The Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) adopted a resolution on “the PACE challenges”, which contains amendments that do not allow lifting sanctions from Russia and returning it to the assembly without fulfilling its obligations. According to Radio Liberty, 105 parliamentarians voted in favor of the resolution, 30 against, and 30 abstained from the decision.
The resolution proposed a new complex mechanism for imposing sanctions, which would have canceled the existing procedure. However, thanks to the revision, the adopted resolution noted that the new procedure would be an annex to the existing one.
“Russia did not achieve changes to the procedure for imposing sanctions! At the same time, in the resolution, Russia was criticized for cowardice because of sending its delegation and blackmail for refusal to pay its contribution to the Council of Europe. Russia was urged not to be afraid and not to blackmail but to fulfill its obligations. The existing sanction mechanism remains. An additional, more complex procedure may be introduced, but this is a matter of future sessions. The delegation did its best,” wrote on Facebook Volodymyr Aryev, the chairman of the Ukrainian delegation to the PACE.
The Secretary General of the Assembly, Thorbjørn Jagland has supported Russia’s return to the PACE.
The spring session of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe will last until April 12.
The Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe deprived the Russian delegation of the right to vote after Russia’s annexation of the Crimea. Moscow also lost the opportunity to work in the governing structures of the assembly and to participate in the observation of elections. In June 2017, Russia announced that it would stop paying contributions to the Council of Europe budget until the full restoration of the powers of its delegation to the PACE. Moscow’s annual contribution was about 33 million euros, which is almost 10 percent of the organization’s budget.
In October 2018, Moscow set a condition that it would not return to the PACE until it amends regulations, which prohibits removing voting rights from the national delegations during sessions. The PACE did not change these regulations.