The presidents of Europe’s senates are holding their annual meeting on 20 and 21 October, the second time they have met in the Parliament Building, following the first gathering in Bern in 2006. The conference will focus on the role of parliaments in the fight against terrorism. Gérard Larcher, President of the French senate, will be speaking about France’s experiences.

​The recent terrorist attacks in Europe are one of the topics selected for the conference programme by Raphaël Compte, President of the Council of States and conference host. The participants will discuss to what extent the preventive measures adopted by governments are legitimate, and the importance of parliaments in the fight against international terrorism. Gérard Larcher will give a speech on the role his parliamentary chamber plays in combatting terrorism. Senate presidents of other European countries will also speak on this topic.

Anne Seydoux, member of the Swiss Council of States, will explain how the Swiss Parliament exercises its supervisory role over the government’s intelligence activities. Her colleague in the Council of States, Jean-René Fournier, will describe the supervisory rights of the Swiss Federal Assembly – which by international comparison are very extensive – based on the example of the Finance Committees and their delegation.

On the second day of the conference, the senate presidents will address the role of their chamber in the bicameral system and in the legislative process. These discussions are not open to the public.

Bilateral talks with counterparts

Council of States president Raphaël Comte will also be holding bilateral talks with his European counterparts during the two-day conference. Mr Comte will have working lunches with Valentina Matviyenko, Chair of the Russian Federation Council, and with Gérard Larcher. Meetings are also planned with the Stanislav Tillich, President of the German Bundesrat, Pietro Grasso, President of the Italian Senate, Mitja Bervar, President of the Slovenian Senate and Stanislaw Karczewski, President of the Polish Senate.


Association of European Senates – founded in 2000
The Association of European Senates was established in 2000 on the initiative of France. It currently has 15 members: the Bundesrats in Germany and Austria, the senates of Belgium, Spain, France, Italy, the Netherlands, Poland, Romania and the Czech Republic, Bosnia Herzogovina’s House of Peoples, the British House of Lords, Russia’s Federation Council, Slovenia’s Council of State, Switzerland’s Council of States and (with observer status) the Principality of Luxembourg’s Council of State and the Irish senate. As set out in its statutes, the purpose of the association is to strengthen relations between senate presidents, promote the bicameral system in parliamentary democracy and strengthen European identity and awareness.


Further information for members of the media

  • Members of the media who already hold a pass to the Parliamentary Building do not require additional accreditation. All others are requested to complete the Day Accreditation Form.

  • Members of the media can follow the discussion on “The role of parliaments in the fight against terrorism” on the afternoon of Thursday, 20 October, from 3 pm onwards from the press galleries in the National Council chamber. The antechambers to the National Council chamber will be accessible, but not the Salle des pas perdus (lobby).

  • The official photo session takes place in the morning of Friday 21 October between 8.45 and 9.00am in the Council of States chamber.

  • Photos of the two-day conference will be published on the website and may be used free of charge.

  • The discussions on Friday are closed. The antechambers, salle des pas perdus and press galleries are not open to the press.

  • The list of the senate presidents attending is published here.