STRASBOURG, October 1. /TASS/. French President Emmanuel Macron has said he fully supports Russia’s further work in the Council of Europe and its Parliamentary Assembly.
"I fully support the choice made in favor of letting Russia stay in the Council of Europe, because I am certain that the Russian people are close to European humanism. They participated in creating this humanism themselves," Macron said at the PACE session on Tuesday.
He described Russia as a "fundamentally European country." In his opinion Russia’s hypothetical pullout from the pan-European organization would entail "the most negative consequences for the peoples [of Europe] and for the protection of their rights."
"If something separates us, it will be a failure. We will be harmed. We will lose strength as a result," Macron said. "We hear that there exists criticism [in relation to Russia], and it is not unfounded. But what would’ve happened, had we done nothing?" he went on. "Russia’s accession to our organization yielded considerable benefits for all parties. For Russia, a moratorium on the death penalty and an opportunity to take concrete cases to the European Court of Human Rights. If Russia’s delegation were absent [from the PACE], we would have certainly permitted the risk of Russia leaving the Council of Europe altogether. In that case the Russian people would have no chance of taking their cases to the ECHR."
"You made a corresponding decision and I support it without any naivety," Macron told the PACE delegates. "We are well aware of the role of the assembly and of the Committee of Ministers [of the Council of Europe]. Nobody lays claim to the right to making decisions on behalf of some governments," he stated. "We are not talking about how the Minsk process or the Normandy quartet’s activities should proceed. We do not impose anything. But it was the correct decision," he concluded.
Russia’s PACE delegation in April 2014 was stripped of the right to vote, participate in monitoring missions and hold seats on the leadership bodies due to events in Ukraine and Crimea’s unification with Russia. On June 26, 2019 PACE members voted for a resolution in support of three key regulatory norms stipulating that the "rights to vote, speak and be represented in the Assembly and its bodies cannot be suspended or revoked or withdrawn in the context of a challenge to or reconsideration of credentials." The next day all powers of the Russian delegation were confirmed in full and without any exemptions. After that the Russian delegates joined the PACE activities as full-fledged participants.