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26 April 2023 afternoon

2023 - Second part-session Print sitting

Sitting video(s) 1 / 1

Opening of the sitting num 12

Elections: Judge to the European Court of Human Rights

Mr Tiny KOX

Netherlands, UEL, President of the Assembly


Dear colleagues,

The sitting is open.

The Agenda calls for the election of one judge to the European Court of Human Rights in respect of Romania.

The list of candidates and biographical notices and the opinion of the committee on the election of judges are to be found in Documents 15733 and 15745 and Addendum 2.

Please ensure that you are sitting in your designated seat, then insert your voting card. You must leave your voting card in the slot throughout the vote until 4:30 p.m. If you remove it before the ballot is closed, your vote will not be counted.

You will see the names of the three candidates on the screen at your seat and you can navigate between the three names using the little arrows. Once you have selected the name of your chosen candidate, you should vote "For" by pressing the green button. If you wish to abstain, please press the white button. A blue light will appear at your desk to show you have cast your vote. You do not need to vote against the other candidates, so please do not use the red button.

Each political group has appointed a teller, according to the rules:

Group of the European People's Party: Mr Sergiy VLASENKO,

Socialists, Democrats and Greens Group: Mr Stefan SCHENNACH,

Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe: Ms Ingvild Wetrhus THORSVIK,

European Conservatives Group and Democratic Alliance: Mr Bob van PAREREN,

and Group of the Unified European Left: Ms Laura CASTEL.

I will announce the results of the election as soon as possible in order to organise a second round at around 5:00 p.m., if needed.

For this first ballot, an absolute majority of the votes is requested.

Mr Ian LIDDELL-GRAINGER, you asked for a point of order.

You have the floor.


United Kingdom, EC/DA


Thank you, Mister President.

Mister President, after yesterday - to which you are now looking at - first of all we don't blame you, sir, for what happened. And I don't think it had anything to do you.

But I will say two things, if I may.

The first: my teller was never informed that he had to go behind the scenes to be part of what happened. You have re-addressed that today. I am grateful, sir. That is the first thing.

The second thing is that it wasn't secret. One of my colleagues, who is a great friend, actually came past and said "I see how you voted". It is not a secret ballot. You can look on the screen and see it.

And I would urge you, sir, because of this and how contentious it has been, because of what has happened, to review this very carefully indeed. And I think you should take this into consideration. I'd ask you to do so.

Thank you.

Mr Tiny KOX

Netherlands, UEL, President of the Assembly


Thank you very much.

Your point of order says that we should take into consideration these two elements that you mentioned.

I can tell the Parliamentary Assembly that we will already [be] evaluating this first-time-ever electronic vote in this way, in this hemicycle, on Friday morning.

I've taken your point of order.

There is another point of order, Mr Aleksander POCIEJ.

Mr Aleksander POCIEJ

Poland, EPP/CD


Yes, I would like to draw your attention and this is about about the item that, of course, we were all surprised by the new mechanism – all of us. And this mechanism failed and this is nobody's fault but still, there are some doubts about yesterday.

So I strongly believe, that for all of us and for this organisation, postponing the vote until June will be the safest solution.

If we vote today – and this is my worry – the secrecy of the vote - all we know is that it is very easy to see how my neighbour and people behind me are voting.

I strongly believe that we should go back to the old mechanism of using paper and vote in full secrecy.

Today's vote is not going to ensure this secrecy.

Mr Tiny KOX

Netherlands, UEL, President of the Assembly


Thank you very much Mr Aleksander POCIEJ.

I noticed that your point of order is a proposal to change the agenda to postpone the vote on this.

I have to take that point of order.

I see Mr Frank SCHWABE who wants to speak against your proposal.


Germany, SOC


Mister President, although I usually very often agree with my distinguished colleague from the Group of the European People's Party, this time I don't.

I understand the concerns.

All of us had concerns that there was a mistake yesterday, there was a mistake in the alphabetical order.

In the way we solved it, we overcame the situation about the secrecy. I'm able to do it here.

Maybe you can explain how to organise [things so] that we can have a secret vote.

Later on, we can maybe evaluate it for the future, but I think we should prevent everything [we can to not cause] the Court [further] trouble. I think it is more problematic to postpone.

So I ask [for] us to have the voting now.

Mr Tiny KOX

Netherlands, UEL, President of the Assembly


Thank you very much.

We have one speaker in favour of the proposal to change the agenda and one speaker against it.

I will now put the proposal to the vote.

A two-thirds majority is required to change the Agenda.

Sorry, we are now first voting on this and then we come back to another point of order. There has been a proposal to change the agenda.

I now put it to the vote.

The vote is open.

We are voting to change the agenda. So if you wait, we will proceed to vote on the motion to change the agenda moved by Mr Aleksander POCIEJ. Those who wish to change the agenda vote "Yes", those who do not want to change the agenda should vote "No".

The vote is open.

We still have 14 people who have put voting cards in the machine, but did not yet vote. So, please do.

I now close the vote.

I call for the results to be displayed.

70 people have voted in favour, 77 have voted against.

That means there is no two-thirds majority. So the agenda stays as it is.

If you say "point of order", you can also say it in a relaxed way.

Mr Norbert KLEINWÄCHTER, you have a point of order.


Germany, EC/DA


Thank you.

I just want to be heard, this is a big hall.

Unfortunately, I have to raise a point of order because on Monday we adopted the agenda with the main vote being on Tuesday.

It was your presidential decision to postpone this vote to Wednesday because an alphabetical order mistake was found.

Do you want to explain to your voters in your constituencies that you voted by rank?

So you should need, sorry to put it...

[Mr Tiny KOX tries to interrupt several times before succeeding]

Mr Tiny KOX

Netherlands, UEL, President of the Assembly


Sorry, if you can shout "point of order" loudly, then keep it to the point of order, Mr Norbert KLEINWÄCHTER, that is more convenient.

Yesterday, after I gave you my ruling on the voting process, I proposed to the Parliamentary Assembly: do we agree to have it on the agenda tomorrow at 4:00 p.m.

I asked "are there any objections?"

There were no objections, so the Parliamentary Assembly unanimously decided to change the agenda.

That is with regards to that point of order.

I now go back to the vote.

Point of order? Sir.


Spain, EC/DA


Mister President,

Which legal rule enables you to know the results of yesterday's voting about the Romanian judge?

And which legal rule prevents the rest of the Parliamentary Assembly from knowing the aforesaid result?

[Mr Tiny KOX tries several times to interrupt before succeeding].

Mr Tiny KOX

Netherlands, UEL, President of the Assembly


Sorry sir, a point of order is a point of order with regard to the agenda.

The decision yesterday was taken on the basis of the rules, so we cannot come back on that now.

We continue to the vote... no, no, you made your point of order. Sorry, no. You made the point of order, sir. No, sorry sir. We have taken that decision. I explained it yesterday. It's completely according to the rules. I will explain it again in the Bureau.

What was on the agenda was the proposal from Mr Aleksander POCIEJ. We have taken a decision, and the vote will now take place. Once more, we have appointed the tellers. I informed the tellers that, immediately after I close the vote, and that will be at 4:30 p.m., the tellers have to go to the back of the hall and to go and count the votes.

You have your voting cards ready. The vote is open.

Sorry, with regard to making your vote as secret as possible, cast your vote and then put something on it. That's the old fashioned way. You also can then, after you have cast your vote, use the cursor. Then it switches. You can switch them all to the number 1 or the number 3 so that nobody sees what you have voted. It's up to you.

The vote is open.

There are still a few minutes left to cast your vote, and not everybody who has put his or her voting card in the machine has voted yet, so I would like to ask you to do that.


The vote is closed.

I call for the results to be displayed.

No, no, sorry, I call for the tellers to count the votes and deliver me the procès-verbal of their deliberations.

Now, dear colleagues, I will announce the result of the votes as soon as the procès-verbal has been signed by our tellers.

Dear colleagues,

Now I am pleased to announce that the winning city of the Europe Prize 2023 is Bolesławiec in Poland.

We heartily congratulate the mayor and all residents of the city in Poland.

Since the creation of the Europe Prize in 1955, it is the 84th city to be awarded this prize for European cities. Congratulations!

The next item on the agenda is the debate on the report titled “Political strategies to prevent, prepare for, and face the consequences of natural disasters” (Document No. 15738 and Addendum 1) presented by Mr Simon MOUTQUIN on behalf of the Committee on Social Affairs, Health and Sustainable Development.

In order to finish by 6:15 p.m. I will interrupt the list of speakers at about 6:05 p.m. to allow time for the reply and vote on the draft resolution and draft recommendation.

Before giving the floor to our rapporteur, as we all are aware that over 50 000 people lost their lives in this horrible earthquake, hundreds of thousands of relatives are mourning now, and so many people had to leave their homes, their cities, and even go elsewhere.

Therefore, I would like you to join me in a moment of silence in respect to all the victims and also for their relatives and beloved ones.

Can I ask you to take a moment of silence?

[Minute of silence observed]

Thank you very much.

On behalf of the Parliamentary Assembly, I immediately passed my condolences to our counterparts in Turkey. Thank you very much for showing our respect in this moment of silence.

I now call Mr Simon MOUTQUIN, rapporteur. You have 7 minutes now and 3 minutes at the end of the debate to reply.

You have the floor, sir.

Debate: Political strategies to prevent, prepare for, and face the consequences of natural disasters


Belgium, SOC, Rapporteur


Thank you, Mister President.

Dear Colleagues,

Dear Turkish delegation,

I cannot begin the presentation of this report without once again expressing my deepest condolences and my genuine emotion at what you have experienced in Türkiye and Syria.

In fact, after spending three days on the ground, I cannot find the words today to describe what I have seen. There are no words to describe the nightmare, the nightmare that the people of Türkiye and Syria have experienced.

There is perhaps one image that is important to remember, one image that I will keep in mind: it is that of the dozens of people we met for several days, wandering, walking on the rubble in search of jewellery, in search of photos, in search of memories, in search of their lives.

The earthquake that struck on 6 February destroyed and impacted 11 Turkish provinces and neighbouring Syrian areas, an area the size of Austria. It officially killed 57 000 people, but probably more than 100 000 according to the many experts we met. It has affected 17 million people and 7 million children alone. It has displaced millions of people across Türkiye, but it has also left millions of people in extreme poverty.

It is true, some questions arise after this earthquake: the co-ordination of aid, the time of intervention, the number of victims, the management of billions of tons of waste, the balance between the state of emergency and democracy, the balance between centralisation of aid and trust in national authorities. I was not in Türkiye to investigate; I was in Türkiye above all to show my solidarity with the people affected.

I think it is important to remember today that Türkiye is not a neighbour of the Council of Europe. Türkiye is a member of the Council of Europe family and, what is more, a rather old member since it joined the Council of Europe in 1950.

There is a whole series of solidarity that I call on you today to increase towards the affected countries.

The first is economic. It is true that while the Donors' Conference has pledged $7 billion in aid, estimates today put the cost at $100 billion and $7 billion for the two countries. In addition to financial measures, I think that there are other forms of solidarity that must be initiated.

The first is to go to the region. I have seen that I was one of the first European politicians to go to the region, and I encourage you to go and meet these people.

Then, the other thing to do is that I think it is time to create solidarities, bridges between European cities and cities in Türkiye. For example, it is necessary to set up a series of twinnings towards the cities that have been affected.

Then I will take advantage of my presence here in the Parliament of the European Union to call on our colleagues of the European Union to reconsider reopening the negotiations to suspend visas for Turks in particular, but, in general, for all those young people on the periphery of the European Union who look towards Europe, who feel European.

This addendum, the addendum to the report, is above all a call for solidarity. Silence cannot continue in relation to the disaster that these two countries have experienced. Then this report, the more general report on natural disasters, is a report that makes this worrying observation: the number of natural disasters will increase in the coming years. They will be more intense and more frequent. The cause, of course, is climate change.

Forest fires in winter in northern Europe, more violent floods, more hurricanes, unfortunately, in the best case scenario of a 1.5-degree increase, these disasters will have a huge impact on humanity and, unfortunately, the best forecasts bring us to 3 degrees of temperature increase.

We must drastically reduce the human impact on the environment and adapt. In 2021 alone, there were 432 disasters, including 56 in Europe, which caused more than 10 000 deaths, affected 100 million people and caused economic damage of more than 252 billion dollars.

A natural disaster is ultimately a natural event that interacts with our societies. There are a variety of factors that can increase mortality from natural disasters. Among these factors, urbanisation, poverty, demographic ageing, disinvestment of public services or the level of preparation of our citizens.

In light of this reality, I wanted to point out a few elements of my report that are important.

The first, of course, is that – and this is one of the fundamentals, the fundamental of our institution – natural disasters affect a whole set of fundamental rights that are the heart of our institution. To begin with, the first article of the European Convention on Human Rights: the right to life.

Then particular attention that we were able to see during our visit in Türkiye is that the first people affected by these disasters are the vulnerable public: women who are at risk of dying much more than men due to natural disasters, but who are also exposed to domestic violence, particularly due to promiscuity; children who suffer from post-traumatic shock for many years after a disaster; but also the most precarious populations who are not only housed in precarious conditions, but who, in addition, cannot flee after a natural disaster.

It is time, and I believe that this is a call of my report, to put in place national strategies, national strategies concerted with citizens, with NGOs, with local actors, which have perhaps four phases: prevention, which must give importance to self-help, preparation, which increases the capacity for resilience, intervention, which must be an effective intervention, co-ordinated with all the publics, and reconstruction, which must be done in a democratic and concerted manner.

Our role at the Council of Europe is, of course, one of exchange, expertise, and good practices, but it is also a role that consists in putting forward human rights in natural disasters, and not only an operational or financial logic.

Amongst the good practices, there is always, for example, the EUR-OPA instrument, which aims to bring together good practices. Unfortunately, I must say that like many interesting Council of Europe instruments, it is currently under-financed and underused. I call on my country, for example, which recently withdrew from the EUR-OPA Major Hazards Agreement, to return to this agreement as soon as possible, as it is a real added value for the Council of Europe.

Of course, beyond that, there is the question of environmental rights. I will no doubt come back to this in my conclusion, but I think that it is really time, a few weeks before the Fourth Council of Europe Summit, to imagine instruments that can protect us from these natural disasters, such as, for example – it is on the table and I encourage the leaders to support it – an environmental commission that could look into these issues.

The tragedy in Türkiye and Syria is not related to climate change. We, the young people and the future generations, will experience many more natural disasters.

This report that I have read today is a call for awareness that the world is changing, that our societies must accept resilience and our states must fight against climate change.

Finally, I would like to warmly thank my colleagues and you, colleagues, who have contributed to this report, the Turkish delegation who made it possible to organise this mission in the field and, of course, the Secretariat of the Committee on Social, Health and Sustainable Development, and Mr Guillaume Parent, who has done an excellent job with me on this report.

I thank you all.

Mr Tiny KOX

Netherlands, UEL, President of the Assembly


Thank you [in French], Mister Rapporteur.

At the end of the debate, you will have 3 minutes to reply.

I now open the debate.

First in the debate, I call Mr Hişyar ÖZSOY from Türkiye. He speaks on behalf of the Group of the Unified European Left.

You have the floor.


Mr Hişyar ÖZSOY

Türkiye, UEL, Spokesperson for the group


Thank you, thank you, Mister Chair, and thank you, Mister Simon MOUTQUIN for the report.

I agree with most of the debates and recommendations. 


Mr Tiny KOX

Netherlands, UEL, President of the Assembly


Sorry, Mr Hişyar ÖZSOY, your microphone should be more towards you.

Mr Hişyar ÖZSOY

Türkiye, UEL, Spokesperson for the group


Okay, I am not used to this one, I am sorry.

So thanks Mr Simon MOUTQUIN for the report.

I agree with most of the debates and recommendations included in the report and I invite everybody to support it, of course.

I would like to raise just two points in addition. One is a general point and the other is more specific.

Towards the end of the report it is stated, and I quote, "It is no longer possible to follow a productivist path that seeks to exploit nature. It is time to live in harmony with and not confront nature." I think this should be the most central component of any strategy to deal with the so-called natural disasters. We need to have a fundamental change in our relationship with nature. The fact is that what we call natural disasters are often human-made disasters. Behind such disasters, there is almost always a whole political economy based on unlimited exploitation of nature, profit maximisation, unlimited accumulation of wealth and almost unlimited consumption. These are the main factors behind most of our environmental and ecological problems and we cannot address these ecological problems by simply recycling some paper or plastic or not drinking bottled water.

The problem is not one of individual ethics of consumption but the very structure of our modes of economic production. The planet has limited sources. Population increase and climate crisis are real but we forget the fact that this planet does not belong to people only, to exploit and destroy the way we wish. It belongs to all beings –  humans, animals, fish, birds, insects, mosquitoes, trees, plants, flowers, and even bacteria have a right to exist on this planet.

My second point is about what happened in Türkiye. I think that for a person from Türkiye who is closely following the situation on the ground, what happened in Türkiye was mostly preventable. Scientists, geologists, everybody was warning us that a disaster was coming, the earthquake was coming, but unfortunately not much was done to prevent it. We have a totally almost unregulated construction sector, non-enforced or lax construction codes, repeated zoning amnesties which legalise unlawfully built, unsafe houses, corrupt contractors, corrupt local governments and an ineffective government that could not actually make sure that citizens have access to safe houses, and then we have citizens who want to accumulate wealth and have houses in cheap ways. When you put all of these together, actually, then we realise the fact that what happened in Türkiye was not a natural disaster but a collectively committed mass murder –  as I would call it. Let us hope that we learn from our mistakes and do our best to prevent future disasters.

Just one last thing, I would like to express of course my condolences to the families of the victims and invite everybody here and the whole international community to increase their support and solidarity for the victims who are desperately trying to recover and survive.

Thank you.

Mr Tiny KOX

Netherlands, UEL, President of the Assembly


Thank you very much, Mr Hişyar ÖZSOY.

Next in the debate, I call Ms Franziska KERSTEN from Germany on behalf of the Socialists, Democrats and Greens Group. You have the floor.

Ms Franziska KERSTEN

Germany, SOC, Spokesperson for the group


Dear Mister President,

Ladies and gentlemen,

Thank you very much, Mr Simon MOUTQUIN, for this very impressive report.

That natural disasters are increasing due to climate change is indisputable. It is important that we adapt to this.

As an environmental politician, I would like to make a plea for us to make much greater use of the potential of ecosystems here.

Internationally, it is the case that the global north is responsible for a large part of climate change, but it is primarily the global south that suffers. This also leads to migration, and NGOs are calling for climate refugees to be recognised. If we are not legally responsible for these people now, we should feel responsible to prevent further climate change and thus further climate disasters.

To do this, we must follow the the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change's recommendations, to which Mr Simon MOUTQUIN's report refers directly, and of course ensure that we make further progress on the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

We also have to take action directly on our own doorstep, because climate disasters do not only happen in the global south. The report gives Germany a rather poor report card with regard to the flood disaster in the Ahr Valley in June 2021. It was not due to infrastructure, it says, but to poor communication and co-operation.

The report calls on member States to take measures to mitigate the consequences of the climate crisis and related natural disasters. Germany is currently developing its existing adaptation strategy into a precautionary climate adaptation strategy. What I would like to emphasise, however, is the potential we have through natural climate protection. In the German Bundestag, I am supporting the Natural Climate Protection Action Program, which we are currently funding with €4 billion until 2026. We want to denaturalise rivers, floodplains, coasts, forests and especially peatlands.

This will have three positive effects:

Firstly, biodiversity will increase in this restored ecosystem. This is a sign of species protection.

Secondly, we are countering climate change. The drained peatlands in Germany currently mimic 7% of our total emissions. If we re-wet these areas, we prevent further global warming and thus also limit the risk of natural disasters.

Thirdly, all these ecosystems retain water during heavy rain events and then release the water slowly and in a controlled manner to the surrounding area. This makes a disaster like the one in the Ahr Valley less likely.

So I advocate always thinking about the potential of our ecosystems when adapting to climate change and preventing natural disasters.

Thank you very much.

Mr Tiny KOX

Netherlands, UEL, President of the Assembly


Thank you, Madam Franziska KERSTEN.

Next in the debate I call Mr Yuriy KAMELCHUK from Ukraine. He speaks on behalf of the Group of the European People's Party.

Mr Yuriy KAMELCHUK, you have the floor.


Ukraine, EPP/CD, Spokesperson for the group


Thank you, President.

Thank you, Rapporteur.

Today, I would like to address the critical issue of natural disasters and the political strategies that can be implemented to prevent, prepare for, and face the consequences.

