European Conference of Presidents of Parliament, Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe, Strasbourg 24-25 October 2019

Opening speech by Liliane Maury Pasquier, President of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe / Photo : ©Council of Europe/Sandro Weltin

The European Conference of Presidents of Parliament took place on 24-25 October, in Strasbourg. The Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) hosted around 60 Presidents, together with 300 other delegates coming from the Council of Europe member states and partner countries, as well as other international assemblies.The European Parliament was represented by Ms Dita Charanzová, Vice-President.

The Conference was opened by Ms Liliane Maury Pasquier, President of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe and Ms Marija Pejčinović Burić, Secretary General of the Council of Europe.

The first session was dedicated to "Our Common European Home: the next 70 years". The keynote Speakers were Mr Richard Ferrand, President of the French National Assembly and Ms Marina Carobbio Guscetti, President of the Swiss National Council. Year 2019 marks the 70th anniversary of the foundation of the Council of Europe and the 30 years after the fall of the Berlin wall. The participants discussed the role of national parliaments in guaranteeing a future for European values,especially the core values of human rights, democracy and rule of law. They exchanged views on how parliaments can better engage their citizens, especially the younger generation, in this common project, how global challenges can be better faced if parliaments work together and the new developments that European societies are facing eg: digitalisation, climate change, artificial intelligence etc.

The second session focused on "Implementing the UN 2030 Agenda and its Sustainable Development Goals(SDGs): contribution by Parliaments" and was presented by Ms Gabriela Cuevas Barron, President of the Inter-parliamentary Union. The debate focused on the actions that parliaments take in raising awareness of the UN 2030 Agenda, the exchange of best practises in Parliaments and the main challenges in achieving Sustainable Developments Goals.

The last session was on "Women in politics and in the public discourse: What role can national Parliaments play in combatting the increasing level of harassment and hate speech towards female politicians and parliamentarians?". Keynote Speakers were Ms Tone Wilhelmsen Trøen, President of the Norwegian Stortinget and Mr Michael Kaufman, Author and co-founder of the White Ribbon Campaign. The discussion focused on preventing harassment and sexism towards women in national parliaments and reducing its negative effect on women's political participation. The participants exchanged views on the actions taken in order to fight this phenomenon. Commitment at the highest political level needs to be ensured.

At the closing of the Conference, Ms Liliane Maury Pasquier, President of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe, presented the conclusions of the Conference (see link below).

High-Level Conference on the Future of International Election Observation

High-level Conference on the Future of International Election Observation: (from left to right) Ms Cessouma Minata Samate, Ms Federica Mogherini, Mr Roger Nkodo Dang and Ms Mairead McGuinness © EU-EP

The High-Level Conference on the Future of International Election Observation took place on 10 and 11 October 2018. Around 380 participants attended the conference, including 22 Members of EU national Parliaments and of the Swiss Parliament.

The aim of this event was to take stock of all the developments, challenges and key issues currently facing international election observation, with a special focus on Africa, conflict prevention and parliamentary election observation. National parliamentarians were encouraged to support all efforts towards the adoption of a clear code of conduct for parliamentary election observation, either within the different parliamentary assemblies or at national Parliament level across the EU.

The conference was organised jointly by the EP's Democracy Support and Election Coordination Group (DEG) and the European External Action Service (EEAS).


The 10th Asia-Europe Parliamentary Partnership Meeting

10th Asia-Europe Parliamentary Partnership Meeting (ASEP 10), 27 September 2018 © EU-EP

ASEP is the parliamentary dimension of the Asian-European political dialogue, seeking to enhance relations between Europe and Asia. The most visible element of this dialogue has traditionally been the biennial Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM), an intergovernmental summit first held in 1996. ASEP provides parliamentary input and networks ahead of this summit to facilitate proceedings.

In 2018, ASEP took place on 27 and 28 September in Brussels. It involved national Parliaments of EU Member States and numerous other countries, such as the Russian Federation, China, India, Australia, the Philippines and Kazakhstan. Roughly 280 participants attended the meeting, including around 150 Members of 38 national Parliaments.

The ASEP 10 meeting focused on climate change and environmental challenges as a priority for the planet. During the meeting, three panels were dedicated to the impact of climate change and environmental challenges on security, migration and the economy. The final declaration agreed by ASEP 10 participants was submitted to the 12th ASEM Summit, which was held in Brussels on 18 and 19 October 2018.

In 2018, ASEP was hosted by the European Parliament for the first time. It was organised by the EP delegations for Asia and for Australia and New Zealand.