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lundi 10 octobre 2022 matin

2022 - Quatrième partie de session Imprimer la séance

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Ouverture de la partie de session

Ouverture de la séance n° 26

M. Tiny KOX

Pays-Bas, GUE, Président de l'Assemblée


I declare the Fourth Part Session of the Ordinary 2022 Session of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe open.

Madam Secretary General, Deputy Secretary General, Madam Secretary General of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe, Ambassadors, Members of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe, all those who are following our meeting online, or at the public gallery, may I welcome you all to the beginning of this Fourth Part Session.

Please allow me to make some opening remarks before starting our proceedings.

I welcome you all in this hemicycle - the same place where, 30 years ago, Britain's wise, beloved and now late Queen Elizabeth praised all the efforts to bring the European family together. Words of wisdom: she referred to Mr Winston Churchill, who was amongst the first to propose to set up a Council of Europe, to overcome the horrors of the World War and formed the first Assembly in Strasbourg, here in 1949.

Also in this very hemicycle it was Mr Mikhail Gorbachev, in 1989, who called for a common European house, marking therewith, finally, the beginning of the end of the Cold War, and the brutal divide of our continent.

We pay respect to both these heads of state who passed away so recently for their role in bringing Europe together, in line with our statute of the Council of Europe.

May I especially welcome the members of the Ukrainian delegation as committed ambassadors of the citizens of Ukraine, who suffer day after day from the terrible Russian war of aggression. So far, tens of thousands have been killed or wounded; millions had to leave their homes and even their country. A massive respectless destruction is ongoing, and even nuclear threats have now become part of the Russian aggression.

Earlier this morning, as you know, the whole of Ukraine woke up to the sirens; and another series of barbaric Russian strikes on residential areas and civilian infrastructures took place, targeting even the historic centre of Kyiv, the cities of Zaporizhzhia, Dnipro, Odessa, Lviv, Zhytomyr, and many others.

Many, many, many missiles were launched against Ukraine. This unforgivable, indiscriminatory attack is still going on at the moment that we are meeting here. 

People driving or going to work, accompanying their children to schools or kindergartens in the early hours of this morning have been killed; have been injured, and are in despair.

This comes in addition to the horrific attacks on the residential buildings in the city of Zaporizhzhia over the weekend that took the lives of more than 50 innocent civilians.

Dear colleagues, these atrocities that deliberately and manifestly target non-military targets and aim to terrorise innocent people cannot be ignored and cannot be justified.

Together with the Secretary General and the Chair of the Committee of Ministers, we will issue, in a few minutes, a statement in which we make it very clear that this is again a brutal violation of international law, for which someone - some people - some authorities will be held accountable. 

May I - because of the fact that this war should never become a normality, and that we have to realise that so many people suffer the effects of this brutal war of aggression against our member State of Ukraine - may I call for a moment of silence for all the victims of this war that should never have started and must end as soon as possible.


Thank you so much.

Dear colleagues,

The Council of Europe supports the brave struggle of the people of Ukraine to protect, uphold and regain national sovereignty and territorial integrity of their country and our member State.

We, as the Council of Europe, responded immediately, decisively, and with impressive unanimity to the Russian Federation's blatant violation of the very basic principles of international law and our statute by suspending and then expelling it from the Council of Europe. A sad but necessary decision welcomed by many in Europe, and seen as an example by many. Since then, we have sent our missions to Ukraine, are preparing several reports, and are offering our good services whenever and wherever needed.

I want to thank Ms Mariia MEZENTSEVA and her delegation for their excellent cooperation. I wish them strength, again, in these most difficult hours and days. 

Dear colleagues,

I am most grateful that the President of Ukraine, Mr Volodymyr Zelenskyy, has accepted my invitation to update our Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe later this week, and exchange views with our Assembly on how we can further help Ukraine and the Ukrainian people.

Dear colleagues, the Russian war of aggression is profoundly challenging European and global multilateral architecture, which was built after the end of the Second World War and the Cold War.

As we are part and parcel of that multilateral architecture, it is now time, according to our Assembly, to rethink our specific role and to reconfirm our commitment to strengthen effective multilateralism and halt a resurrection of brutal unilateralism which has caused so much harm to our continent in the recent past.

Russia's unilateral aggression has led to a whole series of multilateral reactions. Last week in Prague, heads of states and governments of most European states came together to show European unity in favour of Ukraine's national sovereignty and territorial integrity and against Russia's violation of international law.

I very much welcome their commitment.

In that same week, a high level expert group, instigated by our Secretary General at the request of the Committee of Ministers, formulated 30 clear proposals on how to strengthen the role of the Council of Europe in a future European multilateral architecture.

Our Assembly itself will add its own proposals on the basis of the report of our colleague Ms Fiona O'LOUGHLIN, which is now in preparation in the Committee on Political Affairs and Democracy.

For tomorrow I have convened a meeting of the Joint Committee of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe and the Committee of Ministers. There we will discuss the need to convoke at the earliest possible opportunity a fourth summit of heads of state and government of all our 46 member States, to decide on the future role of the Council of Europe as Europe's oldest and broadest treaty-based political community, in the future multilateral architecture, to protect peace and promote prosperity for all European citizens on the basis of the respect for the rule of law, human rights, and democracy.

May I, in this respect, quote the words of the Chair of our Committee of Ministers, Irish Minister of Foreign Affairs Mr Simon Coveney:

If not now, then when?

I very much agree with him. I am sure that the Secretary General agrees as well. I wish to use this occasion to thank her, Madam Secretary General, and the Irish presidency of the Committee of Ministers for their tremendous efforts in promoting the organisation of the summit and to ensures that its agenda will focus on the most relevant issues.

On Wednesday morning, the Irish minister for European Affairs, Mr Thomas Byrne, will update us on the most recent developments and answer our questions. On Thursday, our Secretary General will do the same, I expect.

I would like to inform you that we can be most satisfied with the excellent cooperation between the Committee of Ministers and our Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe.

The synergies between the two statutory bodies of the Council of Europe have increased considerably, in line with the objectives we defined in the report on the role and mission of the Council of Europe, adopted back in 2019 in our report on the strategic priorities for the Council of Europe, which we adopted here last year after we had read the proposals of our Secretary General in this respect.

