Armen Gevorgyan, a member of the Armenian National Assembly delegation to the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) and the key rapporteur on PACE Local and Regional Authorities, delivered an address during the debate of the topic, entitle “The Reykjavik Summit of the Council of Europe: United around values in the face of extraordinary challenges.”
“Today many nations are facing an uneasy choice—between democracy and security. In such an environment one may observe lack of any expectation from the Council of Europe among our citizens.
I am wondering why we have ended up here and invite you to reflect together. Part of the reason, in my assessment, is that the Council of Europe, designed to be a bastion of truly democratic values and freedoms, has become to tolerate a certain transformation of some of its Members into hybrid, oppressive regimes. In such states we are monitoring political persecution and so-called lawful political competition through elections, while democratic governance has been turned into a mere dictatorship of the majority. The Council of Europe is gradually turning itself into a platform for authoritarian regimes to legitimize their existence. By the way, a simple list of these states can be easily found in Democracy Index by Economist.
We should break up with this chain of unworthy compromises and double standards. To do this we should exclude any deviation from the established rules, forget about shameful political expediency. Membership in the community of free and democratic states requires following its rules, and this has to be the conscious choice of every member. We should not ask anyone to stay, neither we should ask anyone to join.
At the same time, the 43rd Congress of local and regional authorities and the 10th World Forum for Democracy have shown that the local democracy continues to serve as the foundation for democratic governance. Through that democracy the people fully appreciate and acknowledge the value and usefulness of their participation in the social and political life. This is crucial to be maintained for the future of democracy and democratic governance. That is why the topic of development and empowerment of local democracy must become one of the main priorities for the 4th Council of Europe Summit.
In conclusion, let me express a genuine hope that after the Fourth Summit our organisation may regain its purpose and will be looked up to. A cooperation with a stronger, principled, and resolute partner, firm on its principles, is always more productive specifically when ‘red lines’ of human rights, democracy and rule of law are more vivid and same for all,” Gevorgyan noted in particular.