Strasbourg must fulfil its European vocation

Strasbourg is Europe’s political capital, home to the Council of Europe, its Court of Human Rights and the European Parliament. But in order to pursue this vocation, the Assembly said that the city now needs a new, more forwardlooking and dynamic approach to its development on the part of the host country, France. To attract top government experts and diplomats, priority should be given to improving air connections and establishing high-speed train links with major European cities. ... More

Call for extra powers for Human Rights Commissioner

The Assembly today repeated its call for the Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights to have the power to bring cases before the European Court of Human Rights in areas where obstacles exist or potential applicants might fear reprisals. Taking part in the debate, current Commissioner Alvaro Gil-Robles called for “more direct” co-operation with the Court and welcomed the Assembly’s political support for his work. ... More

The Assembly and NGOs: a closer contact

Peter Schieder this morning welcomed the presence of NGO representatives in the debating chamber. "Like the Assembly, you challenge the political accountability of decisions, you consider participatory democracy as an indispensable element of pluralist democracy. For a long time, our Assembly has been asking for a change in your status and you have obtained this now: from consultation to participation. In the light of your new role within the Council of Europe, it is time to consider a specific and perhaps even more formal status for NGOs within the Assembly. The aim is a closer contact", he said. ... More

Cyprus, Georgia and euthanasia top Parliamentary Assembly’s winter session

Cyprus President Tassos Papadopoulos and Georgian President Mikhail Saakashvili will address the Council of Europe Parliamentary Assembly during its winter session in Strasbourg (26-30 January 2004). Parliamentarians are due to debate the situations in both countries. Other highlights of the session include debates on euthanasia, public service broadcasting, the functioning of democratic institutions in Azerbaijan and Armenia’s honouring of its obligations and commitments. ... More

Human rights situation in Kosovo

19-21 January, Pristina - The rapporteur on the human rights situation in Kosovo, Tony Lloyd (United Kingdom, SOC), visited the region, where he met the Prime Minister, Bajram Rexhepi, as well as representatives of the United Nations, the OSCE and NATO. Preparation of his report on the question will continue with the holding of a hearing in Paris on 16 March. ... More