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STRASBOURG, January 27. /ITAR-TASS/. State Duma Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Alexei Pushkov, who leads the Russian delegation to the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE), was elected head of the European Democrat Group in the organization.
“Now Russia has its own representative in the PACE Presidential Committee, and this is the leading and most influential body of the Assembly,” Pushkov told ITAR-TASS.
In his opinion, what makes his election significant is that “the chairman of the group can influence the discussion of all key issues in the Assembly and influence the agenda, including on such issues as who of the heads of state should be invited and who should not.”
“We will try to use this influence for a good cause,” he added.
Christopher Chope, head of the Committee on Legal Affairs and Human Rights, was elected his first deputy.
The European Democrat Group consists of more than 80 MPs from Great Britain, Turkey, Norway, Azerbaijan, and Armenia.
The European Democrat Group (EDG) is a conservative group in the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe. It was originally founded as the Group of Independent Representatives in 1970 by British and Scandinavian members of PACE, having about 35-40 members from the UK, Ireland, Norway, Denmark, Turkey, Sweden and Switzerland.
While it was only the third group to be founded in PACE (after the Socialist Group and the Christian Democrat Group), it was the first to have an official secretariat, which was established in 1977. On July 6, 1978, a proposal to rename the group was submitted, leading to the official new name in September 1980.
It continues to exist as a political group in the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe. It was also a political group in the European Parliament, until 1992, when it became a subgroup of European People’s Party-European Democrats (EPP-ED).