The Parliamentary Assembly (PACE) will hold its winter plenary session 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.
Three urgent debates have been requested on “The arrest and detention of Alexei Navalny in January 2021”, “The worsening situation in Belarus” and “Freedom of expression (Article 10 of the ECHR) under threat by ‘Big Tech’ Companies”, as well as a request for a current affairs debate on the “Prohibition of the Russian and other national minorities languages in Ukraine”.
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, Marija Pejčinović Burić.
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.