“We must deploy all our efforts in these difficult times to fulfill our main responsibility, which is to preserve European unity,” today said PACE President Michele Nicoletti, paying tribute the Congress’ initiatives aimed at bringing people together and maintaining European unity. Evoking courage as a key value, he added: “We must not be afraid to denounce any violation of human rights committed in any part of our continent and by any authority,” while sticking to our mission.
Speaking at the 34th plenary session of the Congress today, PACE President recalled that the success of democracy was not possible without the participation of citizens in civic life. “Participation in local government is the best means of keeping democracy alive; if democracy dies at the local level, it also dies at the wider, national level,” he said.
Mr Nicoletti also highlighted the valuable role of local and regional representatives in two areas: in welcoming and integrating migrants and refugees, and in fighting corruption. “I strongly welcome that addressing the consequences of the migration and refugee crisis continues to be a top priority of the Congress’ work,” he stated.
Finally, he drew attention to his initiative on ‘Academic Networks’ launched in January and suggested the idea of setting European Academic Networks for the main Council of Europe Conventions, including the Istanbul Convention and the Conventions against corruption. This initiative would be for the Council of Europe “an opportunity of having a stronger interaction with the academic community and to strengthen the mobilisation of teachers, researchers and students of its 47 member States around our values,” Mr Nicoletti concluded.