‘Ensuring human rights, the rule of law and democracy is a never-ending task. Let us not allow them to crumble away’

“Over the seven decades since its creation, the Council of Europe has built up a huge body of knowledge and experience, to which our Assembly has made a major contribution. But let us not forget that ensuring human rights, the rule of law and democracy are a never-ending task. We must defend them again and again, promote them, continue to develop them and not let them crumble away,” the PACE President said today, closing the European Conference of Presidents of Parliament.

Liliane Maury Pasquier referred to the three themes of the conference. As regards the first theme, “Our common European home: the next 70 years”, she cited the many challenges facing our societies (intolerance, exclusion, migratory flows, authoritarian tendencies ...) and asked participants to “never lose sight of the fact that we are here to serve our citizens. For it is they who must be the beneficiaries of our joint actions as parliamentarians”. Our common home “will be limited only by the ambitions we share”, she underlined.

Referring to the second theme of the conference, “Implementing the UN 2030 Agenda and its Sustainable Development Goals”, the President emphasised that parliamentarians must work “more actively to lead a broad and inclusive public debate on sustainable development-related issues and enhance their visibility which is essential to ensure broad support among the population”. She highlighted that “we only have ten years in which to accomplish this agenda – the most ambitious in all of humanity – in order to construct an inclusive and supportive planet”.

As regards the third theme, “Women in politics and in the public discourse”, Liliane Maury Pasquier said that it is up to parliamentarians “to make sure that our institution – the parliament – becomes exemplary in the fight against sexism, harassment and violence against women politicians and parliamentarians; this will encourage greater participation of women in democratic processes”.

The defence and promotion of human rights, democracy and the rule of law “is an ongoing project and, as I said, the construction of this home is far from over”, the President added. “We have come up with many ideas that can serve to inspire the design of our joint European architecture for the next 70 years. It is now up to each and every one of us to help to make it a reality. So let us meet again in two years’ time to continue building together our common home”, she concluded.