07 октомври 2017

ЕСЕННАТА СЕСИЯ НА ПАСЕ, 9 - 13 октомври 2017г.




Историческа сесия на Парламентарната Асамблея на Съвета на Европа
(ПАСЕ)



НА 11 ОКТОМВРИ 2017Г. СЛЕДОБЕД ПАСЕ ЩЕ ГЛАСУВА ПРЕПОРЪКАТА КЪМ КОМИТЕТА НА МИНИСТРИТЕ 
(Министрите на външните работи на 47-те държави-членки)
ЗА СВИКВАНЕ НА ЧЕТВЪРТАТА СРЕЩА НА НАЙ-ВИСОКО РАВНИЩЕ В ИСТОРИЯТА НА ОРГАНИЗАЦИЯТА.

ПРЕДЛАГА СЕ СРЕЩАТА НА ДЪРЖАВНИТЕ ГЛАВИ И РЪКОВОДИТЕЛИТЕ НА ПРАВИТЕЛСТВА ДА ПРЕПОТВЪРДИ ПРИНЦИПИТЕ НА ЕВРОПЕЙСКОТО ЕДИНСТВО И ДА ПРЕДПРИЕМЕ МЕРКИ ЗА ЗАЩИТА НА ДЕМОКРАТИЧНАТА СИГУРНОСТ В ЕВРОПА.

ИНИЦИАТОР :















Д-Р ДЖЕМА ГРОЗДАНОВА - РЪКОВОДИТЕЛ НА БЪЛГАРСКАТА ДЕЛЕГАЦИЯ В ПАСЕ




ДОКЛАДЧИК : 














ПРОФ. МИКЕЛЕ НИКОЛЕТИ - РЪКОВОДИТЕЛ НА ИТАЛИАНСКАТА ДЕЛЕГАЦИЯ В ПАСЕ

Линкове : 

Линк към доклада на Проф. Николети
 с проекто-документите за гласуване:
  

Report

Call for a Council of Europe Summit to reaffirm European unity and to defend and promote democratic security in Europe





Линк към документите внесени от Д-р Джема Грозданова по този въпрос : 
  

Sofia Declaration of 27 November 2015

Submitted by Ms Dzhema Grozdanova (Bulgaria, EPP/CD), Chairperson of the Bulgarian Delegation







Motion for a recommendation

Towards a fourth Council of Europe Summit








Written question

Sofia Declaration of 27 November 2015 adopted by the Standing Committee of the Parliamentary Assembly





Reply to Written question






Motion for a recommendation

The Council of Europe in the European political architecture





Приетите документи :

Приетата Резолюция 2186/2017 на ПАСЕ :









Resolution 2186 (2017) Provisional version

Call for a Council of Europe Summit to reaffirm European unity and to defend and promote democratic security in Europe

Author(s): Parliamentary Assembly
Origin - Assembly debate on 11 October 2017 (33rd Sitting) (see Doc. 14396, report of the Committee on Political Affairs and Democracy, rapporteur: Mr Michele Nicoletti). Text adopted by the Assembly on 11 October 2017 (33rd Sitting).See also Recommendation 2113 (2017).









