European parliamentary summit in Strasbourg debates:

European parliamentary summit in Strasbourg debates: ‘How democratic is our

Strasbourg, 10.05.2004 – More than 50 Speakers and presidents of parliament
from across Europe, as well as the heads of some ten European parliamentary
assemblies, gather in Strasbourg from 17 to 19 May 2004 for a parliamentary
summit on the theme “Europe of citizens: parliaments and participation of

Sub-themes of the biennial European Conference of Presidents of Parliaments,
hosted this year by the Council of Europe Parliamentary Assembly, include:
“How democratic is our democracy?”, ways in which modern technology can
improve democratic procedures, and co-operation between national parliaments
and European assemblies. Discussion is expected on the use of referenda and
plebiscites, the democratic deficit, low voter turnout in European elections
and e-voting, among other subjects.

Representatives of the parliaments of all 45 Council of Europe member
states1 and of three observer states2 have been invited, as well as the
Presidents of the European Parliament and the Assembly of the Western
European Union. The heads of the parliamentary bodies of the Benelux,
Central European Initiative, CIS, NATO, the Nordic Council, OSCE and PABSEC
have also been invited as observers. Academic experts will present
discussion papers.

On the fringes of the summit, there will be separate meetings of:
* Speakers from the parliaments of EU member and candidate countries
* Speakers from the parliaments of the Western European Union
* Speakers from the parliaments of the three South Caucasus countries:
Armenia, Azerbaijan and Georgia
* The Secretaries-General of the participating parliaments and assemblies

The first European Speakers’ conference was held in 1975, and it has taken
place every two years in recent times, hosted alternately in Strasbourg or
in the capital of a Council of Europe member state.

The conference is open to accredited press (contact +33 3 88 41 25 44 for
accreditation), with full press facilities available. The plenary session
begins at 9.30 am on Tuesday 18 May in the debating chamber of the Palais de
l’Europe, Strasbourg.

For further information, including a full programme and the conference
papers, see the conference website at

1. For bicameral parliaments, the Speakers of both chambers have been
invited to attend.
2. The Canadian Senate and House of Commons, Israeli Knesset and Mexican
Senate and Chamber of Representatives.

Press Release
Parliamentary Assembly Communication Unit
Ref: 226a04
Tel: +33 3 90 21 50 26
Fax :+33 3 90 21 41 34
[email protected]

The Parliamentary Assembly brings together 626 members from the national
parliaments of the 45 member states.
President: Peter Schieder (Austria, SOC); Secretary General of the Assembly:
Bruno Haller.
Political Groups: SOC (Socialist Group); EPP/CD (Group of the European
People’s Party); LDR (Liberal, Democratic and Reformers’ Group);
EDG (European Democratic Group); UEL (Group of the Unified European Left).

Emil Lazarian

“I should like to see any power of the world destroy this race, this small tribe of unimportant people, whose wars have all been fought and lost, whose structures have crumbled, literature is unread, music is unheard, and prayers are no more answered. Go ahead, destroy Armenia . See if you can do it. Send them into the desert without bread or water. Burn their homes and churches. Then see if they will not laugh, sing and pray again. For when two of them meet anywhere in the world, see if they will not create a New Armenia.” - WS