Federation Council delegation at PACE events in Berlin

Russian senators spoke at committee meetings at the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe and met with their European colleagues on the sidelines of the event.

The Federation Council delegation took part in Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe events held at the Bundestag in Berlin.

A joint meeting between the PACE Committee on Political Affairs and Democracy and Committee on Legal Affairs and Human Rights was held. It was attended by First Deputy Chair of the Federation Council Committee on Foreign Affairs Sergei Kislyak, Deputy Chair of the Committee on Constitutional Legislation and State Building Alexander Bashkin, member of the Federation Council Committee on Foreign Affairs Alexei Kondratyev and member of the Committee on Constitutional Legislation and State Building Irina Rukavishnikova.

Discussions during the meeting as well as informal communication on the sidelines with other national delegations showed that most European politicians want to establish a dialogue with Russia and look for joint solutions to the range of European problems and issues concerning the development of PACE.

Sergei Kislyak and Alexei Kondratyev spoke at the meeting of the PACE Committee on Political Affairs and Democracy. A review of cooperation procedures between the Committee of Ministers and the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe when a member state fails to fulfil its responsibilities under the charter was an important issue on the agenda. Sergei Kislyak supported the need to establish a new mechanism that should be agreed upon and tested thoroughly.

“It is important that the desire to fast-track the adoption of changes to Council of Europe procedures not affect their quality,” the senator stressed.

There was a substantive discussion on developments in Syria. The Russian senators assessed the peaceful settlement process. It was noted that it was necessary to promote and encourage the Constitutional Committee process, which is a great achievement by itself. The return of refugees remains a serious problem.

In addition, meeting participants discussed the range of issues related to the minimal standards for election systems in order to ensure free and fair elections as well as transparency in foreign sponsor donations to political parties and election campaigns.

Alexei Kondratyev talked about the developments in Kosovo. The senator expressed concern over the observance of human rights in the region, including those of ethnic and religious minorities. He noted that it was necessary for Belgrade and Pristina to reach a viable and mutually acceptable solution based on UN Security Council Resolution 1244.