Budapest, April 5 (MTI) – Resolving Europe’s migration crisis will require a show of solidarity from all of the continent’s countries, the president of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) told parliament’s foreign affairs committee on Tuesday.
Pedro Agramunt said that anyone who comes to Europe is entitled to the same rights as European citizens.
The current migration crisis concerns every European country, as it is the largest refugee crisis since the second world war, he said. It will only abate if its causes are eliminated.
Agramunt emphasised the importance of combatting rising extremism and terrorism. He said European countries must be capable of protecting themselves, but warned against prejudice and discrimination.
On the topic of Ukraine, the PACE president said it was important to find a solution to the armed conflict, noting that despite the signing of the Minsk agreements, a long-term ceasefire remained elusive and political instability and a lack of credible reforms have left Ukrainians disillusioned with their country’s leadership. Europe should support Ukraine’s reforms but the country should also be able to defend its own territorial integrity, he said.
Agramunt said the Council of Europe had concluded all of its investigations concerning Hungary and the time has now come for professional cooperation between the two sides.
Zsolt Németh, the head of the foreign affairs committee for the ruling Fidesz party, said the council’s rights protection mechanisms should be incorporated into the European Union, arguing that they were stronger than those of the EU.
Németh asked Agramunt about the possibilities for interreligious dialogue within the Council of Europe. The president said the council was looking into the creation of a platform committed to such relations. He said the problem was not the existence of different religions but rather the shift towards extremism within some of them.
Attila Mesterházy of the Socialist Party asked the PACE president about trends in respecting human rights among the council’s member states. Agramunt said a number of countries, including western European ones, had recently implemented policies that violate the principles of democracy.