The Socialist Group at the Parliamentary Assembly at the Council of Europe :

“A formal dismissal is long overdue – now PACE has the legal basis to do so”

On Friday 30 June 2017, 158 members of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE), representing all political groups, tabled a motion demanding the dismissal of Pedro Agramunt, the current President of the PACE, stating that “the President of the Parliamentary Assembly no longer enjoys the confidence of the Assembly, on the grounds that his behavior seriously harms the reputation of the Parliamentary Assembly and tarnishes its image”. Following the newly established article 54.4 of the Rules of Procedure, the publication of the motion has as its immediate effect and that “until the final decision on the motion is taken, the President (…) ceases to chair sittings of the Assembly”.

In April 2017 the Bureau of the PACE had already resolved that it had no confidence in Pedro Agramunt as President of the Assembly anymore, since Mr Agramunt had visited Syria, where he also met Syrian president Bashar al Assad, who is accused of having committed serious war crimes and crimes against humanity. Furthermore, the visit was done without informing any organs of PACE, which showed clearly Pedro Agramunt’s no confidence in the leading organs of the Assembly, i.e. the Presidential Committee and the Bureau.

The Bureau had further resolved that Mr Agramunt was no longer authorised to undertake any official visits, attend any meetings or make any public statements on behalf of the Assembly in his capacity as President. Unfortunately, Mr Agramunt still refuses to take any responsibility and step down as a President, thus, further damaging the image of the PACE and of the Council of Europe as a whole.

On Tuesday 27 June the PACE adopted the report “Recognition and implementation of the principle of accountability in the Parliamentary Assembly” by Liliane Maury Pasquier (SOC) with a huge majority (154 in favor, 30 against, 13 abstentions) which introduces the long overdue legal rules of procedure that allow PACE to hold persons in elected offices accountable and – as an ultima ratio – to dismiss them if needed.

The Socialist Group considers that it is a great achievement that the PACE with a huge majority decided to change its own rules of procedure introducing the principle of accountability. Persons representing the PACE should not only comply with the Code of Conduct of PACE but also with the rules and values that our institution stands for. Only if this is guaranteed PACE can be and is regarded as a credible international promoting human rights, democracy and rule of law. Sadly, the new rules will have to be applied and implemented as Mr. Agramunt is with his behavior seriously damaging the reputation of PACE.

Following the due process, the Assembly will vote on the motion, at the beginning of the 4th part session of the PACE, on Monday, 9 October 2017.