The European Conference of Presidents of Parliament concluded in Dublin today with a tribute to the courage of the Ukrainian people and a declaration of “unwavering commitment to stand with Ukraine for as long as it takes”.
The two-day parliamentary summit, which brought together some 60 Speakers or Deputy Speakers of Parliament and around 400 delegates, focused on how parliaments can support Ukraine, on challenges to representative democracy in volatile times, and on encouraging greater diversity and equality among MPs.
In conclusions submitted to the conference, PACE President Tiny Kox and the Speakers of both Houses of the Oireachtas said Ukraine was defending the values shared by all European democracies, and noted that “our determination in supporting Ukraine today will shape the future of Europe and the world tomorrow”.
Parliamentarians could show leadership, explain the real stakes of the war, encourage governments not to weaken in their resolve, and secure the support necessary for Ukraine to achieve a just and lasting peace, and reconstruct the country.
On the second theme – challenges to representative democracy in volatile times – the conference chairs reaffirmed parliaments’ commitment to the “enduring and unbreakable” principles of democracy and the values of accountability, transparency and representation underlying them.
There were calls to engage citizens more closely, streamline voting and tackle the problem of disinformation as well as maintain the highest ethical standards of public office.
On the third theme - equality and diversity among MPs - the conference chairs declared: "We need to join the dots between politics, policy and our populations." Pushing for full parity between men and women in parliaments, engaging young people in politics, building inclusive education and involving people with disabilities and other minorities were key to this.
The conference is held every two years, either in Strasbourg or the capital of a member state.