Anne Brasseur: “Respect for territorial integrity is one of our most fundamental rules”

“Our Organisation and Europe as a whole are currently facing a serious crisis. A crisis which represents a huge challenge to the values and principles that we defend, and also to peace and international co-operation, which, according to the Statute, are our Organisation’s aims. The annexation of Crimea – Ukrainian territory – by the Russian Federation is unacceptable and constitutes a serious violation of international law which I strongly condemn,” PACE President Anne Brasseur stressed in her opening speech of the Assembly’s spring session in Strasbourg.

“It is our duty to react to actions by one of our member States – Russia. Respect for territorial integrity is one of our most fundamental rules, and one of the commitments which all member States are required to make. We must therefore, during this part-session, discuss the consequences of the annexation of Crimea,” she said.

“As far as our debate on ‘recent developments in Ukraine: threats to the functioning of democratic institutions’ is concerned, it must give political impetus to the action of the whole of the Council of Europe vis-à-vis Ukraine. The priorities are well known; they include reform in the constitutional sphere, electoral reform, devolution, reform of the justice system and the fight against corruption,” she concluded.