Let me use this opportunity to warmly congratulate Ms Síofra O'Leary, judge in respect of Ireland, on her recent election as the new President of our European Court of Human Rights - the first ever female president. We wish her all the wisdom she needs in this challenging position. We thank President Robert Spano for the good work that he has delivered.

M. Tiny KOX

Pays-Bas, GUE, Président de l'Assemblée


Dear Colleagues,

There are many important challenges in Europe that require our full attention this week, including the recent and very disturbing escalation of hostilities between Armenia and Azerbaijan, which has resulted in new casualties on both sides. I urge both countries to redouble their efforts to find a peaceful and lasting solution to the conflict, which is having such a negative impact on the lives of millions of people in the South Caucasus region. I call on the parliamentarians of Armenia and Azerbaijan to use this Assembly as a forum to discuss the most difficult issues and to establish a real dialogue to try to overcome the disagreements. Again, if not now, then when?

Other pressing issues in Europe are on this week's agenda: the European perspective for the Western Balkans, a joint debate on migration and asylum, combating Islamophobia, eliminating discrimination against women in sport, and the human rights implications of Brexit in Ireland. We will also debate important reports on the fulfilment of obligations and commitments of our Member States – Turkey, Hungary, and Romania – and we will welcome in this Chamber the President of the Swiss Confederation, Mr Ignazio CASSIS; the President of Ireland, Mr Michael D. HIGGINS and the Prime Minister of Albania, Mr Edi RAMA. I look forward to their contributions and the exchanges they will have with us.

Dear Colleagues,

Pink October is dedicated to the breast cancer awareness campaign. We will be associated with it through several events this week, during which you are invited to show your solidarity. Hearings have been organised; you will find a stand in front of the hemicycle distributing pink ribbons, and the Palais will be lit up in pink this evening.

Dear Colleagues,

On this 10 October, the whole world celebrates the World Day Against the Death Penalty. The United Nations is calling for a worldwide abolition. In the Council of Europe, the death penalty has already been banned for more than 20 years, an impressive result, among others, of effective multilateralism for peace and progress. We naturally support the call made by the United Nations.

Dear Colleagues,

This is the first session for many of you, to whom I extend a warm welcome.

M. Tiny KOX

Pays-Bas, GUE, Président de l'Assemblée


It will also be, dear colleagues, the very last session of our longest-serving member, Mr Boriss CILEVIČS, sitting here in front of me who has served this Assembly with so much passion, dedication, wisdom and commitment every since – yes, I pronounce it well – 1999. That is a century ago, dear Boriss.

Dear Boriss,

It has been a true pleasure and a great honour to work with you for so long. It will be difficult to imagine this hemicycle and this Assembly without you. As an honorary member, you probably will get that title, I can tell you, you will always be welcome in our home of democracy.

Normally, we just say goodbye. But for our longest-standing member, I think I have to give you flowers and thank you so much, Boriss for all the good you have work done.

For all of you who have not yet served 23 years in this Assembly, Boriss is the proof that it is doable and that you can do it in a way that we all appreciate.

Dear Colleagues,

May I inform you that at 12:30 p.m. the Václav Havel Prize Award Ceremony will be held in this hemicycle, but the choice will be made out of the three remarkable nominees for our annual Human Rights Prize. The nominees are Mr Vladimir Kara-Murza coming from the Russian Federation, the Rainbow Coalition/Invalid Campaign for LGBTQIA+ rights from Hungary, and the Ukraine 5 AM Coalition.

You are all invited to stay in the hemicycle then to show respect to all these very brave defenders of human rights. For now, let us start our work. Before we start to proceed to debate our Agenda, I would like to give the floor for a personal statement to Mr Ian LIDDELL‑GRAINGER. Ian, you have the floor.


Royaume-Uni, CE/AD


Mr President, thank you.

I shall keep it very briefly.

Can I thank you, Ms Despina CHATZIVASSILIOU-TSOVILIS, the staff of the Council of Europe, and members throughout the Council of Europe, for the kindness that they showed with their words over the death of Her Majesty the Queen Elizabeth II.

We were quite overwhelmed with how many of you sent messages of good will to the United Kingdom and to individual members of the Council of Europe.

Her Majesty was an icon, and as Mr Tiny KOX said, she has been here on many occasions to do her work.

I just wanted to thank you and your countries for your kindness over what was a time, a little difficult period for the United Kingdom. We're all very grateful for your thoughts, your best wishes, and to you, Mr President, for your thoughts and wishes as well.

Thank you.

M. Tiny KOX

Pays-Bas, GUE, Président de l'Assemblée


Thank you very much, Mr Ian LIDDELL‑GRAINGER, for this personal statement and also thanks to all our colleagues who did send their condolences to someone who was even longer reigning than Mr Boriss CILEVIČS for serving this Assembly. That is also possible.


The first item on the agenda is the examination of credentials of new members.

The names of the representatives and substitutes are in Doc. 15627. If no credentials are challenged, the credentials will be ratified.

Is there any challenge?

I do not see any, so the credentials are ratified. I welcome our new colleagues.

There's a lot of work to do, so be aware. If you want to stay here for 23 years, you have to be become relevant. Again, that is possible and doable.


We now come to the election of Vice-President of the Assembly in respect of France. The candidate from the French delegation is Mr Bertrand BOUYX. If there is no request for a vote, Mr BOUYX will be declared elected.

I do not see any requests for a vote, so Mr BOUYX is elected as a Vice-President of the Assembly. I congratulate him on his election.


Our next business is to consider the changes proposed in the membership of committees. These are set out in Documents Commissions (2022) 07 and Addendum.

Are the proposed changes in the membership of the Assembly’s committees agreed to?

They are.


Then before we examine the draft Agenda of this week, the Assembly needs to consider requests for debates under urgent and current affairs procedures.