Natural disasters, such as hurricanes, earthquakes, floods, and wildfires have devastating impacts on our communities, environment, and economies.

It is therefore crucial to have effective political strategies that can mitigate the risk of natural disasters and enhance the resilience of our societies.

On February, Türkiye was struck by a devastating earthquake that resulted in the loss of many lives and significant damage to infrastructure.

Our hearts go out to the people of Türkiye during this difficult time, and we must learn from this experience to ensure that our communities are better prepared for future earthquakes.

In Germany, devastating floods have recently caused widespread damage, loss of life and displacement of communities.

These events highlight the urgent need for effective food management. Strategies that can prevent, prepare for, and respond to such disasters. As we consider political strategies to address natural disasters, we must prioritise the development and implementation of fluid management policies and infrastructure to minimise the impacts of such events.

The first political strategy to prevent natural disasters is to adopt measures that reduce their likelihood and severity. This can be achieved through sustainable development policies that promote eco-friendly practices such as reduced carbon emissions, protecting biodiversity, and improving waste management.

Additionally, governments can invest in infrastructure projects that reduce the impact of natural disasters, such as building sea walls, reinforcing buildings, and establishing early warning systems.

The second strategy is to prepare for natural disasters by strengthening emergency response capabilities.

Governments should invest in disaster response training, equipment, and infrastructure to ensure the emergency services can respond effectively in the event of a disaster.

Furthermore, governments can engage with local communities to develop disaster preparedness plans that are tailored to their unique needs and circumstances.

The third strategy is to face the consequences of natural disasters by providing immediate relief and long-term recovery support. This includes providing emergency food, shelter, and medical aid to the affected communities as well as funding for reconstruction and economic recovery efforts.

Additionally, governments can work with international organisations such as the United Nations to mobilise resources and co-ordinate relief efforts on a global scale.

Thank you.

Mr Tiny KOX

Netherlands, UEL, President of the Assembly


Thank you, Mr Yuriy KAMELCHUK,

Before we continue the debate, I have received the protocol with regard to the election of a judge to the European Court of Human Rights for Romania.

I see that the protocol has been signed by all five tellers.

There are no remarks with regards to the electoral procedure, therefore I can announce the results.

The total number of members voting was 173.

The number of spoiled or blank ballots was 15.

The absolute majority of the votes cast would be 80.

The number of valid votes counts up to 158.

The votes were cast as follows:

Ms Claudia Jderu received 8 votes.

Mr Razvan-Horatiu Radu received 77 votes.

Mr Sebastian Rădulețu received 73 votes.

None of the candidates having obtained an absolute majority of votes cast, a second round will take place at 5:00 p.m.

We now continue with the debate.

Mr Tiny KOX

Netherlands, UEL, President of the Assembly


I now call Ms Liliana TANGUY, from France, on behalf of the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe.

Ms Liliana TANGUY

France, ALDE, Spokesperson for the group


Thank you, Mr President.

Dear colleagues,

The latest IPCC report has sounded the alarm. According to UN estimates, nine out of ten natural disasters are linked to global warming today and the number will continue to increase in the years to come.

In 2022, floods in Pakistan killed at least 1 700 people, destroyed 250 000 homes and caused 50 million climate refugees. Last February, earthquakes in Türkiye and Syria claimed more than 57 000 lives and displaced 1.7 million people.

Climate change also increases the risks linked to coastal erosion and exposes all coastal territories, as is the case in France, and particularly in my constituency of Finistère and in the French Overseas Territories. This is why the French government launched last March a National Coastline Committee to rethink coastal development in order to ensure the safety of populations.

It is indeed our duty to protect the most vulnerable in our societies and to fight against corruption, which increases the risk exposure of natural disasters. Thus, any political strategy aimed at preventing, preparing or dealing with the consequences of natural disasters should also have a specific approach towards women and children, who are particularly vulnerable to the potential risks. It is also our responsibility to raise awareness of natural disasters, particularly amongst young people, through education. In this regard, the work of the Observatory on History Teaching in Europe and its report on the history of natural disasters is to be congratulated.

In the face of the climate emergency, the Council of Europe must continue its work on safeguarding the environment.

The Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe, on whose behalf I am speaking today, supports the motion for a resolution and the draft recommendation presented in this report - and I congratulate the rapporteur on his report - because we are convinced that a right to a healthy environment must be one of the priorities of the Council of Europe, which in a few days' time in Reykjavík will redefine its strategic compass. We encourage the Committee of Ministers to promote the drafting of an additional protocol to the European Convention on Human Rights and the European Social Charter.

Next year, the COP 28 UN Climate Change Conference will be held in Dubai, to assess collective efforts to honour the commitments made under the Paris Agreements. This will be the first global stocktaking exercise. We need to reactivate the EUR-OPA Major Hazards Agreement, and step up cooperation between the Council of Europe, the UN and the European Union, as well as drawing up European standards.

Thank you very much.

Mr Tiny KOX

Netherlands, UEL, President of the Assembly


Thank you Ms Liliana TANGUY.

Next in the debate on the speakers list is Ms Sevinj FATALIYEVA from Azerbaijan on behalf of the European Conservatives Group and Democratic Alliance - you have the floor.


Azerbaijan, EC/DA, Spokesperson for the group


Mister President, dear colleagues,

Climate change increased the threat to world peace and security.

Over the past two decades the world has witnessed more than 2 500 natural disasters affecting billions of people.

The consequences of the disasters that have hit our planet hinder efforts to eradicate poverty and endangered food security, human security, and make it even more difficult to work for peace and stability, as disruptions lead to instability, population displacement, and even conflict.

Of course, humans do not have the ability to manage natural phenomena, but it encourages people to get ready for the catastrophes and quickly fight its consequences.

The report highlights the situation in Türkiye after the devastating earthquake, which took the lives of thousands of people, destroyed infrastructure, and damaged the economy of the country.

Nevertheless, Türkiye showed a good example of effective and timely response to this situation.

Fifteen days after the devastating earthquake, the foundation of new private houses were laid. In total, 500 000 apartments and more than 140 000 private houses in the disaster zone are planned to be built.

These works are ongoing. The main task for the leadership of Türkiye is to relocate the citizens affected by earthquakes to new modern houses, with all amenities, as soon as possible. The infrastructure of all cities and villages in the disaster zone is being updated. To do this, several government programmes have been adopted.

Ladies and gentlemen,

The earthquake in Türkiye also showed how international solidarity, international support, is important and possible.

Speaking about the readiness of states to respond to natural disasters, it's reflected in several aspects of the report, such as the fact that states can develop detailed emergency response plans that define the rules and responsibilities of government agencies during natural disasters.

These plans should include procedures for evacuation, search and rescue efforts, and distribution of emergency supplies; implementing a warning system that uses a variety of communication methods; investing in infrastructure that can withstand natural disasters – such as reinforcing buildings, bridges, roads – to better withstand earthquakes and floods; encouraging private sector organisations to prepare for natural disasters, including development contingency plans, purchasing backup generators, and securing critical infrastructure. Sharing information is also important, and resources with neighbouring regions to improve planning and response efforts; and also providing financial assistance to individuals and businesses affected by natural disasters, such as low interest loans and grants to help with recovery efforts.


I would like to thank the rapporteur Mr Simon MOUTQUIN for reminding us in his report, in his work, that it's time to realise that disaster prevention and management must become a priority in the political strategies of all the member states.

Thank you.

Mr Tiny KOX

Netherlands, UEL, President of the Assembly


Thank you Ms Sevinj FATALIYEVA.

I now call in the debate Ms Petra BAYR from Austria. You have the floor.

Ms Petra BAYR

Austria, SOC


Thank you very much, Mister Tiny KOX.

I actually wanted to speak in German.

Let me address two different levels to this issue.

On the one hand, a very general but very worrying one is, namely, the fact that our world is really in a state of emergency, that our world is on the verge of a real collapse. This is really very, very serious. Thank you, Mister Simon MOUTQUIN, for the report, which is, I think, very very important at this time.

There are still quite a few corporations all over the world that are exploiting, polluting this earth without having to fear any consequences. Therefore, it is really time that those who are destroying the earth, who are heating up the climate, who are making the water undrinkable, who are making the air unbreathable, were held accountable. Therefore, again, is a plea for ecocides, the crime against the environment, to become the fifth crime at the International Criminal Court.

A second level, which I find just as important in this context, is that it is really unacceptable that politics are made with the consequences of natural disasters; that politics are made on the backs of people who are standing on the ruins of their existence, who have to mourn the dead, who no longer know how to go on living. It is not acceptable that help arrives in earthquake areas at different speeds or slowly, depending on the people, religion, ethnicity. This simply cannot be allowed to happen.

It is also unacceptable that borders be closed due to electoral considerations, thus preventing a much worse affected and much less developed country from being denied any international aid, simply because the aid organisations, the humanitarian aid, cannot cross the border and stand by these people who would need it so urgently.

It cannot be that aid products, relief goods, even blankets, tents, garments, whatever, are relabeled and then end up with the logo of the ruling party. These are things that simply must not happen.

Money that should have been used for resilient construction – this has already been mentioned – has been diverted elsewhere, with the consequence that we would probably have had far fewer deaths if this money had really been used for what it was intended for, namely earthquake-proof, disaster-proof, crisis-proof, resilient construction.

It is good that there are now lawsuits, that there are now charges. It is good that those who are to blame for this are being held accountable.

It is also unacceptable, and here I am referring in particular to IS, that it continues to bomb areas where most people are still suffering from the consequences of this catastrophe. I think that is just as much due to the IS, as for any member State, that no politics should be made with such catastrophes.

Thank you very much.

Mr Tiny KOX

Netherlands, UEL, President of the Assembly


Thank you [in German] Ms Petra BAYR.

Before we continue our debate, we will now proceed to the second round of the vote of the election of the judge of the European Court of Human Rights.

As no candidate achieved the required absolute majority, we will now have this second round.

I inform you that the tellers will be the same as for the first ballot, so be prepared tellers.

After I open it the ballot will close at 5:20 p.m.

I expect to announce the results of the elections here in the Assembly as soon as possible as the ballot closes.

I would like to ask you all – for reasons that we know – to stay in your places during the voting procedure. And take the measures to ensure that your vote is indeed a secret vote.

I now declare the ballot open, and we will continue our debate.

At 5:20 p.m. I will close the vote.

I now call Mr Nicos TORNARITIS from Cyprus. You have the floor.


Cyprus, EPP/CD


Dear colleagues,

Humanity recently witnessed one of the most disastrous earthquakes in the Middle East. Thousands of lives were lost. While recovery in Türkiye and Syria has been hard and painful, from the very first moment Cyprus expressed its full support and solidarity with the people of Türkiye and Syria and offered valuable assistance in humanitarian aid contribution to the efforts for recovery from this tragedy.

This scale of destruction should never be repeated. Governments should establish effective pre-disaster planning strategies. To this effect, governments should establish effective early warning systems. Governments should invest in critical infrastructure to reduce the impact of natural disasters. Governments should educate the public about natural disasters, how to prepare for them and what to do in case of an emergency. Governments should revise urban and coastal planning so as to avoid excessive construction in high-risk areas and undertake works to bolster the strength and capacity of existing buildings.

The nuclear power plant in Akkuyu, Türkiye is a major source of concern as it is stationed in a high seismic zone. Additional safety measures need to be taken as a matter of urgency because the potential human and ecological disaster for Türkiye and the whole region could be unprecedented. Disaster relief programmes should be redesigned in line with lessons learned from this tragic experience in co-operation with all the relevant international and private organisations.

Dear colleagues,

Only by creating a culture of prevention and resilience against environmental degradation and natural disasters can societies withstand the damage and suffering costs.

Thank you very much.

Mr Tiny KOX

Netherlands, UEL, President of the Assembly


Thank you, Mister Nicos TORNARITIS.

Next in the debate is Ms Lisa Marie Ness KLUNGLAND from Norway - you have the floor.

Ms Lisa Marie Ness KLUNGLAND

Norway, ALDE


Thank you, Mister President.

First of all, I would like to give my deepest sympathies and condolences to the Turkish and Syrian people.

Natural disasters are the greatest threat to our planet and the people living on it. Every country in the world should work with civil protection and emergency preparedness, as this report and the draft resolution encourages. I would therefore like to thank the rapporteur for his outstanding work.

My party came into government in Norway almost two years ago. From the start, our Minister of Justice and Public Security, and also a former member of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe, Mr Emilie Mehl, began a major project to prevent and prepare for natural disasters.

Norway can be a dangerous country. We have steep hills and rocky mountains; major glaciers and ice melting during the spring; heavy rain and wind during the fall and winter; and dry summers. To cap this, we have people living in almost every corner of the country.

Yet our decentralised pattern of living may also provide opportunities. When disasters strike, the authorities need to have local knowledge and address people with this local knowledge. The Red Cross and others have highly competent volunteers all over the country; and often the emergency rescue services consist of local people with a key insight into local matters. I can’t over-stress the importance of having a civil society with a certain expertise in search and rescue.

For the last two years, the Norwegian government has had prevention and preparation as one of its highest priorities. We have started rebuilding the Norwegian Civil Defence, have built over 2 000 new critical communication network terminals, and have begun the work to set up a national warning system to reach the population fast.

But preventive and preparatory actions do take time.

This June, the minister will receive a comprehensive report on a cross-sector approach to preparedness, from local to national, which will guide the way the government thinks and acts on these matters in the future.

I encourage each state to do the same.

Thank you.

Mr Tiny KOX

Netherlands, UEL, President of the Assembly


Thank you, Ms Lisa Marie Ness KLUNGLAND.

Next in the debate I'll call Ms Edite ESTRELA from Portugal - you have the floor.


Portugal, SOC


Thank you, Mister President.

Thank you, Mister Simon MOUTQUIN. You have done a lot of work, and very well, on a subject that is very important for our future. Thank you for mentioning my report "Climate Crisis and the Rule of Law".

In 2005, I was a member of the European Parliament. After the floods in Germany and Austria and the fires in Spain and Portugal, I presented a report on natural disasters in this Chamber. Eighteen years later, here we are again with the same warnings and calls for urgent action to combat climate change. The climate crisis is perhaps the most serious crisis humanity will ever face.

Climate scientists say the climate crisis threatens all the progress made after the Second World War. Last year's drought in Europe will probably be the worst in five hundred years. In the United Kingdom, Germany, India, and Pakistan, and even in the Arctic Circle, and Siberia, temperature records have been broken.

The rapporteur mentions several natural disasters: one third of Pakistan was under water, causing 50 million climate refugees; in New Zealand, a cyclone and floods devastated Auckland and the surrounding area; 2021 saw an increase in extreme weather events in Europe; in recent years, floods have hit Central Europe; earthquakes have hit Italy, Greece, and Türkiye – the rapporteur did mention this; and a volcano erupted on the island of La Palma in Spain, while heat waves, forest fires, droughts have swept across Europe.

Ten years ago, Mr Al Gore, former US Vice President and Nobel Peace Prize winner, alerted the world to an inconvenient truth. He warned us that climate change threatened future generations. The most inconvenient truth is that we are doing too little, too slowly to prevent global warming.

If we continue on this path, we could destroy not the planet, but life on Earth. United Nations Secretary-General and former Portuguese Prime Minister António Guterres has said that humanity faces an existential choice: collective action or collective suicide.

The years 2021 and 2022 are a sample of the nightmare that awaits us. What lies ahead is that the sea level rises so high that coastal cities are submerged, causing hundreds of millions of climate migrants. What lies ahead is the increase in armed conflicts due to climate change. What awaits us is the increase in human mortality, the extinction of many animal and plant species.

Our responsibility is great. It is up to us to avoid the catastrophe. It is up to us to save life on Earth.

Thank you.

Mr Tiny KOX

Netherlands, UEL, President of the Assembly


Thank you, Ms Edite ESTRELA.

I would like to ask all speakers in the debate to stick to the 3 minutes so that as many colleagues as possible can participate.

Next in the debate I call Mr Nuno CARVALHO from Portugal - you have 3 minutes.


Portugal, EPP/CD


Thank you, Mister Chairman.

Well, first of all, I would like to congratulate the rapporteur on this very important subject. In this report, you talk about the prevention, the action, and the consequence of climate change and this is not something that we should talk about a few times, this is something that we should underline very, very much.

You know there is a statement that everyone is using now which is: the climate is changing, and so should we. And the fact is that we should change our behaviour right now - in order to materialise the necessary prevention of the climate change that we are currently suffering. Of course, that is only developed by a very large number of policies which, of course, should also include some of the dimensions that you approach in this report. But I would like specifically to take a closer look at the actions that are necessary in order to help the climate refugees that may suffer these consequences because this is a very, very important matter in which we should take a major alert because in Europe right now, we are suffering a double threat: the war and climate change. And both of them do represent a very, very big risk for European citizens because they both originate refugees and they both devastate countries. So this is a very, very important subject that is being held in debate here.

Abrief note regarding the long-term effects of climate change, which I think is also important to introduce in this debate. And I mention this because, particularly in Portugal, we are suffering from a very slow but very, very important impact regarding our seaside because with the possibility of floods, particularly in my city which is a peninsula, we probably will lose a great part of our territory and we will become an island. And this is not a very distant reality. So it is also very important to understand that we might have another dimension in the future in which we must take a deeper look and will also generate, of course, climate refugees in a different way but of course, there will also be climate refugees.

So regarding this, I think that this is very important – just as I mentioned – and we might say that we do not have a perfect plan for the future, but it is best to have a plan and act now, because we do not have time for a perfect plan tomorrow. Tomorrow is too late. So, this is a very important subject and I would like once again to congratulate the rapporteur. 

Thank you.

Mr Tiny KOX

Netherlands, UEL, President of the Assembly


Thank you, Mr Nuno CARVALHO.

Before I close the vote, we first are going to listen to Ms Emine Nur GÜNAY from Türkiye - you have the floor.

Ms Emine Nur GÜNAY

Türkiye, NR


Thank you, Chair.

Esteemed Members of the Parliamentary Assembly,

I stand before you to discuss the catastrophic earthquakes that struck Kahramanmaraş, Türkiye, nearly three months ago.

These earthquakes were some of the deadliest to hit our nation in the last century, and one of the strongest ever recorded in the Levant. The aftermath of this event has left us mourning the loss of our fellow citizens and the destruction of our cities.

In response to this crisis, Türkiye issued a Level 4 alarm and the international community has generously responded.

On behalf of Türkiye, I extend my deepest gratitude to all those who have conveyed their condolences and provided assistance, including search and rescue teams, medical personnel, and financial aid.

The solidarity shown during these trying times is deeply appreciated; we hope that no nation experiences such devastating natural disasters.

The prompt and unwavering support of the Council of Europe and its member States has been invaluable in helping us cope with the magnitude of this tragedy.

I would like to extend my gratitude to the rapporteur Mr Simon MOUTQUIN for his invaluable report highlighting the catastrophic impact of natural disasters, as well as for his visit to the earthquake's historical region of Türkiye and his valuable contributions to the report.

Dear Colleagues,

We can summarise the Turkish government's efforts and policies towards citizens who lost their loved ones, homes and belongings in the earthquake in three steps.

During the first weeks of the disaster, naturally everybody focused on search and rescue work, and providing basic necessities for the survivors. All our institutions and NGOs focused on their own fields in providing accommodation, basic necessities, financial support, continuation of education, security, psychological and social support.

At the second stage, the Turkish government started the reconstruction and revival process in 10 provinces simultaneously, and began constructing safe and secure homes for the victims of the earthquake.

President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan promised to rebuild 650 000 buildings and 320 000 houses will be constructed and delivered to the residents in one year.

Already the foundations of more than one hundred thousand residences were laid.

At the same time the Turkish National Risk Shield Model was launched on 3 March, immediately to make our country and Istanbul stronger in case of a possible earthquake.

However, this Assembly will not only focus on construction activities, but also the revival of the cities with their unique history, culture, and sociology. It's emphasised in the report.

It is crucial to bear vulnerable groups in mind that are at greater risk of being adversely impacted by natural disasters. Tomorrow, we will have a side event focusing on the vulnerable groups – children and women – during this earthquake.

I remain hopeful that with the support of our colleagues and partners around the world Türkiye will rebuild and the region will flourish once again.

Before concluding, I would like to invite all colleagues to join us tomorrow for the Side Event at 12:45 p.m. in Room 7.

Mister President,

On behalf of Türkiye, thank you for announcing a moment of silence for the victims of the earthquake, right before discussing this valuable report.

It is a symbol of solidarity of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe.

Thank you.

Mr Tiny KOX

Netherlands, UEL, President of the Assembly


Thank you, Ms Emine Nur GÜNAY.

