Theodoros Rousopoulos (Greece, EPP/DC) has been elected President of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE). Taking over from Tiny Kox (Netherlands, UEL), he is PACE’s 35th President since 1949 and the first Greek national to hold this office. The President serves for a one-year term of office, which may be renewed once.

In his opening speech the newly-elected President referred to 24 February 2022, when “we all witnessed the savage, merciless and unjustified attack by russia – which was then a member of this Council – on a free country, Ukraine”. Since then, “Ukrainian citizens, and especially children, have been suffering, living every day in fear of death rather than in hope of happiness,” he added. “I will not surprise you if I tell you that during my presidency, Ukraine and securing accountability for the horrific crimes committed on its territory will be my main priority”.

Addressing the Assembly in the framework of the presentation of PACE’s progress report, PACE former President Tiny Kox (Netherlands, UEL) cited the russian war of aggression against Ukraine as the main priority of his mandate, “a war that should never have been started, and it now has to end as soon as possible. We cannot lose more people, more children, more future chances for us”, he said

According to the Head of the Ukrainian parliamentary delegation, Mariia Mezentseva, one of the priority issues of the PACE winter session 2024 will be an urgent debate on the situation of Ukrainian children with the online participation of the First Lady of Ukraine Olena Zelenska.

Also on the agenda is a discussion on globalization in times of crisis and war and the role of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) in the context of the russian federation's aggression against Ukraine with the participation of OECD Secretary General Matthias Kormann.

As a result of the first day of the meeting, members of the PACE Permanent Delegation and Ukrainian MPs were elected to the leadership positions of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe. In particular, Mariia Mezentseva continues to work as the Chair of the Committee on Equality and Non-Discrimination, and Olena Khomenko as the Vice President of PACE. MP Lesia Vasylenko was elected First Deputy Chairperson of the Legal Committee, MP Oleksii Honcharenko was elected Chairperson of the Committee on Migration, Refugees and Displaced Persons (the first Ukrainian to hold this position!), Yevheniia Kravchuk will join the Committee on Rules, Immunities and Institutional Affairs, which ensures the proper application of the Assembly's rules of procedure.

Also, on the occasion of the Day of Unity of Ukraine, the Ukrainian delegation formed a symbolic chain of unity on the sidelines of the Assembly, which was joined by 43 Council of Europe countries.

 

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