Parliaments have a vital role to play in implementing the “bold and ambitious” agenda set by Europe’s leaders at the Reykjavik Summit to strengthen human rights and recommit to democracy, PACE President Tiny Kox told Speakers of Parliament from across the continent gathered in Dublin.
Opening the 2023 European Conference of Presidents of Parliament, Mr Kox said he had requested the heads of all Europe’s legislatures to look closely at the declaration adopted by Council of Europe governments in Iceland, and to identify the contribution that each could make to implementing it. “We have to makes sure that, together, we now put our money where our mouth was in Reykjavik,” he said.
More than 60 Speakers or Deputy Speakers and around 400 delegates are attending the conference, organised by PACE and hosted by the Houses of the Oireachtas, as well as the heads of a number of inter-parliamentary assemblies. The conference, held over two days in the Irish capital, will be looking at three themes:
In his welcoming address, Seán Ó Fearghaíl, Ceann Comhairle of Dáil Éireann, the Speaker of the Irish House of Representatives, underlined that the international parliamentary community was gathering on the banks of the Liffey to “reinforce our commitment to the values and standards of the Council of Europe”, but he urged delegates to engage in “critical self-reflection” over the three themes of the conference.
The Secretary General of the Council of Europe, Marija Pejčinović Burić, underlined the key role that Parliaments and their Presidents could play in tackling the challenges Europe now faced: “Members of Parliament across Europe are experiencing a cross-current of pressures: unexpected crises, new and evolving challenges, a change in public expectations. Politicians must respond by upholding the space in which representative democracy does its job: our Parliaments."