1. The Parliamentary Assembly is concerned that, at present, momentous political challenges, both within and outside Europe’s borders, are threatening the continent and its unity: the daily risk of terrorist attacks, the rise of Euroscepticism, nationalism, populism and xenophobia, the persistence of frozen and open conflicts, the annexation or occupation of a neighbour’s territories, the prolongation of state of emergency measures and the re-emergence of divisions. Wars at the doors of Europe threaten the security of the continent and have caused massive refugee and migratory flows.
2. The efficiency and authority of the unique human rights protection system, based on the European Convention on Human Rights (ETS No. 5), are threatened by various attempts to undermine the authority of the European Court of Human Rights, by the lack of political will on the part of certain States Parties to implement its judgments, despite their legally binding force, or by delays in their implementation.
3. Recent developments within the European Union, including ongoing infringement and rule of law procedures against some of its member States, the lack of solidarity in the handling of the refugee and migratory crisis, as well as the decision by the United Kingdom to leave the European Union, also present challenges for the Council of Europe, as it offers a unique forum of co-operation between European States which are members of the European Union and those which are not.
4. Against this background, the Assembly believes that the Council of Europe and the values it upholds are today more necessary than ever: at the origin of the European construction, bringing together almost all the European States on the basis of common values and principles and thus natural guardian of “unity within diversity”, offering a common legal space to 835 million Europeans, guaranteeing protection of their human rights, promoting social rights and democracy and contributing to the development of a European civil society, the Council of Europe is today best placed to help meet the challenges raised by growing nationalism and avoid the building of new walls.
5. Alongside the European Union, whose far-reaching integration project will never cover the whole continent, and the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE), which also covers non-European States, the Council of Europe, composed of 47 European States, remains the only pan-European organisation capable of promoting and guaranteeing democratic security throughout the continent.
6. In order to preserve and further strengthen this unique pan-European project, currently threatened by divisions and a weakening of member States’ commitment, the Assembly calls for a Fourth Summit of Heads of State and Government of Council of Europe member States.
7. In a Europe which has profoundly changed since the last Summit, held in Warsaw in 2005, and at a time when the whole world seems to be changing, a Summit will offer member States a unique opportunity to reaffirm, in the strongest possible terms and at the highest political level, their commitment to the ideal of European unity and the values and principles of democracy, human rights and the rule of law upheld by the Council of Europe. Member States should clearly express their willingness to continue to be part of a single community, sharing common values, a common legal order and a common jurisdiction, and capable of capitalising on internal differences.
8. The Fourth Summit should be well-focused and could, inter alia, offer political impetus to:
8.1. enhance the efficiency and authority of the human rights protection system, based on the European Convention on Human Rights, reverse current tendencies undermining the authority of the European Court of Human Rights and improve the record of implementation of its judgments by member States;
8.2. strengthen the treaty system of the European Social Charter, including its collective complaint system and its monitoring machinery (in particular regarding the election of the members of the European Committee of Social Rights by the Assembly), reaffirming the fact that only the enjoyment of socio-economic rights and social inclusion allow people to fully enjoy their political and civil rights;
8.3. encourage member States to adopt effective measures against growing poverty and modern slavery thus reassuring European citizens that the European institutions are not indifferent to their problems and the concrete conditions of their everyday life;
8.4. recognise the valuable contribution of the Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights to the development of sustainable human rights-centred policies at national and local level throughout the continent, as well as the role played by the Organisation’s standard-setting and monitoring bodies;
