Strasbourg, 29.06.2016 – Pedro Agramunt, President of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE), will make an official visit to Georgia on 30 June-1 July 2016, during which he is due to meet the President of the Republic, the Prime Minister, the Speaker of the Parliament, the Minister for Foreign Affairs and the Georgian delegation to PACE.
Mr Agramunt will also participate in the 25th Annual Session of the Parliamentary Assembly of the OSCE, to be held in Tbilisi on the theme “25 years of parliamentary cooperation: building trust through dialogue”. In this context, he will address the Assembly at its Opening plenary session and will meet the OSCE PA President.
PACE President Pedro Agramunt and the Speaker of the Georgian Parliament, David Usupashvili, will make a joint statement to the press on Friday 1 July at 6.15 pm, at the Exhibition Centre “Expo Georgia”, Akaki Tsereteli Ave. 118, Tbilisi (Hall 3, Speaker’s VIP Office).
“The Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe and the Parliamentary Assembly of the Black Sea Economic Cooperation have many things in common,” said PACE President Pedro Agramunt, addressing PABSEC at its plenary session in Moscow today. He underlined that they shared the same geography – as all member states of PABSEC were also members of the Council of Europe – and pursued similar objectives, namely promoting international co-operation to foster stability, prosperity and peace.
“This implies that we have to respond to common challenges too, in particular the refugee crisis and combating international terrorism, he added, explaining the Assembly’s work and activities on the refugee and migration problematic as well as the #NoHateNoFear initiative recently launched by PACE, with a view to “to mobilise politicians, important actors in society and ordinary citizens against terrorism, and the hate and fear that terrorists seek to create”.
In conclusion, Mr Agramunt called for strengthened international co-operation and “more synergies and complementarity to effectively tackle these challenges”.
Ahead of World Refugee Day, PACE President Pedro Agramunt calls on all Europeans to stand up and show their solidarity and support for the more than 50 million refugees worldwide.
“These 50 million refugees are not just numbers on a piece of paper, they are real people. Like me, like you, they have faces, names, and they have rights”.
“Violence, wars and political repression left them with no option but to leave their homes and countries. They have escaped from conflicts and often survived long and incredibly dangerous journeys. We have the legal and human obligation to do everything in our power to help them”.
On this World Refugee Day, PACE President invites all Europeans not to fall into the trap set by populist and xenophobic rhetoric, “open your hearts, speak to refugees, listen to their stories and their struggle. What refugees need is empathy, support and understanding for their suffering, not indifference or hatred”, he concluded.
“The release of my fellow PACE member Nadiia Savchenko is excellent news,” said Pedro Agramunt, President of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE).
“I commend both Russia and Ukraine for making this possible, and I look forward to welcoming her in Strasbourg soon – perhaps even at the next session in June, if her health permits.”
The President added: “I hope that both sides can now build on the goodwill that made this possible in order to make further progress on implementing the Minsk agreements.”
Georgia: PACE monitors regret Constitutional Court changes have not been sent to Venice Commission, as promisedThursday, 19 May 2016 14:37
The monitoring co-rapporteurs for Georgia of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE), Boriss Cilevics (Latvia, SOC) and Kerstin Lundgren (Sweden, ALDE), have expressed their regret at the hasty adoption in final reading, reportedly undermining the transparency of the process, of amendments to the laws governing the functioning of the Constitutional Court.
They in particular regretted that these amendments were not sent to the Venice Commission – the Council of Europe’s independent group of constitutional law experts – for opinion after they were adopted in second reading in the Committee on Human Rights and Civic Integration of the Georgian Parliament, as was originally indicated to them during their visit in the first week of May 2016.
“We wish to reiterate that a Venice Commission opinion on these amendments, and the prompt implementation of their recommendations, could help ensure the efficient functioning of the Constitutional Court and counteract any possible attempts to unduly politicise these amendments, as well as the court itself, in the run up to the forthcoming parliamentary elections. We therefore urge the authorities to request such an opinion of the Venice Commission without any further delay. If not, we will propose that the Assembly’s Monitoring Committee itself request such an opinion at its forthcoming meeting on 23 May 2016.”
The co- rapporteurs of PACE Monitoring Committee are meeting in Council of Europe office in Tbilisi. The meeting is holding with the representatives of Georgian Office. The main issue is organizational tasks.
