mandag 31. januar 2011

Innlegget jeg holdt om reformen i Europarådet 25 januar 2011

Ms WOLDSETH (Norway) – I thank Mr Mignon for his excellent report. He has done a good job so far, but there is a lot more to do.

Reform is certainly needed for the whole of the Council of Europe. We support the Secretary General’s work on the reform of the Council of Europe as such, and we are looking forward to Mr Jagland’s second reform package. However, we also see the need to refresh and streamline the Parliamentary Assembly. That is of the utmost importance to ensure a relevant, efficient and visible Council of Europe and Parliamentary Assembly.

We must aim to focus our work on our core activities. Human rights, democracy and the rule of law are the fundamental values of the Council of Europe and our work should be limited to issues that clearly stem from them. However, that requires some self-discipline from all of us, as Mr Laakso said. At present, we are working on 150 different papers in various committees. I have counted them. Almost half of them have nothing to do with the core activities of the Parliamentary Assembly, so I encourage us all to be critical about what we sign and about the motions we propose. If there are fewer reports, the most important ones will get the attention they deserve.

We need to keep it in mind that our Organisation is European, so our work should be directly linked to issues in Europe. There are other international bodies to handle other regions and global issues.

There is a large number of committees and sub-committees. To reduce numbers, we should examine them closely to see if they are doing overlapping work. That is shown in several reports.

I am happy that the provision about the Congress was included. I was surprised to learn that the Council of Europe is paying for the Congress when my colleagues cannot travel to Paris for committee meetings. I recommend that we support Mr Chope’s amendments, because they are important to further our work on reform.

Last but not least, on behalf of the Norwegian delegation, I welcome Mr Mignon’s report. We support his work and we look forward to continuing the debate on reform of the Parliamentary Assembly.

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