8.5. enhance the Council of Europe’s mission both as guardian and innovator of democracy, including by strengthening the role of the Parliamentary Assembly as a strong pillar of European parliamentarism, bringing together representatives of the citizens from almost all European States, and consolidating the role of the European Commission for Democracy through Law (Venice Commission) as a constitutional law expert body promoting democracy within and outside Europe’s borders.
9. The Summit should also aim at consolidating citizens’ trust in democratic institutions and democratic values and propose ways to increase citizens’ participation and consultation with civil society in search of common solutions to common problems. It could thus bring the Organisation closer to the people it serves and contribute to the emergence of a European civil society.
10. At a time when the European Union is facing numerous challenges and is also reflecting on the future of Europe, the Summit would offer a fresh and timely opportunity to define, at the highest political level, the role to be played by the Council of Europe in the overall European political architecture. In a Europe of concentric circles, the Heads of State and Government from the 47 member States of the Council of Europe, representing the widest circle, should ensure coherence of standards between the Council of Europe and the European Union, avoid overlapping and best harmonise the various levels of their co-operation, in the foremost interest of European citizens. For this purpose, the Assembly asks the Heads of State and Government of Council of Europe member States to discuss again the 2006 report “A sole ambition for Europe” and to decide a specific timetable to implement the proposals contained therein in order to remove any overlap between the Council of Europe and the European Union.
11. The Assembly notes that an efficient preparation of the Summit requires the development of synergies between all sectors of the Organisation, co-ordinated by its Secretary General, and more significantly between its two statutory organs. Although the primary responsibility lies with the Committee of Ministers, the Assembly, enhanced by recent reforms, should expect to play an important role in the preparation of the Summit, especially as it has been promoting this idea for several years.
12. In this respect, there is currently an inconsistency in the composition of the two statutory organs: following the illegal annexation of Crimea by the Russian Federation and the application, on these grounds, by the Assembly of sanctions to the Russian parliamentary delegation, for three consecutive years one of the Council of Europe member States, the Russian Federation, has participated in the activities and been represented in the bodies of only one of the two statutory organs of the Organisation, namely the Committee of Ministers, but not of the Assembly. The Assembly regrets that, as a reaction to this situation, the Russian Federation announced, on 30 June 2017, its decision to suspend payment of its contribution to the budget of the Council of Europe for 2017 until full and unconditional restoration of the credentials of the delegation of its Federal Assembly in the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe.
13. The Assembly considers that the overall situation in the Organisation is today counterproductive, particularly as it adversely affects its overall impact as a guardian of human rights and democracy throughout the continent, and therefore it is not in the interest of the citizens of the 47 member States.
14. The Assembly notes that the Statute of the Council of Europe (ETS No. 1), as supplemented by Statutory Resolution (51) 30, provides for synergy between the two statutory organs as regards membership of the Organisation.
15. However, over the years, and in particular after the Organisation’s enlargement during the 90s, the Assembly has developed rules governing the participation and representation rights of members of national delegations in its own activities and bodies which do not provide for any kind of synergy or coherence with the Committee of Ministers.
16. Therefore the Assembly, as part of the preparatory work for the Summit, resolves to initiate a procedure aimed at harmonising, jointly with the Committee of Ministers, the rules governing participation and representation of member States in both statutory organs, while fully respecting the latters’ autonomy. This coherence should strengthen the sense of being part of a community and the obligations incumbent upon every member State.
17. This common reflection could be carried out jointly by the Assembly and the Committee of Ministers within an ad hoc working group set up by the Joint Committee. For this process to be credible and fruitful, the whole Assembly and every single member State should do their utmost to ensure that all member States of the Organisation will be fully represented in the process on both the parliamentary and intergovernmental sides in strict compliance with their respective obligations.