In the framework of the visit, Boriss Cilevics (Latvia, SOC) and Kerstin Lundgren (Sweden, ALDE) will meet with the chairman of the Constitutional Court. After that the delegation will hold an audience with the State Minister for Reconciliation and Civic Equality Paata Zakareishvili. They will also meet the Chairman of CEC and the representatives of Supreme Court.
Boris Silevich and Kerstin Lundgren will hold the meeting in Tbilisi in next 3 years. They will meet the representatives of Georgian Government and the opposition.
Boriss Cilevics (Latvia, SOC) and Kerstin Lundgren (Sweden, ALDE), co-rapporteurs of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) for the monitoring of obligations and commitments by Georgia, will make a fact-finding visit to the country on 3-5 May 2016.
In Tbilisi, the co-rapporteurs are due to meet the President, the Speaker of Parliament, the Prime Minister and a number of ministers, as well as the heads of the Constitutional and Supreme Courts, the Public Defender and the head of the Central Election Commission.
Talks are also scheduled with the Georgian delegation to PACE, representatives of different political parties and factions in the parliament, diplomats and NGOs.
Our fundamental values may not be sacrificed in the fight against terrorism, says Austrian PresidentWednesday, 20 April 2016 19:47
Speaking on the occasion of the 60th anniversary of Austria’s membership in the Council of Europe, the Austrian President Heinz Fischer underlined the importance of the 47-nation organisation as an irreplaceable platform where new forms of intergovernmental and parliamentary co-operation were and continue to be developed.
Recalling the importance of respecting the values embodied by the Council of Europe, he stressed that these fundamental values may not be sacrificed in the fight against terrorism.
Referring to the migration and refugee crisis, he called for increased cooperation and co-ordination which had to remain high on the European agenda in order to avoid the instrumentalisation of the issue by right-wing organisations, for xenophobic positions or to incite nationalist emotions.
The President announced that he will leave office at the beginning of July. Quoting Willy Brandt, “War is no longer the ultima ratio but rather the ultima irratio“, he concluded by saying that the most important objective he could not achieve during his time in office was to eliminate the madness of war in human society.
The Parliamentary Assembly Council of Europe (PACE) and the International Organizations support Georgia. This is really important for us-this statement was made by the Vice Speaker of Georgian Parliament, Manana Kobakhidze in the interview with Newsday in Strasbourg.
“This is the result of the democratic reforms which have being implementing in Georgia. It is important that the Prime Minister of Georgia will deliver the speech in the Parliamentary Assembly Council of Europe. Giorgi Kvirikashvili will have an opportunity to speak about the reforms ongoing in our country from the Tribune of the PACE", - Manana Kobakhidze said.
According to her, before making the important decision about visa liberalization, the Prime Minister is able to persuade the European Parliament, that Georgia really deserves the positive decision about visa liberalization process.
“Georgia really deserves to be the member of European family” - Manana Kobakhidze said. She also noted that the meeting by the Prime Minister with PACE President Pedo Agramunt, President of the European Commission, Jean-Claude Junker and Council of Europe Secretary General Thorbjørn Jagland is important and will promote more positive from Georgia.
The 2016 Europe Prize – the highest level of the Prize which is awarded each year by the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) to the town most active in promoting the European ideal – has been awarded to the town of Girona (Spain).
Girona is very active in its many initiatives which demonstrate its strong commitment to Europe. It seeks to be an educational and solidarity-based city and supports projects to raise awareness among the local population of the causes of economic inequalities and to promote tolerance, dialogue, the values of a culture of peace and respect for human rights. Girona received the Flag of Honour in 1984 and the Plaque of Honour in 2013.
Four other towns, namely Bamberg and Sinzing in Germany, Ivano-Frankivsk in Ukraine and Lublin in Poland, were also shortlisted for the Prize, and their applications commended.
Created by PACE in 1955, the Europe Prize is the highest distinction that can be bestowed on a European town for its actions in the European domain. The prize consists of a trophy, a medal, a diploma and a scholarship to be spent on a study visit to European institutions for young people from the winning town.
Eight Plaques of Honour, eight Flags of Honour and 12 European Diplomas – which also form part of the Europe Prize – were also awarded. Full details here.