Strasbourg, 23.01.2012 – Jean-Claude Mignon (EPP/CD) from France has just been elected President of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE). Taking over from Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu (Turkey, EDG), he is the 26th President of the Assembly since 1949 and the first French person to hold this office in 23 years.
“First and foremost, I want to make sure in my new position that the rule of law, respect for human rights and the promotion of democracy are not just empty words, and that we are moving forward in these areas, including beyond our borders, in particular by engaging with Europe’s neighbours who are moving down the path to democracy,” he said today.
In close co-operation with the Committee of Ministers and the Secretary General, Jean-Claude Mignon intends to put the Council of Europe back at the centre of the European and international stage. To this end, he wants to make PACE even more responsive and more relevant to topical debates whenever human rights come under threat. “The vision that I have for the Council of Europe is as follows: that the Europe of human rights should become an inescapable reality,” he declared.
“For too long, this organisation was on the defensive, in particular vis-à-vis the European Union, and in danger of being the ‘overlooked beauty’ on the banks of the Ill, an institution that belonged in the past. Following the glorious decade of the 1990s when the organisation welcomed in the countries of central and eastern Europe, we acquired a new purpose: namely, to bring the Council of Europe closer to the European Union in order to reconcile ordinary people with Europe, a tangible, human Europe that makes itself felt in their everyday lives through the observance of fundamental rights, security, the freedom to come and go, dignity and respect for the rights of the opposition,” said Mr Mignon.
“It was in order to contribute to this renewal that I, as rapporteur, suggested convening a new summit of the Council of Europe. The Committee of Ministers believes it would be preferable for the Parliamentary Assembly to begin its own reform process before a summit is convened. That has now been done and I therefore believe that a summit is feasible and would give fresh impetus to the reform process,” Mr Mignon said in his inaugural address.
The new President is also eager to find solutions to frozen conflicts, believing it is unacceptable that in this day and age there should still be walls in Europe.
He also intends to devote his presidency to the cause of women in Europe and worldwide. “The Assembly recently spoke out on these issues: the dangers of selective abortion are a reality in Europe itself, violence against women is still all too often a fact of life and equality in the workplace is still an unfulfilled goal,” he pointed out.
A politician and former business leader, Jean-Claude Mignon has represented Seine-et-Marne in France’s National Assembly since 1988. He has been Mayor of Dammarie-lès-Lys since 1983. Mr Mignon has long-standing international experience in PACE and the Western European Union. He has served as PACE Vice-President since 2007 and Chair of the French delegation (2002-2003 and since 2007). He was Vice-Chair of the EPP/CD Group, Chair of the Ad Hoc Committee on Reform of the Assembly, as well as of the Committee on Parliamentary and Public Relations.
Born on 2 February 1950 in Corbeil-Essonnes, Essonne, France, Mr Mignon is married with two children.
There was only one candidate. Under the Assembly’s Rules of Procedure, the President’s one-year term of office may be renewed once.