18. In the meantime, and as part of the preparatory work for the Summit, the Assembly resolves to continue its own reflection on its identity, role and mission as a statutory organ of the Council of Europe and a pan-European forum for inter-parliamentary dialogue which aims at having an impact in all Council of Europe member States. This reflection would also enable the Assembly to provide its own vision of the future of the Organisation.


Приетата Препоръка 2113/ 2017 на ПАСЕ към Комитета на Министрите :





Recommendation 2113 (2017) Provisional version

Call for a Council of Europe Summit to reaffirm European unity and to defend and promote democratic security in Europe

Author(s): Parliamentary Assembly
Origin - Assembly debate on 11 October 2017 (33rd Sitting) (see Doc. 14396, report of the Committee on Political Affairs and Democracy, rapporteur: Mr Michele Nicoletti). Text adopted by the Assembly on 11 October 2017 (33rd Sitting).










1. The Parliamentary Assembly refers to its Resolution 2186 (2017) on the call for a Council of Europe Summit to reaffirm European unity and to defend and promote democratic security in Europe, in which it expresses its concern about the numerous challenges currently threatening the European continent and its unity. Against this background, and for the reasons given in its resolution, the Assembly believes that the Council of Europe, and the values it upholds, is today more necessary than ever.
2. In order to preserve and further strengthen the pan-European project in a Europe which has profoundly changed since the last Summit held in Warsaw 12 years ago, the Assembly calls on the Committee of Ministers to convene a Fourth Summit of Heads of State and Government of Council of Europe member States. This will offer a unique opportunity for member States to reaffirm, in the strongest possible terms and at the highest political level, their commitment to the ideal of European unity and the common values and principles of democracy, human rights, and the rule of law upheld by the Organisation.
3. The Assembly recommends that the Fourth Summit be well-focused and provide political impetus for a number of specific actions suggested in a non-exhaustive manner in its resolution. It should also offer a fresh and timely opportunity to define, at the highest political level, the role to be played by the Council of Europe in the overall European political architecture and address outstanding challenges in its relations with the European Union, in the light, inter alia, of the 2006 report “A sole ambition for Europe”, in the interest of European citizens.
4. Although the primary responsibility for the organisation of a Summit lies with the Committee of Ministers, the Assembly underlines that an efficient preparation of the Summit requires the development of synergies between all sectors of the Organisation, co-ordinated by its Secretary General, and more significantly between its two statutory organs. The Assembly therefore asks the Committee of Ministers to:
4.1. closely associate the Assembly in the preparation of the draft agenda and draft declaration of the Fourth Summit;
4.2. consider its proposal, as part of the preparatory work for the Summit and for the reasons and according to the modalities described in its resolution, to engage in a procedure aimed at harmonising jointly the rules governing participation, representation and responsibilities of member States in both statutory organs, while fully respecting the latters’ autonomy.


Линк към пълната стенограма от дебатите: http://assembly.coe.int/Documents/Records/2017/E/1710111530E.htm

Извадки от стенограмата :



2017 ORDINARY SESSION
________________
(Fourth part)
REPORT
Thirty-third sitting
Wednesday 11 October at 3.30 p.m.
AS (2017) CR 33
Provisional edition



Ms Kyriakides, President of the Assembly, took the Chair at 3.30 p.m.)

      The PRESIDENT – The sitting is open.
1. Joint debate: Call for a Council of Europe Summit to reaffirm European unity and to defend and promote democratic security in Europe, and Defending the acquis of the Council of Europe: preserving 65 years of successful intergovernmental co-operation

      The PRESIDENT – The first item on the agenda is the joint debate on two reports from the Political Affairs and Democracy Committee and the Committee on Rules of Procedure, Immunities and Institutional Affairs. The first is titled “Call for a Council of Europe Summit to reaffirm European unity and to defend and promote democratic security in Europe” (Document 14396) presented by Mr Nicoletti; and the second is titled “Defending the acquis of the Council of Europe: preserving 65 years of successful intergovernmental co-operation” (Document 14406) presented by Mr Kox.
      We will aim to finish this item by about 6 p.m. I will interrupt the list of speakers at about 5.25 p.m. to allow time for the reply and the vote.

      I call Mr Nicoletti, rapporteur, to present the first report. You have 13 minutes in total, which you may divide between presentation of the report and reply to the debate.






      Mr NICOLETTI (Italy)*  The report is the culmination of a long process lasting two years. I thank all the national delegations that have participated in one way or another. Alongside the report, there are a number of appendices that contain the documents that various national delegations have contributed to the process. That is a valuable resource that the Assembly might want to dip into. I also thank the representatives of governments, the ambassadors, the non-governmental organisations and the excellent staff here who have helped me with the report.

      Why do we call for a summit? Because a summit is not something that happens every year in our Organisation; it is an extraordinary event. Our Assembly felt some years ago that we were living through extraordinary times that called for extraordinary responses. Even more so today, we can say that the situation is a serious one that calls for a serious response.

      We all need to remind ourselves of our shared responsibility for a common European house. We all have our own political and national histories behind us, but here in the Assembly we sit in alphabetical order. That reminds us constantly that we represent not only nations and political families, but a common European house.

      I certainly feel a huge responsibility for Europe – not just for the Council of Europe, but for Europe. What other institution in Europe can assume responsibility for Europe as a whole? We have seen the travails surrounding the European Union of late: one country is leaving and there are difficulties in the dialogue between the EU and countries that previously seemed on the point of acceding to it. I believe that the Council of Europe has to hold high the European ideal and the historic necessity that is a united Europe. It is not just a geographic idea; it is a lifestyle based on respect for the dignity of each and every individual and on respect for the rule of law and democracy.

