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Next step in the Assembly reform process

Proposals aimed at maintaining, changing or supplementing the rules governing the ratification or challenge of credentials, and participation rights of national delegations, have been referred to PACE’s Rules Committee for report at the October part-session (8-12 October, Strasbourg). Proposals regarding the voting rights of members and the voting procedures of the Assembly were also referred, on the same basis, to the committee.

The proposals appear in a report of the ad hoc Committee on the role and mission of the Parliamentary Assembly, which the PACE Bureau declassified today.

The Assembly’s President, Liliane Maury Pasquier, paid tribute to the work of the ad hoc Committee, recalling the importance of its “inclusive approach” – parliamentarians from all 47 member states participated on an equal footing - and thanked the Chairperson, her predecessor Michele Nicoletti, for its “swift and comprehensive work, completed within five months”.

She announced that the PACE Bureau today approved the proposals contained in the report – a twelve-point blueprint – for an in-depth reform of the Assembly with a view to enhancing its impact within the Organisation and member States, as well as improving its functioning and members’ involvement in its work.

The report also covers issues such as PACE’s nature and identity, its functions, relations with other Council of Europe bodies, external relations and internal functioning. The PACE Bureau referred these issues for consideration to the Committee on Political Affairs and Democracy, as well as to the Committee on Rules of Procedure, Immunities and Institutional Affairs.

The PACE President recalled that ultimately the Assembly’s reflection on its identity, role and mission as a statutory organ of the Council of Europe and a pan-European forum for interparliamentary dialogue, which aims at having an impact in all Council of Europe member States, is also meant to provide the Assembly’s vision of the future of the Organisation, in line with PACE Resolution 2186 (2017) calling for a Council of Europe summit to reaffirm European unity and to defend and promote democratic security in Europe.

“As an organisation which brings together almost all European states on the basis of common values, principles and legal standards, the Council of Europe is today best placed to help meet the challenges raised by growing nationalism and avoid the building of new walls,” the PACE President concluded, making a plea for “upholding multilateralism as an essential weapon against sovereignist attacks on our shared values”.