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The Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) will hold its 2021 winter plenary session from January 25 to 28 in a hybrid manner
15:10, 25.01.2021

The Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) will hold its 2021 winter plenary session from January 25 to 28 in a hybrid manner, allowing members to participate remotely or attend in person in Strasbourg.

The Assembly will debate the ethical, legal and practical considerations of COVID-19 vaccines. WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus will address parliamentarians in the debate.

There have been requests for three urgent debates on:

- "The arrest and detention of Alexei Navalny in January 2021"
- "The worsening situation in Belarus"
- "Freedom of expression (Article 10 of the ECHR) under threat by 'Big Tech' Companies".

Three current affairs debate requests have also been submitted under the titles:

- "Prohibition of Russian and other national minorities languages in Ukraine"
- “Unjustifiable delay in repatriation of the Armenian prisoners of war and other captives by Azerbaijani authorities as violation of the European International Human Rights Standards”
- “The actual human rights situation in temporary occupied Autonomous Republic of Crimea and the city of Sevastopol during Covid-19 pandemics”.

Other topics on the agenda include ethnic profiling in Europe, restrictions on NGO activities in Council of Europe member States, and discrimination against persons dealing with chronic and long-term illnesses.

During the session, the Assembly will elect the Deputy Secretary General of the Council of Europe, the Secretary General of the Assembly and the judges to the European Court of Human Rights in respect of Greece and Switzerland. These elections will be held by individual electronic voting.

The European Commissioner for Justice Didier Reynders will address the members of the Assembly and answer their questions, as will the Federal Minister for Foreign Affairs of Germany, Heiko Maas (within the framework of the German presidency of the Committee of Ministers) and the Secretary General of the Council of Europe, Marija Pejčinović Burić (who will present her communication).

Debates will also be held on the independence of judges in Poland and in the Republic of Moldova (with the participation of Sabine Leutheusser-Schnarrenberger, former Federal Minister of Justice of Germany), and on the implementation of judgments of the European Court of Human Rights. Debates on the progress of the Assembly’s monitoring procedure and on post-monitoring dialogue with Montenegro are foreseen.

A report on parliamentary elections in Georgia will also be discussed. Lastly, the Assembly will determine its position on the modification of the Assembly’s Rules of Procedure – follow-up to Resolution 2319 (2020) on the complementary joint procedure between the Committee of Ministers and the Parliamentary Assembly in response to a serious violation by a member State of its statutory obligations.

The Assembly will decide its final agenda on the opening day of the session.
Practical information

Web stream: the session will be streamed live (in English, French, German, Italian and Russian) on PACE’s website and broadcast live on the Assembly’s YouTube channel (in original spoken languages), where a recording of each sitting should also appear shortly after it ends. Twitter: #PACEwinter2021

Press accreditation: before completing the accreditation form, please contact the Directorate of Communication via e-mail (accreditation.press@coe.int) to find out about special arrangements for this Session. Accredited journalists will be able to follow the plenary debates from Room 2. Due to sanitary conditions, cameramen do not have access to the press gallery or the debating chamber.

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