The Bureau has received the following:

· a request under the urgent procedure for a debate on “Recent outrageous and inhuman activities of the Russian Federation”, requested by Mr ZINGERIS and 29 other members of the Assembly;

· a request under the urgent procedure for a debate on “Political consequences of the Russian Federation's aggression against Ukraine”, requested by the five political groups;

· a request for a current affairs debate on “The military hostilities between Armenia and Azerbaijan”, requested by the Monitoring Committee;

· a request for a current affairs debate on “The military hostilities between Azerbaijan and Armenia, including strikes against settlements and civilian infrastructures”, requested by the five political groups;

· and, a request for a current affairs debate on “Threatened bans of Pride events in Council of Europe member States”, requested by Mr LUCKS and 19 other members of the Assembly. 


Dear Colleagues,

At this meeting this morning the Bureau took note of the requests for urgent debate and current affairs debates and agreed to support the debates on:

[A] a debate under urgent procedure on “Political consequences of the Russian Federation's aggression against Ukraine”, on the report being prepared in the Political Affairs Committee by Mr ZINGERIS, which will cover all relevant issues, including this morning’s attacks;

[B] a current affairs debate on “Military hostilities between Azerbaijan and Armenia, including strikes against settlements and civilian infrastructures”; and

[C] a current affairs debate on “Threatened bans of Pride events in Council of Europe member States”.


We will start by considering the requests for the urgent debate. Does the Assembly agree to the Bureau’s recommendation to hold an urgent debate on “Political consequences of the Russian Federation's aggression against Ukraine” during this part-session?

I do not see an objection, so we do it that way.

We will now consider the request for a current affairs debate.

Does the Assembly agree to the Bureau's recommendation to hold current affairs debates on "Military hostilities between Azerbaijan and Armenia, including strikes against settlements and civilian infrastructures" and on “Threatened bans of Pride events in Council of Europe member States” during this part session?

I do not see objections, so the Bureau's recommendation is accepted. These requests for current affairs debates are, therefore, approved.

The Bureau proposes that the lead speaker for the current affairs debate on “Military hostilities between Azerbaijan and Armenia, including strikes against settlements and civilian infrastructures” will be Mr Paul GAVAN and for the debate on “Threatened bans of Pride events in Council of Europe member States” will be Mr Max LUCKS.

I do not see any objection.


Then we will now, let's see, I have to look carefully in my file. Which page is it Valerie? I'm now on page 17. Once in a while I invent something myself, but the rest is well prepared by our staff.

The next item of business is the adoption of the agenda for the Fourth part of the 2022 Ordinary Session (Doc. 15603 prov2).

The draft agenda submitted for the Assembly’s approval was brought up to date by the Bureau this morning.

I remind members that we have just agreed an urgent affairs debate and two current affairs debates as set out in the draft before you.

The Bureau’s proposal is to hold the urgent debate on Thursday morning, the debate on Russia's aggression, after the address from the President of Ukraine, Mr Volodymyr Zelenskyy.

The Bureau’s proposal is to hold the current affairs debate on “Military hostilities between Azerbaijan and Armenia, including strikes against settlements and civilian infrastructures” this afternoon after the address from the President of the Swiss Federation. If this is agreed, the speakers’ list for this debate will open as soon as possible and will be closed at 1:30 p.m. Please can members wishing to speak in this debate ensure that they are registered before 1:30 p.m.?

The Bureau’s proposal is to hold the current affairs debate on "Threatened bans of Pride events in Council of Europe member States" on Thursday afternoon as the first item of business. 

Then, I think we have dealt with the agenda if there are no objections.


The next item on the Agenda is the debate on the Progress Report of the Bureau and the Standing Committee (Doc. 15626 and addendum).

The debate must conclude by 12:30 p.m. I will, therefore, interrupt the list of speakers at around 12:20 p.m. I remind members that speaking time is 3 minutes.

In the debate I call Mr FRANK SCHWABE to present the Progress Report on behalf of Ms Selin SAYEK BOKE, the rapporteur. You have 7 minutes.

Mister SCHWABE, you have the floor.

Débat : Rapport d'activité du Bureau et de la Commission permanente


Allemagne, SOC, Rapporteur


Dear Mr Boriss CILEVIČS, may I join the best wishes and thanks from the President.

Dear Mr President,

Dear colleagues,

Dear brave people of Ukraine who have to suffer a lot these minutes while we are sitting here.

This, that the Ukrainians are suffering the Russian aggression against Ukraine, this was a reason why we found, let's say courage, to say we need to renew the basis maybe of this organisation. We want to go for a fourth summit.

We are preparing this fourth summit, the both statutory organs of the organisation, the Committee of Ministers and the Parliamentary Assembly. The Secretary General set up a high-level reflection group on this fourth summit and reorganised the dialogue between both organs on this subject. The President mentioned that we will meet tomorrow to discuss it.

On the 24 June, the Bureau decided to set up an ad hoc committee to contribute to the report of this fourth summit as a renewed, improved and reinforced Council of Europe, being prepared by the Committee on Political Affairs and Democracy.

On 11 September there was a first meeting in Paris. We had a statement by Mr Evangelos VENIZELOS, rapporteur of the high-level reflection group on the Fourth Summit of Heads of State and Government of the Council of Europe, as well as by our rapporteur Ms Fiona O'LOUGHLIN, from Ireland, from the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe, with the report of fourth summit for renewed, improved and reinforced Council of Europe.

We for sure we welcome this kind of interaction between the ad hoc committee and the rapporteur, and we will have the next meeting on the 24 November in Reykjavik.


Allemagne, SOC, Rapporteur


I will perhaps say it in German, because when I express it emotionally, it is correspondingly easier for me.

I think we have to be clear that this organisation – and this has also been the case in the discussions of the last few days and weeks – is at a crossroads. Human rights in general are at a crossroads worldwide, multilateralism is at a crossroads, and the ability of a united Europe to act is. In our organisation, in the Council of Europe, this question is crystallising.

That's why the fourth summit can be a departure for something new, for strengthening ourselves. It can also – we have to be clear about this – be the beginning, the prelude to the irrelevance of this organisation, because our member States no longer value this organisation and perhaps other organisations are planning something else. We often discuss the European Political Community. I always don't know whether the President of France, as the initiator of this process and as, yes, host country for this organisation, is so clear about this, and whether all the European institutions of the European Union are so clear about the fact that there must be no duplication, but that in the end all the initiatives that take place must also harmonise with each other. We can complain about this initiative for a European Political Community or not. In any case, it is a reality, and we have to deal with it accordingly. That is why it is a great challenge for us.

