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Debate: Complementary joint procedure between the Committee of Ministers and the Parliamentary Assembly in response to a serious violation by a member State of its statutory obligations
29 January 2020

I would like, first, to thank the rapporteur, Mr Frank SCHWABE, for this well-written report that lays down a step-by-step process aiming at bringing in line, through the adoption of a common mechanism, a member state that has breached its statutory obligations.


Without prejudice to the competences of the Secretary General, the Parliamentary Assembly, and the Council of Ministers, which all have their own code of conduct and procedure, agreeing to a common approach in order to effectively manage and bring a member state back in line is in theory a very good exercise as it requires extensive consultation, solid recommendation, and concerted action.


However, and as we have already witnessed in the near past, in practice this exercise is much more difficult and is always dependent on the political dynamics in place at a particular point in time.


We all want to avoid the situation in which the Parliamentary Assembly is fundamentally at odds with the Committee of Ministers. Equally important is to consider at all stages the repercussions of a breach of fundamental principles and values of this organization’s credibility and future mission, although there may be different interpretations among the statutory organs as to how best to react to a particular situation.


Let us not forget that reaching a consensus is in itself a particularly difficult task among 47 member states with diverging views and interests. I believe we already have at our disposal the monitoring procedures in this assembly that is crucial in this respect. Over-regulating this process is indeed the most worrisome consequence we may face in adopting this report and establishing a common mechanism.


Luckily, an exit strategy for the member state concerned is envisaged at every stage of this process and this is extremely important. I suggest we insist on flexibility and continue to work on simple and quick procedures without complicated and difficult to achieve prerequisites and procedural impediments.


Depending on the political context it may be preferable to allow time for additional dialogue and reflection. Setting the machine in operation may exert unnecessary pressure on the member state concerned and this may jeopardize further whatever political process is already underway.


Thank you.

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