RIGONI  Andrea



Italian deputy of the parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe Andrea Rigoni was appointed Rapporteur on Belarus in the Political Affairs Committee in February 2007. Since then he has had several meetings with Belarusian officials in Rome and Strasbourg.


Office for a Democratic Belarus: Mr.Rigoni, you seem to be the first Rapporteur on the situation in Belarus with whom the Belarusian officials are ready to have a regular dialogue. Your colleagues Andres Herkel (CoE) and Adrian Severin (UN) have never been able to visit Belarus. What makes you different?


Andrea Rigoni: I think I have an open approach, namely I would like to know the overall situation of Belarus, without any prejudices. I am more focused on the positive outcomes concerning the future of democracy, respect of human rights and the rule of law.


ODB: Is your mission a difficult one?


AR: Yes, given the biased background related to Belarus I think that my task is going to be difficult. Nowadays there is no neutral thinking on the Belarus situation and that is the reason why it isn’t easy to set a dialogue about it.


ODB: What is then the country like?


AR: I am currently building my personal idea on Belarus through the hearings in the Sub-Committee for Belarus, through the meetings I am having on this issue and even more with the help of the visits that I will carry out in Minsk.


ODB: You are planning a fact-finding for the purposes of your report in autumn. Is it possible that you will come together with Mr.Pourgourides, Rapporteur of the Committee on Legal Affairs and Human Rights, who is authorised for the report "Abuse of the criminal justice system in Belarus"?


AR: That is right, I am planning to carry out a 3-4 day visit to Belarus, according to the needs. The Bureau of the Council of Europe Parliamentary Assembly has assigned my mission as independent from the others, given that it is focused on the opinion exchange for the elaboration of the report within the Political Committee of the Council of Europe.


ODB: Will you cooperate only with the Belarusian authorities for your report? When will your report be ready?


AR: I’m planning to meet both the authorities and the opposition leaders as well as the representatives of NGOs, civil society, economic and cultural elites and representatives of the academic circles. It is too early to talk about the conclusions of the report a few months after I have been given this mandate, considering also that my mandate has no specific deadline.


ODB: Mr.Rigoni, in your opinion, what does the European future of Belarus look like? Is it possible to restore the Belarusian special status in PACE?


AR: It is even more early to talk about that — the future status of Belarus within the Council of Europe is still an open matter.



Andrea Rigoni is the Chairperson of the Italian Delegation to the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe; Vice-Chairperson of the Assembly. Since February 2007 Rapporteur of the Political Affairs Committee on the situation in Belarus.


Was born in 1960 inMilan. Has a degree in Economics. Worked as a tax consultant, auditor and journalist. Member of the L'Ulivo (The Olive Tree – Democrats of the Left) parliamentary group. Party Leader in MassaCarrara (Tuscany). Was senator of the ItalianRepublic. Member of the Assembly of Western European Union. Member of the Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs of the Italian Chamber of Deputies.



Interview conducted by Maryna Rakhlei

for the Office for a Democratic Belarus