Before continuing the debate, I now inform you that the ballot for the election of a Judge for European Court of Human Rights in respect of Romania is now closed.

I invite the tellers to go and verify the result. I will announce the result of the elections shortly.

We will now continue with our debate and I call Ms Kate OSAMOR from the United Kingdom.

You have the floor, Madam.


United Kingdom, SOC


Thank you, Mister President, for calling me to speak in this debate.

I would like to congratulate the rapporteur Mr Simon MOUTQUIN on this very timely report.

I represent an area in North London with thriving communities with roots in Türkiye and Syria. And so I know the anguish caused by the terrible earthquake earlier this year.

Sadly, we know that the regularity and intensity of natural disasters are only set to increase. Therefore I want to echo a point in paragraph 6 of the resolution which calls for member States to outline measures to respond to extreme climate events.

Even London, generally not at high risk of natural disasters, is becoming increasingly susceptible to flash floods.

In the UK last Sunday we had our first trial of an emergency alert system for mobile phones. Yet, meanwhile the provision for responding to and preventing disasters is not there. Only in 2021, data from the UK Environment Agency shows that more than 3 000 important flood defences were in a poor state in the UK.

The climate is burning, it is drowning, it is flooding, and political leaders are taking and talking and moving the goalposts, but taking no action. So I call on all member States. I especially call on the UK to learn from international bodies and other countries with more experience of dealing with natural disasters.

It is Europe's duty to support those in need elsewhere in the world, so I welcome the report's mention of climate refugees, of whom there could be 200 million by 2050.

All European countries, especially the United Kingdom, must play its part in supporting and accommodating communities who are faced with unlivable temperatures or other conditions which make migration a necessity.

Instead, the UK government has brought forward legislation only to demonise those in urgent need of refuge. So I echo the rapporteur who spoke about member States who offer temporary visas.

Lessons should be learned from the example of the German government, which put in place a temporary visa scheme for those affected by the earthquakes in Türkiye, and who had family members in Germany.

Overall, this report is a great resource to use, to bring back and push our national governments to work collectively to mitigate and respond to preventable natural disasters.

And I wholeheartedly support the report.

Thank you.

Mr Tiny KOX

Netherlands, UEL, President of the Assembly


Thank you, Ms Kate OSAMOR.

Next in the debate, I call Ms Hilkka KEMPPI from Finland - you have the floor.

Ms Hilkka KEMPPI

Finland, ALDE


Mister President,

Dear colleagues,

I want to express my solidarity with Türkiye and its people, who are currently struggling to secure people's basic needs after a massive earthquake. More than 57 000 victims and thousands injured – it's a tragedy. Last year France and Spain suffered from devastating forest fires that deprived thousands of people of their homes. In Germany, severe floods destroyed entire villages. The list is long.

I thank the rapporteur for this timely and important report. I strongly support its conclusions. We cannot delete natural disasters from this planet. But careful planning and impact assessment can ease the effects of them and hinder unnecessary suffering.

This report is a good reminder that an earthquake or climate change-induced hurricanes and forest fires can deprive hundreds of thousands of people from access to basic rights and services. Natural disasters have a direct connection to corruption, trafficking and organised crime.

Yet, investments in instruments that focus on nature, landscape, and major hazards are lacking.

Co-operation and transparency must be improved. Investing in forest management and green solutions; decentralising energy and food supply and services is crucial. We must learn from each disaster to enhance the continent's climate resilience and improve cross-ministerial co-operation. We must also strengthen the capacity and capability of civil society actors, who are often quick to respond and flexible in their actions. Sufficient funding for NGOs must be ensured. Better co-operation between the United Nations, the European Union, and the Council of Europe brings greater complementarity in dealing with natural disasters. Preventive action limits the effects of natural disasters on our societies.

Thank you.

Mr Tiny KOX

Netherlands, UEL, President of the Assembly


Thank you, Ms Hilkka KEMPPI.

Next in the debate, I call Mr John HOWELL from the United Kingdom.

Mr John HOWELL, you have the floor.


United Kingdom, EC/DA


Thank you very much indeed. I, too, would like to thank the rapporteur for producing an interesting report.

I want to address the situation in Türkiye and Syria. Before I do so, let me offer my condolences for the loss of life that occurred with the earthquakes there.

My colleague Ms Kate OSAMOR has just commented on the experiment that the UK government had at the weekend for an emergency signal that occurred via phones. It did not actually work on mine, but you know that is part of an experiment. I would encourage other governments to look at a similar experiment, because being aware of an emergency is part of the problem.

I have recently returned from a pre-election observation mission to Türkiye. We found there the impact of the destruction caused across Türkiye and in Syria was absolutely enormous.

More important than that, more important than the physical destruction, has been the impact that it has had on human rights and the rule of law.

There has been a huge effort of advisers and helpers to Türkiye and Syria. They are to be congratulated.

The real problem is what effect will this have on something like the Turkish elections which are due in about a month's time?

We asked that question on numerous occasions to find out what the position was for all those people who are now displaced and were no longer qualifying for registration.

I think that there is still a big answer to be found for that, and that is what I mean by the impact of the earthquake on human rights and the rule of law.

Of course, the request for help has to come from the country. We have heard that Türkiye has yet to have the full impact of that help brought before it and that is, no doubt, a big task as we saw ourselves.

It is perfectly proper for this organisation to take an active role in this, particularly as the impact on human rights and the rule of law is so, so severe.

It is one thing to make buildings earthquake-proof, but it is another to provide all of that assistance to other organisations, to make sure that Türkiye can deal with this problem should it occur again, and can deal with it really well.

Mr Tiny KOX

Netherlands, UEL, President of the Assembly


Thank you, Mr John HOWELL.

Now I call in the debate Ms Margreet De BOER from the Netherlands - you have the floor.

Ms Margreet De BOER

Netherlands, SOC


Thank you.

The recent earthquakes in Türkiye and Syria shocked the world.

It is heartbreaking to see the human suffering that can be caused by natural events. And also, I speak out and my thoughts are with the victims and relatives.

I thank the rapporteur for conducting this important report at this particularly relevant time.

As the rapporteur points out, the topics of natural hazards and disasters risks are becoming even more relevant in the years to come.

Climate change makes weather events more extreme and this causes or worsens environmental hazards such as fires, droughts, and flooding.

When these natural hazards turn into natural disasters, they threaten a broad spectrum of human rights: from the right to housing, water, and health, to the right to life.

And this threat is not equal to all. The areas in the world that are affected first and most heavily are often the ones that have contributed the least to climate change, some of which are facing the loss of their entire physical existence.

The European region has an essential role in fulfilling our common, but differentiated, responsibilities to counter climate change. This also comes with a responsibility to give shelter to those who are and will be displaced due to climate change.

We need to prepare for and create a legal framework for climate refugees.

Another inequality in climate change and related natural disasters can be found within affected regions. The most vulnerable groups in society are at most risk to be hit, harmed, and killed by natural disasters. This discrepancy is unacceptable in a human rights-based system on equality, and this problem needs to be addressed in both the prevention and the aftermath of national disasters.

Climate change and its risks require action, right now. To ensure this problem is taken seriously and to clearly establish that action on climate change is part of our human rights obligations, we need to formally recognise the human rights to a safe, clean, healthy, and sustainable environment as soon as possible. And I just fully support a call on the Committee of Ministers to do so.

Our member States do not have the luxury to wait around. Climate change is happening now, natural disasters are worsening by the minute, and people are dying. The time for action is now.

Mr Tiny KOX

Netherlands, UEL, President of the Assembly


Thank you, Ms Margreet De BOER.

I have now received the results of the second round of the election of a judge to the European Court of Human Rights from Romania.

I see the signatures of all tellers; I see no comments on the voting procedure.

The total number of members voting was 177.

The number of spoiled or blank ballots is zero.

We need a relative majority.

The number of valid votes is 165.

Ms Claudia Jderu received 3 votes.

Mr Răzvan Horaţiu Radu received 78 votes.

Mr Sebastian Răduleţu received 84 votes.

That means that:

Mr Sebastian Răduleţu, having obtained a majority of the vote cast, is elected judge of the European Court of Human Rights for a term of office of nine years, which shall commence not later than three months after his election.

I congratulate Mr Sebastian Răduleţu.


We continue with our debate.

Now in a debate I call Mr Reinhold LOPATKA from Austria.

The floor is yours.

Mr Reinhold LOPATKA

Austria, EPP/CD


Dear President, dear colleagues,

The reality of climate change is more evident with each passing year. The recent extreme heat waves and tragic floods point to the urgency to act before it is too late. The overwhelming scientific evidence of global warming suggests that we are fast approaching the tipping point of no return and underline the urgency to act swiftly and resolutely to keep global warming below 1.5°C.

The Russian war in Ukraine further amplifies the need to decrease our dependency on fossil fuels. The European Green Deal should play a key role in improving EU energy and food security while delivering on the ambition of climate neutrality.

The past seven years were the hottest seven years in the history of humankind. Europe should continue its climate diplomacy to pursue the implementation of the Paris Agreement and the sustainable development goals in all international forums. Europe should have the strategy to show how economic growth can be achieved with a successful climate policy at the same time. China's pledge to become carbon neutral by 2060 and US recommitment to the Paris Agreement and the new goal to cut their greenhouse gases in half by 2030 are encouraging signs. Improving collaboration, the mobilisation of private and public finance to drive decarbonisation, mitigation and detection to climate change should be the primary focus of our policy.

The EU should harness its regulatory power and engage with emerging economies, as the greatest progress can be made in decarbonising their energy and transport sectors. Particular attention needs to be paid to the impact of climate change on the developing world, especially in Africa. We must prioritise green investments in the development policy and support education skills and training for futureproof jobs while managing the population growth. Preventing natural disasters must be the priority of our political strategy, otherwise we will lose millions of euros and hundreds of thousands of people will lose their lives.

It is time to act.

Mr Tiny KOX

Netherlands, UEL, President of the Assembly


The next speaker on my list is Mr Jean-Pierre GRIN, from Switzerland.

Mr Jean-Pierre GRIN

Switzerland, ALDE


Mister Chairman,

Dear colleagues,

Our planet is suffering the negative effects of the climate crisis, as we are reminded by the excellent report of our colleague Mr Simon MOUTQUIN. 

Having visited Türkiye after the terrible earthquake, Mr Simon MOUTQUIN, during our commission session, shared with us his great emotion towards the victims of this unprecedented disaster.

Natural risks have always existed but what happened in Türkiye and Syria exceeds, in its magnitude, all the previous seismic disasters. The consequences of this earthquake will be felt for many years to come, especially in terms of migration flows.

We are increasingly facing new risks of flooding, following violent storms and, in parallel, due to global warming, and very high temperatures with long periods of drought. Natural disasters have a strong impact on most human rights, especially the rights to life and the physical integrity of populations which are already weakened by difficult living conditions. This is why we must strengthen the management of natural risks and self-help for vulnerable people directly affected by these various disasters.

I am a farmer by profession.

I notice, year after year, long periods of drought with very high temperatures blocking the development of different crops and their yield. Feeding the population is the objective of every farmer and producer of foodstuffs; and when we know that in our world, more than 700 million people do not have enough to eat, it is also urgent to favour these productions by preserving the cultivable surfaces, to avoid famines which already exist in various locations of our globe and which could quickly intensify these next decades. Future food problems are programmed if nothing is done.

The need for prevention, anticipation and consideration of future food needs must also be controlled because, as is very well pointed out in the report, excessive urbanisation implies an increased vulnerability of cities and their inhabitants. At the same time, depopulated rural areas pose not only problems of soil desertification but also of their impoverishment by an agriculture with excessively large farms that cultivate the soil intensively and in monoculture. The ecological disaster in the vicinity of the Aral Sea with the intensive production of cotton is an example that should not be repeated. By maintaining small farms, agricultural production is diversified and much more sustainable.

To prevent a food disaster, should not each country keep a maximum rate of self-sufficiency for the good of its population, and also avoid that rich countries, through massive food imports, deprive the already starving populations of some countries, who cannot afford to buy their food, even if only for their basic needs?

To conclude, the report of our colleague, Mr Simon MOUTQUIN, rightly proposes the adoption of a legally binding protocol to the European Convention on Human Rights and the European Social Charter, which is currently being revised.

Thank you for your attention.

Mr Tiny KOX

Netherlands, UEL, President of the Assembly


Thank you, Mr Jean-Pierre GRIN.

Next in the debate I call Mr Armağan CANDAN from Cyprus, representative of the Turkish Cypriot community in accordance with Resolution 1376 from 2004.

You have the floor.

Mr Armağan CANDAN

Cyprus* [Resolution 1376 (2004)]


Distinguished Chair and distinguished colleagues,

Before I start, I would like to convey my deepest condolences to all those who have lost their loved ones in the devastating earthquakes that took place in Türkiye on 6 February 2023.

As is well-known, the earthquakes had severely affected millions of people in Türkiye and Syria and more than 57 000 people had, unfortunately, lost their lives. Among those, there were 50 Turkish Cypriots, half of which were schoolchildren of a volleyball team from the city of Famagusta, who lost their lives at Isias Hotel in Adiyaman. I am making this speech in their memory, and for their families.

I have no words to describe the pain we feel in our hearts. Lawsuits have already been filed against all those responsible for the buildings which turned to dust and caused the death of our people in this earthquake. We will continue to follow these court cases until those responsible are all sentenced. Human life is so precious. In the future, no one should die because of buildings with no safety standards. Lessons should be learned from this tragedy. The new settlements should be constructed properly so that they will not collapse and take thousands of lives.

Distinguished colleagues,

We, as Northern Cyprus, sent rescue teams to the affected areas and provided assistance right after the earthquake. Today we are hosting thousands of Turkish people who had to leave their hometowns due to the earthquakes.

During those hard times, we all witnessed the solidarity and co-operation of the international community. More than 100 countries have provided all possible assistance to cope with this tragedy. I would like to take this opportunity to express my heartfelt gratitude to each and every country, including Greece, Armenia, and our Greek Cypriot friends that immediately sent search and rescue teams, as well as all sorts of humanitarian aid to Türkiye.

The unprecedented earthquakes have, once again, reminded us of the great importance of international solidarity and co-operation. I am of the view that solidarity and co-operation should not only be offered during or after natural disasters or difficult times, but it should always be there in the fields of mutual interest and concern – in the East Mediterranean as well.

After the elections in Türkiye and Greece, I hope new opportunities will emerge for co-operation and peaceful co-existence between Türkiye, Greece, and Cyprus.

Thank you for your attention.

Mr Tiny KOX

Netherlands, UEL, President of the Assembly


Thank you Mr Armağan CANDAN.

Next in the debate, I call Mr David MORRIS from the United Kingdom.

You have the floor.


United Kingdom, EC/DA


Thank you, Mister Chairman,

Mister Chairman,

This is my maiden speech as a member of the Council of Europe, and the first in this chamber, the chamber of the European Parliament of the European Union.

Speaking of the European Union, this institution has shown gratitude to the Council of Europe, to the Council of Europe's Development Bank.

Natural disasters are unavoidable sadly, and also very rare.

However this should not stop world institutions from preparing, from planning, and making sure that when these catastrophes happen, they do not get caught out.

We should have better interface between the European Union, United Nations, and ourselves, the Council of Europe.

We must in the approach the next Council of Europe Fourth Summit, remember, the Europa Initiative for the Council of Europe, and create an international standard of response of excellence to such events.

As I've said before, these events are very rare, but when they do happen they are catastrophic, and there is nothing stopping us from preparing for the future for such sad events.

My condolences go to the people of Türkiye for such sad events that they have recently suffered.

Thank you, Mister Chairman.


Germany, EPP/CD, President of the Assembly


Thank you very much.

The next speaker is Mr Andreas Sjalg UNNELAND.

Mr Andreas Sjalg UNNELAND

Norway, UEL


Thank you, President.

We stand at a crossroad. A pivotal moment in history. The catastrophic consequences of natural disasters are not mere coincidence, but the result of our collective failure to act on climate change.

The damage caused cannot be ignored. Animals are becoming extinct at a record pace, our summers are becoming hotter, the weather wetter and wilder.

Natural disasters can strike at any time, they can wreak havoc on our communities. The effects can be devastating and the cost of recovery astronomical, and this is our fault. Our pursuit of fossil energy is literally setting the planet on fire. Make no mistake, the root cause of climate change lies in the greed and short-sightedness of the capitalist economic model that puts profit over people and the planet.

We cannot continue to prioritise economic growth at the expense of the environment and the well-being of our communities. We have known about climate change for decades. Nevertheless, every year the world has invested more money in fossil fuels than in green energy.

"Put your money where your mouth is".

At the moment, the mouth talks about climate change, but the money is deeply rooted in sectors that caused the climate crisis.

"We are on a highway to climate hell", said the UN Secretary-General. And he is right.

Every day, companies choose to invest in the climate problem instead of climate solutions. And we see the consequences of climate change today: rising sea levels, extreme weather events and a loss of biodiversity, all of which can lead to natural disasters.

Therefore, we must prioritise environmental protection and promote sustainable development policies that prioritise human rights and protect the planet. There will be no human rights if the climate crisis isn't solved. If we care about the legal framework that we have created, the collaboration we have in Europe, we have to stop burning fossil fuels, stop deforestation, and stop the release of pollutants into the environment.

We know that disasters disproportionally affect women, the working class, vulnerable communities, low-income households, people with disabilities, and marginalised groups. Therefore, the fight against climate change is a fight against discrimination, a fight for people and a fight for human rights.

Let us work together to create a sustainable and just society that protects the planet and its inhabitants.

If we are to secure human rights, we must secure a planet to live on.


Germany, EPP/CD, President of the Assembly


Thanks, Mister Andreas Sjalg UNNELAND.

Now Mr Brian FRANCIS from Canada has the floor.




Thank you, Mister President.

Honourable colleagues, thank you for the opportunity to speak today. I would like to commend the rapporteur for a detailed report that calls attention to an issue of pressing importance. 

In our global discussions about climate change, we focus rightly on the need to decarbonise our economies and reduce the emission of greenhouse gases but as the committee report ably sets out, we need to also address climate change adaptation, including preparing for more frequent extreme weather events.

My home province of Prince Edward Island faced such an event last September when Hurricane Fiona, after having brought a devastation to Puerto Rico, the Dominican Republic and other Caribbean islands, hit Atlantic Canada resulting in the most intense tropical cyclone in the region's history. The storm was the seventh most costly natural disaster globally in 2022, and the tenth most costly in the history of Canada. Of the nine most costly Canadian disasters, seven occurred in the last decade. Events have proven climate scientists right. Disasters are becoming more frequent and more severe.

One of the lessons learned from Hurricane Fiona was that disaster preparedness planning needs to include all actors including the private sector. Fiona knocked out telecommunications equipment which left many people in affected areas without access to wireless services for days, limiting the ability of responders to evaluate the situation and victims to access critical information. Private sector firms responsible for critical infrastructure, like telecommunications companies, must be included in preparedness and response planning and regulators must consider increasingly common natural disasters when setting standards.

The committee's report also highlights that we must take a human rights-based approach to disaster planning that accounts for all social inequalities. In Canada, this includes ensuring that indigenous communities are protected to a similar extent as other communities. A recent report by the auditor general of Canada suggests that more work is needed. In the past 13 years, 130 000 First Nations people have been affected by more than 1 300 emergencies in Canada. However, governments have spent significantly more on responding to these emergencies and investing in preparation and adaptation measures like infrastructure projects. We, as parliamentarians, can play a stronger role in promoting closer dialogue and co-operation within and between governments, as well as with the private sector and other actors, such as indigenous people, whose traditional knowledge is often neglected despite its significance in combating climate change.

Thank you, wela'lin [in Mi'kmaq a First Nations language]


Germany, EPP/CD, President of the Assembly


Thank you, Mr Brian FRANCIS.

And now Mr Ahmet YILDIZ from Türkiye.


Türkiye, NR


Thank you Mister Chairman,

I will be brief.

Let me thank once again all of the representatives of countries here for sending search and rescue teams, and for their generosity in donor conferences, and also for the condolences they extended here.

I appreciate also the visit by the rapporteur Mr Simon MOUTQUIN. I wish he had had more time to visit other cities impacted severely impacted by the earthquake.

I will not dispute anything in the report because we are discussing how to politically contribute to the prevention and damage control of the next disasters.

But one thing is clear: till now, statistics show the casualties in Türkiye and Syria are around 60 000. There is not much reason to challenge this. Let's hope in the future - there are some missing persons, I know. There are some missing persons where the DNA doesn't match them. Let's hope that it will not reach the number that some doubt - 100 000.