Now we can discuss the reflection group, the composition of the reflection group, and the results. There are many who say: The results that have now been published are interesting and we are grateful for them, but the substance is still too little. We have to bring more substance, but then it is up to us to do that accordingly, because we make the difference. We also make the difference to all the ideas of 44 states to meet in Prague; that is, a European Political Community, because we are a parliamentary assembly. We have the strength of 46 parliaments that we can bring in accordingly, and it is up to us to bring in accordingly in this process. We really need a new political level to which we bring this Council of Europe accordingly. That is, it is fundamental. It's not something we want, it's fundamental, and it has to be the result of a fourth summit that the EU joins the European Convention on Human Rights.

We have to be clear in view of the horrors in Ukraine also of today what should it actually look like if we want to punish the most serious human rights crimes. We cannot talk forever about the question of a tribunal. We must produce results. I don't know whether it will ultimately be under the umbrella of the United Nations or based on the Council of Europe, but we need results. We cannot discuss it forever. We have to clarify procedurally how we want to create this great Europe of the Council of Europe, including the parts of countries that cannot be part of it today because they are governed in an authoritarian way and are not democratic, like Belarus and Russia.

We must also be clear: What is the consequence if member States do not respect fundamental court decisions? Then it can't just be a warning, but anyone who doesn't respect the core judgments of the Court can't be a member of this organisation in the end. I believe that this signal must go out from Reykjavík at the end. The conference, I have learned, has not yet been decided and will hopefully be decided in the next few days by the Committee of Ministers, and is to take place on 16 or 17 May, possibly in Reykjavík. I think we have to be there. I don't know how we're going to organise that; whether we're going to do it by ships, planes or something like that. I think we must not only be there with ideas. I think we must also be there physically. We must make it clear: that is the difference between this Council of Europe and everything else. We have this second strong part, and that is the Parliamentary Assembly. We are self-confident. We are needed accordingly in this process.

I would like to say two things at the end; one is the question of election observations. We have had two election observations, in Bosnia and Herzegovina and in Bulgaria. These will be discussed in the standing committee in Reykjavík in November.


Allemagne, SOC, Rapporteur


The last question, and I welcome this very much, was a unanimous decision at the end in the Bureau is that all those who are here in the Assembly who have the right to sit should have the right to speak. This concerns the country of Kosovo. The Kosovan delegation is here with us. It is good that they have the opportunity to speak in the debate about the Balkans, not just now but in the future.

I think it is a very good sign for a unified Europe.

Thank you very much. 

M. Tiny KOX

Pays-Bas, GUE, Président de l'Assemblée


Thank you very much Mr Frank SCHWABE for presenting the progress report.

Now I opened the debate. We first are going to listen to the five speakers on behalf of political groups and the first speaker on behalf of the Socialists, Democrats and Greens Group is Mr Titus CORLĂŢEAN from Romania.

Titus, you have the floor.


Roumanie, SOC



Thank you, Mr President.

Colleagues, I would like first of all to thank the rapporteur of the Assembly, and of course, the leader of the Socialist Group Mr Frank SCHWABE for introducing a very well structured report, progress report. We share the conclusions.

On behalf of the Socialist Group I will focus specifically on two items: the fourth summit and the new European Political Community.

First of all, on the fourth summit, the summit it is about the tragedy generated by the Russian aggression against Ukraine. But beyond that, it is in essence the issue of promoting now the idea, the vision, of a summit that should give clear substantial solutions to serious challenges against the rule-based international organisation, against multilateralists, and international law, which is opposed to the unilateral actions based on the abusive illegal use of force.

Simultaneously, we saw this new initiative, the European Political Community, a political community which is proposed, and we saw already a first meeting summit in Prague that took place very recently. A political initiative that on one side can or should have some political positive inputs and consequences because the political dialogue within such a fora can be and should be a positive one. But on the other side, this initiative raises serious questions.

We see and many have seen the risk of diminishing the role, the scope and competences of the Council of Europe. A possible application of some of our competences.

Some serious other questions were raised. We saw only 43 European states out of 46, it's our members, that attended and were invited to the Prague conference.

That might be a sign of a Europe with different speeds, and this is unacceptable.

We saw also a political process that generates some other serious questions. Some are considering it being a risk of being a substitute for the European accession process, and this cannot be accepted.

Also, we already heard some political voices in European states that promote it as a generous vision. We agreed at the level of principle to stop the war, to stop the loss of lives, but a vision which is accompanied by a so-called pragmatic approach, a vision that can be done through political negotiations and with concessions and some loss of territories by Ukraine, and this is unacceptable. Why? Because that will imply a pragmatic acceptance of the violation of fundamental principles of international law, territorial integrity, sovereignty, peaceful settlement of disputes. We cannot accept as an international organisation such a thing.

So we understand now why it is important such a summit that should promote substantial solutions sooner rather than later. Definitely, the most important thing is to promote the vision of an international court to sanction the crime of aggression, because this is the essence of the subject. PACE should be present, as the rapporteur mentioned, because the Council of Europe doesn't mean only presidents and governments, first of all that means nations, their political and parliamentary representations, and the Parliamentary Assembly. We need political management of this process.

Thank you so much.

M. Tiny KOX

Pays-Bas, GUE, Président de l'Assemblée


Thank you very much. 

I ask colleagues to stick to the three minutes because we have a time problem. 

The next speaker is Mr Aleksander POCIEJ on behalf of the Group of the European People's Party.

Aleksander, you have the floor.

M. Aleksander POCIEJ

Pologne, PPE/DC


Thank you very much.

I would like to start with Mr Boriss CILEVIČS. Boriss, you've been listening to some good things from the leader of the Socialist Group. I mean, as the leader of the Group of the European People's Party, we don't always agree but your work is really spectacular. I really congratulate you.

Fourth summit, I would just like to say one thing. Many of us are seriously concerned about two things: is this really going to have an impact on our organisation? Is it going to be something that will perhaps shake up the Organisation and the member states? Or not much at all?

Secondly, and this is expressed by many colleagues, there is a visible lack of our participation. I am talking about our Assembly as a whole.

