|The Standing Committee of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE), which brings together around 60 of the Assembly’s members, met in Latvia. This Committee acts on the Assembly’s behalf between plenary sessions and is made up of the President and Vice-Presidents of the Assembly, the chairpersons of political groups, the chairpersons of national delegations, and the committee chairpersons, totaling some 60 parliamentarians from the Council of Europe’s 46 member States.|
Riga, May 28.– After the opening of the meeting by PACE President Tiny Kox, Saeima Speaker Edvards Smiltēns gave a welcome address, and the Standing Committee ratified the credentials of new members of the Assembly submitted by the delegations of Austria, Georgia, Germany, and the Republic of Moldova, followed by an exchange of views with Latvian Foreign Minister Edgars Rinkēvičs in the framework of Latvia’s Presidency of the Committee of Ministers.
There have been two requests for current affairs debates on “The follow-up to the Reykjavik Summit” (with the participation of Aoife Nolan, President of the European Committee of Social Rights) and on “Excluding athletes from Russia and Belarus from taking part in the Olympics” (with a statement by Kaspars Cipruss, Secretary General of the Latvian Basketball Federation). Those were the highlights of the Standing Committee meeting of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE), in Riga on Friday 26 May 2023.
“Now we must implement the decisions taken in Reykjavik”, PACE President said
"Now the #RoadToReykjavik is over and I wish to stress once again that this was an exciting, eventful, and – most importantly – successful journey. But when one road ends, another one begins. And now we must implement the decisions taken in Reykjavik, so that they bring meaningful results to every European and, above all, help bring peace and justice to Ukraine,” said the PACE President, speaking at the opening of the Standing Committee meeting in Riga.
"In Iceland", he underlined, “an ambitious roadmap was set out, aiming at restoring peace in Europe based on justice, multilateral cooperation and respect for the fundamental values which this organization upholds. Our Assembly has every reason to be very satisfied with the outcomes of the Fourth Summit.”
“I am particularly happy that Latvia, as the Chair of the Committee of Ministers, will kick off the implementation of the Summit’s decisions, as a country that has repeatedly manifested its strong commitment to effectively address the complex challenges currently faced by our continent while pursuing an innovative and forward-looking agenda,” Mr Kox concluded.
The Standing Committee took note of the report of the Ad hoc Committee of the Bureau on the Observation of the early parliamentary elections in Bulgaria (2 April 2023).
The parliamentarians also held an exchange of views with Carlo Monticelli, Governor of the Council of Europe Development Bank.
Parliamentarians then held a Round Table on “Artificial intelligence, freedom of expression and disinformation: challenges and risks for democracy”, with interventions by Gundars Bergmanis-Korāts, Principal Scientist, NATO Strategic Communications Centre of Excellence in Riga; Gregor Strojin, Vice-Chair, Council of Europe Committee on Artificial Intelligence (CAI); and Kaspars Kauliņš, International Business Development Director, Tilde.
The Round Table aimed to contribute to the ongoing work by the Council of Europe Committee on Artificial Intelligence to elaborate a framework Convention on the development, design, and application of artificial intelligence.
Finally, the participants decided to hold their next meeting in Vaduz, Liechtenstein, on 28 November 2023.