Dear colleagues,

All of the Turkish MPs here from different parties are somehow, myself also, eye-witnesses of the damage and the destruction in this region.

Many things are unprecedented: the magnitude, the area covered by this earthquake is around 100 000 square kilometres, and [there were] repeated land earthquakes on the same day.

So that's why the destruction is unprecedented. Maybe in 500 or 600 years we will handle this with the solidarity of the international community.

We lost one MP, together with all of his family members and many relatives – also some members of the Turkish parliament.

Of course, these earthquakes were not preventable but the damage could have been limited.

There are lessons for government authorities, for citizens, for communities, also for public servicemen.

The Turkish Parliament will be following the measures; making necessary legislation.

Indeed all measures were upgraded in 1998 after the Istanbul Earthquake, but this level of destruction was not anticipated – even by geologists.

I again thank the rapporteur and all of you for your attention here.

I will be happy to see you in the panel tomorrow [where] scientists and representatives of civil society will talk. There will be also be some video shown for a better understanding of what happened.

Thank you.


Germany, EPP/CD, President of the Assembly


Thank you very much.

Now Mr Irakli CHIKOVANI has the floor.

I can't see him on his place. Is he in the chamber?


No, he is not there.

Then Mr Rafael HUSEYNOV, from Azerbaijan.


Azerbaijan, ALDE


Thank you Chair, dear colleagues,

Contrary to conventional wisdom, time speeds up with age, and does not slow down.

However, no matter how the speed of life increases, the ability of a person to adapt to this speed does not lag behind.

Nevertheless, there is another tendency increasing in duration, which does not depend either on the human will or on anything that can be adapted to it. Natural disasters, various earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, floods, avalanches, droughts have always occurred in distinct periods of history.

However, the intensity and scope of today has never been observed in all of prior history. It is a long and noble tradition for countries to help each other during natural disasters.

However, regular natural disasters, which are now increasing and expanding in scale and covering almost all continents and regions, require a search for ways to globally combat common problems and their consequences. When the disaster is global, to fight it alone or to think only about yourself, not to think that what happened to someone else today will happen to you tomorrow, is another manifestation of fatalism.

That the earthquake, unprecedented in terms of the scale of destruction and loss, that Türkiye experienced on 6 February this year, mobilised member States, international organisations, as well as a number of countries outside the Council of Europe in order to support Türkiye in these difficult days, should be a lesson and a warning, in my opinion.

It should be a lesson and a warning that more significance should be paid to the application of ideally designed common standards in construction, disaster response and process monitoring.

Global support and cooperation in the days of the disaster in Türkiye demonstrated that if we can unite even in such tragic days, then taking into account the possibility that any other region, country, may tomorrow face such a possible catastrophe, we must also work together, hand in hand, in terms of forecasting, scientific research, and more and more coordinated emergency response.

If such unanimity is ensured, if practical steps in this direction take a systematic nature, if common standards are defined and mechanisms for their implementation worked out, each country will benefit from this. Such cooperation, unanimity, and synchronism of actions are dictated by the logic of the present time when extreme situations have become commonplace.

Thank you.


Germany, EPP/CD, President of the Assembly


Thank you. 

So 6:00 p.m. was voting time, so now I give the last speaker the floor, it is Ms Sibel ARSLAN.


Switzerland, SOC


Thank you very much, Mister Chairman,

Esteemed colleagues,

I, too, would like to extend my heartfelt condolences to all the family members, friends, and acquaintances who have lost their family members, friends, and acquaintances in Türkiye and Syria. It has been a gravely difficult time for all these people, this time is still very difficult.

There was the celebration, Bayram in Türkiye, and yet it was not a real celebration for the relatives. Therefore, it has also been important that we can also show our solidarity from this body and also talk about how we should continue to act in such similar cases with this report by Mr Simon MOUTQUIN today.

It has been difficult enough that people were affected by the earthquake. But then a few days later, there was even flooding in some places. That is; the people who had almost no shelter, who were shaken, were then also hit by floods. As a result, there is still not enough drinking water; epidemics have arisen, and people who have no shelter are still not able to live in a dignified manner.

Consequently, it is also important that we do not forget this solidarity that we are expressing here; we must also look at how the reconstruction phase should then be accompanied.

Therefore, it is important what Mr Simon MOUTQUIN also suggests here. We must take preventive measures to prevent such natural disasters in Türkiye, in Syria or elsewhere. We must consider carefully the reports that which will arise because of human actions such as the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change's report, for example.

It's important that as we rebuild, we do not forget these countries, these areas. The pain is severe, but the suffering continues. So it is important that we also show more good will, for example, via visa applications in those countries that wanted to bring in their relatives with dual citizenship, who are still living in Türkiye or Syria. But I think it is also important that we see that such natural disasters do not end overnight, and that the financial situation of the people or these countries is also relatively difficult, and that this reconstruction phase also needs our support.

I would like to thank again Mr Simon MOUTQUIN for pointing out this linkage of human disasters, which lead to natural disasters, and just also for people these serious consequences have, and also bring proposals.

I hope that we will also create laws that just do not give this framework anymore, and that we can leave a good basis for the next generations.

Thank you very much.


Germany, EPP/CD, President of the Assembly


Thank you very much.

I must now interrupt the list of speakers. The speeches of members on the speakers list who have been present during the debate but have not been able to speak may be given to the Table Office for publication in the Official Report. I remind colleagues that type-written texts must be submitted electronically, no later than four hours after the list of speakers is interrupted. Type-written texts are limited to 400 words.

And now I call Mr Simon MOUTQUIN, rapporteur, to reply to the debate. You have 3 minutes.


Belgium, SOC, Rapporteur


Dear Colleagues,

Thank you very much. Many of you have spoken about climate change, but thank you for your solidarity with the people of Türkiye and Syria.

If I go back to your words, you spoke of fires, you spoke of melting ice, drought, cyclones, hurricanes, extinction of biodiversity, sea levels. Our colleague from London talked about the need for adaptation on the Thames. I pay tribute to our colleague from Canada and I remember last summer with record temperatures of up to 53° and villages in Canada that were literally melting. I can also think of our Spanish colleagues who have to start setting up climate shelters in their cities, for the elderly, so that the elderly can go and protect themselves in libraries and museums.

I will come back to the first speech to conclude this list and say that, indeed, it is time to stop trying to control the planet. We have to adapt to the planet. You know, this is something that is often said, but the planet does not need us; we need this planet. I think that's what should guide us.

A few points from the report that were raised. The issue of decentralisation of aid was supported. Many of you have spoken about the issue of migration. I refer you to the excellent report by my colleague Mr Pierre-Alain FRIDEZ, who a few years ago wrote a report on this issue of environmental refugees. The question of politicisation, and I thank my colleague Ms Petra BAYR for having raised this point: the politicisation in case of natural disasters is catastrophic, and more so the polarisation of society in case of disasters. This is why I encourage us to move towards more democracy and transparency in the management of these disasters.

I would remind you that the lack of investment in the climate will cost 10% of the world's GDP in 2050. If we were to invest today, we could reach essentially 2% of GDP, which is still a lot, but less than 10%.

I will conclude by reminding you that in a few weeks, and I cannot stress this enough, the Fourth Council of Europe Summit will take place. Our actions today define the degree of suffering of future generations. That is the reality today.

It is time to accept that natural disasters will intensify and accelerate. It is time to listen to the message of scientists, of the young, of the not so young, of the farmers who see their land eroding. It is time to think of those future generations whose happiness is compromised by climate change. It is finally time for the Council of Europe to enter the 21st century and to put itself at the level of other regions of the world that have integrated these environmental rights. It is time for member States to invest in the Council of Europe to ensure our climate resilience. Finally, it is time, as my report two years ago mentioned, to anchor the right to a healthy environment, it is time to recognise a right to a healthy, safe, clean, and sustainable environment.

The Council of Europe was a hope in the darkest hours of our continent, after the Second World War. I fear today that youth, and not only youth, face more dark hours. I encourage the Council of Europe to give a new direction, with new environmental rights, for young and old. Someone said: "Act now". Indeed, I think it is now time to act.

I sincerely thank you for all your contributions. I repeat, once again, my condolences to the Turkish people, to the Syrian people, but finally to all those who have lost loved ones due to climate change, due to natural disasters.

I thank you.


Germany, EPP/CD, President of the Assembly


Yes, thank you very much rapporteur.

Does the Chairperson of the Committee, Ms Selin SAYEK BÖKE, wish to speak?

Yes. You have 3 minutes.


Türkiye, SOC, Chairperson of the Committee on Social Affairs, Health and Sustainable Development


Thank you very much.

6 February, 4:17 a.m. Life shattered for millions within seconds. Seconds that seemed like long hours.

Many thousands of people died. Millions of us lost loved ones, our very own personal histories, our collective memories as a society, our cultural heritages, our sense of being.

I come from Hatay, one of the 10 cities that was hit hard by this earthquake. Streets we, I, ran as a child, homes we built with great labour, neighbourhoods where we cherished many memories, lives and livelihoods and loved ones destroyed within seconds.

And since that moment on, none of us and nothing is no longer the same. We are all scarred for life. As such, this report is extremely timely, it's extremely critical.

Its message is crucial, and we, as parliamentarians, must make sure that this message is heard loud and clear. There is nothing natural about disasters. It is not fate. They are determined by political choices. As such, they can only be avoided by political choices and changes in political strategies.

Earthquakes will happen, rainfalls might fall intensively, fires might start, but they will not become disasters if we change our political strategies.

How? We change our political choices. By making political decisions that are based on public interest and not on rent seeking and rent creation. By constructing buildings, giving permits for buildings that are safe, by guaranteeing the right to housing, conscious that housing is the basis of the sense of security and stability and safety for all of us, for all human beings. By giving permits for the construction of buildings, of roads, of pavements, only on the condition that they are disaster resilient rather than being solely cost conscious.

By choosing locations for buildings that are conscious of the nature and the environment, rather than exploiting nature. By avoiding corruption and wastefulness and instead spending those resources, those valuable resources, to buy firefighting machinery, to buy airplanes to actually get rid of that fire.

By holding on to democracy where instead of monopolising on resources, we care to coordinate the solidarity and cooperation between civil society, local authorities, national as well as international authorities.

In short, by changing our political choices.

Only then will our buildings not collapse when an earthquake hits. Only then will the heavy rainfalls permeate through the asphalt into the soil and not drown human lives. Only then will fires start, but we will be able to put them out before they kill. Only then will nature exist but disasters will end. And only then, instead of having to give our condolences, we will be able to share the joy of life.

Let's do it. Let's change our political choices. Let's change politics. Let's build resilient cities. Let's build inclusive democracies. Let's build green economies. Let's promise to do so as politicians.

I promise to Türkiye: spring will come soon and we will get rid of this grim devastation that we're facing.

I'd like to invite all of you, all of you, to support this extremely important work that was conducted by my colleague and discussed in our Ccmmittee in great detail.

Thank you very much.


Germany, EPP/CD, President of the Assembly


Thank you very much, Ms Selin SAYEK BÖKE. 

This important debate is now closed.

The Committee on Social Affairs, Health and Sustainable Development has presented a draft resolution to which 11 amendments and two sub-amendments have been tabled, and a draft recommendation to which 2 amendments have been tabled.

The amendments are listed in the compendium. I remind you that speeches on amendments are limited to 30 seconds.

We will start with the consideration of the draft resolution and we will then consider the draft recommendation.

I understand that the chairperson of the Committee on Social Affairs, Health and Sustainable Development wishes to propose to the Assembly that Amendments 4, 5, 1, 2, 6 to 9 and 11 to the draft resolution, which were unanimously approved by the committee, should be declared as agreed by the Assembly.

Is that so, Ms Selin SAYEK BÖKE?

Does anyone object? If so, please ask for the floor by raising your hand.

I do not see any objections.

I declare that Amendments 4, 5, 1, 2, 6 to 9 and 11 to the draft resolution have been agreed. 

I call Mr Simon MOUTQUIN to support Amendment 3 on behalf of the Committee on Social Affairs, Health and Sustainable Development. You have 30 seconds.


United Kingdom, SOC


(Undelivered speech, Rules of Procedure Art. 31.2)


I would like to begin by thanking the rapporteur, Mr Simon Moutquin on his report, it is sober reading, but it also makes it clear that lapsing into despair cannot be our approach. We must tackle these disasters with a clear and united front.

I echo the Resolution’s expression of solidarity with the Turkish and Syrian peoples following the disastrous earthquake in February. The effects of that disaster reached out across the world and, in my role as the Parliamentary representative for Newport West, I was contacted by residents who had close family in the affected area. They were looking to get visitor visa’s so their loved ones, who now could no longer rely on their own home as a safe place to stay, could join them in Wales.

I am very glad to say that those who contacted me were able to bring their relatives over and in a small way out of a terrible tragedy, we can see goodwill and solidarity in action. I am also grateful for the U.K. Government’s action at the time with their contribution of 43.3 million pounds along with trained experts and specialists to combating the disaster and locating survivors, this was clearly beneficial.

These large-scale natural disasters require a robust international response and I believe it is all of our jobs to ensure that our Governments be encouraged to live up to their highest potential, in an increasingly dangerous world, exacerbated by the clear climate crisis we are in.

This includes leaders of countries being present and taking an active role in that process, we cannot have, as did in the last year in the UK, important Cabinet meetings on these issues held without our Prime Minister present. We have since moved on from that particular individual, but it is characteristic of a Government that, at a core level, needs constant reminders to take the horrific crisis we are in, with the deadly seriousness it requires.

The rapporteurs report states that an estimated 200 million people will be displaced globally by 2050, this is nearly three times the current population of the whole United Kingdom, it is twelve thousand times the population of my home city of Newport. These comparisons help contextualise the scale of the challenge and the urgency with which we must act.

Disasters do not respect geographies on a map so an international approach is one I wholeheartedly support.


Ms Serap YAŞAR

Türkiye, NR


(Undelivered speech, Rules of Procedure Art. 31.2)


Distinguished members of the Assembly,

As you are aware, on February 6, 2023, two earthquakes of magnitudes 7.7 and 7.6 on the Richter scale struck the southeastern region of Türkiye. To date, over 27,000 aftershocks have been recorded in the area.

I must stress that this was the worst natural disaster to hit a Council of Europe member state in the last 100 years, as highlighted by Mr. Simon Moutquin’s report on natural disasters.

The impact of the earthquake has affected 11 provinces in Türkiye, which have been declared disaster areas. Additionally, buildings in six other provinces outside of the disaster areas have also suffered varying degrees of damage.

The earthquakes have had a severe impact on the lives of approximately 13 million people. Unfortunately, the loss of life has exceeded 50,000 individuals, with nearly forty thousand buildings left in ruins and twenty thousand buildings requiring urgent demolition.

Dear Colleagues, It is indeed heart-wrenching to discuss the aftermath of such a devastating event that has left a lasting scar on our hearts.

I would like to express my appreciation to Mr. Simon Moutquin, the rapporteur, for his fact-finding mission to Türkiye and his report. His visit was a crucial step in assessing the damage and needs of the affected people firsthand.

I appreciate his urging of European leaders to increase solidarity with earthquake victims in Türkiye and Syria.

It is with deep regret that we have learned a great deal from the recent disaster. As emphasized in the report, the importance of sharing experiences after such calamities cannot be overstated.

It is only through collective action and sharing of knowledge that we can effectively overcome the aftermath of such disasters. Thus, I urge everyone to come together and contribute to this crucial endeavor.

Dear Friends, As Türkiye, we are working tirelessly to recover after this catastrophe, and we welcome any and all forms of support, not just financial aid, but also in terms of showing solidarity and cooperation.

I implore you not to forget this natural disaster and to continue your support in any way possible. Most importantly, we must increase our awareness and preparedness for future natural disasters. Experts predict that we will face more natural disasters in the future due to climate change.

Let us work towards a future where we are better prepared to face any challenges that may come our way.

Thank you


Ukraine, ALDE


(Undelivered speech, Rules of Procedure Art. 31.2)


Dear colleagues,

I am an environmentalist by my training, professional duties and my mission. Everything that is said about the devastating consequences of human irresponsible behaviour which has led to a climate crisis and the suffering of our planet is a painful truth but also a last call to actions!

Please accept my deep condolences to the victims of the earthquakes in Türkiye and Syria. We do support the actions of support from the CoE.

There are 3 main points I want to stress today.

First, each member state has to urgently adapt regulations to climate change and offset the impact of the climate crisis, including concerning extreme events. We do need European standards to respond to natural disasters, events caused by human activity and technological hazards and the impact of war. We must recognise ecocide as a crime against the environment under criminal law.

The second point is the impact of the war. There is no doubt that wars have catastrophic consequences on nature, wildlife and the environment. The natural environment has been quietly suffering as a silent victim of the war, and we had a dedicated debate on that in PACE.

As for Ukraine, according to preliminary estimates, the environmental damage caused by the russian aggression against Ukraine amounts to almost UAH 2 trillion. The war in Ukraine led to the release of about 33 million tons of greenhouse gasses, which affects the increase in the temperature of the Earth and can lead to a global climate disaster.

The russian aggression against Ukraine is the biggest anthropogenic catastrophe in the XXI century that dramatically affects people, my country, our environment, biodiversity in Europe, and also, in your countries and global ecosystems. Nature knows no borders. So it is our common concern, and our responsibility and we should jointly search for solutions.

The third thing, the international data shows that although the frequency of disaster occurrences has been increasing, the number of deaths from disasters is decreasing. This can mean disaster management and emergency governance have been improving, so I see the focus on allocating the necessary funds and combating corruption and bad governance as extremely relevant and important. Moreover, global solidarity and better cooperation between all the international actors, legislators, policy-makers, civil society and researchers, more unity of the UN, the EU, and the CoE will ensure greater complementarity in dealing with natural disasters.

Thank you very much.


France, UEL


Speech not pronounced (Rules of Procedure, Art. 31.2), only available in French

Mr Stéphane BERGERON



Speech not pronounced (Rules of Procedure, Art. 31.2), only available in French


Finland, SOC


(Undelivered speech, Rules of Procedure Art. 31.2)


Mr President, dear colleagues,

With global temperatures rising to 1,1 Celsius, rapid changes to the climate system, such as rising sea levels and rapidly melting sea ice, are already underway. Human-made climate change is causing weather and climate extremes across the globe. We need urgent, systemic transformations to secure a climate-resilient future.

It is not new information that climate change causes severe losses and damages to nature and people. Vulnerable people, such as the disabled, children, and refugees, are disproportionately affected in disasters. Nearly 3.6 billion people live in countries that are highly vulnerable to climate impacts. In these regions, conflict, existing inequalities, and development challenges increase the sensitivity to climate hazards and limit communities’ capacity to adapt.

Türkiye and Syria experienced a horrible natural disaster in February 2023, when an earthquake claimed over 50,000 lives. My deepest condolences. Countries facing disasters need urgent, medium- and long-term assistance to survive. In Türkiye and Syria it is crucial to investigate why and how the infrastructure collapsed so badly, to prevent and especially prepare for future natural disasters. We must be able to move from humanitarian assistance and development aid to other support forms and back again according to the need.

According to Mr Moutquin’s report, investigations into the flooding in Germany in 2021 found several weaknesses in the flood risk management system. The disaster was worsened by soil sealing and saturation, which led to funnel effects. I strongly agree with the rapporteur’s proposal to invest in prevention strategies and adapt regulations to climate change, combat corruption in the construction sector, and improve global cooperation to ensure greater complementarity when managing and preventing natural disasters.

Future effects of climate change are unavoidable can be limited. Prevention is key and preparedness is a necessity. Governments should develop national, regional, and local strategies to increase disaster resilience. International cooperation is crucial. Our choices and actions today will have an impact tomorrow and for thousands of years to come.

Mr Mehmet Mehdi EKER

Türkiye, NR


(Undelivered speech, Rules of Procedure Art. 31.2)


Esteemed members of the PACE,

I address you today with a heavy heart, as we reflect on consequences of natural disasters as well as on devastating earthquakes that occurred in our beloved Türkiye on February 6th during this important discussion on natural disasters.

According to the latest official reports, the earthquakes had a magnitude of 7.7 and 7.6 on the Richter scale and resulted in the loss of over 50,000 lives. The earthquake has caused significant damage to infrastructure, buildings, and businesses in the affected regions.

From the outset, members of PACE have shown their solidarity through various means, and we are incredibly grateful for this support.

However, it is essential to recognize that recovery from such a disaster is a long and arduous process. As Türkiye continues to face the consequences of this tragic event, I call all colleagues to recognize the importance of continued efforts for recovery, not only in terms of economics but also socially and psychologically.

