The Stability Pact for South-Eastern Europe: specific projects on local democracy and transfrontier co-operation - CG (7) 10 Part II

Rapporteur: Mr. Alain CHENARD (France)

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EXPLANATORY MEMORANDUM

South-Eastern Europe is a priority area for the Congress's activities, as shown by:

- the various reports drawn up or being prepared on the state of local democracy in the countries of the region,
- its specific action for Kosovo,
- the development of partnerships with towns and regions in south eastern Europe (particularly at the Budapest Seminar in December 1999),
- all the Stability Pact activities in which the Congress has participated for a year.

Some reference points concerning the Stability Pact

In parallel with the OSCE and the European Union, the Council of Europe has participated fully in the Stability Pact for South-Eastern Europe since its adoption in Cologne on 10 June 1999. This Pact was officially launched on 31 July 1999 at the Sarajevo Summit, attended by the Council of Europe. It represents a collective effort by the European Union, the G8, the countries of the region and the main international organisations to respond to the problems of south-eastern Europe.

Since its adoption, numerous meetings and conferences have been organised at various levels. On 16 September 1999, the Pact's Regional Table defined the Pact's structures and modus operandi and approved proposals by Mr. Bodo Hombach, Special Co-ordinator of the Pact, concerning an overall work programme and the meetings of three Working Tables. The Regional Table, the next meeting of which is scheduled for 8 June 2000, plays the role of a steering body and provides guidelines to the three Working Tables, which are responsible for ensuring the coherence and complementarity of their activities and for avoiding duplication. They are organised as follows:

- Working Table I on democratisation and human rights (Chair: Dr P. Roumeliotis;
Co-chair: Hungary) comprises:
1. Task Force on minorities

      2. Task Force on good governance (sponsor: Council of Europe), which focuses on: the institution of ombudsman, local democracy and good governance

3. Task Force on equality questions
4. Task Force on the Media
5. Task Force on humanitarian questions (the return of refugees)
6. the extended Graz Process
7. Parliamentary co-operation
8. the Szeged Process.

- Working Table II on economic reconstruction, development and co-operation (Chair: Mr. F. Saccomanni; Co-Chair: "the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia")

- Working Table III on Security Issues (Chair: Mr. Thierry Le Roy; Co-chair: Bosnia and Herzegovina). The Council of Europe is sponsor of the project on "Independence of the judiciary" and co-sponsor of the project on "corruption and organised crime".

The Congress clearly has an interest in Working Table I, especially the activities planned on Local Democracy.

Congress Recommendation 58 (1999) on the crisis in Kosovo

In Recommendation 58 on the crisis in Kosovo, dated 17 June 1999, the Congress "took note, with satisfaction", of the Pact approved on 10 June by the Conference organised in Cologne at the initiative of the presidency of the European Union, but noted even then that, while providing for the Council of Europe to play a substantial role, notably with regard to democratic institutions, "this Pact makes no precise reference to local self-government".

The Congress nonetheless declared that it was ready and prepared to take part in Working Table I of the Pact, on "democratisation and human rights", which is responsible, inter alia, for co-ordinating activities and proposals for the development of local democracy in south eastern Europe.

In this context, the Congress has played an active role in the Council of Europe's activities and events for the purpose of preparing its own projects in the field of local democracy and presenting, in a co-ordinated way, the projects of the other organisations and countries involved; this has been done in close co-operation with the Directorate General of Legal Affairs (Direction of Co-operation for Local and Regional Democracy).

Since the Council of Europe is the sponsor of the Task Force on Good Governance, which includes activities in the field of local democracy, the Congress, together with the countries and organisations concerned by the Pact, has contributed to several information meetings, to preparation of the Bucharest Forum and to the wide-ranging Action Plan listing initiatives by countries and European and international organisations in the field of local democracy and transfrontier co-operation.

In addition, the Congress took part in a workshop on local authorities, in the context of the Bratislava process, during the 2nd Forum on the future of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia (Strasbourg, 21-22 November 1999). The Congress was also represented at the Bled Conference (Slovenia, 1-2 December 1999), organised under the Royaumont Process, which adopted an Action Plan for the development of the democratic systems of local authorities in south-eastern Europe. The Congress has also played an active role in the Szeged Process (1st conference in October 1999, 2nd conference on 2-3 March 2000), which aims to encourage democratic forces in the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia through active support for the local democratic opposition and free media. In particular, the Congress has promoted a number of partnership agreements between local authorities in the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia and interested towns in Western Europe.