      With some pride, we stressed in the report the idea of a European ideal. We went back to the words of Rougemont in 1948, when minds met in the aftermath of the Second World War. You will find these words at the end of the report: “Europe is threatened, Europe is divided, and the greatest danger comes from her divisions.” I have always been struck by those words, written by people who had suffered totalitarianism and war. As far as they were concerned, the greatest danger came from a divided Europe: “Europe’s mission is clear. It is to unite her peoples in accordance with their genius of diversity”. I draw your attention to that wonderful expression, the “genius of diversity”. We need to rediscover a taste for our diversity and, within that diversity, to seek unity.

      Throughout Europe, peoples and minorities are suffering because they have been forced into a mould that wants to make them uniform. We see aspirations towards self-determination and the unleashing of mad centrifugal forces. If we want to grapple with all this, we have to ensure that the genius of diversity shines through so that we may remain different and, at the same time, call for freedom and respect for the equal dignity of all.
      Given that, we need to ask ourselves whether the Council of Europe can put forward ideals, drawing on its system of conventions, which is rightly referred to in the report of my colleague Tiny Kox. What about the internal mechanisms within the Council of Europe that enable us to speak out, to coexist and to live together, while at the same time respecting the genius of diversity and holding high the values of human rights?

      In the past couple of days, we have discussed some important reports, including that of Mr Liddell-Grainger, which helps us enhance some of our internal mechanisms. We have found certain weaknesses, for example, in combating corruption. We live in times of terrorism, poverty, modern slavery, conflicts and violations of international law, including within our community – we heard President Poroshenko’s testimony this morning. In response to all that, we have mechanisms that are sufficiently robust to enable us to face up to difficult times.

      Over the years, we have found difficulties with liaison or co-ordination in our Organisation. The various organs of the Council of Europe – the Committee of Ministers, the Court, the Parliamentary Assembly – have to be autonomous. Separation of powers is a cardinal principle of the rule of law and we would be ill advised to tamper with the balance that has been struck.

      We face major challenges, conflicts and violations of our rules. We therefore cannot afford to proceed in an unco-ordinated way; we need greater co-ordination between the Council of Europe’s various organs. The Joint Committee is a statutory body comprising the Committee of Ministers and the Parliamentary Assembly and there we can engage in a common debate. It is important to do that rather than bury our heads in the sand, ostrich-like. We must have the courage to grapple with difficulties. We do not know whether the debate will take us – the various organs will decide that – but we must have the courage to conduct that discussion while respecting our different institutions, and not with a view to lowering the Assembly’s standards. There have been moments in the history of this institution when the statutory bodies have been able to get their act together to a greater extent, to co-ordinate and make important decisions. For example, decisions were made about Greece and Turkey that were salutary when it came to restoring harmony.

      The draft resolution contains a proposal which calls on heads of State and government to reiterate their commitment to this Organisation. It also calls on the Parliamentary Assembly to do all that is required to strengthen its own internal mechanisms.

      The PRESIDENT– Thank you, Mr Nicoletti. You have just over two and a half minutes left.
(…)






