Pushkov: the cooperation with the Council of Europe without establishing relations with the PACE impossible


MOSCOW, 5 February. Full cooperation with the Council of Europe cannot be achieved without establishing contacts with the parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe. This was stated on Friday by the Chairman of the Duma Committee on international Affairs Alexei Pushkov, speaking at the round table “Twenty years of Russia’s membership in the Council of Europe: outcomes and perspectives”.

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“PACE is an integral part of the Council of Europe, and without establishing relations with the PACE, we can’t talk about an exceptionally good cooperation with the Council of Europe and the Council of Europe cannot be absolved of the responsibility for the conduct, PACE and PACE to separate from the activities of other bodies of the Council of Europe,” Pushkov said.

“In the Council of Europe itself there is this tendency to separate from the PACE of the Council of Europe. In a recent interview, in my opinion, very well respected and rational policy of the Secretary-General of the Council of Europe Thorbjorn Jagland said that the Council of Europe remain exceptionally good relations with Russia, but it is possible so, when Jagland speaks about the Executive structure of the Council of Europe (Committee of Ministers). But the highlight of PACE and to say that the PACE is not ours and it’s some kind of kindergarten, which to us has no relation. I understand that this is an easy move, but actually the PACE is an integral part of the Council of Europe,” Pushkov said.

The Russian delegation in PACE in April 2014 was deprived of substantive powers because of the events in Ukraine and the reunification of the Crimea with Russia. In 2015 PACE twice considered the question of the restoration of the Russian delegation in her rights, but sanctions still remain: Russia deprived of voting rights and participation in the governing bodies of the Assembly and its monitoring missions to observe elections in the CE space. In response, Russia said it will suspend its involvement in PACE activity until the end of 2015. The leadership of the Russian delegation has repeatedly stressed that she’ll be back to PACE only when removed from all sanctions.

On 18 January, the speaker of the state Duma has informed on refusal of the Russian delegation to submit an application to participate in PACE session in January, which took place from 25 to 29 January. In the treatment of Sergei Naryshkin and the head of the Federation Council Valentina Matvienko at the head of the PACE, in particular, stated that the Parliament of the Russian Federation “at the moment it is not possible to refer to PACE for approval of the credentials of the Russian delegation to the January session of the Assembly in 2016”. The document noted that the Federal Assembly of the Russian Federation is ready to resume work in PACE in case of observance of the rights of national delegations.

Talking about reducing the dues to the Council of Europe

Pushkov also noted that talking about reducing the dues to the Council of Europe in 2016.

“We are not talking about reducing the fee. We are talking about what we used to pay a payment in advance, and this is indicative of our confidence in the Council of Europe. This year we did not raise the issue of reducing tranche”, – said Pushkov.

He recalled that “it was decided to pay one third of fee to be paid at the end of February”. “Then Russia reserves the right to decide how she will act,” – said the head of the Committee.

Earlier, the speaker of the state Duma Sergey Naryshkin has informed that in February Russia will pay the third part of its contribution to the Council of Europe. The COE budget for 2016-2017 was endorsed by the Committee of Ministers at the meeting on 25 November 2015. For the current year total contributions was approved in the amount of about €260 million, of which Russia accounts for about 10% of this amount.