Limited support from the Council of Europe's Committee of Ministers for activities in south-eastern Europe

On 7 May 1999 the Committee of Ministers adopted a Council of Europe programme for democratic stability in south-eastern Europe, which included urgent activities for Kosovo and longer-term projects. This programme was then submitted as the Council of Europe's contribution to the Stability Pact.

In January of this year, the Secretary General of the Council of Europe submitted a draft ad hoc supplementary budget for South Eastern Europe to the Committee of Ministers (including a contribution to UNMIK's activities in certain fields and to other activities in Kosovo). These activities included priority projects for "strengthening local democracy and decentralised co-operation, including transfrontier co-operation". These programmes, for which the Congress had been involved in the preparatory work, did not receive financial support from the Committee of Ministers.

At the same time, as is known, the Committee of Ministers gave limited but real support to UNMIK's work in Kosovo. The question of continuing the work of the Secretariat Office in Pristina is still unresolved, mainly for budgetary reasons.

Bucharest Forum (23-24 February 2000)

The Congress played an active role in preparing and organising the Bucharest Forum
(23-24 February 2000) on decentralisation, democracy and stability in south-eastern Europe.

This Forum, organised jointly by the Council of Europe and the Romanian government, brought together more than 200 participants. It approved an Action Plan for developing local democracy and transfrontier co-operation in the region.

Following presentations by the Secretary General of the Council of Europe and the President of the Parliamentary Assembly, I spoke as President of the Congress, about the CLRAE's various activities in south-eastern Europe, highlighting the Congress's work with regard to the state of local and regional self-government, training activities (as part of the ENTO network), the partnership initiatives, the work of the Local Democracy Agencies (LDAs) and the Congress's initiatives to foster transfrontier co-operation between local and regional authorities.

Support for the specific projects in the Action Plan was expressed by the ministerial and parliamentary participants, representatives of international organisations and NGOs, delegates from the LDAs, representatives from associations of local and regional authorities in the region and members of the Congress. The objective is to foster local democracy and productive transfrontier relations on the basis of the standards enshrined in the European Charter of Local Self-Government and the Outline Convention on Transfrontier Co-operation. This Action Plan is intended to promote greater local autonomy through appropriate legislation, to train local leaders and to improve financial management and provision of local services. It also aims to develop democratic "citizenship" and intercultural dialogue at local level, to promote partnerships between towns and regions and to foster transfrontier co-operation (cf. the Action Plan's seven objectives, listed in the Declaration; cf. Appendix I1). It comprises an inventory of the various activities for supporting local democracy, conducted or proposed by the parties concerned and the relevant organisations.

Since such activities require financial resources for their implementation, the Bucharest Declaration urged the Stability Pact Funding Conference to support the projects that were not yet funded.

Funding Conference (Brussels, 29-30 March 2000): generally inadequate promises of funding for local democracy and transfrontier co-operation.

The Stability Pact Funding Conference was held in Brussels on 29 and 30 March 2000, and discussed the funding possibilities for various projects. It emerged that the package of proposals for local democracy was of only mild interest to the donors, despite the fact that the projects originated from the countries of this region, the Council of Europe and other international organisations, and had been prepared on the basis of consultations with all the partners.

A second donors' co-ordination meeting, held in Brussels on 19 April did not release significant new credits for the fields in which we are interested.

To date, only four countries (Belgium, Germany, Luxembourg and Ireland, to be confirmed) declared they were ready to grant voluntary contributions to partly finance several projects submitted by the Council of Europe in the field of Local Democracy.

Other countries had also mentioned an interest in financing certain projects submitted by the Council of Europe, but without confirming this, at least to date.

Naturally, the Congress wishes to thank all those countries which have decided to make financial contributions to the implementation of projects that are of genuine importance in developing local democracy in south-eastern Europe.

Bearing in mind the lack of interest shown at the Funding Conference for projects concerning local democracy, I contacted the Chairs of the national delegations to the Congress on 5 April, asking them to approach their governments and the main sponsors and emphasise the importance of the Council of Europe's Action Plan to strengthen local democracy and stability in south-eastern Europe.

The Council of Europe's special programme is focused on seven objectives (cf. document MCL-12 (00) 7). Of the 14 million Euros required for this Programme, the Council of Europe can count only on the promises of funding mentioned above. This illustrates the gulf that exists between the projects and the likelihood of their implementation (cf. Appendix II)!!

