Council of Europe (CoE)
Comment by the Information and Press Department on reasons for suspending the payment of Russia’s contribution to the Council of Europe
In light of foreign and Russian media comments on the June 30 Statement by the Foreign Ministry Concerning the Suspension of Payment of Russia’s Contribution to the Council of Europe for 2017, we have decided to publish an explanation.
The Russian delegation at the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) has been deprived of a substantial part of their credentials by PACE decisions of April 10, 2014 and January 28, 2015 as “punishment” for recognising the results of the referendum on Crimea’s reunification with Russia.
The following rights of the Russian delegation have been suspended: the voting rights; the right to be represented in the assembly’s leading bodies (the Bureau, the Presidential Committee and the Standing Committee), the right to be appointed rapporteur; the right to be member of an ad hoc committee on observation of elections; the right to represent the Assembly in Council of Europe bodies as well as external institutions and organisations, both institutionally and on an occasional basis.
There is no sense in any delegation working at PACE without these credentials. Therefore, there is no substance to the statements to the effect that the Russian delegation has voluntarily walked out of the assembly.
However, the Russian Federation continues its meaningful work in the Council of Europe including implementation of its obligations under the conventions to which it is a party, as the June 30 Statement says.
The federal executive agencies of the Russian Federation are working towards accession to a number of other Council of Europe conventions, in the continuing bid to try to develop a common European legal space from the Atlantic to the Pacific based on the Council of Europe legislation as one of the foundations for equal and mutually beneficial cooperation between European countries.
This is why Russia is concerned about the increasingly frequent use of the language of hate and hostility and the flagrant disregard for the rule of law and democracy at PACE.
Something must be done to prevent a situation where the governments of the council member states that faithfully comply with the assembly’s decision become hostage to false stereotypes and goals that lead to confrontation. We firmly believe that the assembly as the consultative body of the Council of Europe does not have the right or mandate for this.
In our opinion, the crisis within PACE could be overcome by amending its Rules of Procedure as soon as possible with a provision under which the elected deputies’ credentials can be only suspended by their electorate at the next elections.
The decision to suspend the payment of Russia’s contribution to the Council of Europe for 2017 is evidence of our deep concern over the possible growth of crisis within the council because of the confrontational policies of some PACE members.
Russia is urging all responsible members of governments and parliaments, the political parties and civil societies of the Council of Europe’s member states to prevent the spread of this crisis from PACE to the other council bodies.
The Russian Federation wants the Council of Europe to be strong and effective and believes that the other council members want the same.