59 Presidents of Parliament to gather for Oslo Summit


Foto: Terje Heiestad/Stortinget

Presidents of Parliament from the 47 Council of Europe member states, as well as many neighbouring and observer countries, will meet on 11 and 12 September 2014 in Oslo, on the occasion of a conference organised by the Storting and the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE).

59 Speakers of Parliament are expected at the biennial summit to discuss three major topical issues:
• Fundamental constitutional rights and freedoms – participation, trust and public debate as conditions for democracy
• Democracy, Sovereignty and Security in Europe
• Majority and opposition – striking a balance in democracy

The conference will be opened by the President of the Storting, Olemic Thommessen, the President of PACE, Anne Brasseur, the Secretary General of the Council of Europe,Thorbjørn Jagland, and the Norwegian Minister for European Economic Area and European Union Affairs, Vidar Helgesen.

“National parliaments are the cornerstone of European democracy. The key to a successful democracy lies in the confidence and closeness that exists between politicians and the population at large. Different political traditions, which can inhibit democratic development,and the economic challenges currently facing Europe are examples of situations that can put this confidence to the test. As presidents of parliament, we have a special responsibility for democratic development in Europe. Not least, it is essential that we pay particular attention to our youth; the young people who as a result of unemployment and, sadly in some countries, corruption are losing faith in those they elect,” said the President of theStorting Olemic Thommessen.

“The themes chosen for the conference go to the heart of the challenges facing European democracies today. The Constitutional framework, which includes the European Convention on Human Rights, can never be taken for granted. Parliamentarians have enormous responsibilities. These are towards not only those people who have elected them, but also those who have not, and the need to strike a balance between majority and opposition is fundamental for the smooth functioning of democracies. The threat to democracy, sovereignty and security is played out on the news 7 days a week, 24 hours a day. Unfolding events in Ukraine, and other parts of Europe, are some of the most serious challenges facing Europe since the Cold War and the opportunity to discuss these during the conference is essential,” added PACE President Anne Brasseur.

Presentations on the themes of the conference will be made by the Presidents of the Italian Chamber of Deputies, Laura Boldrini, the Danish Folketing, Mogens Lykketoft, the Parliament of Georgia, David Usupashvili, and the Dutch Senate, Ankie Broekers-Knol, as well as by the First Vice-President of the Venice Commission, Jan Helgesen.

45 Secretaries General of the participating parliaments and assemblies are also due to meet on the margin of the conference.

The first Conference was held in 1975. It takes place every two years, hosted alternately in Strasbourg or in the capital of a Council of Europe member state. At the invitation of the Parliament of Norway, it is held this year at the Storting, when the country celebrates the bicentennial of its Constitution.

The Conference is composed of Presidents of the Parliaments of the 47 Member States of the Council of Europe; of parliaments enjoying observer and partner for democracy status with the PACE and of international parliamentary assemblies. The Parliaments of Central Asia and Maghreb are also associated.

Note for editors
The opening ceremony will take place on 11 September at the Storting from 11 a.m. to 12 p.m. The deadline for arriving at the Storting is 10.30. a.m. The conference will then continue at the Radisson Blu Scandinavia Hotel, from 2.30 p.m. to 6.30 p.m., and the following day from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.

The Conference is open to the press. Journalists and photographers who would like to cover the conference must apply for media accreditation to presse@stortinget.no by Tuesday 9 September at the latest.

TV feed from the opening, photographs
A TV feed will be made available by the Storting, via the Storting’s communications hub, for the free use of all members of the media. The TV broadcast will be provided without commentary. Please address questions about the TV production to Thomas Andresen, tel:+47 415 19 262.
The TV broadcast will also be available on the Storting’s Internet TV. The Storting’s Internet TV may be relayed by all media by agreement when setting up a publishing point. Please address questions about the Storting’s Internet TV to Bjørn Holta, tel: +47 971 58 040.
Only accredited photographers will be permitted to take photographs during the opening. Flashlight photography is not permitted.
Photographs taken by the Storting’s photographer will be published on Flickr throughout the conference. Photos may be freely used and must be credited: www.flickr.com/stortinget.

Radisson Blu Scandinavia Hotel Oslo – practical information
Admission for accredited members of the press only. Limited seats available in the plenary hall.

Please find more information about the conference at www.stortinget.no/ECPP-2014/

Jorunn Nilsen, Stortinget Communication Advisor, tel. +47 23 31 30 16; mobile: +47 938 98 200.
Francesc Ferrer, PACE Communication Division, tel. +33 388 413 193; mobile: +33 630 496 822.

Päivi Suhonen
Press correspondent for the Council of Europe in the Nordic countries
+ 46 70 090 66 11

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