The people of Türkiye have displayed remarkable resilience and strength in the face of this crisis, but it is imperative that we come together as a community to support those affected.

We must work tirelessly to rebuild homes, businesses, and communities while providing the necessary resources to help individuals and families heal from the psychological trauma caused by this disaster.

In this regard, I ask PACE members to continue to their support to Türkiye and its people during this difficult time. Collaboration between countries is crucial in handling this kind of disaster, and we welcome all necessary resources and aid to assist in the recovery and reconstruction efforts in the affected regions.

Dear colleagues,

As mentioned in the report, natural disasters must be taken seriously, as the dangers they pose have widespread consequences that affect us all. Therefore, we must work together to raise awareness about the importance of disaster preparedness and mitigation strategies to minimize the impact of future disasters.

The report and its findings are essential to prevent and be prepared to devastating consequences of natural disasters.

We must start to work to this end in close cooperation.

Thank you.


United Kingdom, EC/DA


(Undelivered speech, Rules of Procedure Art. 31.2)


I am delighted to be speaking to you all today about strategies to face the consequences of natural disasters. In February, just two months ago, I attended a Westminster Hall Debate in the UK Parliament on the Turkey and Syria Earthquake- this natural disaster will be the focus of my intervention today.

11 weeks ago, on the 6th of February 2023, two neighbouring countries- Turkey and Syria- were devastated by an enormous earthquake of 7.8 magnitude. A total of 53,227 lives were lost, of which 86% were recorded in Turkey, and 14% in Syria. Though over 2,000 miles from London, the distance proved not to be an obstacle to British support for both rescue and recovery phases.

The UK Government was very quick to respond and mobilise resources, as just one day after the earthquake, on the 7th of February, the UK International Search and Rescue Team who arrived in Gaziantep in Turkey. This team consisted of 77 search and rescue experts, 4 sniffer dogs, and state-of-the-art equipment from concrete cutting machines to seismic listening devices. As the MP for Stafford, a town in the West Midlands, I am extremely proud that this heroic team included 8 members of the West Midlands Fire Services. During this first rescue phase, the UK Government also provided £3.6 million to UN partners in Turkey, as well as £3.8 million to the White Helmets in Syria.

One week later, as the situation moved from rescue to recovery, the UK Government committed an additional £25 million in new overseas aid. This UK aid has been critical to help distribute tents and blankets to displaced families who were left homeless in freezing conditions, with temperatures dropping well below zero degrees.

The UK’s £25 million support package has been instrumental in funding the joint Ministry of Defence- FCDO field hospital in Turkoglu, which has set up a 24/7 operating theatre with both British and Turkish medics working together side by side. Not only are we saving lives on the ground, but we’re also saving lives in the air too, thanks to the fantastic work of our Royal Air Force. The RAF’s Critical Care Support Team has carried injured victims onboard the aircraft and provided lifesaving medical treatment whist transporting them to safety.

The UK Government’s compassion to respond to this natural disaster has been echoed by the British public, who generously donated a staggering £100 million to the Disasters Emergency Committee in just 2 weeks. On top of this, UK Aid has boosted this impact by match-funding the first £5 million of these public donations.

Beyond the UK Government’s bilateral support, the UK is supporting victims through multilateral organisations, for instance as a long-standing donor to the World Bank, which announced $1.7 billion in assistance to Turkey, as well as a donor to the United Nations’ central emergency respond fund which has allocated $50 million.

I am proud of the UK’s compassion, generosity, and partnership to support the victims of the Turkey-Syria earthquake. The UK remains an effective and reliable development partner to respond to rescue and recovery efforts in natural disasters and I call on fellow member states of the Council of Europe to do the same.

Ms Beatrice TIMGREN

Sweden, EC/DA


(Undelivered speech, Rules of Procedure Art. 31.2)


Mr (Madame) President,

I have read with great interest the report on the consequences of natural disasters prepared by our Rapporteur Mr Moutquin and the Social Affairs Committee. I would like to make a few comments in order to distinguish between two main types of disaster.

On the one hand there are those disasters that we cannot prevent, such as earthquakes, which are due to the movement of tectonic plates in the earth’s inner. Here our planet is itself, so to speak, the ‘maker’ of disasters, and we therefore have to content ourselves with, firstly, trying to learn how to better predict such earth movements and collisions.

Secondly, we should draw up plans in advance for the rapid evacuation, in the event of quakes, of populations away from the fault lines to the extent that we know them. Thirdly, we have to improve our existing buildings and any future construction in such a way that they are able to withstand even strong quakes. Several cities around the world are doing so successfully already. We may thereby, if not eliminate, then at least reduce the toll in human lives. Countries such as Turkey, Greece and Syria are learning this in a tragic way following the major recent quakes in the region with over 50 thousand dead, and we must help the countries concerned as much as we ever can, including financially.

The report goes on to discuss disasters where it is, by contrast, our duty to prevent and remedy, such as human-induced climate change following rising levels of CO2 in the atmosphere. Here I would point to the major impact of deforestation. I am thinking, for instance, of how - in antiquity in the entire Mediterranean region - huge forest areas were savagely cut down, mainly for the building of war ships. The whole area as a result dried out for centuries due to insufficient rainfall. Today we see, I fear, the same thing happening for instance in the Amazonas - this time for narrow and shortsighted commercial reasons. Here we must continue our efforts to halt deforestation, both within the countries in that region and elsewhere, including in certain places here in Europe, where dry spells seem to alternate with massive flooding.

One of the report’s primary objectives is to link up especially human-made disasters closely with maintaining, strengthening and expanding human rights. It points to the need to assist particularly vulnerable groups following disasters, such as the elderly, children and the poor, through closer international cooperation, including via the Council of Europe and the EU. I agree with this general quest, even though it could be difficult to codify strengthened rights and their implementation in the chaos following disasters, sometimes for a longer period of time.

In conclusion, the report presents valuable ideas; however, some suggestions might be less effective. Certain proposals could potentially challenge nations' rights to decide their own future and political path. Nevertheless, it is importance to focus on preventive measures and to efficiently minimize the consequences of natural disasters and implement them in a wise and efficient way.

Thank you, Mr (Madame) President

Mr Francesco SORBARA



(Undelivered speech, Rules of Procedure Art. 31.2)


Honorable colleagues,

Thank you for the opportunity to speak to this important topic. Canada understands the importance of humanitarian cooperation, including in response to natural disasters, and has actively supported the international humanitarian system since its creation.

Following the devastating earthquake that hit Türkiye and Syria in February of this year, Canada provided $10 million in funding to humanitarian actors on the ground and matched private donations of another $10 million dollars to the Canadian Red Cross’ earthquake appeal.

But as the committee’s report rightly points out, we must be more than reactive and strengthen systems capable of responding immediately to the disasters that are becoming more frequent and severe because of climate change.

That is why Canada is a signatory and strong supporter of the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction, the 2015 international agreement that promotes disaster risk reduction.

One of the strengths of this agreement is the way it works in concert with related international efforts, including those related to addressing climate change, like the Paris Agreement, and promoting international development, such as the Sustainable Development Goals.

International structures prepared to respond immediately are critical in reducing disaster risks.

When the earthquake hit Türkiye and Syria, United Nations humanitarian organizations, such as the Central Emergency Response Fund and the UN Disaster Assessment and Coordination system, were able to quickly provide international financial assistance and deploy expert emergency response teams.

The Response Fund, or CERF, which has delivered over US$5.5 billion in emergency assistance since its inception in 2006, provided US$25 million in initial funding a day after the earthquake occurred and an additional US$25 million days later to “kickstart” the international humanitarian response.

The Coordination System, or UNDAC, at same time deployed 13 teams from around the world to coordinate relief efforts on the ground.

Canada has long been an important financial contributor to the UN humanitarian system, including the CERF and UNDAC. Such international mechanisms for action are an important complement to national and regional organizations that allow for a coordinated response to disasters.

As we navigate a world where we must expect such events to occur with increasing frequency and severity, we should seize every opportunity to promote this international cooperation.





Speech not pronounced (Rules of Procedure, Art. 31.2), only available in French




(Undelivered speech, Rules of Procedure Art. 31.2)


Good morning,

In Mexico, 38 years ago there was an earthquake of 8.1 magnitude and 6 years ago we suffered an earthquake with a magnitude of 7.1. When we learned in my country what had happened in Turkey and Syria, our hearts, prayers, and thoughts went out to them, as did everyone present.

In Anglo-Saxon law, natural disasters are known as "acts of God" and therefore no person can be held responsible for their consequences. And although this is totally understandable once the event has happened, it is also true that our responsibility must be directed towards preparing for and preventing the negative effects of climate change, since the natural disasters associated with this phenomenon are increasingly more frequent and its consequences more devastating.

This preventive approach cannot depend solely on the legislative functions of those of us who are parliamentarians or on the public policies carried out by governments, or on actions, whether collective or isolated, carried out by organized civil society or citizens, it requires a determined joint action.

If the catastrophes caused by earthquakes or hurricanes have taught us Mexicans any valuable lesson, it is about the importance of reconstruction, and I am not referring only to buildings, facilities, roads or infrastructure, but also to the reconstruction of rules for the allocation of resources and the political institutions in charge of monitoring and controlling that the application of these resources is done in accordance with the law, the imperative of informing the population in a timely and accessible manner about the progress that has been achieved and of the reconstruction of the models of transparency and accountability that allow knowing the results that were obtained and whether the most vulnerable population in these cases (such as women, children and the elderly) were benefited as planned.

I would like to be able to tell you that these lessons I am referring to are derived from the good practices that Mexico have put in place, but they are not. These lessons are valuable because in my country we have made mistakes in facing the consequences of destruction by natural disasters; I hope that this self-criticism, born from experience, can serve as support for the resolution and recommendation that is being put before this Assembly today and that the importance and transcendence of this issue is considered in its proper dimension.

Thank you.




Speech not pronounced (Rules of Procedure, Art. 31.2), only available in French

Mr Özdemir BEROVA

Cyprus* [Resolution 1376 (2004)]


(Undelivered speech, Rules of Procedure Art. 31.2)


Dear colleagues and esteemed members of the Assembly,

Very first of all, I would like to take this opportunity to send my heartfelt condolences to Türkiye and Syria, which have been struck by the earthquakes on 6 February, and to the relatives of the victims.

Natural disasters are a common threat to the well-being of humanity with cross-border implications. Grievously, the earthquakes which hit Turkey on the 6th of February have, once again, proved it. In this vein, I would like to thank the Rapporteur, Mr. Simon Moutquin, for bringing the issue into the consideration of the Council of Europe with special emphasis given to Türkiye.

Even though the international community has shown a great example of solidarity and provided significant humanitarian assistance from the very beginning, the Rapporteur’s urging of European leaders and politicians for increased and continuous cooperation with Türkiye is very compelling. The impacts of such a disaster may only be minimized with solidarity and cooperation.

As a Turkish Cypriot member at PACE, I would like to express that Türkiye’s pain is our pain. North Cyprus government and Turkish Cypriot people have mobilized all their resources; send search and rescue teams, as well as humanitarian aid, and organized donation campaigns, for the friendly and brotherly people of Türkiye.

Dear Colleagues,

It is very disheartening for me to express, but the earthquakes in Turkey had dramatic consequences on the Turkish Cypriot people as well, who I represent here. We have also lost our 49 citizens in this disaster. Among them, we had twenty-four high-school children who were at Adıyaman, Türkiye, for the volleyball tournament.

As highlighted by the Rapporteur, to honour the victims and their beloved families, we have a collective duty not to just forget the disaster but to learn and draw lessons from it to prevent the human loss of future disasters. And for this, judiciary processes, for the ones who have responsibility for the construction of the buildings that turned into rubbles, have to be completed as early as possible and they have to be imposed with the heaviest penalty.

We consider this as our responsibility for the grieving families of the victims, as well as our humanitarian duty for the safety and well-being of future generations.

Furthermore, Dear Colleagues, this will not be the last natural disaster we have experienced. Unfortunately, many more are awaiting us in the future. To this end, I fully support the call of the Rapporteur to increase cooperation at various levels of governance. Therefore, we, as Turkish Cypriot politicians, are ready to work together for a safer future both on our island and in the world.

Thank you for listening.




(Undelivered speech, Rules of Procedure Art. 31.2)


We celebrate the resolution taken by the Committee on Social Affairs, Health, and Sustainable Development, led by Mr. Simon Moutquin, regarding the topic: "Political Strategies to Prevent, Prepare for, and Face the Consequences of Natural Disasters."

We understand that climate change is a topic that concerns the international community for various reasons. Firstly, as the Assembly rightly points out, the climate crisis creates the perfect scenario for certain natural disasters to become more frequent, leading to catastrophic consequences for humanity, particularly for vulnerable groups and the global economy.

In light of this, the Assembly rightly emphasizes the need to practice prevention through the implementation of national strategies for extreme weather events, seeking cooperation among the United Nations, the European Union, and the Council of Europe.

The earthquake that occurred in central Turkey and Syria left these countries in a highly vulnerable position, where this vulnerability is not equitable, as it primarily affects women, children, and the elderly.

We are sensitive to this situation, as Mexico is a country characterized geologically by its high seismic and volcanic activity. In September 2017, we experienced a 7.1 magnitude earthquake according to the Richter scale, which left a toll of 369 deaths, 7,289 injuries, and 22,187 damaged homes.

In response to this event, the international community immediately showed its support for our nation, specifically the United Nations and the European Union, who sent 501 people, 32 canine units, equipment, and humanitarian aid supplies.

However, after 5 years, we still have not been able to repair the damage left by this natural disaster, due to the government not having a proper action plan.

Complaints from our citizens about poorly constructed buildings are frequent, as well as the evident diversion of resources, which were mainly requested for the purpose of rebuilding homes and ended up being allocated for the political campaigns of the 2018 presidential elections.

Finally, for an extended period of time, people who were left homeless slept in makeshift camps, where they had no access to electricity, potable water for drinking and maintaining proper hygiene, adequate rest, food, among other afflictions that did not allow them to lead a dignified life.

Vote: Political strategies to prevent, prepare for, and face the consequences of natural disasters


Belgium, SOC, Rapporteur


Thank you, Mister Chairman.

Amendment 3 follows my visit and the many meetings that were held. It gives both the official figure of the number of victims, 57 000 people, and the analyses and feedback we have had from all the meetings we have had, which speak of probably 100 000 people.

I thank you for this.


Germany, EPP/CD, President of the Assembly


Thanks, Ms Emine Nur GÜNAY tabled two sub-amendments.

I understand that Ms Emine Nur GÜNAY wishes to withdraw the sub-amendments. Is this correct?

She is not there? She is there.


Germany, EPP/CD, President of the Assembly


Okay, Sub-Amendment 2 is withdrawn.

I call Ms Emine Nur GÜNAY to support Sub-Amendment 1.

You have 30 seconds. Ms Emine Nur GÜNAY? Thirty seconds for Amendment 1.

Ms Emine Nur GÜNAY

Türkiye, NR


As the rapporteur already said, we would like to insert the following words, "According to official resources, there are for the time being more than 57 000 victims".


Germany, EPP/CD, President of the Assembly


Does anyone wish to wish to speak against the sub-amendment?

This is not the case.

What is the opinion of the mover of the main Amendment? Mr Simon MOUTQUIN.


Belgium, SOC, Rapporteur


I am in full agreement with this Amendment, which is fully in line with what I said before and we thereby quote both figures.

I thank you.


Germany, EPP/CD, President of the Assembly


What is the view of the Committee?


Türkiye, SOC, Chairperson of the Committee on Social Affairs, Health and Sustainable Development


The Committee had adopted this sub-amendment.


Germany, EPP/CD, President of the Assembly


I shall now put the sub-amendment to the vote.

The vote is open electronically.

The vote is closed.

I call for the results to be displayed.

107 yes, 1 against.

Sub-amendment 1 is agreed.

Does anyone wish to speak against the amendment?

This is not the case?

What is the committee's view on the amendment?


Belgium, SOC, Rapporteur


Excuse me, Mister President, what Amendment are you talking about?


Germany, EPP/CD, President of the Assembly


 Which one? He asked which one. Number three.


Belgium, SOC, Rapporteur


 I agree with this amendment.


Germany, EPP/CD, President of the Assembly


Then I shall now put the Amendment to the vote.

The vote is open.

I close the vote.

And I call for the results.

109 in favour.

Amendment 3 is agreed unanimously.

I call Mr Simon MOUTQUIN to support Amendment 10 on behalf of the Committee on Social Affairs, Health and Sustainable Development. You have 30 seconds.

Amendment 10.

All the others are agreed.


Belgium, SOC, Rapporteur


Yes, I support Amendment 10.


Germany, EPP/CD, President of the Assembly


Does anyone else wish to support the Amendment? No, this is clear.

The committee approved Amendment 10.

I shall now put the Amendment to the vote.

The vote is open.

Has everybody voted? The vote is now closed.

I call for the result to be displayed.

100 for yes, 1 for no. Amendment 10 is agreed.

We will now proceed to vote on the draft resolution contained in Document 15738 as amended. A simple majority is required.

The vote is now open.

The vote is closed.

109 in favour, 2 abstentions: the draft resolution is unanimously accepted.

We will now consider the Amendments to the draft recommendation.

I understand that the chairperson of the Committee on Social Affairs, Health and Sustainable Development wishes to propose to the Assembly that Amendments 12 and 13 to the draft recommendation, which were unanimously approved by the committee, should be declared as agreed by the Assembly.

Is that so, Ms Selin SAYEK BÖKE? Thanks.

Does anyone object? Nobody.

There is no objection.

I declare that Amendments 12 and 13 to the draft recommendation have been agreed.

We will now proceed to vote on the draft recommendation contained in Document no. 15738 and Addendum no. 1. Now we need a two-thirds majority.

The vote is now open.

The vote is closed.

The result is:

100 yes, 1 no, so this is a two-thirds majority. This is adopted.

Congratulations to the rapporteur.

Any rapporteur would wish to have such results, nearly unanimously. It is an important issue and an important signal of this chamber towards the people we discussed.

The next item on the agenda is the debate on the report titled “Implementation of judgments of the European Court of Human Rights” presented by Mr Constantinos EFSTATHIOU on behalf of the Committee on Legal Affairs and Human Rights.

In order to finish by 8:00 p.m., I will interrupt the list of speakers at about 7:45 p.m. – this is in about one hour and 15 minutes – to allow time for the reply and vote on the draft resolution and draft recommendation.

I call Mr Constantinos EFSTATHIOU, rapporteur.

You have 7 minutes now and 3 minutes at the end to reply to the debate. You have the floor. 

Debate: Implementation of judgments of the European Court of Human Rights

Mr Constantinos EFSTATHIOU

Cyprus, SOC, Rapporteur


Thank you, Mister Chair.

Dear colleagues, I should like, firstly, to thank the Committee of Legal Affairs and Human Rights for entrusting me with this important report.

The implementation of judgments of the European Court of Human Rights relates to the core work of the Council of Europe in identifying human rights violations, in assisting member States, in redressing shortcomings and deficiencies in line with their obligation vis à vis the European Convention of Human Rights to which they are bound.

Notwithstanding the primary obligation of national authorities to implement court decisions and competency and authority of the Committee of Ministers to oversee the implementation of the Court judgments, the role of the Parliamentary Assembly is two-fold: in addressing the fundamental legal issues at stake which are intrinsic to the court judgments, but also the political will – or lack of thereof – both of national authorities and that of the Committee of Ministers in applying the necessary pressure, both politically and legally based, on Article 46 of the Convention for Compliance.

Let us not forget that the Committee of Ministers functions within the scope of core national interests, so that sometimes give the impression to the ordinary European citizen that there are trade-offs that delay or restrict the effective implementation of judgments or the taking of active action and measures.

In this latest report we have focused on the implementation of Court judgments in those states having the highest number of cases pending before the Committee of Ministers, as well as the implementation of the most problematic cases, including interstate cases and Article 18 cases and judgments, i.e. human rights violations for anterior purpose and therefore that relate to a misuse of power.

In drafting this report I have followed the same structure as the one of previous rounds. I identified the countries with the largest number of unimplemented cases or with excessive delay in implementation, grouping them according to their specific characteristics in an attempt to understand why this is happening. Is this a question of a lack of political will or rather because of structural deficiencies or other systematic problems?

During the course of this work, the committee held five hearings on interstate cases, Article 18 judgments, and challenges of the implementation of Court judgments with respect to Hungary, Türkiye, and Ukraine.

I also undertook two country visits in November 2022 to Azerbaijan and Romania, which, together with Hungary, Türkiye, and Ukraine have the largest numbers of unimplemented judgments.

