Senators took part in a PACE Committee on Political Affairs and Democracy meeting

The event was held in a videoconference format.

First Deputy Chair of the Federation Council Committee on Foreign Affairs Sergei Kislyak and First Deputy Chair of the Federation Council Committee on Defence and Security Vladimir Kozhin took part in a meeting of the PACE (Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe) Committee on Political Affairs and Democracy. The event was held in a videoconference format.

Sergei Kislyak commented on what had been achieved during the ten years since the Treaty of Lisbon went into effect. The Russian senator said that there was an interesting discussion on strengthening cooperation between the Council of Europe and the European Union.

According to Mr Kislyak, at the heart of the discussion was the need to expand cooperation, including in the field of contractual obligations, in order to address the main challenges of today. He shares the opinion of those who said that the European Union had to deliver on its promise to accede to the European Convention on Human Rights.

At the same time, Sergei Kislyak paid attention to the opinion voiced at the meeting that the Council of Europe and the EU should be urged to make sure that their functions are not duplicated. “The Council of Europe has 47 member countries and the EU has 27,” he said. “This begs the question what is supposed to happen in order to avoid the duplication of functions. Should this be done by stripping the Council of Europe of some of its functions? This would be hardly acceptable to me.”

Sergei Kislyak called on his colleagues in the Parliamentary Assembly to focus in their further discussions mainly on promoting cooperation between the two organisations, though not in terms of safeguarding the European Union’s interests but rather to secure the leading role of the Council of Europe as the most representative organisation in Europe.

Those taking part in the meeting also discussed a report on the situation regarding the [presidential] election in Belarus. Sergei Kislyak called the document untimely and counterproductive. He reminded the participants that the Parliamentary Assembly had refused to send its representatives to Belarus to observe the voting there.

The senator emphasised that the Parliamentary Assembly must not establish a law-making procedure for the citizens of Belarus and impose views that are not approved by the majority of people. It is necessary to develop a comprehensive and respectful dialogue. “Any services in giving advice will be regarded as normal from a legal and political points of view only when Belarus requests this,” he said.

Reports that were discussed at the meeting included “The Assessment of the Status of the Partnership to Promote Democracy” and “Strengthening the Role of the Council of Europe as a Cornerstone of the European Political Architecture”. The developments in Nagorno-Karabakh were also discussed.