Agramunt’s resignation is long overdue
Parlamenatry Assembly of the Council of Europe needs to be fundamentally renewed
“The resignation of President Pedro Agramunt is long overdue. It is outrageous that in spite of the numerous calls for him to resign, he wants to remain in office. It is only reasonable that the Bureau unanimously called for his resignation, and denied him the right to continue to represent the Assembly, and to travel on its behalf. This also applies to a planned trip to Germany scheduled for May.
Agramunt virtually personifies the fundamental problems of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe, which is not only facing corruption allegations. Agramunt’s recent visit to Syrian dictator Assad symbolizes the exploitation of the Council of Europe by several governments, which refuse to take the institution’s core values seriously. An invisible network has so far held a protecting hand over these governments. It is regrettable that many parliamentarians of the traditional Western democracies - including Germany - participate in this network and even act as key players.
Now is the time to renew this institution which is so urgently needed for the protection of the 820 million people that make up its 47 member states. This step however requires a renewed commitment to the institution’s core values of the protection of human rights and the development of the rule of law and of democracy. With the launch of an external commission to investigate corruption allegations, a unified call for Agramunt’s resignation and the crucial decisions taken on Turkey and Hungary, this Assembly has set out to reclaim its integrity, and to truly take back its self-proclaimed status as the “guardian of human rights” in what surely was a historic week. It is now indispensable that invisible networks protecting governments are replaced with cross-party alliances that protect human rights. Resistance against this idea remains substantial, however.