Parliamentary Assembly of Council Europe (PACE) President Pedro Agramunt has said that Cyprus takes over the chairmanship of the Council of Europe at a crucial moment , when Europe has to face many challenges including terrorism, the refugee crisis, the rise of populism, nationalism and extremism as well as the persistence of frozen and active conflicts and expressed PACE`s full support to Cyprus` chairmanship.
“On behalf of the Parliamentarian Assembly allow me to express our full support to the Cyprus Chairmanship of the Council of Europe, your country is taking this important role at a crucial moment when Europe has to face many challenges including terrorism, the refugee crisis, the rise of populism, nationalism and extremism as well as the persistence of frozen and active conflicts”, he said welcoming Cypriot Foreign Minister Ioannis Kasoulides to a meeting of PACE`s Standing Committee, on Friday, in Nicosia.
He also referred to the fact that Cyprus President Nicos Anastasiades is set to address our Assembly on 24 January 2016.
“The European Convention of Human Rights lies at the heart of our action,” he noted welcoming Cyprus` commitment to the convention, “especially as you are celebrating the 55th anniversary of the accession of Cyprus to the European Convention of Human Rights.”
At the same time he welcomed the Cyprus chairmanship`s initiative to the drafting of a new Convention on Offences related to cultural property, pledging the Assembly`s support.
He further pointed out that PACE`s committees on social affairs, equality and non discrimination will contribute to the Chairmanship`s activities relating to the promotion of equal rights to persons with disabilities, as well as combating discrimination against LBGT people, specially combating homophobic and xenophobic hate crime.
Among others Agramunt also spoke of the Nicosia Declaration he hopes will be approved later today which would be the first step in an in depth discussion about the role and mission of the Council of Europe and to consider whether its mechanisms, tools and rules are sufficient or if they need updating.
Cyprus officially assumed the chair of the CoE Committee of Ministers (November 2016 – May 2017) on November 22.