MOSCOW, January 12. /TASS/. Russia is likely to extend the suspension of its payment to the Council of Europe in 2018, a diplomatic source told TASS on Friday.
"All decisions remain in force and Russia’s stance on its contribution is unlikely to change in 2018," he said, adding that "the payment will not resume until Russia’s delegation returns to the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE).
According to the source, Moscow and Strasbourg failed to overcome their differences in the six months that passed since Russia’s authorities suspended its payment. "The Assembly still has not introduced amendments to its regulations to denounce the provisions which make it possible to deprive national delegations of the right to vote. So it has become known that Russia does not plan to apply for confirmation of its PACE rights in 2018," the source noted.
At the same time, he stressed that in case the PACE crisis was resolved, Moscow was ready to consider the opportunity of fully recovering the payments.
In April 2014, Russia’s delegation to PACE was stripped of its key rights, including the right to vote, over the situation in Ukraine and Crimea’s reunification with Russia. The issue of restoring the rights of the Russian delegation was raised at PACE twice throughout 2015 but sanctions remained in place. In response, Russia suspended its participation in PACE’s activities. The country did not apply for confirmation of its rights in 2016 and 2017.
In June 2017, Moscow suspended the payment of its contribution to the Council of Europe until the Russian delegation’s rights are fully restored. Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov held a telephone conversation with Council of Europe Secretary General Thorbjorn Jagland, informing him about Russia’s decision. At the same time, Moscow called for adding a provision to the PACE regulations stipulating that no one could be eligible to deprive national delegations of their rights.
Since 1996, Russia has been a member of the Council of Europe, comprising 47 countries, and one of its six major contributors. In 2017, Russia’s contribution exceeded €33 mln, while the Council’s total budget amounted to €454.6 mln.