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The Session: speeches by the Presidents of Austria and the European Commission, and the Prime Ministers of Georgia and Turkey

The President of Austria, Heinz Fischer, the President of the European Commission, Jean-Claude Juncker, and the Prime Ministers of Georgia, Giorgi Kvirikashvili, and Turkey, Ahmet Davutoğlu, are among leading personalities due to address the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe during its spring session (18-22 April 2016).

The refugee and migrant crisis in Europe will be on the agenda, with debates on a stronger European response to the Syrian refugee crisis, the human rights of refugees and migrants in the Western Balkans and the new challenge posed by forced migration.

Other items on the agenda include debates on assessing the impact of measures to improve women’s political representation, preventing the radicalisation of children, humanitarian concerns with regard to people captured during the war in Ukraine, the handling of international public health emergencies, and the fight against antisemitism in Europe. There have also been several requests for urgent and current affairs debates.

The Minister for Foreign Affairs of Bulgaria, Daniel Mitov, will address the Assembly in his capacity as Chairman of the Committee of Ministers, and the Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights, Nils Muiznieks, will present his annual activity report 2015. The Secretary General of the Council of Europe, Thorbjørn Jagland, will answer questions from parliamentarians.

The Assembly will also be evaluating the partnership for democracy in respect of the Palestinian National Council.

The Assembly will decide its final agenda on the opening day of the session.

Draft agenda


Monday 18 April
Statement by the President
• Adoption of the agenda
• Request for debate under urgent procedure on “The Savchenko case”
• Progress report of the Bureau and the Standing Committee
• Annual activity report 2015 by Nils Muižnieks, Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights
• Free debate

Tuesday 19 April
• Possible election of a judge to the European Court of Human Rights in respect of Slovenia
• Address by Jean-Claude Juncker, President of the European Commission
• Assessing the impact of measures to improve women’s political representation, and statement by Maria Elena Boschi, Minister of Constitutional Reforms and Relations with Parliament of Italy
• Address by Ahmet Davutoğlu, Prime Minister of Turkey
• Questions to Thorbjørn Jagland, Secretary General of the Council of Europe
• Joint debate
- Preventing the radicalisation of children by fighting the root causes
- Towards a framework of competences for democratic citizenship
• Evaluation of the partnership for democracy in respect of the Palestinian National Council

Wednesday 20 April
• Renewed commitment in the fight against antisemitism in Europe
• Address by Heinz Fischer, President of Austria
• Communication from the Committee of Ministers presented by Daniel Mitov, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Bulgaria, Chairperson of the Committee of Ministers
• Joint debate
- A stronger European response to the Syrian refugee crisis
- Human rights of refugees and migrants - the situation in the Western Balkans
• Intellectual property rights in the digital era

Thursday 21 April
• Possible urgent debate or current affairs debate
• Address by Giorgi Kvirikashvili, Prime Minister of Georgia
• The humanitarian concerns with regard to people captured during the war in Ukraine
• The handling of international public health emergencies

Friday 22 April
• Forced migration: a new challenge
• The case against a Council of Europe legal instrument on involuntary measures in psychiatry
• Progress report (continued)

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Practical information

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

Twitter: #PACEspring2016

Press conferences: 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. 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.press@coe.int

Further details: see the Assembly's website.

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