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Monday, January 23, 2012

Jean-Claude Mignon sets out priorities

Jean-Claude Mignon sets out priorities

New Parliamentary Assembly President Jean-Claude Mignon will seek an expansion of democracy, gender equality and solutions to frozen conflicts during his term in office.

“First and foremost, I want to make sure in my new position that the rule of law, respect for human rights and the promotion of democracy are not just empty words, and that we are moving forward in these areas, including beyond our borders, in particular by engaging with Europe’s neighbours who are moving down the path to democracy,” he said after today’s election.

Mignon, 52, is now the 26th President of the Parliamentary Assembly after succeeding Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu (Turkey).

The new president also wishes to restore the Council of Europe to the centre of European and international affairs. “The vision that I have for the Council of Europe is as follows: that the Europe of human rights should become an inescapable reality,” he said during his inaugural address.

“For too long, this organisation was on the defensive, in particular vis-à-vis the European Union, and in danger of being the ‘overlooked beauty’ on the banks of the Ill, an institution that belonged in the past.

“Following the glorious decade of the 1990s when the organisation welcomed in the countries of central and eastern Europe, we acquired a new purpose: namely, to bring the Council of Europe closer to the European Union in order to reconcile ordinary people with Europe, a tangible, human Europe that makes itself felt in their everyday lives through the observance of fundamental rights, security, the freedom to come and go, dignity and respect for the rights of the opposition.

The new President is also eager to find solutions to frozen conflicts and will promote greater gender awareness.

“The Assembly recently spoke out on these issues: the dangers of selective abortion are a reality in Europe itself, violence against women is still all too often a fact of life and equality in the workplace is still an unfulfilled goal.”

Video of President's speech

Comment: Can this be seen as a shot across David Cameron's bow?

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