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Spirit of Václav Havel essential in today’s Europe

After his high level official visit to the Czech Republic, Pedro Agramunt commented that the spirit of Václav Havel was essential in today’s Europe as we face many challenges, including the migration and refugee crisis, terrorist threats and rising extremism on the left and the right.

‘I was greatly honoured to have the opportunity of meeting with the Speaker of the Chamber of Deputies of the Czech Republic, the Prime Minister and the First vice-President of the Senate and the State Secretary of the Minister of Foreign Affairs,’ he said. ‘In these meetings I was able to discuss some of the important challenges facing Europe, not least the current migration and refugee crisis, the terrorist threats spanning out across Europe and the rise of left and right wing extremism. Europe has to work together to tackle these issues and European parliamentary diplomacy is a key for tackling these matters together.’

Mr Agramunt thanked the Czech authorities for their support for the Václav Havel Human Rights Prize awarded each year by the Assembly, in partnership with the Václav Havel Library and the Charta 77 Foundation.

Mr Agramunt praised the Czech authorities for the large number of Council of Europe Conventions they had ratified but noted that, “notwithstanding this there are still important Conventions for the Czech authorities to sign and or ratify, including the Convention on Preventing and Combating Violence against Women and Domestic Violence and the Convention on Action against Trafficking in Human Beings.’ He noted that the Czech government would hold the Chairmanship of the Council of Europe in 2017 and hoped that progress would be made on these and other Conventions by then.

One of the issues he raised in several meetings concerned the integration of Roma, and he encouraged the authorities to continue in their progress in implementing their action plan 2015 – 2020, in particular in the areas of education of children and access to work.

He thanked the authorities for their openness and frankness in all his meetings.