Following his re-election as PACE President for a second one-year term at the opening of the winter session in Strasbourg, Pedro Agramunt outlined his political priorities for 2017 with a plea for parliamentary diplomacy.
“A year ago, I shared with you some profound concerns about the state of our continent, highlighting four issues: international terrorism, the refugee crisis, conflicts in Europe and the dangerous rise of populism. Little did we know at the time about the additional challenges we would face to our values, institutions and standards, including the failed coup d’état attempt in Turkey and its consequences.” In this context, the President underlined the importance of solidarity and support for Turkey, while calling for strict adherence to international standards and commitments.
Expressing regret that, “for a second consecutive year, one of our member states – Russia – is not submitting a delegation to the Assembly,” the President announced that he would continue his efforts for dialogue and said that “the Russian Parliament and its parliamentarians are open to dialogue and co-operation in order to break the current impasse.”
Another “major challenge to our values and standards is the existence of political prisoners,” Pedro Agramunt continued. Pointing out that his initiatives had helped bring about the release of Mrs Savchenko and Mr Ugulava, and a considerable number of civil society activists and journalists in Azerbaijan, he undertook to continue his efforts in this area, once again calling on the Azerbaijani authorities to release Ilgar Mammadov. “Equally, I am following – with great concern – the situation of parliamentarians detained in Turkey,” he said, expressing the hope that “our Turkish colleagues will follow the Assembly’s recommendations and release the HDP parliamentarians.”
In connection with the fight against terrorism, Pedro Agramunt said that he wants to place the #NoHateNoFear initiative at the centre of the activities so as to prevent any paranoia or security extremes. He also wants to contribute to a comprehensive European approach to migration management and the refugee crisis, based on the principles of solidarity, responsibility-sharing and respect for human rights standards and international commitments.