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.
For an overview of the Assembly’s main activities during the period of confinement, read this progress report covering January to July 2020.
At a meeting by videoconference on 14 September 2020, the Bureau decided – in view of the current sanitary situation – to replace the October part-session of the Assembly by a meeting of the enlarged Standing Committee on 12-13 October, to be continued on 22-23 October. The President subsequently decided to convene it remotely.
The President announced that all members of PACE would be able to take the floor at this enlarged meeting. However, in accordance with the existing Rules, only members of the Standing Committee will be able to vote.
The Bureau also requested that the Assembly’s Rules Committee propose necessary changes to the Rules of Procedure in order to enable a plenary session of the Assembly, including the election of personalities, to be held in January 2021, physically or in hybrid or remote mode.
At an earlier 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.
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.
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic and the related sanitary situation in Europe, the procedure leading to the selection of the winner of the 2020 Prize has had to be postponed. Further details on the Prize web page.
Committee chairpersons, rapporteurs, general rapporteurs and, more widely, all members of the Assembly remain active during this period. They have taken positions on various aspects of current events relating to the activities and mandate of the Parliamentary Assembly. Since 6 March 2020, a significant number of announcements or statements have been published on the PACE website.
Throughout the period of confinement, the Assembly Secretariat remained operational and carried out its work remotely via teleworking. This arrangement was 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.
Since the end of confinement, most staff members have returned to office working, but the situation remains under constant review in light of the sanitary situation.