PACE summer session starts in Strasbourg
An urgent debate on the functioning of democratic institutions in Turkey, to which Turkey's Foreign Minister has been invited, a general policy debate on the situation in China, and a special debate on the state of democracy in Europe, involving guest speakers from civil society, are among the highlights of the summer session of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) taking place in Strasbourg from 23 to 27 June 2008. Serbian President Boris Tadić will also address the Assembly on Thursday 26 June.
Other topics to be debated include the functioning of democratic institutions in Azerbaijan, the fight against harm to the environment in the Black Sea, empowering women in a modern, multicultural society and the abandonment of children at birth.
There is also a proposal to hold an urgent debate on the functioning of democratic institutions in Armenia - but only if the Assembly's co-rapporteurs judge, after visiting the country on 16-17 June, that the Armenian authorities have made insufficient progress in fulfilling the Assembly's demands following the February 2008 post-electoral violence.
Swedish Foreign Minister Carl Bildt will present the communication from the Committee of Ministers, the Council of Europe's executive body currently presided by Sweden, on Monday 23 June and answer parliamentarians' questions.
The Assembly will finalise its agenda only at the opening of the session, according to PACE release.