The outcome of these hearings has shown that it is essential that the Assembly and national parliaments press forward for the necessary legislative changes and institutional reform, so as to ensure that the same rights will not be violated and that redress mechanisms are fully functional at the national level.

This is why closer collaboration with national human rights institutions is crucial.

I stress therefore the importance of all states having effective national co-ordination mechanisms with sufficient hierarchy and resources to be able to implement court judgments in a timely and effective manner.

This is something we could all be encouraged by our governments to do more effectively.

In the report, it currently states to implement in good faith and without delay the final binding judgments of the European Court. I call on the Committee of Ministers to ensure that improved focus is given to implementing leading cases, i.e. those cases required underlying reforms to prevent a repeat violations of human rights in that state.

The report asks that priority be given to tackling particularly complex cases, including interstate cases.

I have also asked for improvements to be made with the transparency of the process of implementation. In particular, as concerns the reasoning and accessibility of decisions, interim resolution, the final resolutions of the Committee of Ministers in relation to cases, and also in terms of accessibility and ease of navigation of the HUDOC-EXEC website.

It is vitally important that European citizens can understand and have confidence in this core part of their European system for the production of human rights, democracy, and the rule of law.

Let us not forget that the Court judgments deal with severe cases of human rights abuses, which have not been adequately and satisfactorily addressed at the national level. Cases launched before the Court represent the last resort and opportunity for millions of our free fellow citizens to demand better, more fair, and more equitable treatment.

Problems in keeping with the implementation of judgments therefore affect citizens' confidence and trust in the ability of the system as a whole to promote and protect the rule of law, democracy, and human rights. Thus, in effect, questioning its legitimacy and viability.

This is the reason I encourage a better involvement of the Parliamentary Assembly in working towards the implementation of the judgments, including through an annual address to the Assembly by the Committee of Ministers on the progress achieved in implementing the judgments.

The report proposes further work to develop projects, support national parliament and parliamentarians in driving through legislative reforms necessary to implement the judgments, and in holding our governments to account for taking timely actions implemented.

In this light, I call all of you to consider what we collectively can do to improve the timely and effective implementation of judgments in our own countries, and to undertake best efforts to continue this important work when we return from Strasbourg to our respective parliaments.

I should also like to underline the importance of outstanding interstate cases that merit our continued attention and involvement.

Leniency and complacency shown on our part towards some states can only prolong the agony of those whose rights have been violated, and delay progress in social justice.

This type of tolerance is detrimental to our credibility as an organisation. Violations of human rights and international law are unacceptable, wherever they occur. The report provides useful statistical information on the number and characteristics of important pending cases before the court, which have been just recently updated by the Committee of Ministers.

Data contained in the report prove the systematic and structural deficiencies that persist in a number of member States.

I call upon competent national authorities as a matter of urgency to carefully analyse these and rectify shortcomings as soon as possible, with appropriate measures and actions.

After all, the numbers always tell the truth, and the truth is that we have a long way ahead of us to establish a culture o attachment to the Convention and all that this entails.

Thank you very much.


Germany, EPP/CD, President of the Assembly


Thank you to the rapporteur.

I call now the speakers on behalf of the political groups.

The first speaker is from the Socialist Group – Mr Saša MAGAZINOVIĆ, you have the floor.


Bosnia and Herzegovina, SOC, Spokesperson for the group


Thank you, Mister Chairman.

When we talk about the implementation of the judgments of the European Court of Human Rights, we are also talking about the values around which we are guardians. If we give up insisting on respect for Court rulings, we have given up on our values. The judgments of the European Court of Human Rights have led to significant social and legal changes throughout its history. This institution is a shelter for those whose rights were taken away and an important corrective factor for democracies of the member countries of the Council of Europe. This is why this report is extremely important and why it is important to face the fact that there are countries that do not implement judgments which means they do not respect the Court and the obligation they agreed to.

It is difficult to speak and criticise others who do not implement judgments when you come from a country that itself does not implement the judgments of the European Court for Human Rights. I am one of the citizens of Bosnia and Herzegovina who have been discriminated against in such a way that they did not have the right to be a candidate for the members of the Presidency of Bosnia and Herzegovina.

The first judgment on discrimination in the electoral process was passed 14 years ago. Followed by several more later but the constitution was never changed in such a way that all citizens have the same right to run in elections.

I invite us all not to close our eyes to what the report called, "particularly complex cases," which we asked to be prioritised with these recommendations. People must have confidence that the fight for human rights is valid and the violation of these rights can be stopped and prevented.

The fact that, as mentioned in the report, there are cases of judgments whose implementation has been waiting for 10 years tells us several things. One of the most important is that the issue of implementation largely depends on political will. 

Finally, we must never forget that the struggle for the preservation and improvement of human rights never ends and that we are important guardians of those rights.

Dear Mr Constantinos EFSTATHIOU, thank you for your effort to make such a high-quality report. I invite you all to adopt the resolution and recommendation.

Thank you.


Germany, EPP/CD, President of the Assembly


Thank you very much.

Now Mr Aleksander POCIEJ has the floor on behalf of the Group of the European People's Party.

Mr Aleksander POCIEJ

Poland, EPP/CD, Spokesperson for the group


Dear President,

Dear Colleagues,

What more can I say than to repeat the wise words of my dear friend Mr Constantinos EFSTATHIOU from his summary.

The implementation of judgments of the European Court of Human Rights is the priority for the Parliamentary Assembly and the Council of Europe.

All states must implement, in good faith and without delay, the final binding judgment of the European Court of Human Rights.

The Committee of Ministers should prioritise the implementation of leading and complex cases, including the interstate cases.

It is crucial that European citizens can understand and have confidence in this core part of the European system for the protection of human rights, democracy, and the rule of law.

This is from the summary.

Can you imagine, anyone here, the country that cannot enforce verdicts of its supreme court? Such a country cannot exist. Can you imagine one of the districts of your country which does not acknowledge the verdict given by the court, a supreme court in the capital?

By signing, by entering this body, everybody, all countries, sign an agreement to respect those verdicts.

What is the situation?

Not only non-democratic countries fail to implement the judgments, but also very strong democracies don't want to acknowledge the verdict of our tribunal.

For this reason, one of the main goals, main targets for the Fourth Summit is to change something, to introduce the procedures that might strengthen the implementation of those judgments.

We are waiting for the results, with the hope of the Fourth Summit of Reykjavík.

Thank you very much.



Germany, EPP/CD, President of the Assembly


Thank you very much.

The next speaker is Ms Ingvild Wetrhus THORSVIK on behalf of the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe.

Ms Ingvild Wetrhus THORSVIK

Norway, ALDE, Spokesperson for the group


Thank you Mister President, and thank you also to the rapporteur for a thorough and very good report.

Judgments of the European Court of Human Rights have a great potential to protect human rights. States are obliged to provide justice to victims of human rights violations. They are also obliged to prevent violations for others.

The judgments have a great impact on the lives of victims of human rights violations. Their implementation also has a great impact on the wider society.

The implementations of judgements build citizens' confidence in the European system for the protection of human rights, democracy and the rule of law. Non-implementation, especially of the leading cases, is a systematic problem. Each case represents a significant or structural problem, often with direct consequences for many citizens.

Leading judgments not being implemented means underlying human rights issues are not being dealt with. For example, a judgment on an instance of torture might reflect on an ongoing situation of torture by state officials. When that leading judgment is not implemented, the problems linked to state torture is not resolved.

Some member States have more cases pending implementation than others. The reasons for non-implementation vary. But as the report shows, lack of political will is a major problem, especially in interstate cases.

Compliance with international law and repairing any breaches are primarily the responsibility of the states themselves. In addition to the importance of the principle of subsidiarity, it is also practical, as the states themselves are often more suited to choose appropriate national measures, especially in light of the peculiarities of each state's legal and political system.

I am pleased that the draft resolution encourages employing innovative and creative techniques and measures to seek to make progress in addressing intractable problems.

Strengthening the role of civil society, bar associations and national human rights organisations in the process of implementation is very important, as well as transparency.

There is low-hanging fruit which states have not implemented due to a lack of resources. It is therefore imperative that the Council of Europe assist with expertise, support and monitoring for improving the system and structures. 

The importance of implementation for individuals is - I cannot stress it enough - also for society as a whole. Failure to adequately and effectively implement judgments threatens the credibility and authority of the system. It risks eroding the Convention rights's and making them illusory.

It is therefore imperative that the Council of Europe takes a more active role in making sure that more judgements are being implemented.


Germany, EPP/CD, President of the Assembly


Thank you very much.

The next speaker is Sir Christopher CHOPE on behalf of his group.

Sir Christopher CHOPE

United Kingdom, EC/DA, Spokesperson for the group


Mister Chairman,

This draft resolution and draft recommendation perfectly illustrate the impotence of this organisation.

I was disappointed that the rapporteur did not refer in his opening remarks to the case of Mr Osman Kavala.

There have only ever been two cases before the European Court of Human Rights which have been the subject of infringement proceedings, under Article 46, Paragraph 4 of the Convention.

One of those cases remains unresolved. That is the case of Mr Osman Kavala.

Mr Osman Kavala has been in unlawful detention in Türkiye since November 2017.

His release was ordered by the Court in 2019; that was defied by Türkiye.

The Committee of Ministers then took the matter forward and asked the Grand Chamber to opine further.

On 11 July last year, the Grand Chamber concluded that, I quote:

"Mr Osman Kavala must be freed today and acquitted of all charges".

Was he? Of course he wasn't.

We heard at the Committee from representatives from Türkiye who basically said: "This is a political case, you haven't got a clue, you members of the European Council of Human Rights; you don't understand politics in Türkiye. We're going to continue to defy the Court."

In the face of that, what are we going to do?

This resolution talks about calling on Türkiye to take action. We know that they're going to ignore that.

My concern is that this Council of Europe has shown itself to be supine in the face of behaviour which is completely outrageous, by people who are dictatorial in their tendencies.

What we do as a result of being weak; dictators become emboldened.

That's why Russia was able to invade Ukraine.

If we had taken action sooner against Russia, that conflict might not have taken place.

What are we doing now? Are we taking action against Türkiye? No, we're not.

The Committee of Ministers could be taking moves to expel Türkiye from this organisation.

This Council could be taking action to expel the Turkish delegation from membership of the Parliamentary Assembly; it's not doing that.

That's because we are frit, and why are we frit? Because Türkiye is a grand payeur ["big payer" in French], and there are too many people in this building who've got a vested interest in ensuring that the grand payeurs continue to pay so that they can continue to appease countries, organisations, and dictatorships, such as we have got in Türkiye.

Let us hope that the people of Türkiye are sufficiently wise to oust president Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and his government.

If they don't, what are we going to do as an organisation?

Surely, we are really building our own death warrant if we don't actually take action.

Instead of just resorting to words on these issues, let's do something about Mr Osman Kavala.

It's a disappointment to me that the rapporteur seems unwilling to actually embrace that idea.


Germany, EPP/CD, President of the Assembly


Thank you very much.

The next speaker is Ms Laura CASTEL for the Group of the Unified European Left.


Spain, UEL, Spokesperson for the group


Thank you, Chair and thank you to the rapporteur for this work.

Dear colleagues, yesterday morning, we woke up to the news of mass arrests in Amed by the Turkish government to influence the elections. Among those arrested, there are lawyers, journalists, campaign managers of the Green Left party, etc. 110 were arrested. This is an alarming issue closely related to the implementation of judgments of the European Court of Human Rights.

Specifically, we see the countries with practices, such as those described above, having the highest number of unimplemented Court judgments, such is the case of Türkiye. But it is also the case for other member States.

The report reminds us of the very well-known cases of Mr Osman Kavala and Mr Selahattin Demirtaş waiting in jail for the implementation of a Court judgment.

But let me share with you one example concerning the Polish judiciary, stating that every person has the right to a fair trial in an independent court, and the presence of illegally appointed judges does not guarantee these rights. And despite this, the illegally appointed judges continue to adjudicate. This is Poland now.

Therefore, colleagues, it is urgent to put the focus on these non-compliant countries, to ensure respect for the Court judgments and the European Convention of Human Rights.

The increase in the number of judgments pending before the Committee of Ministers is a red light that should scandalise us. There were almost 5 300 cases four years ago, and now there are 1 000 more pending cases. This should set off our alarms.

This is proof that there are some member States that are not committed to this process, and therefore they are eroding our common values. Some of them are clear cases of a lack of political will.

In a nutshell, the member State who sits in the Committee of Ministers and must control implementation is the one that does not want to implement it. It is a very tricky situation.

As the resolution recalls, the legal obligation for the states parties to the Convention to implement the Court's judgments is binding in all branches of the state's authority and should not be avoided in any way. Otherwise, colleagues, it is the end of trusting in multilateralism, the degradation of peaceful political relations and the end of multilateral co-operation. The result would be chaos and the Reykjavík Summit is our opportunity to renew the commitment of the binding nature of the Court's judgments.

Thank you, Chair. Thank you, rapporteur.


Germany, EPP/CD, President of the Assembly


Thank you very much.

Now has the floor Mr Darko KAEVSKI from North Macedonia.


North Macedonia, SOC


Thank you, Mister Chairman.

Dear colleagues, dear guests, the very fundamental right that every individual and every nation deserves is the right of self-identification. It is a basic principle of international law that allows nations to freely determine their own affairs and posess their own national consequence.

It is a special objective and value in modern society that must be upheld and respected.

As citizens of North Macedonia, we have worked hard to develop close relations with our neighbouring countries. We have sacrificed a lot to promote peace and cooperation in the region. That is why we need to reassure the good bond between North Macedonia and Bulgaria.

However, it is discouraging to see that the Macedonian community in Bulgaria has been marginalised for too long.

This is unacceptable in a modern and democratic society. It is time for the Bulgarian government to recognise the Macedonian minority and grant them their rightful place in society. The Macedonian people have a right to their own identity, language, and culture. They have a right to be proud of who they are and where they come from. The United Nations has made it clear that the promotion of self-identification is one of the main goals.

The European Court of Human Rights has also made a decision regarding the rights of the individuals living in Bulgaria who determine themselves as Macedonians.

It is time for Bulgarian official authorities to respect this verdict. If Bulgaria does not act upon the decision of the European Court of Human Rights, it will confirm that the rights of Macedonians are not respected.

This will be devastating, given that Bulgaria is a part of European Union.

Respected colleagues, let us remove all suspicion that their politicians who wants to violate the relation between two countries for their own interests, let us uphold the basic human rights of self-identification for all, and let us work together to build a better future for ourselves and our children.

As a reliable partner and strong ally of the EU, North Macedonia remains fully committed to the path to the union. We have met all the necessary conditions for the start of negotiations and have broad support from member States.

We believe in European values and they serve as a guide for the development of Macedonian society. Rule of law, democracy, respect of basic human rights should be respected by every EU member country in order to keep the union strong and true to its values.

Let's work together to protect these values as the basis for long-term bonds between all the countries and people in Europe.

Thank you very much.


Germany, EPP/CD, President of the Assembly


Thank you.

The floor goes to your neighbour Ms Arusyak JULHAKYAN. 


Armenia, EPP/CD


Thank you.

Dear Chair,

Dear Colleagues,

Over the last several days we have been reflecting on the importance of the implementation of the judgments of the European Court of Human Rights, which is one of the essential problems of our organisation.

In yesterday's discussion, the president of the European Court of Human Rights stated that over the last 60 years, the Court has delivered over 26 000 judgments.

However, as of March 2023, more than 6 200 judgments of the Court have not been implemented, and are still pending before the Committee of Ministers.

This means that nearly 25% of the Court's judgments have not been implemented by the member States. This is a serious problem.

The implementation of the interim measures issued by the Court is also of high importance. However, despite this, the Committee of Ministers has a lack of power in this respect.

I would like to remind you that the conditions for membership for the Council of Europe are pluralistic democracy, the rule of law, and respect for human rights. Only those countries which fulfil this criteria can accede.

The European Court of Human Rights is the only abiding mechanism which is supposed to guarantee at least one of the three conditions of membership of this organisation: respect for human rights.

Non-implemented judgments undermine the authority and functioning of the Convention system.

This is why we must reaffirm the binding nature of the judgments and decisions on interim measures that the European Court of Human Rights to further reinforce the execution of judgments by strengthening relevant co-operation activities, and enhancing the means at our disposal in cases of non-compliance.


What do your respective states do when your citizens do not implement the judgments of your domestic courts?

You enforce the implementation. You apply sanctions.

What do we do as the Council of Europe when a member State refrains from the implementation of an ECHR judgment?

We just acknowledge the fact and do not take necessary steps.

Over the last 10 years Council of Europe member State Azerbaijan has not implemented nearly 80% of the ECHR rulings. This country is the leader among the member States of the Council of Europe in terms of the number of unexecuted judgments.

The statistics show that the number of non-implemented decisions by Azerbaijan is increasing year by year. This is pure disrespect for human rights.

This country neglects, not only the rulings of the ECHR, but also those of other international courts.

For example, the binding order of the ICJ which obligates Azerbaijan to take all measures to ensure unimpeded movement of persons, vehicles, and cargo along with the Lachin corridor in both directions is still neglected. Azerbaijan continues to block the road of life for 120 000 people in Nagorno-Karabakh, thus creating a humanitarian catastrophe.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

We cannot ignore the shameful statistics of the unexecuted judgments. When I say shameful, I mean it for this Council of Europe, because it shows that this organisation should have taken proper actions, in either introducing new mechanisms for enforcement, or by thinking about sanctions, including the suspension of membership of states which make zero efforts to comply with the conditions of membership, in this case, the respect for human rights.

Thank you.


Germany, EPP/CD, President of the Assembly


Thank you very much.

Next speaker is Mr Bertrand BOUYX from France.

Mr Bertrand BOUYX

France, ALDE


Thank you, Mr President.

Dear colleagues,

Article 46 of the European Convention on Human Rights is very clear: "The High Contracting Parties undertake to abide by the final judgments of the Court in cases to which they are parties." Beyond the commitment of the parties, the Convention system has a mechanism for monitoring compliance with its provisions.

Yet, it must be said, the trend is not positive. Indeed, the Resolution states that the number of judgments before the Committee of Ministers will rise from, and I quote, 5 231 at the end of 2019 to 6 256 by 1 March 2023. Russia, Ukraine, Romania, Turkey, Azerbaijan and Hungary have the highest number of unimplemented judgments of the Court.

Many of these countries are in war situations and it is clear that they face serious structural or complex problems in enforcing decisions. However, this is still not the case and still too often the non-implementation of judgments reflects a political will or even an unwillingness to apply principles that have been subscribed to.

I would like to warn here, as others have done, against this temptation to set sovereignty - and particularly judicial sovereignty - against respect for the fundamental principles that structure our continent. No, the European Court of Human Rights does not interfere in the internal affairs of States. It only has to deal with an infinitesimal number of cases. The judge of the ECHR is above all a national judge. It is up to him or her to apply the principles that we all share. The ECHR is subsidiary justice. It intervenes only as a last resort and respects the political and judicial traditions of each State represented here.

So, where does this temptation come from that exists in each of our states, and within most more or less representative parties, to challenge the ECHR and its judgments? Simply to be able to undermine the separation of powers and the independence of the judiciary, something they cannot do with the ECHR. Let us look beyond our continent. Wasn't the judicial reform project in Israel, among other countries, aimed at submitting the judicial authority to the political will of the government? I ask this question. The strength of the resistance to this bill shows that this is a decisive battle for democracy. It concerns us.

To conclude, respecting the judgments and decisions of the ECHR is a guarantee for all of us that the rule of law and democratic values will be respected. We cannot leave national jurisdictions alone in the face of governments that are increasingly hostile all over the world, including within our own continent, in the face of external threats, but also in the face of centrifugal forces that undermine the cohesion of nations.

This resolution is therefore very important: we must return to it regularly.

I thank you for your attention.

Ms Elvira KOVÁCS

Serbia, EPP/CD, President of the Assembly


Mister Ahmet Ünal ÇEVİKÖZ from Türkiye, wouldn't you like to speak?

Yes, you are next on the list. The floor is yours.

Mr Ahmet Ünal ÇEVİKÖZ

Türkiye, SOC


Thank you, Madam President.

I was expecting Mr David MORRIS to take the floor actually.

Dear President, distinguished members of the Assembly, allow me first of all to express my congratulations to the rapporteur of this report on the implementation of judgments of the European Court of Human Rights.

I imagine that it required a lot of commitment and a very laborious working plan and programme to compile such a comprehensive report about many countries.

Respect for human rights, democracy and the rule of law are three very important pillars of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe.