Let's talk about what happened today. The attack of the Russian Federation on civilians, on energy centres, on residential buildings, clearly shows that all the Chamberlains of our time were completely wrong in their analysis that Russia's appetite can be appeased. We must follow our own report concerning the creation of an ad hoc tribunal to judge those who gave the orders for this aggression. One may ask: is Russia not becoming a terrorist country?

But at the same time, we should not lose sight of the threats in the Caucasus, where two nations are rising against each other. We must send a very strong message: that we will not tolerate the situation where some countries use the situation – where the world is focused on the war in Ukraine, to attack each other.

Also, we have to send a very strong signal to Turkey, which is sending threats in a very delicate period where we should be very careful with all the threats against our neighbors.

Thank you very much.

M. Tiny KOX

Pays-Bas, GUE, Président de l'Assemblée


Thank you, Mr Aleksander POCIEJ.

Now I call any debate Mr Ian LIDDELL-GRAINGER on behalf of the European Conservatives Group.

Ian, you have the floor.


Royaume-Uni, CE/AD


Thank you very much, Mr President.

I think this is an interesting time to be in the Council of Europe. As of today, a hundred missiles – I'm told – have hit Ukraine. This is a time that we must stand up and be counted. If we want to make progress, which is what we are talking about and I have heard Mr Aleksander POCIEJ say, and Mr Frank SCHWABE, and other people, this is the time that we have to show our mettle. This is the first time since the Second World War we have gone back into a European war. And, therefore, the time has come.

And I have been reading through the report of the High Level Reflection Group of the Council of Europe – a report which I would recommend colleagues to look at. There are 30 recommendations. I will say, Mr President, a lot of this I think is management speak as we would say in English. In other words, you would have got it from a very good company that had written it.

Surely, we should concentrate on our core ability which is the defence of democracy. That is what we were set up to do. That is what we should still be doing. To defend democracy, this summit must show that we have a place in the world and what our place in the world is. No organisation has a right to exist. You have to actually earn that right to do what you want to. What we did in 1946 is really what we are still doing. That is the right attitude but it is being diluted, it is being watered down. We must do more. This report is only good as far as it goes, colleagues.

But the question I have for you if we want to make progress is what is this organisation going to look like? Do we do too many reports? Do we monitor elections in the wrong way? Are we out of touch with the reality of what we do? How many reports that you have ever done yourselves or been part of have actually made any impact at all anywhere across the nations of the Council of Europe? I would suggest very, very few.

I would also argue that the way that we present ourselves is insular – we look at ourselves, we sit here and we look at ourselves. We have got to be much more proactive. There are organisations – within this organisation – I have never come across. I asked for a list of them and it is quite remarkable. And they are doing a lot of good stuff but we do not sell ourselves. The United Nations does very well. The Commonwealth, which is part of the United Kingdom, does very well. The OECD does very well. NATO-PA very well, which is the parliamentary side of NATO. There are lots of other organisations in Africa, Australasia, right across the world that show themselves. We do not and to me if we are going to make progress that progress has to be what we are going to look like for the next 50 to 60 years of this organisation.

And I would ask you, Mr President, when we have the High Level Summit, let us discuss openly really what matters to us as parliamentarians in this organisation.

Thank you, sir.

M. Tiny KOX

Pays-Bas, GUE, Président de l'Assemblée


Thank you, Mister Ian LIDDELL-GRAINGER.

Next in the debate I call Mr Iulian BULAI on behalf of the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe. Iulian?

M. Iulian BULAI

Roumanie, ADLE


Thank you so much, Mr President.

Dear colleagues,

Since our latest plenary, as we all know, the status quo in Europe has changed only slightly, and not for the better.

Today's missile attack in Kyiv and other cities, the Russian annexation of Ukrainian territories and fake referendums, in fact, under constant shelling of the neighbourhoods and with most of the population in refuge, is a blatant attack of aggression and against international law. For that, those responsible should and will be brought to justice.

The energy blackmailing from the part of Russia, another form of escalating aggression in Europe, should not make us waiver. We as Europeans should not give up to it. It should be an opportunity for Europe to reform the energy sector, something the long-dated climate situation has requested for a long time.

Greece, Portugal, France, Italy, Spain, the whole Mediterranean coast was deeply affected by devastating fires this summer. With the current rhythm of climate change the worst is yet to come.

The current moment is also an opportunity for the definition of the new generation of rights, something that this Assembly has demanded for a long time.

We should stress it again and again, there cannot be full enjoyment of human rights without a safe and sustainable environment.

Almost exactly one year ago, we voted unanimously to support the recognition of the right to live in a healthy environment as a human right. This is even more stringent today.

As from this part-session, the members of the delegation of the Assembly of Kosovo should have the right to speak in the plenary, as well as in the Standing Committee meetings, without the right to vote. Your voice, I'm sure will enrich our debates, dear colleagues from Kosovo. 

The recent events in the South-Caucasus reminds us of the need to work together in order to achieve peace through dialogue and negotiations, not through the force of arms. Peace should be the immediate aim of the South-Caucasus through sitting at the same table and with the help of us all, the international community.

The Iranian case shows us that great changes for more rights, more freedom, and more democracy can be done by the most fragile of us, and that people are ready to risk their lives for these not ideals, but realities.

So let me now salute the two new ratifications of the Istanbul Convention, from east to west; after the Republic of Moldova at the beginning of 2022, Ukraine and the United Kingdom joined this year the larger and greater community pledging to safeguard the well-being of humans.

Congratulations to both Ukraine and the United Kingdom.

Thank you.

M. Tiny KOX

Pays-Bas, GUE, Président de l'Assemblée


Thank you, Mister Iulian BULAI.

Now, the last speaker in the debate will be Mr Andrej HUNKO on behalf of the Group of the Unified European Left.

Andrej, you have the floor.

M. Andrej HUNKO

Allemagne, GUE


Mr President,

I would also like to touch on three issues. Earlier this morning we commemorated the victims as a result of the new attacks on Kiev and many other Ukrainian cities. We have seen a further escalation of this war. And it is right, of course, that we remember the victims. It is also right that we condemn the acts and condemn Russia's attacks, as we have often done. But I also think that we also have to put our energy into how we get out of this further escalation.