 Earl of DUNDEE (United Kingdom, spokesperson for the European Conservatives Group) – I join others in warmly congratulating you, Madam President, on your new office. I also congratulate Mr Nicoletti and Mr Kox on their very useful reports. Each calls for a summit to enable certain necessary adjustments so that the good effects of the Council of Europe since 1949 may further consolidate and endure.
      In my remarks today I would like briefly to connect three considerations: what the achievements have been; how much they owe to the wisdom of a far-sighted, subtle and even paradoxical approach in the first place; and why, as stressed by the rapporteurs, any future adaptations should therefore be made in that context.
      While in Europe current levels of peace and stability are not least to be attributed to our respect for human rights and the rule of law, they also reflect an appreciation of how peace, democracy and economic stability best relate to one another. Since 1949, perception of those aims and their relationship has altered. Within our own States, improved economic performance remains a desirable national outcome, but within the Council of Europe, economic stability is correctly identified as a means towards a greater end and thus is subservient to the wider priorities of European peace, the political stability of countries and the collective wellbeing of communities. Europe’s economy has benefited enormously from the single market and the EU. Nevertheless, the extent to which the wider priorities of peace and stability have been served is the measure of the success of our consensus to ensure that they are served. It is also the measure of the success of the Council of Europe of 47 States. We have always urged that those priorities should be advanced within that affiliation.

      These Council of Europe achievements owe much to the wisdom of the far-sighted, subtle and paradoxical approach adopted in the first place. One such example is the unprecedented and unique function of the European Court of Human Rights. It allows a single citizen to take on and if relevant seek legal redress, not only from other individuals or institutions, but from a European State itself. However infrequently that may happen is beside the point. What matters is that the right is acknowledged and protected. That demonstrates a radical change in attitude in Europe towards the perception of State and citizen and a dramatic and welcome departure from traditional political theory, which has put the State before the citizen. Through the Council of Europe and the European Court of Human Rights, the concept is now entirely different: that as much as possible State and citizen should be on an equal footing.

      There will clearly always be fresh challenges confronting Europe. That is why regular summits are necessary and why the rapporteurs are right to call for the next one to happen soon. Recent new problems to be addressed are the increases in terrorist attacks, xenophobia, far right-wing parties, corruption and anti-migrant sentiment and prejudice. As observed by the rapporteurs, there is also a need for the gaps to be closed between Council of Europe conventions and their realisation in practice and for the Assembly to review its working methods and monitoring performance.


      For the attention of the next summit, there are a number of excellent facilitators with scope for constructive intervention – l will refer to only two examples. The first is the Venice Commission. I will not elaborate other than to draw colleagues’ attention to its recent successes in the field of constitutional reform. The Council of Europe’s Directorate of Democratic Citizenship and Participation has also played a key role in assisting education about human rights. There are many opportunities for constructive adaptations. Yet avoiding imposition they must be implemented through our continuing Council of Europe consensus of mutual resolve, support and respect.





 (…)

 Ms GROZDANOVA (Bulgaria) – I would like to convey to you my satisfaction with today’s debate, which is a continuation of the ideas expressed in the Sofia declaration of the Assembly from 27 November 2015. In commending the work of the rapporteur, I appreciate his advisory procedure with the national delegations in which 31 delegations and several international non-governmental organisations favoured the idea of the fourth summit. I appreciate particularly that our rapporteur, Professor Nicoletti, has mentioned and incorporated into the report my next motion, which raises the issue of the role of the Council of Europe in the contemporary European political architecture.

      I firmly believe that we should not hesitate to debate the unprecedented problems that we are facing at this time. It is of primary importance that the fourth summit confirms the principles of European unity and co-operation. I am convinced that more than ever the future of Europe is our affair. We must stand together to avoid the perils threatening Europe’s unity, as the rapporteur so pointedly mentioned. Facing the problems of the continent, we have to pursue jointly common policies in order to succeed. United we can be stronger and more able to achieve our goals.

      There are ongoing discussions at the European and national levels as to whether this should be a one-speed, two-speed or multi-speed process. First, we have to reach an agreement after transparent debate and public involvement on what is the desired destination of the European process. The outcome of this discussion should not be to pressurise, but to reach out and convince people to accept a united Europe as their own.
      
Now we are witnessing the evolution of several concepts about the goal we want to reach. Often they contradict one another and create tensions. Should Europe be an international or a supranational community? And to what extent, and how? There are tangible differences between the member States from northern Europea and those from the south, east and west of Europe. We should adapt our common values through dialogue and mutual understanding, on which the Assembly in 2008 passed Resolution 1640, on the use by Assembly members of their dual parliamentary role. I am convinced that only then will we avoid tensions within our European family, and we will be stronger as we face today’s challenges.

