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PACE parliamentarians debate a fourth Council of Europe summit

PACE members have again expressed their strong support for the organisation of a fourth Council of Europe summit, which would bring together the Heads of State or Government of all member States to renew, improve and reinforce the Organisation at a time of dramatic realignment in Europe.

Jacques Maire (France, ALDE), opening a current affairs debate during a meeting of PACE’s Standing Committee in Dublin, pointed out that Russia’s aggression against Ukraine had brought an end to 70 years of convergence towards a Europe based on law, but had now posed an existential question: “What does our Organisation stand for?”

He outlined a vision for the Organisation which – while taking account of the EU’s role – would ensure respect for rulings of the Strasbourg Court, enable it to respond to crises, and create incentives for countries by tackling new topics that matter to Europeans.

PACE President Tiny Kox said a summit should be “not only organised swiftly but bold in its ambition”.

Parliamentarians also underlined the need for the Summit to be well prepared and to undertake profound reflection on how to reinforce “democratic security” on the continent.

The Deputy Secretary General of the Council of Europe, Bjorn Berge, said both he and the Secretary General were convinced the time had come for a Fourth Summit. “We need to seize the momentum and act fast,” he said.