There is currently an open debate of the possible use of nuclear weapons. As a result of these threats, we cannot afford further escalation of the war. It is not enough just to commemorate and condemn, we also have to take on efforts to see what a solution could look like, and how it can  come to negotiations in the end.

A second topic I would like to address - this has already been discussed a lot: the European Political Community. There was a meeting of 44 heads of state and government, ad hoc, without a decision, without a basis, so to speak; a nice photo. And, there is a follow-up meeting in early May, then in Moldova, probably. And just before we want to do our summit, where we are still not clear: Will this summit take place and will the heads of state and government come there as well?

I think the proportions are not right here. And I agree with everything that has been said: we need a strong summit, we need a strong signal from there, and we need a parliamentary dimension. The Council of Europe has the most developed parliamentary dimension of all international organisations. This European Political Community has no parliamentary dimension at all.

And finally, I would like to remind you - we have already talked about this several times - about the fate of Julian Assange. On Saturday, there was what I consider to be a historic human chain around Westminster in London, which I also attended. Julian Assange has been sitting in a maximum security prison in Belmarsh for three and a half years, waiting for his possible extradition - because he exposed war crimes. And he's subject to the European Convention on Human Rights because it's on European soil. I think, again, this case should not be forgotten, and that this Assembly has demanded more often, has demanded twice, that Julian Assange be released immediately.

Thank you very much.


Arménie, CE/AD


(Undelivered speech, Rules of Procedure Art. 31.2)


In the context of the continuous aggression of Azerbaijan against Armenia and Nagorno Karabakh I would like to raise the following questions:

Our organisation had preferred to limit itself by vague and unaddressed statements which would put signs of equality between and among the parties to this conflict. Hence, I would like to be told: what's the clear and unambiguous position of our organisation: is Azerbaijan an aggressor state, and should it withdraw troops from the occupied soveriegn territories of Armenia?

There are two paths forward in Nagorno Karabakh and only one of which, I believe, the Council of Europe must encourage and endorse: namely, the respect for the right of people to self-determination. The other alternative is silent indulgence of the authorities in Azerbaijan to gradually annihilate and uproot the Armenians from their historic homeland - just as they did in Nakhijevan. What's the preferred choice for the Council of Europe?

It has become a "new normal" to witness when democratic norms, freedoms and traditions are being sacrificed for geopolitical interests and access to energy resources in the Caspian. I would like to know when has Azerbaijan been a more democratic state for the Council of Europe - when it was actively fighting against the Armenian population in Nagorno Karabakh, or today - as it engages in war crimes and other forms of crimes against humanity against the people in Republic of Armenia?

It's clear by now, that in those international forums, where Turkey and Azerbaijan do not partake or have dominant roles, the issues of Nagorno Karabakh or armed aggression against Armenia are being discussed more objectively. Do I understand it right, that in our organisation the issues of human rights, democracy and rule of law are being decisively influenced by lobbying and resources by certain national delegations?

Is there any understanding, that the slogan posted by the President of Azerbaijan “We will restore Karabakh and Zangezur" is a clear recipe for disaster? It is a grave violation of the fundamental norms of international law, second it is a grave disrespect towards the international partners in the peace process, and third it is an open call to arms aimed at redrawing the political map of South Caucasus in accordance with the Turkic aspirations for a new Turkic World - at the expense of sovereign territories of Armenia?


Azerbaïdjan, ADLE


(Undelivered speech, Rules of Procedure Art. 31.2)


As always, the part-session starts with the presentation of a Progress Report, and this is the 80th time I have been witnessing a new report. Certainly, there have been hundreds of such reports previously, and they have been prepared on the basis of similar and uniform criteria. Because we have fixed ideas about the very concept of progress, and we usually base our work on these stereotyped approaches.

However, over the past 30 years, the world, and then Europe, as well as the countries that each of us represents, have undergone major changes. These fundamental changes are taking place today, perhaps faster and on a larger scale than in former times. How correct is it to evaluate a radically changed world and events with immutable, unchanging dimensions and, on this basis, determine your conclusions about the prospects?

Lutfizada, an American scholar of Azerbaijani origin, proposed a new model of thinking to humanity back in 1965. He put forward the theory of fuzzy sets, confirming that the traditional logical approach to what is happening is unsatisfactory. Having proved that everything has a degree Lutfizada demonstrated that there is nothing absolutely white and absolutely black in the world. Between these two concepts, there are thousands of nuances - intermediate nuances, in other words, he discovered intermediate categories that exist in reality.

If you look at the time of the creation of this theory, you will find out that the need to apply the philosophy of fuzzy logic to social events coincides with a period of global changes that are rapidly occurring in the world towards the late 20th century.

And any country that has taken advantage of this new approach has made significant strides and seen great benefits. The Council of Europe should build its current work and progress reports containing indicative examples of our activities on this progressive formula. We do not build, so we have been counting on our own for a long time.

It seems to everyone that the Council of Europe, which once played an important role in the political life of Europe and the world, is in crisis and needs to be updated, and, unfortunately, we find the solution to this update only in cosmetic changes that do not lead to much progress.

If we want progress, let's pay more attention not to outcomes, but to the nuances between big events that we don't see or have no desire to see, which often act as the basis of the major result - then success will be accompanying us. To achieve this, we must once and for all get rid of prejudice and the disease of double standards and always stand for the real truth, even when it hurts!


Türkiye, NI


(Undelivered speech, Rules of Procedure Art. 31.2)


Dear President, Dear Colleagues,

I would like to start by thanking the Rapporteur for informing us about the activities of the Bureau and the Standing Committee during the period covered by the report.

In the framework of the report and our recent work, I would like to touch upon some issues.

First of all, it is with pleasure that our Assembly has once again convened with a busy agenda, which reflects its competence in fulfilling its core function.

The Russian Federation’s ongoing war of aggression against Ukraine has been and still is an essential part of our agenda. The aggression against one member country prompted the Council of Europe to look for ways to contribute in a more efficient way to the solution of this crisis.

