Ruxit would be blow similar to Brexit – Council of Europe chief

If Russia is forced to leave the Council of Europe around the same time the UK leaves the EU, it will have disastrous consequences for the continent, Secretary General of the Council of Europe, Thorbjorn Jagland, has warned.

“I believe many people do not understand what a blow it will be for Europe if we get Brexit and Ruxit at the same time. However, it can happen soon,” he told Norwegian news agency NTB, about the possibility of Russia leaving the organization this summer.

Jagland also maintained that the only way to avert this “looming” disaster is to fully reinstate the rights of the Russian delegation in the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE), which it was deprived of following Russias reunification with Crimea.

Back in 2014, after Crimea reunited with Russia as a result of the referendum – a move that European nations treated as “annexation” – Moscows delegation was stripped of its voting rights in PACE as well as being deprived of the right to take part in the Council of Europes (CE) monitoring missions or joining the PACE ruling bodies, under rules that Russia called “politically motivated” and “discriminatory.”

Since that time, Moscow has sought the full reinstatement of its delegations rights, as well as a change of the “discriminatory” regulations. In 2015, PACE reviewed the issue twice but eventually ended up imposing even harsher restrictions against the Russian delegation.

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This development prompted Moscow to first cease its participation in the PACE sessions and, eventually, to stop paying its instalments to the Council of Europe back in 2017. The move sparked another row between Russia and the CE as Moscow had been one of the major contributors to the organizations budget.

In 2017, Russia contributed €33 million ($37.07 million) to the CE budget out of a total of €454 million ($509.96 million). Moscows decision forced the CE to freeze nine percent of its budget expenditures and still left the organization with a deficit of €1.5 million ($1.68 million).

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In early 2019, the Russian State Duma and the Senate both passed resolutions, that Russia will not send a delegation to PACE nor would it pay its instalments to the CE this year, because of the continued discrimination.

If a CE member state does not pay its fees for two years, it can be expelled from the organization. For Russia, this deadline expires on July 1. Moscow hinted a number of times that it might leave the international body of its own volition if the situation with its delegations rights does not change.

On Friday, the head of the Russian Senates International Relations Committee, Konstantin Kosachev, said that Russia “entertains a possibiRead More – Source