Michele Nicoletti from Italy takes over from Stella Kyriakides as new PACE President

Holding the Presidency of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) has been a great privilege, honor and a great responsibility, outgoing PACE President Stella Kyriakides said on Monday.

According to an announcement by the House of Representatives, Michele Nicoletti from Italy, was elected the Assembly’s new President at the opening of the 2018 Winter Session. The former Head of the Assembly’s Socialist Group was the only candidate for the post.

Addressing a handover ceremony in Strasbourg, Kyriakides congratulated the new PACE President and said that the members of this organization need to leave aside personal or other agendas and motives and work tirelessly and to the maximum extend possible in order to promote the principles and values of the Council of Europe.

The outgoing President also noted that that we are here to build bridges between different opinions and work with consensus, transparency, calmness and credibility.

The Cypriot MP appeared confident that Nicoletti will continue the work to attain the Assembly’s goals, especially with regard to promoting respect for the principles of PACE.

Taking the floor, Nicoletti thanked Kyriakides for her remarkable work during her term in promoting unity, mutual respect, consensus and credibility.

According to a PACE announcement, in his inaugural address, the newly-elected 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.

At a time of great and dramatic challenges � from terrorism to migration, from poverty old and new to mistrust in representative institutions, from the re-emergence of racism and xenophobia to the desperate solitude of so many people � we must offer a response to nationalist and chauvinistic temptations to close ranks, to centrifugal pressures and to conflicts by reasserting the need for peace and justice on our continent, he said.

Nicoletti also noted that the Assembly should fully play its role in addressing these challenges. This requires the active involvement of all members and delegations from all 47 member States. In this context, I regret that the Russian Parliament has not put forward a delegation for the 2018 Ordinary Session he said.

Nevertheless, dialogue with Russian parliamentarians � as well as with all other delegations � continues, with due respect to our rules and obligations he added.

This reflection on our identity, which the Assembly will decide how to develop, appears to me to represent an extraordinary opportunity for our institution to reassert forcefully its own role as the guardian of European unity. I strongly believe that all member States of the Council of Europe must participate in this process, the newly-elected PACE President concluded.

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

Earlier today, the Assembly adopted its final agenda at the opening of the 2018 Winter Session and decided to hold an urgent debate on the Israeli�Palestinian peace process and the role of the Council of Europe, on Thursday morning, and a current affairs debate on the Turkish military intervention in Syria, on Wednesday afternoon.

Source: Cyprus News Agency