In this regard, I believe that the 4th Summit of Heads of State and Government of the Council of Europe will be a major turning point. Therefore, I think we should continue to focus on the war of aggression and prepare the contribution of the Assembly to this historic Summit.

I would also like to state that under these circumstances bilateral issues between member States should not occupy our agenda. The one-sided repetition of national positions does not contribute to the solution of the existing problems.

In this respect, I believe that our Assembly needs to encourage the member States for a fair dialogue in order to find solution to their bilateral problems in line with international law.

Our Assembly should also continue to work in an inclusive manner and free from double standards. This is the only way to assure an effective dialogue with tangible results.

Thank you.

Cérémonie de remise de prix: Prix des Droits de l'Homme Václav Havel

M. Tiny KOX

Pays-Bas, GUE, Président de l'Assemblée


Thank you, Mister Andrej HUNKO.

I now have to interrupt the list of speakers. The speeches of the 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 the texts are to be submitted in typescript, electronically if possible, no later than four hours after the list of speakers is interrupted.

The Bureau has proposed references to committees for ratification by the Parliamentary Assembly. They are set out in Document 15626 and Addendum No. 1. Is there any objection to the proposed references to committees?

I do not see any. There are no objections. They are approved. 

I now propose that other decisions in the Progress Report, which you find in Document 15626 and Addendum No. 1 be ratified.

I do not see any objections. The Progress Report is approved.

The next item on the agenda of our Session is the Václav Havel Human Rights Prize award ceremony. 

Dear Colleagues, Honourable Guests,

I hereby declare the Václav Havel Human Rights Prize awards ceremony open.

A warm welcome to this, the tenth edition of the awards ceremony of the Václav Havel Human Rights Prize. A special thanks to our partners for their co‑operation – the Czech government, the Václav Havel Library, and the Charta 77 Foundation, the members of the selection panel, whose commitment and dedication is fundamental to upholding the work, legacies, and values of Mr Havel.

I wish to use this occasion to mention that our partners will organise on 12 October in Prague a traditional conference associated with this prize. It is entitled "The Crime and The Punishment", and it will deal with the issues of post-conflict and transformational justice in dealing with human rights violations during conflicts.

Dear Colleagues,

I am particularly honoured to welcome to this tenth ceremony of the Václav Havel Human Rights Prize former presidents of this Parliamentary Assembly: Mr René van der LINDEN, Mr Jean-Claude MIGNON, Ms Anne BRASSEUR, Mr Michele NICOLETTI, Ms Liliane MAURY PASQUIER, and Mr Rik DAEMS.

As I mentioned, this is the tenth edition of the Václav Havel Human Rights Prize. Our prize is widely recognised as an important and prestigious award given to truly outstanding people and organisations who dedicate their lives to defending human rights, our core business.

On the tenth anniversary of our prize, it should be mentioned that the very first winner of the Václav Havel Human Rights Prize, Mr Ales Bialiatski, was awarded with the Nobel Peace Prize last week, together with Memorial in Russia and the Center for Civil Liberties in Ukraine. I would like to offer our sincere congratulations to these three winners and use this opportunity to, again, call urgently on the authorities of Belarus to release Mr Ales Bialiatski from prison.


To release him immediately.


I also recall that another person who received our prestigious prize, Ms Nadia Murad, also received the Nobel Prize. As I said before, we started this meeting, to those who are nominated this time, there is a chance. If you get a Václav Havel Human Rights Prize, the next step is the Nobel Peace Prize.

Now I invite you all to watch a short visual on the Václav Havel Human Rights Prize, in which we recognise and honour the work of thousands of individuals and organisations who share our values and goals, the protection of fundamental freedoms and human dignity. We pay our respect to their sacrifices to uphold these values.

Please watch this video with me.


Through his writings, his political activities, his courage, and his tireless efforts to build a more just and inclusive society, Mr Václav Havel continues to be an example for all of us. 

We are bound to continue his legacy, in particular by showing courage, and resilience, in protecting and upholding human rights as our core mission and what we stand for in the Parliamentary Assembly.

I am also honoured that our Human Rights Commissioner Ms Dunja MIJATOVIĆ is here with us in this ceremony.

Honourable Members and Colleagues,

The three shortlisted candidates were already introduced to you in this short video.

Our first nominee is, as it was said, Mr Vladimir Kara-Murza from Russia. Mr Vladimir Kara-Murza is a Russian politician, an author and historian. He is one of the opposition leaders in the Russian Federation, and one of the most consistent critics of the Russia government. He has survived two attempts to poison him. He spoke out loudly against the Russian war of aggression against Ukraine. From its first days, he condemned the actions of the Russian government. He had the courage to go back to his country, to continue his fight, this fight, the great risks, and having the possibility to stay in a safe place. Mr Vladimir Kara-Murza was arrested in April 2022, and has now been charged with charges of treason, on top of his previous charges, that could keep him behind bars for many, many years. It takes, dear colleagues, incredible courage in today's Russia, to stand against the power in place. Today, Mr Vladimir Kara-Murza is showing this courage from his prison cell. Today he is represented here by his wife, Ms Evgenia KARA‑MURZA.

Ms Evgenia KARA‑MURZA, thank you wholeheartedly, also for your personal commitment and courage as well.

Dear Colleagues,

The second nominee is the Rainbow Coalition from Hungary. The Rainbow Coalition is, as it was said in the video, a broad coalition of human rights organisations, LGBTQIA+ rights groups, and other civic movements. The Rainbow Coalition has been campaigning and mobilising support for the most needed defence of LGBTQIA+ rights in Hungary. We all know that this is a controversial topic in certain Council of Europe member States, and it requires much courage – also personal courage – to stand up against social stereotypes and hostilities too often allowed or even endorsed by the representatives of power. The work of the Rainbow Coalition might not be the most mediatised across Europe; but that does not reduce at all its importance in any way, as it is standing up for the rights of millions of our citizens. It even increases the respect for the courage shown. Our Parliamentary Assembly takes a clear, leading stance in promoting and defending gender equality as a fundamental human right. To have the Rainbow Coalition amongst the shortlisted candidates is a renewed expression of our stance. Today the Rainbow Coalition is represented here in this hemicycle by Ms Luca DUDITS, Executive Board Member of the Háttér Society, and Mr David VIG, Director of Amnesty International in Hungary. You are most welcome here.

