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New PACE president Michele Nicoletti: What do we know?

He was appointed on January 22 during the opening of the January PACE session in Strasbourg
16:18, 22 January 2018

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Michele Nicoletti, member of the Italian Democratic Party and philosopher was elected the new president of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) on January 22. The politician was a member of the Socialists, Democrats and Greens Group in the European Parliament.

Taking over from Stella Kyriakides (Cyprus, EPP/CD), he is the 31st President of the Assembly since 1949 and the second Italian to hold this office.

There was only one candidate. Under the Assembly’s Rules of Procedure, the President serves for a one-year term of office, which may be renewed once.

From 2016 to 2017, Michele Nicoletti was the assembly's rapporteur on corruption. In January 2016, the politician came to Kyiv on a visit in preparation for the report, then he stated that the process of fighting corruption in the country is in the right direction. At the same time, he noted that the most dangerous form of corruption is one that is connected with political life.

In his inaugural address, the President called for increased unity of the Council of Europe “as the only European institution that brings together 47 countries around the values of human rights, democracy, the rule of law and acceptance of its European Court”.

The newly-elected PACE president said today that he will insist on the continuation of the dialogue with the Russian parliament. He expressed the regret that Russia refused from the participation in the work of the Assembly.

‘It's unfortunate that the parliament of Russia did not send the delegation for the 2018 session. Nevertheless, the dialogue with the Russian parliament will continue’, he said. At the same time, Nicoletti did not specify the form of the cooperation.

When Nicoletti was a rapporteur of the PACE Committee on Political Affairs and Democracy on 11 October 2017, he prepared the document that could facilitate Russia's return to PACE.

In October 2017, PACE adopted a resolution on the need to reaffirm European unity and to defend and promote democratic security in Europe. 

“The Assembly regrets that, as a reaction to this situation, the Russian Federation announced, on 30 June 2017, its decision to suspend payment of its contribution to the budget of the Council of Europe for 2017 until full and unconditional restoration of the credentials of the delegation of its Federal Assembly in the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe,” the text of the resolution says.

Related: Volodymyr Ariev becomes Vice President of PACE from Ukraine

Ukrainian outlet European Truth writes that this resolution may lead to may lead to lifting all sanctions against the Russian Federation. The internet outlet reminds that PACE was the only institution to introduce the sanctions.

"In translation from diplomatic to human language, this means that all restrictions imposed on Russians in the PACE should be abolished - because the Cabinet of Minister of the Council of Europe does not have sanctions against the Russian Federation," reads the article.

As it was reported earlier, the representatives of Ukraine, Georgia and Northern countries in the Parliamentary Assembly voted against the resolution that may end in Russia’s come back to the session hall. Volodymyr Ariev, the Head of Ukrainian delegation to PACE, the Petro Poroshenko bloc MP, wrote that on his Facebook page. 

It is scheduled that an ad-hoc committee will discuss the possible return of Russian delegation to PACE on January 23.

Related: Winter session of PACE to be held on Jan. 22-26

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