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‘The Council of Europe is more relevant now than ever before’, PACE President says

“The consequences of the Russian Federation’s aggression on Ukraine will last for decades, be it in terms of reconstruction needs, or for the safe and sustainable return of refugees, to name but a few challenges […]. At the same time, we must envisage initiatives to support and engage with human rights defenders, democratic forces, free media and independent civil society in the Russian Federation {…]. I strongly believe that the Council of Europe is more relevant now than ever before,” the PACE President said in Strasbourg today, addressing the plenary Session of the Council of Europe’s Congress.

“That is why now is the time to organise the 4th Summit of the Council of Europe,” he added. There is, Tiny Kox said, “an urgent need for us to come together at the highest possible level. Such a summit would allow us not only to discuss the current crisis in Europe and draw lessons from the situation but, above all, to look to the future, to recommit to our fundamental values, to inspire a new energy in our European co-operation and to create a fresh strategy for a Europe of 46 member States”.

The input of the Congress, the PACE President said, “would of course be important in this process. I strongly believe that democracy begins at local and regional levels. It is implemented, defended and safeguarded by the essential work that you, local and regional representatives, carry out on a daily basis and with the complex challenges that you face. Building and constructing democracy is not a top-down process, but the complete reverse – it has to come from the base”, Mr Kox underlined.