Estonian President condemns decision to restore Russia's voting rights in PACE

Estonian President Kersti Kaljulaid heavily criticized the Council of Europe’s  intention to restore Russia's voting rights in the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE), after the agreement was reached allowing Russia to retain its  membership in the organization, reports Postimees news agency.

"I believe in dialogue with Russia, but this does not mean that Russia should be returned to the partnership after it violated international law and its promises," said Kaljulaid at a conference in Tallinn.

The President of Estonia also mentioned the role that Russia has played in the events in Georgia in 2008 and Ukraine since 2014.

May 17,  Germany's Foreign Minister Heiko Maas confirmed that , during the session of the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe, an agreement was reached to restore Russia’s voting rights in PACE.

Russia was deprived of the right to vote in PACE in the spring of 2014 when Crimea was annexed to Russian territory. This restriction was extended several times.

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.

  Kaljulaid, Estonia, Europe, Russia, PACE, Tallinn, Crimea