Let us also remember the fact, which we are reminded of in the report, that the implementation of the Court's judgments is binding on all branches of state authority, and cannot be avoided through the invocation of technical problems or obstacles which are due to the lack of political will, lack of resources, or national legislation, including the constitution.

Yesterday we reviewed and adopted the report and the resolution on European Convention on Human Rights and national constitutions.

I find it quite pertinent that the report we are reviewing today is a corollary to yesterday's report.

Yesterday's report entails the view that full respect of the Convention and the national constitutional order is not antithetical, but fully complementary. It is therefore necessary to implement in good faith the binding judgments of the Court in line with the obligations in Article 46, Paragraph 1 of the Convention, which are of an unconditional nature and in full respect for the rule of law.

I would like to reiterate in that respect that according to Article 90 of the Turkish constitution, the final judgments of the European Court of Human Rights are also binding.

Madam President, dear colleagues, in my country parliamentary and presidential elections will be held on 14 May.

I will not be running as a candidate in the elections, so is in a way this is my valedictory speech in this august body that I have been a part of for the last five years. I've always cherished memories that I have gathered with all my fellow parliamentarians during our endeavours, but I want to mention a very peculiar relevance and importance of this chamber that we are currently in for my country.

19 years ago, on 15 December 2004, in this very hemicycle, the European Parliament voted with an overwhelming majority for a very important resolution to approve the launching of accession negotiations between my country and the European Union. Posters and banners in different languages saying "Oui!" "Yes!" or "Evet!" in Turkish were raised in the hands of the European parliamentarians.

I am certain that, after the elections, my country will show up again in the Council of Europe with a strong mandate to reinforce its place among the members of this community of nations respecting human rights, democracy, rule of law, and with implementation of judgments of the European Court of Human Rights.

So believe you us, we will be with you. I'm sure you are with us, too.

Thank you.

Ms Elvira KOVÁCS

Serbia, EPP/CD, President of the Assembly


Thank you.

The next speaker will be Mr Vladimir VARDANYAN, Group of the European People's Party, from Romania.


Armenia, EPP/CD


Thank you, Madam Chair.

Honourable Colleagues,

First of all, let me express my words of gratitude and congratulate Mr Constantinos EFSTATHIOU for this report.  I would just ask a rhetorical question. Why after 70 years of the existence of the European Court of Human Rights and of this organisation are we still discussing the issue of implementation – or rather non-implementation of the judgments of the European Court of Human Rights? Why is it still not a taboo? Why can we still not say to the States, you know, if you are not implementing the rulings of the European Court of Human Rights, it is a taboo and these are the final days for you in this organisation? Very often we are actually afraid of different developments in different countries.

I do not want to address the non-implementation policy of this or that country, I would rather like to address the issue of how long we are going to tolerate a situation where we as politicians actually, by our inaction, are undermining the existence of international judiciary. Why we are concentrating on the final judgment. Unfortunately, international justice is a slow one, and very often, to get real justice you also need to implement interim measures which are the basis, very often, for this or that final judgment.

Unfortunately, the Committee of Ministers does not want to be engaged in this process because it is an additional headache. You remember, honourable colleagues, within several resolutions we raised this issue.

It is quite important not to mention only one case. Mr Christopher CHOPE mentioned the Osman Kavala case is quite important. Mister Christopher CHOPE, you should also mention other cases. Just a couple of days ago, the International Court of Justice and the European Court of Human Rights adopted interim measures concerning the situation of the Lachin corridor, urging Azerbaijan to immediately reopen the movement in the Lachin corridor. Do we have any reaction? Do we have any proper reaction? The inaction of politicians would undermine the very existence of international judiciary. Without international judiciary, we cannot go ahead, because our organisation is designed to protect human rights. It is one of the added values of this organisation.

If we were to continue having such a situation where several countries would be allowed not to implement judgments of the European Court of Human Rights, not to follow interim measures indicated by the European Court of Human Rights, it would be the end, not only for the Court, but it would be the end for this respected organisation, which is quite important for each of us and for the people of our countries.

Thank you.

Ms Elvira KOVÁCS

Serbia, EPP/CD, President of the Assembly


Thank you.

Next I call Lord George FOULKES from the United Kingdom and for the Socialists, Democrats and Greens Group.

The floor is yours.

Lord George FOULKES

United Kingdom, SOC


Thank you, Madam President.

I don't know if you, Madam President, are, like me, a fan of mysteries on television. Agatha Christie's Hercule Poirot, who always reminds us that he's Belgian and not French, Mr Bernard FOURNIER!

Then Sherlock Holmes written by [a man] who came from Edinburgh, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, as I have come from Edinburgh.

Now I can see some of you are wondering, "What's this got to do with the subject of today's debate?"

I think we have a mystery here.

Why is the United Kingdom so critical of the European Court of Human Rights, which it keeps calling, in a sort of off-hand way, the Strasbourg Court? Why? After all the United Kingdom has the fewest number of referrals to the Strasbourg Court, and even fewer number of critical decisions.

This is the mystery; it surely can't be because we're at odds with the European Court in terms of its judgments. 

As Mr John HOWELL said yesterday in his excellent speech, under the Brighton Agreement, and indeed Mr Bertrand BOUYX from France said earlier today, under the Brighton Agreement, the domestic courts have priority. The European Court of Human Rights just elaborates on that.

So, it could be for that. So, why? Why? This is the mystery.

Why is Ms Suella Braverman constantly critical of decisions, particularly on immigration?

Now it can't be because she's against asylum seekers. After all, her ancestors were asylum seekers and were granted permission to come into the United Kingdom, so she must appreciate that.

No, the solution to this mystery is that it must be because the court has "Europe" in its title, and somehow they're antagonistic towards anything that has "Europe" in its title.

Well, my message to her, and I hope all our messages to Ms Suella Braverman, is to lay off the European Court of Human Rights.

After all, as Sir Christopher CHOPE rightly said, there are decisions about countries which are 10 times, a hundred times worse, than the United Kingdom in terms of human rights, that should be implemented to protect the people of Europe.

We should be standing up for the European Court of Human Rights.

If Ms Suella Braverman does not follow this example, then she'll end up as a footnote of history, like Ms Theresa May, Ms Liz Truss, and Mr Boris Johnson, instead of being one of the great people of history in fact who had the building that we came through from our palais to here. The building is named after him. Surely, she would want to be on the plinth along with Mr Winston Spencer Churchill.

That is where Britain should be, not in the footnote of history.

Ms Elvira KOVÁCS

Serbia, EPP/CD, President of the Assembly


Thank you.

Next, I call Ms Isabel MEIRELLES from Portugal; European People's Party.


Portugal, EPP/CD


Thank you, Madam President.

Dear colleagues,

Our Parliamentary Assembly has always made a very important contribution to monitoring the implementation of the European Court's judgments, as these rights are considered a priority.

Yet, Mr Osman Kavala, a human rights defender in Türkiye, has been involved in the establishment of many civil society movements and NGOs whose activities are related to human rights, culture, social studies, historical reconciliation and environmental protection.

Yet he was arrested in 2017 on charges of attempting to overthrow the government in connection with the 2013 Gezi Park events and overthrowing the constitutional order in connection with the July 2016 coup attempt.

The Court found that this arrest and pre-trial detention took place in the absence of evidence, only with the aim of silencing him and deterring other human rights defenders. The Turkish government was therefore instructed to release Mr Osman Kavala immediately.

Türkiye failed to comply with this judgment of the Court and, since then, the grand chamber concluded that Türkiye had failed to comply with its duty to abide by the final judgments of the Court. And of course, failure to comply with final and binding decisions gives rise to situations which are not compatible with the rule of law.

On 25 April 2022, the Turkish Criminal Court sentenced him, even after the Court's ruling, to aggravated life imprisonment. He has been deprived of his freedom since that date.

It is difficult to understand how the Turkish judiciary could conclude that there was sufficient evidence for a conviction. The Turkish authorities have sought to challenge the clear findings of the European Court.

This case is a good example of the procedural hurdles that a state uses to try to avoid timely implementation of a Court ruling, especially if the failure is due to political will.

This house should make it absolutely clear that this situation is unacceptable and threatens the entire Convention system.

Here I agree and support our colleague Sir Christopher CHOPE. I urge Türkiye, and I urge you as well, to ensure that Mr Osman Kavala is released without delay.

Thank you.

Ms Elvira KOVÁCS

Serbia, EPP/CD, President of the Assembly


Thank you.

Dear colleagues, I would urge you to take care of the time.

So you have a watch.

Please, look at it.

I call next in the debate Ms Elena-Simona SPĂTARU from Romania.

... She's not sitting in her place, so probably she's gone.

I call next Sir Edward LEIGH, European Conservatives Group and Democratic Alliance, United Kingdom.

Sir Edward LEIGH

United Kingdom, EC/DA


Well Lord George FOULKES is a lovely man but I seldom agree with much of what he says.

Of course, he is a fanatical pro-European –  there is nothing wrong with that, he is entitled to his views – but he is constantly lecturing us about how the British people made a terrible mistake in leaving the European Union.

Although, dare I say it, he is an unelected member of the unelected House of Lords, whereas I am elected by 75 000 people, 60% of my constituency voted to leave and 17 million people in the United Kingdom voted to leave. And really when he praises the Court of Human Rights, he needs to surely take account of a very recent case.

If you listen to my friend Lord George FOULKES, who is –  I agree, is a wonderful parliamentarian and I have nothing against him personally – you would think that we had had no trouble with the Court of Human Rights. Has he forgotten a case that actually I mentioned in this very chamber yesterday? We are facing – has not Lord George FOULKES noticed – an unprecedented crisis in the Channel with boats pouring across the Channel at grave risk to human life, being organised by criminal gangs. So with a mandate from the people, our government is seeking to end this humanitarian crisis. And this is what the Rwanda case is about.

In the case of K.N. v. the United Kingdom, the Strasbourg Court granted an interim measure before our own Supreme Court had ruled on the case. The European Court of Human Rights gave no indication that a substantive application had been made to it, most likely because the applicant had not yet exhausted the domestic legal remedies available to him. This basically means the Strasbourg Court has taken upon itself the role of supervising the Supreme Court – our Supreme Court – including overriding its own decision not to grant interim relief, but to let the case follow its normal course in the fullness of time. The government of the United Kingdom had no chance to make a presentation to the Strasbourg court about its case.

This, Lord George FOULKES, is patently unfair and unjust. Interim measures granted by the European Court of Human Rights are themselves extra-conventional. They do not form part of the European Convention itself. But the Court has expanded its own powers in recent years by indicating that so far as it is concerned, a failure to comply with interim measures will be considered a breach of Article 34. That provides that the ECHR may receive individual applications and that States may not hinder this.

The European Convention is a compact of international law. It is an agreement freely made and freely signed up to by individual States. Any change in the powers of the European Court of Human Rights should be debated and agreed in a transparent manner by democratically accountable governments, Lord George FOULKES, and that has not happened in this case.

Thank you very much.

Ms Elvira KOVÁCS

Serbia, EPP/CD, President of the Assembly


Thank you.

I would also like to remind you all again that 3 minutes is 3 minutes, as the president would say, in every member State.

In the debate I call next Ms Ingjerd SCHOU, Group of the European People's Party, from Norway.

Ms Ingjerd SCHOU

Norway, EPP/CD


Madam President,

The European Court of Human Rights is the cornerstone of our organisation.

675 million Europeans have their human rights protected by our Court. The implementation of judgments is fundamental. The fact that the number of non-implemented judgments has gone up since 2019 is therefore alarming. Being a member, Madam President, of the Council of Europe, commits.

Judgments from the Court can’t simply be ignored.

President, how can we ensure a higher rate of implementation?

The work of the Committee of Ministers is key.

I agree with our rapporteur that the Committee of Ministers must continue to exert pressure on all member States which systematically do not implement judgements.

We saw that continuous pressure finally led to the implementation of the Ilgar Mammadov v. Azerbaijan case.

I believe that the same pressure on Türkiye can lead to the implementation of the Court’s judgment in the Kavala case.

Madam President,

In the draft resolution, our rapporteur encourages closer co-operation with civil society, bar associations and national human rights institutions. This is crucial, in my opinion.

A few weeks ago the Norwegian Helsinki Committee organised a meeting in Oslo on the future of the Council of Europe. The meeting resulted in "the Oslo Statement".

The first point in this statement is that the Summit must decide on measures to improve the implementation of the European Convention on Human Rights, and the execution of judgments of the European Court of Human Rights.

Madam President,

The importance of civil society and national human rights organisations was explicitly mentioned. Both the Committee of Ministers and the member States must co-operate more with these organisations.

Madam President,

EU accession to the European Convention of Human Rights is no longer a theoretical discussion. Negotiations are in the final stages. I believe the EU joining will improve the situation of the lack of implementation of judgments, at least in the EU member States and states aspiring to become members. The resolution and recommendation which we have on our table are very important. I encourage you all to support them.

Implementing judgments is crucial for us to move forward and improve the human rights situation for each and every citizen of Europe.

Thank you, Madam President.

Ms Elvira KOVÁCS

Serbia, EPP/CD, President of the Assembly


Thank you.

In the debate I call next Mr Gergely ARATÓ, Socialists, Democrats and Greens Group, from Hungary.

Mr Gergely ARATÓ

Hungary, SOC


Thank you very much, Madam Chair.

Dear Colleagues,

I want to thank the rapporteur for this comprehensive and precise report, even if it's not always joyful.

The decisions of the European Court of Human Rights have a central role in defending human rights. In many times the Court is the last hope of the citizens seeking truth in their personal cases. Implementing the decisions of the Court is a test of the rule of law not only for these individuals but for the whole public.

I am not happy to see Hungary in the list of worst performing countries. I welcome that the Hungarian authorities always fulfil their obligation to pay compensation to individuals, even if they did not agree with the decision.

The problem is with the structural changes requested by the decisions. For example, discrimination against Roma children and segregation at schools, secret surveillance and data retention, lack of independence of the judiciary system and many other issues are not easy tasks to solve and [have been] problems for a decade. I see these issues are connected to the general downgrading of the rule of law in Hungary, even though there is some progress in some areas, for example, in the issue of excessive length of the civil proceedings.

I want to emphasise that naming and shaming is not enough. We have to think to improve our processes to create a fruitful dialogue to find the proper solutions. I welcome the reports and recommendations in this field.

Of course, I know, implementing the decisions of the Court is sometimes neither easy nor popular. It could be very tempting to make politics against such a type of decision. It is easier to blame the mirror than to face the reality. I strongly believe, as responsible lawmakers, we still should defend human rights and rule of law, because their dismantling is a danger to all members of society in the long term.

I want to mention one more topic. I think environmental rights will play a more and more important role in the next few years. The right to life and the right to freedom and security cannot be fully achieved without the protection of environmental rights, even though they are not directly part of the Convention yet. I know it will be a long and complicated process to achieve the full recognition of this right, but It's worth fighting for.

Some of our colleagues may say it is an activist or left-leaning approach. I would be proud of both.

Thank you.

Ms Elvira KOVÁCS

Serbia, EPP/CD, President of the Assembly


Thank you.

I call next in the debate Ms Marie-Christine DALLOZ of the Group of the European People's Party, from France.

Ms Marie-Christine DALLOZ

France, EPP/CD


Thank you, Madam President.

Mr Rapporteur,

Dear colleagues,

Under Article 46 of the European Convention on Human Rights, the execution of judgments of the European Court of Human Rights is binding in the member States of the Council of Europe, and the Committee of Ministers is responsible for ensuring that these judgments are properly executed.

This eleventh report is an illustration of this, and I congratulate the rapporteur on the quality of his work.

The statistics given to us are not surprising. They reflect a situation that is changing little: 70% of the judgments that have not been executed concern only six countries, including Russia.

The typology of unexecuted judgments reveals that more than half of the pending cases concern either inter-state cases, cases relating to an abusive limitation of rights and freedoms, cases relating to systemic problems involving either the judiciary, the prison administration, the police - or sometimes all three.

Mr Rapporteur, you propose that the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe prepare reports on these cases in order to promote possible solutions. I am very much in favour of this, as finding solutions to these cases would be a welcome improvement in the situation.

I have no comments on the draft recommendation.

The draft emphasises the obligations of States. However, I would like to comment on point 7.8, which urges states to ensure that their national legislation strengthens the national capacity to execute the Court's judgments. Of course, I do not question the primacy of the judgments of the European Court of Human Rights over the decisions of national courts. However, I would like to draw your attention to the fact that judgments concerning sensitive cases can sometimes be perceived as difficult to accept by citizens. The feeling of having supranational decisions that call into question the national judicial system imposed on them is more and more frequent and generates a visceral rejection of Europe in the broadest sense, a rejection that is unfortunately maintained by extreme political formations.

Democracy is fragile, dangerously threatened by populism. Let us be careful not to encourage it. Thus, calling for a possible modification of national legislation may seem intrusive. It seems to me that if we want a better acceptance of the Court's rulings, we must also educate and explain to the citizens why a decision is in fact aimed at allowing the respect of the essential values for democracy. We must constantly put forward our beautiful values: only then can the necessary national legislative changes be welcomed.

Thank you for your time.

Ms Elvira KOVÁCS

Serbia, EPP/CD, President of the Assembly


Thank you.

I call next Ms Sabina ĆUDIĆ from the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe, from Bosnia-Herzegovina.

Ms Sabina ĆUDIĆ

Bosnia and Herzegovina, ALDE


Thank you Madam Chair,

With the implementation of judgments of the European Court of Human Rights - we sometimes may be looking at this as a legal, legislative or even logistical question. However, I believe that it's actually, as the report says, a primordial political question.

It truly depends on something that we are maybe sheepishly only addressing both in the report, and in this chamber, the question of political pressure, and the capacity of this room to place the political pressure on those responsible for implementing the decisions.

Burdened by the standard bureaucratic language of reporting, it is sometimes necessary to remind ourselves of the basic facts.

The first of which is that behind every violation of the European Convention stands not naive ignorance, or a lack of capacity of national parliaments, or a lack of capacities of the governments, or a lack of understanding of their obligations, but a deliberate political decision and action to violate the rights of its citizens.

This requires political action on our part as well, and not simply recommendations providing support for the nations. In kind of placing blame, or placing responsibility on the civil sector, or the non-governmental sector, placing responsibility on the national parliaments - actually, the governments are the ones which are responsible.

Therefore, the capacity of various branches of government to implement Court decisions are in direct correlation with the existence of political will.

It is the political will, therefore, that produces, ensures, protects the capacities for the implementation of the Court's decisions, and protection of human rights.

As the report says, pockets of resistance - and I would add a word, stubborn resistance - pockets of stubborn resistance to the implementation of the Court's decisions produce at least two things: they produce the repetitive cases, as pointed out by the president of the Court here yesterday, saying how the backlog of cases and the repetitive cases are actually affecting and overwhelming the court, and therefore negatively affecting its effectiveness.

And, secondly, perhaps even more importantly - but if not, at least equally - it hinders the Court's legitimacy among the European citizens, in their eyes. They question the legitimacy of the Court and the capacity of the institutions responsible for at least the oversight and the implementation, our true commitment to their rights.


I'm encouraged by the brief conclusion mentioned in the final chapter of the report talking about the necessity of the political pressure, not excluding penalties, which I think are an effective tool.

I'm going to conclude by saying I'm here speaking with a single voice, but as somebody coming from Bosnia and Herzegovina I truly speak on behalf of thousands, if not millions of citizens of Bosnia and Herzegovina, each and every one of which is being discriminated, depending on which part of the territory they visit.

Their political rights are taken away based on their ethnic prefix or the lack of their ethnic prefix.

Therefore I invite us all to exercise our capacity for political pressure, and to exercise our commitment to protecting what we at least officially stand for.

Thank you.

Ms Elvira KOVÁCS

Serbia, EPP/CD, President of the Assembly


Thank you. Please look at the time, all of you.

I call next in the debate Mr Erkin GADIRLI, European Conservatives Group and Democratic Alliance, from Azerbaijan. The floor is yours.


Azerbaijan, EC/DA


Thank you, Madam Chair.

I, first of all, would like to commend the rapporteur. I am especially grateful to him that he had time to visit Azerbaijan for three working days, and met with all relevant people in the government, opposition, civil society, defence lawyers, etc. And I am particularly grateful to our rapporteur that he had time to have a meeting with me and the chairman of our political party, former political prisoner, Mr Ilgar Mammadov, his name was already mentioned here. He is now fully acquitted but it was his case in which, for the first time in the history of the Council of Europe and European Convention of Human Rights, Article 46 paragraph 4 was invoked. This is definitely not something that one wishes one's own country to be a leading example of, but it is a lesson learned, as the saying goes. 