Conference of European Ministers responsible for local government (Istanbul,
6-7 April 2000)

This question was discussed during the 12th Conference of European Ministers responsible for local government (Istanbul, 6-7 April 2000), at a special session on the Stability Pact. Following the presentation of this topic by Mr. Sencer Özsoy, Deputy Under-Secretary of State at the Turkish Ministry of Foreign Affairs and by Dr Panaghiotis Roumeliotis, Chair of Working Table I of the Stability Pact, Mr. Hans Christian Krüger, Deputy Secretary General of the Council of Europe, set out the Action Plan, as endorsed in Bucharest, and the Programme proposed by the Council of Europe.

During this session, Mr Cuatrecasas, Vice-President of the Congress, presented a paper on the CLRAE's various activities in south-eastern Europe. At the close of the sitting, Mr Roppe, member of the Congress, was asked to sum up.

Although the Ministers pointed out that implementation of the Action Plan called for the full commitment and co-operation of the relevant authorities of countries in south eastern Europe, they also expressed their political support for the Action Plan's objectives and stressed the need to obtain prompt solutions on funding for priority projects (cf. Resolution N° 2 on Local democracy, transfrontier co-operation and stability in south-eastern Europe, Appendix III).

***

The Bureau and the Standing Committee have been kept informed, at every stage, of the developments and problems involved in implementation of the Stability Pact.

It should also be noted that the Parliamentary Assembly held a debate on 4 April 2000 on the implementation of the Pact (cf. Recommendation 1452 (2000), Appendix IV).

Conclusion

1. The Stability Pact, officially launched at the Sarajevo Summit in July 1999, was designed as an important instrument for responding to the problems of south-eastern Europe and for restoring stability, respect for human rights and economic development. However, it can only succeed if a considerable proportion of its activity is focused on developing local democracy and fostering transfrontier co-operation in this part of Europe.

2. The various meetings and conferences of the Pact that have been held to date, especially the Funding Conference, have allocated only limited financial support to the different projects proposed in the above fields. The Congress deeply regrets this fact. While welcoming the efforts of those governments that have decided to make voluntary contributions for the implementation of certain priority projects, as set out in the Action Plan endorsed at the Bucharest Forum and which concern the Council of Europe's special programme, the Congress can only appeal to the other governments, international financial institutions and the European Union and ask that they pay greater attention to the "local democracy" dimension and provide financial support for speedy implementation of the priority programmes in this field.

3. The Congress should also ask the Pact authorities to provide financial support to the Association of LDAs, the main goal of which is the development of civil society and local democracy in the countries of the former Yugoslavia. Important projects could thus be implemented in places such as Mitrovica, Podgorica and in certain towns in Serbia. At the same time, financial support should be given to the Economic Forum of Towns and Regions of South-Eastern Europe, due to be held in Skopje in autumn 2000, where one of the objectives will be to encourage an exchange of experience and the development of technical partnerships between local and regional authorities.

4. The Congress should express its regret that the Committee of Ministers has not made available the supplementary financial resources that would enable the Council of Europe to participate in the Pact, and requests it to correct this situation, at least in the 2001 budget, and pending this, through voluntary contributions.

5. Substantial financial undertakings by the international community, international financial organisations and private foundations for the priority projects on local democracy would be a pledge of their commitment to the Pact's success. In addition, a endless series of meetings or conferences which fail to reach clear decisions regarding the funding to be awarded is likely to thwart the expectations of the populations affected by the Pact.

6. The Congress is willing to assist in implementing the priority projects in the field of local democracy and transfrontier co-operation, in close collaboration with the Directorate of Co-operation for Local and Regional Democracy in the Council of Europe Secretariat. It believes it is essential that the towns and regions concerned be involved in identifying and implementing the projects.

7. It would be extremely regrettable if the Council of Europe's participation in an area of the Pact that concerns one of its major areas of expertise, namely local democracy, was undermined or cut back on account of insufficient human and financial resources.

8. Equally, everything must be done to ensure that the Council of Europe's office in Pristina, opened on 23 August 1999, continues to operate: its work has been very valuable to the Council of Europe and, obviously, to the Congress.

9. Through its members' activities, the network of associations of local and regional authorities with which it is in permanent contact and the experts that it engages, the Congress is in a position to play a distinct role in implementing the Pact at local and regional level in south-eastern Europe. Its potential contribution mainly deal with:

      - the state of local democracy in the different countries of the region,
      - partnerships between towns and regions, particularly in Kosovo (several important meetings on this subject, organised by the Congress or with its co-operation, have already been held, notably in Budapest and Szeged),
      - the Local Democracy Agencies concerning democratic citizenship and intercultural dialogue at local level,
      - transfrontier co-operation following to the 7th Conference of Transfrontier Regions (Timisoara, 28-30 October 1999)),

    - training of local and regional elected representatives and staff (through ENTO).

