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Four heads of state or government to address PACE Spring session

Strasbourg, 10.04.2013 – German President Joachim Gauck, Georgian Prime Minister Bidzina Ivanishvili, Romanian Prime Minister Victor Ponta and Andorran Head of Government Antoni Martí are among a number of leading figures to address the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) during its Spring plenary session in Strasbourg (22-26 April).

Topics for debate include the Assembly’s post-monitoring dialogue with Turkey, violence against religious communities, fighting “child sex tourism” and balancing the benefits and risks of nanotechnology. A current affairs debate has also been requested on the topic: "Syrian refugees in Jordan: how to organise and support international assistance?”

Other personalities to address the Assembly include Andorran Foreign Minister Gilbert Saboya Sunyé, who will present the Communication from the Committee of Ministers to the Assembly, and the Head of the Federal Department of Foreign Affairs of Switzerland Didier Burkhalter. Council of Europe Human Rights Commissioner Nils Muižnieks will present his 2012 activity report.


The final agenda is decided by the Assembly on the opening day of the session.

Draft agenda

Monday 22 April
• Statement by the President
• Election of Vice-Presidents of the Assembly with respect to Monaco and Romania
• Address by Joachim Gauck, President of Germany
• Communication from the Committee of Ministers to the Parliamentary Assembly
presented by Gilbert Saboya Sunyé, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Andorra, Chairperson of the Committee of Ministers
• Progress report of the Bureau and the Standing Committee
• Observation of the presidential election in Armenia (18 February 2013)

Tuesday 23 April
Violence against religious communities
• Address by Bidzina Ivanishvili, Prime Minister of Georgia
• Address by Didier Burkhalter, Head of the Federal Department of Foreign Affairs of Switzerland
• Joint debate
o Fighting “child sex tourism”
o Parliaments united in combating sexual violence against children: mid-term review of the ONE in FIVE Campaign
Ending discrimination against Roma children

Wednesday 24 April
Post-monitoring dialogue with Turkey
• Address by Victor Ponta, Prime Minister of Romania
Culture and education through national parliaments: European policies
• Joint debate
o Young Europeans: an urgent educational challenge
o Young people's access to fundamental rights

Thursday 25 April
• Possible urgent or current affairs debate
• Address by Antoni Martí, Head of Government of Andorra
• Annual activity report 2012 by the Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights and
statement by the Commissioner Nils Muiznieks
Joint debate
oFrontex: human rights responsibilities
o Management of mixed migration and asylum challenges beyond the European Union’s eastern border
• Free debate

Friday 26 April
Draft Protocol No. 15 amending the Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms
• Joint debate
o Nanotechnology: balancing benefits and risks to public health and the environment
o Ethics in science and technology

Practical information

Live web stream: The session is streamed live on PACE’s website.

Press conferences: The President of PACE will give a press conference on Monday 22 April at 11.05 a.m. Other press conferences will be announced on the spot. They are streamed live over the web.

For TV planning units: videos in broadcast quality summing up PACE highlights can be downloaded for free no later than two hours after the event. Further information from the Council of Europe Audiovisual Service, tel. +33 3 88 41 25 64 (prior to the session) or +33 3 88 41 35 00 (during the session).

For accreditation: Directorate of Communication, accreditation@coe.int.

Further details: see the Assembly's website.

Contact: PACE Communication Division, tel. +33 3 88 41 31 93; pace.com@coe.int.