This report, at least in the part which concerns Azerbaijan, is very important to me and to many in Azerbaijan.

We are grateful to the rapporteur for the detailed information that he provided in the recommendation part. There are some cases, which are not yet implemented because they indirectly relate to the outcome of the previous occupation by Armenia of Azerbaijani territory. Some 40% of the total number of unimplemented cases - and this is reflected in the report. There are cases – there are that many, of course, which can simply not be implemented until there is peace between Armenia and Azerbaijan. Such as the cases Chiragov and Others v. Armenia or Sargsyan v. Azerbaijan. In the first case, for example, Armenia lost. In the second case, Azerbaijan lost, but to implement those cases, peace needs to be established. Otherwise, it is technically impossible.

Unfortunately, Azerbaijan is indeed lagging behind in terms of democratic development, and Azerbaijan's human rights record is still rather poor. But there is a very fragile dynamism in the society. Out of 15 former political prisoners, in whose case Article 18 of the Convention was invoked, eight gained full acquittal, and in the cases of some of them, restitutio in integrum was achieved. Unfortunately, seven cases are still pending.

I just noticed that I am running out of time and my time is limited.

Thank you very much indeed, rapporteur. I will vote for this report.

Ms Elvira KOVÁCS

Serbia, EPP/CD, President of the Assembly


Thank you.

I call next Mr Andreas Sjalg UNNELAND, Unified European Left Group, from Norway.

Mr Andreas Sjalg UNNELAND

Norway, UEL


Thank you, President.

Since the European Court of Human Rights was established, thousands of judgment on cases related to human rights violations across Europe have been issued.

However, issuing judgments alone is not enough. It is equally important to ensure that these judgments are implemented effectively by member States. I would like to focus on one case that highlights the importance of implementing the court's judgments.This is the case of Mr Osman Kavala versus Türkiye.

Mr Osman Kavala is a Turkish businessman and civil society activist detained since November 2017 without any evidence to support the charges against him. Despite multiple rulings by the European Court of Human Rights calling for his release, Mr Osman Kavala remains imprisoned to this day.

In December 2019, our court ruled that Mr Osman Kavala's pre-trial detention was prolonged arbitrarily and violated his right to liberty and security. The court also found his detention politically motivated and aimed at suppressing civil society and dissidents in Türkiye.

The court called for his immediate release and adequate compensation for the harm suffered. No single step has been taken by Turkish authorities to comply with the Court's ruling. And exactly a year ago Mr Osman Kavala was sentenced to life in prison after spending many years in custody.

This case shows the vital importance of implementing judgments of the court.

Not implementing undermines the legitimacy and authority of the court and the entire convention system.

Failure to implement judgment also has a devastating impact on the victim of human rights violation. It leaves them without recourse and perpetuates the harm they have suffered. It is unacceptable that Council of Europe Member States do not comply with the rulings of the court, and we must hold them accountable.

The Kavala case is not unique.

Türkiye is criticised for failing to implement several judgments of the court. And this has a serious implication for the protection and promotion of human rights in the country. This disregard weakens the rule of law, undermines democracy, and sends a message that human rights violations will go unpunished.

We must speak loudly about violation of human rights, regardless of the country in which they occur.

Mr Osman Kavala stands with many others as a symbol of people who experience injustice.

They deserve our solidarity.

We will not forget them. We will use our voice and we will work to ensure that they experience the justice they are entitled to under our Convention of Human Rights.

Ms Elvira KOVÁCS

Serbia, EPP/CD, President of the Assembly


Thank you.

I call next Mr Stéphane BERGERON from Canada, Observer.

The floor is yours.

Mr Stéphane BERGERON



Thank you, Madam President.

Dear colleagues,

The Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe's Committee on Legal Affairs and Human Rights pointed out last month that the number of judgments of the European Court of Human Rights monitored by the Committee of Ministers has risen from 5 231 at the end of 2019 to 6 256 on 1 March 2023.

This is certainly a worrying trend, but as the report by the rapporteur, Mr Constantinos EFSTATHIOU, makes very clear, by 31 December 2021, six countries, and I quote, "together accounted for 73% of the judgments awaiting execution". So we cannot put everyone in the same bag.

Given that Russia retains the obligation to comply with the Court's judgments and has by far the worst record in this respect, I was pleased to note that a recommendation to the Committee of Ministers was made for a strategy, and I quote, "aimed at ensuring the continuous monitoring of the execution of judgments pending execution in respect of Russia, as well as those that the Court will adopt in the future, within the limits of its jurisdiction".

In this spirit, I fully endorse the statement of our President of the Assembly and our Secretary General calling on Russia to execute the Court's judgments concerning Mr Alexei Navalny and to release him immediately.

I could have told you about Spain's troubles in the wake of its repression of the democratic movement for Catalan independence, but in the time I have left I will limit myself to expressing my deep concern about the situation that still prevails in the Lachin corridor.

On 21 December 2022, the Court stated that the government of Azerbaijan must take all measures within its jurisdiction to ensure the safe passage through the Lachin corridor of seriously ill persons in need of medical treatment in Armenia and other persons stranded on the road without shelter or means of subsistence.

The International Court of Justice subsequently ordered Azerbaijan to end the blockage of the Lachin corridor.

In the House of Commons Foreign Affairs Committee, I moved a motion, which was passed unanimously, calling on the Azerbaijani authorities to reopen the corridor and, I quote, "ensure freedom of movement to avoid any deterioration in the humanitarian situation".

In view of the serious shortages that persist and are increasing in Nagorno-Karabakh, I want our Azeri colleagues to understand that the world has not forgotten this unacceptable blockage, which contravenes the terms of the ceasefire to which their country has nevertheless subscribed.

In conclusion, the report of the rapporteur Mr Constantinos EFSTATHIOU underlines the fact that "a good proportion of the cases of the European Court of Human Rights awaiting execution in Azerbaijan concern the consequences of this conflict".

I therefore join the rapporteur in urging Azerbaijan to implement these judgments of the Court, which are, as he points out, "a matter of democracy and the rule of law".

Thank you for your attention.

Ms Elvira KOVÁCS

Serbia, EPP/CD, President of the Assembly


Thank you.

The last speaker tonight will be Mr Ahmet YILDIZ from Türkiye.


Türkiye, NR


Thank you Madam Chair,

Once again Türkiye is being criticised here in a discriminatory manner. I am frank about this.

First of all, the verdicts of the Court are binding for all, not just for Türkiye.

The ratio of implementation by Türkiye is 89%. The average is around 80%.

I raise this issue several times, giving the example of unimplemented, very important verdicts, not enforced by the Committee of Ministers in many meetings of the committees, in the presence of the Parliamentary Assembly, with the Secretary General of the Council of Europe. Every time, they say: you are right. They also must be implemented.

So Ms Ingjerd SCHOU asked this valid question of how to ensure better implementation.

I will repeat my answer which I gave in the committee. The British colleague interpreted and distorted by comments in the committee.

What I said there is that unfortunately, the Committee of Ministers is making selective enforcements.

I gave them the examples - very important verdicts not implemented by other countries worth 10 years, 15 years - when we ask, they say you are right.

I urge the members of The Committee to talk to their ambassadors and ministers.

If we have discrimination, then what are we talking about here? Even in the implementation of the Courts.

On the other hand, another full mistake by our British colleague, Türkiye has not been a grand payeur for 6 years.

If he listens to the rapporteurs in the Bureau, in the committee, in the General Assembly, Türkiye is fully co-operating with the rapporteurs on the issue.

On the other hand, we had sent some notes to the rapporteur on correcting some mistakes, especially on issues of Cyprus, especially about the verdicts of the Court recognising the property commission as a legal remedy.

He didn't.

That's why the report is missing many points.

I will vote against this report.

I hope to see a better implementation in the future. This selective approach is questioned rightfully not just by me by everybody, I hope it will be addressed.

I never criticise any Court ruling, neither national nor European Court, I just criticise the Committee of Ministers on their selective approach.

Believe me - please check the records of your countries and other countries; you will see what I mean.

Thank you.

Ms Elvira KOVÁCS

Serbia, EPP/CD, President of the Assembly


Dear colleagues,

I must now interrupt the list of speakers. The speeches of members on the speakers list who have been present during the debate but have not been able to speak may be given to the Table Office for publication in the Official Report. I remind colleagues that type-written texts must be submitted electronically, no later than 4 hours after the list of speakers is interrupted. Type-written texts are limited to 400 words.

I call Mr Constantinos EFSTATHIOU, rapporteur, to reply to the debate. As you know, you have 3 minutes.

Mr Constantinos EFSTATHIOU

Cyprus, SOC, Rapporteur


Thank you, Mister Chair.

I would like to thank all of the speakers for their contribution and comments, which are very useful for this very serious and important issue we are discussing.

I hope that in the Reykjavik Summit, there will be some judgments and some decisions that will help the whole procedure and process of the implementation of the Court's judgments.

I had a chance to see the Kavala... I have listened to you all, especially about the Kavala case. In paragraphs 68 and through to 115 of my report, we mentioned the case. Also in the resolution paragraph 7.16, we mentioned clearly that there must be some measures to be taken for Mr Kavala in order to have the interim measures and the final judgments implemented regarding his unlawful detention.

There is always the political will which sometimes is not available, and believe me, I wish some of us, we always wish, that the implementation of the judgments was something which could emanate from the Court or even the Parliamentary Assembly but it is not the case. The people who signed the Convention decided that the implementation is a political matter and that we can understand the trade-off sometimes – they give the pleasure of trade-off – between the national interest and the need to implement the judgments and apply the rule of law.

In conclusion, notwithstanding whatever structural systemic, financial, political or whatever constitutional obstacle or priority may exist, our primary responsibility is the effective implementation of Court judgments. I stated yesterday a quote by the President of the Court, "An executed judgment undermined the authority of functioning of the conventional system when the root cause of a systemic problem on a national level remains untreated, the Court will continue to receive cases with the same violations". That is why maybe there is a very large number of applications before the Court. It may be the result of these unimplemented cases.

I would like to finish to thank the secretariat, and the national delegations that helped me during the hearings here or in Azerbaijan and in Romania. I would like especially to thank Ms Eleanor Hourigan and of course, Ms Agnieszka Szklanna for the past month for their assistance with the report.

Thank you very much.

Ms Elvira KOVÁCS

Serbia, EPP/CD, President of the Assembly


Thank you.

I believe that the vice-chairperson of the committee, Mr Davor Ivo STIER, also would like to speak.

You have also 3 minutes.

Mr Davor Ivo STIER

Croatia, EPP/CD, First Vice-Chairperson of the Committee on Legal Affairs and Human Rights


Thank you, Chair.

Dear colleagues,

Let me start by noting the unanimous support of the Committee for the rapporteur's meticulous work in his report on the implementation of judgments of the European Court of Human Rights.

The subject is a priority for the Assembly and for the organisation. In that spirit, I am pleased to know that this is also a priority for the preparatory work for the forthcoming summit.

In the committee, including our sub-committee on the implementation of the Court judgments, we will endeavour to ensure that the Assembly can develop appropriate mechanisms to support the swift and effective implementation of Court judgments.

This is at the heart of this organisation's work - to ensure respect for human rights, the rule of law, and democracy in Europe.

As the resolution makes clear, it is vitally important that states establish effective national co-ordination mechanisms to enable them to implement the Court judgments in a timely and effective manner.

I will look forward to undertaking work in the committee and our sub-committee following this report, to support national parliaments and parliamentarians in carrying out the legislative reforms needed to implement Court judgments, and to hold our governments to account for taking timely steps to implement Court judgments.

With this in mind, I invite all of you here to reflect on what more we can do individually and collectively to improve the swift and effective implementation of judgments in our own countries.

In this light, I look forward to continuing this work following this report and the summit.

I congratulate the rapporteur. I appreciate of course the work of the Secretariat, and I thank you all for your attention.

Ms Elvira KOVÁCS

Serbia, EPP/CD, President of the Assembly


Thank you.

The debate is closed.

The Committee on Legal Affairs and Human Rights has presented a draft resolution (Document no. 15724) to which 2 amendments have been tabled, and a draft recommendation to which no amendments have been tabled.

Amendments are listed in the compendium.

We will start with consideration of the draft resolution and will then consider the draft recommendation.

I understand that the chairperson of the Committee on Legal Affairs and Human Rights wishes to propose to the Assembly that amendments 1 and 2 to the draft resolution (Document no. 15724), which were unanimously approved by the Committee, should be declared as agreed by the Assembly.

Yes, that's the case.

Does anyone object? If so, please ask for the floor by raising your hand.

No one objects.

As there is no objection we will now continue with voting.

We will now proceed to vote on the draft resolution contained in Document no. 15724, as amended. A simple majority is required.

The vote is now open.

Something is happening with the system.

So, dear colleagues, there is a technical problem and they need 1 minute for technical stuff to relaunch the voting system so we will vote again on the resolution if you agree.

And the vote is open.

The vote is closed.

I call for the result to be displayed.

The draft resolution, as amended in Document no. 15724, is adopted.

We will now proceed to vote on the draft recommendation contained in Document no. 15724. As you know, a two-third majority is required.

The vote is now open.

The vote is closed.

I call for the result to be displayed.

The draft recommendation in Document no. 15724 is adopted.


The Assembly will hold its next public sitting tomorrow afternoon at 2:30 p.m. with the agenda for the sitting.

I would like to remind those members who are not attending the remainder of this part session, to return their voting cards to the dedicated box at the entrance to the chamber, before leaving the palais.

The sitting is adjourned.


Mr Aleksandar NIKOLOSKI

North Macedonia, EPP/CD


(Undelivered speech, Rules of Procedure Art. 31.2)

Dear friends,

As the summary of this report clearly says - The implementation of judgments of the European Court of Human Rights is a priority for the Parliamentary Assembly and the Council of Europe. All States must implement, in good faith, and without delay, the final, binding judgments of the European Court of Human Rights. In order to implement Court judgments in a timely and effective manner, States must have effective national co-ordination mechanisms, with sufficient hierarchy and resources.

I will talk about Bulgaria that is according to this Report 7th country with largest number of pending cases, Bulgaria has not implemented total 166 judgments of the European court of Human rights. Can you imagine member country of European Union that is vetoing my country Macedonia in the bid to open accession talks with EU not to implement judgments by the European Court and in same time to talk about human rights and rule of law in other countries, how shameful this is! Also as regards leading cases under “enhanced supervision” Bulgaria is 6th from the bottom.

Out of all these cases 16 are about the basic human rights of the Macedonians that live in Bulgaria.

In the European Court, tens of thousands of citizens from all over Europe are seeking justice that they cannot find in domestic courts when their

basic human rights, the right to freedom of speech, the right of association, the right to national self-identification and the right to use their mother language have been violated.

Macedonians from Bulgaria have been fighting for these rights for decades. They have always lived there and want to exercise their national, linguistic and cultural rights, but unfortunately Bulgaria refuses to do so. Refuses to register their associations through which they want to exercise their rights. You will agree this is a non-democratic act by a member state of the European Union.

Ladies and Gentlemen, there are 16 judgments of the European Court of Human Rights that refer to the Macedonians in Bulgaria and so far none of them has been implemented by Bulgaria. None! This is a strong undermining of the court`s credibility and that is why the Council of Europe must act. In the conditions of war in Ukraine when human rights are not respected, the second bad example is Bulgaria.

It must stop.

I would like to highlight two of the 16 judgments of the European Court which for me in a very symbolic way present where Bulgaria is in this process. The first is for the refusal to register “MACEDONIAN CLUB FOR ETHNIC TOLERANCE IN BULGARIA”. What is disputable if a Macedonian club for ethnic tolerance is registered, when ethnic tolerance is the highest goal of the Council of Europe?

The second verdict also refers to “SOCIETY OF THE REPRESSED MACEDONIANS IN BULGARIA VICTIMS OF THE COMMUNIST TERROR” Communism has reigned in Bulgaria for 45 years and I see no reason for Bulgaria not to face its past and not to admit that there are victims of communist terror who, among other things, suffered because they were Macedonians.

Council of Europe must punish Bulgaria and implement sanctions measures to force Bulgaria to implement the judgments of the European court for human rights, as well as the other countries that refuse to implement the judgments. That is the only way forward.


France, EPP/CD


Speech not pronounced (Rules of Procedure, Art. 31.2), only available in French.


Ireland, UEL


(Undelivered speech, Rules of Procedure Art. 31.2)

Firstly I want to congratulate the Rapporteur for an excellent report.

I want to start with a quote from the President of the European Court of Human Rights Siofra O’Leary,a woman who commands respect throughout this parliament

“Unimplemented judgements undermine the authority of the convention system.” It’s a statement so obviously true in its meaning that nobody can argue against it.

And yet as the rapporteur informs us since last examining this question in 2021 there has been an increase in the number of judgements pending from the Committee of Ministers from 5231 at the end of 2019 to 6256 on 1 March 2023. That’s over 1000 more judgements in just two years.

This is a trend that is totally unacceptable and cannot continue. During a debate here on Tuesday I heard strange references to the Court from a minority of voices from the right. Talk that as a body the Court is too pro-active, that it over-reaches, that it interferes. These views of the court completely miss the point of what the Court is about: it is there to protect all of us, to protect all of our human rights-our essential rights as human beings. How can you be too pro-active when it comes to this topic?

For me we are at a cross-roads-those countries that are consistently failing to implement judgements must be called to account. And they should be named in this chamber, just as they are in the report: Russia, Romania, Turkey, Azerbaijan, Hungary and Ukraine are responsible for 70% of cases pending implementation. And I want to emphasise and quote one key line from this excellent report:

“Where a states legislation, including its constitution gives rise to violations of the convention it is incumbent on that state to interpret and where necessary amend its legislation in such a ways to resolve the violations found by the ECof HR and avoid any repetition. “

And for the avoidance of doubt talk of “margin of appreciation” is in no way a response to a deliberate act of introducing legislation that is known not to be in compliance with the convention.

In the minute of so I have left I want to highlight particularly troubling cases that relate to the North of Ireland. The British Government continues to fail to implement judgments by the European Court of Human Rights involving killings carried out by security forces and involving suspected collusion. Not only has the British Government failed to enforce rulings requiring effective investigations into killings of solicitor Pat Finucane and the McKerr group of cases, they are actively progressing legislation, the so called Legacy Bill or Bill of Shame as it is known in Ireland that will actually prevent any future investigations. This Bill of Shame would, uniquely in the world, and against all principles of domestic and international law, close down all routes to justice for people bereaved in the conflict.

In the case of Pat Finucane we are talking about a human rights lawyer gunned down in his own home in front of his wife and three children. It was later revealed that the person directing those attacks was an agent controlled by the British Army’s force research unit. With the McKerr case three unarmed men were murdered when their car was riddled with 109 bullets by the RUC.

I therefore call on our British colleagues to bring a clear message that these judgements some going back to 2001 now need to be implemented without delay.

Ms Beatrice TIMGREN

Sweden, EC/DA


(Undelivered speech, Rules of Procedure Art. 31.2)

It is an honor for me to speak to you today on a topic that is of great importance to our region and to our common future as European nations. I want to talk about the judgments of the European Court of Human Rights and their impact on our legal system and our politics.

The judgments of the European Court of Human Rights are an important part of the European legal order and have a profound impact on our legal system and our politics. As European nations, it is our task to defend the rule of law and protect human rights, while also preserving our national interests and sovereignty.

The implementation of the judgments of the European Court of Human Rights has contributed to strengthening the principles of the rule of law and protecting human rights throughout Europe. These judgments have been fundamental in guaranteeing justice and equality before the law, and have given citizens throughout Europe a voice and an opportunity to be heard.

But at the same time, it is important that we do not surrender too much power to international institutions. We must be vigilant against judicial activism and ensure that the decisions of the European Court of Human Rights do not undermine our national values and principles. It is also important that we ensure that these decisions do not contradict the fundamental freedoms and rights that our citizens are entitled to.

Sweden has long been a leader when it comes to human rights and the rule of law. We have a strong legal system and an independent judiciary, and we are committed to defending these principles both nationally and internationally. By collaborating with other European nations and standing up for our common values, we can together build a stronger and more united Europe.

In conclusion, the judgments of the European Court of Human Rights are of great importance to our common future as European nations. We must carefully examine their impact on our legal system and our politics to ensure that we protect our national interests and uphold our common values. By working together and finding a balance between protecting national sovereignty and promoting a united Europe, we can ensure a strong and stable legal system for all citizens. Thank you...

Vote: Implementation of judgments of the European Court of Human Rights

The sitting is closed at 8:00 p.m.

Next sitting on Thursday 27th at 2:30 p.m.