10. In addition, the Congress's ability to monitor the concrete results of the Stability Pact's projects on the ground is undeniable. With the exception of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, all the countries concerned by the Pact are represented within the Congress. In this context, it should be noted that the Association of Towns of the Republic of Montenegro has observer status with the Congress's Chamber of Local Authorities.

11. The Funding Conference of 29-30 March 2000 showed that considerable financial resources can be mustered, mainly for Working Table II on "economic reconstruction, co-operation and development" and for Working Table III on "security issues". The Congress welcomes the fact that large-scale funding is to be allocated to infrastructure, transport and security but, like the Parliamentary Assembly in its Recommendation 1452, considers that any efforts on a purely economic level will be incomplete and ineffective if they do not take account of the importance of building a civil society based on the principles of respect for human rights, cultural diversity and tolerance.

12. The Congress should therefore take active steps to ensure that the priority projects relating to local democracy and transfrontier co-operation are reconsidered and receive funding for implementation, given their importance in guaranteeing a decent day-to-day life for the citizens of south-eastern Europe and in strengthening the process of grass-roots democratisation and thus the region's stability.

APPENDICES

I. Final Declaration of the Bucarest Forum (23 - 24 February 2000) on decentralisation, democracy and stability in South East Europe.

II. Results of the Regional Funding Conference for South Eastern Europe (Brussels, March 29-30 2000), project submitted by the Council of Europe.
Extracts - Local government.

III. 12th session of the Conference of European Ministers responsible for Local Government, (Istanbul on 6-7 April 2000), Resolution No. 2 on local democracy, transfrontier co-operation and stability in South-Eastern Europe.

IV. Recommendation 1452 (2000) of the Parliamentary Assembly.

APPENDIX II

PROJECT TITLE
COST

DESCRIPTION

STATUS OF APPROVAL WITHIN STABILITY PACT

FUNDING PROSPECTS FOLLOWING THE FUNDING CONFERENCE (BRUSSELS, 29-30 MARCH 2000)

Working Table 1 on Democratisation and Human Rights

Good governance

2. Cluster: local government

 

Promoting political support for the strengthening of local authorities

Cost: 270,000 €

Aims: to establish the South-eastern Forum and its Steering committee as a platform to monitor the development of local democracy in the region; to seek political support for the implementation of key reforms

Selected as a priority by the Task Force on Good Governance

Belgium

Developing a sound legal framework for local self government

Cost: 2,130,000 €

Aims: to promote legislative reform adapted to the respective situation of each country and secure the adoption of basic legislation on local self-government, in compliance with European standards

The Task Force on Good Governance has selected as priorities a number of activities within this project.
Cost of priority activities:
1,760,000 €

 

Developing institutional capabilities and responsive leadership at local level

Cost: 4,165,000

Aims: to build effective training structures; to strengthen the role of national association of local authorities; to promote the adoption of codes of conduct

The Task Force on Good Governance has selected as priorities a number of activities within this project.
Cost of priority activities:
2,100,000 €

Germany

Enhancing financial management and service provision at local level

Cost: 2,570,000

Aims: to promote sound budget procedures and methods at local level, effective management of local financial resources and effective management and delivery of public services at local level; to assist local authorities in organisational and managerial reforms and improve the skills and knowledge of local managers

The Task Force on Good Governance has selected as priorities a number of activities within this project.
Cost of priority activities:
1,125,000 €

Luxembourg

Germany

Developing "democratic citizenship" and intercultural dialogue at local level

Cost: 1,695,000

Aims : to raise awareness on the requirement of a democratic political culture; to promote direct involvement of citizens in the decision-making process; to enhance the role of NGOs and associations; to develop the network of Local Democracy Agencies (ADLs)

Selected as a priority by the Task Force on Good Governance

(see also conclusions of the ad hoc GR-EDS meeting held on
29 February 2000)

Ireland (to be confirmed)

Promoting political support for the strengthening of local authorities

Cost: 270,000 €

Aims: to establish the South-eastern Forum and its Steering committee as a platform to monitor the development of local democracy in the region; to seek political support for the implementation of key reforms

