Press release: Restoring Russia’s full membership rights for nothing in return damages Council of Europe’s reputation

This week, the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) restored Russia’s full voting rights, removed in 2014 due to the annexation of Crimea from Ukraine.

“The Council of Europe is only as influential as it is credible. Russia was stripped of its voting rights due to grave violations of international law five years ago. Since then, nothing has changed. Welcoming Russia back in an almost submissive move now, without having achieved the slightest concession from the Russian side, goes at the expense of the values and principles of the Council of Europe and greatly damages its credibility – just in time for the institution’s 70th birthday”, says Christopher Glueck, President of JEF Europe.

“It was important to maintain Russia’s basic membership so Russian citizens enjoy continued access to and support from the European Court of Human Rights. That this move comes at a time when the Council of Europe has been struggling to obtain additional funding from member states to make up for the financial loss of around 30 million Euro annually due to Russia’s refusal to pay membership fees, suggests however that PACE’s intentions were also guided by less than idealistic considerations. Giving in to every single Russian request, including the acceptance that Crimean representatives can sit for Russia in the Parliamentary Assembly and the introduction of new and more difficult rules for the imposition of new sanctions, sends a dangerous message: It now appears that the Council of Europe’s support for the rule of law has a price tag.

“As an organisation that strives for a more united and democratic Europe we believe that appeasing those who violate the basic rules cannot be the solution”, concludes Glueck.

About JEF

The Young European Federalists (JEF) Europe is a non-partisan youth NGO active with 13.000 members active in more than 30 countries. The organisation strives towards a federal Europe based on the principles of democracy and subsidiarity as well as respect for human rights. JEF promotes true European Citizenship, and works towards more active participation of young people in democratic life. While the umbrella organisation JEF Europe was founded in 1972, its sections have been operating continuously since the end of the Second World War, making it the oldest pro-European and only federalist youth organisation.

More info

JEF Europe
European Secretariat
+32 2 512 00 53