A joint urgent debate on the political consequences of Russia’s aggression against Ukraine, and on the participation of Russian and Belarusian athletes in the Paris 2024 Olympics and Paralympics, was a highlight of the Summer plenary session of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) in Strasbourg on 19-23 June 2023.
There was also an urgent debate on ensuring free and safe access through the Lachin Corridor (Thursday), as well as a current affairs debate on recent political developments in Poland (Tuesday).
There were addresses by the President of Slovenia Nataša Pirc Musar and by Hungary’s Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade Péter Szijjártó.
Latvian Foreign Minister Edgars Rinkēvičs, Chair of the Committee of Ministers, presented its communication to the Assembly and tookquestions from members, while Council of Europe Secretary General Marija Pejčinović Burić held her usual question time.
The Assembly also held a joint debate on the topic of migration, discussing three reports on the integration of migrants and refugees; the social inclusion of migrants, refugees and internally displaced persons through sport; and the health and social protection of undocumented workers or those in an irregular situation.
Other topics on the agenda included addressing the specific challenges faced by Belarusians in exile (with the participation of Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya, leader of the Belarus democratic opposition); the reform of human rights legislation in the United Kingdom; and transnational repression as a growing threat to the rule of law and human rights.
There were also debates on the need for a holistic approach to health care during public health emergencies, and on closing the digital divide.
Finally, the parliamentarians discussed the budgets and priorities of the Council of Europe for the period 2024-2027, and the Assembly’s expenditure for the biennium 2024-2025.
Due to ongoing renovation work in the debating chamber of the Palais de l'Europe, the plenary sittings were held in the debating chamber of the European Parliament.