Selected as a priority by the Task Force on Good Governance

Belgium

Developing a sound legal framework for local self government

Cost: 2,130,000 €

Aims: to promote legislative reform adapted to the respective situation of each country and secure the adoption of basic legislation on local self-government, in compliance with European standards

The Task Force on Good Governance has selected as priorities a number of activities within this project.
Cost of priority activities:
1,760,000 €

 

APPENDIX III

RESOLUTION N° 2 ON
“LOCAL DEMOCRACY, TRANSFRONTIER CO-OPERATION
AND STABILITY IN SOUTH-EASTERN EUROPE”

The Ministers attending the 12th session of the Conference of European Ministers responsible for Local Government, meeting in Istanbul on 6-7 April 2000,

Considering the conclusions of the Forum on "Decentralisation, Democracy and Stability in South-Eastern Europe", held in Bucharest on 23-24 February 2000, which was attended by representatives of governments, parliaments, local and regional authorities, intergovernmental organisations, international and national NGOs;

Noting that the Bucharest Forum endorsed the Action Plan on Local Democracy and Stability in South-Eastern Europe prepared by the Council of Europe as sponsor of the Task Force on Good Governance set up under Working Table I on “Decentralisation and Human Rights”, and that the final declaration invites the European Ministers responsible for Local Government "to give their collective political backing" to the concrete implementation of the Action Plan;

Express their firm conviction that the principles of democracy must be implemented right down to the level closest to the citizens, in order to consolidate the democratic structures;

Recognise the compelling need to secure democratic stability in South-Eastern Europe, and the key role that local and regional democracy and transfrontier co-operation between local authorities can play to this end;

Consider that the principles and standards enshrined in the European Charter of Local Self-Government and in the Madrid Outline Convention on Transfrontier Co-operation are the essential basis for developing local democracy and beneficial cross-border relations;

Stress the importance of ensuring that efforts to reinforce local democracy and transfrontier co-operation in South-Eastern Europe are combined and integrated in a coherent whole within a long-term timeframe, consistently with the seven strategic goals determined by the Action Plan, which are:

1. Promoting political support for strengthening local democracy
2. Developing a sound legal framework for local self-government
3. Developing institutional capabilities and responsive leadership at local level
4. Enhancing local financial management and service provision
5. Developing democratic citizenship and intercultural dialogue at local level
6. Promoting partnership between towns and regions
7. Fostering transfrontier co-operation.

Recognise the need to involve civil society in measures for developing local democracy, to strengthen the cohesion and solidarity of local communities and to create a new administrative culture in the region;

Give their political support to the goals of the Action Plan for strengthening local democracy, transfrontier co-operation and partnership in South-Eastern Europe;

Welcome the fact that more than € 2.4 billion was pledged at the Regional Funding Conference held in Brussels on 29-30 March 2000, look forward to the results of the Donors’ Meeting in April and emphasise the need to obtain prompt decisions on funding “quick start” priority projects put forward by the Task Force on Good Governance;

Emphasise that the achievement of the goals of the Action Plan calls for the full commitment and co-operation of the relevant authorities of the countries of the region;

Express their readiness to consider making available their know-how and facilities to the joint efforts to ensure the success of the goals of the Action Plan;

Congratulate the Council of Europe on the work it has done as sponsor of the Task Force on Good Governance and welcome its contribution in the form of “the Programme Proposed by the Council of Europe” which it has submitted within the Action Plan to the Stability Pact.

APPENDIX IV

Parliamentary contribution to the implementation of the Stability Pact for Southeastern Europe

Recommendation 1452 (2000)2

1. The Assembly reiterates its position that the Stability Pact is a remarkable concept both politically and humanely; it is a key element of European foreign policy today. It provides an important tool for resolving the problems that persist in southeastern Europe and safeguarding stability, respect for human rights and economic development.

2. While the Stability Pact is an opportunity for that region, it is not easy to implement. Since the adoption of the Stability Pact in June 1999, several meetings and conferences have taken place and many different organisations have become involved. Yet, most of the declarations made have so far failed to be followed by action.

3. The present structure of Working Tables and Task Forces, together with an influx of seminars on related topics, risks delaying the implementation of the Stability Pact and therefore threatening the process of democratisation and restructuring of the region. Furthermore, it diminishes the high expectations of the peoples concerned by the Pact.

4. The Assembly underlines the importance that the participating countries of the Stability Pact, and in particular the countries in the region, be firmly committed to the Stability Pact and directly involved in fixing its priorities and its implementation. Moreover, they should take more responsibility for their own economic development.

