegovina, SOC)
  • Ms Dovilė Šakalienė (Lithuania, ALDE)
  • Ms Milena Santerini (Italy, SOC)
  • Ms Maria Edera Spadoni (Italy, NR)
  • Mr Damien Thiéry (Belgium, ALDE)
  • Ms Gisela Wurm (Austria, SOC)

Appendix 4 – Meetings of the Standing Committee and the Bureau in 2018

Proposals for datesNote

Monday 22 January, 8.00 am Strasbourg (part-session): Bureau

Friday 26 January, 8.30 am Strasbourg (part-session): Bureau

Thursday 15 March, 3.00 pm, Paris: Bureau (to be confirmed)

Friday 16 March, 9.30 am, Paris: Standing Committee (to be confirmed)

Monday 23 April, 8.00 am, Strasbourg (part-session): Bureau

Friday 27 April, 8.30 am, Strasbourg (part-session): Bureau

End of May, Croatia: Bureau and Standing Committee (CM Chairmanship)

Monday 25 June, 8.00 am, Strasbourg (part-session): Bureau

Friday 29 June, 8.30 am, Strasbourg (part-session): Bureau

Monday 3 September, 9 am, Paris: Bureau

Monday 8 October, 8.00 am, Strasbourg (part-session): Bureau

Friday 12 October, 8.30 am, Strasbourg (part-session): Bureau

End of November, Finland: Bureau and Standing Committee (CM Chairmanship)

Friday 14 December, 9.00 am, Paris: Bureau