Dear Colleagues,

The third nominee is the 5 AM Coalition from Ukraine. 5 AM Coalition is a broad coalition of brave Ukrainian human rights organisations whose aim is to uncover, document, collect and preserve evidence, while raising awareness of alleged war crimes, crimes against humanity, and other crimes committed in Ukraine during the ongoing war of aggression by the Russian Federation. We all have watched with terror the atrocities that took place – and are taking place – in the occupied areas of Ukraine, but also what is happening today in Ukraine, where so many cities and the citizens of these cities are under fire. We all felt the importance of bringing those responsible for it to justice. Indeed, in several of our recent reports and resolutions we call for accountability and justice to be ensured. This nominee is currently engaged into putting this into practice on the ground. The 5 AM Coalition is doing crucial work for justice for the victims against impunity. The volunteers of this Coalition often work under extremely dangerous conditions while this brutal war is still raging. Today the 5 AM Coalition is represented here by Mr Denys RABOMIZO.

The shortlisted nominees all represent causes greater than themselves. They all meet the criteria of the Václav Havel Human Rights Prize. They all are winners in this respect, to be shortlisted by the jury, whom I thank very much for its great work. By being shortlisted, it is said, yes, you truly act in the spirit of Mr Václav Havel; you are showing courage, you should be respected, and you should be an inspiration to all of us. Their nomination is the expression of our deep respect for their principled attitude, their self-sacrifice, and their courage for the cause of human rights.

Your Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen, 

It is now the time to announce the 2022 winner of this prize.

The winner of the Václav Havel Human Rights Prize 2022 is Mr Vladimir Kara-Murza.


And as said, the other nominees, they are winners as well.

To the Rainbow Coalition.


And the third nominee also, the winner of this Václav Havel Prize ceremony, is the 5 AM Coalition from Ukraine.

Again, congratulations.


May I then now give the floor to Ms Evgenia KARA-MURZA, who has taken this prize on behalf of her husband and will share some of her thoughts with us.

Ms Evgenia KARA-MURZA, you have the floor.

Evgenia Kara-Murza

au nom de Kara-Murza


I'm deeply humbled and honoured to be addressing you all today on behalf of my husband, Vladimir Kara-Murza.

I'm standing here today because almost 20 years ago, I married a man of integrity. A man whose honesty, whose sense of duty and honour are truly inspiring, although at times quite trying for those who love him and care for him.

With a recent charge of high treason that can send Vladimir to a strict regime prison for up to 24 years, the current Russian authorities, without, I'm sure, intending to do so, have painted a portrait of a true Russian patriot. A so-called foreign agent who denounces the war and calls for sanctions against murderers and thieves.

Vladimir Putin's government sees such people as traitors.

Well, I couldn't be prouder of my partner, my best friend, the father of my children.

I would so much love for Vladimir to be able to address you all in person today. But unfortunately, for his voice to be heard today he needs help from his friends and colleagues, and I am privileged to be one of them.

I'm going to read something that he wrote for you.


President Mr Tiny KOX,

Ambassador Mr Michael ŽANTOVSKÝ,

Members of the Assembly,

Your Excellencies,

Dear friends,

I want to thank the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe, the Government of the Czech Republic, the Václav Havel library, and Charter 77 Foundation for the incredible honour of receiving the 2022 Václav Havel Human Rights Prize.

It appears to have become a tradition of this award that most of its recipients have missed the ceremony because they have been under arrest.

But then again, Václav Havel was a political prisoner himself. For the last time, just months before he would become president of Czechoslovakia.

Havel once said that if the main pillar of the system is living a lie, then the fundamental threat to it is living the truth. This is why it must be suppressed more severely than anything else.

The reality of Vladimir Putin's regime in Russia bears out these words to the full.

With the start of his brutal invasion of Ukraine, Putin also launched another war, a war of untruth in our country.

Since February, Russia's remaining independent media outlets have been silenced. The authorities have imposed near total censorship of the internet and social media while new, hastily passed laws have criminalised public opposition to the war with up to 15 years of imprisonment. Just as in communist Czechoslovakia that imprisoned Havel, just as in the Soviet Union, that even in its most "liberal periods" imprisoned thousands of dissidents, in today's Russia of Vladimir Putin, speaking the truth is considered a crime against the state.

Yet, despite the arrests and the threats, and the tidal wave of oppression, thousands of Russians have voiced their opposition to the war on Ukraine.

According to human rights groups some 19 000 people were detained by police at anti-war protests since February. Nearly 4 000 faced administrative charges for speaking out against the war. Dozens, including me, are now imprisoned for it. Journalists, lawyers, teachers, priests, artists, politicians, military officers, people of different backgrounds and different vocations who could not stay silent in the face of this atrocity even at the cost of personal freedom.

I want to dedicate this prize to all of them. The monetary part of the prize will go towards creating a special fund to support the families of Russian political prisoners. Families that now have to live without their spouses, their parents or their children because their loved ones have refused to be complicit in the evil perpetrated by their government.

In August 1968, as Soviet tanks invaded Czechoslovakia to crush the Prague Spring, seven people came out on the Red Square in Moscow in a silent demonstration of protest. They weren't there even five minutes. They were beaten, arrested, and herded away almost immediately. But after that, after what they did, no one could say that there was nationwide approval in the Soviet Union for the invasion of Czechoslovakia.

As a Prague newspaper wrote, there are now at least seven reasons for which we will never be able to hate the Russian people.

Today Ukraine and the free world have thousands of reasons.

I am sorry that I'm not able to join you in person today. But I look forward to being back here, in Strasbourg, when a peaceful, democratic, and Putin-free Russia returns to this Assembly and to this Council, and when we can finally start building that whole free and peaceful Europe we all want to see.

Even today, in the darkest of hours, I firmly believe that time will come.

Thank you very much.

M. Tiny KOX

Pays-Bas, GUE, Président de l'Assemblée


Thank you so much. 

If you want, you can congratulate our nominees and our prizewinner. 

I now declare the ceremony closed. 

Thank you very much for attending. 

La séance est levée à 13h00