Jean-Claude Mignon

Former President 2012-2014

"The Parliamentary Assembly was the instigator of many initiatives which have made the Council of Europe what it is today, from the European Convention on Human Rights to the integration of the new democracies in central and eastern Europe as a result of the fall of the Berlin Wall and the establishment of special guest status. It has now initiated a fruitful dialogue with the countries on the southern shore of the Mediterranean by granting "partner for democracy" status to the Moroccan Parliament and the Palestinian National Council.

And above all it is a benchmark for democracy. It helps to ensure that the unacceptable is never accepted, whether the issue being addressed is the persecution of Christians in the Middle East or frozen conflicts.

It is also necessary to be vigilant with regard to the older democracies, as respect for our values can never be taken for granted.

To achieve its objectives, it is vital that the PACE work in close synergy with the other Council of Europe bodies – the Court, the Venice Commission and the Committee for the Prevention of Torture, to name but a few. Together we will be able to strengthen the Council of Europe's values of tolerance, pluralism, democracy, non-discrimination and religious freedom."