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Senate Speaker Crin Antonescu yesterday met the president of PACE, Jean-Claude Mignon, about whom he said that he was and “will always remain” a friend of Romania. “The Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe is an institution that hugely helped us during these 20 years and also helped the Parliament of Romania, the democratic institutions of Romania to form and consolidate after 1990 and you, Mr. President, are a major friend of Romania, a person that personally and wholeheartedly was involved in supporting the cause of freedom and democracy in Romania,” Antonescu mentioned, quoted by Mediafax.In his turn, the PACE president said that he always feels like home in Bucharest. “When I walk in Bucharest (…) I always measure the changes since the end of 1989, the early ‘90s, when I came to Romania for the first time. A very long time has passed since May 1, 1990, when I spoke from the balcony of the Universitate, in front of the Intercontinental. It was a rather troubled time, because when I delivered a statement I was beside Doina Cornea,” Jean-Claude Mignon recollected. Also yesterday, the PACE president was received by President Traian Basescu at the Cotroceni Palace. In the address delivered Monday evening to the joint plenum of the two Houses of the Parliament, the PACE official said that the Assembly is open to collaborating with the Romanian Legislative for amending the Statute of MPs and “casting away all doubts” on “sanctioning incompatibility.” The PACE president explained that any condemned person must immediately give up his mandate, but immunity must allow the member of the Parliament to exert his mandate without being subject to pressures. Referring to national minorities, Mignon said that they are “correctly protected in Romania” and the international legislation with this regard ratified by Romania is “not at all negligible.” “The enactment of all the texts ratified by Romania already constitutes a protection that is not at all negligible. Even though there are still problems, if incidents and tensions still appear between Hungary and Romania, minorities are correctly protected in this country, although there is always room for improvement,” Mignon stated. He added that “the problem of national minorities has been exemplarily solved” in Romania and it is very important the fact that they also have a system of representation in Parliament.