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Freedom of expression under threat by "Big Tech" companies

28/01/2021 | Session

“Freedom of expression is what distinguishes a democratic country from a dictatorship. In a healthy democracy there is freedom of speech. But the reverse is also true: freedom of speech is a prerequisite for that same democracy”, today said Bob De Brabandere (Belgium, EC/DA) opening a Current...

PACE ratifies the credentials of the Russian Federation

28/01/2021 | Session

PACE has ratified the credentials of the Russian parliamentary delegation by a large majority after they were challenged on substantive grounds on the opening day of the session – but has deplored a number of “negative tendencies” in the country with regard to democracy, the rule of law and human...

States must do more to stamp out ethnic profiling

28/01/2021 | Session

European countries must pass laws to ban “ethnic profiling”, if they have not already done so, and encourage police forces to take stronger action against racist behaviour, PACE has said. Approving a resolution based on a report by Boriss Cilevičs (Latvia, SOC), the Assembly pointed out that the...

Covid-19 vaccines must be a ‘global public good, available to everyone, everywhere’

27/01/2021 | Session

PACE has approved a wide-ranging report making a series of ethical, legal and practical recommendations for the safe and fair worldwide deployment of vaccines against Covid-19, avoiding “vaccine nationalism” and encouraging their uptake in the face of “vaccine hesitancy”. The new vaccines should...

Current affairs debate on the arrest and detention of Alexei Navalny in January 2021

27/01/2021 | Session

The Parliamentary Assembly, during its “hybrid” winter session, held a current affairs debate on the arrest and detention of Alexei Navalny in January 2021. Jacques Maire (France, ALDE), who is currently preparing a report on the poisoning of Mr Navalny, opened the debate and 31 other members...

Some States must stop applying restrictions on NGO activities

27/01/2021 | Session

During a debate in plenary session, PACE deplored that civil society space was shrinking in several member States and that restrictive legislation and regulations were still being applied, particularly in Azerbaijan, the Russian Federation and Turkey. It is concerned, in particular, about...

Increasing legal and political difficulties hinder the implementation of Strasbourg Court judgments

26/01/2021 | Session

Despite progress in the implementation of Strasbourg Court judgments and a constant reduction in the number of judgments pending before the Committee of Ministers – from around 10,000 in 2010 to 5 231 at the end of 2019, thanks to the reform following the 2010 Interlaken conference – PACE remains...

Judges in Poland and Moldova must remain independent, says PACE

26/01/2021 | Session

PACE has urged authorities in Poland and the Republic of Moldova to take a series of steps to uphold the rule of law and ensure judicial independence. Approving a resolution based on a report by Andrea Orlando (Italy, SOC), the Assembly condemned “the campaign of intimidation waged by the...

Bjørn Berge elected Deputy Secretary General of the Council of Europe

26/01/2021 | Session

Bjørn Berge (Norway) was elected today by the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) as the Deputy Secretary General of the Council of Europe by 185 votes to 112 for the other candidate, Leyla Kayacik (Turkey). He will take up office on 1 March 2021 for a period of five years and...

Despina Chatzivassiliou-Tsovilis, first woman elected Secretary General of the Parliamentary Assembly

26/01/2021 | Session

Today the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) elected Despina Chatzivassiliou-Tsovilis to the post of Secretary General of the Assembly, the first woman to hold the post in the Assembly’s 72-year history. She will serve for a five-year term starting on 1 March 2021 replacing...

Heiko Maas urges PACE not to burn bridges

26/01/2021 | Session

In a speech to the Assembly today, the Chair of the Committee of Ministers, German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas, paid tribute to the Council of Europe, referring to it as an “institutional pillar of our united continent” setting “human rights protection standards worldwide with the European...

PACE elects Andreas Zünd judge to the European Court of Human Rights in respect of Switzerland

26/01/2021 | Session

The Council of Europe Parliamentary Assembly (PACE) today elected Andreas Zünd as judge to the European Court of Human Rights in respect of Switzerland. Mr Zünd, having obtained an absolute majority of votes cast, is elected a judge of the European Court of Human Rights for a term of office of...