Presidents and Speakers of Parliament converge in Strasbourg
Reconnect Parliamentarians with the people: “people before profit”
The Presidents and Speakers of Parliament from the 47 Council of Europe Member States met in Strasbourg on 15th-16th September to discuss the migration and refugee crisis, the role of national Parliaments in promoting democracy, human rights and the Rule of Law and the mobilisation against hate for inclusive and non-racist societies.
Greek Parliament President Nikos Voutsis addressed the 3rd session of the Conference, in which he emphasised the need to reconnect Parliamentarians with the people and social activities, taking convergent initiatives by social organisations, trade unions and youth movements that will reinstate the issues of major movements from 1998-2006, which should have as its central aim “people before profit”.
A further informal meeting also took place in Strasbourg of the Presidents and representatives of the Parliaments of Austria, Belgium, the Czech Republic, France, Germany, Greece, Italy, Cyprus, Luxembourg, Portugal, Romania, Slovenia and Spain on ‘Progress towards greater European integration: the way forward’ which started on September 14th 2015 in Rome and has been signed by 15 Presidents of National Parliaments in 13 EU Member States. The meeting held in the margins of the Conference of Presidents of Parliaments of the member countries of the Council of Europe and was based on the Rome Declaration.
The Presidents which signed the Declaration are absolutely convinced that, in times of crisis, Parliaments and their chairpersons should act in response to citizens’ concerns and prove that the only way to respond to global challenges is to join forces. Therefore, the views of the Presidents should be taken into account in discussions for the future of the Union in the wake of the referendum in the United Kingdom.
Furthermore, a Euro-Mediterranean meeting of Parliament Presidents was held following a joint initiative by the President of the Greek Parliament, Nikos Voutsis, and the Speaker of the Italian Representatives, Mrs. Laura Boldrini. It was attended by their French, Spanish, Cypriot, Maltese and Portuguese colleagues.
Sustainable economic and social development, immigration-refugee crisis, alongside the major problem of unemployment, especially the youth, were the main issues discussed by this informal meeting of the Southern European countries Parliament Presidents.
The Presidents and Speakers of Parliament from the 47 Council of Europe Member States and many partner, observer and neighbouring countries, along with the Presidents of other international assemblies pictured in a group photo in Strasbourg at the European Parliamentary Summit which is held every two years.