TALLINN - The Estonian delegation to the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) during the fall session to be held in Strasbourg this week aims to draw the attention of member states to the problems caused by Russia, spokespeople for the parliament said.
Head of the Estonian delegation and member of the Riigikogu Maria Jufereva-Skuratovski considers it important that the dialogue should continue and that Estonia should participate in the assembly.
"In this complicated situation, Estonia has to take part in the dialogue and not boycott the work of the assembly," she noted.
Jufereva-Skuratovski said that the recent issue of restoring Russia's rights is not on PACE's agenda this time, but the main task of the Estonian delegation in Strasbourg is to keep an eye on and draw the attention of other member states to the consequences of Russia's political activities.
"Russia's rights in the assembly were restored this summer on certain conditions, but we are not satisfied with it, because they break international agreements. We wish to cooperate with all member states who understand that for the restoration of full voting rights, Russia has to meet all requirements set to it," Jufereva-Skuratovski said.
Member of the delegation Eerik-Niiles Kross added that the key activity at this session would be making the large Western countries aware of the seriousness of the crisis in PACE.
"We will also continue to discuss with like-minded countries the joint future actions that could restore PACE's authority in a longer perspective," Kross said.
"During these critical times for the Council of Europe, it is important for the Estonian delegation to be present and actively ask sharp questions, too," member of the Estonian delegation Indrek Saar said. "We must do our best together with the countries that share our views to ensure that this major organisation should not lose its purpose, which is standing up for democracy, human rights and the rule of law."
French Secretary of State for European Affairs Amelie de Montchalin will deliver a speech at the session on Monday. On Tuesday, French President Emmanuel Macron will address PACE and give an overview of the activities of France during its presidency.
The fall session of PACE will last until Friday. The assembly will focus on the protection of whistle-blowers and the victims of terrorism. It will also discuss reports on climate refugees and labor migration in Eastern Europe, and on obstetrical and gynecological violence.
Estonia became a member of the Council of Europe in 1993 and is represented in the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe by the delegation appointed by the Riigikogu.