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Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe to debate key issues including human rights and food security

3 October 2022

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October 10 marks the beginning of the last full Plenary session of the Council of Europe for 2022.  The UK Delegation sets out some of the main items of the agenda and key reports on which it will be focusing.

The Council will have the chance to hear from and to question the President of Ireland, Michael D Higgins, and the Prime Minister of Albania, Edi Rama. Both countries have a relationship with the UK which is generating considerable interest and it will be essential to pursue some of these topics such as the Protocol in Northern Ireland and immigration.

The Council will also hear from the spokesman from the United European Left party on the impact of Brexit on human rights on the island of Ireland, a report which has already generated considerable interest in the UK. 

The monitoring committee of the Council undertakes periodic full reviews of member countries to ensure that they follow the values of the Council, namely human rights, democracy and the rule of law.  It will hear from the Leader of the UK Delegation, John Howell MP, about the state of Turkey and its relationship with the European Court of Human Rights over the imprisonment of Turkish businessman Osman Kavala. It will also consider the position of Romania and Hungary.

There are also debates on misuse of the Schengen Information System by Council of Europe member states as a politically-motivated sanction; safe third countries for asylum seekers; and ending discrimination against women in the world of sport.

More frequent topics listed include the role of vaccines in dealing with Covid and current affairs debates which could cover the situation in Armenia and Azerbaijan, and food security in Europe – grain exports through Ukrainian ports.

John Howell MP, the Leader of the UK Delegation to the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe, said:

“We end the year with some contentious debates in what is a full programme. The range of topics discussed illustrates how wide the areas covered by the Council of Europe are.

“It is essential that the UK Delegation, which represents the UK Parliament rather than the UK Government, plays a key role in these and makes its contribution count.

“Although the Delegation is cross-party in nature there are many areas on which we agree and can take a common position.”

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