The Parliamentary Assembly has taken a series of measures intended to adapt its working procedures in response to the exceptional situation of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The closure of borders, restrictions on national and international travel and confinement for health reasons have led PACE to review, on an exceptional and provisional basis, its working methods and decision-making, in order to maintain its activities.
The Bureau of the Assembly met on 7 May by videoconference to discuss, among other things, a memorandum on arrangements for the conduct of remote committee meetings as well as references and transmissions to committees (Doc part 1 and 2).
The Standing Committee also met by videoconference the same day from 12 p.m. to 1 p.m. to deal with referrals of motions for report to committees, as proposed by the Bureau of the Assembly.
The Bureau met again on 25 June and the Standing Committee the next day, 26 June. Both took place by videoconference.
As regards the meetings to be held in Athens on 28 and 29 May 2020 in the framework of the Greek Chairmanship of the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe, the PACE President took note of a letter from the Greek parliamentary delegation transmitting its wish to postpone those meetings until mid-September. After consultation with the leaders of the political groups, this request was agreed to.
At its meeting on 30 April, the Bureau approved a memorandum modifying the working procedures of committees in response to the exceptional situation of COVID-19 and authorised remote committee meetings.
At its meeting on 7 May, the Bureau approved a memorandum on arrangements for the conduct of such remote committee meetings, introducing supplementary working methods on a temporary basis in response to the exceptional situation of COVID-19.
At its meeting on 25 June, the Bureau decided that it would not be possible to hold the summer part-session of the Assembly, originally scheduled to be held in Strasbourg on 22-26 June 2020 and which was supposed to be postponed to a later date. The Assembly is due to hold its next part-session in Strasbourg on 12-16 October 2020.
The Assembly, in partnership with the Vaclav Havel Library and the Charta 77 Foundation, will continue with its call for nominations for the Vaclav Havel Human Rights Prize for 2020. The deadline for the reception of candidatures is 30 June 2020. Further details on the Prize can be found here.
Committee chairpersons, rapporteurs, general rapporteurs and, more widely, all members of the Assembly remain active during this period. They are taking positions on various aspects of current events relating to the activities and mandate of the Parliamentary Assembly. Since 6 March 2020, 82 announcements or statements have been published on the PACE website (link).
Throughout the period of confinement, the Assembly Secretariat remains operational and carries out its work remotely via teleworking. This arrangement is intended to ensure the continuation of PACE’s activities while implementing the measures recommended by the health authorities of member States and the WHO, in accordance with Council of Europe policy.
Assembly staff can be reached by e-mail and their contact details are available on the web pages available via the main menu: Composition > Bureau and Committees