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Working together for the future of Europe: PACE President's address to the Council of Europe Congress

Tiny Kox, Congress speech

“If we want the European ideal to survive and thrive, we have no other choice than to rise to the challenges that are facing us, putting our creativity and wisdom together,” PACE President Tiny Kox said today in his address to the Council of Europe Congress.

The President stressed the importance of the complementary roles of the Parliamentary Assembly and the Congress of Local and Regional Authorities in making the decisions and activities of the Council of Europe more “effective and homogeneous”. He emphasised the need for periodic consultation and co-operation to achieve this objective.

President Kox also called on Heads of State and Government of the Council of Europe, meeting at a Summit in Reykjavik on 16 and 17 May 2023, to “reaffirm unity around values and commitments and set out a forward-looking vision for the Council of Europe”. He urged the Summit to prioritise responding to the consequences of Russia’s illegal and brutal aggression against Ukraine. The PACE President also recalled several measures to counter democratic backsliding and enhance citizens’ trust in democratic processes, particularly those “involving young people and having a youth perspective”.

Finally, President Kox praised the resilience and courage of local and regional stakeholders in Ukraine, highlighting their crucial role in the country's reconstruction. He encouraged cities to join the Cities4Cities/United4Ukraine platform initiative, which creates long-term partnerships between Ukrainian and European cities in delivering aid and support. “Sound democratic institutions, respect for the rule of law and compliance with democratic standards are the best guarantees for the country and Europe as a whole,” he added.