5. The Assembly is favourable to including Moldova in the Stability Pact as a full member.

6. The Conference on the parliamentary contribution to the implementation of the Stability Pact for Southeastern Europe, organised by the Assembly’s Political Affairs Committee in Sofia on 25 and 26 November 1999, confirmed that the parliamentary dimension is an essential element of democratic control over the Pact, its mechanisms and its implementation.

7. The Sofia Declaration underlines the importance of direct involvement of national parliaments in the implementation of the Stability Pact, through national parliamentary debates, bilateral parliamentary relations, as well as multilateral parliamentary co-operation.

8. The Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe has a central role to play in controlling implementation of the activities carried out in the framework of the Stability Pact. With the exception of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, all the countries concerned with the Stability Pact are represented in the Council of Europe.

9. The Council of Europe has special expertise in areas such as the protection of human and minority rights, local democracy, culture and education, media and youth policies and judicial systems. The Assembly notes with satisfaction that the Council of Europe has started projects in nearly every field of planned action. Nevertheless, it deeply regrets that now that the Council of Europe has succeeded in becoming involved in certain of its fields of competence, increased contribution, and even maintaining the present level of involvement in some cases, depends on additional financial resources.

10. The Assembly urges the Committee of Ministers to secure the financing of the Council of Europe’s Priština office, which has been operational since August 1999, for the rest of the year 2000. It reiterates its earlier recommendation to open similar offices in Podgorica and Belgrade.

11. The Assembly notes with satisfaction that at the Regional Funding Conference for South-Eastern Europe (Brussels, 29-30 March 2000), donors pledged over the required amount of money to fully finance the "quick start package".

12. At this stage, most urgent action should be concentrated in the fields of economy, infrastructure and the quality of day-to-day life. Stability and respect for human rights cannot be reinforced if the economy is not developed. Communications and transport infrastructure are amongst the priorities.

13. Any efforts in the field of the economy would be incomplete without taking into account the importance of building a civil society based on the principles of respect for human rights, cultural diversity and tolerance. Education and cultural co-operation should be considered as powerful means of creating a climate of tolerance and mutual understanding in the region.

14. The Assembly regrets the persistence of violent incidents in the region, notably in Kosovska Mitrovica, and in the southeast provinces of Serbia where some extremist ethnic Albanian people are active.

15. The Assembly welcomes the decision by the Serb leaders to end their boycott of the Interim Administrative Council.

16. The Assembly expresses its support for the democratic forces in the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia. It reiterates its earlier position that the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia must be brought to meet the necessary conditions in order to be readmitted to the international community, democratic parliamentary elections being one such condition. Stability in the region would be incomplete without the full participation of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia. Ways must be found so that the people of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia benefit from the Stability Pact.

17. The Assembly notes that civil registration, as well as political party registration, will soon start with the aim of organising municipal elections later this year. It underlines the importance of including those who left the province on the voter registration list, and calls upon the Serb community to participate in these elections.

18. In view of improving parliamentary control of the implementation of the Stability Pact the Assembly resolves to:
i. invite the Chairs of the Working Tables to report at regular intervals to the committees concerned on what has been achieved and future plans;
ii. organise regular meetings of the national parliaments of the region, the European Parliament, the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly and other regional assemblies to evaluate results/lack of results and put forward proposals.

19. It also recommends that the Committee of Ministers:
i. continue its efforts to find additional resources for assuring Council of Europe involvement in the implementation of the Stability Pact;
ii. make resources available for the Council of Europe’s Priština office so that it will be able to continue its activities beyond 31 March 2000 and open similar offices in Podgorica and Belgrade;
iii. appeal to the countries concerned by the Stability Pact to be fully committed to its implementation;
iv. invite its member states to contribute in an appropriate way in intensifying economic co-operation in the region in order to rapidly re-establish the communications and transport infrastructure;
v. call on all countries concerned with the Stability Pact to consider including the cultural dimension in its programmes and to invest in assistance programmes in the field of education, culture, heritage and youth involvement;
vi. explore ways to bring the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia to meet the necessary conditions in order to be readmitted to the international community and to become fully involved with the implementation of the Stability Pact.

1 The Final Declaration from Bucharest and the Action Plan are contained in document MCL-12 (00)6, which was submitted to the Ministerial Conference in Istanbul (6-7 April 2000).

2 Assembly debate on 4 April 2000 (11th Sitting). See Doc. 8665, report of the Political Affairs Committee (rapporteur: Mr Bársony). Text adopted by the Assembly on 4 April 2000 (11th Sitting).



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