Foreign Policy Research Institute

+38 (044) 287 52 58

Foreign Policy Research Institute

tel. +38 (044) 287 52 58

PACE has once again passed the test of devotion to European values

On 5 April, supporters of Russia in the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe prepared a plan that provides for depriving PACE of the right to impose sanctions on Russia. This is stated in the article "The Council of Europe is leading to a coup: how are they going to abolish the punishment of Russia in PACE" The leader of the Unified European Left Group, Dutch parliamentarian Tiny Cox, has prepared a draft resolution that can completely reverse turn over the distribution of powers in the Council of Europe. The document proposes to limit the right of PACE to punish states that violate the principles of organization. The main idea of this project is that any sanctions should be adopted only by a joint decision of the Assembly and the Committee of Ministers (a body of the Council of Europe, representing the governments of all 47 member-states of the Council of Europe). In the case of approval of the document the immediate lifting of the sanctions against the Russians will not happen, but the opportunity will be. For example, changes to the regulations may be technically approved in May at a meeting of the governing body of the Assembly – the standing committee, where the percentage of Russia's opponents is much lower than in the PACE. In parallel, a similar decision will be made in the Committee of Ministers, and Russians will return to Strasbourg in June. The draft resolution has already been submitted to the PACE leadership on April 3, as well as to the members of the political committee.[1]

However, on April 10 it was reported that PACE did not allow the Russian Federation to change the procedure for imposing sanctions. PACE President Liliane Maury announced the adoption of the relevant resolution. At the spring session of the Assembly that took place on April 8-12 in Strasbourg (France), 105 parliamentarians voted “for” the resolution, “against” – 3, “abstained” – 16. During the vote, the draft resolution was amended, which did not allow pro-Russian forces in PACE to defend Russia's interests regarding the possibility of returning to the PACE session hall without complying with the requirements of previous Assembly resolutions adopted in connection with the aggression against Ukraine.[2]

"Unian" informs that after the vote, the chairman of the Ukrainian delegation to PACE Volodymyr Aryev said in the social network Facebook: "Russia has not received a change in the procedure for imposing sanctions! At the same time, Russia is criticized in the resolution for cowardice and blackmail (refusal to pay a fee to the Council of Europe).” “Russia was called not to be afraid and not to blackmail, but to fulfill her obligations. Therefore, the existing sanctions mechanism remains. Perhaps an additional, more complex mechanism will be introduced. But this is a matter for future sessions. The delegation has done its utmost. Though, the main fight ahead: pro-Russian forces have felt movements from the Ukrainian electoral process, and supporters increasingly ask whether there is a sense to stand for us if Ukrainians demonstrate other trends. I hope we will not give reason for disappointment to the European partners", - Aryev said, as "Unian" reports.

People's Deputy of Ukraine Maria Ionova reminded that the Council of Europe was founded in order to achieve greater unity among its member states on the basis of common values and principles. "The Council of Europe is facing today the biggest challenge – undermination of these values," said Ionova, as "Unian" reports. She was convinced that the lengthy discussions on financial issues in the Council of Europe showed that "the Russian Federation is trying to exchange money for the values of the organization, namely democracy, the rule of law and human rights". "Therefore, please do not turn a blind eye to the truth," said Ionova, "Unian" informs. The People's Deputy asked a rhetorical question to all PACE members, whether they will always try to change the procedures and rules of PACE when Russia violates the principles and values of the organization. She also said that blackmail is not an instrument of democracy. "Blackmail does not lead to respect for the rule of law and human rights. Either we act as one for the sake of peace and freedom, or we surrender to money," she said, "Unian" reports. "We can't abandon the protection of parliamentary democracy. We must unite our efforts to counteract the initiatives that come from the governments of individual countries that seek to make PACE dependent on the Committee of Ministers (Council of Europe)," she said, "Unian" reports.[3]

Thus, this time supporters of Russia failed to achieve their main goal - to conduct Pro-Russian policy in PACE. However, this victory does not mean that Russia will stop trying to return to the PACE and demand the lifting of sanctions. One way or another premises for this may appear in the future.