Chance of return: Will new PACE President change Russia's positionsTaras Berezovets
Recently, the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe elected its new President, a Swiss Socialist Liliane Maury Pasquier. However, first and foremost, we must understand that today, PACE, as well as the Council of Europe, is losing its influence after their reputation was undermined by the scandal with Pedro Agramunt.
Maury Pasquier's appointment followed a step-down by her predecessor, Italy's Michele Nicoletti, as a result of his defeat in parliamentary elections in his home country.
Liliane Maury Pasquier used to be a member of the Committee dealing with Russia affairs, and, accordingly, she is perfectly aware of the issues associated with Russia in general and Russia-provoked corruption.
The Assembly apparently failed to draw any conclusions from the corruption scandal over accusations against Azerbaijan, which essentially appeared to have bought up PACE rapporteurs investigating the issue of human rights violations in this country. In fact, none of the officials accused were ever suspended.
PACE is toothless in fighting corruption
In fact, PACE is toothless in fighting corruption as these issues have been forwarded to be dealt with by national prosecutors' offices. In other words, if the officials accused are citizens of Italy, Germany, UK nationals and so on, it's their home countries' prosecutors who are supposed to probe their cases. Meanwhile, PACE is only able to draw the law enforcers' attention to the issue. The Assembly can do nothing beyond that point as its mandate remains limited.
Liliane Maury Pasquier represents the Socialist faction, and now the post of the PACE President falls under their quota. It is common knowledge that Socialists have always tended to sympathize Russia. In addition, this faction, unlike that of the European People's Party, insists on the return of the Russian delegation to the Assembly.
Head of the Ukrainian delegation, Volodymyr Ariev, warned that at the next PACE session, the issue of returning the Russian delegation to the Assembly, unfortunately, might be resolved positively. And Liliane Maury Pasquier is unlikely to fight against such developments... Therefore, I believe that the chances of the Russians returning to the Parliamentary hall of the Council of Europe will only increase.
The process of getting the Russian delegation back to PACE is yet another proof that an attempt to return Russia to the Assembly has once again been launched
And the recent decision to start the process of returning the Russian delegation to the PACE is yet another proof that an attempt to return Russia to the assembly has once again been launched, and there are real chances that the Russian Federation will be able to come back.
However, under such scenario, PACE may see a demarche - the Ukrainian delegation has already warned the Assembly that, if Russia returns, Kyiv will withdraw and no longer participate in the meetings. And the UK, Lithuania and other delegates may follow suit.
Taras Berezovets is a political scientist, director at Berta Communications, co-founder of the Ukrainian Institute for the Future