      There is no alternative to European unity. It is our destiny, and I dare to believe that, after the summit, all European citizens will firmly believe it, too.


(...)











(очаквайте след дебатите)

Справка за резултата от поименното гласуване : 

ПАСЕ ПРИЕ РЕЗОЛЮЦИЯ ЗА СВИКВАНЕТО НА СРЕЩАТА НА НАЙ-ВИСОКО РАВНИЩЕ И С ПРЕПОРЪКА ГО ИЗПРАТИ НА КОМИТЕТА  НА МИНИСТРИТЕ НА СЪВЕТА НА ЕВРОПА


ГЛАСУВАНЕТО ЗА РЕЗОЛЮЦИЯТА НА АСАМБЛЕЯТА


Assembly's voting results
Vote on Resolution 
  • 90In favour
  • 7Against
  • 16
Линк към поименното гласуване :



ГЛАСУВАНЕТО ЗА ПРЕПОРЪКАТА КЪМ КОМИТЕТА НА МИНИСТРИТЕ


Vote on Recommendation 

Assembly's voting results

  • 87In favour
  • 14Against
  • 10Abstention


Линк към поименното гласуване :


ПИТАНЕ НА Г-ЖА ДЖЕМА ГРОЗДАНОВА ДО ПРЕДСЕДАТЕЛЯ НА КОМИТЕТА НА МИНИСТРИТЕ - МИНИСТЪР НА ВЪНШНИТЕ РАБОТИ ЛЮБОМЕР ЗАОРАЛЕК, ОТНОСНО УКРАИНСКИЯТ ЗАКОН ЗА ОБРАЗОВАНИЕТО 








2017 ORDINARY SESSION
________________
(Fourth part)
REPORT
Twenty-ninth sitting
Monday 9 October 2017 at 3 p.m.


(…)

. Communication from the Committee of Ministers
      The PRESIDENT – The next item on the agenda this afternoon is the communication from the Committee of Ministers to the Assembly presented by Mr Lubomír Zaorálek, Minister for Foreign Affairs of the Czech Republic and Chairman of the Committee of Ministers. After his address Mr Zaorálek will take questions from the floor.
(…)





Ms GROZDANOVA (Bulgaria) – On the same subject, the Bulgarian national minority in Ukraine is loyal to the Ukrainian state and legal order, fulfilling the requirements of Article 20 of the Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities.

However, the recently adopted law on education raises concerns among Bulgarians in Ukraine, and in Bulgaria, too.
Is the Committee of Ministers committed to assisting Ukraine to ensure that its law on education conforms to the Council of Europe standards on education in the mother tongue?




  Mr ZAORÁLEK – Thank you for those three questions. I will answer the first two questions together.
Romania and Bulgaria, like some other member States, have expressed concern about the Ukrainian language law, to which Thursday’s emergency debate attests. I will not repeat what I have just said, except to underline once again that I strongly hope that this matter will be settled in accordance with the relevant Council of Europe standards. I trust that the Ukrainian authorities will abide by their commitments, and the opinion to be prepared by the Venice Commission will assist them in that respect.
      It is not easy to answer the question on the rise of nationalistic movements in Europe, and how we work for unity, not division. The rise of extremist movements in Europe, including nationalistic groups that advocate hatred and violence, is very worrying, and that such movements are gaining ground on the mainstream political scene makes it even more worrying. We have to do everything possible to counteract their narrative in order to convince our citizens that these parties, and the ideologies they promote, are in no way a solution to our problems.
      As political leaders, we have a primary responsibility in that respect but, beyond political circles, we must mobilise all democratic forces in our countries to combat extremist views and opinions. Civil society organisations can be most instrumental in that respect. Much has been done within the Council of Europe over the years to combat racism and intolerance. That work clearly needs to be continued, and even reinforced, to defend our shared values.

(…)